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God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  400 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In this essential collection of Desmond Tutu’s most historic and controversial speeches and writings, we witness his unique career of provoking the powerful and confronting the world in order to protect the oppressed, the poor, and other victims of injustice.

Renowned first for his courageous opposition to apartheid in South Africa, he and his ministry soon took on internat
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Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by HarperOne (first published May 1st 2011)
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Rebekka Steg
It took me just over a month to read God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations by Desmond Tutu. Not because it's long, it's just over 200 pages, but because it is so incredibly thought-provoking. I really enjoyed it on so many levels. Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate, arch bishop of South Africa, and avid fighter against the apartheid system, is such an inspiration. I really admire him for standing up for everyone, all across the world, even when it isn't popular.

This book will make you
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Emily
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A powerful collection of Desmond Tutu's writings and speeches spanning several decades. He is an unapologetic Christian, but incredibly gifted at interfaith dialogue and outreach. There is some repetition; a man this prolific is bound to plagiarize himself at least somewhat, especially in off-the-cuff, extemporaneous remarks to groups. And now I'm going to let him speak for himself (mostly so I have a record of these great quotes before I have to return the book to the library):

* Life...has too
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Marc Arlt
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read. These letters and speeches by Tutu are a stirring collection which have helped make Tutu a real hero of mine. He is unafraid to speak the truth to political power and way ahead of the curve in matters of organized religion. We need this voice and beautiful laugh in our world a little longer.
Rod Horncastle
Jul 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Sorry Des but I gotta give you 1 star on this one. (mostly because I can't believe the Anglican church would actually make you a pastor/bishop/cleric??? actually I guess it's not that hard to believe - Anglican's have never been big on theology.)

This collection shows Mr. Tutu (does anyone else think that's kind of funny?)to be a wonderful human rights activist. It even appears he has made some impressive progress in certain areas, well done. But my problem is: that isn't what the Book is labelle
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Kay
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have a hard time rating non-fiction, because it creates such a different experience than fiction does. But I've decided to give five stars to books that change my life, and this book came pretty close.

I chose this book for its provocative title. I'd never heard of Desmond Tutu. What fascinated me most was that Tutu is a Christian and said God is not a Christian. I thought to myself, "What kind of Christian is he?" I discovered that he is a true Christian and emulates what Christianity should b
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Joy
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joy by: Book Group
Shelves: book-group
Excellent book. This is a collection of Bishop Tutu's speeches and articles in which he addresses the human condition at large and the condition of the South African people in particular both during and after Apartheid. He states frequently that he feels that people of faith need to be on the side of the oppressed, where he believes God is also, and about the shared humanity of all of God's children, regardless of their race, gender, age or sexual orientation. This book is full of much wisdom an ...more
Megan Abraham
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Desmond Tutu is a tough guy. Fearless and dedicated to his people, Tutu was a remarkable agent of change during South Africa's apartheid era. In this collection, he aired out his disappointments and warnings against repeating history as the government (as of 2009) began slipping back into familiar waters. He admits to being a repetitive man, and his essays do tend to repeat his frustrations and guidance, but they are no less valuable. His essays will give you a great deal of perspective on what ...more
Jon Gill
The title is provocative enough (the subtitle is “and other provocations,” after all) to perhaps scare certain kinds of Christians away from this book. However, even if you’re offended by the title, I hope you’ll think twice before you dismiss it. There is a significant group of Christians who need to hear the heart, stories, and messages of Archbishop Tutu. We can all learn not only from what he has to say, but from what he has lived while saying it.

My first experience reading Tutu was last yea
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Denny
God Is Not a Christian packs quite a wallop for such a small book. Tutu propounds a constant message of forgiveness, tolerance, reconciliation, peace, and above all faith. Reading this collection of speeches and essays made me feel that I am a small, insignificant, moral failure and wish that I had the courage and strength of Tutu’s convictions.

I rated it 3 stars instead of 4 solely because Tutu preaches the same message over and over again against a variety of situations (Apartheid, support for
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Peter
A real voice of sanity; uncompromisingly and courageously truthful, honest, bold and intelligently biblical. Whether preaching the gospel on justice, ubuntu (not the computer O.S!) inclusivity, diversity, apartheid, Judaeo-Palestinian relations, Black theology, African colonial history, Nicaragua or politics in general this man had fire and steel in his belly, truth on his tongue and love and compassion in his heart. I would like to hear him, or somebody of his caliber speaking like this into to ...more
Sean Goh
God is clearly not a Christian. His concern is for all his children. There is a Jewish story which says that soon after the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea, while the Israelites were celebrating, God accosted them and demanded, "How can you rejoice when my children have drowned?"

It surely must be more sensible to maintain that God was, and is, accessible to all his human creatures and that people did have a real encounter with this God before the Christian dispensation.

Ubuntu is the essence of
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Sandy
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really went back and forth between 3 & 4 on this and eventually came down on the side of a high 3.5. This book was not actually written by Tutu as a comprehensive whole. These are selected (by someone else) writings on particular topics with a foreword by Bishop Tutu himself. My problem is more with the structure than the content, which was both good and intriguing.

It did feel like the format of the book got in the way. It was like somebody was going to do a dissertation on Tutu's views and g
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Paul
Apr 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
God Is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations smarts as whiplash and stings like a stirred-up honeybee colony. It is a black is beautiful and bold book, a captivating and courageous collection of sermons and speeches that cuts through the crap, that pokes, probes, and provokes all of us so-called Christians, culturally conditioned by premises of position and privilege, particularly from First World status in the West, to put into real and serious question and reformulation our crusty/dusty/encr ...more
Jennifer
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of Desmond Tutu speeches, put together with important linking explanations by John Allen. Like Tutu's God, I am not a Christian and I wondered if I would find a whole book of his religious perspective too difficult. However, it was both tremendously accessible and a great advert for Bible studies... as he says at one point"Let's read Bibles again, because they're the most explosive things ever" It was fascinating to revisit South African history... especially ...more
Thom
I was a little disappointed with this, hoping that it would be more specifically about the provocative issue of interfaith dialog. But that was my fault due to a misreading of the title. So rather than being inspired or provoked, my curiosity was satiated regarding Bishop Tutu's role during the South African revolution. I taught about apartheid early in my teaching career and to witness the transformation as it occurred was marvelous. Bishop Tutu is noteworthy for holding both sides up for criti ...more
Kate
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
When I read the title of this book God is Not a Christian: And Other Provocations, I remember thinking in the bookstore that I am in for another treat from Archbishop Tutu. What I love most about the theology of Tutu is the emphasis on God's inclusiveness. Tutu reminds us that God is about love and justice. It saddens me how some religious entities have used God as a weapon to alienate groups of people, and cause a spirit of divisiveness that is anything but Godly. Thank Goodness that the theolo ...more
Sandy H
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I only gave this 3 stars not because of Archbishop Tutu's words but because of the format of the book. I may not have read descriptions carefully but I thought this was going to be entire sermons/speeches and was disappointed to find that it was merely excerpts strung together around basic themes. I enjoyed reading his words but I had difficulty really getting into the book as I kept feeling like I was getting cut off mid-thought and being hustled along to the next excerpt the author wanted me t ...more
David
Apr 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to David by: for those interested in the history of South Africa, the relationship between the Anglican church and politics.
When people meet a man or woman of spirit, peace or national leadership, the reaction is almost always the same; there is an aura about these men and women that exudes power, confidence and leadership. I have not had the honor of sitting in the presence of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but believe he, too, meets this criterion. So when I had the opportunity to review a collection of his speeches and letters, I jumped at it.

Read more: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/revie... (Release date May 3, 2011
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Adam
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The world has plenty of freedom fighters, but how do these people act once they're in power? Archbishop Tutu sets an example of incredible forgiveness towards the terrorists and tyrants he opposed, as well as the integrity to criticize and preach to his allies and compatriots.

This book contains an edited selection of writings from several decades of Tutu's career, letting you trace the themes of reconciliation, non-violence and concern for the poor through the many contexts Tutu wrote and spoke
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Danial Tanvir
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is actually a book by Demond Tutu.
in the start of the book the author asks the question that

"where is god in a world where all these bad things are happening"?.
it is about Christianity and about Christians and about how god is not a Christain.
it is about the Desmond tutu who is a priest and who won the nobel prize and about his life.
he is from south Africa and this book is actually about nelson Mandela , south Africa and it is about the apartheid.
I read this book in 2 to 3 days as it was a
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Georgiana
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this more than five stars, I would in a heartbeat.

If I could have lunch with any living famous person, it would be Tutu.

And if you've ever wondered why a supposedly bright, definitely disruptive woman like me might choose to follow Christian teachings, read this and you'll get it. Tutu has no qualms whatsoever about calling the powerful to account, and his methods and reasons for doing so are inextricably connected to his faith.
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Rebecca Schatschneider
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I had a few minutes to kill while waiting for a friend who was late for lunch, and found this at the bookstore next to the restaurant. Thinking it might provide some good material for my speechwriting duties, I picked it up - and was immediately drawn in. I can't wait to have another interlude when I can pick it up again! ...more
Martinus
Archbishop Tutu's theological starting point is that all human beings are created in the image of God leading to his continued emphasis on tolerance, respect and justice. In this very readable book a collection of Tutu's speeches, lectures and sermons drives the consistency of his message home, no matter whom the audience is. ...more
Bobby
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
My great respect for Desmond Tutu is solidified even more through reading this book. I don't know anyone who represents Christ so fearlessly and lovingly as this amazing man. These various speeches and talks are supplemented with bits of background info to provide context thereby making this a great read as inspiration or as a bit of history. Well done. ...more
Gary Ross-Jordan
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I found it very repetitive and at times the issues were not explored in depth. This is a problem I think with the chosen excerpts and not the speaker. Whilst the issues raised are enagaging the lack of depth in this book switches one off which is sad as the archbishop certainly has plenty of worth to say and be noted.
Nathan
Aug 20, 2011 rated it liked it
There are some beautiful, eloquent and powerful passages here. However, I can't reconcile some of the theological ideas he presents and I'm not sure which is the real Tutu. Interesting and provocative read, nevertheless. ...more
Laura
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is very interesting, but it is so deep that I can only read bits at a time. I started high-lighting the sections I considered especially important. Now most of what I've read so far is high-lighted! ...more
Neal Lemery
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Tutu's devout spirituality and great insight into Scripture are tools he uses to provoke the reader into thinking outside of the usual frame of reference on our beliefs. He calls each of us to action, and challenges our prejudices and our thinking. He is a breath of fresh air in this genre. ...more
Jon
Jul 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Open-minded people with patience for the good in life
Recommended to Jon by: The shelf at the library
Shelves: read-2011
An amazing man with some great thoughts. It gets a little dry at times, but it's well worth the effort. ...more
Sandy
Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sandy by: Joe Rickards
Inspiring! Encouraged me to speak up for myself and others with more courage.
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Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African cleric and activist who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. In 1984, Tutu became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern A ...more

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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
43 likes · 12 comments
“W e should not be scared of being confrontational, of facing people with the wrong that they have done. Forgiving doesn’t mean turning yourself into a doormat for people to wipe their boots on. Our Lord was very forgiving. But he faced up to those he thought were self-righteous, who were behaving in a ghastly fashion, and called them a “generation of vipers” (Matthew 23:33, KJV). Forgiveness doesn’t mean pretending things aren’t as they really are. Forgiveness is a recognition that there is a ghastliness that has happened. Forgiveness doesn’t mean trying to paper over the cracks. Forgiveness means that both the wronged and the culprits of those wrongs acknowledge that something happened. There is necessarily a measure of confrontation. People sometimes think that you shouldn’t be abrasive. But sometimes you have to be to make people acknowledge that they have done something wrong.” 5 likes
“There will be no future unless there is peace. There can be no peace unless there is reconciliation. But there can be no reconciliation before there is forgiveness. And there can be no forgiveness unless people repent.” 2 likes
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