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Publisher's Summary

The Color of Compromise takes listeners on a historical journey: from America's early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War, covering the tragedy of Jim Crow laws and the victories of the Civil Rights era, to today's Black Lives Matter movement. Author Jemar Tisby reveals the obvious - and the far more subtle - ways the American church has compromised what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality.

Tisby uncovers the roots of sustained injustice in the American church, highlighting the cultural and institutional tables that need to be turned in order to bring about real and lasting progress between Black and White people. Through a story-driven survey of American Christianity's racial past, he exposes the concrete and chilling ways people of faith have actively worked against racial justice, as well as the deafening silence of the white evangelical majority. Tisby shows that while there has been progress in fighting racism, historically the majority of the American church has failed to speak out against this evil. This ongoing complicity is a stain upon the church, and sadly, it continues today.

Tisby does more than diagnose the problem, however. He charts a path forward with intriguing ideas that further the conversation as he challenges us to reverse these patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, and immediate action. The Color of Compromise provides an accurate diagnosis for a racially divided American church and suggests creative ways to foster a more equitable and inclusive environment among God's people.

©2019 Jemar Tisby (P)2019 Zondervan

What listeners say about The Color of Compromise

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History with an unnecessary addition

I picked this book up as a passing interest in its premise. Not being an American and only seeing things in movies to do with their history I thought it might be a good read, from a Christian viewpoint. I think the easiest way to say why I only gave it 2 stars is from a pro/con list. Pro's: The history was interesting and there were moments where I felt sick or wanted to cry. Learning the history of complicity in racism in the church, especially looking at it on the view of the church modeling culture rather than Jesus, is a sobering reminder of the dangers of getting close to the world and what can happen because of that. Con's: This may be my mistake, but I thought this was supposed to be from a Christian perspective. While many statements are made (expecting us to believe it is truth according to the bible) no justification or passages are ever given. From memory, there was only one bible passage used and it was at the end, in regards to someone else and their initiative. The writer seems to have rose coloured glasses on. To clarify, there are a few times where the author refers to the slaves homeland and almost waxes lyrical about it. Including, in a way, promoting their pagan beliefs. Again, may be my mistake in believing it was from a Christian perspective. This issue is also seen in the authors take on Martin Luther King Jr though. It is kind of portrayed that MLK was perfect (maybe not that far, but making the point). Overall, this adds a bias to the book, that while hard to avoid when telling history, does ruin it a little. The history part was interesting. The author should have stopped there, unfortunately the author then goes on to make it a political piece, specifically against the republican party, which I found weird. I can understand what he is saying in regards to the republican party, but find it weird that they are solely focused on. Maybe this one is just an American thing though? There are other issues I have with it as well, but I feel this is getting a bit long and don't want to be too negative. I do think the book is worth a read, I just wouldn't hold too much stock in it.

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  • Maximus
  • 19-02-2019

A Challenging Review to Write

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE? Let me be clear right at the start - this is probably one of the most difficult books I've ever attempted to review, and the thoughts represented below may evolve as I continue to ponder and meditate on some of the key themes communicated throughout the book. In a preview video about the book, Jemar Tisby said, "“Christians in America have (by and large, not to a person, but as a group and historically) have cooperated with racism instead of confronting it.” This quote will almost certainly create an emotional response from those who hear it, and I would caution anybody who would have a negative thought to lean into the discomfort a bit. In other words, when thinking about the target audience, I would say: (1) Anybody who DOES NOT have much knowledge of enslaved peoples in the United States, from the 1700's through present day. For example, a high-school / college student, or other adult who is unaware of just how much history there is regarding this subject, or... (2) Those who DO have knowledge of enslaved peoples in the United States, but that knowledge has come from select sources that may not represent the full picture, or... (3) Anybody who is willing to go into this book with an OPEN mind, who is willing to seriously consider any unconscious thoughts or beliefs they may have regarding racial equality (or inequality) in the United States. WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT "The Color of Compromise"? HOW WAS THE CONTENT? Admittedly, much of the general content was history in which I was familiar. For example, I was familiar with the atrocities of enslaved people in the 1700-1800's, the horrendous Jim Crow laws, and more. However, there are several specific examples as to laws passed or other examples of the church's failures to address the issue, and many of the specific examples are ones I may not have been aware of. One criticism I'll note is that Tisby did not fully cover the differences of slavery / enslaved people in the U.S. in the 1700-1800's vs. how slavery functioned in Ancient Israel (Old Testament) and the Roman Empire (New Testament). There was a short section in which this was mentioned, but it provided very little detail. As such, I think it would've been very helpful for most readers to have more insight that when reading about "slavery" in the Bible, the cultural context was very different than how slavery occurred early in U.S. history. This criticism aside, I rate the book a solid 4/5 stars. Mostly, I appreciated the final chapter in which Tisby outlines potential solutions for how the church / Christians today can better address the topic of race. His point that evangelicals are concerned about understanding the Scriptures well, and would do well to better educate ourselves on understanding the history of enslaved peoples and the impact it has had on our culture was a good point to make, and worthy of further reflection. HOW DOES IT STAND OUT AS AN AUDIOBOOK? HOW WAS THE NARRATOR AND/OR THE RECORDING QUALITY? Tisby does a good job narrating the book, and it was good to hear from the author's voice. I will note that... (1) The cadence of his voice wasn't always natural or as conversational as it could've been. It wasn't distracting, but didn't quite feel natural, and... (2) There were 2 or 3 times when a clear recording error was found. For example, on one occasion Tisby read the exact same sentence twice. There were other moments when a word or short phrase may have been repeated as well. But all in all, I was able to listen at 1.25 or 1.5x and could retain the information well. ANY FINAL THOUGHTS? WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS RESOURCE TO OTHERS? All in all, I would recommend the book to others. While there were some sections that were slightly lacking, and while I believe Tisby could've provided MORE examples as to how the church can better respond to the topic of racial equality today, it was a good listen. I would likely give it another 1/4 to 1/2 star if there was a short PDF included with questions for discussion added for each chapter. This would be a great book for a church staff or small group to read through and discuss, and having good discussion questions available would've been a big help. If not a discussion guide, having a "Questions for Individual Reflection" at the end of each chapter would also prove valuable. Providing the reader the opportunity to really dig-in to their own upbringing / experience, to journal and consider perspectives that may differ from their own would make this an even better resource. Despite these minor shortcomings, it's a good resource. As somebody who lives in a town that is 95% white and grew up in a WASP (white Anglo-Saxon protestant) family, I'll likely listen to it again in the future, as I really would like to better understand the topic, and would like to enter into conversations about race feeling more informed, and more empathetic towards those who may have grown up less privileged than myself.

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  • Mary W McCampbell
  • 09-08-2019

We All Need to Read/Listen to This

I have never written a review on Audible before--but I feel the need to encourage anyone who comes across this book to read or listen to it. It is the history we MUST face if we are going to change the racial issues that are still haunting our country. And this is especially true in the church and among Christians who try to divide things into sacred/ secular and claim that racial justice is not a biblical issue. They are wrong. Tisby's writing is non-compromising--but it also has a pastoral tone. He has written it out of love, and this is obvious. I implore you to open your mind and heart to listen to this painful story and Tisby's brilliant commentary. We all need to hear this.

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  • Brittany Graves
  • 16-03-2019

I’m better after reading this book.

Knowledge is powerful, and this book is full of knowledge. I wish I got this in high school or college. While in your face with the truth, Jemar Tisby does a great job for the majority of the book of keeping bias opinions out of this. He lets the truth speak for itself. For anyone trying to understand our racial society this will be one of my top books to recommend!

9 people found this helpful

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  • whatsup
  • 21-07-2020

Pass

No One Is Born to Hate text: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela's

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  • Lucy
  • 05-06-2019

This book is an important historical contribution

Jemar Tisby did a great job covering the history of complicity in the American church. You will find example after example of true complicity in his book. History like this has the potential to liberate habits of complicity, if the reader is willing to let it do so.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-08-2020

just okay

The discussions are okay, but woefully omit critical things. if you read this, then also read The Iron Triangle (conservative black author) for another view. the truth seems in between to me

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  • S. Hill
  • 07-03-2019

An important word for the American church

Even if one does not agree with every single thing Jemar Tisby writes, this book contains valuable examinations of primary sources and historical events that every Christian in America (especially white ones) should be familiar with. I’ve followed Jemar’s work closely for several years and was still learning new things on nearly every page. If you get this book and there are parts that make you uncomfortable, I encourage you to meditate on them and ask yourself when was the last time you examined that history or the scripture addressing that cultural phenomenon? This helped me as I made my way through and I hope it might do the same for others in their journey on this topic.

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  • T
  • 19-07-2020

Tisby: Guilt Manipulator

Historical equivalent of yellow journalism. Pre- 1970 it is all "white people". No, if you zoom in closer it is Democrats. Democrats owned 100% of the slaves, 100% of the plantations. Democrats passed 100% of the Jim Crow laws. Democrats broke-up slave families, and in the 1960s they did so again. Tisby has no venom for FDR or LBJ, just white Republicans. After 1970 white evangelicals get all the venom. 1,000/day precious African Americans killed by democrats in democrat abortion mills, and compromizing Tisby says nothing. Black lives matter to white evangelicals, but do they matter to Tisby? Apparently not. Abortion is eugenics by democrats. Democrats use policy since 1960 to breakup the African American family just as they did pre-1860. Tisby the compromiser says nothing. Democrats keep African Americans in plantation (govt) schools while white evangelicals want them/everyone to have vouchers so they can go to any school of their choice, get an education and get off the Democrat Party plantation. Tisby the compromiser says nothing. BLEXIT because the church needs to help African Americans get off the Democrat Party plantation. Tisby has no negative word for Democrats, the primary source of ongoing racism in America. Tisby sees what he wants to see, magically supporting the Democrat Party. Save your money and read Thomas Sowell or listen to a Voddie Baucham sermon.

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  • Incognito69
  • 06-06-2019

A must read for all Christians!

This was an excellent analysis's of the race issue that is facing the church today! I recently wrote a paper on this exact same topic for my final exam this past Spring and I wish that I had used some of the sources that he compiled to write this book. Overall this is a must read for anyone trying to build bridges between between cultures and classes.

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  • Micah D
  • 05-02-2019

Anti-Racism but not Anti-Bigotry

Generally blunt in content but gentle in tone, Tisby’s book is a pleasant resource for a suburban evangelical book club. He is urgently careful to not lose his connection with those who might be ready to take only the next small step. Even as he emphasizes how bigotry ADAPTS to changing circumstances rather than disappearing, Tisby tacitly approves of his faithful readers trading some measure of racism for modern bigotry toward other others. Ironically, his suggested “broad-based reform efforts” seem to redline sexism and abject hate for LGBT children of God as simply a matter of conscience. Ultimately, Tisby may be more influential in this pandering Zondervan title than he would have been in a more serious (and arguably more Christian) book. Would it be better to have integrity and be ignored by those unready to hear the truth? Or is it better to avoid “the baggage” (as he calls it in an online essay) of his readers’ newest targets and, thus, maintain his audience? Earlier in the book, he rails against moderation, but his sentences become more calculating and compromising as he approaches his own moment in history. Tisby is a talented writer, and many parts of this book are masterful as a pastoral lesson regarding the evils of racism. Truly, I enjoyed this book, until its own self-preserving compromises unfolded.

2 people found this helpful

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  • BruthazKeepah
  • 17-05-2019

Heartbreakingly real + helpful “read”

I’m listening to this on Audible. It’s heartbreaking, so going slow. Tackles lots of things in the Christian church’s history that we have often yet to acknowledge, never mind truly grapple with. Somebody needs to write this book for the South African church (my home nation, which shares a similar history, with Christianity providing the theological backing for a lot of apartheid state’s dehumanising action and treatment of Black image bearers). I’ll have to, if nobody else does. Oh, and the Brit church too! Much of these facts alone are well known. But seeing all (selectively, yes!) string together highlights the complicity. Makes me think of Frederick Douglas’ words (nothing new; just all heartbreakingly brought together in a helpful way). Thanks Jemar!

2 people found this helpful

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