“For experienced faith-rooted practitioners, we hope to advance a vigorous conversation about how to broaden and deepen our theological and analytical understandings and concrete engagements.” – Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Vol. 2
Since the 1980s, Elaine and Ched have been pioneers on the frontier edges of the restorative justice movement, broadening the work of peacemaking in realms of social justice and historical harms. Where Word and world converge, where theology and non-violent activism blend, where seminaries, sanctuaries and streets, along with soils and souls intersect, the two of them have not only taught and wrote, but have walked the talk of a restorative vision that engages society at all levels through full-spectrum peacemaking. Their base-community of operation is Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries in Oak View, CA.
Read more about Elaine’s work on the Harm and History page.
Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Volume l: New Testament Reflections /Restorative Justice/Peacemaking (Orbis, 2009)
Ambassadors of Reconciliation, Volume II: Diverse Christian Practices of Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (Orbis, 2009)
by Ched Myers and Elaine Enns
St. Paul called on followers of Christ to be “ambassadors of reconciliation” in a world of violence and oppression. In Ambassadors of Reconciliation I, co-authors Ched Myers and Elaine Enns offer solid biblical resources for this vital and growing movement. The sequel, Ambassadors of Reconciliation II focuses on stories of people who practice “full-spectrum” peacemaking according to the principles of restorative justice.
“(These books) utilize the history of the civil rights movement as embodied in the words and work of Dr. Martin Luther King to make the (peacemaking) aspect of the New Testament ‘come alive.'” – Englewood Review of Books
VOLUME ONE opens with remembrances of Martin Luther King, Jr’s legacy of nonviolent activism. King serves as a springboard to “recover the sharp edge of our New Testament texts.” With a focus on Paul’s letters, especially those to the church in Corinth, the authors shed new light on the social / political context in the Mediterranean world which brings the New Testament down-to-earth, showing great relevance to restorative themes. Reading Ephesians, for example, as Paul’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” sharpens our understanding of how the cross of Jesus “abolished enmity.” Ultimately, the “moral authority of victim initiative” not only reshapes one’s theology of atonement, but informs all restorative impulses for initiating bold measures of peacemaking.
VOLUME TWO advances the discussion into the realm of practice. It is full of testimonies and stories. Long before it was ‘correct’ to include voices of leaders from oppressed or marginalized communities, the authors were intentional about rounding out their own voices with accounts from those of indigenous, person-of-color, non-male, or victimized backgrounds. Another aspect is the broadening of examples from traditional ‘incident-based repair’ models of restorative justice, to addressing systemic violence and advocating for social transformation. The final chapter highlights two examples that deal with historic injustice (Native American and the Greensboro, NC, TRC case) which speak of practices that were truly seminal in their time.
(Volume summaries by Ted Lewis)
Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization (Center and Library for the Bible and Social Justice Series) by Elaine Enns and Ched Myers (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2021)
“Intimate, rigorous, accountable, and transformative–Enns and Myers offer both challenge and accompaniment to white settler Christians striving to bring their whole selves to the necessary work of deep, authentic, and radical solidarity with Indigenous peoples. The centering of women’s voices and experiences makes this book an even more essential read for those prepared to risk being truly ‘unsettled’ in the pursuit of justice.” –Jennifer Henry, Executive Director, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Toronto
“In Healing Haunted Histories Elaine Enns and Ched Myers excavate the traumatic impact of settler colonialism and reckon the resulting settler amnesia with a Christian model of restorative justice that foregrounds Indigenous perspectives, experiences, and histories.” –Jonathan Cordero (Ohlone and Chumash), Assistant Professor of Sociology, California Lutheran University
“How are our histories, landscapes, and communities haunted by continuing Indigenous dispossession? How do we transform our colonizing self-perceptions, lifeways, and structures? And how might we practice restorative solidarity with Indigenous communities today?” (from the back cover synopsis)
Part memoir, part social analysis, part biblical reflection, part workbook for one’s own place and past… this ambitious book pulls many strands together and presents a compelling challenge to North Americans to re-member (and also remem-bear) the stories of their past. And not only their own family stories, but the stories of other groups who may have been impacted, even displaced, by incoming groups.
The story of Elaine’s Mennonite ancestors who fled Russia after the Revolution and settled in the plains of Saskatchewan just one generation after local native communities where dispossessed of their treaty lands, presents a powerful case-study of how two groups, both traumatized by unpredictable violence, had to search for a new way to co-exist. How might the practices of restorative justice speak into a situation like that? How might they speak into your own historical and geographical situation? This is an excellent book for faith-based study groups that are serious about a discipleship journey of decolonization that is both inspiring and practical. (Ted Lewis)
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