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Mostly I find the internet to be a soul-sucking place lately. But yesterday I discovered something that was so utterly hopeful.

It was a response from the authors of Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair (which was one of the best books I’ve read this year, you should definitely read it) to a critical review of their book by The Gospel Coalition blogger Kevin DeYoung.

It’s a long response. The entirety of it is spectacular, and will give you a good sense for how thoughtful, deep, and precise the book itself is.

But here’s the gem that made me stand and cheer:

​​“Put most simply, our view is this: While Reverend DeYoung’s subtitle indicates that he believes his review to be an expression of a theological project, we believe his review actually to be expressive of a cultural project that seeks perennially to justify itself on theological grounds. And that cultural project is, in one inelegant and highly disturbing phrase, white supremacy.”

Dang, right? So brave.

The way they phrased this was so bracingly simple, and it left me wondering how much of the theological projects that happen in this country in general could be called by the same name. How much of what we call Christianity in America is actually white-centered, white-serving, white supremacy? How much energy have I, have we, has the church in our lifetimes devoted (to borrow a phrase from the article’s title) to “sanctifying the status quo”?

I hope you skip DeYoung’s review and just read the authors’ inspiring response. More than that, I hope you’ll read the book, and talk about it with your friends. I got to talk about it with a dear friend of mine, Josh Banner, and this podcast lets you listen in on that conversation. You’ll hear me say that I believe the book is such a timely, valuable resource for churches and for individual Christians. It’s giving me hope. 

Kate Kooyman

Rev. Kate Kooyman is a minister of the Reformed Church in America who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

12 Comments

  • Marty Wondaal says:

    To the general Twelve Readership:

    KK: “I hope you skip DeYoung’s review and just read the author’s response…”

    Me: I hope you skip reading both the author’s book, response, and anything KK has written in the above essay.

    Ok, not really. You, the members of the Twelve Tribe, should read whatever you want. Telling people to not read something is a bit of an indication that the person has a weakness for totalitarian ideologies. If you go further (down the rabbit hole) into the comments to the response, another person suggests that DeYoung should be “ignored”. Is there no sense of history or self-awareness with such thinking?

    I could give you some suggestions about what or who to read in regards to our descent into identity madness, but you can find that on your own, if you’re truly open to diversity of thought. Plus, telling people what books they must read is similar to telling people what not to read.

    Here’s a suggestion I will gently make: Philippians 4:8. But don’t feel compelled…

    Aside: Did the border crisis get solved?

  • Elizabeth VanderHaagen says:

    Kate, thanks for this hopeful entry, and for your good, important, and truth telling work!

  • Travis West says:

    Kate, thanks for drawing our attention to this important book, and this important conversation. I found the authors’ response to Kevin DeYoung’s review both incisive and insightful. I appreciate you.

  • William Harris says:

    While the essay is more about structure than the content of DeYoung’s review, Duke Kwon returns on Twitter with a lengthy, content-focused response. https://twitter.com/threader_app/status/1417830669200338947?s=21

  • Thanks for this. But readers, don’t skip the review. We need to read all sides of an issue and not just those pieces that we know already agree with us.

  • Carl Leep says:

    Appreciated what I’ve been able to read. Now I want to see & read more on all sides.
    I’ll especially be looking for cultural blinders or chain and balls that are so easy to spot and highlight in others while much harder to actually see and own for ourselves. “Lord, open our eyes to what your eyes see in all of us.”

  • Ronald A Wells says:

    Kate,
    I have just finsihed reading the book. I am assigned to review it for “Fides et Historia,” journal of the Conference on Faith and History. Your excellent and timely (for me) posting gives me some good orientation points for my review. Thanks for this and for your other good postings.

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