Recommended reading: ‘Made for Goodness and Why This Makes All the Difference’ by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu

Review by Carol Rittner, RSM, Editor of Mercywords, an E-Journal that is an interdisciplinary forum for religious and laity that explores ideas and questions in theology, religious studies, scripture, spirituality, and social activism. Essays and reviews are intended to raise questions, explore ideas, and encourage those who serve the people of God in our fractured and fragmented world. Its aim is to stimulate fresh thinking, educate inquiring minds, and inspire searching hearts.

“‘Why are you so joyful?’ ‘How do you keep your faith in people when you see so much injustice, oppression, and cruelty?’ ‘What makes you so certain that the world is going to get better?’”

These are the questions that begin this wonderful book written by the father-daughter team of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu, mother, wife, and Episcopal priest. To say that it is a “hopeful” book is an understatement, but it is the only word I can think of to describe a book filled with stories and examples of goodness and beauty.

With all the hardship in the world, it is easy to look around and wonder if there is any goodness in this fragile and fragmented world of ours, which is precisely why Archbishop Tutu and his daughter, Rev. Tutu, wrote Made for Goodness. In their view, joy and goodness can be found anywhere, if we would only look for it.

“Each kindness enhances the quality of life,” they write. “Each cruelty diminishes it.”

It is easy to imagine that someone like Archbishop Tutu would lose hope in the face of the many atrocities he has witnessed, the poverty, racism, and homophobia he has experienced, and that his daughter, Mpho, who serves as the Chair of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance, would despair in the presence of all the suffering and death she has encountered in her work around the world, dealing with the scourge of HIV and AIDS. But what one discovers reading Made for Goodness is what Bono, lead singer of U2, calls a “fundamental truth” that shows “us that at the end of even the worst day, it’s in our DNA to look out for our brothers and sisters.”

Now more than ever, we need to believe and accept what this father-daughter priestly team writes, that “anyone can choose to cultivate compassion,” even in a world rife with cruelty, suffering, war, and atrocity, if only we can see that everyone – everyone – is “made in God’s own image… And all of us are good. No, not just good, but very good.”

Made for Goodness is a book not to be missed. Read it. You will be inspired and challenged.

Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu. Made for Goodness and Why This Makes All the Difference. New York: HarperOne, 2010.

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