I applaud Christena Cleveland‘s new book, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.
Today, many communities and churches are dividing and there is much division. For such communities, Cleveland offers insight and hope. In a time when there is so much discord and disunity, Cleveland provides a fresh perspective on how to become united in Christ.
Cleveland is a social psychologist with a hopeful passion for overcoming cultural divisions in groups. She provides lots of insightful experiences and reflections throughout the book which makes it a delight to read.
This is what it says on the Amazon Book Page.
Despite Jesus’ prayer that all Christians “be one,” divisions have been epidemic in the body of Christ from the beginning to the present. We cluster in theological groups, gender groups, age groups, ethnic groups, educational and economic groups. We criticize freely those who disagree with us, don’t look like us, don’t act like us and don’t even like what we like. Though we may think we know why this happens, Christena Cleveland says we probably don’t. In this eye-opening book, learn the hidden reasons behind conflict and divisions.
- Why I think all my friends are unique but those in other groups are all the same
- Why little differences often become big sources of conflict
- Why categorizing others is often automatic and helpful but can also have sinister side effects
- Why we are so often victims of group think and how we can avoid it
- Why women think men are judging them more negatively than men actually are, and vice versa
- Why choices of language can actually affect unity
With a personal touch and the trained eye of a social psychologist, Cleveland brings to bear the latest studies and research on the unseen dynamics at work that tend to separate us from others. Learn why Christians who have a heart for unity have such a hard time actually uniting. The author provides real insight for ministry leaders who have attempted to build bridges across boundaries. Here are the tools we need to understand how we can overcome the hidden forces that divide us.
“In this wise and approachable book, Christena Cleveland brings a fresh perspective on the importance of doing our own ‘perspective taking’ to uncover blind spots, identify internalized fears and expose privileged assumptions within the body of Christ that keep us caught in uniformity and division, rather than celebrating our unity and diversity in the image of the triune God. With humor, grace and solid research, Cleveland encourages the church toward practical, theological renewal by dismantling cultural categories and false boundaries in order to undertake the risky, exhilarating, cruciform work of crosscultural reconciliation. She does not consider this to be an optional idea. Rather, Cleveland rightly assumes that multiethnic, crosscultural reconciliation manifests the church’s glorious, nonnegotiable life in the kingdom of God, and she leaves us better equipped to enact that life together.” (Cherith Fee Nordling, associate professor of theology, Northern Seminary)
“Disunity in Christ is a very significant book for twenty-first-century Christians and congregations. Using accessible language and concepts, Christena Cleveland offers profound insights from social psychology to clarify the many reasons for the troubling and rampant divisions found in Christianity. She also suggests very practical strategies for creating greater unity. This book is a must-read for pastors, lay leaders, seminarians and college students. The integrity of Christianity depends on a church not only committed to reconciliation but moving toward real unity. Cleveland unveils a clear, compelling and realistic path to get us there.” (Curtiss Paul DeYoung, professor of reconciliation studies, Bethel University)
[read also: Everything I Know]
Grace Ji-Sun Kim is Visiting Researcher at Georgetown University. She is the author of 5 books, Reimagining with Christian Doctrines co-edited with Jenny Daggers (Palgrave, forthcoming), Contemplations from the Heart (Wipf & Stock, forthcoming), Colonialism, Han and the Transformative Spirit (Palgrave Pivot), The Holy Spirit, Chi, and the Other: A Model of Global and Intercultural Pneumatology (Palgrave Macmillan) and The Grace of Sophia: A Korean North American Women’s Christology (Pilgrim Press). She is a co-editor with Dr. Joseph Cheah for the Palgrave Macmillan Book Series, “Asian Christianity in Diaspora”.