101 culturally diverse Christian voices

101 culturally diverse voices sq“I’m just tired of only hearing white, mainstream evangelical voices,” a good friend lamented to me recently. “Why aren’t voices from other backgrounds listened to in the same way as the white voices?” I heard the weariness of consistent exclusion in his question, and frankly, wondered the same thing myself.

When I saw Rachel Held Evans’ list of 101 Christian Women Speakers a few months ago, I was struck most by their lack of representation and recognition in the mainstream white evangelical Christian culture.  Looking at the speakers at so many Christian conferences and gatherings, it would appear that white males are the only people qualified to speak from a place of faith. Rachel’s list showed us that this was not so.

As I researched this list, I was struck by how many great voices from diverse backgrounds are speaking in the public sphere through all sorts of mediums – writing, music, art, speaking.  It is my hope that this list will broaden the conversation even further and be a resource to help distribute the collective voice beyond only one dominant cultural perspective in the public Christian sphere.

A few things to note about this list:

  1. This is not a ‘best of’ list.  It is a list to highlight the vast array of voices from culturally diverse backgrounds speaking actively about faith. My goal is mainly to show that such voices are plentiful and active in order to encourage the white Christian body at large better access to finding and listening to more perspectives as a norm – not an afterthought, exception or token.
  2. This is not a list of conference speakers. I attend professional conferences, but tend to steer clear of Christian ones.  I learned long ago that the group-think/yay-rah environment of Christian conferences wears my soul out quickly.  If I go on a retreat, it’s usually a silent one or at least a very small one without personality-driven agendas. Many of the people on this list do speak, but some of them write or paint or sing as well.  Their perspectives can be listened to through their writings, their creative work, and their voices.
  3. That being said, I value public voices deeply, but I tend to listen to them instead one at a time through books, blogs, and organizations. As a result, I tried to include people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds and perspectives who have this type of public voice.  Sometimes I gave preference to people with a stronger online presence not because they’re ‘better’ voices, simply because they’re easier to follow and hear from in a public context.  I also gave preference to some lesser-known voices over very-established ones like Tony Campolo, Luis Palau, Cornel West, Desmond Tutu, John Perkins, Ravi Zacharias, and Tony Evans.  That being said, I did also include some voices that have been around for quite some time but may not be as widely recognized like Ruth Padilla, Ajith Fernando, Samuel Escobar, Ken Fong, Noel Castellanos, and Michael Oh.
  4. Since I live in the US and the vast majority of my readers are from the US, much (though not all) of this list is also based in the US.  Singular vision and polarized conversation may very well be a problem more unique to the American church, and for this particular weakness we need lists such as these. For practical reasons, I did not include voices who communicate primarily in languages other than English. I am sorely aware of the privilege this reinforces, but also found it the most useful way to create a list like this.
  5. There is no intentional theological bent or classification for this list.  The voices represent a range from conservative to liberal, Catholic to protestant and I made no attempt to include or exclude voices because of their particular theological perspectives. The only qualification I looked at was if the person publicly identified as a Christian. That being said, it is likely ‘imbalanced’ in some fashion or another and is also most probably heavier on evangelicals and/or protestants because this is my own background as well as the protestant perspective running many conferences and powerful publishing companies.
  6. This list, of course, is woefully incomplete, and like Rachel, I encourage others to form their own lists of valuable voices that diverge from the mainstream. Additionally, please feel free to leave others’ information I may have missed (or your own!) in the comment section below. The louder the collective voice, the more clearly it is heard. I’d love to see others create their own lists – global theologians, regional voices (I could have made a similar list of 101 culturally diverse voices in LA alone!), or ethnic group specific voices.
  7. If you are included in this list and I have listed incorrect or incomplete information, please let me know and I’d be happy to correct it.
Khristi Adams @KhristiLauren
Author, Campus Pastor, Documentary Filmmaker, Youth Advocate
Watch a promo for her book.
Watch her speak.  
Watch “Chivalry is Dead” documentary. 
Southern California
Robin Afrik @afrikadvantage
Speaker, national consultant and strategist on issues surrounding reconciliation/diversity, international adoption, multi-cultural families’ and identity formation. 
Check out her work here.
Holland, Michigan 
Dr. David Anderson @AndersonSpeaks
Pastor. Author. Radio Show Host
Check out his books here.
Washington, DC
Ramez Atallah @RamezAtallah
General Director, The Bible Society of Egypt 
Listen to him speak.
Sami Awad @Sami_Awad
Founder and Executive Director of Holy Land Trust
Listen to him speak here.
Leroy Barber @LeroyBarber
Executive Director, Word Made Flesh
Listen to him speak here.  
Check out his book here.
Eric D. Barreto @ericbarreto
Theology professor, Luther Seminary
Check out his writing here
Listen to him speak here.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Cheryl Bear
First Nations Musician and speaker
Listen to her music here.  
Listen to her speak here.
Check out her book here.
Grace Biskie @gracebiskie
Blogger/author, advocate, community activist 
Read more of her writing here.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Edward J. Blum @edwardjblum
Author, teacher, student of race, religion, culture, politics
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
San Diego, California
Amena Brown Owen @amenabee
Writer. Poet. Hip hop head.@spelman woman
Check out her book here.
Listen to her spoken word here.
Atlanta, Georgia
Austin Channing Brown @austinchanning
Learner. Listener. Trainer. Writer. On a mission to make the racial divide smaller.
Read more about her here.
Chicago, Illinois
Velynn Brown @gospelrainsong
Blogger, Poet
Pacific Northwest
J. Kameron Carter @jkameroncarter
Writer, intellectual.  Professor of theology and black church studies at Duke University. 
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
North Carolina
Noel Castellanos @NoelCCDA
CEO of Christian Community Development Association
Check out his books here.  
Watch him speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Elias Chacour
Former Archbishop of Akko, Haifa, Nazareth. Writer, reconciler between Arabs and Israelis
Check out his books here.  
Watch him speak here.  
Mark Charles @wirelesshogan
Native American writer
Watch his videos here.
Navajo Nation
Peter W. Chin @peterwchin
Pastor of Peace Fellowship in D.C. 
Read his writing here.
Listen to him speak here.
Washington, D.C.
Eugene Cho @EugeneCho
Christ Follower. Husband. Father. Pastor. Humanitarian. Activist. Founder of One Days Wages, Q Cafe, and Seattle Quest Church
Listen to his TedTalk.
Check out his upcoming book.
Seattle, Washington
 James Choung @jameschoung
author of True Story & Real Life, national director @IVWitness, founder @vineyardU, speaker, professor
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Los Angeles, California
Christena Cleveland @CSCleve
Author of DISUNITY IN CHRIST: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart.
Check out her book here.
Listen to her speak here.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Rev. Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, Ph.D.
Dean of Esperanza College, Eastern University
Listen to her speak here.
Check out her books.
Orlando Crespo
Pastor, theologian, writer
Check out his book here.
Listen to him speak here
New York
Linson Daniel @Linson_Daniel
Area Director for @INTERVARSITYusa. Teacher. Blogger. Podcaster. Musician. 
Listen to his podcast.
Dallas, Texas
Ruth Padilla Deborst
Theologian and educator
Read an interview here.
Watch her speak here.
Miguel De La Torre @DrDeLaTorre
Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies at Illiff School of Theology, writer, speaker
Listen to him speak here.  
Check out his books here.
Denver, Colorado
Mark DeYmaz @markdeymaz
Founding Pastor: Mosaic Church (AR); Executive Director: Mosaix Global Network; multi-ethnic church movement leader: author, columnist, consultant.
Listen to him speak here.  
Check out his book here.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Joshua Dubois @joshuadubois
Author of bestseller, The President’s Devotional; @thedailybeast columnist; led @whitehouse faith office
Check out his book here.  
Listen to an interview with Joshua here.  
Washington, DC  
Dennis Edwards @RevDrDre
Teacher, mentor, pastor of Sanctuary Covenant Church.
Listen to him speak here.  
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Samuel Escobar
Writer, theologian
Watch him speak here.
Check out his books here.
Helen Soosan Fagan @drhelenfagan
Teacher, global leadership scholar, diversity consultant
Watch her TedTalk here.
Lincoln, Nebraska
Richard Allen Farmer @timsdad
Bible expositor, concert artist, worship leader
Watch him speak here
Dallas, Texas
Ajith Fernando
Writer, theologian, preacher, former country director of YFC Sri Lanka 
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.  
Sri Lanka
Anton Flores @ANTONofALTERNA
co-founder of Alterna, a Christian missional community that offers accompaniment, advocacy, and hospitality to Latin American immigrants
Read his blog here.
Listen to him speak here.
LaGrange, Georgia
Ken Fong @KenUyedaFong
Pastor, Evergreen Baptist Church
Check out his books.
Watch videos from his church here.  
Los Angeles, California
Makoto Fujimora @iamfujimura
Artist, writer, creative catalyst
Check out his book here.  
Watch him speak here.
New York
Nicole Baker Fulgham @nicolebfulgham
public school advocate, faith-motivated justice seeker, founder of The Expectations Project
Check out her book here.  
Listen to her speak here.  
Washington, DC
Marilyn Gardner @marilyngard
Writer, blogger on cultural issues and third culture kids
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Ivy George
Academic in Sociology & Social Work at Gordon College, speaker, writer
Ivy is an especially captivating speaker.  Watch her speak here.
Check out her books here.
Edward Gilbreath @EdGilbreath 
 Author of Reconciliation Blues and Birmingham Revolution.
Listen to him speak here.
Check out his books here
Chicago, Illinois
Justo Gonzalez
Theologian, writer, academic
Check out his renowned theological books here.  
Derwyn L. Gray @DerwinLGray
Lead Pastor of Transformation Church; Former NFL Player
Listen to him speak here.
Check out his books here.  
Charlotte, North Carolina
Jelani Greenidge @jelanigreenidge
Writer, communicator, comedian, thinker, speaker, musician
Listen to his music here.  
Check out his comedy here.  
Listen to him speak here.  
Portland, Oregon
Gustavo Gutierrez
Peruvian theologian, author, endowed professor at Notre Dame
Check out his books here.
Erna Hackett @ErnaSings
Songwriter, Blogger, Social Justice leader, Intervarsity staff member
Listen to her music here.  
Los Angeles, California
Linda Hargrove @llhargrove
Fiction Writer
Check out her books here.
Watch a trailer for her book here.
North Carolina
Lisa Sharon Harper @lisasharper
Director of Mobilizing @Sojourners. author, political activist
Check out her books here.  
Listen to her speak here.  
Washington, DC
Gary Haugen @garyhaugen
President & CEO of International Justice Mission
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Washington, DC
Young Lee Hertig
Co-founder and Executive Director of Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity
Check out her book here.  
Pasadena, California
Peter Hong
Pastor of New Community Covenant Church
His sermons are rich and deep.  Listen here.  
Chicago, Illinois
Munther Isaac @MuntherIsaac
Christian Palestinian professor at Bethlehem Bible College
Watch him speak here.
Jerusalem, Israel
Greg Jao @GregJao
Urbana emcee, IVCF National Field Director, author of Your Mind’s Mission
Check out his book here.  
Listen to him speak here.  
New York
Katelyn from By Their Strange Fruit 
Blogger on race and christianity
Columbus, Ohio
Skye Jethani @skye_jethani
Christian author, speaker, editor, pastor. 
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Rachel Pieh Jones @RachelPiehJones
Writer, development worker in Djibouti
Kathy Khang @mskathykhang 
Reader. Writer. Speaker. Follower of Jesus. Regional multiethnic ministries director @intervarsityusa.
Read an interview with Kathy.
Check out her book here.
Chicago, Illinois
Grace Ji-Sun Kim @Gracejisunkim
Author, visiting researcher at Georgetown University. 
Check out her books here.  
Listen to her speak here
Helen Lee @HelenLeeAuthor
Author, journalist, speaker, blogger
Check out her books here.
Listen to her speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Terry LeBlanc
Director, My People International; Chair, North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies; Indigenous Studies Program Director at Tyndale University College & Seminary
Watch him speak here.
Grace Hwang Lynch @HapaMamaGrace
Writer, Consultant, Blogger, News Editor at BlogHer @BlogHerNews
San Francisco Bay area, California
Zaida Maldonado Pérez
Professor of church history and theology at Asbury Theological Seminary
Check out her books here.
Vishal Mangalwadi
Lecturer, philsopher, writer, social reformer, political and cultural columnist
Check out his books here.
Watch him speak here.
Loida Martell-Otero
Professor of Constructive Theology at Palmer Theological Seminary
Read her books here.
Fouad Masri @CrescentProject
Pastor and founder of the Crescent Project
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Ramon Mayo @mayotron
Writer, missionary, blogger on diversity, the church, and racial justice
Check out his book here.
Chicago, Illinois 
Erwin McManus @erwinmcmanus
Writer, speaker and lead pastor of Mosaic Church
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Los Angeles, California
Idelette McVicker @idelette 
Writer. Activist. African-Canadian. Founder & Editor of SheLovesmagazine.com 
Listen to her speak here.
Vancouver, Canada 
Paul Louis Metzger @paulouismetzger
Professor at Multnomah University, Director of the Institute for the Theology of Culture, Author, Speaker
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Portland, Oregon
Osheta Moore @osheta
Urban church planter and blogger
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Salim Munayer
Instructor at Bethlehem and Galilee Bible College
Check out his books.
Listen to him speak here.
Jerusalem, Israel
Samuel Naaman
President of the South Asian Friendship Center in Chicago, professor of World Missions and Evangelism at Moody Bible Institute
Chicago, Iliinois
Trillia Newbell @trillianewbell
Freelance journalist, Christian writer, author of United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity (Moody, 2014)
Check out her book here.
Listen to her speak here.
Nashville, Tennessee 
Kelly Nikondeha @knikondeha
Writer. Thinker. Lover of Jesus, justice & jubilee. Adopted & adoptive mother of 2. Doing theology in transit. 
Listen to her speak here.
Arizona & Burundi
Michael Oh @ohfamily
Executive Director / CEO of the Lausanne Movement as well as founder & board chairman of CBI Japan (http://cbijapan.org ).
Listen to him speak here.
Nagoya, Japan
Enuma Okoro @TweetEnuma
Writer. Speaker. Consultant.
Check out her books here.
Watch a book trailer here.
Listen to her speak here.
Jacqueline Ottmann
Aboriginal scholar at University of Calgary
Check out her research here.
Calgary, Canada
Eboo Patel* @EbooPatel
Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core. *While Eboo is a Muslim, not a Christian, he works frequently with Christians in interfaith dialog.  
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 5.42.10 PM
Soong-Chan Rah @profrah
Pastor, author and academic at North Park Theological Seminary
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Vinoth Ramachandra
Writer, Secretary for Dialogue & Social Engagement for IFES
Check out his books.
Watch him speak here.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Patricia Raybon @PatriciaRaybon
Check out her books here.
Listen to her speak here.
Deidra Riggs @DeidraRiggs
visionary at JumpingTandem, managing editor at TheHighCalling.org, monthly contributor at (in)courage.me
Listen to her TedTalk here.
Lincoln, Nebraska
Natasha S. Robison @ASISTASJOURNEY 
Speaker, writer
Listen to her speak here.
North Carolina
Robert Chao Romero @ProfeChaoRomero 
UCLA Professor. Historian. Lawyer. Pastor. Author
Check out his books here.
Los Angeles, California 
Gabriel & Jeanette Salguero @NalecNews
President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
Listen to Gabriel speak here.
New York
Brenda Salter McNeil @RevDocBrenda
Reconciliation Trailblazer, Associate Professor of Reconciliation Studies & Teaching Pastor at Quest Church
Check out her books here.
Listen to her speak here.
Seattle, Washington
Alexia Salvatierra 
Pastor, writer, advocate, consultant, community organizer
Check out her book here.
Listen to her speak here.
Arlene Sanchez-Walsh @AmichelSW
Professor of American religious history and Latina/o religion
Check out her book here.
Los Angeles, California
Tamara Shaya Hoffman @tamarashaya
Media Communications Specialist. Conflict Analyst. Development Advocate. Strategist. Storyteller. Leader.
Washington, DC
Priscilla Shirer @PriscillaShirer
Bible teacher and speaker
Check out her books here.
Listen to her speak here.
Andrea Smith
Intellectual, professor at University of California Riverside, Co-founder of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence
Check out her books here.
Listen to her speak here.
Southern California
Emfrem Smith @efremsmith
President and CEO of World Impact. Author and speaker with Kingdom Building Ministries.
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
San Francisco Bay area, California
Matt Soerens @MatthewSoerens
Field Director for the Evangelical Immigration Table. US Church Training Specialist for @WorldRelief, author
Check out his book here.
Listen to him speak here.
Chicago, Illinois
Bryan Stevenson
Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.  Lawyer defending the poor, imprisoned, and mentally ill
Listen to his TedTalk.
Montgomery, Alabama
Jemar Tisby @JemarTisby
Co-Founder of @RAANetwork, Student at @RTSJackson, Black & Reformed Christian
Jackson, Mississippi
Nikki Toyama-Szeto
Senior Director of Biblical Justice Integration and Mobilization at International Justice Mission
Check out her books.
Watch her speak.
Washington, DC
Richard Twiss
Speaker, activist, educator, author on Indigenous communities.  Founder of Wiconi International. 
(Richard passed away earlier this year, but leaves a rich legacy of work with us)
Watch some videos here.
Check out his writing here
Kathy Tuan-Maclean
Area Director, Boston Graduate/Faculty Ministries, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Watch her speak
Canon Andrew White @vicarofbaghdad
Vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad
Check out his books.
Listen to him speak.
Baghdad, Iraq
Marcos Witt @MarcosWitt
Christian musical artist
Listen to his music here.
Houston, Texas
Randy Woodley @randywoodley7
Native American (Keetoowah), Spiritual, farmer, professor, activist, writer, Ph.D. Intercultural Studies
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
George Yancey @profyancey
Sociologist, researcher, writer
Check out his books here.
Listen to him speak here.
Denton, Texas
Jenny Yang @JennyYangWR
Vice President of Advocacy and Policy @WorldRelief and co-author of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate.
Read more about Jenny.
Watch her speak.
Naomi Zacharias @Naomi_Zacharias
Author, Speaker, and Director/Vice President of Wellspring International.
Check out her book.
Listen to her speak here.
Atlanta, Georgia
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33 Responses to 101 culturally diverse Christian voices

  1. Pingback: Dear Franklin Graham, Let Me Introduce You to Some (Muslim) Friends… | BCNN1 – Black Christian News Network

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  5. Pingback: Listen to the whole Body | Key Truths

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  8. искал в гугле интернет магазин witt international, нашел ваш блог 101 culturally diverse Christian voices | between worlds, спасибо!

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  11. welderbeth says:

    This is great too! 🙂

  12. Pingback: Strange fruit – or good? « keytruths blog

  13. Pingback: Prayer for the Body « keytruths blog

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  15. Jodi, I found you and this post thanks to someone who retweeted the link. I’ve quoted you at http://keytruthsblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/listen-to-the-whole-body/. Thank you for creating this list. It’s a treasure.

  16. Pingback: Listen to the whole Body « keytruths blog

  17. Velynn Brown says:

    Thank you so much for welcoming me to the table. I am so grateful to be honored here. Aren’t Gods Kingdom Kids diverse, bold and beautiful?!!! Excited to see this list multiply. What a generous and diligent work of inclusion. Bless you Sis.

  18. christina says:

    What a great list, if I only I had more time to read and ponder…

  19. Pingback: 101 Culturally Diverse Christian Voices | Grace Ji-Sun Kim

  20. mayotron says:

    Honored to be included on this list. I linked to this in my latest post.

  21. Pingback: Have You Ever Struggled To Find Your Voice? | Ramon Mayo

  22. Yes, I’m very, VERY honored to be included on this list. I would’ve said so prior but I’ve been off social media for Lent… only because my email notifications were blowing up did I even see this post. Thank you kindly. 🙂

  23. Ren Kildegaard says:

    Take a look at the Speakers Bios from the most recent Intervarsity Christian Fellowship triennial student conference (Urbana 2013) if you want to see a broad cultural diversity represented in a public Christian conference.

  24. what about Vishal Manglewadi?

    • Oooh – great suggestion! Thanks! I thought of him once but couldn’t remember his full name, and then promptly forgot. There were so many more people I could have added…I think I may have to just keep sneaking a few extras in and hope no one actually counts the list. Current actual count: 104 🙂

  25. this list is awesome… i look forward to reading more about each of these people and their stories that come along with… thank you for compiling this!

  26. Marilyn says:

    I’ve just finished reading through this list and am overwhelmed by the diversity in the body of Christ. It’s reminds me again that God is so much bigger than we often make him.

  27. Where’s Bruce Reyes-Chow (@breyeschow on Twitter)?

  28. I’m always asking, “Where is everyone?” And by that, I mean the same thing your friend meant. So, I’m very grateful for this list. Thanks for including me.

  29. Idelette says:

    So so honored to be mentioned here … Thank you.

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