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The Third Option: Hope for a Racially Divided Nation

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Miles McPherson, founder of The Rock Church in San Diego, speaks out about the pervasive racial divisions in today’s Christian church and argues that we must learn to see people not by the color of their skin, but as Christ sees them—humans created in the image of God.

Miles McPherson has had enough of shying away from a major problem in America today: racial tension. It’s
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Howard Books
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Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to finish this but was totally worth the read. This book is a must read for everyone of every color/ethnicity of the human race. This book...along with ‘The tears we cannot see’ by Michael Eric Dyson are must reads for every reader out there. Both books discuss racism in America but this particular book discusses a “third option” and how to go about choosing it. Miles McPherson is very detailed on how and why choosing a different option to hate is very important for the healin ...more
Esther Nevener
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
This book was exceptional! I have read half a dozen books on race and a good number of them left me with more questions than when I started. This book was informative on a broad spectrum of racial topics ranging from buzzwords to topics I have never heard of before. McPherson approaches everything with grace and understanding. This book provided straightforward self-evaluations, instructions, exercises, prayers, and scriptures to help you diagnose your own condition and move towards a greater lo ...more
Hadley Payne
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, humbling, and in my opinion, essential to read. Very proud and humbled to be a part of his church.
Brad Peters
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-rights
I really enjoyed this book. McPherson nails his treatise to the gospel. He tells the truth ... people are plagued, the country is plagued by the sin of racism. It's real, inside and outside the Church. Bias informs us, "in groups" and "out groups" are used to categorize and often dehumanize or marginalize. All of these problems are laid bare through his own personal story and yet, he draws the reader to "the third option" which really is, the gospel lived out.

His wording for that third option i
Mitch Aldridge
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All year I’ve been looking for books that propose a solution to our racism problem here in the US. This is the one. Miles McPherson has written a masterpiece here. I absolutely loved this book, and it’s the perfect blend of sociological and Biblical perspective.

If you only read one book for the rest of the year, make it this one. It’s that important.
Mary Leach
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the pleasure of hearing Miles McPherson speak at my church recently, and the convicting power of his message inspired me to read this book. It continued to inspire and convict me throughout, but with the gentlest, most loving touch. He does not speak down to anyone as one who has achieved perfection in this area, or as judge, which made it feel safe to consider my own position on these issues without the blinding light of defensiveness distorting what I saw. I considered some things in a n ...more
Peter Vik
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Miles McPherson is uniquely qualified to provide a solid evangelical perspective on racial reconciliation. He background and ministry experience enable him to communicate to people of diverse cultures. He takes an honest look at ploice brutality and systemic racism, but avoids any response of anger or white shaming. Throughout the book, he calls for loving and honest communication, and encourages all to recognize that only Jesus Christ can truly bring healing and unity. This book is a must read ...more
Kelly Boggs
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a great message! The Third Option is a book for today for people of all races, cultures, and opinions in the Christian faith. This book challenges readers to seek to understand others, have the hard conversations, and examine our ideals and beliefs in order to honor each person. This is a timely read for all Americans who want to see unity in our country.
Jennie Nelson
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2020
Very helpful. Encouraging. Packed with scripture. Miles tells many personal stories about his experience both as a black man and as pastor of a multicultural church. Challenging in a way that feels doable and long-term sustainable toward racial reconciliation and growth in my own life.
Katie Marschner
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was ok, but nothing mind-blowing. Miles McPherson addresses the racial divide in America and his book is all about giving honor to those who don't look like you. I thought the concept was great, and Biblical as we are all made in the image of God.

I did feel the book fell short in some areas. A lot of the language seems to be very similar to CRT (Critical race theory) language, although he takes time to define terms differently. I am not a fan of using words and definitions that come f
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely one of my favorite books. I read this as a daily devotional (Usually a chapter a day) and it really opened my eyes. It is one of the few Christian books I've read where I haven't gone "What the heck are you talking about? That's ridiculous!" I found everything Miles wrote to be pretty much spot on. There were times the book hurt me because of how true what he said was. The Third Option may be one of the most important books I've ever read and I think everyone should read it. ...more
Jacqueline Morgan
Racial division

This book is a good read, it's educational and informative. As children of the Kingdom of God we are one in Jesus, we are carefully decorated with beautiful shades and wonderful souls. We are at peace with our shades the closer we get to knowing the uniqueness of our Maker. My longing is for the day when we will dance around His throne in the shade that we were created giving worship in oneness, what a beautiful picture that will be.
Jo Ellen
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am using this book for a discussion group on race relations. Here are some discussion points so feel free to use them if you are doing the same.

Points of Discussion for The Third Option
Each book on race relations seems to approach racial issues a bit differently. How would you describe the approach of this author, Miles McPherson?

How did this book affect your thinking about biracial children/adults?

"Racial unity is God's idea, and He promises that if we ask Him for help, He will be faithful to
Laura Smail
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We can choose sides, or we can choose honor. But we can’t choose both. What will you choose?” ~ Miles McPherson

In a world that’s becoming ever more polarized, it can be tempting to buy into the lie that we must align ourselves with the “right” side. But when we pick a side, we choose to show honor to one group while withholding it from the other. Thus, the damaging cycle of polarization continues.

What if there were a third option? One that promoted unity, not division?

According to Miles McPhers
Kristine Johnson
This book is a much-needed book right now when our nation is so divided and there is so much hate. I appreciate how McPherson ends each chapter with practical next steps to take, reflection, and prayer. I believe everyone can learn and grow and The Third Option offers hope for all of us that peace and honor are possible.

The book is divided into a forward, introduction, and 4 sections:
1) Framing the problem
2) Me
3) You
4) We

In the introduction, we learn of the author’s background, personal exper
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone! Here is one of my favorite quotes from the beginning...
“Culture plays a big role in perpetuating racism by wrongly insisting that there are only two options you can choose from: us or them. Culture pits one group of people against another by promoting a zero-sum-game mentality that says, ‘You must lose in order for me to win.’
God, however, offers us a Third Option that stands in stark contrast to the two offered by culture. God’s Third Option inv
Mandy Brown
Apr 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
“This book isn’t about guilt, but rather encouragement for people of all ethnicities to be compassionate and understanding of those who experience a different reality.” The idea of this book is that we don’t have to choose either one side or another when it comes to the racial divid in our country, but instead we choose what Miles refers to as the third option, which is to honor God’s image in all human beings. Biologically we are all the same, all made in God’s image. We all strive for life, li ...more
Michelle Swallow
This was an incredibly powerful book and even though I had to wait months for it to arrive, due to its popularity, I'm so glad that I did have the chance to read it.

It was a very easy book to engage in. McPherson's premise is that there's an in-group with whom we're very comfortable and an out-group with whom we're generally uncomfortable but there's also a third option which is to see the image of God in everyone and to honour this.

The value of honouring the God in everyone is incredible for al
Mori Bell
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Timely book on how racism is pervasive in our world today. I chose this one because I know Miles personally and I like how his books are always filled with practical stories that are relatable. Which also makes for an easy page-turner.
Speaking from a life time of personal experiences, he gets right down to the heart of the matter. Miles takes time to share tangible ways we can challenge ourselves to a new perspective in regards to how we think and feel about people who don’t share our skin color
Michael Smith
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book that hits the issue of racism head on. Miles a former NFL player for San Diego Chargers. Following his career turned Minister with a multi racial church in San Diego. Miles talks about the one family we all belong too, the human family. He makes a point the 99.6 percent of everyone is similar. What's the difference each individuals unique DNA and the complexion of our individual skin tones. He talks about how ones environment can affect us throughout life. He talks abou ...more
Jessie Filer
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I started this book, I was hoping for an academic framework regarding race relations and racism. This book is not that. However, it was an excellent read. McPherson challenges readers of all ethnicities and races to confront their biases, but he does so with grace and conviction (in the Christian sense of the words) rather than shame or incrimination. The text provides examples of situations and thoughts (conscious or not) that you might have that you were not aware were biased and it makes ...more
Greg Skodacek
Relevant and Practical Change, starting with your heart.

God created us in His image so we can share His heart. He wants to hear His heart beat in our loving and honoring posture toward each other. God made us in His image, but we all need a new heart. This is why Jesus Christ endured the pain of crucifixion: to remove all barriers between God and human kind, and to offer us new hearts. But a new heart isn’t transferred automatically; it’s waiting to be received by you.

God’s Third Option invites
Lisa Boyle
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faith
This was an awesome book. The Third Option goes against how our culture pressures us to be on one side or the other... instead we honor what we have in common. Affirms that we are all in process -- I may consider myself not racist, but I can absolutely still behave in ways that are hurtful to others - racism, sexism, cultural bias and more - less than a neutral view re: people, culture. Miles communicates beautifully, weaving verses, prayers and specific next steps in each chapter. WOW. I learne ...more
Ashley Ramírez
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
I am still processing everything I learned here, but this is an amazing book if you're a Christ-follower and want to learn more about how to love others of different colors well. One of Miles' points that has stuck with me is that most of us, no matter our color, have been racially offensive at one time or another. it is completely possible to be racially offensive and NOT be racist. He points out blind spots and biases many of us have and how to begin to overcome them. This book gives tangible ...more
Oct 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Miles McPherson speaks candidly from the perspective of a man with "two black grandfathers, a half-Chinese and half-Black grandmother and a White grandmother". He writes this through the lens of a Black man. Rather than take the us vs. them mentality, McPherson writes that God offers us a Third Option and "invites us to see people through God's eyes, which enables us to treat them in a manner that honors the potential of His image in us." This book was incredibly timely and offers us the opportu ...more
Lori Ness
Feb 25, 2021 rated it liked it
I read "The Third Option" in a bookclub in Miles McPherson's Rock Church. I was excited to read and discuss this topic from the perspective of Christians or "third option" insights. Although, it brings up for discussion a much needed topic of race, I felt it could have gone farther and deeper. I felt it was a missed opportunity for the pastor to step to the forward of a nation in trial and looking for leadership. Instead, I felt it was a scratch of the surface to get people talking but then send ...more
Terri Harper
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everybody should read this book

With so many racial tensions in our current world, this book shows us it is not about taking a side. We all need to learn to honor one another, and in order to do that, we need to take time to understand each other as well as ourselves and what makes/has made us who we are. McPherson deals with some deep-seated and heavy issues, not in a preachy way, but with absolute love and grace. He asks that we all (no matter your color or background) do the same for each othe
Robin Owens
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written in such a loving and compassionate tone as Pastor Miles McPherson encourages us to choose the Third Option: honoring the priceless value of God’s image in every person we meet.
Even the church has been affected by racial division and Sunday is the most segregated day of each week. Christians are called to love and honor their neighbors, and The Third Option challenges us to fully embrace God’s creativity and beauty, as expressed in the diversity of His people. Pastor Miles t
Jonathan Brooker
Oct 23, 2020 rated it liked it
There's little doubt that racism is an important topic to be discussing and issue to be resolving in our nation. But if that's going to ever happen we need to address the way we view and discuss racism and its nuanced elements. That's where this book is rather helpful.

It's personal. McPherson writes from a position of experience as well as careful inspection rather than just book study on the subject. He is gracious and generous to people with different viewpoints, but does not lose a sense of c
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Miles McPherson, author and is a man radically transformed by God. Miles is the Senior Pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego, one of the fastest growing churches in the United States.

A former defensive back with the San Diego Chargers, Miles also is President and founder of Miles Ahead, an outreach ministry focused on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with teens and adults all over the world.

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