A Longing to Belong: Reflections on Faith, Identity, and Race

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by: Michelle Lee-Barnewall

Growing up in the only Korean family in a Minnesota town, Michelle Lee-Barnewall has felt the pain of racial discrimination and the resulting identity confusion that follows. Through the telling of her personal story, she seeks to transcend the current divide between those who emphasize social justice concerns and those who believe these concerns compromise the core of the gospel.

A Longing to Belong integrates a biblical worldview and personal experience on the topic of race and race relations. Lee-Barnewall writes as both a New Testament scholar and an Asian American who has personally experienced what it means to be racially marginalized, seeking to filter those experiences through the lens of the New Testament and what it has to say to us today about our Christian calling and our identity in Christ as a member of his body.

A Longing to Belong spurs readers to consider what it means to live as racially distinctive people in a fallen world that abounds in misunderstanding and pain and is in desperate need of the gospel of grace, especially as manifested in the redeemed Christian community. This memoir extends the discussion beyond academic discussion of race relations and personal narratives by demonstrating how theology and experience are necessarily intertwined and mutually contribute to our understanding of race and our relationships with each other. Rather than arguing for one "side," Lee-Barnewall shares examples rooted in her own experience in light of an overarching kingdom theology.