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 exposed2013 (29)
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!
Yesterday I had a chance to do a presentation at the Stellenbosch University Winter school on the role of the Church in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's). Here are the slides from that presentation.
The good news is that there has been some great progress towards achieving the 8 MDG's and addressing extreme poverty across the world. However, it is critical that we finish well! It would seem that some early strides were made, and that now many governments have slowed their progress on more difficult issues.
The role of the Church is crucial in this process. My reasoning was quite simple:
1. The Christian faith is the largest faith on earth.
2. Our scriptures are clear that we should work for justice for all people. The earth is the Lords, we have stewardship of it and we need to do a better job of caring for one another and the plant.
3. There are simple and practical things that we can do. They begin with prayer but must move to action.
4. I encouraged the listeners to move through the 4 stages of engagement (as mentioned by David Korten in his research), namely from A) Charity B) Projects C) Advocacy and Policy engagement to D) Social movements for change (e.g., like the suffigen movement in the last century).
I gave three examples:
- Micah Challenge Australia and the 'Finish the race' campaign at http://www.micahchallenge.org.au
- Unashamedly Ethical which is a global ethics advocacy community with support and encouragement http://www.unashamedlyethical.com
- Promising life, a South African project to work for the maternal health care and the reduction of infant mortality in South Africa (we have one of the best policy frameworks for basic health care, and great allocation of resources, yet delivery and implementation by the Department of Health in South Africa is dismal!) join them here http://www.micahchallenge.org.za
Of course I would encourage you please to sign up to EXPOSED and send a strong message to the leaders of the G20 that global corruption is not acceptable! Go to the website or sing up below http://www.exposed2013.com
This week I have been in London for the amazing Alpha Leadership Week. As my previous post said I was privileged to be able to speak at the conference! What an amazing joy that was. I am so thankful for that rare and undeserved privilege!
If you are interested in receiving a copy of the slides of my talk then please download them using this link.
We have over 200 African delegates among the 6000 registered guests that attended the conference this week. Among them are about 70 African Church leaders, overseers of denominations, Bishops and Cardinals.
I was overjoyed when I heard that Archbishop Justin Welby, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, was willing to host a reception for these Church leaders at Lambeth Palace. The Archbishop and Nicky Gumbel are firm friends for many years and he was pleased to spend some time with our guests speaking about the renewal of the Church, our collective mission in the world, and his own experience of the Alpha Course in his life and ministry.
It was a most inspiring time as we spent almost 2 hours in Lambeth Palace, of which about half of it was spent in the ancient Chapel.
I had a chance to meet Archbishop Welby personally and speak with him for a few minutes about the ministry of Unashamedly Ethical and EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption. We also spoke about my family, my ministry, and the teaching that I do at the University of Stellenbosch. He is such a wonderfully warm and affirming man.
In his address to the Bishops he encouraged us to seek a deepened faith life through prayer and spiritual discipline, and to encourage that same life for our sisters and brothers in the clergy and among all disciples of Christ. He also spoke of the important role of the Church to be an instrument of justice and peace in the world - not only is this an act of obedience to God's will in the world, it is also a strong witness of God's love at work in the world. Then, he spoke about the importance of evangelization. It is the task of Christians and the Church to be good news in the world, as well as proclaim good news to the world. We are to do this with love, courage and creativity - he spoke particularly strongly of the Alpha Course as a tool that achieves this task through fellowship, hospitality, and creating the space for questions around faith (rather than giving concrete answers).
It was a most memorable event!
There have been many equally significant encounters with equally important people - the ordinary people like me who come from all over the world - that I would like to write about. I'll do that as soon as I find a few minutes to write. The worship, fellowship, teaching and learning have been just wonderful. I have not experienced anything like it in some years!
Tomorrow I have the joy of sharing in an event for EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption at the Houses of Commons with Dr Tony Campolo. That is set to be another highlight for Christian justice this week!
On Sunday I will be flying from Cape Town the London (via Dubai) to speak at the Alpha Leadership Week and have a number of meetings. In particular I shall be focussing on spending time with the Alpha Africa team, our EXPOSED team in London and signatories and friends of Unashamedly Ethical while I am there.
Of course I will also get to spend some time with friends and family and quite a number of friends from Cape Town and Somerset West and Cape Town who will also be at the Leadership Week at the Royal Albert Hall.
I am so excited! It is a magnificent opportunity and I am praying for some deep and significant friendships and partnerships to form for the transformation of our precious continent!
The talk I was asked to give was on leadership. When I considered the topic I realised that a lot of Leadership talks focus on leadership as if it is something that one does from the 'top' or the 'front' of an organisation. The reality is, however, that most us don't have the responsibility of privilege of leading from that position. Most of us are called to lead from the 'middle' of groups or organisations. That can be quite a challenging task that requires a special measure of courage and grace.
So, I will be talking around the topic of 'From a lone nut to a leader' (based in part on an idea from Derek Sivers' great talk at TED a few years ago). Here is the little video they recorded as a promo at the Alpha offices in Kensington when I was there in December last year.
If you're in the area, or plan to be at the Leadership week please do hook up with me. The easiest is probably to send me a tweet on @digitaldion
Please can I ask for your prayers for Megan, Courtney and Liam while I am away? Liam is a little sick just at the moment. However, we trust the Lord that he will be restored to full health very quickly! I arrive back in South Africa on the 18th of May (the day before my darling wife Megan's birthday, and of course the Saturday before Pentecost and the Global Day of Prayer).
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!