Recovering from Racism: City Ministry in a “Post-Racial” America is a story about how Larry Lloyd (Memphis 2002), a privileged white evangelical, grew to love his city, particularly the city that many don’t want to see. A pioneer in urban ministry, Lloyd has helped countless others love their city too. This book is about his inimitable story, but it serves as an inspiration to those of us who seek the well-being of the city to which God has called us. First, we must see the city as God sees it. We have to look at our own hearts and motivations for engaging the city, especially as we engage neighborhoods that are in downward spirals. Paternalism, racism, and white privilege can blind us if we are not careful, and our engagement can quickly turn to cynicism and frustration.
Recovering from Racism is not just for urban warriors. It’s for each of us who dares to embrace a city as God’s playground. It’s for each of us who seeks meaningful engagement in the middle of society’s toughest issues. It’s for each of us who wants to be an agent of God’s grace and justice.
The example Larry Lloyd provides is extremely helpful and gives us a lens through which we can look at our past while simultaneously looking inside ourselves toward the real repentance we need in response to the deep sin we have committed in the racism and injustices of our society. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, it says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” This passage is speaking to our privilege, our blindness, and our inability to turn away from our sin. But it is when we turn, repent, and humble ourselves that God says he will heal our land.
I see Larry’s life and this book as a big part of our healing process. From the time Larry was in California until now, we have worked together. I’m going to use this book for the rest of my life’s ministry, and I’m going to pass it on to others who could learn much from his life experience. Read this book, absorb this book, and be changed by it.
– Dr. John M. Perkins