Everyone supports the idea of reconciliation, but too often calls for reconciliation fall short of uprooting systems of injustice, and thus fail to accomplish the work required to truly reconcile peoples and nations. Without addressing unjust systems, and the root causes of strife and oppression such "reconciliation" initiatives usually favor the rich and powerful while depriving the powerless of justice and dignity. The result, according to theologian-activists Boesak and DeYoung, is "political pietism." And when Christians refuse to name this situation for what it is, they practice "Christian quietism."
True reconciliation, these authors argue, must be truly radical. Together Boesak and DeYoung offer a vision of reconciliation and social justice grounded in the biblical story and their own experiences of social engagement.
After examining the meaning of reconciliation in the biblical context, they examine Jesus's 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, including the challenging model of Bishop Desmond Tutu and his contributions to the Truth and Reconciliation commission in post-apartheid South Africa.
Allan Aubrey Boesak, a leading figure in the church struggle against apartheid in South Africa, is Extraordinary Professor of Public Theology at the Theological Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch. He has been appointed the first to hold the joint Desmond Tutue Chair of Peace, Global Justice, and Reconciliation Studies at Christian Theological Seminary and Butler University, Indianapolis, IN.
Curtis Paul DeYoung is professor of Reconciliation Studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. His many books include Living Faith: How Faith Inspires Social Justice, and (co-editor) The Peoples Bible.
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