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I've always wondered why white South Africans, particularly Christians, didn't live more differently during Apartheid. I keep on hearing about "small things" that people did, and they seem...small.
Steve Biko continues from my last post:
"A game at which the liberals have become masters is that of deliberate evasiveness. The question often comes up "what can I do?". If you ask him to do something like stopping to use segregated facilities or dropping out of varsity to work at menial jobs like all blacks or defying and denouncing all provisions that make him privileged, you always get the answer - "but that's unrealistic!". While this may be true, it only serves to illustrate the fact that no matter what a white man does, the colour of his skin - his passport to privilege - will always put him miles ahead of the black man. Thus in the ultimate analysis no white person can escape being part of the oppresor camp."
The Amahoro conference is happening next week - and I can't wait! To get some fantastic minds into the same space to dialogue around post-colonial church is a wonderful, creative opportunity. It's not just the upfront speakers either, but the chance to work out the theory and theology with on-the-ground pastors for whom this must make a difference, or it's all talk. Plus there are some people who have a big influence on the wider scene in South Africa.
My friend Sean Tucker recently wrote that of the 32 people who started out with him in his 1st year class at Baptist Theological College only 3 of them are now Pastors in churches. That's 9% of the class! These aren't your ordinary Christians either - these are people who were so convinced of G-d's call on their life that they committed to studying theology and preparing for the pastorate. These aren't the "weddings and funeral" people, or the "attend church once a month" people, or the "attend church weekly" Christians, or even the more involved "we have leadership roles in the church" people. These are the most committed - those who are preparing for a lifetime of service within a church, because they feel called to this as their vocation - and only 9% are currently doing that as Pastors!
I find that shocking...and I'm not pointing fingers at Baptist College either.
The Times (UK) published a thought-provoking article last week, by an avowed atheist who is often critical of organised religion and Christianity. Yet, his thoughts on what is needed in Africa are refreshing and exciting for those of us who believe there is a different way of being and doing Christian in the world today.
This is worth a read. The original is online here.
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset
by Matthew Parris
Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.
It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Tom Smith has written a great post on "A pathological condition of Christianity" where he quotes a definition of fundamentalist, including this gem:
“It chooses those parts of Scripture which fit in with the dominant ideology. So, for example, it often focuses more on issues such as homosexuality and abortion, on which the Bible say little or nothing, and ignores issues such as poverty and wealth, on which it says a great deal. Being itself so entangled with the dominant ideology, it fails to see how conditioned and unfree - and therefore anti-spiritual - its biblicism is."