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Must-Read: “The Sacrifice of Africa”

February 10, 2011

In my eight Africa visits since 2004 I am struck by the flurry of foreign mission groups and aid workers who fill the airplanes.  Amidst this traffic in the name of “fixing” Africa, my colleague Emmanuel Katongole’s new book The Sacrifice of Africa is a powerful critique “for such a time as this.”

Emmanuel, a Ugandan, takes on three prevailing approaches:  the solution of mass evangelism, the solution of political and legal transformation, and the solution of the activist humanitarian world.

Powerful stuff, yet such books often fail to offer an alternative.  Not this one.  The book’s climax is three chapters about the quiet revolution God is already planting under the radar screen deep in the African soil:   Bishop Paride Taban and the Holy Trinity Peace Village in Sudan (“Fighting Tribalism ‘In a Small Way’”), Angelina Atyam in northern Uganda’s child abduction and violence (“The Politics of Forgiveness”), and the “rebellion of love” of Maggy Barankitse and Maison Shalom amidst Hutu-Tutsi violence in Burundi.  (One of the greatest gifts of our 5-year Center for Reconciliation work with east Africans has been “discovering,” gathering, and connecting these exemplars and demonstration plots of hope).

The Sacrifice of Africa is a clarion call to be interrupted by the “holy madness” of Taban, Atyam, and Barankitse:  to abandon old formulas and dare to invent a new future, the deeper way of Jesus that is already happening and begs for us to pay attention.  As Maggy says “It’s not a dream.  It’s real.”

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.

Also see: Books and Culture review of Emmanuel’s book

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