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Amidst a catastrophic civil war that began in 1983 and ended in 2005, many Dinka people in Sudan repudiated their inherited religious beliefs and embraced a vibrant Anglican faith. Christianity and Catastrophe in South Sudan chronicles the emergence of this grassroots religious movement, arguing that Christianity offered the Dinka new resources that allowed them to cope with a rapidly changing world and provided answers to the spiritual questions that war raised. Christianity and Catastrophe in South Sudan is rooted in extensive fieldwork in South Sudan, complemented by research in the archives of South Sudanese churches and international humanitarian organizations. The result is a detailed profile of what Christianity means to a society in the middle of intense crisis and trauma, with a particular focus on the roles of young people and women, and the ways in which the arrival of a new faith transformed existing religious traditions. Christianity and Catastrophe in South Sudan stakes out a new field of inquiry in African Christianity. Jesse Zink has written a must-read for all interested in the ongoing crises in Africa and, in particular, the vexed relationship between violence and religion.
Synopsis: Like many young people in his generation, Jesse Zink had long been eager to work overseas and make the world a better place. As a missionary working in a shantytown community in South Africa, he found all that and much more--in demanding, unexpected, and surprising ways. Grace at the Garbage Dump takes readers with Jesse through his years in South Africa: struggling with AIDS patients to get life-saving drugs, coaching women through a micro-credit program, and teaching preschool students to sing (and dance) to "Johnny B. Goode." It's a story that leads us to a deeper understanding of our world and is at once hopeful and uplifting while also being credible and serious. The headlines are dominated by disaster and despair but young people remain passionate about service to the least among us. Grace at the Garbage Dump is an invigorating call to respond to the difficulties of our time with an active and engaged faith. Whether you end up at the local soup kitchen or halfway around the world, you'll be challenged to seek God's grace in even the most adverse circumstances. Endorsements: "One part travelogue, one part coming-of-age story, one part spiritual autobiography, and one part reflections on poverty and what it means to help and be helped by those in need, Grace at the Garbage Dump introduces us all to Jesse Zink--talented as a writer, honest as a Christian thinker, and smart as an activist--exactly the kind of voice we need." --Brian McLaren Author of A Generous Orthodoxy "Jesse is well placed to reflect and write on the missional challenges in a context that looks and feels God-forsaken. We, however, know that there is no such place untouched by the grace of God. Yet the missional challenges in this part of Mthatha make hope dim." --Thabo Makgoba Archbishop of Cape Town, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa "Grace at the Garbage Dump adds a vital young voice to the vocation of Christian mission and illustrates the life-changing power of a ministry of presence. Jesse's willingness to be vulnerable and stand in unfamiliar terrain surrounded by the swirl of an alien language and situation is a witness to the courage born of faith and testifies to the truth that God throws no one away. All people, whether their homes are in a mansion or on a mountain of trash, are precious to God." --Mpho Tutu Director of the Tutu Institute for Prayer & Pilgrimage, author with Desmond Tutu of Made for Goodness "Jesse is an articulate, passionate, and sophisticated young scholar and activist for God's global mission of restoration and reconciliation, who brings a unique and refreshing perspective to the realities and study of Christian mission in the world today. I can think of no more exciting study of Christian mission than Jesse's book. It is a welcome resource to the many people who are looking for a meaningful and contemporary presentation of what God is up to in the world today." --Ian Douglas Episcopal bishop of Connecticut, former Angus Dun Professor of Mission and World Christianity, Episcopal Divinity School "Grace at the Garbage Dump is a vivid and honest journey of exploration and spiritual depth. It is a heartfelt glimpse into what it means to cross a border, leave a comfort zone, and reach into the lives of others. Living in the midst of such vulnerability, Jesse Zink gives voice to beauty, despair, joy, and sorrow. What emerges is full of dignity, life, and meaning." --Paul-Gordon Chandler Episcopal priest, interfaith advocate, and author of Pilgrims of Christ on the Muslim Road Author Biography: Jesse Zink is ordained in the Episcopal Church and a student at Yale Divinity School. In addition to being a missionary, he's also been an ambulance driver, news reporter, and DJ.
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