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Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation

By Mark Vroegop, Foreword by Thabiti Anyabwile

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Weep with Me: How Lament Opens a Door for Racial Reconciliation

By Mark Vroegop, Foreword by Thabiti Anyabwile

... Show All

Gospel unity creates racial harmony.

However, Martin Luther King Jr. once said that the most segregated hour in America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning. Equipped with the gospel, the church should be the catalyst for reconciliation, yet it continues to ignore immense pain and division.

In an effort to bridge the canyon of misunderstanding, insensitivity, and hurt, Mark Vroegop writes about the practice of lament, which he defines as “the biblical language of empathy and exile, perseverance and protest.” Encouraging you to “weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15), Vroegop invites you to mourn with him over the brokenness that has caused division and to use lament to begin the journey toward a diverse and united church.

Features Prayers of Lament From

  • Thabiti Anyabwile
  • Trillia Newbell
  • Jarvis Williams
  • John Onwuchekwa
  • Collin Hansen
  • Isaac Adams
  • Danny Akin
  • Mika Edmondson
  • Jason Meyer
  • Garrett Kell

Read Chapter 1


Author:

Mark Vroegop

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.

Product Details

Format: Paperback
Page Count: 224
Size: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Weight: 8.5 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-6759-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-6759-9
ISBN-UPC: 9781433567599
Case Quantity: 10
Published: July 14, 2020

Table of Contents

Foreword by Thabiti Anyabwile
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Dream: The Vision of Racial Harmony

Part 1: Lament in the Bible and History

  1. Pray: The Language of Lament
  2. Listen: Lessons from African American Spirituals
  3. Walk: The Bridge of Lament

Part 2: Lament and Majority Christians

  1. Weep: The Healing Grace of Empathy
  2. Speak: Ending the Painful Silence
  3. Repent: Remembering with Remorse

Part 3: Lament and Minority Christians

  1. Protest: The Voice of Exiles
  2. Triumph: Redeeming the Pain
  3. Believe: Dare to Hope Again

Conclusion: Lament: An Open Door for Racial Reconciliation
Appendix 1: Psalms of Laments
Appendix 2: Learning-to-Lament Worksheet
Appendix 3: Sample Civil Rights Vision Trip Itinerary
Bibliography
General Index
Scripture Index

Endorsements

“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

“When conversations on race and racial reconciliation seem to produce more heat than light, and more accusation than appreciation, Mark Vroegop provides a timely word in Weep with Me. He reveals the simple yet poignant power in the prayers of biblical lament, teaching us the need to weep with those who weep. Lament gives language to both speakers who’ve suffered and listeners who long to understand. This is the hope of lament and the hope of the book: that the language of lament would bring blessing out of brokenness. The author is neither a hopeless romantic nor a helpless idealist. With realistic expectations and unbridled hope, Vroegop conveys inspiration from the biblical language of lament to help us find ways that will promote trust, understanding, and hope. He has helped me to love, listen, and lament; to learn and to leverage. Reconciliation is never easy, yet because of the gospel of Jesus, I will still dare to hope.”
Julius J. Kim, President, The Gospel Coalition; Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Seminary California

“As a nation, we no longer know how to talk to each other about issues over which we disagree. Sadly, when it comes to issues of race or ethnicity, that inability has permeated the church. As a result, progress appears to have slowed. But because we are in Christ, we can and should fight for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That’s why I welcome Mark Vroegop’s Weep with Me. He gives us a language we can use as we work together toward ethnic harmony. It’s not a man-made language; it’s the biblical language of lament. If your heart longs to see the church display the wisdom and glory of God to the cosmic powers, then you’ll want to pick up this book, read it, practice it, and give it away. Let the conversations begin!”
Juan R. Sanchez, Senior Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; author, The Leadership Formula

“Imagine if, in Jesus’s story of the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9–14), the publican, instead of repenting of his sins, had become offended by the Pharisee’s assessment of him. Had that happened, you would have had two self-justifying sinners in the story, and we wouldn’t have heard Jesus’s beautiful declaration ‘I tell you, this man [the publican] went down to his house justified.’ So, please, if you are picking up this book in order to be offended, just don’t. But if there is a weariness in your bones over your own sin and the sin of your people, and you long to see gospel unity and solidarity replace suspicion, separation, strife, division, indifference, ignorance, condescension, and contempt, come lament with me for a while, and pray. We are up against something only the Holy Spirit can fix, but he is more than a match for the challenge. Let’s lament our hearts of stone and ask him to give us hearts of flesh (Ezek. 36:26–27). He can. He will.”
Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary

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’s earlier book, Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, is the best book I have read on Christian lament. It moved me to preach through the book of Lamentations in my own church. Yet I was unprepared for how stirred I would be by the potential impact of Christian lament on racial tensions in the church today. But this is what Vroegop has done in Weep with Me. This book is a uniquely insightful contribution to a very difficult issue still largely ignored by modern-day evangelicals. It is a biblically faithful, immensely practical tool that guides us to a simple, clear solution to racial division in the church—empathy through Christian lament. Pastors especially need to read this book and use it to lead their congregations down a path of introspection rooted in the gospel and embodied in Christlike empathy toward all those in Christ. I highly commend this book and the faithful example of its author.”
Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky; Founder, Practical Shepherding

“The challenges of racial division in America broadly and our churches specifically feel intractable. The conversation is riddled with indictment, hurt, anger, uncertainty, and fear. Yet Mark Vroegop offers a simple, mature, and biblical next step: learn the language of lament. Lament means one thing for the majority-culture Christian and a slightly different thing for the minority-culture Christian, and both lessons are crucial for preparing our hearts for understanding, forgiveness, reconciliation, and action. This book is excellent, and it’s hard to imagine how churches will move toward racial reconciliation and the heavenly picture of unity in diversity apart from the biblical wisdom it provides.”
Jonathan Leeman, Elder, Cheverly Baptist Church, Bladensburg, Maryland; Editorial Director, 9Marks