Category: what i am watching


talk

oh wow, what to leave out this week… there has been a lot of goodness and just importance flying around the internet… i don’t expect you to read all these things but at the very least, please scroll down and pick one thing you missed and then if you enjoy it please SHARE it with your social media people – some important stuff to get eyes on this week:

MOST INSPIRING:

Abundance > Scarcity: As the procession towards Christmas picks up pace, our good friends @4CommonChange have launched The Generosity Project which calls for 25 days of generosity. With daily articles and creative ideas on how that might look for you and your family over the next couple of weeks.

#generousliving #generosityproject #GiveMoreSpendLess

MOST INSTRUCTIVE:

Before you disagree [on matters of race etc]:Some thoughts i had after engaging with Austin Channing [black woman in Americaland whose writing i really appreciate] on a topic we disagreed on, focusing on listening and trying to hear rather than simply making my point.

MOST IMPORTANT:

An open letter to my White Friends, in South Africa and Americaland: There are people saying a lot of these things much better than me, but this conversation i feel is SO VITAL and NECESSARY and the time for white people to be uninterested, disengaged or apathetic should be long gone.

MOST SCATHING

The Big Read: 16 Days Dead on Arrival: Tom Eaton’s piece that he wrote for the Times takes a look at the “16 Days of Activism Against Women and Child Abuse” campaign and reveals where he thinks the organisers ma have missed the point.

MOST PRACTICAL

12 Things White People Can Do Now Because Ferguson: This piece i found really helpful as a white person wanting to know how i can be a white ally with regards to the situation in Americaland in terms of racial tension and inequality.

MOST CHALLENGING AND PRACTICAL HELPFUL FOR PARENTS

Are we Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids: Despite not being a biological parent, i have a lot of time and respect and love for those who are and so articles like this catch my attention and for some of you this will be an important and helpful post [not by me].

MOST UNLIKELY TO BE UNSEEN

This playful video of me and tbV wishing you the most merriest of Christm-asses will stay firmly lodged in your brain in the very best of ways.

MOST TRUTHFUL

Not a big fan of statistics myself, but this graph don’t lie:

pyramid

FROM THE TWITTERER:

‘Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil.’ [Elie Wiesel]

‘Two ears. Two eyes. One mouth. [Use them in that order]’

“We are the ones we have been waiting for.” [June Jordan 1970s Poem for South African Women]

Chanting “All Lives Matter” or tweeting it erases the reality that Black ppl die in greater numbers than other races.  [@grimalkinrn]

Justice won’t be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. BE OUTRAGED  [@peaceforus4ever]

Also i have been investing in a little bit of Hashtag game distraction amidst all the overbearingly serious:

The Foot and Mouth

Brawl the Presidents Men

Scratch Me If You Can

American History Solve for X

Sniffing Ryan’s Privates

tiredcover

What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekend reading…

i am generally inspired, amused, educated or enlightened by a number of posts on the internet any given week and link to them via the social medias.

but the week time is busy for a lot of people and so you might find that you got to the end of it and missed out on some of the posts that otherwise might have interested you.

so as i look back to this past week, here are some of the stand out posts that i have seen wandering around the internet, or hanging out on this blog:

MOST HONEST:

Confronting the Lie: God Won’t give you more than you can handle – Nate Pyle is honestly one of my favourite guys to read and in this piece which was written a year ago he confronts the idea that God will not give you more than you can handle in a real, rough and honest piece

 

MOST INSIGHTFUL:

Science says Lasting Relationships come down to 2 Basic Traits – i found this look at relationships really insightful and a good read for anyone actually with some definite practical steps for me to work on in my own marriage

 

MOST INSPIRING:

Book Review for Sale: This story of a young man sitting at the side of the road, giving book reviews to passers by and then trying to sell them the books as a means of raising money.

 

FOR PARENTS:

You Just Broke Your Kid. Congratulations – Dan Pierce, the Single Dad Laughing, almost breaks the internet with this piece inspired by watching a dad treat his son badly in a shopping line

To Be A Dad – Meet Dave Gale – in a similar vein, i actually enjoyed this piece by Dave Gale responding to the phrase, ‘To Be A Dad’ even more, especially as he lets his children know that he will love and protect their mother [especially from them]

Dear Parent: About THAT kid… – just read this today actually – for parents of young children who are at school, this is a powerful read displaying the heart of a teacher who deeply cares for your child

 

BEST KEPT SECRET:

The Koeksuster of Faith [or what happens when i doubt?] – Having been asked to write something on Doubt, i came up with this two parter, which went largely unread in a week filled with great posts, but still hoping more people will jump in and engage on the issue of Christians and Doubt – is it okay? am i okay?

 

MOST PERSONAL:

How to win the Lottery [guaranteed!] – Short piece on a time of prayer and discernment that tbV and i had in our home this week with friends and family as we looked to hear from God in terms of where and how to live next

 

MOST POLITICAL:

Dubula ibhulu: Shoot the Boer/Farmer [and why we need to embrace this song] – My friend, Nkosi Gola, continues to spark things up in the Reconciliation conversation by suggesting that a song, described by many as hate speech, has a significant place in our story
MOST POETIC:
The Twitterer Poem – Lay in bed one morning and decided to write a poem in Twitter in lines of 140 or less characters and this was the result.

 

THE PEOPLE WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS [TPWTMTOTH]:

This Guy Paints Random Characters Into Old Thrift Store Paintings – David Irvine gets creative and has a lot of fun inserting popular characters and scenes into classic artworks, giving them new life

Artist Removes One Letter From Famous Movie Titles and Illustrates the Results – Austin Light takes some classic movies and simply by removing one letter from each title comes up with some fun new premises for films which he cleverly illustrates, favourites being ‘Mr and Mrs Sith’ and ‘Beauty and the Beat’

 

MOST LIGHTHEARTED FUN:

Kevin Spacey’s Celebrity Impressions with Jimmy Fallon – Watch Spacey and Fallon battle head to head with this Halloween-themed Impression-off.

 

MOST EYEBROW-RAISINGLY RIDICULOUS [and reflective of how bizarre this internet fame thing is that we’ve created]

Alex From Target – struggling with insomnia the one night, i eventually ended up googling this story i had seen floating around the internet and could not believe how random and scary a simple act of social media could so quickly become

 

T-SHIRT I WOULD MOST LIKELY WEAR:

veg

 

STRANGEST SEARCH TERMS PEOPLE TYPED INTO GOOGLE TO ARRIVE AT MY BLOG THIS WEEK:

weird chicken

stampede of animals

ecards about grammar

shadows blocking the sun

mudpies in the slum tattoo

 

INSPIRATIONAL TWEETS OF THE WEEK:

‘God didn’t say loving our neighbors would be easy; He said it would work.’ [@bobgoff]

‘If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’ [Derek Bok]

‘Was late to my first Fight Club last night so missed the intro rules. Still, Fight Club was brilliant and I’d highly recommend Fight Club.’ [@joshxhowie]

 

Shout out to my friend and fellow Bloggerist, Lily Dunn and her piece she wrote on Going viral: On Wanting to Give Up

 

What about you? What blog posts or articles caught your eye this week? What has been making you think or laugh or be challenged or go, ‘Wo!’? What have you written on your blog that is worth taking a look at?

Leave us a link in the comments for our weekend reading…

 

moscarb

There have been two stories dominating my Facebook feed the last day or so [i’m not even going to touch on the Renee Zellwegger face thing – we created that circus!] and they are both ones i have tried to keep largely clear of. Until now.

OSCAR GOES TO…

The Oscar Pistorius sentencing saga [because if the Twitterer is to be believed, it WAS that] which has been lurking on news headlines stuck to lampposts, Tweet Hashtags and Facebook status updates, meant that the whole trial soap opera [because it really became that, i imagine that so many of the people glued to their screens might have forgotten at some stage that they were watching a murder trial] from a year or so ago, was brought back ‘for a new season’ complete with media attention and cliff hanger.

Soon there was  commentary happening all over the place on how just or unjust the sentencing was and comparing this case to other ‘less serious’ cases with bigger sentences and focusing on how soon he will be able to get off and so on.

In the midst of it all, there was a much forgotten woman, and murder [or culpable homicide] victim, named Reeva Steenkamp. Who, in many stories had simply become ‘the girlfriend’.

This article by Kat Lister on the Huffington Post provided helpful commentary in terms of reminding us that as much as the media [and many of us] made the whole thing about Oscar, the famous guy, the celeb, the international athlete, at the heart of the story was a woman who was killed – people lost a daughter and a sister and a friend. How this has “ruined Oscar’s career” should not even be up for discussion.

Within minutes of the sentencing there were jokes happening all over the internet, with the delightful Twitterer tag #ThingsLongerThanOscarsSentence leading the way, because ‘humour helps us deal with tragedy’ or some other crap like that.

The reason i avoided [as much as was possible] the trial from the beginning was because of the vile fact that because Oscar Pistorius was a celebrity meant that his case was going to be treated differently. Because, having lived through O.J.Simpson and other celeb murder trials, it was obvious that it was going to become entertainment from early on. Entertainment. A murder trial. Can we just take that in for a second?

THE MARK OF GRACE

Meanwhile, across in Americaland, Mark Driscoll had finally been relieved of his position heading up one of the larger church congregations over there. Another celebrity, some less serious but still completely significant crimes and misdemeanors. There had been a number of incidents over the past couple of years and more so in recent months and eventually someone saw fit to pull the plug on is ministry.

Then today a mate posted this video where Mark was attending a conference and was called on to stage by Robert Morris, who is one of the pastors helping him through this difficult time, with this quote from Morris who says, “We’ve always got two reactions to someone in the spotlight falling…. crucify them, or forgive them, like we’ve been forgiven.”

Having followed a little bit of the Mark Driscoll story, mostly through different articles people post or tag me in, that statement really concerned me to some extent. I finally got to watch the video clip this evening and they basically call him on stage, to a standing ovation, and give him the mic, so he can talk about how badly his family has it at the moment [which is a really tragic thing on the one hand, but after announcing that Mark was humbly attending the conference just like a normal person, they then allowed the spotlight to once again be put firmly on him].

My friend Micah J. Murray summed up my thoughts really excellently in his statement that reads, “When Jesus said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” he was talking about protecting vulnerable people from abusive religious leaders. He was NOT talking about protecting abusive religious leaders from accountability.'”

Yes, there absolutely must be grace and forgiveness for anyone who messes up [and especially one of our own, regardless of how ‘our own’ some of us might want to see him] but that does not mean giving someone licence to unrepentantly do the same things again.

AND ME

Because really, the only person i have any control over in this situation is myself.

With scenarios like the Oscar Pistorius trial, do i allow myself to be caught up in it until it becomes an entertainment thing and is that okay? i don’t think so.

Am i sharing, liking or retweeting the jokes that are being made at his [or maybe more accurately nameless Reeva’s expense]?

Do i get caught up in the mistaken belief that this case should be any more important than any of the other hundreds [thousands?] of murder cases that are being brought to court in South Africa [some that were presumably delayed so that Oscar’s could assume center stage]?

With a situation like Mark Driscoll, am i baying for his blood [not okay] or am i screaming that he should be forgiven and shown grace to the exclusion of any form of accountability, repentance, consequence to his actions [also probably not okay]?

Am i getting caught up in judging Mark Driscoll for his actions as if he was any worse than me? Or perhaps judging those who are judging Mark Driscoll and refusing to just let him be?

Both Oscar and Mark will stand before God one day and account for their actions. And i will do the same.

[For Micah J Murray’s post, ‘When we throw stones’ which i believe is very helpful and clear, click here]

[For a post i wrote a while back after a Joel Osteen hoax on Throwing Stones, with some helpful question checks, click here]

Tutu and No_bob

 

Continuing with my share from  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ as we look at some of the messages that came out of the second day:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

General buzz in the air. Today it is a lot of testimony from other faith groups so should be interesting.

In our hunger for reconciliation maybe justice was held at bay. Economic justice. Restitution.

It’s as if, with the advent of democracy, we gave our mission and ministry to the government.

Without love, without justice, without genuine fairness, there can be no reconciliation.

 

Thulani Ndlanzi (Cong): we have promoted a non-racial community rather than a multi-racial community.

 [Thulani Ndlanzi just raised the bar with that presentation recognising so many vital local issues.]

 

Have we lost our minds? Link back to earlier devotion. Where we have grown complacent and normalized injustice.

 

 [Really enjoying Thulani Ndlanzi. Speaking it like it is. ‘it should be a given that when we drafting laws we focus on women’s rights.’]

Thulani Ndlanzi: We need to bring God back into schools. What good is it to have a good mathematician with no ethics?

Thulani Ndlanzi: What good is it to produce a great scientist who has no morals?

 

Nadine Bowers du Toit (TEASA): South Africans for the most part seem to have a love hate relationship with reconciliation.

 

Brigalia Bam (SACC): Quoting Mandela – You will need to re-interpret your theology that allowed you to accept apartheid.

Brigalia Bam quoting Mandela -Now is not the time for the churches to return to the cosiness of the sanctuary.

 

Malusi Mpumlwana (SACC): We hear more about social cohesion than we do about national reconciliation.

 

Hlengiwe Mkhize [panel]: Reconciliation is a generational issue.

 

Wow, Thandile Khona, black guy, really giving it to the Muslims in terms of black inclusion within Muslim leadership.

Thandile Khona is President of Muslim Youth Movement. Really interested to hear what Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie has to say next.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie (Sect Gen Muslim Traditional Council): We believe South Africans are waiting on the religious leaders today.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie: As a religious community we have to be critical of our govt when it comes to corruption.

 

Yasmin Sooka: We all have our internal contradictions & in religion this often relates to how do we treat those who are different.

 

 [Really interesting session listening to the muslim representatives. Some great points.]

 

Nalini Gangen (Maha Sabha) just made it clear that all Indians should not be seen through the lens of that one family. #GuptasArentUs

Nalini Gangen: Hindu marriage not being recognised. Sale of house documents for eg would reflect them as unmarried.

Nalini Gangen: How we react to what happens and is happening is based on what we have seen.

 

Reuben Shapiro from South African Jewish Voices for a Just Peace. This just got political. Gaza statement happening.

Reuben Shapiro – The Jewish voice in South Africa is not homogenous.

 

Big moment of humour as Tutu goes to a mic way too high for him and does a huge jump ‘to reach it’. [TbV hysterical].

 

 Tutu recounting story of man being tortured – ‘These are God’s children & they need me to help them recover the dignity they are losing.’

Tutu: As we listen i hope we hear more than just the words. That we remember that we are surrounded by some incredible people.

 [Inspirational break as Tutu gets up and recounts some stories of some of the people in the room.]

 

The post apartheid generation. Not sure where the segregation comes from. We need to create spaces to share our stories.

 

Frank Chikane: The job is not yet finished. South Africa has a long way to go to deal with the pain of the past. Black and white pain.

 

Imam Rashied Omar – It’s not the job of the state to do forgiveness.

Rashied Omar: Bicycle theology. You stole my bicycle. Years later you are sorry. But where’s my bicycle?

[Loved that analogy – found it really helped get my mind a little more about the idea of Economic and Land Reparation that still needs to happen]

Rashied Omar: Too much co-operation with the state. But we were co-opted by the state. Don’t fly flags in the church.

 

Eddie van der Borght (Amsterdam): The urgency of this moment, the momentum, should not be lost.

 

Nico Koopman – I think one of the reasons we live so distant from each other is because we still live with stereotypes of each other.

Nico Koopman – Please notice the abnormality in the normality.

Nico Koopman – Words are important because words create worlds. But we need to move beyond words to other types of action.

Nico Koopman. Forgiveness paves the way for reconciliation, restitution and reparation. It makes us hungry for more.

 

Tutu: This is one of the maddest countries. #TellingStoriesOfInsaneForgiveness

Tutu: This thing we are talking about [TRC] was a broken instrument. But God used it.

Tutu: We should be taking off our shoes. Cos this is holy ground.

Tutu: We are a country that is meant to show the world how we are supposed to be a family of God.

Tutu just threw away his closing address and is winging it by the Spirit. #PowerfulEnd

 

And let me close with some other Tweets from some others who were there:

 

@rogersaner “Somehow we haven’t been able to translate the large religious presence in SA into justice.” –

@changeagentSA “: Nyobole: “In the past we have neglected our role in education but are reclaiming our role”

@tutulegacy The biggest beneficiaries of apartheid were the business communities.

@tutulegacy Pillay: “Unity is a gift given to us by God. We need a bigger vision. Jesus calls us to be one.” 

@rogersaner An obvious need coming out of today is for white South Africans to do some serious work to face and own the past and privilege

@digitaldion ‘Now is not the time for the Churches to retreat to the safety of the sanctuary’ Nelson Mandela comment in 1997. Still true today!

@val_c_anderson We need a different kind of theology that can underpin action – “contextual theology”. 

@val_c_anderson “There’s no such thing as apolitical religion.” ~ Dr Rashied Omar. 

 

So there you have it. Does not do what happened the last two days immense justice, but hopefully gives glimpses and some challenging ideas and concepts to reflect on and wrestle with.

A big thing that came out looking back at the original TRC is that perhaps we focused too much on Truth that we overlooked justice.

Another big idea that was said on many occasions was the need for reparation and land reform [of which fairly little has been done] to add to the reconciliation and justice that did happen.

A big failure was that the church/faith communities as a whole seemed to sit back and hope the government would take the lead on Reconciliation , whereas the Government had initially hoped that the church would pick up and continue the work of the TRC in hundreds of little TRC’s all over the country [which never really happened and quite possibly because it was not well communicated enough]

The church/faith communities as a whole has failed to be involved enough in areas of Reconciliation and has a lot of work to do. The majority of the people in South Africa would fall into some kind of faith community and so it seems to make a lot of sense that if the faith communities as a whole got serious about this stuff it should and would happen.

And more… we closed off by singing the national anthem together which was a powerful moment.

[To return to the beginning of my reflections on these two days, click here]

 

 

 

 

 

Tutu and No_bob

So former Archbishop Desmond Tutu [or present Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, whatever an Emeritus might be] must be the most famous purple-dress-wearing man in the whole of Africa.

No_bob the yellow-and-white [yes, he’s still not nor ever has been blue] stuffed dolphin, is the world’s most famous stuffed dolphin [largely because the competition in that particular field is highly limited] and called No_bob because he doesn’t, well, bob.

It was inevitable that one day the two would meet. And by ‘inevitable’ i mean ‘highly unlikely’.

Yet, somehow they did.

And it really was one of the smallest and least significant moments of the last two days [but still quite fun, especially when you look at the panic’d GET-ME-OUT-OF-HERE look on his face]

WHAT WAS IT ALL ABOUT THEN?

For the last two days i was really privileged to be a witness to a meeting that was titled, ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ which was ‘a Consultation presented by the Beyers Naude Centre for Public Theology, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University in collaboration with the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.’

The original TRC, according to Wikipedia, ‘was a court-like restorative justice body assembled in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution.’

A seeking out of Truth and Reconciliation after the tragic years of apartheid and following the miracle of the peaceful release of Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of the ANC and other organisations and the first free and fair elections that the majority of South Africans were for the first time eligible to take part in.

At the same time there was a TRC that happened specifically with the Faith Communities in mind in 1997, and this particular meeting was revisiting that in some way, giving Faith community representatives the opportunity to remember the testimony they had given then, as well as share where their community found themselves now in the process.

According to the Faculty of Theology in Stellenbosch website,

The aims of the re-enactment hearing are:

  • To put the process of reconciliation back on the main agenda of all faith communities in South Africa;
  • To make a significant contribution to reconciliation and national unity in the current South African context;
  • To contribute to the development of responsible and realistic reconciliation strategies for the faith communities, and offer practical suggestions on how to address the challenges of reconciliation and nation building in our land.

A VERY BASIC OVERVIEW

There is no way i can effectively put into words even a good summary of the last two day’s events, but i felt i needed to write something and so hopefully i can give some small glimpses and highlights or key points that came out.

The format, sandwiched between and introduction and closing remarks by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu [who i will refer to from now as ‘The Arch’ as everyone else seems to – he’s held No_bob so we should pretty much be on a nickname basis] and a time of reflection and audience participation at the end, was a large number of sections of different church denominational representatives, other faith representatives and one or two denominational network representatives sharing their thoughts both on the past meeting and where their group was now.

Each group was given thirty minutes which was meant to comprise 15 minutes of sharing and then some engagement and Q and A with the panel which was made up of Ms Yasmin Sooka, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, Ms Glenda Wildschut and Prof Piet Meiring, asking some questions and a time of response. Putting ministers and church leaders in front of a mic in a South African context meant that didn’t always happen to the program, but we did get through most of what was planned with some creativity and improvisational tea breaks.

As far as denominations went, among those who shared were the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Congregational, AFM and a number of the more traditionally Afrikaans churches like the NGK, NHK and more.  Then both TEASA [The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa] and SACC [The South African Council of Churches] shared as well as representatives from the Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities. There were a few foreign representatives from Germany, Holland and Americaland who also played a smaller role in the program as well as some special guests who were invited to be witnesses and then comment towards the end.

A TWO BY TWO BY ANY OTHER NAME…

As i said, it is hard to even give a summary of the event, but it was an incredible one to be a part of. I went to both days and the beautiful Val [tbV] accompanied me on the second day , which was great as she got to meet the Arch who is one of her heroes and get a picture taken with him. But Desmond Tutu’s presence was definitely a highlight to proceedings. From the moment he grabbed the mic, he invoked a sort of stand-up comedy routine but had the abaility toimmediately became significantly serious, often in a moment, when he needed to.

From his opening line of, “I think God is very clever sometimes'”which had everyone in stitches, to the poignantcy of,“Sometimes we do have a nostalgia for when it was simple and you knew who your enemies were”.

From the comedy of, “I don’t know how many of you watched Special Assignment on Sunday night? No? Probably because you don’t like SABC very much” to an absolute room-stopping moment of silence and recognition of the various tragedies taking place around the world, “Our God is standing there crying. (Lists places with conflict around world) Because His children are so terrible sometimes.” The Arch knew how to use silences and pauses to really allow the truth to hit home and for that truth to be allowed to impact you deeply.

And finishing off his opening address with the question and invitation of: Can we try to find a way to wipe the tears from His eyes?

From creating moments of outright mirth during the middle of serious testimonies as someone says something slightly funny or perhaps ironic and suddenly a loud high-pitched ‘Hee Hee Hee’ breaks the silence from the front row where he sat watching… to standing up to go and hug the Afrikaans pastor who has broken down in tears after sharing a hectic testimony on behalf of a church who refused to take part in the 1997 meetings and would only allow him to attend the meetings in his personal capacity… to bringing the meeting full circle by announcing towards the end, that as the man who has ‘a hotline to God’, “I can see God smiling through the tears.” Conveying a sense of absolute hope without reducing the significance of the  huge walls and immense work that still needs to be done.

And of course agreeing to pose with a yellow-and-white stuffed dolphin for this strange white dreadlocked guy who managed to corner him.

[To continue to some of the live tweets that i composed that give a glimpse into some of the ideas that were shared, click here]

 

Tutu and No_bob

This is a continuation of the previous post which started giving an overview and summary of my participation in the  ‘Revisiting The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Faith Community Hearing’ which took place this week. Here are some selected highlight moments that could be captured on The Tweeterer in 140 characters of less:

FROM THE TWITTERER [Day 1 of 2]

While 140 character messages don’t capture the whole of what was experienced, hopefully they will help you to catch a bit of a glimpse:

Michael Weeder (Anglican): I have to ask, Where is God in this? And what is the work of God in this moment?

Michael Weeder (Anglican): What was abnormal then? And what of that abnormal has become normal for us today? We need to revisit.

Michael Weeder: It seems darker than yesterday. We have to drink deeply from our own wells.

: Michael Weeder: You don’t shout at people, but there comes a time when you need to. It’s time to extend this to big business.

Michael Weeder: The chains have in many ways slipped to the mind.

 

Vuyani Nyobole (methodist): We are prone to many of the sins that it is our duty to condemn.

Vuyani Nyobole: Unfinished agenda of TRC – TRC unfortunately favoured the perpetrators over the victims. Shortcoming of previous TRC

Vuyani Nyobole: We focused too much on the Truth and not enough on the Reconciliation. It was therapeutic in many ways.

Vuyani Nyobole: it wasn’t the responsibility of the government to bring reconciliation. That should have been led by faith communities.

Vuyani Nyobole: There is a responsibility on us as faith communities for critical reflection on the state of things.

Vuyani Nyobole: If there is corruption in the government, most of those people sit in our pews. It is the responsibility of the church.

 

Dion Foster (methodist): I don’t think we’re living in a post apartheid society. Law has changed. Society remains largely unchanged.

Archbishop Tutu interrupts with, “That’s why I am glad I retired when I did.” (Laughter)

 Dion Foster on Culpability: We are a large religious community in this country. But we have not translated that presence into action.

 

Yasmin Sooka (panel) The presidents fund is really huge. But 19 years later, reparations have not yet happened?

 

Kevin Dowling (catholic): Where we failed was the statements didn’t necessarily move to the conversion process. The same is true today.

Kevin Dowling: Unless the privileged community go through a conversion process that affects them personally, change has not happened.

Kevin Dowling Unless you’ve held the hand that that statistic represents, you know nothing about their story.

Kevin Dowling: a transitional justice must always begin from the story and the voices of the victims.

Kevin Dowling: Retributive justice or Restorative justice – are we going to heal or punish?

Kevin Dowling: No transformation has taken place until we see economic justice and restoration.

Kevin Dowling: Restitution. Our victims, our survivors, were sold short.

Kevin Dowling: If you want peace, you have to work for justice. But very very often peace agreements to end violence sacrifice justice.

Kevin Dowling: Who will take us forward? An empowered violated disenfranchised people. We need to be in the trenches with our people.

Kevin Dowling: We cannot anymore carry on with the perception that government must do everything. Cos government can’t do everything.

Kevin Dowling: We need to forget about appearing on TV and be in the shacks, in the trenches, in the reality of our people.

Kevin Dowling just brought up the issue of immigration which is going to “exacerbate the issue of poverty.” The govt needs to address.

 

Piet Meiring (panel) we have to remember that justice and reconciliation have to go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.

Yasmin Sooka: Restorative justice and punitive justice. What about the forgotten one of Redistributive justice?

 

Jerry Pillay (Presbyterian): Gender justice is also an important need for the church to focus on. And ecojustice.

Jerry Pillay: The need of practical aspects of reconciliation has largely been swept under the carpet. Many of us just want “to move on”.

Jerry Pillay: Churches need to ask, “How do we actually revisit what we do in light of changing contexts?”

Jerry Pillay: The vision must come with a reminder that this is a biblical imperative. Jesus prayed that we should be one.

 

Yasmin Sooka: in reality, gender equality remains elusive. Violence against women has become normalized.

Piet Meiring: the importance of the twinning of Unity and Reconciliation is an important thing we must never forget.

 

Kobus Gerber (NGK) An event like this brings tears to our eyes. Just to experience what we were part of being done to the people.

 

Peter Grove (URC) Will we make progress if we just repeat what was said 17 years ago? I don’t think so…

Peter Grove: We live our lives between the tension of memory and expectation.

Peter Grove: People constantly rewrite the past and redefine the future.

Peter Grove: Before we can move to attempts to do certain things we need to ask ourselves how to be certain things.

Peter Grove: We cannot talk about the squatters camps and the townships. We need to meet our brothers and sisters there.

 

E G Fourie (NHK) My church made it very clear to me I’m here in my individual capacity.

E G Fourie: So in my individual capacity i want to say I’m sad that I’m here in my individual capacity.

 [E G Fourie just blew this whole thing open with raw rough real tear-filled-and-causing testimony. Heavy. So good.]

E G Fourie after heavy speech about some of the race struggles within his church: This is where our church is…now.

E G Fourie: Many moons ago when i was at school we had no such thing as political correctness.

E G Fourie: kids who were mentally challenged we called specials. They were put in a special class.

E G Fourie: My church when it comes to issues of reconciliation is in a slow class.

E G Fourie:Now we call it a special needs class. My church has special needs.

EG Fourie: We have a special need for forgiveness.

 [E G Fourie gets standing ovation as he breaks down and Tutu goes forward and embraces him. Real moment.]

 

Amie van Wyk: Let me explain my name. My name is Jan. My dad’s name is Jan. Our worker was Jan. The donkey’s name was Jan.

Amie van Wyk: So my mom changed my name. (Tutu in loud hysterics)

 

Daniel Andrews (AFM): We must see what is happening in society through the eyes of those who are suffering.

 

Glenda [panel]: Intergenerational trauma that adults carry that we must deal with so children don’t carry the scars on.

 

Frank Chikane (AFM) The constitution must reflect what the Lord wants us to be.

Frank Chikane: If justice calls for us to go this way we must do it, whatever the cost.

 

Tutu: God puts Himself/Herself in our hands. And we’ve messed up His reputation.

Tutu: I actually saw God smiling through the tears today. Thank you for wanting to help Me make my world a better place.

Tutu: It is up to you and you and you whether this country becomes a hell or a paradise. God doesn’t have anyone else.

 

So those are a number of the Tweets i sent out while listening on day 1 – even though you might not have been there ad even though these do not fully carry the heart of the different testimonies, there is still food for thought in here and enough to make you stop and go, ‘Wo!’ and hopefully think and reflect some more.

[To continue on to Part III and the tweets from Day 2 of the Commission, click here]

If you go and watch just one show during the Cape Town Fringe festival happening over the next ten days in Cape Town, then go and watch another one as well and let is be ‘The Brother Streep: Stand-up Musician’ at the Dragon Room, which is happening every evening for the next four nights.

Witty, catchy, laugh out loud funny in places and just completely silly and clever, this five person version of the two man band that has been bringing mirth and merriment to audiences around small venues in South Africa for years [in between writing theme tunes for Pop Idols, appearing on the Graham Norton show via satellite to sing their homage to Anna Paquin and being the Steri Stumpi jingle song guys].

You don’t want to get caught sitting in the front row because they might get up close and personal with you [although not in a die-from-embarrassment Corne and Twakkie way] but you also don’t want to get caught sitting in the back row cos lead singer Simon Streep might actually [like he did last night] pick you up on your chair [i doubt he would have managed it with me] and carry you to the front as he did for some poor [but lighter than me] woman last night. Although wherever you sit, you will still be expected to sing along with them when they whip out their generic school theme song that perfectly describes your time in that institution where Geography told us clouds were water based natural phenomena, while Computer Literacy informed us clouds were places for storing data [so confusing].

What you will get is an evening of fun and silly and very clever [or was that painful? or both] word play that will no doubt have you smiling and laughing and tapping your feet.

With moments of perplexion [it’s a word!] as they sing a song titled ‘The day after Christmas’ which is all [obviously] about people watching sport to see fights break out, or fight amongst themselves about whether they will sing a song about Restaurants or Politics [with the five person band somehow managing to be cut right down the middle on that one] and even a balladic love song by Dylan Streep on his love for Disney princesses – don’t be fooled by thinking you have what they’re about until that very last line and yet another AHA moment.

And even when they mess up. No, wait, was that a mess up? No, it’s part of the show. Or was it? They  do it so creatively, or was it that they planned all that beforehand? That it is so hard to tell. The Improv and scripted moments go so hand in hand that it all feels like a spaghetti bowl of assortedflavourments.

streep

There may be better shows at the Fringe [they will suggest that to you themselves] but i doubt there will be any quite as fun. And go prepared with your hundred bucks to get one of their newly produced cds [they may mention it for a moment from the stage] so that you can be taking these catchy songs home with you and sharing them with your family and friends.

Don’t miss out. You really should go and watch the Streeps, ahead of the rest.

 

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