Reader Recommends: New and Upcoming Books By Christian Women of Color

women of color authors

A key part of our mission at Faithfully Magazine is to amplify conversations, issues, and events impacting Christian communities of color. In step with our mission, we asked our readers and social media friends to recommend new (published within the past 6-8 months) and upcoming books written by women of color.

Below is a list of their recommended reads, with a brief description of each book from the publisher.

If you think a title is missing from the list, share it in the Comments section.

The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton

By Sophronia Scott

the seeker and the monk broadleaf booksWhat if we truly belong to each other? What if we are all walking around shining like the sun? Mystic, monk, and activist Thomas Merton asked those questions in the twentieth century. Writer Sophfronia Scott is asking them today. In The Seeker and the Monk, Scott mines the extensive private journals of one of the most influential contemplative thinkers of the past for guidance on how to live in these fraught times. As a Black woman who is not Catholic, Scott both learns from and pushes back against Merton, holding spirited, and intimate conversations on race, ambition, faith, activism, nature, prayer, friendship, and love. She asks: What is the connection between contemplation and action? Is there ever such a thing as a wrong answer to a spiritual question? How do we care about the brutality in the world while not becoming overwhelmed by it? By engaging in this lively discourse, readers will gain a steady sense of how to dwell more deeply within–and even to love–this despairing and radiant world. (Broadleaf Books)

Forty Days on Being a Four (Enneagram Daily Reflections)

By Christine Yi Suh

“How are you feeling?” Christine Yi Suh says that this has always been a hard question. She writes: “The more accurate question for a Four may be, ‘What aren’t you feeling?’ I can grab my prevailing emotion and tell you how I’m doing from that emotion’s point of view (joy, elation, sadness, grief, confusion—you name it!). I live and breathe a kaleidoscope of living, feeling, conflicting emotions.” Many times Fours are labeled “emotionally intense” or “too much,” but for a Four this is just how life is. This is why Fours are ideal companions in the midst difficult times: the death of a loved one, the birth of a baby, transitional seasons in career, relational conflict, and so on. The Enneagram is a profound tool for empathy, so whether or not you are a Four, you will grow from your reading about Four and enhance your relationships across the Enneagram spectrum. Each reading concludes with an opportunity for further engagement such as a journaling prompt, reflection questions, a written prayer, or a spiritual practice. (Release Date: May 4, 2021, IVP)

Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism With Grit and Grace

By Osheta Moore

dear white peacemakers brazos pressRace is one of the hardest topics to discuss in America. Many white Christians avoid talking about it altogether. But a commitment to peacemaking requires white people to step out of their comfort and privilege and into the work of anti-racism. Dear White Peacemakers is an invitation to white Christians to come to the table and join this hard work and holy calling. Rooted in the life, ministry, and teachings of Jesus, this book is a challenging call to transform white shame, fragility, saviorism, and privilege, in order to work together to build the Beloved Community as anti-racism peacemakers. Written in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Dear White Peacemakers draws on the Sermon on the Mount, Spirituals, and personal stories from author Osheta Moore’s work as a pastor in St. Paul, Minnesota. Enter into this story of shalom and join in the urgent work of anti-racism peacemaking (Release Date: May 18, 2021; Herald Press)

Prey Tell: Why We Silence Women Who Tell the Truth and How Everyone Can Speak Up

By Tiffany Bluhm

Tiffany Bluhm wishes this wasn’t her story to tell. Yet like many women today who are taking action against sexual harassment and sexual assault, it is. Bluhm explores the complex dynamics of power and abuse in systems we all find ourselves in. With honesty and strength, she tells stories of how women have overcome silence to expose the truth about their ministry and professional leaders—and the backlash they so often face. In so doing, she empowers others to speak up against abuses of power. Addressing men and women in all work settings—within the church and beyond–popular author and podcast host Tiffany Bluhm sets out to understand the cultural and spiritual narratives that silence women and to illuminate the devastating emotional, financial, and social impact of silence in the face of injustice. As readers journey with Bluhm, they will be moved to find their own way, their own voice, and their own conviction for standing with women. They’ll emerge more ready than ever to advocate for justice, healing, and resurrection. (Brazos Press)

The Wild Land Within: Cultivating Wholeness Through Spiritual Practice

By Lisa Colón DeLay

The wilderness of the heart may be untamed, but you don’t need to go there alone. In The Wild Land Within, spiritual companion and podcast host Lisa Colón DeLay offers a map to our often-bewildering inner terrain, inviting us to deepen and expand our encounters with God. Through specific spiritual practices from early desert monastics, as well as Latinx, Black, and Indigenous contemplatives, she guides us in cultivating lives of devotion. In opening ourselves up to God’s healing, we will inevitably come across wounds we didn’t even know we had. Colón DeLay uses theology and neuroscience to help us work through buried fear or pain and find embodied spiritual healing from trauma. A contemplative map to the wilderness of the heart, The Wild Land Within guides us through intimate geography in which God dwells. (Broadleaf Books)

Mixed Blessing: Embracing the Fullness of Your Multiethnic Identity

By Chandra Crane

“So what are you?” Chandra Crane knows what it’s like to get that question. She has a Thai birth father, a European American mother, and an African American father who adopted her when she was five. With this mixed multiethnic and multicultural background, she has keenly felt the otherness of never quite fitting in. Where do people of mixed ethnicity belong? Those of us with multiethnic backgrounds may have pain surrounding our mixed heritage. But we also have the privilege and potential to serve the Lord through our unique experiences. Crane explores what Scripture and history teach us about ethnicity and how we can bring all of ourselves to our sense of identity and calling. Discover the fullness of who you are. Find out how your mixed identity can be a blessing to yourself and to the world around you. (IVP)

Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach Us About Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength

By Kat Armas

Abuelita Faith Brazos PressKat Armas, a second-generation Cuban American, grew up on the outskirts of Miami’s famed Little Havana neighborhood. Her earliest theological formation came from her grandmother, her abuelita, who fled Cuba during the height of political unrest and raised three children alone after her husband passed away. Combining personal storytelling with biblical reflection, Armas shows us how voices on the margins–those often dismissed, isolated, and oppressed because of their gender, socioeconomic status, or lack of education–have more to teach us about following God than we realize. Abuelita Faith tells the story of unnamed and overlooked theologians in society and in the Bible–mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters–whose survival, strength, resistance, and persistence teach us the true power of faith and love. The author’s exploration of abuelita theology will help people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds reflect on the abuelitas in their lives and ministries and on ways they can live out abuelita faith every day. (Release Date: August 10, 2021; Brazos Press)

First in the Family: Biblical Truths for Cycle Breakers

By Felicia L. Harris

first in the family leafwood publishers

We use words like “honor,” “loyalty,” and “tradition” to talk about our families. But behind closed doors, if you listen closely enough, you can hear the muffled sounds of suffering. If you are one of those people, take heart in knowing you are not alone. The good news is that you have a choice. You have the power to break the cycle of sameness. You can decide to do things differently. Even if it means being the first in your family to do so. Sometimes what God has planned for our future can only be achieved on the other side of family ties. Join Felicia Harris and unburden yourself of the weight of family ideals, influences, and imperfections by choosing to believe that what you’ve always known is not all there is. First in the Family tells Felicia’s story and reveals biblical truths that serve to encourage cycle breakers—those who refuse to be held bound by the way things have always been. This is an unconventional story; but then again, the story of salvation was never conventional anyway. (Release Date: September 14, 2021; Leafwood Publishers)

Editor’s Note: Faithfully Magazine’s Founding Editor Nicola A. Menzie has endorsed First In the Family.

Dare to Bloom: Trusting God Through Painful Endings and New Beginnings

By Zim Flores

Either by choice or by circumstance, we all encounter times of starting over. Seasons of hardships, abundance, seeking, and struggle all have a purpose because growth demands change. Dare to Bloom urges us to be both vulnerable and resilient in new seasons of life as we boldly position ourselves for what God has for us next. Serial entrepreneur and author, Zim Flores (neè Ugochukwu), reveals the challenges she’s faced and how even her failures have helped shape her sense of purpose. Her parents had big plans for her life. The daughter of Nigerian immigrants, Zim Flores was uprooted from her community as a young girl, marking the beginning of her quest for true identity. Though she experienced unprecedented worldly success as a teenager and young adult, Zim declares that even when we feel pressured by the world around us, our true identity is never at risk. (Thomas Nelson)

Carved in Ebony: Lessons from the Black Women Who Shape Us

By Jasmine L. Holmes

carved in ebony bethany house publishersThrough the lives of Elizabeth Freeman, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Amanda Berry Smith, Mamie Till, and others, author and speaker Jasmine Holmes shares the significant role that Black women have played in the formation of our faith—and are playing in our formation as modern-day women of faith. As these historical figures take the stage with Holmes, you will be inspired by what the stories of these women can teach us about education, birth, privilege, and so much more. Carved in Ebony will take you past the predominately white, male contributions that seemingly dominate history books to discover how Black women have been some of the main figures in defining the landscape of American history and faith. Come along on Jasmine’s journey and be encouraged by the powerful and persuasive Black women of our past so that you can help inspire a better, more inclusive future. (Release Date: November 2, 2021; Bethany House Publisher)

Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him

By Jackie Hill Perry

Why is it so hard to trust God sometimes? We say we trust Him with our mouths, but often not with our lives. We live like God can’t be trusted. Like He doesn’t actually want what is best for us. Like He is just another person who, as Eve assumed in the Garden all those years ago, might hold out on us. Bestselling author Jackie Hill Perry, in her much anticipated follow-up to Gay Girl, Good God, helps us find the reason we don’t trust God—we misunderstand His holiness. In Holier Than Thou, Jackie walks us through Scripture, shaking the dust off of “holy” as we’ve come to know it and revealing it for what it really is. In these pages, we will see that God is not like us. He is different. He is holy. And that’s exactly what makes Him trustworthy. As it turns out, God being “holier than thou” is actually the best news in the world, and it’s the key to trusting Him. (Release Date: August 17, 2021; B&H Books)

Babel Church: The Subversion of Christianity in an Age of Mass Media, Globalization, and #MeToo

By Li Ma

babel church Cascade BooksAssisted by a diverse mass media industry, American evangelicalism has been long plagued by consumerism, entrepreneurism, and social engineering. Churches and movements that carry the name of Christ have become projects of ambition and scandals in the public eye. Without fixing its dysfunctions, these ministry models have expanded to other parts of the world, reaping similar fruits of corruption, prejudice, and abuses. The alarm call of #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements since 2017 made it more urgent for the global body of Christ to inspect its pathological patterns. What kind of response does the #MeToo movement require of our public theology and leadership ethics? Sociologist Li Ma invites us to re-engage with biblical exegesis while being attentive to new mandates of God revealed from #MeToo. A creative Ellulian integration of sociological analysis and theology, Babel Church incisively reveals why American evangelicalism and its global projects have succumbed to the temptations of worldly power at the expense of vulnerable members in the body of Christ. (Cascade Books)

White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America

By Anthea Butler

The American political scene today is poisonously divided, and the vast majority of white evangelicals play a strikingly unified, powerful role in the disunion. These evangelicals raise a starkly consequential question for electoral politics: Why do they claim morality while supporting politicians who act immorally by most Christian measures? In this clear-eyed, hard-hitting chronicle of American religion and politics, Anthea Butler answers that racism is at the core of conservative evangelical activism and power. Butler reveals how evangelical racism, propelled by the benefits of whiteness, has since the nation’s founding played a provocative role in severely fracturing the electorate. During the buildup to the Civil War, white evangelicals used scripture to defend slavery and nurture the Confederacy. During Reconstruction, they used it to deny the vote to newly emancipated blacks. In the twentieth century, they sided with segregationists in avidly opposing movements for racial equality and civil rights. Most recently, evangelicals supported the Tea Party, a Muslim ban, and border policies allowing family separation. White evangelicals today, cloaked in a vision of Christian patriarchy and nationhood, form a staunch voting bloc in support of white leadership. Evangelicalism’s racial history festers, splits America, and needs a reckoning now. (UNC Press)

In My Grandmother’s House: Black Women, Faith, and the Stories We Inherit

By Yolanda Pierce

What if the most steadfast faith you’ll ever encounter comes from a Black grandmother? The church mothers who raised Yolanda Pierce, dean of Howard University School of Divinity, were busily focused on her survival. In a world hostile to Black women’s bodies and spirits, they had to be. Born on a former cotton plantation and having fled the terrors of the South, Pierce’s grandmother raised her in the faith inherited from those who were enslaved. Now, in the pages of In My Grandmother’s House, Pierce reckons with that tradition, building an everyday womanist theology rooted in liberating scriptures, experiences in the Black church, and truths from Black women’s lives. Pierce tells stories that center the experiences of those living on the underside of history, teasing out the tensions of race, spirituality, trauma, freedom, resistance, and memory. A grandmother’s theology carries wisdom strong enough for future generations. The Divine has been showing up at the kitchen tables of Black women for a long time. It’s time to get to know that God. (Broadleaf Books)

Becoming All Things: How Small Changes Lead to Lasting Connections Across Cultures

becoming all things zondervan

By Michelle Ami Reyes

In Becoming All Things, Michelle Reyes offers a poignant discussion on the challenges surrounding cross-cultural relationships in America today, including the reasons for cultural difference, stereotyping, appropriation, gentrification, racism, and more. Seeking to deconstruct these things in our own lives, Reyes focuses on the concept of cultural accommodation in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, and looks at the ways in which we need to adapt who we are in order to become all things to all people. The problems inherent in cross-cultural relationships have to do with us. We have to do better. With language that’s witty, funny, and accessible, Reyes offers hope for majority and minority alike by showing what’s possible when all of us are willing to try something new. (Release Date: April 27, 2021; Zondervan)

Why Do I Feel Like This? Understanding Your Difficult Emotions and Find Grace to Move Through

By Peace Amadi

Sometimes life is a mess and we get overwhelmed by all sorts of conflicting, difficult emotions. We might be stressed or weary, anxious or fearful, paralyzed by insecurity or crushed by pain. Worse yet, some well-meaning people invalidate our feelings and tell us to just cheer up and forget our worries. Rather than bypass the reality of our feelings, we need to enter into them and listen to what they’re telling us. Psychology professor and personal development coach Dr. Peace Amadi helps us navigate the complexity of our emotions, from discouragement and hurt to trauma and depression. She explains the dynamics underlying what we feel and gives practical resources for living through our emotions in healthy ways. With insights from both psychology and Scripture, this book offers you a clear plan to get your peace and freedom back and find your joy again. (Release Date: May 25, 2021; IVP)

Faith After Ferguson: Resilient Leadership in Pursuit of Racial Justice

Faith Folllowing Ferguson Chalice Press

By Leah Gunning Francis

Leah Gunning Francis (Ferguson and Faith, 2015) revisits the clergy and activists from the front lines of the Ferguson, Missouri, Black Lives Matter protests, to hear what they’ve learned in the struggle for justice and healing five years later. Weaving the personal accounts of more than a dozen activists and clergy with her own experiences of the past five years, Francis offers profound new insights on faith-filled living in response to social injustice as well as lessons for organizing and mobilizing people to effect real change. (Chalice Press)

Come, Feast: God’s Provision for Hungry Souls

By Alicia Akins

From Genesis through Revelation, redemptive history is captured through feasts. Through them, God calls his people to remember mercy, delight in grace, and commune with him—and proves he doesn’t ration his rich, soul-satisfying love, but instead lavishes it upon us. Come, Feast brings alive the feasts of scripture and illuminates how relevant they are in our modern world that’s so defined by worry, isolation, and disillusionment. When your heart needs encouragement, these wondrous celebrations give you a reason to find security, unity, and hope. (Release Date: March 2022; Harvest House Publishers)

Creative God, Colorful Us

By Trillia Newbell

creative god colorful us moody publishers

God could have made us all exactly the same, but He didn’t. And our differences are good! As His children, those called by God to belong to His family, we can actually use our differences to help each other. Here’s some more great news: There are no rules about how we look or sound to be in His family. We have a delightfully different family on purpose. Every person is made by God, in His image, and therefore is equal in value and worth. Kids, somehow, already know this to be true. This short, colorful book (written with grade-schoolers in mind) will share the truth of God’s Word with them. The truth about how we were made with differences, how we sinned, how God rescued us, and how—if we understand that God’s diverse creation will be together in Heaven—it should motivate us to love one another on earth! (Moody Publishers)

Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption

By Vaneetha Rendall Risner

walking through the fire thomas nelson

Vaneetha Risner contracted polio as an infant, was misdiagnosed, and lived with widespread paralysis. She lived in and out of the hospital for ten years and, after each stay, would return to a life filled with bullying. When she became a Christian, though, she thought things would get easier, and they did: carefree college days, a dream job in Boston, and an MBA from Stanford where she met and married a classmate. But life unraveled. Again. She had four miscarriages. Her son died because of a doctor’s mistake. And Vaneetha was diagnosed with post-polio syndrome, meaning she would likely become a quadriplegic. And then her husband betrayed her and moved out, leaving her to raise two adolescent daughters alone. This was not the abundant life she thought God had promised her. But, as Vaneetha discovered, everything she experienced was designed to draw her closer to Christ as she discovered “that intimacy with God in suffering can be breathtakingly beautiful.” (Thomas Nelson)

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