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Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda Paperback – January 28, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (January 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310284899
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310284895
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

We learn who we are as we walk together in the way of Jesus. So I want to invite you on a pilgrimage. Rwanda is often held up as a model of evangelization in Africa. Yet in 1994, beginning on the Thursday of Easter week, Christians killed other Christians, often in the same churches where they had worshiped together. The most Christianized country in Africa became the site of its worst genocide. With a mother who was a Hutu and a father who was a Tutsi, author Emmanuel Katongole is uniquely qualified to point out that the tragedy in Rwanda is also a mirror reflecting the deep brokenness of the church in the West. Rwanda brings us to a cry of lament on our knees where together we learn that we must interrupt these patterns of brokenness But Rwanda also brings us to a place of hope. Indeed, the only hope for our world after Rwanda’s genocide is a new kind of Christian identity for the global body of Christ—a people on pilgrimage together, a mixed group, bearing witness to a new identity made possible by the Gospel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Emmanuel M. Katongole is associate research professor of theology and world Christianity in the Divinity School at Duke University and the co-director of the Duke Center for Reconciliation. He is a Catholic priest of the Kampala Archdiocese, Uganda.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove is an associate minister at St. Johns Baptist Church. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, Jonathan is engaged in reconciliation efforts in Durham, North Carolina, directs the School for Conversion (newmonasticism.org), and is a sought-after speaker and author of several books. The Rutba House, where Jonathan lives with his wife, Leah, their son, JaiMichael, daughter, Nora Ann, and other friends, is a new monastic community that prays, eats, and lives together, welcoming neighbors and homeless. Find out more at jonathanwilsonhartgrove.com.

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Customer Reviews

I was shocked as I read this and wondered how this was possible myself.
With a cup of Tea
Running the risk of irritating or even offending some of the readers of this review, i would answer a resounding, "Yes!"
Jean-Paul A. HELDT
Lots of books offer insight on what really took place with the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Heuertz on March 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Honest. Accessible. Provocative. Challenging.

Katongole's newest book is thoughtfully organized and engaging. His reflections are an important and crucial contribution to the literature on the Rwandan genocide. His own story informs the way he translates what happened in 1994 with a deep investment that ensures an honest narration of the tragic events.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jean-Paul A. HELDT on February 24, 2010
Format: Paperback
TiTLE: From tragedy to redemption
KEYWORDS: genocide; Hutu; Tutsi; Rwanda; Christianity; church; forgiveness; reconciliation; body of Christ; betrayal; Easter 1994; confused identity!
FULL REFERENCE: Katongole, Emmanuel M. and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, "Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda." Zondervan, 2009.
In this relatively short and easy-to-read book (176 pp.), Katongole recalls the Rwanda tragedy that pitted the Hutus against the Tutsis beginning, of all times, on Maundy Thursday of Easter week in the year 1994. Ironically, Rwanda is considered to be the "most evangelized [and thus Christianized] country" in the entire continent of Africa. Within a span of 100 days, hard-line [and heartless] Hutus mercilessly killed some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus throughout Rwanda (pp. 30). Ironically, the killers were, for the most part, neighbors and fellow church members (pp. 30).

While the genocide forms the background for the entire book, Katongole is not dwelling on the massacre itself (except in Chapter 2, "What happened"). Instead, Katongole is more interested in analyzing and understanding the root causes of the conflict, going as far back as the colonial period and even earlier (See Chapter 3, "The story that made Rwanda"). The root cause of the Rwanda tragedy, argues Katongole, is not "tribalism," as widely reported by Western media in 1994 and beyond, but well nigh a case of "confused [and deliberately assigned] identities," in which the Christian church and colonial powers did play a considerable role.

Beyond Chapter 3, Katongole moves from the local tragedy in 1994 Rwanda to the wider scene of the Western world (i.e., Europe and esp.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By With a cup of Tea on June 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Did you know that Rwanda was one of the most Christianized nations in Africa? I didn't. I picked this book up because I was in kindergarten in '94 when the genocide occurred. I didn't get to see the news reports or watch the world drop the ball on the situation. Now, I am a theology student with time for some summer reading. I would recommend this book to any Christian wanting or needing a serious challenge (and from Katongole's book, I think we all need a serious challenge). Are we as Christians really making a difference in the world? Katongole is both a scholar and a serious Christian who asks some hard questions about how Rwandan Christians can begin Easter week on Sunday by celebrating the resurrection of Christ and be slaughtering their fellow church members in the churches where they worshiped together by Thursday. I was shocked as I read this and wondered how this was possible myself. Katongole, a native Ugandan with Rwandan parents, offers us some insight.

This is not a collection of graphic stories meant to shock your socks off. This is an analysis of spiritually potent stories that are about more than just Rwanda. Katongole's point is that the genocide in Rwanda has to do with the Church at large. I agree.

Also--what I liked most about the book--he does not just rant about the problem; he offers a solution. And his solution is no quick and easy fix--he isn't selling something. When reading the thesis he offers in the first couple of chapters, I thought, "Oh no, I hope he doesn't sit there and repeat himself for a-hundred more pages." He doesn't. Just when I thought I had a handle on what he was saying, it got better. He gives us a very real solution that has left me both challenged and prayerful. I have been challenged by this book to ask some hard and serious questions about what it means to be a Christian. Again, I would fully recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Emmanuel Katongole proposes a vision for the Rwandan church (and indeed the global church) for living in post-genocide Rwanda. Katongole notes that before the genocide, Rwanda, with a population that was said to be 85% Christian, was largely considered a "model of evanglization in Africa" by most missiologists. However, the genocide, which began on the Thursday of Easter week, Christians killed Christians in a slaughter that lasted 100 days between April and July 1994. Such an event has led Katongole, born of a Tutsi father and Hutu and grew up in Uganda to ask the question: "what difference does Christianity make in Rwanda?"

In exploring this question, Katongole describes the antecedents of the Rwandan genocide. During the genocide, Katongole suggests that "Hutu killed Tutsis in 1994 for no other reason except that the Tusti were viewed as enemies who had to be eliminated as a final solution to Rwanda's problems." Thus, for Katongole the root of the genocide is identity--a particular kind of identity that has been fashioned and informed by a narrative with its genesis in the colonial European "imagination." The story that shaped Hutu and Tutsi as identities, Katongole argues, is based largely on the philosophy of German, G.W.F. Hegel, who characterized Africans as "primitive," and British officer and explorer, John Hanning Speke, who used the story of Noah's curse against his son Ham to be the servant of his brothers to "justify the enslavement of black Africans." In reality, Katongole argues, Hutu and Tutsi functioned as "fluid" and mutable identities--the primary origin being a "basic division of labor.
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