Nation Building: Our country, not “this country”

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SAY.jpgI’ve been out of the loop on the #Zumamustfall campaigns that spread across South Africa at the end of last year calling for the removal of our corrupt president (protestors are pointing to things like Nkandla, the mansion Zuma built with tax payer money- protest chant is simply “Pay back the money!”) I’ve been out of the loop because I’m in America, and I’ve been out of the loop because the articles that my black South African friends are sharing on social media aren’t super supportive of the movement. Yes, many South Africans across racial lines want Zuma to be held accountable, agree that the ANC is becoming complacent with their power–using it for themselves (the few) rather than to benefit the many. But the biggest critique I’m hearing is that these protests are springing up because Zuma sacked the finance minister and that put the Rand in a downward spiral and the best way to get white South Africa to turn out to protest is mess with the economy. When poor people are out there protesting about the rising cost of food, but the Rand has stabilized, will white South Africa still be there? Continue reading

Advent songs for Ferguson

static1.squarespace.jpg

from The Many Website, lyrics from “The Longest Nights”. 

I’ve been reading “Radical Reconciliation“, and one of the things the authors talk about is that mega-churches are now some of the most diverse churches in America. (“Diverse” means that there’s at least 25% people who aren’t white who attend…the percentage might actually be smaller than that, I don’t remember. And it doesn’t refer to leadership etc.)

On one hand, it sounds like progress, but on the other hand, the authors found that these churches were not really diverse. They did nothing different than their all-white mega-church counterparts. People of color were welcomed, and could attend, but were expected to adapt to the majority. Continue reading

Stealing isn’t a poor people problem. What?!

I’ve been reading the book Radical Reconciliation by Curtiss DeYoung and Alan Boesak. It was recommended to me over on Austin Channing’s site (she’s a great US reconciler, go check out her stuff!). It has been good to read a book on reconciliation that is written by:

  • A South African
  • An American
  • A theologian/pastor
  • A sociologist/academic
  • And hello, the forward is by Desmond Tutu.

So, when I saw this book existed, I knew I just had to read it. It wasn’t exactly light reading, and there’s some intense liberation theology that isn’t quite my cup of tea, but the book is full of things that really made me think. They do a great job of painting what reconciliation looks like in the Bible, and how it should look in the church. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some more about it.

One of the things that literally made me sit up and go “Wait. What?!” was just a small section where they talked about stealing. Continue reading