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« Abstinence: realistic or unrealistic? | Main | A Predator Plays with Its Prey »

February 17, 2009

’As We Forgive’ on the Road

Catherine Andy Emmanuel Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making, interviewed Emmanuel Katongole, the co-director of Duke’s Center for Reconciliation, and me at last week’s National Pastors Convention in San Diego. Later that day, after a screening of the documentary film As We Forgive, director Laura Waters Hinson and World Relief President Don Golden joined Crouch, Katongole and me for another panel discussion.

I really appreciated the deep questions Emmanuel Katongole raised during both interviews. He is a deep thinker and it is evident that raising the tough questions is part of his forte.

I read Katongole’s deeply engaging Mirror to the Church on the plane ride home. I highly recommend it. In it, he pushes the reader to face facts squarely and to realize that the reason that many Christians in Rwanda failed to protect their fellow man in the 1994 genocide was that the stories of their culture had a deeper grip on them the reality of their faith. Katongole raises this reality up like a mirror to the West. He asks us to consider what stories in the West have a deeper grip on us? Where in our experience, he asks, does the blood of tribalism run deeper than the waters of baptism? If you think of tribalism not in its common association, but in almost a metaphorical sense, you begin to see how profound his question is.

It was also a great pleasure to meet Andy Crouch. His encouragement concerning my book meant so much to me. He shared in front of the convention crowd that the book brought him to tears as he read it in Starbucks. And he shared with me privately how much he appreciated the artistry of the book. That was rich encouragement to someone who has labored long and hard in the crafting of this book. If you haven’t read Andy’s Culture Making, it is an absolute must-read. It recently won top honors in Christianity Today’s 2009 book awards, along with another book by Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice called Reconciling All Things.

Speaking of encouragement, my interview the week before last with New Testament professor Reggie Kidd over at Common Grounds Online certainly buoyed my spirits. Here’s just a snippet from that interview. Reggie Kidd writes, “When I pick up an ‘issues’ book, I don’t have high literary expectations for it. Because I know you and your love for words I wasn’t terribly surprised, but I was nonetheless delighted, at the lyrical hand you brought to this work. Page after page of my copy is marked with phrases I simply wanted to hold onto ...” You can read the rest of the interview here.

Earlier that week Tim McConnell also reviewed As We Forgive. He writes: “What struck me in reading was the fundamental truth that forgiveness is unnatural; forgiveness cannot naturally follow what these victims endured. It is not natural for a girl who has been mauled, raped, and left for dead to grow to offer forgiveness to her terrorizers. It is not natural for a boy who watched his father and family killed by neighbors he knew to turn to them with grace and favor. Forgiveness is an intervention. It is some sort of divine intervention that must enter from another plane of existence.” You can read the rest of this review here.

(Originally posted on www.asweforgivebook.com)

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Comments

Mary DeMuth

Congratulations on getting the buzz out, but more importantly, sharing the message of forgiveness. I look forward to reading the book.

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