The great South African “marriage” of 1994

Reflecting upon what is happening between Israel and Palestine vs. what is happening in South Africa, Judge Dennis Davis is quoted to have said: “Over there they are talking about divorce – but here we are talking about marriage”.

Divorce and darkness vs marriage and light

I am not sure what the good judge would say about the coming together of West and East Germany in the early 1990s. Were they also talking about a marriage between the two geographical entities (which after all consists of one “volk” and therefore have much in common) or do they prefer the more neutral word of “uniting”? Or are they merely building a partnership or perhaps only trying to make a co-operation agreement work there? Or do they merely strive for “cohesion”?

Words create worlds, and it is important that we are clear which words we use when and why we use it.

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“Your vision must be stronger than your memory”

This expression, according to Dr Nick Binedell, the founder of GIBS in Johannesburg, is a mantra that will lead any individual, organization, institution or country to a better future.

It resonates well with the Biblical expression: “Where there is no vision, the people perish (or parish!)”. (Proverbs 29:18)

But how does it resonate with the expression from Archbishop Tutu: “We learn from history that we do not learn from history”? We should desire to learn from history so that we do not repeat the mistakes of our individual and collective histories.

It is clear that history cannot simply be forgotten. Amnesia is not an option. But in faithfully learning about history from many different perspectives, how does one ensure that it does not consume you, imprison you or make you bitter and cynical? Can a knowledge of history liberate us?

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My hands, our hands, God’s hands

A story is told about a young boy who wanted to test a sage. He held a small little bird in his two cusped hands and said to the sage: “Is this little bird dead or alive?” In his mind he thought: If the sage says “dead” then he will simply open his hand and allow the bird to fly away. If the sage says “alive”, he will crush the little bird. The sage listened to his question and contemplated for a while. Then she answered: “Son, whether the bird is alive or dead, is in your hands”.

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Mourning Clint Le Bruyns: What do we do?

marthiemombergblog

How do we cope with the enormous shock and loss of someone so inspiring, so generous in spirit?

Dr. Clint le Bruyns, the widely loved and respected South African theologian, intellectual and activist was 48 years old on the morning of 7 January 2021 when his body succumbed to Covid-19 related complications.

What do we do?

In his tribute, Rev. Moss Nthla (Chair: Kairos South Africa and General Secretary: The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa) responded as follows:

What do you do when a brave soldier falls in the middle of a fierce battle?
When the foe is not merely another tribe from across the river, but an empire arrogantly straddling the globe?
Corrupting the mind with theologies of death.
Enslaving the soul with the values of darkness.
Subjecting the majority of the peoples of the world to the falsehood that evil can trump good.
You celebrate.
You celebrate a…

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Covid: we need to change course

Before we end the year, it will be useful to look back on 2020 and reflect on what has happened and how VYLTP has been affected by it – and perhaps even begin to chart a way forward. Our mission at VYLTP is to “gather young leaders to form a safe space of learning, through courageous conversations, to foster wise leadership that empowers them to facilitate transformative justice in church and society”.

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Do BLACK LIVES MATTER or do ALL LIVES MATTER?

A  discussion note for South African Christians via SACLI

By Rev Edwin Arrison, 10 July 2020

A basic statement of faith is that all people are created in the image of God. And all people have God’s breath within us (Gen 1 and 2).

But what happens if, over hundreds of years, this image is denied within black people and a universal cry rings out “We can’t breathe!” At that point, black people affirm—without seeking the validation of others—that indeed BLACK LIVES MATTER. The cry of the people simply echoes the cry of God. That is why it can truly be called a “movement” and not simply a “moment”. Continue reading

Moet ons sê: SWART LEWENS MAAK SAAK, of eerder: ALLE LEWENS MAAK SAAK?

‘n Christelike meditasie

Deur Eerw. Edwin Arrison namens SACLI

(Also in English)

‘n Fundamentele Christelike stelling is dat alle mense na God se beeld geskape is en God se lewens-asem en gees in hom of haar het (Genesis 1 en 2).

Maar wat gebeur wanneer ‘n groot groep van die mensdom (swart mense) begin skreeu: “Ons kan nie asemhaal nie!”? Die stem van hierdie mense, wat ook God se lewens-asem het, eggo hiermee die stem van God, en soek gevolglik nie erkenning of toestemming vir die kreet nie. Continue reading