Our Hearts Were Strangely Lukewarm: The American Methodist Church and the Struggle with White Supremacy

(Author) (Foreword by)

Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.4 inches | 0.57 pounds

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About the Author

John Elford is a retired United Methodist pastor. He served several churches in southwest Texas and is currently pastor emeritus at University United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas. John continues to engage in social justice issues and is slowly learning how to be a better BIPOC ally. See more at johnelford.com.


"Like a surgeon plying the scalpel, John Elford lays bare where and how our nation's original sin of racism infected American Methodism. At this critical juncture in our denomination, we have the opportunity to reconstruct a church more faithful to Wesley's original vision. But that starts by confronting our past, else we're doomed to keep repeating it. A must-read for all of us who yearn to deconstruct our own racism."

--John A. Wright, retired United Methodist district superintendent

"As mainline churches struggle to remain relevant in American culture, this book takes a needed look into the racial history of Methodist churches, asking why white Methodists did not work for racial justice with the same enthusiasm that their founder John Wesley had for spiritual truth. A must-read for anyone working to reclaim the prophetic voice of radical Christianity."

--Chad E. Seales, associate professor of religious studies, University of Texas at Austin

"John Elford provides us with a contemporary critical history of (United) Methodism's complicity with racism and its problematic upholding of white supremacy. His overall message is quite needed in our current moment of discerning our future as United Methodists. Will we finally take a page from the history books and dismantle the systemic racism that continues to seep into and through our structure? This book is a necessary addition to the conversation of how United Methodism should reshape itself."

--Ashley Boggan Dreff, general secretary, General Commission on Archives and History of The United Methodist Church

"John Elford's new book is more than a historical account of racial injustice; it constitutes an act of confession that we Methodists must make. This well-researched and exquisitely written book can be helpfully read as liturgy: much as supplicants prayerfully trace the stations of the cross and the indignities Christ suffered on the way to his redemption, so are we invited to relive the ignominies of black folks on the way (still) to racial justice. Only from clear-eyed confession and repentance may Methodists find a way forward in Christian hope."

--David F. White, professor of Christian education and Methodist studies, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary