Living in Color: Embracing God's Passion for Ethnic Diversity, By Randy Woodley
Living in Color
  • Length: 218 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: September 03, 2004
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3255
  • ISBN: 9780830832552

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"We would never give Picasso a paintbrush and only one color of paint, and expect a masterpiece," writes Randy Woodley. "We would not give Beethoven a single piano key and say, 'Play us a concerto.' Yet we limit our Creator in just these ways." Though our Christian experience is often blandly monochromatic, God intends for us to live in dynamic, multihued communities that embody his vibrant creativity.

Randy Woodley, a Keetowah Cherokee, casts a biblical, multiethnic vision for people of every nation, tribe and tongue. He carefully unpacks how Christians should think about racial and cultural identity, demonstrating that ethnically diverse communities have always been God's intent for his people. Woodley gives practical insights for how we can relate to one another with sensitivity, contextualize the gospel, combat the subtleties of racism, and honor one another's unique contributions to church and society. Along the way, he reckons with difficult challenges from our racially painful history and offers hope for healing and restoration.

With profound wisdom from his own Native American heritage and experience, Woodley's voice adds a distinctive perspective to contemporary discussions of racial reconciliation and multiethnicity. Here is a biblical vision for unity in diversity.

"Living in Color is a dynamic and insightful message that the church today needs to hear. I believe that Randy Woodley has done no less in these pages than pen the heart of the Father. The body of Christ is like a jigsaw puzzle, each piece unique and beautiful--yet only when each piece is interlocked with the others does God's true picture of the church emerge. Through the pages of this book, Randy has brought that picture to light so that all who read it can catch a fresh vision of the body of Christ, the way the Father intended it to be."

Richard Pyle, pastor, Tribe of Christ Church

"When I finished Randy Woodley's Living in Color, I wept with joy--for good reason. Having been drawn by Christ from the civil rights movement of the 1960s and early '70s, I was grieved to see that movement shatter into warring hordes of special interests alienating each other and 'balkanizing' our land. But Randy Woodley here offers us a mighty, biblically based vision of a path to wholeness and unity in God's Spirit through understanding his true plan to express himself uniquely through his ever-diverse creation 'from every tongue, tribe and people' of a new nation, distinct in its parts yet appreciative of each. "And Randy gives us more than mere vision; he lays out practical steps to help us reach diversity without division, reconciliation without recrimination, restitution without retribution--all in the healing Spirit of Christ's love! I pray that Randy's work will move the hearts of millions as a restorer of a godly dream and a 'repairer of the breach' in our land (and the entire world's) torn and tormented social fabric."

Tony Marco, author, civil rights activist

"This book is very much needed in our world today and a must-read. Randy states eloquently and clearly the truth behind each people group--that is, God created all of us to be different from one another, and diversity among people groups and their cultures is part of his creation and plan. To learn this is the first step toward being Jesus to other cultures and accepting how they worship him within that culture."

Tom Freeman, Christ in the Great Basin

"Our loving Father God is answering his Son's prayer in John 17. Randy Woodley's fine and timely book clarifies for our minds and hearts that unity is not uniformity or conformity. Neither is it mere acceptance, condescension or tolerance. Unity is active celebration of diversity. Randy makes it clear that diversity in unity is God's plan; that diversity is not just happenstance but the very plan of God to bring forth the best in all of us as we share who we are with one another. "It is good to read the work of a man who knows that getting along is not compromise that reduces all to less, but the laying down of one life for one another within the cultural context of each, so that every man is appreciated, met and enabled to become his own glory in the kaleidoscope of beauty that God, who loves variety, is creating. What Randy teaches is vital if we are to reveal Jesus to the hungry and usher in the end times."

John and Paula Sandford, cofounders, Elijah House International

"Randy Woodley is one of perhaps two dozen First Nations leaders God is raising up in the new millennium to proclaim the news: You can be fully Native and fully Christian all at once. As we white Christians accept this message, which still seems like news, we can begin for the first time to attain reconciliation between whites and Natives. White leaders can reach out to Native leaders like Randy, and Natives to whites, respecting each other's strengths and integrity. "With his depth of learning (I've seen his library!), lived pastoral experience and reputation for integrity in white-Native reconciliation, Randy is the right person to communicate this vision. This book conveys the love vision of God's heart as expressed through a Cherokee soul."

Douglas McMurry, pastor and author

"For too long our perceptions as Christians have been contaminated by our cultural bias. How can we grow from societal boundaries to possessing the mind of Christ, who values other cultures so much that he left heaven to be found in appearance as a man? Randy Woodley tackles this problem with kingdom vision and with grace and truth."

Francis Frangipane, pastor and author

"This book resounds with God's love for all the peoples he has made in his image. Through the stories of his own Native American heritage and the experiences of others, Randy Woodley develops biblical themes of justice, creation and God's love, along with biblical models of contextualization and diversity. This book will interest all those committed to racial and cultural reconciliation."

Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Eastern Seminary

"Randy Woodley has taken a complicated and sensitive subject and presented it in a siimple and enjoyable way. He does this by using the gift of the Indian--getting to the point of the matter with humor, stories and humility. A must-read for anyone who desires to share Jesus cross-culturally."

Daniel Kikawa, Founder, Aloha Ke Akua Ministries

"Every move of God has cutting-edge apostolic people who walk the front lines for God. Randy and Edith are this way for the First Nations people of North America. We are thankful for their efforts on behalf of all of us. Thank you (quyana) for this wonderful book."

Dr. Suuqiina and Qaumaniq Suuqiina, Inuit Ministry International

"Living in Color is dynamic, thoughtful and pointed. You may not agree with everything Randy Woodley writes, but I know you will think deeply about multicultural ministry. Be prepared to feel a little uncomfortable, but most of all, be prepared to follow the insights suggested in the book to help build churches unified around the Lord Jesus Christ."

Gary L. McIntosh, Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

"This is perhaps the most important book any American citizen could read who wants to truly understand global missions. Why? If we can't understand what we (mainly) did wrong with the 'First Americans,' how can we intelligently reach the world farther away? This book illuminates that embarrassing question with gentle fairness and profound insight."

Ralph D. Winter, founder, U.S. Center for World Mission

"A powerful, honest Native American voice articulating a multicultural, contextualized, thoroughly biblical gospel. If from the beginning Euro-Americans had lived out this biblical vision, we would have avoided most of the terrible injustices of North American history."

Ron Sider, President, Evangelicals for Social Action

"It refreshes me to hear the voice of the Native American and listen to his pain. Randy Woodley's voice comes out of an authentic Christian experience, not necessarily the European expression of Christianity. His God is a missionary God who speaks throughout the world and asks us to carry the good news of great joy to all men and women everywhere. I endorse this book wholeheartedly."

John Perkins, founder, John Perkins Foundation

"Living in Color strikes a chord that should resonate in the spirit of every believer, to love and appreciate one another in the midst of the amazing diversity that is the body of Christ. How appropriate that a Native American, standing under centuries of injustice and rejection, would be one that almighty God would raise up to call us to embrace a view of the Kingdom in which every person is regarded with equal value and importance."

Richard Twiss, President, Wiconi International, author of One Church, Many Tribes

"Living in Color is an excellent book. Written by one of the most trusted, wise and fruitful Native American leaders of our generation, it leads us on a journey of discovery through Scripture in order to see how God gives us identity in today?s multicultural world."

From the foreword by John Dawson, author, Healing America?s Wounds



Part 1: Understanding Diversity
1. Uncovering the Myth of Sameness
2. The Origins of Unity in Diversity
3. Choosing Jesus over Cultural Christianity
4. Biblical Faith and God-Given Culture
5. Romans and Galatians: Case Studies in Multicultural Conflict

Part 2: Oppostion to Diversity
6. How Big Is Your God?
7. Race and Cultures Clash: Our Wake-Up Call
8. The Subtleties of Racism
9. Exposing the Original Oppressor

Part 3: Restoration Through Diversity
10. Honorable Mention: The Good Guys
11. Finding Identity in Our Cultures and Nations
12. Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes
13. Protocol: Relating to God, His People and His Land
14. Getting Beyond "Getting Along"
15. What Does the Kingdom Look Like?


Annotated Bibliography

Study Guide



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Randy Woodley

Randy Woodley (PhD, Asbury Seminary) is distinguished professor of faith and culture at Portland Seminary, Portland, Oregon. He and his wife co-sustain Eloheh Indigenous Center for Earth Justice and Eloheh Farm & Seeds in Yamhill, Oregon. Randy is an activist/scholar, distinguished teacher, and wisdom keeper whose expertise has been sought in national venues such as Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and Christianity Today. Randy was raised near Detroit, Michigan, and is a Cherokee descendent recognized by the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. His books includeLiving in Color, Becoming Rooted, Indigenous Theology and the Western Worldview, Decolonizing Evangelicalism, and Shalom and the Community of Creation.