This chapter introduces the reader to the key themes of the book and outlines the content and argument of the succeeding chapters. The claim of Mission Mississippi to be changing Mississippi one relationship at a time is juxtaposed with the sociologists Michael O Emerson and Christian Smith's claim that evangelicals' emphasis on individual relationships rather than systemic injustice makes them part of the problem of race in America. If the sociologist's concerns prove founded, should churches abandon a theology of friendship in their search for racial reconciliation, or does Mission Mississippi's experience help in the development of a particular Christian understanding of friendship robust enough to address issues of systemic injustice and inequity in a racialized society?
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