Archives For Rwanda


A Brief Review of

Emmanuel Kolini: The Unlikely Archbishop of Rwanda.
Mary Weeks Millard.

Paperback: Authentic Media, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

I would have to ashamedly admit that I’ve not read too many biographies over the course of my life.  I’m not really sure why that is.  I love hearing the stories of others’ lives, it just seems I’ve always found other things I’d rather be reading.

This very simply written story of the life of the present day archbishop of Rwanda absolutely captivated me (I read it in an evening).  I suppose part of that might be because of my interest in the events of the Rwandan genocide and the present-day restoration and reconciliation that is taking place there (ed: Laretta reviewed Catherine Larson’s book As We Forgive earlier this year) and also because of my heart for the continent of Africa – the incredible beauty, resources and creativity displayed everywhere, but also its staggering history of abuse and violence and sorrow.

As we follow the events of his life, we are given an incredible picture of life in Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda in this past century.  His story is one of incredible hope, perseverance and commitment to His Creator.  His life is a call to the church of Jesus Christ – a call to love and care and live out the gospel.

What else can I say?  This was a great book and I highly recommend it!


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…