A Long Repentance

By Sangwon Yang and Mako Nagasawa

People talk about issues of race and justice in the United States as issues of ‘justice and injustice.’  Sometimes we launch into debates about ‘the proper role of government.’  But is that the original framework from which these issues were asked and debated?

The purpose of the blog post series called A Long Repentance: Exploring Christian Mistakes About Race, Politics, and Justice in the United States is to remind our readers that these issues began as Christian heresies.  They were at variance from Christian beliefs prior to colonialism.  Since Christians enacted and institutionalized what we believe to be heretical ideas, they were very destructive and harmful, then as now.  And we bear a unique responsibility for them.  As a result, we believe we must engage in a long repentance.  We must continue to resist the very heresies that we put into motion.  Thus the title of this blog series, A Long Repentance.  The journey is long and challenging.  It may be impossible to see the end.  But along the way, it is also inspiring and sometimes breathtaking.

We also encourage you to explore this booklet, A Long Repentance: A Study Guide, for further reflections and discussion questions.  Here’s a YouTube video called Colonization, Globalization, and Liberating Theologies called where Mako did an introduction and summary.


Cohort Opportunities


January – February 2022

If there is enough interest, we will do one cohort on Saturdays from 11am – 12noon Eastern Standard Time, and another cohort on a weeknight from 8 (or 9pm) Eastern.  

Zoom Meeting ID: 845 8228 7818

For Zoom password, Contact Us and leave us your contact information

Reading Schedule

Meeting 1:  Posts 1, 2

Meeting 2:  Posts 3, 4

Meeting 3:  Posts 5, 6, 7

Meeting 4:  Posts 8, 9

Meeting 5:  Posts 10, 11, 12

Meeting 6:  Post 13

Meeting 7:  Post 14

Meeting 8:  Post 15



“We led our church through A Long Repentance during Lent last year and experienced deep conversation and increased understanding of how our American history and culture is steeped in racialized stigma and prejudice. Wide-ranging without being unruly, Sangwon and Mako touch on key aspects of how the formation of the American consciousness is rooted in meritocracy in every aspect of our society. Written in a conversational format, A Long Repentance succeeds in being accessible and comprehensive, understandable and deeply profound. Highly recommend this resource to educate and expand imaginations on what God’s justice looks like in every facet of our culture.”

Matt Tebbe and Ben Sternke, co-pastors of The Table Indy (2019)


“We led a group within our congregation through A Long Repentance and found the material easily accessible and exceptionally informative.  The historical information and perspectives from both civic and biblical sources was extremely valuable in guiding conversation and enlightening to many for whom this was new information.  It enabled a high quality and engaging conversation that ultimately left most of us with new insight, personal motivation to learn and engage more in the issues of race and justice and the desire to continue to learn, grow and ultimately take action to change our lives as people of faith.  I highly recommend this course for both individuals and groups seeking to engage in the conversation in a meaningful way.”

Derek Harman, pastor of Lutheran Church of the Resurrection (2020) 


“As a pastor I have been through A Long Repentance three times.  Once with a group primarily of people of color, once with a group of all white adult evangelicals, and once with a group of college students. The curriculum proved itself to be multifaceted, eliciting different questions and reflections from each group. Each group was challenged in different ways and every time the group was grateful to have gone through the process together. Also, as a facilitator, the extensive footnotes were incredibly useful for enabling me to feel more confident diving into the hard questions with the group.”

Grant Eckhart, pastor at Jacobs Porch and Sanctuary Columbus (2020)


The Blog Posts

Post #1: The Basic Choice for White Evangelical Americans

Post #2: John Winthrop and Roger Williams on Native Americans

Post #3: The Catholic Doctrine of Discovery

Post #4: How “Race” Emerged from Colonialism

Post #5: Why Americans Believe in the Illusion of Meritocracy

Post #6: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Housing, Part 1

Post #7: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Housing, Part 2

Post #8: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Schooling, Part 1

Post #9: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Schooling, Part 2

Post #10: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Policing, Part 1

Post #11: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Policing, Part 2

Post #12: The Illusion of Meritocracy in Policing, Part 3

Post #13: Restorative Justice Over Meritocratic-Retributive

Post #14: Restorative Justice in Housing

Post #15: Reparations and the Key Question in Restorative Justice


Long Essays

The Reality of Systemic Racism, Part 1: Housing and Education

This paper summarizes the material above but includes material on predatory lending in the mortgage industry.  It also addresses the political climate around race, how racism is a way to politically realign lower-income white people with wealthy white people, rather than with black people along the lines of shared economic interests. So the paper makes an appeal to readers to keep class interests and power structures in mind, because we have arrived at neo-plantation capitalism where many people are exploited. The paper also appeals to, and challenges, religious conservatives by critiquing the “myth of meritocracy” as a heresy and as racist.

The Reality of Systemic Racism, Part 1: Why Ben Shapiro Is Wrong in More Ways Than One

This paper contains a subset of the content as the paper above, but put into the form of direct response to Ben Shapiro’s “debunking” of the Systemic Racism Explained video.  So the paper debunks Shapiro’s debunking.

Against Christian Nationalism: An Addendum to A Long Repentance

This paper reflects on the Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021 and the unfolding behaviors of white Christian nationalists, spotlighting anti-vaccine attitudes, the potential for violence, and other anti-democratic postures. It spotlights scholarship on Christian nationalism.