Ethnicity Book Review
The following book review of Ethnicity: The Inclusive Chuch Resource, from the Church Times, 24th July 2015
Ethnicity, part of a series of Inclusive Church Resource books, is shorter than Biggar’s, (also reviewed: Between Kin and Cosmopolis:An ethic of the nation Nigel Biggar. James Clarke & Co) but starts from the same premise: that nationhood is a real, moral entity, demanding ethical reflection. It opens with four stories setting out in detail people’s experience of ethnicity, Christianity, and society in contemporary Britain.
These are engaging, but are torn between seeing ethnic diversity as an inherent good, and seeing boundaries and differences as an irrelevance that we should transcend (“Oh to live in God’s diverse creation with no label boundaries at all!”).
This is addressed to some extent by the subsequent theological reflection in which Michael Jagessar draws, albeit briefly, on key biblical motifs to argue (persuasively) that ethnic diversity is valued and at the same time devalued — appreciated and relativised — by the gospel. Precisely which aspects are valued and which are devalued demands more careful reflection, but this little book provides a good place to start.
Nick Spencer is a director of the think tank Theos