Today, racial wounds from three hundred years of slavery and a history of Jim Crow laws continue to impact the church in America.
Martin Luther King Jr. captured this reality when he said: “The most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday.” Equipped with the gospel, the evangelical church should be the catalyst for reconciliation, yet it continues to cultivate immense pain and division. Weep with Me by Mark Vroegop is a timely resource that presents lament as a bridge to racial reconciliation in the world today. In the Bible, lament is a prayer that leads to trust, which can be a starting point for the church to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). As Vroegop writes: “Reconciliation in the church starts with tears and ends in trust.”
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“There is no institution more equipped and capable of bringing transformation to the cause of reconciliation than the church.” (Page 17)
“A bedrock biblical truth is the empathetic nature of Jesus and the calling to follow his example. Centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah described the coming Messiah as ‘Immanuel’ (Isa. 7:14), which means ‘God with us,’ and as a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’ (Isa. 53:3).” (Page 80)
“A church can’t be Christian without empathy. Empathy is essential to Christianity and racial reconciliation” (Page 81)
“They wonder why white evangelicals rally against the cultural blight of abortion while failing to denounce white supremacy.” (Pages 118–119)
“The church should be involved in racial reconciliation because of what we believe” (Page 41)
I am so grateful to God that Mark Vroegop has written this book. Far too often our discussions about racial harmony and reconciliation center on analysis, history, strategies, or the ‘best practices’ of those who have made some progress with regard to inclusion and diversity. What is overlooked is the primacy and power of empathy, ‘weeping with those who weep.’ This profound sense of identification is what the Bible calls lament. I am thankful to Vroegop for calling us to the heart of the matter—our hearts. Weep with Me is a gift and a treasure.
—Crawford W. Loritts Jr., Senior Pastor, Fellowship Bible Church, Roswell, Georgia; author, Unshaken; Host, Living a Legacy
If the sinful and tragic issues of racial injustice do not drive Christians to lament, it can only be because we do not, or will not, see the reality all around us. This book by the brilliant and faithful Mark Vroegop helps us to see that lament is not despair and resignation but instead the first step toward healing and restoration. This book will help Christians of every ethnicity to learn to love one another and to bear each other’s burdens.
—Russell Moore, President, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
Weep with Me is grounded in theology, informed by history, and saturated with humility. As a black member of Mark Vroegop’s church, I have witnessed, primarily as an observer, how applying the biblical language of lament to racism has opened the door to reconciliation. Painful conversations between a white church leader and a black church member developed into a deep, trusting relationship. Intense early-morning discussions about race among a multiethnic group of leaders and members led to deeper understanding and biblical unity. A monthly discussion group exposed personal pain, yet weeping together increased shared knowledge and formed healthy relationships. Casual multicultural interactions on Sundays led to meals together in each other’s homes. Civil Rights vision trips with the church exposed deep wounds and caused weeping among some and silence and confusion among others, but the language of lament led to enlightenment, caring, and mutual embrace as a reconciled body. Yes, the journey is difficult at times. No, we have not arrived at the dream. Through this book, Vroegop shows us how the language of lament leads to racial reconciliation. It is an encouraging read!
—A. Charles Ware, author; speaker; Founder and Executive Director, Grace Relations
Mark Vroegop is the lead pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis and the author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, the ECPA 2020 Christian Book of the Year, and Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation. He’s married to Sarah, and they have four children and a daughter-in-law.