Author A D A France-Williams
Publisher SCM £19.99
This is an uncomfortable book, implacable in its challenge to the hierarchy of the Anglican church, yet compelling in its insights and thoroughly readable. Subtitling his book ‘Institutional Racism and the Church of England’, the author presents cogent evidence that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) ministers and laity are side-lined and essentially ignored. He uses history, theology, biography, fiction and some excellent original poetry to make his case. White bishops and senior clergy do not usually emerge well from the process, although some have had the grace and humility to apologise and admit there is a deep-rooted problem, which will not be fully addressed by pastoral, practical support. The strong ethnic voices in the church may have been heard, but not necessarily understood. France-Williams shows that BAME people need white partners who will fight alongside them to combat racism, and not just ‘cheer from the sides.’ If you think that racism in the church does not exist, or if you believe it is not a problem in your (white, rural) diocese, then think again. This book is required reading for all ministers.
Pope Francis and the Theology of the People
Author Rafael Luciani (tr. Phillip Berryman)
Publisher Orbis £15.75
ISBN 9781626982529 2017
Luciani explores the origins of Pope Francis’ prophetic challenge to much of modern culture, arising from the ‘Theology of the People’, a type of liberation theology that insists on respect for the cultures of the poor and their popular religious expressions. The need is to transform societies from within and to create new ecclesial models (addressing inappropriate structures and sources of power). This is a scathing criticism of ‘the economy that kills’ and the loss of humanising bonds. Do not think that, because this thinking originates in Latin America, it is irrelevant to us – it is a call to the western Church and society, inviting us to live with greater simplicity and communal responsibility. If you want to understand where Pope Francis is coming from and to do some hard thinking about our assumptions regarding expressions of living the Gospel, especially our economic and power structures, then this book provides a springboard.