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

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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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.

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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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #271,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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I believe this book is a must-read for every minister in an ever more polarizing country like America. This is the tragic story of Rwandan Christians who shared communion on Sunday and were butchering or being butchered by Thursday. This happens when the waters of politics run deeper than the waters of baptism.
Mr. Katongole helps open our eyes to many potential dangers of commitments to parties and policies. Our allegiance is to the King of an invisible Kingdom. Far too often the Evangelical Church in America has identified itself with only one party. In doing so it has shown little toleration of anything the opposition party says. I have quoted Katongole many times. By far my favorite and I think most useful quote of his is, "The role of the church is not to make America more Christian but to make American Christians less American."
American Pastor, get this book and read it. Then read it again and share it with your congregation. It will go a long way in killing the divisive spirit that is being cultivated, non intentionally, in many churches in this country.
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So, I apologize in advance for such a long post, lol.

And I promise you I'm not an angry black activist. Just a grad student who was required to read this book before a trip.

I think the way this book provides such a rich and sound social, historical, and theological context for the Rwanda genocide makes it eligible to be included as required reading for every undergraduate American History Student. Heck, maybe even the high school level or younger. We take for granted how much they absorb anyhow...

I was only in the 4th grade in 1994, and like another reviewer, all we heard about that year (whether i understood it or not), was the OJ Simpson trial. As a 10 year old black girl living in DC at the time, I remember that this trial was such a huge deal for the African American community then. And yet now after reading this book (and marrying this new information & perspective to my having watched Hotel Rwanda in undergrad), I can't help but be challenged to reassess everything I thought I have understood of that time in American history. Not to mention any of our nation's action (and non-action) in such a critical time on the world stage of history.

The way that the black American community handled (and still seems to handle) processing the events of the OJ trial seemed to overshadow other frequent headline news of Rwanda's daily murders by the score. At the exact same time at this point of history, both headlines sent images streaming into home televisions every night as people sat to eat dinner with their families and watch the evening news. Both involved incomprehensible murder, both plainly in the public eye for the world to become informed about and form some opinions on. Both involved men of African descent...
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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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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.
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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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