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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    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

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Entries in reconciliation (5)

Sunday
Dec162018

A blessing - Reconciliation with Justice in South Africa

Today, 16 December 2018, is the commemoration of what is called 'The day of reconcilliation' in South Africa. In the current context of South African social, economic, political, and religious life, I realise just how important messages of reconciliation, and processes of reconciliation with justice, are.

This quote from Walter Wink's 'Engaging the Powers' spoke to me:

‘Any religious message that promises that we can win in the terms laid down by the Domination System is apostate. Any theology that promises success, national supremacy, or victory through redemptive violence is apostate. Any piety that equates the gospel with getting ahead, being number one, or salvation through patriotism is apostate.’

- Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers

I wish a blessed day of reconciliation to my sisters and brothers in South Africa. May we recognize each other’s humanity with love, engage each other’s failings with grace, find ways of unmasking our prejudices with truth, and may we live together in trust, with attentive care, while celebrating our diversity and sharing in our common humanity.

May the King of Peace reconcile us to one another and ourselves.

Tuesday
Apr072015

Choose a different way (together) - On Rwanda and reconciliation

In my morning devotion today I read about the start of the genocide in Rwanda on 7 April 1994 (just 20 days before South Africa’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994).
Here is the summary of those events from “Common Prayer: A liturgy for ordinary radicals”:
‘On April 7, 1994, a civil war broke out in Rwanda as Hutu extremists began brutally killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Over the next one hundred days, nearly a million people were killed in the worst occurrence of genocide since the Holocaust. An estimated 75 percent of the Tutsis living in Rwanda were murdered.’
The following story is told from after the genocide:
‘When Cardinal Roger Etchegary visited Rwanda on behalf of the pope in 1994, he asked the assembled church leaders, “Are you saying that the blood of tribalism is deeper than the waters of baptism?” One leader answered, “Yes, it is.”’
How sad! Two things were clear in Rwanda. First, this genocide was an ethnic crime - the violence was motivated by hatred and distrust among people of different ethnicities and cultures. Second, however, is that 98% of Rwandans (perpetrators and victims) were Christian. How could that be? That followers of the Prince of Peace could hate one another so much? How could it be that those who live by the way of truth could be so easily misled about their sisters and brothers?
We must choose a different way. We must choose a way of peace and reconciliation. We cannot choose against our fellow humans. By choosing for one another we choose for the common good.
Pray for us in South Africa. We too are a largely Christian nation in which people choose against each other. Here is another quote from “Common Prayer”:
'Charles Péguy said, “We must be saved together. We cannot go to God alone; else he would ask, ‘Where are the others?’ ”’

Wednesday
Dec172014

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

 

Wednesday
Feb192014

A blessing for absence

Today we have James Alison presenting a seminar at the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University. (By the way I stall cannot believe that I am so blessed that it is my work to attend a seminar!) It is a wonderful to be reminded of the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness and the central role that this plays in the expression of our faith in the world. We know this concept is central to our belief, yet sadly we often separate belief from action. James is a wonderful Dominican scholar who has a deep understanding of René Girard and the 'fresh' and 'creative' reading of Biblical texts. The meeting was opened by Rev Laurie Gaum with the following meditation from John O'Donohue:
May you know that absence is full of tender presence and that nothing is ever lost or forgotten. May the absences in your life be full of eternal echo. May you sense around you the secret Elsewhere which holds the presences that have left your life. May you be generous in your embrace of loss. May the sore of your grief turn into a well of seamless presence. May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear from and may you have the courage to speak out for the excluded ones. May you become the gracious and passionate subject of your own life. May you not disrespect your mystery through brittle words or false belonging. May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight are one and may your longing inhabit its deepest dreams within the shelter of the Great Belonging. (Eternal Echoes 275)>
- A blessing for Absences John O'Donohue.
Friday
Apr092010

The role of the Church in reconciliation in South Africa

I was asked to write a brief article on the role of the Church in working towards reconciliation in South Africa during and after apartheid for the Lausanne World Pulse.  I had forgotten about that article until the daughter of a friend phoned me from Geneva this morning to say that she had read the article in preparation for some meetings. (for those who know Sidwell Mokghotu, it was Sid's daughter Fofo who phoned - she is doing an internship with the World Council of Churches in Geneva).  

I asked her for the URL - and there it was!

If you're interested in reading the article please follow this link.

Today is a very important day to remember our history of reconciliation and peace.  South Africa has come a long way since the end of Apartheid.  However, we still have a long way left to go!  Today is the funeral of the white supremacist leader of the AWB, Mr Eugene Terreblanche.  He was murdered on his farm over the Easter weekend.  His murder has raised racial tensions that have been fueled by the inflamatory and insensitive (even racist) statements of the leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema.

Please could I encourage you to distribute the call to prayer (below), which was written by my friend Etienne Piek, as widely as possible?

In a time of trouble it is extremely important that the Church takes a stand for the Kingdom of God first and foremost. The Kingdom of God operates on the basis of the Word of God as the absolute truth. Therefore the principles of the Bible determine our behavior and attitude towards any issue we are facing. The Word of God is very clear concerning conflict situations:

1. Love your enemies, bless those who curse you and pray for those who abuse you (Luke 6:27,28). Speak the blessing of salvation in Christ to those who perpetrate evil.

2. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21; Rom 12:17). Think about what is proper, noble, aiming to be above reproach in the sight of everyone.

3. Beloved, never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19; Matt 5:39; Rom 2:1). Pray that the minds of people will not be filled with vengeance or hatred but to petition God for His righteousness and justice to be established.

4. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, anger and clamour (loud quarrelling) and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:30-32; Matt 6:12-15; Matt 18:21-35; Luk 23:34). As Jesus demonstrated forgiveness on the cross, so we as believers must also follow His example in forgiving those who wrong us. Let us forgive and so end the cycle of violence and retribution.

5. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder … (Matt 15:19; Luk 6:45). Actively fill your heart with God’s word and meditate on His instructions for us at this time. Resist evil thoughts and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your heart and mind, the mind of Christ.

6. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12). Pray and resist the evil forces behind racism, bloodshed, violence, rebellion, revenge and the spirit of witchcraft.

This is a unique opportunity for us as believers to unite to change the history of South Africa. God has not lost control, nor is He unaware of what is happening in our nation at this time. It is a time for each believer to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, to let go of selfish interests and to beseech the Lord Jesus Christ to come to our aid. This is not the time to judge or to accuse, but to plead for God’s plans and purposes to be established in our nation. Let each of us empty ourselves, repent and willfully turn from all hatred, bitterness, judgment, racism or fear, and allow the Holy Spirit to use us as instruments of reconciliation and healing in this torn nation. Pray for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding to guard the hearts and minds of all South Africans (Phil 4:7), and pray for the God of peace to crush the evil one under our feet (Rom 16:20).

Join us in prayer for revival in the church. The church is still God’s answer (Eph 3:10) – but a church that lives in the power of the Holy Spirit, stands on the authority of the Word, putting Jesus Christ in the centre, praying for a lost and broken world, taking care of the poor and needy.

If you want more information on how to participate in a 40 days prayer initiative for revival in the church visit info@global24-7.org or info@jwipn.com.

Mobilise prayer groups in all possible places – your home, place of work, schools, factories, business, etc.

Respond to God’s call to the nations and join in a day of repentance and prayer on Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 2010. For details please contact info@globaldayofprayer.com or visit the website www.globaldayofprayer.com

 

Endorsed by: Jericho Walls International Prayer Network, Global Day of Prayer, NIRSA, Shalom Trust/MMC2010, Turn2God, Unashamedly Ethical, HeartCry and New Heart