It is no secret that there are racial tensions in our country today. These tensions exist both inside and outside the church. People have different opinions about what is the cause, effect, and actual result of these tensions. As a youth pastor, I have the privilege of attempting to help students think through cultural issues from a Christian (or biblical) perspective. One of the best ways to help think through issues such as this one is by considering those in history who have be in the trenches of them and study their lives. This is why I highly recommend reading the book Steal Away Home by Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey.
Carter and Ivey wrote this historical fiction novel in 2017. This book shares the story of two unlikely friends: Thomas Johnson and Charles Spurgeon. These men grew up in different cultures and had vastly different life experiences. Thomas was a slave in the Southern United States and Charles a preacher in England. Their experiences, lifestyles, and skin color were different than each other. However, both Thomas and Charles loved Jesus and desired to serve Him with their lives. Their love for Jesus served as the greatest common denominator and propelled a friendship between these men. After Thomas was freed from slavery, he became a pastor and eventually felt called by God to be a missionary in Africa. Before becoming a missionary he received training at Spurgeon’s Pastor College in England.
This book, which begins in 1841 and ends in 1892, includes historical fiction accounts of events happening on three continents: North America, Europe, and Africa. Readers are able to enter in by observing events and listening to conversations that happened many years ago. These events and conversations are applicable to our racial tensions today.
As someone who rarely reads fiction or historical fiction, I am thankful that I took some time this past summer to read this book. I recommend you read it. Better yet, I recommend you read it along with someone and discuss what we can learn from these two friends who loved Jesus and each other despite their difference in skin color.
Link: Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon & Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter & Aaron Ivey. B&H Publishing Group, 2017.