Never having heard of the John M. Perkins, Dream With Me: Race, Love, and the Struggle We Must Win (Baker, 2017) served as a great introduction to someone I now consider a true American hero. Containing stories of the hardship he and others experienced before and during the Civil Rights era, the book at hand deals with the past and present racial tension of America, all the while maintaining a gentle tone. At times being brought to tears and at other times laughing at the author’s wit and charisma, I recommend Dream With Me for the following reasons:
This book is hope-filled
Having much experience with racial reconciliation, Perkins’ gentle wisdom seems to bleed onto all the pages as he offers his two-cents (which I think is very valuable) on certain issues. The book being rooted in Scripture, I agree with the author’s assessment that if the gospel doesn’t spill over into everyday living then it’s not really the gospel. That the gospel cannot simply be about a personal salvation that carries little or no social and racial implications.
This book stresses human responsibility
Too many times Christianity is used as a means to escape issues plaguing our world. I understand that for those around the world who live in severe poverty, their relationship with God (as well as their Christian community) really is a means to escape the harsh reality of their world. As for most of us in America who don’t experience this level of suffering, it’s a sham when we hide behind statements like “God is in control” to simply opt out of our responsibility in our culture. I hold that God indeed is in control, and yet believe he still calls us to partake in a non-passive stance; to actually be “present” in our world. If all we do is pray to God, go to church, and maintain relationships with fellow Christians, it is likely we have fallen prey to an “escape from reality” mentality which is foreign to the New Testament. Perkins realizes this and points out the sin of complacency.
The Book is Relevant
Though Perkins begins by stating that he is in fact no writer, it doesn’t show. Though we have plenty of well-written books, they more often than not deal with yesterday’s concerns rather than the issues plaguing today. Dream with Me is a book that those on the political Left and Right (and those like me who find both sides equally appalling) should all read with an open heart as it proves to be ever-relevant. We live in a time where so many are confused, convinced that their political party will bring heaven to earth. Many times we (myself included) have pre-programmed answers to questions before we’re even asked the questions! (As Paul said, Brothers, this should not be!) This book is a call to humility, a reminder that not one single person has all the right answers. We may as well stop barking (or preaching?) at one another. We owe it to the so many unknown and unnamed who, like John M. Perkins, suffered for where we are today.
*I recieved an electronic advanced manuscript from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review