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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 Steve Biko (3)

Sunday
Jan142018

On Human Dignity: Trump's 'Sh*t hole' countries and the dignity of human persons

This week the President of the United States, Donald Trump, named African countries (among others) as ‘shit holes’.
It was another expression of his prejudiced and racist views.
You can read about it on various news sources. Here is a link to the VOX report: https://www.vox.com/2018/1/11/16880750/trump-immigrants-shithole-countries-norway
I am grateful to be born in one of the countries that he calls a ‘shit hole’. In fact, I am thoroughly, thankfully, and proudly African! While I could not choose to be born in Africa, I guess that I just got lucky!
But that doesn’t mean I am better (or worse) than any other person. How can geography possibly constitute a valid measurement of the value of the human life? That is simply nonsense.
Mr Trump would do well to reflect on the words of Steve Biko:

‘The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look but the great gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face.’

- Steve Biko

 
So, in today’s VLOG I muse about the different ways in which people value one another.
I share some ideas on how we might approach the dignity of the human person that is not linked to inadequate sources like geography, nationality, race, wealth, ability etc.
Thanks for watching! As always, I would love to hear your comments, suggestions, ideas, feedback and questions!
Please subscribe and like the video!
You can follow my work on:
Academia (research profile): https://sun.academia.edu/DionForster
Thanks!
Friday
Jan012016

Let us all, together, struggle for the New South Africa - Happy new year (2016)

It is a new year. Of course nothing is different from yesterday. However, there is something special about a marker in time, a change of dates; it allows one to reflect, to take stock and to resolve to live more intently, perhaps even differently, beyond that point.

We ushered in the new year with friends. We talked, laughed, prayed, and even argued. I guess that there was hardly a gathering in South Africa that didn't have some conversation about the challenges we face in South Africa - many of which were exposed in 2015. We remain economically unequal. We remain divided by race and class. We remain suspicious and fearful of one another. We long for change.

I said to my family and friends that my commitment in the year ahead would be to work more ardently for the common good of all South Africans, and for South Africa. I am inspired by the following quote from Desmond Tutu's sermon at the funeral service of slain anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko in 1977:

We are experiencing the birth pangs of a new South Africa, a free South Africa, where all of us, Black and White together, will walk tall, where all of us, Black and White together, will hold hands as we stride forth on the Freedom March to usher in the new South Africa where people will matter because they are human beings made in the image of God… for the sake of our children, Black and White together, let us dedicate ourselves anew to the struggle for the liberation of our beloved land, South Africa. Let us all, Black and White together, not be filled with despondency and despair. Let us Blacks not be filled with hatred and bitterness. For all of us, Black and White together, shall overcome, nay, indeed have already overcome.

- Desmond Tutu (at the funeral of Steve Biko in 1977).

The task may be challenging and complex. It will require courage, sacrifice, perhaps even robust engagement, and above all grace and love. But just because it is complex we must not, and should not, shy away from doing what we can do. We should find ways to address what we can see needs to be done. We must move from a modality of blame to a modality of working together for the common good.

Rich blessing to you and your family, your community and our people and land in 2016. May the end of 2016 show that we have laboured well and achieved much.

Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it.

- Rubem A. Alves (Brazilian educator and liberation theologian).

Wednesday
Sep122007

Bantu Steve Biko - African Martyr, let us never forget those who paid for our freedom with their lives!

Today commemorates the 30th Anniversary of the death of Steve Biko (18 December 1946 - 12 September 1977) an African martyr (in the true sense of the word!) He witnessed, with his very life, to the kind of freedom that could be possible in South Africa. It is a costly freedom.

For those from America, the UK, and Asia who have not heard of Steve Biko, please read the wiki here. Moreover, if you buy just one book this month, please buy his book "I write what I like". It is wild, and courageous, it is inspiring, and challenging. It is still one of the favourite books on my shelf!

Here is one of my favourite quotes from that book, he wrote these words before his untimely death:


... [Western society] seems to be very concerned with perfecting their technological know-how while losing out on their spiritual dimension. We believe that in the long run the special contribution to the world by Africa will be in this field of human relationship. The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look, but the great gift still has to come from Africa - giving the world a more human face (Biko 1978:46).

Steve Biko is credited with being the 'parent' of Black Consciousness in Southern Africa. Many regard him as the first person to articulately, and accurately, laud the value of blackness, not the kind of blackness that strives to be 'white', but the kind of blackness that celebrates being black, and is proud of it. He was a courageous pioneer.

Today I thank God for the brave prophets who had enough courage to say what needed to be said, and could match their words with their very lives. I am not sure that I have enough courage to do that! When it was not popular, or even encouraged among black South Africans, Steve Biko took a stand, a stand for dignity, for humanity for ubuntu. His struggle was for 'humaneness'.

I have recently begun to feel, in a minuscule, incomparable way, the cost of speaking for justice. As people write, and say, unfounded and cruel things about me because of what I say and stand for. But I say these things because I believe they represent the true humaneness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What am I talking about? Well, there are those in our society who are still discriminated against because of something they did not choose. That is, there are those who where born with a sexual orientation that is not under their control, yet they are oppressed, abused, and some are even murdered. How they are was not their choice. How we respond to them says something about our humaneness.

So, 30 years on, and the struggle still continues. But thank God, that we are so much further ahead! Lord, thank you for martyrs like Steve Biko, they are a witness. I am encouraged by their sacrifice. Today, I remember and give thanks.

Thank you Lord for my colleagues, who remind me of the importance of keeping a balance between the genders, and races, within our Church and society. I also thank God for God's great gift to me, the John Wesley College students. I learn so much more from them about community, humaneness, courage and grace, than I could ever teach! Thank you for all you teach me!