I’ve known Dennis Edwards for a few years. He was pastoring a church in North Minneapolis where one of my sons and his wife attended. They raved about Dennis. It was a privilege to visit that church a few times and take in what God was doing in a hard part of town. This church was a shining jewel. Dennis would deliver such depth in his sermons. I was always jotting down some book he would reference in his sermons. They turned out to be DEEP reads… academic studies/theological works, etc.
A few months ago I was so honored to interview him and Marlena Graves about the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The issue of racism was actually something white folks were talking about then…
Edwards mentioned his forthcoming book, Might from the Margins: The Gospel’s Power to Turn the Tables on Injustice. I’ve had it on order since then and got it on its release. It has taken me a lot longer to read this book than most others because I will read a couple of paragraphs, put it down, and cry.
I’m not kidding.
Trigger warning for comfortable white Christians: Dennis is writing this book about comfortable white Christians… but it is not FOR comfortable white Christians.
This book is apologetically for people of color. He is NOT waiting for us white folks to catch up anymore. This is a case for believers of color to understand they have the power and it’s time to take up the power of the Spirit and move. Don’t wait for white permission any more!
The foreword took me a couple of days to complete because of deep conviction. (TRIGGER WARNING for comfortable white Trump supporters… I am about to invoke his name and not in a good way.)
Nicole Baker Fulgham wrote the foreword and talked about her work in an organization that was trying to have white evangelical megachurches come alongside. She saw issues early on when she spoke of systemic racism. She was getting a lot of push back, yet the work was going forward.
Then, these words:
And then, 2016 happened.
White evangelical megachurches didn’t want to work with her anymore. They were more than frustrated with her push in systemic racism. Then, she asked the crucial question: “Why had I always felt the need to have white Christians take a significant role in improving our nation’s public schools?” (That was her work in her organization.)
This is the question Dennis Edwards constantly asks in this book: Why, as believers in Christ who are not white, are we always waiting for white Christians to give us permission?
This is a look into the power of the gospel in the New Testament. It is a power for those on the margins. Jesus doesn’t wait to make sure people of color have permission. He just gives them power… and calls them to use it.
“White people are not at the center of this book,” Edwards writes. “My goal, however, is to join in the affirmation that marginalized people can lead in helping to make Christianity Jesus-like again.” (p. 22)
“Those who have been oppressed are the best teachers of the way of Christ.” (p. 58)
Edwards isn’t looking for my permission or any white believer’s permission any more. Nor should he. I would follow this man anywhere, to be honest.
It has long been my contention that the culturalized American church has become so lost we are headed into a new Babylonian captivity. (I am now modifying that to we have let it become a Babylon of our own making.) The way out is two-fold, I believe: the liturgy of the ancient church that keeps us centered on Christ, his work, and the table of the Lord… and the historic black church, which has known how to live on the margins from the beginning of their churches in America during the time of slavery.
This books is strong and unapologetic. It is a call for believers of color to see what Christ has given them and get to work. Don’t wait for white Christians any more.
This convicts me. This burdens me. This crushes me. This is a book that moves me to prayer and repentance and then action.
Dennis Edwards leads the way. I want to follow.