cover image Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now

Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now

Brenda Salter McNeil. Brazos, $21.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-58743-447-1

In this powerful work, pastor McNeil (Roadmap to Reconciliation) uses the story of Esther to guide readers through the process of developing greater courage as part of an effort to realize racial justice. The bravery McNeil focuses on is a willingness to lead the pursuit for justice through action, asking it of individuals, as well as Christian churches and communities. McNeil contends that good leaders are not born but shaped by circumstance, and must choose to take steps that may be challenging. McNeil sees all of those steps in the lives of Esther, Vashti, and Mordecai: imagining oneself as an activist, however unlikely; reclaiming one’s identity as a source of strength; preparing for work and allyship through dialogue, information, and prayer; and speaking truth to power and engaging in meaningful action, including civil disobedience. While McNeil’s broader goal of cultivating leadership qualities in her readers applies to a wide audience, she also argues that leadership should be different for white communities and communities of color: “Instead of reconciliation being solely focused on getting to know and understand people of color, there must be a new focus for white people, one that is directed at understanding, unpacking, and confronting their own whiteness.” This accessible work provides a road map for any Christian seeking greater racial justice. (Aug.)