Here is something I’ve been thinking about lately –

Someone recommended I read Mirror to the Church: Resurrecting Faith after Genocide in Rwanda by Emmanuel Katongole.  I did.  And it has been haunting me.

“In a country that was over eighty-five percent Christian, almost everyone gathered on Easter Sunday [1994] to remember the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ” (18).

“But one week later… Christians in Rwanda took up machetes, looked fellow church members in the face, and hacked their bodies to pieces” (19).

How could this happen?!?!

We have to admit that often times “Christianity becomes little more than a thin veneer over what we imagine our natural identity to be” (53).

“Christianity made little difference in Rwanda. Christianity seemed little more than an add-on – an inconsequential relish that did not radically affect people’s so-called natural identities, nor the goals or purposes they pursued” (68).

“Christianity is meant to shape a new identity within us by creating a new sense of we – a new community that defies our usual categories of anthropology” (69).

“The deepest tragedy of the Rwandan genocide is that Christianity didn’t seem to make any difference. Rwandans performed a script that had shaped them more deeply than the biblical story had” (84).

“Paying attention to history helps us to see that this was not just Rwanda’s problem. The story that made Rwanda is the story of the West. When we look at Rwanda as a mirror to the church, it helps us realize what little consequence the biblical story has on the way Christians live their lives in the West” (85).

I’m praying that our churches are profoundly shaped by the gospel narrative and that this upcoming Easter is something more than a superficial tradition.


For the Sake of the Name,

Nathan Carter
Chicagoland Baptists
Executive Director/AMS
1356 N. Rockwell Street, Chicago, IL  60622



The mission of Chicagoland Baptists is to facilitate relationships among the Baptist churches of this Great City so that they can more effectively fulfill the Great Commission and live out the Great Commandment.

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