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Repairing racial brokenness | A fresh vision for deep healing with Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson

REPARATIONS | Shades of Red

Season 7, episode 139
47 min / Published

Episode 139 - Christians are awakening to the legacy of racism in America like never before. While public conversations regarding the realities of racial division and inequalities have surged in recent years, so has the public outcry to work toward the long-awaited healing of these wounds. But American Christianity, with its tendency to view the ministry of reconciliation as its sole response to racial injustice, and its isolation from those who labor most diligently to address these things, is underequipped to offer solutions. Because of this, the church needs a new perspective on its responsibility for the deep racial brokenness at the heart of American culture and on what it can do to repair that brokenness. So, today Stephanie welcomes Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson, co-authors of a book that she is very eager to share with you, Reparations, in the context of our Shades of Red series. This is a deep, serious, and visionary conversation which, Stephanie hopes, will inspire you to embrace the practical steps of the Shades of Red series: to be informed, to intercede, to become involved, and to influence.

"REPARATIONS" makes a compelling historical and theological case for the church’s obligation to provide reparations for the oppression of African Americans. Duke Kwon and Gregory Thompson articulate the church’s responsibility for its promotion and preservation of white supremacy throughout history, investigate the Bible’s call to repair our racial brokenness, and offer a vision for the work of reparation at the local level. They lead readers toward a moral imagination that views reparations as a long-overdue and necessary step in our collective journey toward healing and wholeness.


Duke L. Kwon (MDiv, ThM, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is the lead pastor at Grace Meridian Hill, a neighborhood congregation in the Grace DC Network committed to building cross-cultural community in Washington, DC. Kwon is active in public conversations around race, equity, and racial repair in the American church, and he lectures on these topics around the country. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Christianity Today, and The Witness.

Gregory Thompson (PhD, University of Virginia) is a pastor, scholar, artist, and producer whose work focuses on race and equity in the United States. He serves as executive director of Voices Underground (an initiative to build a national memorial to the Underground Railroad outside of Philadelphia), research fellow in African American heritage at Lincoln University (HBCU), and visiting theologian for mission at Grace Mosaic Church in Washington, DC. He is also the cocreator of Union: The Musical, a soul and hip-hop-based musical about the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike. Thompson lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Follow them at the Reparations Projects on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reparations_project/


SHADES OF RED is a new original series by GospelSpice Ministries. We ponder humanity as loved, created, fallen and, in Christ, redeemed.

SHADES OF RED brings you a simple theological perspective to understand the consequences of the curse of sin on humanity, followed by a practical approach to step up against the evils of our day, rooted in unity between man and woman. Weaving real-life Bible stories, this series will help you get informed, keep interceding, get involved, and keep influencing our generation. We will also occasionally welcome special guests who share our passion to fight against oppression in all its forms, for example through the fight against human trafficking, or through racial reconciliation, and more.

Go to gospelspice.com for more, and go especially to gospelspice.com/podcast to enjoy our guests! Interested in our blog? Click here: gospelspice.com/blog

Would you be interested in joining us here in Philadelphia for a 5-year anniversary celebration of Gospel Spice in the fall of 2024? And/Or, would you be interested in joining a small group of women for a Gospel Spice Women's weekend retreat with in-depth Bible Study and fellowship? 

I need to know! please let me know by answering a short survey at gospelspice.com/survey - so that I know whether to pursue this or not. thank you!

  • duke kwon
  • gregory thompson
  • greg thompson
  • reparations
  • slavery
  • american history
  • gospelspice
  • gospel spice
  • christian podcast
  • race and repair in america
  • racial reconciliation
  • racial reparations
  • charleston shootings
  • voices underground
  • christianity
  • american history of slavery
  • mlk
  • martin luther king
  • black history
  • racial violence
  • brazos press
  • baker publishing
  • how can i understand racism in america
  • how can i help against racism
  • racism
  • human oppression
  • history of slavery
  • history of racism
  • remembering MLK
  • reparations from the church perspective
  • ministry of reconciliation
  • moral obligation
Show notes

“We are at an inflection point in our nation. We can either continue with the racial status quo or earnestly engage in the long-overdue process of repair. Reparations is a book for this moment. It is a call to action to offer tangible restitution for the historic exploitation of Black labor. While Christians should have been leading the way on this all along, sadly, too many have demonstrated compromise and complicity instead. Kwon and Thompson marshal deep research, theological acumen, and pastoral tenderness to make a timely call for reparations and the dignity of all people.”—Jemar Tisby, CEO of The Witness Inc.; author of the bestselling book The Color of Compromise


“Reparations is challenging in the best way: it challenges Christians to look squarely at our history, to take responsibility for our complicity in evil, and, most importantly, to take our mission as the church seriously. This book is a clarion call to understand the context of our mission and how that context must shape our work and community. Reparations is passionate, clear, smart, thoughtful, and blessedly troubling. I hope every American Christian leader—especially White Christian leaders—will read it because it is truly the rare book that, if taken up with an open heart, has the potential to change the world.”—Tish Harrison Warren, Anglican priest; author of Liturgy of the Ordinary and Prayer in the Night


“How do we make things whole? That is the question Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Repair helps us answer. Kwon and Thompson walk us through our complicated racial past and give us a glimpse of a future that is reconciled, just, and ultimately more like Christ. This book should be essential reading in classrooms and Bible studies, in religious sanctuaries and the halls of Congress, and for every single believer who cares about justice and equality. The history is sound, the facts are compelling, and the ultimate case must not be ignored.”—Joshua DuBois, CEO, media commentator, and former director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships


“What hope do we have of racial reconciliation unless we right the wrongs of our past? Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson have argued convincingly that reparations is a necessary part of the healing of our churches and our nation, and that people of faith should be leading the way. They have listened to their African American brothers and sisters. They tell us the sad truth about the significant role the church has played in the problem of racism. They demonstrate that reparations is a thoroughly biblical concept and a work of the gospel. And most importantly, with empathy and hope, they show us how we can start repairing our racial brokenness through local and community-based efforts that every one of us can be part of. Read this book and learn how to be a bridge builder for reparations.”—Latasha Morrison, founder of Be the Bridge and New York Times bestselling author of Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation


“Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson do a compelling job of laying out the historic legitimacy, the moral necessity, and the biblical urgency for reparations from slavery. With a kind of whiplash effect, they frequently let centuries-old voices speak into this very moment with shocking immediacy. American Christians, especially those of us who are White, should read, internalize, and act upon these arguments with our whole being. May Christ’s loving reign over new hearts, minds, and systems reorder the powers of this world that all may freely and justly live.”—Mark Labberton, president, Fuller Theological Seminary


“The subject of reparations has been the cause of much heat and little light in some Christian circles. The objections to the very idea range from ‘it’s an injustice committed against people who had nothing to do with slavery’ to ‘it’s a ploy used by those who never suffered under slavery to take the hard-earned wealth of others.’ Arguments for reparations have often veered into emotional and moral appeals without careful theological, biblical, and historical reasoning. This book ends the era of poor pro-reparations arguments and silences the criticisms of those who suspect reparations as a kind of ‘reverse injustice.’ Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson have given us the careful yet daring, gracious yet trenchant, historical yet relevant, principled yet persuasive teaching the church and the world has desperately needed. Here is a study written with a rare combination of pastoral tenderness and intellectual rigor. I hope it ends the debate about reparations and helps many to begin the work toward achieving it.”—Thabiti M. Anyabwile, pastor, Anacostia River Church


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