Roadmap to Reconciliation
We can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? What we need is a clear sense of direction.
Based on her extensive consulting experience with churches, colleges and organizations, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has created a roadmap to show us the way. She guides us through the common topics of discussion and past the bumpy social terrain and political boundaries that will arise. In these pages she voices her call to all believers:
"It's time for the followers of Jesus to embark on the prophetic journey that leads to reconciliation and transformation around the world. Many of us may already be aware of the need for reconciliation in our own backyards. . . . We cannot ignore the plight of the people around us and as globalization continues its relentless march onward, we cannot turn a blind eye to the world at large either. We have to face the realities here at home and we must also embrace the stories of people all around the world."
Each chapter lays out the next step in the journey. With reflection questions and exercises at the end of each chapter, it's ideal to read together with your church or organization. If you are ready to take the next step into unity, wholeness and justice, then this is the book for you.
"This book continues to solidify Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil as a practical theologian and a prophetic voice of biblical reconciliation and justice. Her insights and wisdom within this resource are a powerful classroom of unifying principles and concepts. Everything she writes should be read and applied by people of faith that we might be a force of transformation in a broken and divided world."
"More than ever, our polarized world needs Dr. Brenda's voice. Her love and respect for people creates a healing place to express our hopes, fears, dreams and confusion. We all want reconciliation—our hearts long for it—but most of us do not know where to start. Brenda patiently and humbly guides our journey toward peace."
"I consider Dr. Brenda Salter-McNeil to be one of the great national communicators in the American church. She is the most qualified person I know to write about the topic of race and reconciliation. Her book is extraordinarily timely."
"Deep wrongs need to be made right. All the more, the wrongs we've committed against others need to be healed to the degree that we not only respect one another but earnestly desire and labor for one another to flourish to the fullest of all God intends for his creation. That is what Dr. Brenda is teaching me, and that is what she teaches in Roadmap to Reconciliation. Dr. Brenda gives us her life's work in these pages, and it will be my mission to ensure that her instruction is spread far and wide, even to the most hardhearted and privileged among us. Reconciliation is love as Jesus loves. It's a foretaste of the kingdom, now and to come."
"The world's most authentic and inspiring reconciler shows believers how to stop talking about reconciliation—and start being it together. Gripping to read and exciting to receive, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil's roadmap on how to reconcile offers a wake-up call and a course map on how to apply biblical principles to coalesce our racially divided and unjust world by building peacemaking communities rightly engaged for Christ. Passionate, equipping and downright brilliant."
"Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is one of the most admired and powerful witnesses to the ministry of reconciliation in the United States. Roadmap to Reconciliation is Brenda Salter McNeil's magnum opus! Here she distills for us the wisdom of a life's work of significant reconciliation engagement with congregations, universities, denominations and communities. Salter McNeil calls us to embrace transformed worldviews and practical action. Pastors, seminarians, lay leaders, university students, activists and anyone hoping for a more reconciled world should read this book!"
"For more than two decades I have listened to the voice of Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil. Because she is honest, I have heard things spoken in a timbre of truth. Because she is a prophet, I have heard things I don't always want to hear. Because she is one of the great living preachers of the day, I have heard things articulated with gospel clarity. Because she is a trusted friend, I have heard things spoken in fierce love. Because she is a teacher of reconciliation, I have seen her stand in contested places with bold, unwavering courage. Her voice is to be trusted, heard and honored. Read her words and listen for a voice of wise and honest truth. Listen. She writes words we need to hear."
"Racism runs the length of human history and emerges out of the brokenness of every human heart. Roadmap to Reconciliation conveys the weight and wisdom of seasoned experience in the face of this painful reality. As compelling theologically and relationally as God's reconciling way may be, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil helps us see that the pursuit of personal and systemic reconciliation requires more than ordinary Christian discipleship can bear or imagine. She underscores the gifts that can make all the difference: God's reconciling love in Christ, the humble repentance and re-creation of God's people as daily reconcilers, and the long, steady faithfulness of God's reconciling power through sustained practices by those who seek a world of reconciliation, mercy and justice. We are offered here a road to reconciliation marked by profound, sober and credible hope. This is the only kind of map that could be trusted."
"While many evangelicals express angst over a perceived decline of Christianity in the United States, there is a burgeoning movement of reconciliation that is capturing the imagination of a new generation of believers. The ministry of reconciliation sorely needs an ecclesial center and Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil presents this text as a positive response. This book offers helpful categories to sharpen our discussions and useful exercises that are both practical and applicable. Dr. Salter McNeil provides a roadmap to reconciliation that needs to be embraced by Christians who seek a way forward."
"As a member of our board, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has challenged Wycliffe Bible Translators USA to better understand our work of Bible translation in the context of the global narrative of church community, and her new book will do the same for readers. Her heart for justice and reconciliation shines through this book, and she will inspire you as she has inspired us."
"In our desire to be agents of reconciliation in our neighborhoods as well as our churches, where do we begin? . . . In Roadmap to Reconciliation Dr. Brenda provides not only a compelling call for biblical reconciliation, but practical ways we can grow in our understanding of racial injustice and social inequity and begin to engage in these complex issues. . . . Reading this book is like taking a journey with an experienced reconciliation docent who knows the path and leads the way, pointing out what is significant and life-changing along the way. This book is a must-read for those of us in the church who want to pursue justice."
"Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is a legend. She's one of the church's greatest thinkers on one of the world's greatest challenges—reconciliation. Fifty years ago Dr. King lamented that the most segregated hour in the world is eleven o'clock on Sunday morning. Here is Dr. Salter McNeil's plan to change that. There could be no better time for this book to release than now as we see a new movement for racial justice sweeping across this country. Read this book and get ready for a holy revolution."
"Roadmap to Reconciliation is both practical and deeply theological, and a welcome addition to the ministry of reconciliation. Drawing from qualitative data as well as practical experience, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil offers a a step by step process for reconciliation that both new and seasoned reconcilers will find profoundly useful. For the newcomer, Salter McNeil shines a light on the often enigmatic and challenging path toward reconciliation, uncovering potential pitfalls. For the road-weary old timer, she dips into the well of her experiences as a lifelong reconciler to offer wisdom that promises to demystify the process and bring hope to even the most cynical. I recommend this book as a practical handbook for small groups, leaders and anyone willing to engage in justice-based reconciliation."
"For Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, reconciliation is not a catchphrase—it's a byword! That's because Brenda has always understood reconciliation as a journey and not an event, which is something still very popular in Christian thinking today. In this book Brenda has not only captured some of the scenery along the way, but has set the backdrop for the trip in a biblical frame as only she can. It's an excursion into life abundant, a pilgrimage that Brenda has been on for many years, in many contexts, with scores of people from many ethnicities and experiences. It needs to be our journey too."
"We've heard it said, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.' Sadly, 'good intentions' are all many of our churches can boast of when it comes to the ministry of reconciliation imparted to us by Christ. This book is a rare gift in holding forth not just a compelling vision for communities of reconciliation, but a practical course of action to achieve it. Following the Roadmap to Reconciliation, so powerfully and honestly laid out by Brenda Salter McNeil, has the potential to help restore the integrity of our churches as outposts of God's kingdom. All we need now are leaders and churches willing to embark on a journey beyond good intentions!"
"Roadmap to Reconciliation is a labor of love, commitment and calling. . . . The time is right for our world to receive the fruit of Dr. Brenda's many years of work, study and experience in being a champion for racial reconciliation. We are desperate, not only for a biblical and theological rationale for unity, wholeness and justice, but also for a substantive and practical way forward. This book has it all!"
"Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is one of the most credible and prophetic voices of our time. In Roadmap to Reconciliation—the fruit and culmination of more than twenty-five years of personal, practical and pioneering effort—she explains why we must and how we can get beyond rhetoric to results in pursuit of individual and corporate transformation beyond the distinctions of this world that so often and otherwise divide. Grounded in biblical and experiential knowledge, Roadmap to Reconciliation will help you recognize that lament, confession, reconciliation and justice are not peripheral to the gospel but intrinsic to it, and more than that, it offers the ways and means to advance hope in an increasingly diverse and cynical society."
"Roadmap to Reconciliation is a gift to Christ's church on many levels. It has biblical, sociological and theological depth. It is written with the passion of someone who has given her life to understanding and engaging the profound messiness of racial reconciliation and justice, someone who lives exactly as she preaches. If you are a leader of a Christian ministry or church, if you are an individual or small group who is ready take the plunge into the mission of reconciliation and justice, if you are already on the journey and need to discover where you are and how to take the next steps, you will be challenged, blessed and empowered as you read, and most importantly, as you apply what you read. God will give you encouragement and direction each step of the way. Thank you, Brenda and Derek! Your life and ministry have been vital to InterVarsity's multiethnic journey. Now in this book you have given our movement and the church a roadmap to explore as we continue that journey with your help."
"If anyone knows the roadmap to reconciliation, it's Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil. She has personally walked this road, preached on this road, healed on this road and built multicultural relationships of love and partnership on this road. I am privileged to have intersected in ministry with Dr. Brenda while walking together on this same road toward reconciliation. You will gain much wisdom from the Roadmap to Reconciliation with Dr. Brenda as a very capable guide."
"A roadmap to reconciliation is needed for every community, whether domestic or global, whether working with students in elite universities or urban churches on the west side of Chicago. Rev. Dr. Brenda's decades of mobilizing reconcilers and consulting with organizations give us helpful pictures and insight into practical steps for transformation. Her insightful diagram of landmarks in the journey of reconciliation is worth the entire book!"
"The journey of reconciliation often takes us to valleys and wilderness, places of despair and disorientation. In this invaluable book, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil offers us a roadmap that is full of biblical wisdom and practical insights. The map does not promise to make the journey easier or safer. Prophetically, it shows us the way forward, exhorting us to continue this costly journey of discipleship."
"Roadmap to Reconciliation is a tremendous resource, filled with practical tips born out of decades of life in the trenches. Dr. Brenda's integrity, wisdom, character and life shine through these pages. Thank you Brenda for such a wonderful gift!"
"With clarity, precision and resolution, the Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has provided for the faithful traveler a most-needed compass and map toward what God in Christ has given to the church—the service of reconciliation. Theological in analysis and practical in application, this text exposes and expands Brenda's heartbeat and mission as a prophetic and pastoral voice of unity, integrity and justice. She has clearly located on the map and effectively outlined essential steps on the route toward harmonizing orthodoxy and orthopraxis for living in reconciliation. Truly a valued addition to the Brenda Salter McNeil library on reconciliation and justice! A must-have for every Christian pedestrian."
"I've had the privilege of working with Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil as she delivers biblical insight and practical application to the process of developing racial and ethnic reconciliation. Her years of experience have paved a way for many campus, church and civic leaders who desire a better way forward. Her passion for reconciliation is rooted in Scripture and her life's work is a testament of God's ability to change hearts and transform communities."
"Dr. Brenda is arguably one of the leading voices on reconciliation in our country today. She is honest, humble, credible and the right leader to influence many on this timely and important topic in today's culture. Listen to her and learn from her!"
"Comprehensive, personal and systematic, Roadmap to Reconciliation truly is a compendium of Dr. Brenda's life work! Dr. Brenda invites us to join her on the very road on which she embarked many years ago. Like a wise guide she gives us a vision of where we are going, describes the significant landmarks, warns of the difficult places along the way and remains ever hopeful that we will reach our destiny together. Sprinkled with theory and framework, stories and reflections, Roadmap to Reconciliation is the perfect resource for academics theorizing about reconciliation, professors seeking tools for reconciliation studies and practitioners committed to building and sustaining reconciling communities."
"Everything I know about Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil reflects her godly spirit of compassion, mercy and justice. In fact, she's a major reason why I continue to believe that the gospel ministry of reconciliation can bring transformation in our increasingly divided world. Brenda is one of the most important leaders we have today on issues of racial righteousness and diversity in the church, and I have no doubt that this book will help others on their journeys toward a deeper and more complete faith."
"I find in . . . Brenda Salter McNeil a rugged commitment to the church and to the centrality of the gospel and the church in the process of reconciliation. . . . Brenda's book is short and nothing less than a handbook—brief, accessible, illustrated, clear. A handbook that articulates stages in the process of reconciliation, and hence it is as useful for those seeking to embody reconciliation in a local church as it is for those who want to be more publicly active."
"This new hardback is a great, great little book and gives a fabulous overview of the Biblical basis for racial reconciliation and pushes us towards true and lasting answers. We can see the inequality, we understand the problems, but are we ready to rise up in faithful action? What steps should we take to offer gospel-centered, wholistic, spiritual answers for racial justice? This new book claims to be nothing short of a roadmap to show us the way."
"Roadmap to Reconciliation is a timely, practical, and honest guide to the hard work of reconciliation. Recommend it especially to Christian leaders and educators."
"Salter (A Credible Witness), a teaching minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church and an associate professor at Seattle Pacific University, believes there is a path forward for racial fairness in the world. In this book, she has created a roadmap to help communities of faith find harmony in a hurting world. . . . This book might work well in communities of faith experiencing some kind of strife and seeking a path forward."
"Now, in a time when near-constant headlines about racial inequalities draw attention to perceived white privilege and the disparity between races in our nation, Brenda's book, Roadmap to Reconciliation, is a timely, practical work about an incredibly important issue. . . . Because Roadmap to Reconciliation is highly accessible, it's a great primer for staffs and congregations to work through in order to better understand their roles in the ministry of reconciliation, a ministry to which all people of faith are called."
Foreword by Eugene Cho
Introduction: A Prophetic Journey
1. What is Reconciliation?
2. Landmarks of Reconciliation
3. Shake It Up!: The Power of Catalytic Events
4. A Shift in Perspective: The Realization Phase
5. A Group Effort: The Identification Phase
6. Planning for Action: The Preparation Phase
7. Doing Justice: The Activation Phase
8. Staying the Course: Living Out Holistic Transformation
Conclusion: A Vision of a Flourishing Future