Chapter 4 – A New Model
In this chapter the authors present two primary models that have been used for racial reconciliation up through the present, and then present their own model.
Relational or Interpersonal Model:
“Make a friend with someone from another race or ethnicity, and you will bring about social change through friendship, one life at a time.” (47)
Strengths: a) it is feasible b) it is “extremely motivating for people who are newly interested in the ministry of reconciliation and need a realistic way to get started.” (48)
Problem: “it has nothing to say about the historical impact of sin and evil and the way this history has led to structural injustice” (48)
Institutional Change Model:
“seeks to create justice and equity by redistributing power among groups.” (48)
Strengths: “it encourages people to take responsibility for their own destiny. It empowers them with knowledge and skills to make new choices for their future. It is also realistic and takes into account the sociopolitical history that often works against reconciliation, justice and equity.” (49)
Problem: “it reduces all relationships to relations of power . . . the biblical ethic of love can never characterize human relationships that are built solely on competition for power.” (49)
“Our goal is to be transformed toward God’s multiethnic kingdom of worship and shalom . . . the institutional change model is inadequate to accomplish that because it does not address the transformation of the human heart.” (49)
“Principles for a New Paradigm”(52-56)
1. “Reconciliation is above all the work of God and happens best in the presence and power of God.”
2. “Reconciliation with others is based on having a healthy sense of one’s own identity.”
3. “Reconciliation is above all rooted in the work of Christ on the cross.”
4. “As we experience forgiveness and the possibility of a new future together, we will realize that there have been larger, destructive forces at work in our common life.”
5. “individually and corporately embrace being a new creation.”
“Steps Toward Reconciliation”(56-58)
1. “Worship . . . we encounter God’s presence and power to melt our hearts and create a new possibility for being healed, reconciled and re-created”
2. “Affirming our true ethnic identity and renouncing false identities . . . we understand biblically and embrace personally our God-intended ethnic identities.”
3. “Receiving and extending forgiveness . . . together in God’s presence we revisit the personal and corporate memories of our sin and of being sinned against.”
4. “Renouncing idols . . . unmask and renounce the false gods related to racism and ethnocentrism.”
5. “Ongoing partnership . . . we are now a new creation, sinner and sinned against, able to embrace and live in the power of the resurrection and the gift of the Spirit.”
(The next five chapters will discuss each of these steps in more detail.)
This chapter helped me grasp the pieces involved in reconciliation. It’s personal and corporate, and we will surely fail without God’s help.
But, do I really believe it’s possible? Sometimes. I know that I should always believe that through God, all things are possible. But, it’s easy to get bogged down in the negative. It’s easy to begin to feel it’s a hopeless cause. And, it is hopeless without God. So, I find myself saying once again, “Lord, I am putting this in Your hands. Show me. Help me understand. Help me fight the battle. Make me a new creation.”
Questions from Study Guide (186-188)
How does racial reconciliation differ from racial tolerance and political correctness? Are the latter valid steps along the journey toward racial reconciliation or merely superficial substitutes for true change?
McNeil, Brenda Salter, and Rick Richardson. The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009.