Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery
:You cannot discover lands already inhabited. Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions. In this prophetic blend...
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:You cannot discover lands already inhabited. Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions. In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah reveal the far-reaching, damaging effects of the "Doctrine of Discovery." In the fifteenth century, official church edicts gave Christian explorers the right to claim territories they "discovered." This was institutionalized as an implicit national framework that justifies American triumphalism, white supremacy, and ongoing injustices. The result is that the dominant culture idealizes a history of discovery, opportunity, expansion, and equality, while minority communities have been traumatized by colonization, slavery, segregation, and dehumanization. Healing begins when deeply entrenched beliefs are unsettled. Charles and Rah aim to recover a common memory and shared understanding of where we have been and where we are going. As other nations have instituted truth and reconciliation commissions, so do the authors call our nation and churches to a truth-telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to conciliation and true community.
Mark Charles, a man of Navajo and Dutch American descent, is a speaker, writer, and consultant on the complexities of American history, race, culture, and faith. He is the author of the blog Reflections from the Hogan and was the Washington, DC, correspondent and columnist for Native News Online. He has served on the boards of the Christian Community Development Association and the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He and his family live in Washington, DC.
Soong-Chan Rah (D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is Milton B. Engebretson Assistant Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. Previously he was founding pastor of Cambridge Community Fellowship Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Rah has been a part of four different church-planting efforts, and served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston. He also serves on the boards of Sojourners and the Catalyst Leadership Center. He is a frequent conference speaker and contributed to Growing Healthy Asian American Churches (InterVarsity Press) and authored The Next Evangelicalism:Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (InterVarsity Press).
- :introduction: Who We Are And What We Bring
- 1. The Doctrine Of Discovery And Why It Matters
- 2. The Power Of Narratives And The Imagination
- 3. The Kingdom Of God Is About Relationship Not Empire
- 4. The Rise And Defense Of Christendom
- 5. A Dysfunctional Theology Brought To The “new” World
- 6. Exceptionalism And The Founding Documents Of The United States
- 7. Dysfunctional Theology And The Spread Of Settler Colonialism
- 8. Genocide, The Impact Of A Dysfunctional Theology
- 9. Abraham Lincoln And The Narrative Of White Messiahship
- 10. Abraham Lincoln And Native Genocide
- 11. The Complex Trauma Of The American Story
- 12. The Christian Worldview And The Failure Of Re-conciliation
- Conclusion: Truth And Conciliation
- Name And Subject Index