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Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda Paperback – January 28, 2009
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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...Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So much to reflect and learn from the tragic genocide. What happened in Rwanda is a mirror to the churches in the West.Published 4 months ago by SUNG EUN LIM
I really enjoyed this book and Dr. Katongole's eye-opening tale of this very sad catastrophe.Published 5 months ago by Ecclesias
Painful but important reminder of how dark reality can be and that mere religion and titles cannot free man from the possibility of committing atrocities. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Andrew Bettencourt
This is a book you will not want to read but you must read and reflect upon. While Katongole's argument develops out of a consideration of the tragic genocide that took place in... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Chris Tweitmann
This is a powerful book, full of heart wrenching stories, and strong conclusions about the next step for the Christian church. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Allen Holder
I learned many new things in this book. It allowed me to see how the church in the U.S. needs to be more willing to be the change God wants us to be.Published on June 16, 2014 by Tara Macias
As one who works in the international space advocating for hope in situations of obscene brokenness, I found Katongole's Mirror to the Church to be theologically insightful,... Read morePublished on February 16, 2014 by Nikole Lim
In 1994 and 1995 I was in high school and gripped by the OJ Simpson trial. I remember hearing about the genocide in Rwanda, but it was not ( that I recall) discussed in any of my... Read morePublished on February 15, 2014 by rebekah