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Slowing Down Kony2012

March 12, 2012

Angelina Atyam, whose daughter was abducted by the LRA

Yes, Kony must go.  But let’s slow down and get educated contextually, missionally, and theologically.  Two excellent critiques here from two Duke Divinity grads:  Responding to Kony 2012 by Thera Freeman (who spent 3 years in Uganda with the Mennonite Central Committee), and A Non-Violent Response to Joseph Kony by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (author, New Monasticism).  Both point to the stories of faithful witnesses who have suffered in and embodied hope in the pain of northern Uganda for years.

Related posts:  The Interruption of Forgiveness: An Interview with Angelina Atyam of Uganda

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 at the blog Reconcilers.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2012 2:54 pm

    Thank you for this perspective – it’s so heated out there on the subject! Thanks for offering a voice of reason….

  2. Jane Hawthorne permalink
    March 13, 2012 10:30 pm

    Hi Chris–I’m a MACP student at Duke and heard you speak last summer at DYA. I’m currently reading your book, Reconciling All Things. I watched the KONY 2012 video, and I have to say, I was extremely moved. I feel disappointment that the passion I felt and that my own children felt originally has been diluted by the criticisms of the video. However, I see that one of the main points you make in your book is to SLOW DOWN as you also mention here. My question is: How then do we channel all the passion and concern that youth are expressing into acceptable ways of reconciliation in this situation? I am so glad that the KONY film was able to awaken this type of concern in our youth–I wonder why other groups who have worked relentlessly for years have been unable to stir these same types of emotions. Why did they not consider asking for help in this way? Do they consider the “laity” (see George Bernard Shaw quote) unequipped to handle the problems in Uganda and other areas of Africa? I do feel that the producers of KONY 2012 have been effective in naming the atrocities committed by Kony and shining a light into the darkness of a terrible situation. I do feel that this is the first step of reconciliation–identifying “the gap” as you call it in your book. So now that the video has gone viral and the criticisms have been leveled, where do we go from here? Do we just ask God to intervene as Ms. Atyam has done? Particularly as a Presbyterian, I do feel that we have a sovereign God whose justice will be done in HIs own holy time and space. But I cannot resist the human response to this story just as I grieve that I did not know about the tragedy in Rwanda and was therefore unable to help. I feel that God has been working in Rwanda since that tragedy, but Lord!–at what cost! Why do we react in some situations and not in others? What about the Holocaust? Was it wrong to fight back against Hitler? Clearly, Bonhoeffer didn’t think so? This is my lament: I feel personally helpless and I also feel that if I tell my youth just to forget about KONY 2012, they will think, as they tend to do, that it is true that youth aren’t really in a position to make a difference and that only the “experts” are. Could you expand on your thoughts in this blog, particularly as they would regard an approach to youth and their involvement in mission and reconciliation.

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