Archives For Reconciliation


Embracing the Spirit of God
that Rests in us All

A Review of

Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World
Leroy Barber

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Leroy Seat
For many years one of my favorite images of Jesus, and of Jesus-followers, is that of him welcoming us with open arms. After reading Leroy Barber’s new book, I realized that I needed a more dynamic image. Not only does Jesus stand with open arms, he also moves to embrace all who come to him. We followers of Jesus should be willing to do the same.

Barber, an African-American man who grew up in Philadelphia but who now, after several years in Atlanta, lives in Portland, Oregon, has long served as a pastor and as a leader in several organizations ministering to people in need. He has spent his adult life of more than 30 years pursuing reconciliation and justice between diverse people and groups who have often been separated by fear and prejudice.

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One of this week’s best new book releases is: 

God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World

Leroy Barber

Paperback: IVP Books, 2016
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle – Pre-order ]

Watch the trailer for this great new book…

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Bringing About Lasting Change

A Feature Review of 

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness, and Justice
Brenda Salter McNeil

Hardback: IVP Books, 2016.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
Reviewed by Megan Fetter
Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil’s Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness, and Justice is a practical guide to how to go about the process of working toward reconciliation.  She states, “I’ve been calling people to reconciliation for a long time, but in some ways I’ve been remiss because I haven’t fully explained how to go about it.” McNeil shares the process of first discovering the need for reconciliation and then becoming deeply invested in building communities of justice.  She does this by sharing stories of her own 25 years of experience in the ministry of racial, ethnic, and gender reconciliation and the experiences of people she has come into contact with through her consulting work.

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Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice

By Brenda Salter McNeil

Read a review by Scot McKnight


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Fred Bahnson responds...Our new print issue features two reviews of

Making Peace with the Land: God’s Call to Reconcile with Creation.

(Resources for Reconciliation Series)

Norman Wirzba and Fred Bahnson.

Paperback: IVP, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Chris Smith’s appreciative review is available only in the print magazine.
Brent Aldrich’s semi-critical review (click here to read – PDF) challenges us with the question of how our eschatology shapes the ways in which we pursue reconciliation with the land.

We gave Fred Bahnson the opportunity to respond to Aldrich’s review and he was kind enough to do so…

In response to Brent Aldrich’s review of our book Making Peace With the Land, I wish to clarify what I believe are some fundamental misunderstandings and elisions on the part of the reviewer.

Mr. Aldrich’s main bone to pick, it seems to me, is his claim that our book exhibits an “overly-ruralized eschatology.” I think this is a mistaken accusation. First of all, the examples I wrote about were explicitly chosen to show how we might reconcile with the land in variety of places, both rural and urban. From the deserts of the Sahel to church gardens to a suburban farm (ECHO, just North of Ft. Lauderdale) to inner city Curitiba, a city of 2.1 million people, I tried to present the full spectrum of possibilities even in such a short book.

Despite the wide spectrum presented, Mr. Aldrich accuses us of a rural bias, which he dismissively calls “pastoral,” bemoaning that we don’t give enough attention to cities. If a city of 2.1 million people isn’t urban enough for him, then there’s not much I can say about that. But regardless, he is correct to say that we do focus more on making peace with rural land rather than urban land, and that’s not so much a bias as it is a declaration of an ecological reality: cities depend on the countryside much more than the other way around.

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“Building Interfaith Bridges

A review of
Allah: A Christian Response.
by Miroslav Volf.

Review by Bob Cornwall.

ALLAH by Miroslav VolfAllah: A Christian Response.
Miroslav Volf.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2011.
Buy now: [ ] [ Amazon – Kindle ]

[This review originally appeared on the reviewer’s blog
and is reprinted here with permission.]

Do Christians and Muslims worship a common God?  In the opinion of many Muslims and Christians the answer to this question is a rather simple and stark no.  Muslims might point to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity as proof that Christians worship a divinity far different from the one described by their strict monotheism.  Christians might respond in quite the same way, suggesting that the fact that Muslims don’t accept the Trinity is proof that Allah isn’t the same as the God they worship.  Others might suggest that while the Christian God is a God of love, Muslims serve a violent, wrathful, and vengeful God.  In response to these claims, there would be counterclaims, of course.  The question, however, is an important one because Christianity and Islam claim the allegiance of more than half the world’s population and adherents of these two faiths find themselves in conflicts around the globe.

There is no question that there are differences between the Christian and Islamic faiths, differences that include but go beyond the doctrine of the Trinity, but according to Miroslav Volf, a Yale theology professor who has been in active conversation with Muslims, there are also significant commonalities.  In his view, these commonalities can provide an important foundation for conversations that could help build bridges between the two faith communities.

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“Dance, Rise, Chew, and Swallow

A review of
Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ

By Marcia W. Mount Shoop

Reviewed by Angela Adams.

Let the Bones Dance:
Embodiment and the Body of Christ

Marcia Mount Shoop.
Paperback: WJK Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Let the Bones Dance - Marcia Mount Shoop.Let the Bones Dance is based on Marcia Mount Shoop’s premise that the body is ignored in and exiled from Reformed spiritual experience because “the body is a liability, a conspirator in our fallenness” (2). As an overweight woman over 30 struggling with infertility, the idea of the body as liability is nothing new to me. More often than not –in social situations, in the business world, at baby showers – I try my damnedest to prove my worth based on the value of my intellect, my acerbic wit, and my spirit; that is, I try to convince myself and the world to ignore all of this extra flesh. Frankly, I’ve taken some comfort in the fact that church has been the one place where I can check my body at the door. And now Shoop’s gone and screwed up my coping mechanism.

See, Shoop sees it as a problem, a dis-ease, that within church walls we usually relate to our bodies in terms of pain and disease that need healing or weaknesses and lusts we need deliverance from, forgetting that Christ came to us complete with vertebrae, hunger pains, and feet that were probably desperately in need of a good pedicure with all the walking and dirt and dust. Shoop believes this dis-ease does none of us any favors because it cements our own negative opinions of our bodies and prohibits us from healing.

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RECONCILING ALL THINGS - Rice / KatongoleWe are giving away two copies of the wonderful book Reconciling All Things by Chris Rice and Emmanuel Katongole (IVP Books 2009). 
[ Read our review … ]

[ Click here to read the full rules
and to enter to win!

The contest will end at 12PM ET on Wednesday July 28th.


ERB editor Chris Smith and frequent ERB contributor Ragan Sutterfield were a part of a seminar group at Duke Divinity School’s recent Summer Institute that penned a Christian response to the BP oil spill.

You can read the text of this response below…

After you have read this statement, please:


“Uncompromising Reconciliation and Resistance”

A Review of

Writings on Reconciliation and Resistance.
Will Campbell.
Paperback: Cascade Books, 2010.
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Stephen Lawson.

Will Campbell - Reconciliation and ResistancePartisanship seems to be on the rise these days. In Washington, talk of health care reform has brought out the dark side of our public discourse. Politicians and pundits on both sides heave verbal stones at one another. The result is a political slight of hand. The comparison of each party’s institutional self conception is left to the wayside and we are left with banal laments about the loss of civility in public discourse. This partisanship has crept in to our churches time and again. Churches maintain their pristine institutions by demonizing the ‘other.’ Whether the ‘other’ is the avowed liberal socialist or the red-state hillbilly it really makes no difference. We find our identity by saying who is in and who is out.

It is in a situation such as this that a voice like Will Campbell’s needs to be heard. Will Campbell is a prophet of a different kind of Christianity, one marked by uncompromising reconciliation and resistance. For Campbell, Christ has already reconciled everything. If Christ has really reconciled everything, then this means not only that he has reconciled the marginalized blacks in the American South, but also that he has reconciled the most stanch racists and Ku Klux Klaners. If we believe in Christ’s work of reconciliation, then we know that there is nothing that we do, there is only something we can be. There are not programs or institutions that will bring about reconciliation, but only unrestrained friendships and offering of ourselves. This is summed up in Campbell’s memorable summation of the gospel in eight words (two fewer than he was allotted): “We’re all bastards, but God loves us anyway” (8). It is this unwillingness to recognize anything other than our universal sinfulness and the universal reconciliation offered through Christ that has resulted in Campbell’s prophetic stance. He was friends with Dr. King and with Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan. His refusal to acquiesce to the divisive labels that divide people whom Christ has already reconciled serves as a witness to us.

At the same time, Campbell offered a powerful resistance to institutions; be they exemplified in churches, governments, or universities. All of these institutions go about trying to do the work that Christ has already done, and they imprison people in their work of institutional self-preservation. For Campbell, this means that the fundamentalist, sectarian, serpent-handling church is closer to the truth of the gospel than the well-off socially acceptable and quiescent mainline churches.

Campbell is truly a prophet. As such, he doesn’t fit into our ideological labels of left and right. He seems to be an enigma, a contradiction. But for him this is not contradiction. “Thus my seeming contradictions, in a life which has spanned almost 70 years, reflect an effort to survive as a human being, free of other archies which inevitably define a channel in which its adherents must swim or be excluded, and which, by nature, are enslaving, for they claim ultimate allegiance” (63).

This collection of various short (and often unpublished or hard to find) excerpts from Campbell’s extensive writings serves to give the reader a broad-sweeping introduction to Campbell’s unique and uncompromising witness. They are arranged in topical order, which is very helpful in getting to the core of Campbell’s thought.

One negative about this collection is that it bears the markings of being over-edited. In effort to keep the excerpts short, I feel that Goode has often cut too much out. However, the overabundance of ellipses should not detract the potential reader from checking into this important and challenging book.

More books by Will Campbell from :

12688: Brother to a Dragonfly, 25th Anniversary Edition Brother to a Dragonfly, 25th Anniversary Edition

By Will D. Campbell / Continuum International

(PUBContinuum)”For a generation of Southern Baptist seminarians this book has functioned as a rite of passage. Ministerial candidates seeking liberation from the suburban captivity of the church have found in this classic American autobiography a compelling narrative of moral conversion,”—Church History. 288 pages, softcover.

44492: The Stem of Jesse: The Costs of Community at a 1960s Southern School The Stem of Jesse: The Costs of Community at a 1960s Southern School

By Will D. Campbell / Mercer Press

$2.99 !!!

The Stem of Jesse is about the ironies of history, the ambiguities of even the best-intentioned of human actions, the complicity of all human beings in the histories of their respective societies, and crucial roles of repentance and forgiveness in the health of any society.

460841: The Convention: A Parable The Convention: A Parable

By Will Campbell / Mercer Press


Organized religion has become more fractured in recent years. The faithful within traditional denominations have divided into warring camps. But how does all this look and sound to outsiders? Indefatigable Will Campbell puts a mirror up to our souls in this riveting parable of a fictional Baptist convention. 416 pages, softcover. Mercer University.

12300: Soul Among Lions Soul Among Lions

$0.99 !!!

By Will Campbell / Westminster John Knox Press

A collection of thirty meditations challenging readers toward a more conscientious faith. Campbell combines scripture and homespun humor with a deceptive naivete to indict the hypocritical and the self-righteous, striking to the core of such issues as the death penalty, race relations, religious pluralism, and flag burning. Illustrations by award-winning artist Jim Hsieh.