The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2021
Reparations: A Christian Call
for Repentance and Repair
Duke Kwon / Gregory Thompson
Hardback: Brazos, 2021
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As an argument for the church’s participation in the work of repair, Reparations is compelling. The authors root their vision so thoroughly in Scripture that by the time we approach the end of the book and the more practical elements of repair, the invitation feels natural. Of course this is what the church is meant to be about! Equally important is how Kwon and Thompson refuse to reduce this important conversation to money: Who gets paid? How much? Who pays? By excavating the cultural nature of white supremacist racism, they successfully show the widespread, generational, and material impact of this systemic sin. Rooted in Christian identity, this clear-eyed telling of history shifts reparations from a radical impossibility to a reasonable responsibility.
So, how would a church actually go about the work of repair? Rather than suggesting a roadmap or a list of steps, Reparations ends with spiritual commitments and practices of repair. It’s easy to imagine a local church gathered around these last pages, asking themselves what it might look like to grow into a community engaged in repair. Questions of material compensation – money! – would certainly come up in these conversations, but not aside from wider questions of formation and maturity. To truly do the work of repair, a church, particularly a white church which is only now waking up to the generations of theft inflicted upon our Black sisters and brothers, must first become a people of repair.
- from our review by David W. Swanson,
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*** WATCH the trailer video for this book …