God Is Not a White Man
And Other Revelations
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What does it mean when God is presented as male? What does it mean when - from our internal assumptions to our shared cultural imaginings - God is presented as white? These are the urgent questions Chine McDonald asks in a searing look at her experience of being a Black woman in the white-majority space that is the UK church - a church that is being abandoned by Black women no longer able to grin and bear its casual racism, colonialist narratives and lack of urgency on issues of racial justice. Part memoir, part social and theological commentary, God Is Not a White Man is a must-read for anyone troubled by a culture that insists everyone is equal in God's sight, yet fails to confront white supremacy; a lament about the state of race and faith, and a clarion call for us all to do better. 'This book is much-needed medicine for a sickness that we cannot ignore.' - The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
True love speaks truth when it is difficult to say, and listens to truth when it is hard to hear. This book is not an easy read, but it is a necessary one for everyone who cares about justice in the church. The time for us to be comfortable is long gone when our Black brothers and sisters in Christ have long revealed their pain, spoken of their disillusionment and made clear the Church's role in perpetuating it. The suffering, the lack of recognition and the exclusion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people within the Church, and the legacy which means their gifts are not recognised and those who offer them are not represented, is a matter of deep and abiding shame. This failing of the Church is not just bad witness to the Christ who promises respite and welcome: it is the Church's loss where it fails to recognise the manifold gifts and talents of those who have different life experiences, skin colours, nationalities and perspectives. I am deeply grateful for Chine's willingness to share her story so beautifully and generously, but it is not the responsibility of our UK minority ethnic & Global Majority Heritage brothers and sisters in Christ alone to point out the injustices they face. Nor should they have to fight for a seat at the table. We all have a moral responsibility to recognise and tackle injustice. Each of us has a role to play to make sure our institutions and our culture are inclusive and welcoming. All of us need to challenge the institutional racism which is still sadly all too prevalent in our structures. The contribution of people from UK minority ethnic & Global Majority Heritage communities to the Church and British life is a true blessing for which I am deeply grateful to God. This book - and its author - is a profound gift to a Church that has much work to do. I commend it to all who are seeking a better, fairer future that truly reflects the face of Jesus Christ. * The Most Revd Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury * Thanks to McDonald's incredible writing, I finally feel part of the theological story. * David Lammy MP * Candid yet kind, I'm awestruck by the depth and clarity of this book. Essential reading for anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of what it's like to live as a Black woman in a predominantly white society, in a world designed for men. Chine McDonald expertly and empathetically draws the reader into her own story, and after you've read it you will see the world differently. * Professor Maggi Dawn, Durham University and former associate Dean, and Associate Professor of Theology and Literature, at Yale Divinity School * Chine McDonald has given us all an enormous gift ... What sets Chine's message apart from other truth-tellers ... is her willingness to share deeply from her own life, to tap into her own experience. This isn't a finger-pointing book from a position of moral self-righteousness. This is a heart-opening book from one child of God to her brothers, sisters, siblings in the family of God. ... In Chine's description of God's mosaic, and the hard, intentional work it takes to make it a reality, you can hear echoes of Dr King's words, "Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." * From the foreword by The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and author of Love is the Way and The Power of Love * This important book offers us a vital opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes and begin to understand what it is like to be a Black British Christian. Chine's courageous vulnerability helps us aspire to fight racism with more than an occasional demonstration or statue toppling, leaving us with a challenge to take action to pursue a more just and equitable society for all. * Dr Krish Kandiah, author, social entrepreneur and Chair of the Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board * This is a beautifully written reflection/memoir about being Black and female in a Church and a country that values most people who are white and male. It is insightful and generous, thought-provoking and nuanced and will stay with me long after I've finished it. You must read it, if you are in any way committed to reflecting on how we take seriously the blight that racism casts on us all and to striving together to build a better future. * Dr Paula Gooder, Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral * Untangling the quandary of white supremacy and Christianity needs a steady hand, lots of patience and a wise and gracious mind. Chine has all of these in abundance. Her choice to be vulnerable on the page is inspiring, but her assessments are clear-eyed and honest, and not only did I feel vindicated and understood as a black Christian woman, I learned so much from her. * Jendella Benson, author and Head of Editorial at Black Ballad * This is a captivating book. Chine McDonald uses her own biography like a brush, dipping into stories and research from Africa, the USA and the UK to paint a vivid portrait of the dangers of white supremacy facing all of us today. * Joel Edwards, writer, public speaker and former director of the Evangelical Alliance UK and Micah Challenge International * Chine delivers a womanist manifesto for the eradication of whiteness. It is an intimate love song to her Nigerian heritage, and an honouring of a deep connected African spirituality. It charts women's resistance movements from villagers dismantling the huts of the men who conspired to harm, to Beyonce in Lemonade. It is a deeply British story too. There are tender moments where one meets the child Chine, or we learn how love cannot be colourblind, or we see her survive the sneers and jeers of the ignorant and belligerent. Chine charts her disillusionment with the many white walls across all sides of the church and society which need dismantling. Whether they are found in government, or Cambridge, the pop industry, evangelicalism through to Greenbelt, nothing and no one escapes her forensic and compassionate analysis. This book enriches the conversation, it exposes what is, and points to a better way for all of us to breathe, and be free. * A.D.A. France-Williams, author of Ghost Ship: Institutional Racism and the Church of England * In this era of Black Lives Matter and the rising voices of women there is a need for more stories to be heard from Black women that speak truth to power, with an authenticity that captivates through its honesty. This book does exactly that, laying bare Chine's personal experiences and inner thoughts around some hard-hitting and critically important subject matters I could really relate to. It's a go-to book and a must-read. * Leroy Logan MBE * What a fantastic book. Through her personal and insightful stories Chine McDonald takes us deeper into the image of God. An excellent book full of wisdom. * Ben Lindsay, author of We Need To Talk About Race: Understanding the Black Experience in White Majority Churches * God Is Not a White Man is a powerful reflection on the entanglements of gender, identity, culture and politics in contemporary Christianity in the Black Atlantic. Through skilful use of auto/ethnographic research methods, the book imaginatively combines the disciplines of theology and popular culture, black and womanist theology, decoloniality, and development studies. The result is a collection of audacious and courageous essays that challenge complacency and nurture redemption. The book is a necessity for those seeking to cultivate an inclusive, activist and cosmopolitan Christian imagination. * Professor Robert Beckford * This book is a gift to the Church. Filled with truth, revelation, lament, and ultimately the possibility of redemption, this book invites us into hard and holy Gospel work. God Is Not A White Man is an urgent and loving gift to the Church worldwide. * Sarah Bessey, New York Times-bestselling editor of A Rhythm of Prayer and author of Jesus Feminist *