I have been part of creating and starting a number of initiatives to renew Christian life and mission and to address social division in the U.S., East Africa, and Northeast Asia. Most are continuing, and I recommend you see what might be helpful to you.
Renewing Faith-Based Organizations
This is the focus of my current research. To see the challenges and issues I am engaging see my 2014 Duke Doctor of Ministry thesis “Toward a Framework for a Practical Theology of Institutions for Faith-Based Organizations.”
- Duke Summer Institute for Reconciliation (started 2009) draws on a world-class faculty of scholars and practitioners and a unique “Word Made Flesh” methodology.
- The African Great Lakes Initiative (started 2006) hosts an annual regional leadership institute featuring some of the most dynamic leaders from East Africa. Strategic partners include Duke Divinity School, African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM), Mennonite Central Committee, and World Vision. This video communicates the vision.
- The Northeast Asia Reconciliation Initiative (started 2012) hosts an annual Christian Forum for Reconciliation in the region, gathering leaders from China mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and U.S. Strategic partners include Duke Divinity School, the Mennonite Central Committee, and leaders from key institutions in the region.
- A unique Word Made Flesh methodology undergirds all of these institutes – at once theological, contextual, practical, and relational. The methodology is described here in brief, here in magazine article length, and in depth in my book chapter ““Word Made Flesh”: Toward a Pedagogy of a New We in Conflict Transformation & Religion: Essays on Faith, Power, and Relationship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).
InterVarsity Press Resources for Reconciliation Book Series
The six books in the series pair leading theologians with on-the-ground practitioners to produce fresh literature to energize and sustain Christian life and mission in a broken and divided world. These brief books work in the intersection between theology and practice to help professionals, leaders and everyday Christians live as ambassadors of reconciliation. In addition to my book with Emmanuel Katongole, authors include Stanley Hauerwas, Jean Vanier, Christine Pohl, Norman Wirzba, Greg Jones, Celestin Musekura, and Sam Wells.
Peace on the Korea Peninsula
Since 2014, together with many colleagues, I have worked to express Mennonite Central Committee’s vision to serve as a presence for reconciliation working across the divides between North Korea, South Korea, and the U.S.
- Stories about MCC work in North Korea
- My article in the International Bulletin of Mission Research describes challenges from the South Korean side: Contested South Korean Identities of Reunification and Christian Paradigms of Reconciliation.
Lausanne Reconciliation Project
From 2004 to 2010 I served as Convener of this collaborative effort between 47 Christian leaders from 27 countries to shape a common vision, mission, and biblical understanding for Christian witness in a world of destructive conflicts.
- In 2004 our leadership team traveled to Rwanda on the 10th anniversary of the genocide to begin our work.
- The entire group of 47 met at the 2005 Lausanne Movement conference in Thailand – an extraordinary week that culminated in a dramatic foot washing. We adopted a Pattaya Covenant to commit to continued mission and drafted a major paper which has been widely distributed throughout the world: “Reconciliation as the Mission of God: Faithful Christian Witness in a World of Destructive Conflicts.” Here are the pamphlet version, Korean version, and Arabic version.
- The catalytic relationships and work of this Lausanne working group planted seeds for the 2005 founding of the Duke Divinity School Center for Reconciliation, the African Great Lakes Initiative, and Northeast Asia Reconciliation Initiative.
- The group re-connected at the 2010 Lausanne Congress in Cape town, South Africa. We drafted a Statement of Lament for Evangelicals and the Legacy of Apartheid signed by numerous participants. See my book chapter Capetown 2010: Reconciliation and Discipleship, in Mission as Ministry of Reconciliation (Regnum Studies in Mission, 2013).
Pilgrimages of Pain & Hope
Central to my work and understanding of mission, pilgrimage is a powerful pedagogy of change because some things can only be learned by journeying with companions to relocate our bodies and our bibles across divides to strange ground. Grounded in the conviction that God is already at work planting seeds of hope in places of deep pain and lament, pilgrimage interrupts “donor-recipient” paradigms of mission. Lenten pilgrimages of our Durham, NC church into our own city led to understanding congregational outreach not as “benevolence” but as “deep common journey.” Pilgrimages with Duke Divinity students to Baltimore and Richmond transformed their vision of pastoral ministry. And pilgrimages with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean leaders have led to breakthroughs of trust and repentance.