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More Than Human Rights: Interview in The Other Journal

December 12, 2009

Desmond Tutu: Why preach "no future without forgiveness" from the margins?

I’m interviewed in the new issue of The Other JournalStories of New Creation, Reconciliation, and Hope. This on-line quarterly publication offers rich conversations at the intersections of theology and culture.  I discuss how in a world torn by warfare, genocide, poverty, ethnic violence, and countless other injustices, reconciliation seems to be the most important need of our time, and yet the call for reconciliation has in some ways become trendy and superficial. 

Go to the Other Journal interview

One excerpt:

“I’m always surprised at the stories of where the initiative for reconciliation and beloved community begins. It’s Desmond Tutu on the black side of apartheid who is calling for forgiveness. It’s Nelson Mandela who is reaching out to embrace his white South African jailer. It’s Martin Luther King Jr. who is casting a vision of communion while saying that the end is not a boycott, the end is not legal integration, the end is in the beloved community and in calling for self-examination within the African American community. It’s Cesar Chavez doing a boycott that he calls a pilgrimage of penance, not penance by the white business owners, but penance by the Hispanic farm workers. And they are all offering a kind of grace toward the enemy with no guarantee they are going to win.

“Does this leave those in power off the hook? Absolutely not! As Chavez said, yes, this is a pilgrimage of penance, but we are not going to rest until the injustices farm workers endure are illuminated and changes are made.  We are not going to rest until there is repentance on the part of those in power.  But there is something significant about how Chavez, King, Mandela, and Tutu work for justice. Their end is a different dimension than human rights. It is more about a kind of conversion of all humanity toward a new place of life together and shalom.  There is no beloved community without new relationships.”

P.S.  Other Journal Interviewer Dan Rhodes is a friend, doctoral student in theology at Duke Divinity School, and author of a new book Free for All: Rediscovering the Bible in Community co-authored with his pastor Tim Condor of Emmaus Way Church in Durham.

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

Related Reconcilers Posts:

Also See: The Other Journal Interview with Chris Rice: Stories of New Creation, Reconciliation, and Hope

Last 5 posts on the Reconcilers Blog:

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