Your audiobook is waiting…

The Color of Compromise

The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

An acclaimed, timely narrative of how people of faith have historically - up to the present day - worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response. 

The Color of Compromise is both enlightening and compelling, telling a history we either ignore or just don’t know. Equal parts painful and inspirational, it details how the American church has helped create and maintain racist ideas and practices. You will be guided in thinking through concrete solutions for improved race relations and a racially inclusive church. 

The Color of Compromise:

  • Takes you on a historical, sociological, and religious journey: from America’s early colonial days through slavery and the Civil War 
  • Covers the tragedy of Jim Crow laws, the victories of the Civil Rights era, and the strides of today’s Black Lives Matter movement 
  • Reveals the cultural and institutional tables we have to flip in order to bring about meaningful integration 
  • Charts a path forward to replace established patterns and systems of complicity with bold, courageous, immediate action 
  • Is a perfect book for pastors and other faith leaders, students, non-students, book clubs, small group studies, history lovers, and all lifelong learners 

The Color of Compromise is not a call to shame or a platform to blame white evangelical Christians. It is a call from a place of love and desire to fight for a more racially unified church that no longer compromises what the Bible teaches about human dignity and equality. A call that challenges black and white Christians alike to standup now and begin implementing the concrete ways Tisby outlines, all for a more equitable and inclusive environment among God’s people. Starting today.

©2019 Jemar Tisby (P)2019 Zondervan

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    115
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Challenging Review to Write

WHO IS THE TARGET AUDIENCE?

Let me be clear right at the start - this is probably one of the most difficult books I've ever attempted to review, and the thoughts represented below may evolve as I continue to ponder and meditate on some of the key themes communicated throughout the book.

In a preview video about the book, Jemar Tisby said, "“Christians in America have (by and large, not to a person, but as a group and historically) have cooperated with racism instead of confronting it.”

This quote will almost certainly create an emotional response from those who hear it, and I would caution anybody who would have a negative thought to lean into the discomfort a bit. In other words, when thinking about the target audience, I would say:

(1) Anybody who DOES NOT have much knowledge of enslaved peoples in the United States, from the 1700's through present day. For example, a high-school / college student, or other adult who is unaware of just how much history there is regarding this subject, or...

(2) Those who DO have knowledge of enslaved peoples in the United States, but that knowledge has come from select sources that may not represent the full picture, or...

(3) Anybody who is willing to go into this book with an OPEN mind, who is willing to seriously consider any unconscious thoughts or beliefs they may have regarding racial equality (or inequality) in the United States.

WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT "The Color of Compromise"? HOW WAS THE CONTENT?

Admittedly, much of the general content was history in which I was familiar. For example, I was familiar with the atrocities of enslaved people in the 1700-1800's, the horrendous Jim Crow laws, and more. However, there are several specific examples as to laws passed or other examples of the church's failures to address the issue, and many of the specific examples are ones I may not have been aware of.

One criticism I'll note is that Tisby did not fully cover the differences of slavery / enslaved people in the U.S. in the 1700-1800's vs. how slavery functioned in Ancient Israel (Old Testament) and the Roman Empire (New Testament). There was a short section in which this was mentioned, but it provided very little detail. As such, I think it would've been very helpful for most readers to have more insight that when reading about "slavery" in the Bible, the cultural context was very different than how slavery occurred early in U.S. history.

This criticism aside, I rate the book a solid 4/5 stars. Mostly, I appreciated the final chapter in which Tisby outlines potential solutions for how the church / Christians today can better address the topic of race. His point that evangelicals are concerned about understanding the Scriptures well, and would do well to better educate ourselves on understanding the history of enslaved peoples and the impact it has had on our culture was a good point to make, and worthy of further reflection.

HOW DOES IT STAND OUT AS AN AUDIOBOOK? HOW WAS THE NARRATOR AND/OR THE RECORDING QUALITY?

Tisby does a good job narrating the book, and it was good to hear from the author's voice. I will note that...

(1) The cadence of his voice wasn't always natural or as conversational as it could've been. It wasn't distracting, but didn't quite feel natural, and...

(2) There were 2 or 3 times when a clear recording error was found. For example, on one occasion Tisby read the exact same sentence twice. There were other moments when a word or short phrase may have been repeated as well.

But all in all, I was able to listen at 1.25 or 1.5x and could retain the information well.

ANY FINAL THOUGHTS? WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS RESOURCE TO OTHERS?

All in all, I would recommend the book to others. While there were some sections that were slightly lacking, and while I believe Tisby could've provided MORE examples as to how the church can better respond to the topic of racial equality today, it was a good listen.

I would likely give it another 1/4 to 1/2 star if there was a short PDF included with questions for discussion added for each chapter. This would be a great book for a church staff or small group to read through and discuss, and having good discussion questions available would've been a big help.

If not a discussion guide, having a "Questions for Individual Reflection" at the end of each chapter would also prove valuable. Providing the reader the opportunity to really dig-in to their own upbringing / experience, to journal and consider perspectives that may differ from their own would make this an even better resource.

Despite these minor shortcomings, it's a good resource. As somebody who lives in a town that is 95% white and grew up in a WASP (white Anglo-Saxon protestant) family, I'll likely listen to it again in the future, as I really would like to better understand the topic, and would like to enter into conversations about race feeling more informed, and more empathetic towards those who may have grown up less privileged than myself.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read!

Great read! Narration and content easy to understand. Aligns with the Bible and current day challenges with solutions. A must read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for all Christians!

This was an excellent analysis's of the race issue that is facing the church today! I recently wrote a paper on this exact same topic for my final exam this past Spring and I wish that I had used some of the sources that he compiled to write this book. Overall this is a must read for anyone trying to build bridges between between cultures and classes.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This book is an important historical contribution

Jemar Tisby did a great job covering the history of complicity in the American church. You will find example after example of true complicity in his book. History like this has the potential to liberate habits of complicity, if the reader is willing to let it do so.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a must-read for the American Christian

this book open my eyes to a history that I was never taught. I'm challenged to, through spirit, change.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Comprehensive Persepctive

I appreciate how Tisby takes a very systematic and comprehensive look at the intersection of racism and the American church. Tisby offers effective use of historical perspective and reasoned logic to present, at worst, a thought provoking argument, and at best, a convicting call to action to the American church. Well done, and no complaints about the recording, voice, or pace of the actual audio part of the book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I’m better after reading this book.

Knowledge is powerful, and this book is full of knowledge. I wish I got this in high school or college. While in your face with the truth, Jemar Tisby does a great job for the majority of the book of keeping bias opinions out of this. He lets the truth speak for itself. For anyone trying to understand our racial society this will be one of my top books to recommend!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heavy Read But Full of Receipts

Jemar Tisby gives a responsible survey of America's history, AND present, of inept racial practices.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really telling overview of the history of racism

Really telling overview of the history of racism specifically in the Christian church in the USA. Thank you Jemar.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An important word for the American church

Even if one does not agree with every single thing Jemar Tisby writes, this book contains valuable examinations of primary sources and historical events that every Christian in America (especially white ones) should be familiar with. I’ve followed Jemar’s work closely for several years and was still learning new things on nearly every page. If you get this book and there are parts that make you uncomfortable, I encourage you to meditate on them and ask yourself when was the last time you examined that history or the scripture addressing that cultural phenomenon? This helped me as I made my way through and I hope it might do the same for others in their journey on this topic.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BruthazKeepah
  • 05-17-19

Heartbreakingly real + helpful “read”

I’m listening to this on Audible. It’s heartbreaking, so going slow. Tackles lots of things in the Christian church’s history that we have often yet to acknowledge, never mind truly grapple with.
Somebody needs to write this book for the South African church (my home nation, which shares a similar history, with Christianity providing the theological backing for a lot of apartheid state’s dehumanising action and treatment of Black image bearers). I’ll have to, if nobody else does.
Oh, and the Brit church too!

Much of these facts alone are well known. But seeing all (selectively, yes!) string together highlights the complicity. Makes me think of Frederick Douglas’ words (nothing new; just all heartbreakingly brought together in a helpful way).

Thanks Jemar!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Joshua
  • 02-13-19

History with an unnecessary addition

I picked this book up as a passing interest in its premise. Not being an American and only seeing things in movies to do with their history I thought it might be a good read, from a Christian viewpoint. I think the easiest way to say why I only gave it 2 stars is from a pro/con list.

Pro's:
The history was interesting and there were moments where I felt sick or wanted to cry.
Learning the history of complicity in racism in the church, especially looking at it on the view of the church modeling culture rather than Jesus, is a sobering reminder of the dangers of getting close to the world and what can happen because of that.

Con's:
This may be my mistake, but I thought this was supposed to be from a Christian perspective. While many statements are made (expecting us to believe it is truth according to the bible) no justification or passages are ever given. From memory, there was only one bible passage used and it was at the end, in regards to someone else and their initiative.

The writer seems to have rose coloured glasses on. To clarify, there are a few times where the author refers to the slaves homeland and almost waxes lyrical about it. Including, in a way, promoting their pagan beliefs. Again, may be my mistake in believing it was from a Christian perspective. This issue is also seen in the authors take on Martin Luther King Jr though. It is kind of portrayed that MLK was perfect (maybe not that far, but making the point). Overall, this adds a bias to the book, that while hard to avoid when telling history, does ruin it a little.

The history part was interesting. The author should have stopped there, unfortunately the author then goes on to make it a political piece, specifically against the republican party, which I found weird. I can understand what he is saying in regards to the republican party, but find it weird that they are solely focused on. Maybe this one is just an American thing though?

There are other issues I have with it as well, but I feel this is getting a bit long and don't want to be too negative.

I do think the book is worth a read, I just wouldn't hold too much stock in it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful