cover image Race and Rhyme: Rereading the New Testament

Race and Rhyme: Rereading the New Testament

Love Lazarus Sechrest. Eerdmans, $39.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-8028-6713-1

This urgent exegesis by Columbia Theological Seminary professor Sechrest (Can White People Be Saved?) looks at what the Bible can teach contemporary Christians about addressing racial injustice. She examines “situations in contemporary life that ‘rhyme’ with the situations addressed in the Bible” and challenges readers to adopt “a biblically shaped imagination for use in moral reasoning about race relations.” Sechrest draws wisdom on allyship from Jesus’s engagement with gentiles in the Gospel of Matthew, noting that some entreaties to establish cross-racial solidarity will be met with hostility similar to that shown by the Gadarenes toward Jesus, while others will be more receptive, as the centurion and Canaanite woman were when asking Jesus to heal their children. The author likens the judges’ entrapment and false accusation of adultery against Susanna in the Book of Daniel to “the plight of Black women caught in the prison industrial complex or the school-to-prison pipeline,” and urges Christians to advocate for a more merciful judicial system. Striking a balance between critical analysis and compassionate reflection, Sechrest’s incisive and rigorous interpretations brilliantly elucidate parallels between the biblical era and the present and convincingly lay out the moral implications of the gospels. This stirring hermeneutic makes for a meticulously argued call for Christians to fight against racial oppression. (Aug.)