If you’ve ever spent time on a playground, you know “Can I play, too?” is a loaded question. Some days, it’s met with warmth and welcome—and other days with, “Nope! There’s no room in our game.” My daughter came home from school a few weeks ago, feeling the sting of a game that’s “only for three people” when she wanted to make a fourth. What could I tell her? That her friends will outgrow it and all this will get better on its own? Or could she take comfort in the fact that she’s never ever done this to a friend (or a sister)?
No, of course not. She knows I know she can’t. Just as I can’t pretend I’m not guilty of picking and choosing who I greet at church, or even which clerk’s line I join at checkout. Favoritism doesn’t disappear when we graduate second grade; adults aren’t immune to practicing it. We continue to be drawn to people who are like us and who we think will make friendship or social interactions smooth and easy.
And so I’m grateful that, in this newest volume of Tales That Tell the Truth, Trillia Newbell takes a look at favoritism. What is it? What does Scripture have to say about it? Through the story James tells in James 2, she studies what it looked like then, in the church James was writing to, and today—in our own churches, on the playground, and in the classroom. And she shows us, best of all, that Jesus is a king who welcomes us in—a king who doesn’t play favorites. To the question, “Can I come in?” he responds with a glorious yes.
The Big Wide Welcome: A True Story About Jesus, James, and a Church That Learned to Love All Sorts of People
Trillia Newbell; Catalina Echeverri (2021)
This post is part of Thea’s “Hooray! We’re launching a book!” blog series, celebrating the release of Wild Things & Castles in the Sky—a book she both contributed to and, alongside Leslie & Carey Bustard, helped edit.