I in You and You in Me

Michael Battle

May/2009, 166 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781596271111



For Christians, practicing Ubuntu means entering deeply into the compassionate, forgiving love of Gospel.

As defined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

The African spiritual principle of Ubuntu offers believers a new and radical way of reading the Gospel and understanding the heart of the Christian faith, and this new book explores the meaning and utility of Ubuntu as applied to Western philosophies, faith, and lifestyles.

Ubuntu is an African way of seeing self-identity formed -through community. This is a difficult worldview for many Western people, who understand self as over, against, or in competition with others. In the Western viewpoint, Ubuntu becomes something to avoid—a kind of co-dependency. As a Christian leader who understands the need, intricacies, and delicate workings of global interdependency, Battle offers here both a refreshing worldview and a new perspective of self-identity for people across cultures, and of all faiths.

Michael Battle has taught at General Theological Seminary in New York where he was the Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society and Director of the Desmond Tutu Center. He holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University, received his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary, an MST from Yale University and a PhD in theology and ethics, also from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993. In 2010, Battle was given one of the highest Anglican Church distinctions as “Six Preacher,” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Battle’s academic experience includes service as interim dean of Students and Community Life at Episcopal Divinity School, dean for academic affairs, vice president and associate professor of theology at Virginia Theology Seminary; as associate professor of spirituality and black church studies, at Duke University’s Divinity School; and as assistant professor of spiritual and moral theology in the School of Theology at the University of the South. He has served as chaplain to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, the House of Bishops in the Episcopal Church, and to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. Battle has published nine books, including Reconciliation: the Ubuntu Theology of Desmond Tutu, and Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me. He lives in Knightdale, North Carolina.

“Michael’s book helps us all to see that we are all inextricably linked together. We forget this at our peril. The good news, however, is that God’s love will not leave us alone. It is my prayer that, in the same way, Ubuntu will not leave us alone.”—Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize-winner and retired archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa

“If the community of the holy people of God is about nothing else, we must be about truly loving our neighbors as ourselves. We must understand and celebrate our inextricable links to each other always walking with Jesus our Beloved. This book is an offering to the holy people of God at the 76th General Convention. It is an introduction to a way of life that asks us to venture together into a new understanding of individualism and community.”—Bonnie Anderson, D.D., President, The House of Deputies

“With each chapter of this timely and compelling volume, Michael strains time and again—and ever more urgently—to have us see as he has seen, to hear as he has heard, to feel as he now feels, to sense more intuitively, to internalize more instinctively, to actualize more spontaneously, the blindingly simple yet inexplicably elusive Gospel imperative to love one another. He does so as a teacher, with all the compassion and grace, passion and delight, tenderness and thoughtfulness, love and humility—that is, with the spirit, the life force. Indeed that is the essence of Ubuntu.”—Jenny Plane Te Paa, a theologian and dean of St. John’s College in Auckland, New Zealand

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