Dec 17 2014

An uncommon path: On reconciliation – Nico Koopman and Oodgeroo Noonuccal

My colleague Prof Nico Norman Koopman’s column on reconciliation in today’s Burger newspaper reminded me of this piece of poetry:

I could tell you of heartbreak, hatred blind, 
I could tell you of crimes that shame mankind, 
Of brutal wrong and deeds malign, 
Of rape and murder, son of mine; But I’ll tell instead of brave and fine 
When lives of black and white entwine 
And men in brotherhood combine— 
This I would tell you, son of mine.

~ Oodgeroo Noonuccal – Son of Mine, 1960

A prophet of hope in our time!

Here is Nico’s column from Die Burger for 16 December 2014:

Steeds op soek na helende versoening

Die 1996-Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika pleit vir die heling van die wonde van die nasie. Op Versoeningsdag fokus ons uitdruklik op hierdie helingsproses.

Drie interaksies bied riglyne vir hierdie proses. Gedurende die negentigerjare is ek en Vader Courtney Sampson van die Anglikaase Kerk kapelane op die kampusse van die Universiteit Wes-Kaapland, en die destydse Skiereilandse Technikon en Bellville Onderwyskollega. Courtney verduidelik op ‘n keer aan my dat sy bediening gedurende die verloop van ‘n jaar die moeite werd was as hy een bruin en een swart student kon help om vriende te word, en as hulle buite klasverband sosiaal met mekaar kan verkeer!

Sampson het toe al besef studente en personeellede kan saamwerk oor kleurgrense heen, maar hulle ervaar kleurgebaseerde skeiding buite die amptelike studeer- en werksituasie.

In een van my heel laaste gesprekke enkele weke voor sy dood met prof Russel Botman praat ons oor die wyse waarop sosio-ekonomiese klowe wat meermale langs kleurlyne loop, dit moeilik maak vir baie van ons studente om buite die klas-situasie oor kleurgrense vriende te word en blywende verhoudinge te bou.

By die onlangse gradeplegtighede van die Universiteit Stellenbosch pleit ons kanselier, dr Johann Rupert, telkens vir, wat ek wil noem, die heling van ons land se mense. Hy is besorgd oor die stukkendheid wat die geweldsoptrede van die apartheidsmagte, onder meer die moordbendes, in Suid-Afrika gebring het. Hy verwys ook na die stukkendheid wat die geweldsoptrede van sommige elemente in die anti-apartheidsbeweging meegebring het, onder meer deur middel van halssnoermoorde.

Hierdie geërfde geweldskultuur dra by tot ons afgestomptheid vir die wreedheid en verontmensliking in ons samelewing. Verlede week se moord van ses jongmense in Kraaifontein kry byvoorbeeld nie die prominensie en ontlok nie die skok wat dit verdien nie. Hy is ook besorgd oor talle mense wat sosio-ekonomies stukkend is.

Rupert daag gegradueerdes en akademici uit om meer aktivisties te wees, om meer daadwerklik op te tree, om meer te praat teen alles wat stukkendheid meebring, en om meer te soek na heling en menswaardigheid vir almal.

Sampson leer ons helende versoening beteken dat mense oor grense heen vriende word. Botman pleit vir die oorkoming van sosio-ekonomiese ongelykheid as ‘n weg na helende versoening. En Rupert pleit vir aktivistiese individue en instellings om helende versoening, menslikheid en vrede te bevorder.

Versoeningsdag kan ons dalk help om opnuut te ontdek dat die aktiewe optrede van elke individu uiteindelik ‘n groot verskil maak. Om weer die woorde van ‘n ou gesang in herinnering te roep: Kleine druppels water, kleine korrels sand, vorm die oseane, bou die vasteland. Vriendskappe soos dié van Courtney Sampson se studente los nie alle probleme op nie, maar dit bied hoop vir die oorkoming van stukkendheid en sosio-ekonomiese klowe, onmenslikheid en geweld.

Nico Koopman is dekaan van die fakulteit teologie, Universiteit Stellenbosch

 

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/on-reconciliation-nico-koopman-and-oodgeroo-noonuccal/

Dec 17 2014

Wesleyan Leadership: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself – Part 1 of 6

This is the first of a six-part series of posts based upon a paper I presented at the Oxford Institute for Methodist Theological Studies in August 2013. The theme of the Institute was to reflect upon how Christians in the … Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/love-your-neighbor-as-yourself-part-1-of-6/

Dec 17 2014

Encourage One Another Daily: Christmas Chaos in the Key of C

Christmas and I have a love/hate relationship! I love the Christ Child, the joy, the music, the decorations, the special services, and the family time. I hate the pace and never having enough time to get everything done. For me today was particularly hard. After two days where I did too much and stayed up […]

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/christmas-chaos-in-the-key-of-c/

Dec 17 2014

Mustard Seeds: Exodus Gods & Kings: Aiming For Greatness (Movie Review)

Exodus Gods & Kings was one of those ‘no-brainer’ films for me: it involved my favorite Old Testament figure and it was directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, Prometheus, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, etc.) A dozen brave souls … Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/exodus-gods-kings-aiming-for-greatness-movie-review/

Dec 17 2014

Wandering About the Church: A Friendly Church

Most of us think we are. I have never had anyone say “You should come to my church. We are very unfriendly but you would love it!” Makes us smile to even think about it doesn’t it? I even was at a church once that had on the sign in front and on their bulletin “The Friendly Church!”

I put together a seminar years ago on seeing ourselves as others see us and have offered it over the years in different places I have served. One of the things I work to help churches I serve either as a pastor or consultant is how they are perceived in the community. When I was teaching marketing years ago I used to talk about in the eyes of the customer “perception is reality” even when it is not what we want it to be. That is true with a product, a service, a church or even an individual.

A few days ago I received the following message from a former member of a church I served. “Thought of you yesterday. How you always told our Church to be open and welcoming to people walking in for the first time. Ben and Kim bought a house outside Anywhere.  They had been going to a very welcoming and loving Church in Sometown since Sam was born and was baptized there. They decided to try the Methodist Church in Anywhere this Sunday. Kim works weekends so it is Ben usually alone with Sam. Not a good experience, Sam is 18 months old and talked sometimes during service, people turned and stared at him, not smiling or welcoming. After service a few older couples came and welcomed him. No young couples or middle age couples. I’m very sad about it, he said he won’t go back, felt very uncomfortable. I pray so hard my children will raise their children to know and love God with all their hearts and then something like this happens. Thank you for opening my eyes years ago to being welcoming to others coming into the Church for the first time.  :(

I wish I could say this is an unusual occurrence but the fact is that this is the most common experience people have when they visit our churches. So much of what we do is focused on those that are already “inside” the church we don’t even notice it would be meaningless to someone “outside” the church. The problem is that we sometimes welcome people into our buildings but not into our churches. The building is always the place where the church, the people, gather and even if we do a great job of inviting people into the building, integrating into the people is far more difficult usually unless we are intentional about it.

Of course this is an unusual occurrence in another way in that someone entered the building without being invited by someone that was already there. Would the experience have been any different? We need to be prepared to build relationships with people as soon as they connect with the church in any way. Today that is more likely to happen outside the building than inside. Remember, the church is a gathering of follower of Jesus wherever you are.

Are you prepared to extend a welcome to your church? 

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/a-friendly-church/

Dec 17 2014

Hacking Christianity :: Rev. Jeremy Smith: Christianity is not the Greatest Religion in the World

Drawing on the iconic scene in “The Newsroom”, is there a need to acknowledge that Christianity has fallen short? That in many ways, we are not the Greatest and need to repent? Oddly enough, in honestly repenting we might become more attractive to a suspicious world.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/christianity-is-not-the-greatest-religion-in-the-world/

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