Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The gift of forgiveness

This week we begin a new course here at Uniting College. It’s called The gift of forgiveness. It was historically an ethics course but in the new Bachelor of Ministry, we’ve retooled it, wanting to give it a grounding in contemporary realities.

My sense, from pastoral ministry and intuitively from a missiological perspective, is that forgiveness is a topic that touches us in so many ways – individually, in our families, in our churches, among cultures, as we consider colonisation. So the course will be bringing these real life realities into conversation with Christian understandings of forgiveness and justice.

Today I was preparing, enjoying being back with Miroslav Volf and his thinking – Exclusion & Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation and The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World. Both are superb, the first exploring the question of “How can you forgive?” the second exploring the question of “Do you forgive and forget?”

Alongside the books, here he is on video

Posted by steve at 12:08 AM


  1. Our congregation used ‘Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace’ by Volf as it’s Lenten focus this year. Conversations about forgiveness are often difficult, they touch into so much personal and family story as well as cultural and historical ones. ‘Free of Charge’ is written for a general audience and definitely helped us have some spacious conversations with groups with enormous denomination, cultural and life-experience differences.

    Comment by Jemma — August 8, 2012 @ 2:28 am

  2. Thanks Jemma. I agree that they touch into so many spaces, which is exactly why I was keen to have this topic in our B.Min – almost an integrative type experience – if the students want to make that journey,

    “Spacious conversations” – please God


    Comment by steve — August 8, 2012 @ 8:25 am

  3. John D Caputo “What would Jesus Deconstruct” pp 73-75 (using Derrida) ‘ .. the only thing that can be truly forgiven is the unforgivable; the only condition under which true forgiveness is possible is when forgiveness is impossible.’

    Comment by Bruce Grindlay — August 8, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  4. Great quote Bruce. Was that before or after the deconstruction by Jesus? Or is forgiveness the deconstruction?


    Comment by steve — August 8, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

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