The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017 - 26

resourCe revIew

Trouble the Water Brings Conviction
and Challenge
A Review by Tony Campolo
michael-Ray mathews, marie clare P.
onwubuariri and cody j. Sanders, editors. Trouble the Water: A Christian Resource
for the Work of Racial Justice. Nurturing
Faith Inc., macon, gA: 2017. Published
by Racial justice and multiculturalism
community of the Alliance of Baptists.

i

f, because of the election of Barack
obama, we were lulled into thinking
that we had moved into a post-racist
America, the emergence of the Black
lives matter movement shattered that
delusion. With the massive reactions of
angry people, not only in Ferguson, but in
towns and cities across the nation, there
comes the realization that racism is part

26 Baptist Peacemaker

of the dNA of our nation.
As a recovering racist myself, I found
reading Trouble The Water a soul-searching experience, along with a growing
awareness that the sickness of racism
will not be overcome simply by Americans getting together across racial lines,
holding hands and singing "We Shall
overcome."
In a variety of essays, the writers
have given us a glimpse into how deeply
and subtly racism has been written into
the fabric of our culture. In this short
volume, I was challenged to consider
not only how racism has been incorporated into our thinking, but has become
institutionalized in the social structures
of our society.
the Black lives matter
movement woke us up to the
realization that it wasn't only
the way police departments
trained its officers and the
manner in which the judicial
system functioned to oppress
our country's African-American citizens, but that racial
injustice is part of just about
every aspect of our thinking
and practices.
this book not only attempts to deconstruct the
racism inherent in the ways in
which our societal institutions
function to put down people
of color, but also provides us
with some insights into the
huge benefits available to
those of us who enjoy "white
privilege."
the authors enable us
to become conscious that

Oct-Dec 2017

we must relearn the ways in which we
envision society. they call upon us to
re-learn American history so that we can
face up to the realities that ownership
of our country's wealth and power have
been established by the exploitation of
the labor and the stealing of land from
races of people whom we have deemed
to be inferior to white people.
Perhaps what is most disturbing
about this book for those of us who claim
to be christians, is that the church has
not been the cure for America's racism,
but rather a significant part of the disease. the articles go a long way in exposing how racism is evident in much of
the church's liturgy, in the ways in which
it has interpreted scripture, and even in
its mostly feeble attempts to overcome its
racist character.
I found myself arguing with the
hermeneutics of certain of its authors
as they called upon me to read the
stories of the Bible through the eyes of
poor and oppressed peoples. however,
I believe the book as a whole will leave
recovering racists like myself with a better understanding of how the church
has served to legitimate and perpetuate
institutionalized racism.
In our contemporary existential
situation, the authors especially ask us to
realize that when any of our preachers
trivialize the declaration that "Black
Lives Matter" by saying that "All Lives
matter," they demonstrate clearly that
they just don't get it.
many christians of color respond
to such preachers by affirming that "of
course all lives matter," but with their
clarion call that "Black Lives Matter"
they are rebelling against a society that


https://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Water-Michael-Ray-Mathews/dp/1635280184

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America October-December 2017

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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/38-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/37-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-3
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-2
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/36-1
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-4
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/peacemaker/35-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/35-1
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-4
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-3
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-2
http://www.nxtbook.com/allen/peacemaker/34-1
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com