Toxic Charity by Bob Lupton Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage—those whom they desire to serve. Lupton, the founder of FCS Urban Ministries (Focused Community Strategies) in Atlanta, the voice of the Urban Perspectives newsletter, and the author of Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life, has been at the forefront of urban ministry activism for forty years. Now, in the vein of Jeffrey Sachs’s The End of Poverty, Richard Stearns’s The Hole in Our Gospel, and Gregory Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart, his groundbreaking Toxic Charity shows us how to start serving needy and impoverished members of our communities in a way that will lead to lasting, real-world change. (This book was read by staff together and is why the Christmas Shoppe was birthed. )the module Advanced settings.

City Within a City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan by Todd Robinson“A City within a City” examines the civil rights movement in the North by concentrating on the struggles for equality in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Historian Todd Robinson studies the issues surrounding school integration and bureaucratic reforms as well as the role of black youth activism to detail the diversity of black resistance. He focuses on respectability within the African American community as a way of understanding how the movement was formed and held together. And he elucidates the oppositional role of northern conservatives regarding racial progress.

 “A City within a City” cogently argues that the post-war political reform championed by local Republicans transformed the city’s racial geography, creating a racialized city within a city, featuring a system of managerial racism designed to keep blacks in declining inner-city areas. As Robinson indicates, this bold, provocative framework for understanding race relations in Grand Rapids has broader implications for illuminating the twentieth-century African American urban experience in secondary cities.

Waking Up White by Debby IrvingWaking Up White is the book Irving wishes someone had handed her decades ago. By sharing her sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, she offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance. As Irving unpacks her own long-held beliefs about colorblindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color, she reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived ideas about race. She also explains why and how she’s changed the way she talks about racism, works in racially mixed groups, and understands the antiracism movement as a whole. Exercises at the end of each chapter prompt readers to explore their own racialized ideas. Waking Up White’s personal narrative is designed to work well as a rapid read, a book group book, or support reading for courses exploring racial and cultural issues.

White Fragility by Robin DiangeloWhite fragility is the phenomenon by which white people become angry, defensive, or hostile when confronted with the idea that they are complicit in systemic racism. In White Fragility, author Robin DiAngelo examines its origins in the failure of white society to understand the structural nature of racism, explores the history of the existing racial hierarchy, and makes a powerful case for why it is incumbent upon white people to accept their individual and collective responsibility for white supremacy—and to do the difficult work of challenging it.

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a world made for Whiteness by Austin Channing BrownAustin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

For readers who have engaged with America’s legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness–if we let it–can save us all.

A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.DPeople in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth–challenges from both obvious and hidden sources. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone else. If you work with people from poverty, some understanding of how different their world is from yours will be invaluable. Whether you’re an educator–or a social, health, or legal services professional–this breakthrough book gives you practical, real-world support and guidance to improve your effectiveness in working with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Since 1995 A Framework for Understanding Poverty has guided hundreds of thousands of educators and other professionals through the pitfalls and barriers faced by all classes, especially the poor. Carefully researched and packed with charts, tables, and questionnaires, Framework not only documents the facts of poverty, it provides practical yet compassionate strategies for addressing its impact on people’s lives.

Divided by Faith by Michael O. Emerson and Christian SmithThrough a nationwide telephone survey of 2,000 people and an additional 200 face-to-face interviews, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith probed the grassroots of white evangelical America. They found that despite recent efforts by the movement’s leaders to address the problem of racial discrimination, evangelicals themselves seem to be preserving America’s racial chasm. In fact, most white evangelicals see no systematic discrimination against blacks. But the authors contend that it is not active racism that prevents evangelicals from recognizing ongoing problems in American society. Instead, it is the evangelical movement’s emphasis on individualism, free will, and personal relationships that makes invisible the pervasive injustice that perpetuates racial inequality. Most racial problems, the subjects told the authors, can be solved by the repentance and conversion of the sinful individuals at fault.

Combining a substantial body of evidence with sophisticated analysis and interpretation, the authors throw sharp light on the oldest American dilemma. In the end, they conclude that despite the best intentions of evangelical leaders and some positive trends, real racial reconciliation remains far over the horizon.

Just Mercy by Bryan StevensonAn unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

 Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

 Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

 One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.

Wounds by Razel Jones and Daniel AbbottA Collaborative Memoir in Stories is about the triumphs and the pains experienced in Razel Jones, (African American) and Daniel Abbott’s (Caucasian) collective journey toward cross-cultural navigation. Jones and Abbott explore the concepts of Race, Difference, and Cross-Cultural navigation through stories beginning with their youthful experiences in rural northwestern Michigan.

On the heels of the senseless, race-inspired murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor, change is past due. The void of understanding Difference and the need for activists and allies in various forms is absolute. This book offers tools to enable the building of meaningful cross-cultural relationships, and to inspire activism and advocacy.

These true stories will cause those who have experienced similar racism to resonate with the cycles, behaviors, and responses. They will inspire allies to emotionally connect and dive deeper into realization of the patterns of oppression. All readers will grow in empathy, and be compelled to amp up efforts to be more anti-racist, culturally intelligent, and effective in standing against inequities.


Talking Points at Cornerstone University: Justice and Unity.  Several recordings are listed from this one day seminar.  Please make sure to check out all of them.  This link is to one of the talks. Talking Points | Justice + Unity “Justice, Race and the Gospel” Dr. Mika Edmondson in Justice + Unity Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church, Part I (

Antioch Podcast is a weekly recorded conversation among a multiracial team of Christian antiracism educators and friends.  Biblical antiracism is the starting point for all our conversations, which inevitably include a healthy dose of laughter, thoughtfulness, vulnerability and theology.

TED talk on childhood trauma –  How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris   Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

White Work – A Conversation About the Anti Racism Journey of White People – On April 23, 2021 the CRC’s Office of Race Relations, in partnership with Calvin University and the Antioch podcast, in observance of the YWCA’s national campaign to Stand Against Racism, hosted a webinar discussion featuring a panel of white anti-racism allies. 

Rev. Reggie Smith and Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige moderated this 90-minute discussion and asked the panelists to share their thoughts on how faith has shaped their journey to Stand Against Racism, and some of the hard lessons they’ve learned along the way.


 “13th” – The film begins with the idea that 25 percent of the people in the world who are incarcerated are incarcerated in the U.S. Although the U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population. “13th” charts the explosive growth in America’s prison population; in 1970, there were about 200,000 prisoners; today, the prison population is more than 2 million. The documentary touches on chattel slavery; D. W. Griffith’s film “The Birth of a Nation”; Emmett Till; the civil rights movement; the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Richard M. Nixon; and Ronald Reagan’s declaration of the war on drugs and much more.


“Just Mercy” – A powerful and thought-provoking true-story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan might have had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson.) One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx,) who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds-and the system-stacked against them


Systemic Racism explained – Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here’s a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.


“In Their Shoes”  – a poverty simulation which provides an opportunity to experience walking in the shoes of real situations families have endured.  For more information, contact Noelle at or see the tab on our website listed as “In Their Shoes”.

Race and Faith: Are you continuing to lament the racial disunity + injustice so evident around us?
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to do your part to work for justice but don’t know where to begin.
Wherever you are on your journey, this 4-week formational workshop will equip you with a deeper understanding of how to dialogue about race-related issues, how our history informs our present, and some tangible and strategic steps you can personally take in your everyday life. Our approach is holistic (engaging your mind, body, and spirit) and faith-informed, while engaging interactive content, personal stories, and biblical themes as a catalyst for honest conversation, deeper empathy, and tangible next steps.  Link to website.

CORR: Understanding RacismCongregations Organizing for Racial Reconciliation exists to empower and equip churches and other Christian organizations in west Michigan to organize and disciple their members to be agents for life-long biblical racial  justice.  Link to website.

Be the BridgeOur vision is that people and organizations are aware and responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. People are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but are grounded in truth. All are equipped to flourish.  Link to website.

There are different ways that people do bridge-building. The BTB way of bridge-building focuses on justice and reconciliation. Our focus is on equity vs. equality and turning away from our broken systems and turning towards justice.

We turn up the voices of the marginalized and require that those in the dominant culture listen, educate themselves on history, grow their empathy muscles and develop language to understand marginalization and oppression.

In these conversations that we’re having at Be the Bridge, there’s not going to be an even exchange of information where we say, “Hey, I’m going to tell what I know, and you tell me what you know.” The fact is history has been erased, hijacked, white-washed, and skewed. We have to set that right with truth-telling. That’s where we start. A lot of people coming to this bridge are coming with a lot of misinformation related to history because we don’t have the same common memory or shared understanding of history.

No one is voiceless unless there’s a medical condition. The reality is people are unheard. We spotlight the stories, the concerns and the injustices of marginalized people groups so that together we can Be the Bridge toward racial reconciliation.  Link to website.

Implicit Bias Test – In the book Blindspot, the authors reveal hidden biases based on their experience with the Implicit Association Test. Project Implicit is graciously hosting electronic versions of Blindspot’s IATs. These should work properly on any desktop computer and on several touch-screen devices including iPads, Android tablets, Nook tablets, and the Kindle Fire.  Link to Test.