Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)




The author of this dissertation contends that reconciliation is the goal of divine and human action. The problem addressed is that human attempts at reconciliation are incomplete. Reconciliation can be defined with careful attention to the use of the words "mercy," "justice," and "truth." The disse1iation's thesis is that the South African expe1ience of mercy provides a reconciliation model for relationship, conversation, and ministry in Portland, Oregon. Chapter 1 introduces the challenge of addressing the problem through an account of a Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification meeting. The challenge is to move from words to action. Chapter 1 then describes the ministry contexts in and around Westminster Presbyterian Church in P01iland. Chapter 2 addresses four key issues: (a) human and divine aspects of reconciliation and the relationship between them, (b) reconciliation as a central theme in the Bible, (c) enacting human reconciliation, and (d) biblical roots of the words "restorative justice" and "mercy." Chapter 3 addresses four issues similar to those in chapter 2 from a theological perspective: (a) human and divine aspects of reconciliation, (b) a postmodern challenge to universals and reconciliation as a goal, ( c) enacting human reconciliation, and ( d) justice out of balance. The final issue exemplifies how determining the meaning of the word justice can lead to tension. In this chapter, as in the previous one, the author intentionally chooses scholars who disagree to explore the tensions that stand in the way of reconciliation. Chapter 4 describes the South African experience of mercy, relates mercy to forgiveness, and defines truth as narrative truth. It examines critiques of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission experience in South Africa and provides a model for reconciliation based on the South African experience. Chapter 5 describes the Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification and the Genesis Community Fellowship, used by the dissertation's author in translating the reconciliation model from chapter 4 into action. Chapter 6 claims that a balance of mercy, justice, and truth is the strongest and deepest reconciliation response to human divisions and injustice. The dissertation claims that balance demands increased attention to mercy. The dissertation shows that though human attempts at reconciliation are imperfect, it is important to continue them.

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