Talking About Race is Hard
What’s needed is a story that we can all relate to; that engages our hearts and minds then guides us to dialogue and reconciliation.
Here is that story.
A story about race that brings us together.
Meals from Mars
On a dark night two worlds collide. Malik, a young black man from the city, and Jim, a middle-aged white man from the suburbs, are thrown together through tragic circumstance. Stuck with each other for the night, they deal with their core prejudices, the walls that keep them from each other, and the discovery of their God-given humanity in one another.
Meals from Mars is a compelling story of racial tension and the challenging, but hopeful gospel of reconciliation. It is the story we need to start a healthy conversation about race.
Ben Sciacca is executive director of Restoration Academy, a K-12 Christian school in the inner city of Birmingham, Alabama. Restoration Academy has been offering great education and making disciples in an under resourced community for over 28 years. Check out the school at restorationacademy.org. Ben is also the author (writing as Judah Ben) of KaiRo: The Journey of an Urban Pilgrim and KaiRo Returns.
Let’s talk about race with reckless compassion.
Afterword by Sho Baraka
“…We must also be allowed to mess up without the threat of being labeled racists or race baiters. We must approach these conversations with reckless compassion— the kind of compassion that may be misunderstood and mistreated, but still extends a hand of grace. Our color matters because our identities matter. We are creations of the Most High. We are a motley demonstration of his creativity.
I would commission us all to be slow to speak and quick to listen, to surrender our presuppositions so that true dialogue can take place. We must throw away bitterness and entitlement since we are indebted to the Maker of all creation, and…”
Sho is a Christian hip-hop artist, writer, and activist. He is a founding member of nationally known Christian hip hop group 116 Clique. He is also the founder of Forth District and artist at Humble Beast Records.
Slow to speak and quick to listen so true dialogue can take place.
Change always begins with conversation. Meals from Mars is a conversation starter for those willing to dialogue. Ben Sciacca is a trusted voice filled with the compassion necessary to see gospel-centered change become reality in our social frameworks.
Speaker and author of Bound to be Free
Most Americans today are aware of the national divide that is pulling us apart at the seams. However, few are aware of how deep and complex this divide really is. Many choose to attribute it to race, class, or culture, but the issue defies all one-dimensional explanations. Meals from Mars brilliantly explores the many facets of this issue as it unfolds the compelling story of how two young men and their families navigate these stormy waters. This novel is a useful and necessary tool to help the church begin to rediscover what keeps us from fully functioning as the Body of Christ.
Dr. Carl Ellis Jr.
Author of Free at Last: The Gospel in the African-American Experience
Ben Sciacca has invited us into an important metropolitan tale full of jukes and intrigue. He cleverly weaves the relevant issues of our day with a fast urban plot, which forces thought-provoking self-examination regardless of how you view the matter of lives or lives that matter.
Rap artist The Tonic from The Cross Movement and president/CEO of Cross Movement Record and Issachar Media
Meals from Mars is truly a story America needs to hear. In an entertaining and powerfully engaging way, Ben Sciacca leads us to better understand the challenges of many of the racial tensions facing our nation. And even better, he shows us a glimpse of transformation that can happen in the context of unlikely relationships. I can’t wait to give this book to all my friends.
1996 Heisman Trophy winner and executive director of Desire Street Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia
Meals from Mars is a masterfully compelling narrative that proves helpful in illustrating the difficult nuances of race in America. Sciacca humanizes the struggles of the urban poor and challenges the reader to charitably consider alternate worldviews. Meals from Mars invites you to join an American journey, involving the usual suspects, that promises to spark unusually beneficial dialogue.
Associate pastor of preaching, Fellowship Memphis
Conversations about racial tension are often tough for a number of reasons. It becomes easy to talk past one another when the conversation is reduced to arguments about abstract principles, divorced from actual names and faces. Meals from Mars doesn’t allow that happen. An eagerness to speak is replaced with silence as you find empathy and sympathy rising up out of nowhere. I couldn’t put it down. Such an amazing read. A great primer for getting anyone engaged in this conversation.
Lead pastor, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta