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Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism

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This book calls for reconciliation in society that is radical, that goes to the roots. Too many initiatives for reconciliation, fail to remove the weeds of injustice at the roots, and thus stop short of completing the work required. Such political arrangements usually favor the rich and powerful, but deprive the powerless of justice and dignity. This is a form of "politica This book calls for reconciliation in society that is radical, that goes to the roots. Too many initiatives for reconciliation, fail to remove the weeds of injustice at the roots, and thus stop short of completing the work required. Such political arrangements usually favor the rich and powerful, but deprive the powerless of justice and dignity. This is a form of "political pietism," and when Christians refuse to name this situation for what it is, they are practicing "Christian quietism." True reconciliation is radical. In this book the authors a South African prominent in the struggle against apartheid, and a white U.S. theologian who has served in pastoral roles in multi-racial congregations offer a vision of reconciliation and social justice grounded in the biblical story and their own experience of activism. After re-examining the meaning of reconciliation in the biblical context, the authors examine Jesus' role as a radical reconciler and prophet of social justice. They go on to examine the role of reconciliation in religious communities and in the wider society.


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This book calls for reconciliation in society that is radical, that goes to the roots. Too many initiatives for reconciliation, fail to remove the weeds of injustice at the roots, and thus stop short of completing the work required. Such political arrangements usually favor the rich and powerful, but deprive the powerless of justice and dignity. This is a form of "politica This book calls for reconciliation in society that is radical, that goes to the roots. Too many initiatives for reconciliation, fail to remove the weeds of injustice at the roots, and thus stop short of completing the work required. Such political arrangements usually favor the rich and powerful, but deprive the powerless of justice and dignity. This is a form of "political pietism," and when Christians refuse to name this situation for what it is, they are practicing "Christian quietism." True reconciliation is radical. In this book the authors a South African prominent in the struggle against apartheid, and a white U.S. theologian who has served in pastoral roles in multi-racial congregations offer a vision of reconciliation and social justice grounded in the biblical story and their own experience of activism. After re-examining the meaning of reconciliation in the biblical context, the authors examine Jesus' role as a radical reconciler and prophet of social justice. They go on to examine the role of reconciliation in religious communities and in the wider society.

30 review for Radical Reconciliation: Beyond Political Pietism and Christian Quietism

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    A little more than midway through this short but intense examination of reconciliation in the Bible and in contemporary South Africa and American Christian churches, I had an epiphany. Boesak writes that for true reconciliation to take place, wealthy empowered people must step into the place of poor, marginalized people. Sure, I am not a millionaire, but compared to most people alive today, I am very wealthy and powerful by virtue of being a middle-class American. That means I have to go lower a A little more than midway through this short but intense examination of reconciliation in the Bible and in contemporary South Africa and American Christian churches, I had an epiphany. Boesak writes that for true reconciliation to take place, wealthy empowered people must step into the place of poor, marginalized people. Sure, I am not a millionaire, but compared to most people alive today, I am very wealthy and powerful by virtue of being a middle-class American. That means I have to go lower and deeper, and not only me, but all of us middle class Americans. Call to conversion, anyone?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie Jones

    This book was really great. It was a bit difficult to understand at times, but I did get a lot from it. Here are some of the quotes and ideas that stood out to me the most. Reconciliation is radical because it is biblical. Reconciliation is often understood today as assimilation, appeasement, a passive peace, a unity without cost, and maintaining power with only cosmetic changes. Reconciliation requires more than leaving places of power for periodic visits to communities of oppressed people. Reco This book was really great. It was a bit difficult to understand at times, but I did get a lot from it. Here are some of the quotes and ideas that stood out to me the most. Reconciliation is radical because it is biblical. Reconciliation is often understood today as assimilation, appeasement, a passive peace, a unity without cost, and maintaining power with only cosmetic changes. Reconciliation requires more than leaving places of power for periodic visits to communities of oppressed people. Reconciliation is often assumed to mean white institutions adding or including persons of color but never transforming the central identity from white and male to a truly inclusive human identity. Sympathy is not solidarity. Crying “shame“ is not solidarity. Complaining behind the safety of four walls in the locked door is not solidarity Solidarity means understanding that what is at stake is not just the lives or deaths of those who are crucified day by day. At stake is the dying of our soul. As time went on colonization was racialized and so was the image of Jesus. A white European colonial image of Jesus was constructed, owned, and manipulated by empires for domination Reconciliation can not be shallow (Self-justification= blaming the system, your job, your needs) Self-justification always stands in the way of true reconciliation: it mocks the wronged, nullifies repentance, and trivializes forgiveness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Incredibly eye-opening, it was great to get a perspective on racial issues and colonization from outside the United States. The Church is called to justice and anything less is an incomplete understanding of the Gospel. I really liked the stories of Zacchaeus and Rizpah. Specifically, Zacchaeus' story is a great demonstration of how reparations and repentance is important to correct injustice and create reconciliation. One cannot move forward if both parties are still unequal. You cannot have re Incredibly eye-opening, it was great to get a perspective on racial issues and colonization from outside the United States. The Church is called to justice and anything less is an incomplete understanding of the Gospel. I really liked the stories of Zacchaeus and Rizpah. Specifically, Zacchaeus' story is a great demonstration of how reparations and repentance is important to correct injustice and create reconciliation. One cannot move forward if both parties are still unequal. You cannot have reconciliation if you continue to oppress and exploit your brother. Another great point that was made was about multicultural and diverse churches. Is your Church only diverse in demographics and still expects members to assimilate to white culture? Are there people of color on leadership boards? Are there women?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Annah

    What Christian social justice should look like, as opposed to sanitized, nervous, or too-strategic political or religious "reconciliation." I docked a star because I think these men are good enough writers to have tightened up some of the chapters to be far more concise; the over-explaining dulled the punch. The two authors switch off writing alternate chapters, which I found to be a neat practice of the preaching. I'm a fan.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    Recommendation from I’m still here

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mu-tien Chiou

    The following paragraphs is roughly adopted from Amazon review Boesak called Dutch Calvinists, French Huguenots, Scottish Presbyterians and Swiss missionaries “the most ardent disseminators of the Calvinist racial heresy,” he is not offering us a hyperbole, for “the God of the Reformed tradition was the God of slavery, fear, persecution, and death.” (p.83) "Racism is an inevitable fruit of the Reformed tradition." (p.86) "If apartheid is Christian, take your Christianity and go to Hell."(p.131) " The following paragraphs is roughly adopted from Amazon review Boesak called Dutch Calvinists, French Huguenots, Scottish Presbyterians and Swiss missionaries “the most ardent disseminators of the Calvinist racial heresy,” he is not offering us a hyperbole, for “the God of the Reformed tradition was the God of slavery, fear, persecution, and death.” (p.83) "Racism is an inevitable fruit of the Reformed tradition." (p.86) "If apartheid is Christian, take your Christianity and go to Hell."(p.131) "The whole human race is united by a sacred bond of fellowship." (p.90) "Ethnicity is inseparable from racism, however subtle it may be."(p.116) Universal Blacks =Israel in Egyptian bondage, subject to slavery ever since their first contact with White Christians, so "let my people go." But his "Let my people go" is in fact "let my people in." He demands that whites actively open up their communal, familial, and national borders "to redistribute the wealth of the country"(p.119) and for access to White women (p.133). The historic sociological doctrines of European Christendom marks the old heroes of the faith as Blasphemers and Heretics while the true faith is declared a distinctly Unitarian/ Marxist/ African Christianity! Whether or not the white Pigs were comfortable with letting this very pushy and self-righteous black wolf into their homes wouldn't matter because the Wolf had gained the political wind to blow down the Pigs' poorly made ideological house of liberty, equality, and charity.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Amazing book by two scholars and practitioners of reconciliation. One is white from US and the other black from South Africa. They challenge the dominant positions of pitiful pietism and Christian quietism. True reconciliation is radical and changes societal structures. My favorite section was on prophets and particularly Jeremiah Wright

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin Grasse

    This book will break your heart in the most wonderful way possible.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samuel McCann

  10. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet Evans

  13. 5 out of 5

    Alastair Mccollum

    An excellent and thought provoking challenge to the Church to consider it's colonial, imperial heritage and how the assumptions, often unquestioned, which are fostered by such a heritage cause a breakdown in being the reconciled, justice focussed, Christ-centred community to which are called.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phil Quinn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bev Parker

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brett Stuvland

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jakob Topper

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jada Johnson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Madison Sartor

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Essex-White

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ab

  24. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Foltz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacquie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Johnsrud

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jyarland Daniels

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sly Samudre

  30. 4 out of 5

    Spencer Hathcock

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