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Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom…
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Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion (2020. Auflage)

von Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (Autor), The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II (Vorwort)

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"I am a man torn in two. And the gospel I inherited is divided."
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There’s a lot that I could say, about racism in the churches, none of which I really want to say, but.

I guess that the topic that I’ll take is the idea of “blindness”, the opposite of which would be, I think, teachability. A good example of a teachable person would be Abimelech in Genesis 20–God told him to stop doing something that he hadn’t known was wrong, so he did. That’s incomplete knowledge, but not really blindness. Blindness is that angry, “What do they mean by racism? People should just stop bringing it up if they can’t explain what they mean, no matter what happens! They’ve never explained it to me, and they better not start now!”

On the other hand, I hate speaking when it’s not wanted, to people who don’t want to see. People who are blind to racism are part of my life whether I like it or not, and I can’t convert them or think for them. It’s not up to me what happens on the day of judgment, nor mine really to puzzle, in the end, whether people are blind because they truly cannot see and think everything’s okay, not seeing anything not okay, or whether they are blind because at the bottom they hate and reject the light. (But why?)
  goosecap | Jun 26, 2021 |
It's a very touching story about a man coming to realize the way racism perpetuates itself in society and how Christianity must fully acknowledge the systems of racism if it is ever to escape its painful hypocrisy regarding the treatment of marginalized groups. Wilson-Hartgrove is a skilled writer and I would love to hear more of his ideas on how this is to be accomplished. Is it enough to only say that Christianity is rooted in inherently radical ideas about class and equality? The author's willingness to listen and reach out to the poor and to minority groups without condescending is admirable but not likely to be repeated by other white Christians who badly need it. ( )
  hatingongodot | May 3, 2020 |
A personal story of reflection regarding the Christianity in which the author was raised and his reckoning and grappling with its roots in and complicity with slavery, white supremacy, and oppression, and the attempt to "reconstruct" the Gospel to be more consistent with the Good News of Jesus.

The author is white and shares his story of having to acknowledge how churches in the American South perpetuated oppression both in the days of slavery and long afterward, and how it remains embodied in much of what passes for Evangelical political action. He speaks of getting to know black people active in the community and the church in North Carolina and how those experiences transformed him. He writes of the work of justice being done which seeks to relieve oppression.

For those willing to hear, and especially those who already agree with at least most of the author's premises, the book is powerful and compelling. Yet I wonder how it would be viewed by who would be ostensibly the author's desired audience, those who have not yet come to his viewpoint: it may seem strident and overly, to put it nicely, "prophetic" in tone. At times the author becomes guilty of confusing the symptom from the cause: colonialism, and the spread of capitalism as the world's economy, for instance, do not stem from "slaveholder religion," but come from farther upstream, Western cultural and religious chauvinism which defined how it looked at the world, led its people to explore and conquer and enslave, and remains in many forms to this day.

Overall a challenging message to hear for those willing to hear it. Most of the time the author is not wrong. That does not mean that what he has to say is easy to absorb.

**--galley received as part of early review program ( )
  deusvitae | Mar 27, 2018 |
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AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Jonathan Wilson-HartgroveHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber IIVorwortCo-Autoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
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