24.4.09

Father Emmanuel Katongole Responds

I wrote the Summer Reading Guide for the May/June issue of Relevant magazine. In conjunction with that article, I conducted short interviews with Makoto Fujimura, our own Susan Isaacs, and Father Emmanuel Katongole, who is a Catholic priest, an associate professor at Duke Divinity School, and the author of "Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith After Genocide in Rwanda."

I'm posting a short excerpt from my interview with Fr. Katongole, not as (or not only as) a shameless act of self-promotion, but because something Fr. Katongole said during our conversation may provide a wise and surprising response to Larry Shallenberger's question yesterday about Darfur.

Pattison: Violence rivaling the scale and brutality of the Rwandan genocide persists in countries like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. What lessons should Western Christians learn from Rwanda in determining the appropriate response to this kind of mass violence and terror? What should we ask our government to do?

Katongole: I am not so much concerned about “mass violence and terror” as about everyday forms of violence that make us immune to the realities of violence that surround us. Instead of always imagining violence as “out there,” let us begin where you live. Are there Africans in your community? African Americans? Strangers? How have you reached out to them? How have you welcomed them and made them part of your church and social communities? Do you know any Muslims? Have you made any attempts to get to know any? I am sure there are some in your community. I think these engagements on the local level—this everyday politics of good neighborliness and friendships across the divides—can do so much to advance world peace more than treaties and whole scale strategies on behalf of the “Middle East.” In the book, I talk about the difference between tactics and strategies. I really believe that God has given us a vision and call for the peace of the world. Much of that vision and mission is about tactics.
If it's not passing the buck, I'd like to use that as my response too.

1 comment:

  1. There will always be a split on how we address the world from afar and we should continually be in conversation about which pathways are the most viable but I love the thoughts/advice of Katongole as well.
    Acting locally is acting globally.

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