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Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  36 ratings  ·  16 reviews
You cannot discover lands already inhabited.

Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions.

In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah reveal the far-reaching, damaging
...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by InterVarsity Press
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Ethan
The past few years have seen many contributions from people of color regarding their experience in America in light of its heritage of white supremacy, especially as it relates to the Christian faith; this work is an important contribution to that end, featuring the perspective of a Native American regarding the "doctrine of discovery" and its implications in Western civilization ever since.

The author brings to the fore the principle which undergirded the colonization of America: the "doctrine
...more
Dorothy Greco
Rah and Charles explore US history, church history, sociology, and Scripture in an effort to help us understand the origin of our current racial, economic, and religious upheaval. The co-authors illustrate how the church has historically supported the state in the state's quest to expand human kingdoms and human power at the expense of human life and human flourishing.

Here's a quote from chapter four: "Christendom is the prostitution of the church to the empire that
created a church culture of
...more
J.R. Forasteros
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an important, powerful book that traces the Church's quest for power from Constantine through the Doctrine of Discovery to the founding of the USA to today. An exhaustive illustration of how the American Church has been unable and unwilling to surrender its attachment to White Supremacist ideology. And running throughout, there's a hope that if the American church will listen to the voices we've pushed aside, it's not too late.
David
This review is for a Launch Team Edition. The forthcoming publishing date is November 5, 2019.

This book is about the Doctrine of Discovery and the Christian Church. It explores how this doctrine has oppressed nations and people of color. It presents a history that has not been put forth in the textbooks and is very well documented.

The authors have created a much needed look at the Church's role in the Doctrine of Discovery. It is a book that I believe Church's should read, discuss and take
...more
Joel Wentz
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this in one sitting. The use of the word "unsettling" in the title is very apt. Even as someone who has read and studied quite a bit on the history of race, and especially racial dynamics in American history, I was still challenged and provoked by many of the discussions in Charles' and Rah's new book.

The authors go right for the jugular in this historical summary, making a bold case that the "Doctrine of Discovery" provided a racially-structured, white-supremacist foundation for
...more
Abby
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race-theory, history
This will not be an easy book (idea-wise, not language-wise...it's written very accessibly) for many people to read (especially Evangelicals, but Christians more broadly, regardless of political persuasion), but I'm going to go ahead and say that you 100% need to read it. Centering it primarily around the dehumanization and genocide of Native Americans in the US (but looking at other histories of racism as well), Mark Charles tells the story of the Doctrine of Discovery, and how it's infected ...more
Breanna Randall
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I really appreciated the content and the perspectives in this book. The most illuminating chapters for me were, by far, the ones toward the end of the book, where the authors unpack the complex legacy of Abraham Lincoln. This is history that we all need to be reading and engaging with. For the content, I'd give this book four stars.

The delivery and writing style were not as strong as I wished they would be for a subject this important. The writing felt stilted/wooden at times, which is perhaps
...more
Bill
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I hope to write a longer review later but in the interim. This book ought to be required reading for all students of US history and all students of church history. Additionally, the final two chapters, need to be incorporated in any conversation about racial conciliation in the US.

NOTE ON THE PUBLISHER:
This book was published by InterVarsity press. As a rule I work to avoid purchasing books from that publisher due to their stance on LGBT employees (you can check it out here
...more
David
Aug 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
The following is the review I posted on Goodreads:

This review is for a Launch Team Edition. The forthcoming publishing date is November 5, 2019.

This book is about the Doctrine of Discovery and the Christian Church. It explores how this doctrine has oppressed nations and people of color. It presents a history that has not been put forth in the textbooks and is very well documented.

The authors have created a much needed look at the Church's role in the Doctrine of Discovery. It is a book that I
...more
Jonah Kunisch
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This caused me to think about race relations in many ways I hadn't yet. I'll still be processing for a while all the ways that the United States needs to heal from its sins, as stated in this book.
However, there is not an objective stance attempted, so it makes for bad history.
There is not a fair assessment of what it means to be God's people, or an honest look at the God-ordained genocides of the Old Testament, so it makes for bad theology.
It is a passionate cry for justice, a scathing
...more
Beth Jensen
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This text offers the hope that healing can occur when unsettling truths are confronted. For centuries we have kept hidden the stories of oppressed people in our society. We have embraced the stories of success and exceptionalism rather than engaging the narrative of suffering and oppression. This obsession with the self-elevation of the American church and American society reflects an absence of truth telling. And the absence of truth has resulted in the presence of injustice.” -Charles and Rah
Larry Thiel
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fair assessment of the impact of the Doctrine of Discovery on the West. Deeply troubling accounts whether this is one's first reckoning with the history or for those who have heard the stories numerous times. There are a couple of questionable interpretations of the historical data, (I agree with Mark Noll on this), but a necessary read for every American whether they consider themselves woke (which the authors critique) or not. My sense is that every reader will and should be sobered by this ...more
Alexiana Fry
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s important to understand what is so deeply ingrained throughout history in order to weed the problem out at the root. This book was incredibly helpful to see even these insidious thoughts in my own theology, and to come to terms with the sins of this nation and White evangelicalism.
Molly
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half was heavy on Church doctrine and theology which was a little difficult to follow. The second half provides ideas for reconciliation and demonstrates how Scripture was used for political gain to justify the Doctrine of Discovery.
Louis Prontnicki
Dec 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Jenny Kindelin
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mark Charles and Soong -Chan Rah have written a truly remarkable work. This book is clear, convicting and a unique contribution. Beyond the highlighting of facts and history (which when wrestled with are truly unsettling), Charles speaks of a trauma lens in which to view our racialized history. He is the first person I have heard apply that to the white experience, and I believe it is a helpful paradigm in terms of the way forward. This is not an easy read, but so necessary. I would recommend it ...more
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Mark Charles, a man of Navajo and Dutch American descent, is a speaker, writer, and consultant on the complexities of American history, race, culture, and faith. He is the author of the blog Reflections from the Hogan and was the Washington, DC, correspondent and columnist for Native News Online. He has served on the boards of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and the ...more
“This 2005 opinion reveals a white supremacist legal opinion written by the United States Supreme Court that reiterates the highly problematic M’Intosh verdict written nearly two hundred years earlier. The opinion in the 2005 case, City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of N. Y., was written and delivered by the iconic progressive Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” 0 likes
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