Archives For Elaine Enns

 

A Brief Review of

Ambassadors of Reconciliation (Vol. II):
Diverse Christian Practices of
Restorative Justice and Peacemaking.

Elaine Enns and Ched Myers.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Dustin Hite.

In this second of a two volume work, Elaine Enns and Ched Myers, whose work with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries is well-known to some, offer those interested in issues of restorative justice, peacemaking, conflict resolution, and other disciplines some wise words of encouragement, as well as numerous examples of how many diverse people are working successfully in these areas.

This particular volume opens with a three-chapter sectioning laying some groundwork for the perspective from which Enns and Myers are operating in their own work.  For instance, chapter one deals with a short explication of the spiral of violence and how it is operative in the social world—an understanding that is crucial for one to grasp in order to move into the next two chapters.  In both chapter two and three, the authors begin to offer a critique of the segregated nature of the disciplines mentioned above, as well as developing a harmonized approach to their own view of restorative justice and peacemaking practices.  One highlight of this work, among the many, is chapter three.  Both Enns and Myers acknowledge how power dynamics are at play in any attempt to succeed in these matters.  In their own way, this chapter highlights how some in this field, especially those who belong to the dominant culture, fail to understand how power dynamics, and the acknowledgment thereof, can either help or hinder efforts.  It is this critique that may be most helpful to anyone—whether professionally engaged in this type of work or only so through personal interaction—as they seek to navigate themselves in an interdependent world.

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A Brief Review of
Ambassadors of Reconciliation:
New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice
and Peacemaking, Volume I
,
Ched Myers and Elaine Enns. 

Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.

Ched Myers’ new book, written with his wife Elaine Enns, is a two volume work on a Christian discipleship of restorative justice and peacemaking.  Volume one, reviewed briefly here, describes the New Testament basis for this work.  Volume two, due in  November 2009, will present testimonies from a variety of practitioners (i.e. disciples of Jesus) and outline the broader conceptual framework.  In the first volume Myers and Enns provide a robust and provocative reading of four important passages from the New Testament that get beyond the typical prooftexts on this topic, and demonstrate the central place of restorative justice and peacemaking in the biblical view of discipleship.  These passages are well chosen (in order of treatment they are 1 Cor 5:16-6:13, Mark 1-3, Matthew 18, and the entire book of Ephesians!) and the exegesis is typical of Myers’ previous works in being illuminating, provocative and compelling.  Myers wants to show that Jesus and the apostles were “visionary peacemakers” and “peace disturbers”.  He utilizes the history of the civil rights movement as embodied in the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King to makes this aspect of the New Testament “come alive.”  This will be perhaps a controversal tack for some, and yet Myers clearly indicates that he is not saying that Jesus was merely doing the same thing as Dr. King, nor that Dr. King was a reincarnate Messiah.  However, utilizing our familiarity with King can help North Americans grasp a central aspect of Jesus’s ministry that often goes unnoticed by both liberals and conservatives. Namely, Myers wants to explicate nonviolent direct action (NVDA) as a central part of the gospel message.  The value in this volume is found in the biblical argumentation for this thesis (especially valuable in Myers’ work on the epistles), the clear presentation of the biblical foundations and theological rationale underlying the civil rights movement, and the persuasive argument for a discipleship that all of us should take more seriously.