Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch
Entries in exposed (33)
Megan and I have had a wonderful week together in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Tonight we head home to Cape Town via KL, Doha and Johannesburg.
We were brought here by our wonderful friends from Alpha Malaysia. This week we had a wonderful conference encouraging Christians to discover and live out their faith life in the world of work. In part this was based on my book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'. We also have a strong partnership between Alpha Malaysia and Unashamedly Ethical http://www.unashamedlyethical.com and 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' http://www.exposed2013.com
This was a wonderful week. We had many chances to engage with Christians in the world of work and ministers / pastors about developing a public theology and living out their faith for the sake of transformation and renewal of society so that justice and grace may prevail.
We have many wonderful friends here, so it is always a joy to visit! I was so thankful that Megie could join me on this trip. It was such a blessing to have this precious time with her! The punishing travel and work schedule of the last two years does take its toll. It is so wonderful to be together and experience new and wonderful people and places as a couple.
Of course we cannot wait to get back home to our children who have been with their aunt and my mom! We've missed them so much!
There is a busy time ahead with EXPOSED reaching its climax from 14-20 October across the world. We already have 137 countries involved and millions of Christians.
Here is how you can get involved:
1. Please watch this short video (2 minutes) about the EXPOSED Vigils http://t.co/i9EK7QqqjK
2. Simply invite a few friends, set a venue, and download prayers, scripture readings and the video from here http://www.exposed2013.com/act/10-action-tools/33-organise-a-vigil
3. Please register your Global Vigil on the map here, so that others can see it (shine a light!) or join you if it is an open meeting or service! http://www.exposed2013.com/act/10-action-tools/78-register-your-vigil
4. Post some pictures, video, or a short report on your website, facebook and twitter. Please use the hashtag #ShineALight
5. At your Vigil, and during the week, please get as many people as you can to sign the Global Call to end corruption. Simply go here on your computer, cellphone or tablet http://bit.ly/signGC or visit the website and sign up there, or download and print a sign up sheet to gather signatures automatically http://www.exposed2013.com
Thanks so much for your prayers and solidarity in this work! Rich blessing, Dion
What a blessing it was to board our flight to Malaysia (via Johannesburg and Doha) in a very wet Cape Town this evening!
What makes it such a blessing is that Megan is traveling with me to beautiful Malaysia. I am so thankful! I will be speaking at the Alpha Workplace conference in Penang and have some meetings for Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED in Kuala Lumpur.
I love this beautiful nation a great deal! It is a very special place and such wonderful people. I look forward to introducing Megan to Durien fruit and the warm hospitality and weather!
I will also have the joy of preaching at my friend Alvin Tan's Church this Sunday.
So keep an eye on this blog and my tumblr feed (on the left of this page or at http://digitaldion.tumblr.com for the site). I will post updates in both places.
We would appreciate your prayers for our service here! Please pray that Christ's love encounters us and our friends, that we are humble and receptive to God's leading and that our work here brings wholeness and transformation for the sake of God's Kingdom.
As I write this I am sitting on the Oxford Tube (which is actually a bus service (called a 'coach' service in the UK) between London's Victoria station and Oxford).
My time in London was both productive and fun. I had the privilege of staying in a friend's flat which was very central. On Friday when I arrived. I had three meetings to go to - I cycled to all of them, and to dinner with my sister in law, on Doris the Brompton. It was super!
Saturday was a free day (except for one short informal meeting with a friend from a local Church). I was still struggling with a head and chest cold so I took it easy in the morning, met my friend, and then too a long slow ride out to Richmond. On Saturday evening I came back and caught up on email, administration and did some preparation for the Oxford Institute and a few other calls and meetings I have lined up for this week.
Each day I have also spent an hour or so on Skype or FaceTime with Megie, Courtney and Liam. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that technology that allows me to stay in touch when them. While I was out cycling I even called them using Viber - it was like having a normal cell phone conversation! All of this was possible because I bought a Vodafone SIM card a few trips ago and loaded that into my iPhone again with a web and SMS plan. I get 500mb of data for the 10 days. It is so useful - I don't think I would have been able to cycle around London with google maps! And of course being able to Skype, Viber and have access to my emails is a massive help!
Yesterday (Sunday) I attended the 9.30 communion service at Holy Trinity Brompton. It was a wonderful service. I have worshiped there many times over the years I have been coming to London. The first time was in 2005 when Sandy Millar was still the Vicar. This Sunday's service was marvelous. They had planned for children and families, there was great worship, a superb message, and enough liturgy and the sacrament to satisfy my 'high(er-ish) church' inclinations. I felt renewed and blessed after the service.
While I am an extrovert, I find that as I grow older I have needed more silence, solitude and reflective time. My life is so busy, I need time to pray, to think and just to be still on God's presence. Sunday gave me that opportunity.
My friend, Wessel Bentley, arrived in London at around 5pm and we took the rest of the day to cycle through London and show him the sights. He hired a Boris bike while I rode Doris the Brompton. We did 28 km and saw Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gardens, Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, the Mall, Trafalgar Square (South Africa House), Scotland Yard, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Lambeth Palace, the South Bank of the Thames, the London Eye, the Tate modern (and Founders Arms pub for a Guinness), the Millennium Bridge, St Paul's, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Burger King in Gloucester street, and Harrods before hitting home! So awesome!
This is an important week. It is the 13th Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies at Oxford University. I have three tasks, first I am charging one of the plenary sessions at which Prof Rui de Souza Josgrilberg is the plenary speaker. Then I am co-chair of the Theology and Ethics working group with Prof Sergei Nikolaev. I will also be presenting my paper on Church and state in that group (please see my earlier post on this blog for details of that).
During the week I will also be doing a webinar on faith and the workplace for Call42 - I am excited about that! People will link in from all over and I will do a presentation and have a Q and A session on my experience of faith in the world of work (some of which is based on my work in the Corporate world, some from my book 'Transform your work life' and some from ore recent research and reading).
I will also be meeting my friend and fellow Methodist, Len Sweet, who is teaching in Oxford this week.
Lastly, our EXPOSED - shining a light on corruption campaign is launching in Nigeria on Tuesday! I pre recorded a video message for their launch and will be watching the event with great excitement and interest. Nigeria is critical to the continent of Africa, and even the Church across the world! Some of the largest, most vibrant and most influential Christian movements of our time come from that nation of 170 million people who are active in their country and spread throughout the world.
Together with these activities I have a few conference calls for Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED to be on during the week, and need to stay on top of email and office work.
As always, I am missing Megie, Courtney and Liam terribly! I cannot wait to be home with them!
I would appreciate your prayers for my wonderful family, and for the activities that will take place this week.
Wessel and I were saying last night as we sat chatting along the Thames just how fortunate and blessed we are! I am so aware of that blessing, and so thankful to God! It is truly unmerited. But, I am grateful each and every day for the opportunities I have been given by God, and the grace of others!
Last night we had a wonderful event to mark the second phase of the EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption campaign in Cape Town. 150 guests from every continent were present to participate in the launch of:
- A toolkit to equip and mobilize individual Christians and Churches to take a positive stand against corruption.
- A toolkit to equip and mobilize individual Christians in business to take a positive stand against corruption.
- The Global Call sign up tool to gather signatures with which to petition the leaders of the G20 nations.
Here are a few photographs and the official press release for the event.
Corruption is not just greed, the abuse of public influence, bribery, or secret and dishonest deals and money lost through tax evasion. Corruption kills!
Graham Power, the founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical, reminded a gathering in Cape Town on Monday March 11 2013 that ‘We will never rid the world of systemic poverty until we rid it of systemic corruption’.
‘Over US$1 TRILLION goes missing every year from the global economy as a result of corruption (1) and it’s predicted that illegal tax evasion alone will be responsible for 5.6 million children dying in developing countries between 2000 and 2015 (2). That’s 1,000 children every day. We think it is time for us to take action,’ said Rev Joel Edwards, International Coordinator of EXPOSED, the global Christian campaign aimed at exposing corruption, one of the major causes of poverty.
Speaking at the event in Cape Town, South Africa, to mark the beginning of public action as part of the EXPOSED 2013 campaign, Joel Edwards and Mr Power were among leading international figures from the world of church, business and government who challenged millions of Christians worldwide to make a stand against practices which ultimately keeps the poor in dire poverty.
The event, attended by 150 members of the press, church, business and government also saw the launch of some vital resources and tools to help people across the globe take a stand against corruption. This includes online resources to help churches and businesses to sign the EXPOSED campaign’s Global Call for Integrity, and toolkits to help people challenge corruption wherever they find it – in their communities, in their business and financial dealings and in the government.
‘We want a million people to sign our Global Call for Integrity, a call for financial transparency and honesty, which will be presented to leaders of the most powerful economies across the world. But that’s just the start of it,’ said Rev Dr Dion Forster, Chairman of EXPOSED. He went on to say: ‘Each one of us must realise that we have a critical part to play in tackling corruption in our own lives and communities.’
South African businesswoman Michelle Harding spoke to the Cape Town audience, saying: ‘My stand against corruption was worthwhile because I was being obedient to God. I believe that leaders have to accept responsibility for change.’ She spoke of how, as the Managing Director of a plastic pipe company in South Africa which was part of a crooked cartel that had been fixing prices and rigging bids for decades, she woke up to corruption and has since helped to clean up her industry.
Dr. Michael Cassidy, founder of African Enterprise and honorary lifetime President of Lausanne, added; ‘If a country decays it is the failure of the Church to be salt. If is the country is dark, it is the failure of the Church to be light. EXPOSED allows Christians to shine a light on corruption.’
The Cape Town meeting heard from Joyce Thong from Malaysia how, over the first six months of the campaign since the official launch of EXPOSED in October 2012, advocates across the world have been creating interest in the campaign and have started to challenge business, church and individuals on the issue of corruption. Ms. Thong challenged Church members to commit themselves and to take responsibility in their nations by making a personal commitment, and then extending that commitment into their community.
Activity now steps up, with people being encouraged to sign the Global Call for Integrity and get involved in the culmination of the campaign - a week of action and prayer including 2000 Vigils across the world from 14-20 October 2013 when it is expected many hundreds of thousands of Christian will gather for special church services, public gatherings and initiatives and activities designed to ‘shine a light on corruption.’
The Global Call for Integrity is an appeal from Christians around the world, who represent ordinary citizens, to encourage and challenge the leaders of the most economically powerful nations in the world (the G20) to press for more open tax regimes and greater transparency in payments to combat bribery and tax avoidance, urging them to ensure that financial dealings in business and government are open and honest. The 1 million signatures will be handed to the G20 leaders before their meeting in 2014.
Amanda Jackson, from the EXPOSED team in London said, ‘The resources launched at the Cape Town event aim to highlight the issue of corruption in the next six months and help individuals, churches and organisations across the globe break the barriers of corruption in their own communities and sign the Call for Integrity.’
The Global Call Action Tool allows people to sign the Call for Integrity petition online and also gives access to online resources and widgets which may be embedded in other websites as the message spreads. The Toolkits for Church and Business provide clear, succinct and helpful information to mobilise individuals and Christian communities to take a strong, concrete and constructive stand against corruption.
EXPOSED aims to engage 100 million people across the globe – including Christians and people of other faiths or no faith - to consider practical and positive ways to resist corruption:
- Light in my heart
- Light in my community
- Light in my world
The speakers at the Cape Town EXPOSED event were leading figures from the global church and business community who have direct experience of tackling or exposing corruption:
- Dr Michael Cassidy – Founder of African Enterprise, Lifetime honorary president of the Lausanne Movement, South African theologian.
- Rev Moss Ntlha – head of TEASA (The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa), respected Church leader, anti-apartheid activist and theologian.
- Rev Joel Edwards – Director Micah Challenge International, International Coordinator EXPOSED.
- Mr Graham Power – Chairman and Founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical movements, leading South African businessman.
- Mrs Michelle Harding – Leading South African businesswoman and champion for ethics.
NOTES TO EDITORS
(1) Interview with Daniel Kaufman, Global Governance Director, The World Bank Institute, “Six Questions about the cost of corruption” April 8 2004
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor. The EXPOSED coalition partners include Micah Challenge International, British and Foreign Bible Society, American Bible Society, World Evangelical Alliance, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical, Tearfund,
Tearfund Nigeria, Global Day of Prayer, Global Prayer Resource Network, Asian Access, 24/7 Prayer, Jericho Walls Prayer International, Business Action Group, Network of Christian Forums,
Langham Partnership/Langham Preachers, Advocates International, Empower21, Malaysian Care/CANOPI, International Federation of Transformation Partners(IFTP), AJS (Associates for a more Just Society Asociación parauna Sociedad más Justa), Tax Justice Network, UNDP or UN Millennium Campaign, Global Poverty Project, Mosaiek Church, CONECAR, Europartners,
The Global Call is an appeal from Christians around the world who represent ordinary citizens to leaders of the most economically powerful nations in the world (the G20). You can find out more about the G20 nations at www.g20.org
Signing the Call is easy but we need millions of names to make a powerful impact, so once you’ve signed, personally ask 5 more people to sign as well and spread the word at school or work or college.
You can do it online or sign a hardcopy version, or use the mobile phone text option if it is available in your country.
What does the Global Call Say?
It asks decision makers from the G20 to take definite steps towards openness in financial transactions. This will help to stop bribery and tax avoidance.
We call on you, as leaders of the world’s largest economies, to take practical steps that promote greater transparency in the financial affairs of business, government and individuals.
We are concerned that the tax evasion activities of some multinational companies and individuals as well as the corrupt use of funds by government officials, are having adverse effects on the world’s poorest people.
Please increase the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their own governments to account for the revenue they receive from taxes and all other payments, helping to ensure that resources are shared fairly and all people have the opportunity to flourish.
In the months leading up to EXPOSED in October, please encourage friends, family, people at work or college and everyone at church to sign.
This morning I heard that the African National Congress was having an urgent meeting with First National Bank because of their advert 'You can help'.
Their press statement expressed dismay that the Bank would put together an advert of this nature, and in true political heavy-handedness they are seeking to 'engage' the bank. I wish it was to engage the bank to hear how they can improve governance, how they clean up their public image, and how they can better serve the nation. But, sadly it is not. The press points out that they are meeting with FNB to chastize them for expressing their concern about what is happening in our nation and asking the citizens of the nation to stand up and make a difference, in spite of the governing party and the government.
I think it is great that citizens and big business are taking a stand! This is our nation, as well as theirs, together we can make a difference!
Here's the advert - you can help!
#littlehelps What a powerful video! I also believe that we can make this nation great again, in spite of greed, corruption and power hungry politicians and citizens. I want to help! If you do to, then see youcanhelp.co.za
As for me, I am not going to sit back. I want to help. I hope you'll join me! Below are two more movements that I am part of that I believe can make a difference:
- Unashamedly Ethical - http://www.unashamedlyethical.com
- EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption http://www.exposed2013.com
Corruption has a name, poverty has a face, and we have a voice! This is the slogan for our anti-corruption campaign, EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption.
Transparency International has just release this very powerful video that illustrates the cost of corruption for both the perpetrator and the victim. It is very powerful, and only 1 minute long!
I want to urge you not to be silent about corruption! The Prophet Isaiah reminds us to:
Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. (Isaiah 1.17 NLT)
Please join us by signing up for EXPOSED - add your voice, don't be silent!
It was almost a week ago, to the day, that I arrived in New York.
This week has been spent meeting with the partners of EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption (such as the World Evangelical Alliance, the American Bible Society, and the Salvation Army), and then many other friends of this campaign and the Unashamedly Ethical movement. I also had the wonderful blessing to speak at two engagements to encourage and challenge Christians to take the mandate for justice seriously in their faith life!
I am more convinced than ever that our witness, and our work, is intricately linked to how we act justly in the world.
Justice is not something we should do - rather just is what we should be. Don't 'do justice' rather strive to 'be just' in all you do.
Today I head from New York to France (where I will meet up with Megan, Courtney and Liam!) and then from there we go to England where I have some meetings with friends and partners of EXPOSED, as well as meetings at the Alpha International offices, Micah Challenge, and then on to a holiday for a week or so with my brother and sister in law (Craig and Kath!)
I would appreciate your prayers for me, and for my family, and for the work we are doing. We are facing some serious challenges in South Africa around corruption and the rule of law at the moment. Our stand for justice and righteousness has provoked a rather heavy response from the governing party. Please pray that the Church's witness will be consistent and strong. Please pray that our leaders will have soft and open hearts, that their values will honourable and their actions righteous and for the sake of the people.
Please also join me and the millions of others we will reach by signing your name to the EXPOSED campaign. If you believe that God cares about corruption and poverty then add your voice at http://www.exposed2013.com
Today GateWay News posted an article in which it quotes the African National Congress' (ANC) Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, who has 'warned' ministers and Church leaders 'to back off'
It is wonderful to see that our letter to the African National Congress has touched a nerve.
We want those elected to serve the people to remember that we pray for them, but that we also hold them accountable for their actions and decisions. As citizens of South Africa we have not only a right, but also a responsibility, to pray for elected officials and ensure that they discharge their responsibilities in a just and responsible manner for the sake of the people who they serve.
I was fortunate to be among the 33 leaders who met in Stellenbosch to draft this statement to the ANC ahead of its elective congress in Mangaung (I was representing Unashamedly Ethical and 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption' at these meetings). Our intention was absolutely clear and honourable - we seek just and selfless leadership for the good of our nation.
You will see that the statement begins with our commitment to pray for and support just leaders. It also acknowledges that we are not perfect and have failings of our own. However, the statement also reminds the governing party that we are expecting them to govern justly and that we will not tolerate low morals, greed, abuse of power and the breakdown of the rule of law.
It is well worth reading the letter we wrote to the ANC (see the link in press release from Gateway News).
The document is entitled 'The Church speaks for a time such as this' you can download a copy from here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/63200140/The%20church%20speaks%20_Final%2026%2011%202012.pdf
Please join us in praying for our nation at this critical time. Please also remember to pray for those who are called to serve us in leadership.
Today (9 December 2012) is Internation Anti-Corruption Day. I am currently in New York for a series of meetings with various Christian leadears and Civic organisations. Among them are Geoff Tunnicliffe and Christine MacMillan from the World Evangelical Alliance (the WEA ran the story on Zimbabwe today - they are an incredible supporter of EXPOSED!).
I am also blessed to be able to meet friends at the United Nations, friends at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, friends who head up the Social Justice commission of the Salvation Army, and some of the leaders of the American Bible Society. I have a few speaking engagements as well.
The purpose of all of these meetings and visits is to mobilize support within the Church and wider society to take a stand for the poor and to witness and work against corruption.
You can find out more about our year long campaign to fight corruption and stand for the rights of the poor by visiting the EXPOSED2013 website at http://www.exposed2013.com - please get your friends, members of your congregation, your family and colleagues to add their names to the 100 million that we are gathering to show the world that God cares about corruption, and that we can make a difference!
Yesterday a group of Christians in Zimbabwe took an amazingly bold stand against corruption in their nation. I am amazed to think that they would take so courageous a stand amidst great personal threat, and so many of us do far less under much less threatening circumstances!
Corruption has a name! Poverty has a face! We have a voice!
Here is the press release from the World Evangelical Alliance website:
Thousands of Christians are marching on cities in Zimbabwe next week in protest against the corruption that is keeping millions in poverty. Leaders of the country's three largest Christian bodies have signed a letter urging churches to rise up against corruption during a day of action coinciding with the global Anti-Corruption Day (December 9th). The mass mobilisation is part of EXPOSED 2013, a year-long world campaign against corruption.
Dr Shana Goodwill, who as Chair of the Heads of Christian Denominations representing 75 per cent of the nation's Christians, said: "Here in Zimbabwe we will march on our cities to show our anger at corruption. And three of the major bodies have signed a letter urging the church to rise up against corruption. It has to stop. The poor are dying.
"The world church also has a vital role to play. Here in Zimbabwe we are seeing a big campaign between all the three major denominations to stamp out corruption. If Zimbabwe can do it, any country can. We want to send a message to the world. We have a dream. Ending corruption can help the poorest people in the world. The church needs to shine its light in the world and put the spotlight on corruption."
Dr Shana is chair of Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe (HOCD) comprising the three main Church mother bodies - Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe - representing millions of Christians. He is also a member of the national Anti-Corruption Commission and sits on the Steering Group for EXPOSED 2013 coalition campaign around corruption.
EXPOSED aims to mobilise 100 million Christians by next October and hold a Global Vigil against Corruption on 14-20 October 2013.
EXPOSED 2013 also wants to secure 10 million online signatures to deliver to the G20 in November 2014.
Dr Dion Forster, International Co-ordinator of EXPOSED, said: "These anti-corruption campaigners in Zimbabwe are inspirational their actions will send a message to the rest of the world that enough is enough. We are no longer content to put up with corruption. The world’s poor are eager for us to act."
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor.
The EXPOSED coalition partners include the Bible Society of the United Kingdom, the Bible Society of North America, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical, the World Evangelical Alliance and Micah Challenge International, Association for a Just Society (AJS) in Honduras, CANOPI in Malaysia, Global Day of Prayer, Advocates International, Empower21 and Asian Access.
Our friends at the Global Prayer Resource Network put together the following prayer points to guide us in response to the above.
- God would open our hearts and minds that we may see the corruption that is keeping millions in poverty and that we may act upon it.
- We have the wisdom and strength to respond to the actions of Zimbabwe's Christians are taking and call upon our community to rise up against corruption.
- Live according to his word by shining a light for the oppressed during Anti-Corruption Day.
- Ask God to reveal to you the atrocities that are happening because of corruption and how the church can rise up against it.
- Ask God to shine his light on corruption so that many will see the truth!