The book is broken down into three parts: Part 1- The Bridge to Lament, Part 2- The Bridge to Confession and Forgiveness, and Part 3-The Bridge to Restorative Reconciliation, and each chapter has a liturgy/prayer after it as well as discussion questions. This is hard work to undertake, but it’s heart work. Natalie Thompson has done this heart work, read the book twice and led group discussions. She will be offering training in October to those interested in reading the book with their group. To learn more about the book and her experience, read her review below.
Reviewed by Natalie Thompson
There are some books that you know you’ll be referring back to again and again, that you find yourself talking about to anyone who will listen and that you’ll have a deep urge to discuss in a group setting. This has been my experience with Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by LaTasha Morrison. I’ve read several books on the topic of racial reconciliation as this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart as a Latina in an intercultural marriage and as a person of faith. Back in our Durham, NC, days when David was in law school, we attended a church named Reconciliation United Methodist and it was (amazingly) about 1/3 Caucasian, 1/3 African American and 1/3 Latinx….it wasn’t our easiest church experience as it was essentially in small start-up mode and quite socio-economically diverse as well as racially, which truth be told made for some awkward uncomfortable moments, but it also taught us to be faithful despite our emotions. It taught us that sometimes you do have to intentionally enter the mess, offer up Communion in a different language, challenge yourselves to incorporate other traditions in your liturgy to see God’s heart for unity, for reconciliation. And in Be the Bridge, Morrison digs in deeper, sharing her story about how God pursues us in this and offers us so much grace. But be forewarned, there are some hard topics in here, everything from colorism (which also affects the Latinx and Asian communities) as well as what true conviction, lamentation and confession look like.
I so appreciate Morrison beseeching the church as well as other institutions to not shy away from true lament…the example of Georgetown University undergoing deep confession and forgiveness was so inspiring, and I hope it’s an example of more to come. And so often racial reconciliation is a loaded topic, one that doesn’t lend itself to typical dinner party chatter, so it’s easy to shy away from it. And that has been our collective societal privilege until now. Yet who better than the church to help facilitate and foster this dialogue? Yes, the church has been complicit in so many forms, but the church (and here I mean the collective church), which is well-versed in the language of forgiveness and restoration, can be such a help and blessing to the rest of society that is broaching racial reconciliation from another lens.
The book itself is broken down into three parts: Part 1- The Bridge to Lament, Part 2- The Bridge to Confession and Forgiveness, and Part 3-The Bridge to Restorative Reconciliation, and each chapter has a liturgy/prayer after it as well as discussion questions. This is hard work to undertake, but it’s heart work and for that I do hope everyone will find the courage to read it.