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Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  800 ratings  ·  121 reviews
What if racial reconciliation doesn't look like what you expected? The high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued, have convinced many white Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.

In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police br
Paperback, 189 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Herald Press
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Clif Hostetler
The message of this book is aimed at American Christians with a goal to make them (including me) aware of racism and their own culpability with it. From the inherent contradictions of those who claim colorblindness the author concludes, "... that it is not color that they are not seeing; rather, it is racism that is being missed." He continues, "Colorblind ideology is the twenty-first-century continuation of white Christian silence to racism."

The author uses the language of a preacher in an effo
Madison Boboltz
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I'm extremely grateful for this book. I've been super confused about this issue lately and have been looking for a resource I can use to educate myself. As I study Jesus and scripture, I've been feeling led to defend and support the black lives matter movement, but I am criticized by those around for doing so because it is in opposition to the police. With this being a major topic in recent news, and with so much division, I have felt lost as far as how to approach the issue as a Christian. This ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helps me see what I’ve been missing

I think this is a must read for white Christians, particularly in the US. Drew Hart does a good job showing how we have gotten this wrong. It is easy to find scapegoats in the KKK, without seeing my role in injustice. We are socialized into a longstanding system that keeps whites in power, and everyone else valued less than fully human. I want to be part of changing this as a follower of Jesus.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: theological, cultural
I really don't know how to express my feelings about this book. It's hard to try and be objective when I feel that the book game me a lot of good information, but was doing it with fists out. Reading this book felt like taking a beating. Some of those shots were very deserved, others felt astoundingly like cheap shots. Regardless I liked the book, but reading it was hard. Perhaps I'm too fragile, perhaps some of the assertions made are false. I honestly don't know at this point. This book was re ...more
Circle of Hope Pastors
Should be required reading for all Jesus-followers. -- Phil Walton
Patrick Shuman
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Super important book today on understanding what (white) American Christianity looks like from the perspective of a black man. Challenges the reader to identify the suffering servant perspective of Jesus and what that means for us as Christians.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An essential book for Christians who want to take seriously Christ’s call to be peacemakers, the prophets’ call to seek justice, and the New Testament’s call to be agents of reconciliation—true, robust reconciliation that involves solidarity and not just friendship. Accessibly and engagingly written, this book will nevertheless challenge you; it will dispel preconceptions, subvert your ways of viewing church and society, and urge you to rethink what it means to follow Jesus.
Rachel Sauer
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Jesus found solidarity with the poor, with the oppressed, with vulnerable women, with the socially rejected and marginalized, with ethnic Samaritan outcasts, with the demon-possessed, and with the blind or physically sick… He protected those charged with sexual sin from the punishment of the religious leaders, shared life intimately with tax collectors and violent insurrectionists, and invited each of them to follow him into new life” (p. 62).
This is nothing new. This has always been Jesus. How
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic and informative read for any white person seeking to understand racial issues and the role of the gospel. I think every white believer should read this book and listen to the struggles and cries of our brothers and sisters of color.
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read many books in the past few years that I would highly recommend to my sisters and brothers in the white church, and this ranks highly among them.

White fragility will take a lot of hits reading this clear, powerful dissection of historical and contemporary issues that flow from the idolatrous white supremacy of our nation.

Hart calls us to question our gut assumptions, to leave behind the whitened Jesus, and to count Jesus, the oppressed and marginalized Messiah in his rightful place at
Jeremy Garber
Drew Hart, now an assistant professor in Theology at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, provides a readable and accessible introduction to the social construction of race, aimed specifically at church-goers (and more specifically at White church-goers). Hart’s strength is his weaving of his own personal narrative with solidly backed academic research and theory. He moves seamlessly back and forth between stories about his growing up in Philadelphia and the invention of “whiteness” as a fundamental ...more
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While this book is dense and thought-provoking and covers a LOT of ground, Hart's writing is accessible and full of candor. I appreciate the practical, historical and social angles that are offered on American racialized hierarchy, but moreover that it is focused on calling Christians back to the necessity of following the subversive Jesus of the scriptures. Probably need to read it 3 or 4 more times to chew on this further. Thankful for Hart's commitment to speaking truth to power. ...more
Shirley Durr
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all people of faith
I read the first chapter quickly because it's narrative and easy to follow Hart's story of his experiences. But I took longer to complete the rest of the book because I kept stopping to underline and ponder his points. Then I typed a "notes" page from those underlinings and used them to write an entry in my blog. This after I was less than half done. It was emotional.

I took a break and read some other books but recommend this one to others -- although I had not finished reading it. After severa
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
I really enjoyed hearing Drew Hart in a conversation about racial reconciliation along with Osheta Moore, April Yamasaki, Tim Nafziger, and a white woman I can't recall the name of (who spoke a lot about Native Americans) back a few years ago now. I really liked all his tweets on #AnaBlacktivism and he has taught me a lot about how the church views racism.

Therefore, when he announced that this book was coming out, I was looking so forward to reading it. Now, I finally got to read it and am glad
Sandra Hunt
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maybe this deserves 4.5 or 5 stars. I'm not sure. My church is reading this together, and he brought up many good points. I like how he constantly focuses on Jesus as being subservient, hanging out with the oppressed and the marginalized, and pushing back against the systemic oppression of his time. I think it was helpful that I had already read several other books on anti-racism prior to reading this, and parts of this that were familiar to me may have been more powerful to me if I had not alre ...more
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epub
Thought-provoking and informative look at systemic racism. This book gives meaningful, Bible-based suggestions how the church can address the problems he identifies. While never saying "Liberation Theology," Hart very reasonably points to the necessity of the view of those who have been disadvantaged and oppressed, and the solutions offered by Jesus who was himself a member of an oppressed people. Having navigated several very different systems, Hart's points of view are particularly insightful. ...more
Timothy Koller
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good beginning book on racism in western society. Definitely a good resource for someone interested in learning more about how western society has been shaped. Hart does a good job of bringing a theological perspective to the work done by Michelle Alexander in New Jim Crow. The reason for 4 stars rather than 5 is for the lack of citation. Several studies and outside resources are referenced without citation, making it a resource I cannot share as readily as I would like. However, coupled with ...more
Idelette McVicker
Powerful and so important.

I especially appreciated when Hart reminded us that no cultural exchanges or pulpit swaps or multicultural potlucks changed his encounter with the police one late night when he was pulled over. We need transformed lives AND systemic change. Looking forward to his next book.
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’m not able at this moment to completely articulate my thoughts on this book except it is a must read for Christians who are looking to walk as Jesus did. Hart does a wonderful job walking through how the church has been complacent in promoting dominant culture vs truly walking with the marginalized of society as Jesus did.
Ryan Mann
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Haunting yet encouraging, terrifying yet enlightening, I highly recommend this book as one every North American Christian should read. Now I have to make a list and pray about what to do next.
Abby Shelton
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Drew G. I. Hart does a graceful and honest job of sharing his personal experience as a black American male as well as highlighting the experiences of others as a challenge to Christians of all races to see with Christ's eyes and work towards reconciliation and equality within and out of the church. This is a great introduction to America's race issues in the church / out of the church. Hart draws on many sociologists, studies, and scriptures in his work. ...more
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed "Trouble I've Seen"! Throughout the book, Hart consistently grounds his view on racial reconciliation in the person of Jesus Christ. In his own day, Jesus "stood in solidarity with Samaritan outcasts, vulnerable women, the hungry, poor, and the socially rejected." Today Christians have the duty to practice solidarity with those marginalized by dominant American culture (Note: dominant American culture has always viewed the black body as less valuable and oftentimes subhuman).

Adam Houser
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I struggled to really "get into" this book, but once I did I found it a very good read. Hart examines racism in our American culture and the way in which the church in America has often been complicit or even in supportive of racism. I think especially helpful is the way that he sets out the way of Jesus as defending those on the margins of society. Jesus never served to advance the progress of the upper crust of society, but rather gave value and a sense of belonging to those that were not give ...more
If you're looking for a thesis paper that is a book, this is the book for you. I totally understand the importance of this topic, but it is presented in a very challenging way for the average reader. This would be an excellent book for a college course (undergrad, grad, doctorate).

I also felt very little about the church was involved in the book. The points made, stories, and perspective were incredible and very valued, but I never truly felt a blend of the two, racism and the church, really com
marcus miller
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent look at racism in the church and the United States. A pastor, theologian and Black man, Hart provides a loving, yet harsh critique of the Christian church in America. Hart mixes his analysis with stories from his life and experience which both add to the story and makes it seem as if he would be willing to sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss the difficult topic of racism in the U.S. and in the church. Every Christian in the United States should read this. I would like to read it ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could convince every single (white) Christian to read this book. Or every single person who loves Jesus and isn't sure what it even means to be a Christian in America anymore (I think I might fall into this category).

But for real, white Christians, we have some WORK to do. This book delivers a lot of truth and some concrete "what to do" baby steps. I love the reviewers who share that this book genuinely shifted their perspective. Hart is brilliant, thoughtful, graceful. Read it, share
Marc Schelske
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Today I finished Drew Hart’s book Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism. My reflection? Simply put, every Christian in America, at least every pastor, ought to read this work.

Racism is a heavy topic. It feels divisive to many of us because it brings up deep discomfort, sometimes defensiveness, and feels so tangled and unsolvable. And yet, in a country whose power and wealth was built on stolen land and stolen labor, we must come to understand the role racism is currently p
Rebecca Ray
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
“White Christians, especially, seem incapable of recognizing the contradictions of their utopian language and their distinctly and deeply racialized lifestyles and daily choices.”

In our white dominated culture, many don’t understand that whiteness matters. They think of themselves as objective observers and judges of cultural norms without ever noticing their own cultural entrenchment. This kind of ethnocentrism largely leads to antiblack racism and racism against other cultural and racial group
Robert Irish
Jan 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
I didn't really enjoy this book four stars worth, but I think it deserves four stars anyway.
It deserves it because Drew Hart ably explores the history of racism in America, including in the American church, and he challenges the systemic white supremacy that shapes all of our lives (both in US and Canada). He does this with candour and conviction and clarity. All of that is good.
I had two main points of frustration--and the first one isn't the book's fault. I have been trying to educate myself
Nancy DeValve
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a serious look at racism, written specifically for white Christians by an African-American evangelical leader. It's a pretty heavy book and there are times when the reader will no doubt feel defensive, yet I feel that it is a book every white Christian should read. I took my time working through it, underlining and taking notes as I went.

Dr. Hart explains how, in spite of American white society's claims of being "color blind", systemic racism continues. Probably the majority of whit
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16 likes · 2 comments
“Colorblind ideology is the twenty-first-century continuation of white Christian silence to racism.” 3 likes
“The whole church desperately needs to renounce all forms of lording over others and all forms of centralizing white normativity. We need to make sure that the whole church can be seated around the table of God together as equals, where only Jesus is centralized and Lord over all.” 2 likes
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