Race and Place: How Urban Geography Shapes the Journey to Reconciliation, By David P. Leong
Race and Place
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: January 07, 2017
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4134
  • ISBN: 9780830841349

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Geography matters.

We long for diverse, thriving neighborhoods and churches, yet racial injustices persist. Why? Because geographic structures and systems create barriers to reconciliation and prevent the flourishing of our communities.

Race and Place reveals the profound ways in which these geographic forces and structures sustain the divisions among us. Urban missiologist David Leong, who resides in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country, unpacks the systemic challenges that are rarely addressed in the conversation about racial justice.

The evening news may deliver story after story that causes us to despair. But Leong envisions a future of belonging and hope in our streets, towns, cities, and churches. A discussion about race needs to go hand in hand with a discussion about place. This book is a welcome addition to a conversation that needs to include both.

"Race and Place offers the needed work of cultural and social exegesis and also offers the potential positive power of the Christian imagination. Allow David Leong—a scholar, a pastor, an urbanite, a deeply spiritual and thoughtful follower of Jesus—to guide you through this important theological journey."

Soong-Chan Rah, from the foreword

"Leong brings the overdue conversation of race to the forefront and begs of us to engage, act, and get involved—something much more than what many Christians have been doing for quite some time: nothing. Leong has created a text that is accessible yet offers rigor in the fields of race, religion, and mission. It is time for Christians to take up the mantle of racial awareness and justice."

Daniel White Hodge, director of the Center For Youth Ministry Studies, North Park University, author of Hip Hop's Hostile Gospel

"Place matters. Race and Place adds to our understanding about race by showing us that this dialog does not happen in a vacuum but in geographic places and spaces. Jesus came to break down the dividing walls between us. It is in specific locations we work out what it means to walk through those dividing walls."

Jude Tiersma Watson, associate professor of urban mission, Fuller Seminary

"Race is neither a white/black issue nor is it merely one of political correctness. Rather, it's about ghettos, ethnic enclaves, suburbia, and gentrification. David Leong helps us see how racialized our cities have been historically and how we continue to suffer under these decisions from decades ago. But Race and Place also provides us with concrete steps to live out the good news of justice and shalom in our neighborhoods and communities. There is plenty here for theorists to mull over and much for activists to work for as well."

Amos Yong, professor of theology and mission, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Joining God's dream for our neighborhoods compels us to answer the clarion call of racial justice and reconciliation. But for way too long, conversations about race haven't included place, and vice versa. With the insight of a scholar and wisdom that only comes from putting ideas into practice, Dr. Leong offers an invitation to the belonging, solidarity, and hope we so desperately need today. If you believe we need each other, you need this book. If you don't believe we need each other, you need this book. I'm so grateful for this timely contribution."

Tim Soerens, cofounding director, The Parish Collective, coauthor of The New Parish

"Although race has been a focus of public conversation in the U.S., not many people are talking about the way geography has fueled the racial divide and continues to fragment us. David Leong introduces us to the tangled history of race and geography with a keenly theological mind that imagines reconciliation for God's people."

Relevant, Jan-Feb 2017

"Leong's Race and Place is a one of the most graceful and optimistic takes on race in the United States in recent memory."

Baptist Standard, November 2, 2016

"In drawing connections between race and place, Leong's book is a welcomed addition to the literature surrounding urban ministry and racial reconciliation. Race and Place has the potential to push the conversations surrounding Christian Community Development in fruitful directions. Hopefully, it will encourage readers and practitioners to further explore the theological issues at play in the intersection of race and place."

Andrew T. Draper, Englewood Review of Books, Lent 2017


Foreword by Soong-Chan Rah
Introduction: Street Signs and Color Lines

Part I: Race and Place: Beginning the Journey
1. Theology and Geography
2. Colorblind?
3. From the Garden to the City

Part II: Patterns of Exclusion: Structures That Divide
4. Walls of Hostility
5. Place, Parish, and Ghetto
6. Gentrification

Part III: Communities of Belonging: A Strange Family
7. Reconciliation: A Beautiful (and Disruptive) Story
8. Getting Practical: Action and Reflection

Conclusion: Back to a New Beginning


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David P. Leong

David P. Leong (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate professor of missiology at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, where he also serves as the director of the global and urban ministry minor. He is the author of Street Signs: Toward a Missional Theology of Urban Cultural Engagement, and he lives in Seattle's Rainier Valley with his wife and two sons.