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Eavesdropping on the Most Segregated Hour: A City's Clergy Reflect on Racial Reconciliation    edited by Andrew M. Manis & Sandy Dwayne Martin order for
Eavesdropping on the Most Segregated Hour
by Andrew M. Manis
Order:  USA  Can
Mercer University Press, 2021 (2021)
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This most interesting work is a collection of homilies by religious leaders in the city of Macon, Georgia, on the topic of racial reconciliation.

In the Introduction, Manis reflects on the reasons for Martin Luther King's statement that 'Eleven O'clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in Christian America,' and goes on to write that this book is an attempt at racial healing, by letting people on both sides know what those responsible for their soul life have to say to them.

The leaders are White and African American, male and female. Their traditions include Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Catholic, Unitarian, and Conservative Jewish. The African American leaders include Baptists, African Methodist Episcopal (AME), Non-Denominational and Muslim. Each offers a unique view of the situation in Macon and what might be done about it. Despite the years of separation, many hold positive views of some of the previous steps toward reconciliation that have been taken.

The book concludes with a most hopeful covenant of reconciliation between two Baptist churches, one White and one African American. Before the Civil War they were one congregation, and through the hard-working effort of their leaders they were again reunited in 2015. The hope is that their will and hard work will serve as examples for the rest of Macon and beyond.

Readers, both spiritual and secular, who are interested in this topic will find much to ponder. How can we remove the walls that separate us? How do we address the racism in our social system? Do we even see it? How can we do a better job of learning about and listening to the other side so that racial justice becomes a reality for all? Answers to these questions will require a lot of work, but allowing them to go unanswered is an option we choose at our peril.

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