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God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations Hardcover – May 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“His unofficial legacy will be his life and the story of how this tiny pastor with a huge laugh from South Africa became our global guardian.” (Time magazine)

“For decades [Tutu] has been a moral titan—a voice of principle, an unrelenting champion of justice, and a dedicated peacemaker ... an outspoken voice for freedom and justice in countries across the globe; a staunch defender of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons ...” (President Barack Obama)

“An ideal calling card for this magnificent apostle of peace and fellowship. The selections span four decades of Tutu’s advocacy for tolerance, justice, and forgiveness.” (Booklist)

From the Back Cover

In this essential collection of Desmond Tutu’s most historicand controversial speeches and writings, we witness hisunique career of provoking the powerful and confronting theworld in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and othervictims of injustice.

Renowned first for his courageous opposition to apartheidin South Africa, he and his ministry soon took on internationaldimensions. Rooted in his faith and in the values embodiedin the African spirit of ubuntu, Tutu’s uncompromisingvision of a shared humanity has compelled him to speakout, even in the face of violent opposition and virulent criticism,against political injustice and oppression, religiousfundamentalism, and the persecution of minorities.

Arranged by theme and introduced with insight andhistorical context by Tutu’s biographer, John Allen, thiscollection takes readers from the violent apartheid clashesin South Africa to the healing work of the Truth andReconciliation Committee; from Trafalgar Square after thefall of the Berlin Wall to a national broadcast commemoratingthe legacy of Nelson Mandela; from Ireland’s Christ ChurchCathedral in Dublin to a basketball stadium in Luanda,Angola. Whether exploring democracy in Africa, the genocidein Rwanda, black theology, the inclusion of gays andlesbians in the church, or the plight of Palestinians, Tutu’smessage of truth is clear and his voice unflinching.

In a world of suffering and conflict, where human laws alltoo often clash with God’s law, Tutu’s hopeful, timeless messagesbecome increasingly necessary and powerful with eachpassing year—and are needed now more than ever.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061874620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061874628
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Desmond Mpilo Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and was only the second black person ever to receive it. In 1986 he was elected archbishop of Cape Town, the highest position in the Anglican Church in South Africa. In 1994, after the end of apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela, Tutu was appointed as chair of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate apartheid-era crimes. His policy of forgiveness and reconciliation has become an international example of conflict resolution, and a trusted method of postconflict reconstruction. He is currently the chair of The Elders, where he gives vocal defense of human rights and campaigns for the oppressed.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Tutu is a truly inspiring man of faith for the postmodern world. You may not agree with everything he says, but you can't easily dismiss him either, knowing the actions that lie behind his words. Including only excerpts makes the book much more accessible and readable than a comprehensive volume would, and the editor does an excellent job of providing the context that gives Tutu's words their real power. The first chapter addresses the "God is not a Christian" issue, and is beautifully balanced with the rest of the book, in which Tutu demonstrates his clearly Christian approach to facing injustice throughout his life.
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Desmond Tutu's insight into the value of all humanity is centered in his profound understanding of the holy text of all major religions. With great zeal and sound knowledge of God's word found in these sacred books, he reminds us that we are all children of God and that in all religion writings God commands us to live compassionately toward the oppressed, whether we are Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, or Buddist, or otherwise. We are therefor bound to do good toward one another, and not to harm one another, no matter what other religious or lifestyle differences we may face. As in all of his writings his brilliance shines like light in the dark.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thought provoking! Religious zealots will definitely have a field day with this book. Reverend Tutu is not shy about speaking his mind especially when the subject involves people who are being treated injustly for any reason. His writings ask us to consider the meaning of being a true believer in God, or whatever the name of our higher power is.
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Format: Hardcover
God Is Not a Christian contains exerts from speeches and letters that Archbishop Tutu wrote on issues surrounding human rights over many years. Tutu's voice is consistently in support of the widow, the orphan and the alien - the one who is despised by society for being different. He consistently opposes those who use their power for personal gain instead of uplifting society as a whole in order to make God's reign manifest on earth. He speaks clearly as a messenger from his Anglican community, basing his comments on his faith. His message is strong and essential.

My only disappointment with this volume is that the entire writings were not included. This may have been for many reasons, but I am always left to wonder if whoever edited the documents did so to avoid contradictions that may have appeared in the original words. This is a relatively small issue in relation to the power of Tutu's words and message, but it did detract from the power of an otherwise impressive book.
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Format: Hardcover
For over a generation Desmond Tutu has been one of the most influential voices speaking for reform on behalf of those who would otherwise be silenced. John Allen's knowledge of Tutu, especially from his experience as his biographer, and editorial expertise, enabled him to craft a diverse collection of Tutu's work in a single book. God is Not a Christian is comprised of "a disparate range of material: off-the-cuff interventions, answers to journalists' questions, letters, and both abbreviated and lengthy excerpts from speeches, sermons, and other writings" (p.xv). Allen arranged these materials into four parts

1: Advocate of Tolerance and Respect, 2: International Campaigner for Justice, 3: Voice of South Africa's Voiceless, and 4: South Africa's Conscience), each with multiple chapters. Every item includes a brief introduction that provides the reader with background information about its original usage.

Tutu's words are practical, powerful, and provocative. Tutu argues rather convincingly, based in large part on the equality of persons who have all been created in God's image, for Christian leadership in global human rights issues by humble servant leaders. In sharing pieces of his own life story and understanding of God's preferential option for the poor, Tutu's texts serve as invitations to the whole body of Christ and the global human family to continue pressing forward in seeking justice and human rights for all people.
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I was bothered by the "snippet" approach--lots of short quotes. Would rather his ideas be presented with more depth. More.
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Desmond Tutu is such an amazing person and his perspective on issues ranging from Rwanda, Black Theology, Palestine, LGBT, and general reconciliation is beautiful and so refreshing in an era of accusations, partisanship, and intolerance. Good collection of his writings, although some are brief (one paragraph) excerpts; but they are well organized and good introductions to provide context.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tutu is a force of nature. I had the opportunity to hear him in person, and am convinced he's a saint on earth. This book traces his philosophies through many encounters and situations. What I don't like about it is that the entire book is a compilation of excerpts of papers he's written and speeches he's given. I'd rather they'd chosen fewer items and left them in their entirety.
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