Title: United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race
Author: Curtiss Paul Deyoung, Michael O. Emerson, George Yancey, Karen Chai Kim
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Offers critical perspective on continuing Christian segregation in America
Detailed analysis of arguments defending segregated congregations
Comparison with Christian congregations in other nations might have been useful
Analysis of racial segregation in American Christianity, past and present
Examines defenses of continued presence of uniracial churches and congregations
Argues that Christian groups must become multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural
Many believe that the fault for poor racial relations lies more with individual Christians and the Christian congregations they create; because of this, efforts on their part can help heal the racial wounds which divide people throughout society. That is very much the argument presented in the recently published United by Faith: The Multiracial Congregation as an Answer to the Problem of Race.
The four authors, themselves a multiracial group, acknowledge that most Christian congregations in America are racially segregated - according to their calculations, only 7.5 percent of the more than 300,000 religious congregations in America are racially mixed, but only 5.5 percent of Christian congregations are racially mixed. Thus, as bad as religious groups in America are about encouraging racial and ethnic diversity in worship, Christian groups are actually worse.
The fact that the ethnic and racial diversity is actually increasing throughout society means that the divide between Christian teaching and Christian practice will only become more obvious and more problematic over time. A chief difficulty, however, lies in actually convincing individual Christians to open up their congregations to more diversity.
This isn't easy because such diversity doesn't involve simply accepting members of different races into the congregation. On the contrary, true diversity means accepting members of different cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds as full and equal members. This entails having them take on leadership roles in churches, accepting the presence of multiracial couples in the congregations, and allowing for the evolution of worship styles in a manner which reflects the backgrounds of all members rather than forcing all members to assimilate to a single style.