Archives For Reconciliation


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.


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.

Continue Reading…


God’s Artisans of Reconciliation

A Review of
The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity.

by Curtiss DeYoung.

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall.

This review originally appeared on Bob’s blog:
It is reprinted here with the reviewer’s permission.

The Bible’s Message in an Age of Diversity.

by Curtiss DeYoung.

Paperback: Judson Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Curtiss DeYoung - Coming TogetherYou undoubtedly know the old adage: “11:00 on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week.”  Diversity is something Christians talk a lot about, and yet we seem to find it difficult to cross the ethnic, social, gender, racial, color, economic boundaries.  Often we seem oblivious to the obstacles we place before people seeking to come into the community of faith.  One question might be why this is the case, and another concerns what might be done.  Curtiss Paul DeYoung,  a White male from the United States of America teaching at an evangelical university in Minnesota, seeks to engage these questions by offering the church a biblical theology of diversity.

Coming Together in the 21st Century first appeared in 1995, but much has occurred in the past fifteen years, and thus a newly revised edition has been released.  Since I’ve not read the original, I’m not always sure what is new and what remains of the original – though there are chapters, such as the roundtable featuring Brenda Salter McNeil, Richard Twiss, Jean Zaru, and Allan Aubrey Boesek, that has been added to this edition.

What is important to note is that this is a biblical theology of diversity that emerges from an evangelical setting.  This is seen in part with assumptions of Pauline authorship of Ephesians and the Pastorals.  That said, this is anything but a traditional reading of scripture.  And while not standing at the center of the conversation, DeYoung does broach the issue of inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered.  The very fact that he, as an evangelical, is willing to raise the issue is a good sign that the conversation about diversity is broadening, and difficult questions that we’ve tried to evade are now on the table.  The same is true of the brief, but important, conversation about disability.

Continue Reading…


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.


A Brief Review of A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
By Naim Ateek.

Reviewed by R. Dean Hudgens.

A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation.
Ateek, Naim S.

Foreword by Abp. Desmond Tutu.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2008.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $20 ]  [ Amazon ]

     Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and an Arab citizen of Israel, is the founder, president and director of Sabeel, an ecumenical theological center in Jerusalem dedicated to working for the liberation of Palestinians.  In this book he presents a vision for nonviolent Christian engagement in what is perhaps the most central conflict bottlenecking the cause of peace in the Middle East.

     The Israeli occupation of Palestine has created a culture of violence that has dehumanized and oppressed both Israelis and Palestinians.  The violent resistance to occupation on the part of some Palestinians has only made the situation more tragic and hopeless.  Is there any legitimate hope that the twenty-first century will be any less violent than the blood-soaked twentieth?  Will public opinion at some point in the future put greater pressure on governments to limit their lust for war and to pursue peaceful means for the resolution of conflicts?    Ateek’s book is a plea for a nonviolent Palestinian intifada.  Christians contribute to this peacemaking by returning to the revolutionary politics of Jesus, who taught that evil can be resisted without violence.

     After a brief review of the history of the conflict, Ateek addresses  the central section of his book to the exposition of a nonviolent Palestinian theology of liberation.  He asserts that the conflict in the Middle East is rooted in disputes about land and exclusive theologies of land.  Forms of Christian Zionism (e.g., politically engaged dispensationalism) reinforce this exclusivity.  Ateek lifts up Jonah as the first Palestinian liberation theologian who condemns restrictive, nationalistic theologies.  It is crucial to oppose expressions of Christian Zionism as an oppressive heresy exacerbating this conflict.  Attek writes that “The God whom we have come to know in Jesus Christ is not the God of Armageddon but the God of Golgotha” (91).

     Getting to the roots of the conflict and its development is foundational.  Justice is the key component.  The illegal Israeli occupation must come to an end and Palestinian violence must cease.  International law must be implemented and Israel must recognize Palestinian rights and make restitution for its offenses.  Ateek proposes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a necessary step in creating accountability and reconciling the conflicting narratives.

     Ateek’s critique of Israeli policy is stringent and unrelenting, yet he does not spare his Palestinian kindred and the futility of resistance based upon anger, hatred, and violent resistance.  Ateek is not content to concede political engagement to the “realists” nor to proclaim a passive gospel that remains disengaged from the conflict.  He proposes that the only hope for the world (and for the renewal of the church) is to proclaim the nonviolent gospel of Jesus in the public square, and to live it out in the market place, the traffic intersections, the courtrooms, and the legislatures.  It is morally and spiritually incumbent upon Christians around the world to join him in this mission.


We’re again going to split the podcast into two segments.  The first segment will be a news alamanac and the second will feature an excerpt from the audio archives of Doulos Christou Books.

Overview of Segment #1 – News Almanac

  • 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide
  • Holy week
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem: “Easter Communion”
  • New Books to Watch for
  • Upcoming Events


Other books mentioned:

  • Catherine Larson: As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda
  • Can Poetry Save the Earth?  A Field Guide to Nature Poems
  • Will Samson: Enough: Contentment in An Age of Excess
  • Lisa Samson: The Passion of Mary Margaret (A Novel)
  • Walter Brueggemann: Divine Presence Amid Violence

    Learning to Live By a New Imagination

    A Review of
    Two New Books on Reconciliation
    by Emmanuel Katongole.

    By Chris Smith.

    Reconciling All Things:
    A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing.

    Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice.

    Paperback: IVP Books, 2008.
    Buy now:   [ Doulos Christou Books  $12 ]   [ Amazon ]

    Mirror to the Church:
    Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda
    Emmanuel Katongole.

    Paperback: Zondervan, 2009.
    Buy now:   [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ]   [ Amazon ]


    Having never read anything by Emmanuel Katongole, Ugandan priest and professor of theology and World Christianity at Duke University, but having heard him praised numerous times by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and others, I was excited to dive into two new books that he has written.  These books, Reconciling All Things: A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing (co-written with Chris Rice) and Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith After Genocide in Rwanda, are both deeply rooted in Katongole’s experiences in Africa and both offer the hope of reconciliation – even after the deepest and darkest of tragedies, such as the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in which 800,000 people were killed over a 100 day period.

               Reconciling All Things is the introductory book in the “Resources for Reconciliation” series from IVP Books (We reviewed the second book in this series Living Gently in a Violent World by Hauerwas and Vanier in Issue #2.1 ).  Chris Rice, Katongole’s co-author and co-founder of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School, is known for his work as part of Voice of Calvary, an inter-racial Christian community in Mississippi that was founded by John Perkins.  This book begins with both authors describing their experiences that have led them to be especially interested in the pursuit of reconciliation.  In short, Reconciling All Things makes a striking case that reconciliation is at the heart of the Gospel.  Katongole and Rice argue convincingly that reconciliation is the end of the scriptural story toward which all history is moving.  Similarly, they depict reconciliation as a “journey with God,” an “adventure” in which we move through the transformation from the old, fallen creation to a new redeemed one.  Continue Reading…


    The Hope of Forgiveness

    A Review of
    As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation From Rwanda.
    by Catherine Claire Larson.

    By Laretta Benjamin.


    As We Forgive:
    Stories of Reconciliation From Rwanda

    Catherine Claire Larson.

    Paperback: Zondervan, 2009.
    Buy now from:
    [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ] [ Amazon ]


    “Not only is another world possible, she is on her way.
    On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”    
    — Arundhati Roy

    “Through compassion we also sense the hope of forgiveness in our friend’s eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths.  When they kill, we know we could have done it; when they give life, we know we could do the same.  For a compassionate man nothing human is alien.”           — Henri Nouwen


    One of the most powerful kingdom-stories of our time is unfolding today in the small African country of Rwanda. Inspired by the documentary, “As We Forgive” –  produced by Laura Waters Hinson – Catherine Claire Larson built upon Laura Hinson’s research and has created a compelling book of the same name.  She gives us a powerful picture of what is taking place in Rwanda today, after the hellish events that took place there almost 15 years ago.

    As many of us will remember, in April of 1994, a genocide of incredible proportions began in the small nation of Rwanda.  Over a period of 100 days, it is estimated that 800,000 to 1 million Rwandans were brutally murdered, approximately 300,000 of whom were children.  Neighbors killed neighbors and those once known as friends slaughtered each other.  In the opening pages of As We Forgive, the author lays out before us the key events that led to this human tragedy.  Her very helpful timeline traces events back as far as 1885 to the days of the European powers and their control of much of Africa.  The seeds of tension and division were being planted even then.

    Ms. Larson writes with great truthfulness and emotion as she shares with us the events of the past few years in Rwanda’s little corner of the world.  This book’s story begins in 2003, when, because of prison overcrowding and with a desire to promote national reconciliation, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, ordered that “elderly, sick and low-level killers and looters from the 1994 genocide who had confessed their crimes” be released from the prisons.  As of January 2008, an estimated 70,000 prisoners had been set free – back into the communities and neighborhoods where the atrocities were committed – to live side-by-side with the people they had sinned against.    “If they told you that a murderer was to be released into your neighborhood, how would you feel?  But what if this time, they weren’t just releasing one, but forty thousand” (16)?  For many of us this question might be just a philosophical one for casual discussion, but for Rwandans, it is real.  They are being called upon to face the reality of what happened among them 15 years ago and look into the faces of those responsible for that reality.  They are being asked to embrace forgiveness, healing and wholeness – God’s shalom. It is a picture of the kingdom of God coming, a compelling display of the way of the cross.  This story is a real life drama of “overcoming evil with good” that is being called “one of the most closely watched experiments in forgiveness in our world today.”  As We Forgive  gives us a wonderful glimpse of the unfolding story.

    Continue Reading…