White working-class people are the canary in the mine. Poorly understood and perceived as a threat to the common good – unintelligent, self-destructive, utterly incapable of leveraging their own privilege - white working-class people have recaptured the cultural and political imagination in the wake of the 2016 presidential election. Pundits, politicos, cultural commentators, party leaders and many others are scrambling to understand what makes this demographic tick with mixed results. Scape-goated for all things racist and identified as the voting block that gave the country its most divisive leader in a generation, they are not what they seem: so much more than common xenophobes and red-hat wearing nostalgics for a lost time of white supremacy, this group begs for a richer, more nuanced portrait if they are to be loved and impacted by Christian faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tex Sample, acclaimed author of White Soul and Hard Living People
, is a reliable and reader-friendly guide through the current literature with keen eye on the implications of understanding this group so pastors and leaders can better communicate the Good News of Jesus and work for a more just society that values black and white lives and creates the partnerships that lead to the good life for all.
This book also describes how our inability to sustain attention to the value of black lives is a traveling companion to our failure to understand or care about the pain and anger of working class whites.
Calling Christians (individuals, as well as communities of faith) to a concrete version of social well-being befitting faithful life in Jesus and God’s vision of justice for the world, Tex Sample drills deeper into the realities of a group of people whose suffering and anger is denied, ignored, or misunderstood.
The conclusion? Working for real-world, Gospel-centered change (spiritual, social, political, cultural) requires a field guide to the people we too often stereotype or misunderstand. They can be partners when we frame a message of hope built on a sense of vocation to life in Jesus – the good life for all.