I had started John Piper’s Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian several months back but got derailed with other things. I am starting over and writing about it as I go.
Piper begins his book by defining some terms, which has to be done in today’s pluralistic, relativistic society. He would prefer to avoid the term race and spends an entire appendix on why it is a term that does not hold clear meaning. I would encourage anyone who starts this book to read this appendix first and not just the “A Note to the Reader on Race and Racism” section at the beginning. That was a little confusing to me without the larger context of the appendix, for Piper seemed to contradict himself—though, when I read the appendix, his meaning became clear—as he was distinguishing between race and ethnicity. The confusing line was “…ethnicity with a physical component and race with a cultural component.” Piper means with as alongside of, not with as containing.
Nevertheless, he continues to use race and racism in the book because “…they are too embedded in our language and in the thousands of books and articles and sermons and lectures and conversations that make up the world we must relate to.”
Finally, Piper’s definition of racism is taken from the PCA’s 2004 definition: “Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races.”
With that, I will go forward and continue reading and writing about Piper’s views on how we treat and should treat one another in this world.