The Bishop of Rwanda: Finding Forgiveness Amidst a Pile of Bones

by Justin Lonas

The 1994 Rwandan Genocide saw over 1,000,000 people killed in the space of less than three months. The healing process is something that may never be fully completed, but the church is committed to bringing reconciliation to the tribesmen who murdered one another over a decade ago. The book covers the history of Rwanda from its days as a Belgian colony, setting the stage for what would become one of the worst acts of mass violence in history. Anglican Bishop John Rucyahana tells the story of the 30-year buildup of hatred of the Tutsi ethnic group by the Hutu-controlled government and media, the genocide itself, and his efforts at creating a culture of forgiveness from the ashes of the killing. Rucyahana's engaging narrative provides plenty of background to those unfamiliar with the historical details of Rwanda, and his often grisly retelling of specific stories within the genocide-let me offer a cautionary note: this rather graphic segment of the book is not for the faint of heart-will bring tears of pain and disgust to the least sensitive reader. Without this to set the stage, however, the magnitude of the reconciliation covered in the book's final third would not be as apparent. While he does hold Western nations and the Rwandan church accountable for their failure to do more to stop the killing, Rucyahana places the ultimate blame for the Rwanda's scourge squarely where it belongs: on Satan. The conclusion to this stunning tale is one of hope-if the Tutsi and Hutu peoples can forgive and be returned to fellowship with each other, then there is no sin too great for God's forgiveness to cover in full.
2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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