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On the Road to Racial Reconciliation

Valuing reconciliation is not the same as actively engaging in it.

Defining the Landmarks

I have identified five primary landmarks as signs of progress that will produce lasting personal and cultural change in people and groups who seek to live out the biblical vision of reconciliation together as a diverse community:

  • catalytic events
  • realization
  • identification
  • preparation
  • activation

Catalytic events are vital in the reconciliation process, as they are the primary vehicles for moving people out of old patterns, assumptions, and perceptions and into transformative cycles of change. The other landmarks focus on the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to grow and achieve authentic and lasting reconciliation.

This model is unique in that it goes beyond the historical practices of adding personnel and increasing the number of culturally diverse people in a group (which rarely, if ever, works). Such strategies have not proved effective in transforming the patterns of how people relate to one another. And education and training alone can’t do it either. The Reconciliation Roadmap demonstrates the ongoing process necessary to produce systemic change and aims to teach you how to build communities of reconciled people. Take a look at the Roadmap diagram to get a feel for each phase in the model.

Image: InterVarsity Press

The Reconciliation Roadmap guides the process for reconciling communities with racial, ethnic, and other societal differences. It helps individuals and groups navigate the arduous path to enduring systemic change. Ongoing interaction in a collaborative environment is inherent in every phase, and a foundational commitment to forgiveness, humility, and the pursuit of justice is woven throughout the model.

Now that you have this overview, I invite you to join me on this transformative reconciliation journey. I guarantee that there will be personal and systemic transformation as we engage in this life-changing process of social healing together.

Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil is an associate professor in the School of Theology at Seattle Pacific University and serves on the pastoral staff at Quest Church in Seattle. This article is taken from Roadmap to Reconciliation; copyright 2015 by Brenda Salter McNeil. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.

February01, 2016 at 8:00 AM

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