Resources for Individuals and Groups
“How can we help someone heal from the wounds of their heart?” – Margaret Hill, Harriet Hill, Richard Bagge & Pat Miersma
“… You will know you are on a true reconciliation journey if it is messy and complicated and beautiful and transformational” – Brenda Salter McNeil
“Every time you encounter a conflict, you will inevitably show what you think of God.” – Ken Sande
“If we want real forgiveness and real healing, we must face the real injury.” – Desmond Tutu & Mpho Tutu
Reconciliation is challenging work – and completely essential. Different contexts require different questions and solutions. We’re telling you about four books that address different contexts from the same truth – God reconciles and calls us to be ministers of reconciliation. From community reconciliation in a war-torn African setting to personal and business reconciliation in an upper-class American context, the authors share highly useful insights and practices that are likely to be useful to many people in many situations.*
We do not need to wait until the We Will conference in October to start digging deeper into reconciliation. Consider picking up at least one of these books this summer!
Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help
By Margaret Hill, Harriet Hill, Richard Bagge & Pat Miersma (2007) Paulines Publications Africa/Wycliffe, Nairobi, Kenya
This 11-lesson book is designed to help groups recognize and cope with trauma. The lessons address suffering, grief, rape, HIV/AIDS, caring for caregivers, forgiveness and planning how to live in a world of conflict. There is also a chapter on caring for children who have experienced deep trauma. Each lesson includes Biblical background, example situations and penetrating questions for application.
The authors use examples from a wartorn African context, but set them in fictional locations. Readers do not need to have the same background to make applications in their own lives. A specific advantage of this book is that it addresses how sin and reconciliation affect communities. The authors encourage a community response to promote repentance and reconciliation. In addition, the authors take considerable time to address the need to name and deal with our feelings.
Using clear English suitable for people who speak English as a second language or have a fifth-grade reading level, the authors address complex, difficult issues and challenge adults to respond as mature disciples of Christ. The simplicity of the language reinforces the straight truth of the lessons.
How to get it: Newer editions, including in Spanish, are available through Amazon for $10 and less. This book will likely be difficult to find at a library.
Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice
By Brenda Salter McNeil (2015) Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL
This book aims to help groups and communities understand and pursue ethnic and racial reconciliation, by providing clear guidelines, tested methods and encouraging, but frank, stories from real life experience.
Professor and pastor Brenda Salter McNeil’s book reflects her expertise acquired from over 25 years of reconciliation ministry and her response to feeling convicted and inspired by young African-American activists in Ferguson, MO.
Dr. Salter McNeil starts with a reconciliation framework, continues with a model of a multi-phase reconciliation process, and concludes with an encouragement to pursue a flourishing future. She provides practical exercises for each stage of the process. (Click for more: Facilitating Reconciliation Books. FULL SUMMARIES .)
How to get it: Check your local library and/or Amazon (from $3 for used and $12 for new)
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict (3rd Ed)
By Ken Sande (2004) Baker Books: Grand Rapids, MI
This book might seem overwhelming at first due to its size and scope, but it is written in clear, everyday language and addresses the challenges of personal conflicts in bold and Biblical language. Depending on one’s context, you might devour this book in a quick reading or take it in sections as you need insight on different situations.
Ken Sande is a professional conciliator with a ton of stories to tell. Some stories involve conflicts that only financially well-off people could have, but overall, the root of human conflict has to do with human nature – so even those stories can make a useful point for those with less money. Many of the examples are based in churches, families, marriages and businesses. Application questions and appendixes prove useful tools for processing current and past conflicts. (Click for more: Facilitating Reconciliation Books. FULL SUMMARIES )
How to get it: Check your local library and/or Amazon (from $1 for used and $9 for new)
The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World
By Desmond Tutu & Mpho Tutu (2014) Harper One: New York
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter have written a book that is immensely practical, compassionate and unflinching. Sharing their own deeply personal stories, as well as those of others, they provide a down-to-earth view of practicing forgiveness – both offering and requesting it, and of developing a forgiveness mindset. From apartheid to alcohol abuse, the Tutus address sin and the healing power of forgiveness.
The book shares the influence of Christ on their beliefs and practices, offering readers the opportunity to participate in the gospel. At the same time, each chapter offers a concluding meditation, stone ritual and journaling exercise that is compatible with, but not insistent upon, Christian faith. These process activities are well-suited for individual and group environments. Moreover, they are a great tool to push readers to do more than comprehend the ideas, but to work through their histories.
The three-part book addresses a) understanding forgiveness, b) sharing what the Tutus call the fourfold path (reconciliation process) and c) recognizing that you also need forgiveness and that everything can be forgiven. (Click for more: Facilitating Reconciliation Books. FULL SUMMARIES.)
How to get it: Check your local library and/or Amazon (from $2 for used and $10 for new)
*Books are listed in alphabetical order by author.
Captain Maureen Diffley is the Program Specialist for Women’s Ministries at the Territorial Headquarters of The Salvation Army in Atlanta, Georgia.