Tag Archive: oscar pistorius


 

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]

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hope for south africa

#1. you have a reason to go somewhere else – i understand for some people if they are living in fear and feel like for family and children’s sake that they need to be somewhere else then sure, maybe you need to do that. Val and i went to the Simple Way because we felt God was leading us there and we are now part of Relational Tithe/Common Change as we feel like it is a God thing to be doing – but apart from that, if it was solely up to me i would choose to be in South Africa and even now, the stuff we are involved in i know will benefit South Africa/South Africans [at first via internet/ideas/stories but hopefully directly at some stage]

#2. if you’re a whiner. i get SO tired of hearing people whine and moan about South Africa. If that’s you and it is the overwhelming sense of your current attitude or state of being, then maybe you need to leave and go somewhere else. Chances are you will find something to whine about there, but it may be that you can find a place where you won’t be helpless or paralysed because of all the negativity you see or experience.

Those are the reasons. For me, anyways, and i know other people may think differently and that’s fine, but i really believe that if you are not going somewhere else for a specific reason then stay in South Africa. But be part of the solution.

I really loved being back in South Africa for the last two and a half months even more than i thought i would. i was inspired by the churches i visited and the people there and hearing some of the initiatives that were being done. i was encouraged and inspired by meeting people like Marci and Nathalie from Common Good [NPO linked to Common Ground church in Cape Town] and by chatting to my friend Godfrey from TheatreSports and hearing about his involvement with Sea Point High School and the Darling Project as well as hearing what is happening with uThando leNkosi and iKhayalethemba and a whole bunch of other projects, initiatives, relationships and so on. all around me there are such tremendous signs of hope and so it bummed me out when everyone got so caught up in the Oscar Pistorius saga to the point of celebrity obsession when there is so much greatness happening to be able to put ones life into.

everyone doesn’t need to do everything. but everyone needs to do something. and if each person starts connecting to one person, or family, or a project or ministry, then suddenly the news starts to change. it really is possible and positive momentum breeds more of the same.

so if you are already part of doing something, invite someone else to hear about it, to come visit, to get involved. and if you’re not, then find a person or a place to get involved – something that connects with your gifts and skills or maybe just your heart and time…

but please stop the whining, or really, just go. this country needs to be filled with people who believe.

oscar pistorius

in the space of a week we go from the craziness surrounding the public ‘investment’ into the news, gossip and views surrounding the Oscar Pistorius case [where everyone had an opinion, a judgement, a Barry Bateman courtroom tweet to retweet and an emotional or political response] to the 3am [in South Africa] screening of the Academy Awards Oscars ceremony which is a few minutes away from starting…

there seems to be a lot of similarity between the two in terms of the global appeal and interest despite for the most part having nothing to do with the actuality of events [both involving people we watched from a distance and were entertained by in various ways]

there is a lot of make-up and bells and whistles and smoke screens and both ‘shows’ have a sense of mystery to them – a question of what is real and what is being presented to the cameras…

the academy awards

there is also a great deal of difference between the two – the one is about a whole bunch of stuff that really doesn’t matter at all and the other is about something that matters so deeply in so many different ways.

i think a lot of life is being faced with the dilemma of trying to figure out the difference between those two things as they appear in front of you… what really really matters, and what doesn’t really matter at all…

and which of these will you give your attention, time and resources to?

let me be honest, i am tired of all the Oscar Pistorius ‘stuff’ – i am tired of it and i wish it would go away.

i am also deeply disturbed by it. i don’t know that i completely understand why, altho i know it has something to do with the fact that it feels like almost everyone has an opinion, many people have made judgements, many others are just sending links and updates and quotes and there seems to be something a little too much in that – this article that calls us all vultures, seems to capture some of what i am feeling the best

i have mostly wanted to not write about it, because i don’t want to be just another voice commentating on something i don’t have a lot of facts about – presuppositions for sure, news posted comments definitely and a lot of opinion and argument and sentiment and so on, but no one really knows what happened [except maybe Oscar] and maybe we never really will. so i will keep my writing to the idea of the thing, rather than the thing itself, as that is something i do have a little bit more of a valid opinion about.

the celebrity aspect has to be a part of it – if that was James Smith [google ‘James Smith’ to make sure i haven’t accidentally picked another celebrity name] then this case would not have even registered a blip on the radar. in fact there was a newspaper headline board on a pole when i went out earlier that read ‘two more girls killed in cape town’ and no one [relatively] is going to even know that that happened. so because the guy who allegedly shot the girl [Reeva Steenkamp by the way although it finally feels like everyone now knows her name as well] is famous, somehow this case means more.

i mean at this very point i am multi-tasking between writing this blog and trying to convince someone on facebook that a cartoon of Elmer Fudd blowing a woman’s head off with a shotgun because she is making a duck face at her camera is NOT OKAY… it is not “just a cartoon bro” and even further, ” I’m 100% positive no person on their right mind will shoot a girl in the face for taking a picture like that.” Yes, i’m with you on that point, i don’t think they will, but THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY!

on a different page, my friend Megan is posting awareness photos as to how often images of violence are subtly woven into advertising as far as women are concerned and the link from her original post to an article focusing on ‘America’s Next Top Model 8’: Week Four: Crime Scene Victims just makes me feel sick to my stomach – the challenge is for each model to pose as a person who has been killed in a different way – with a judge commenting, “What’s great about this is that you can also look beautiful in death.” – i couldn’t even make it through all the images…

it just leaves me wondering how far have we gone? and how long will we continue to call this all normal?

and how can i be part of the remedy?

i think it must be along the lines of posting and speaking and pointing towards and declaring LIFE. not to pretend that darkness and death and brokenness is not happening [we must never do that – we MUST act when people share ridiculous cartoon pictures and when people are challenging the mentality behind advertising and the fact that a celebrity should not be allowed to get away with something no-one else should] but to remind ourselves in the midst of it that LIFE is happening. the smallest light destroys and chases away the darkness!

and so i want to call on you [and me] this week to look out for stories of goodness and grace and beauty and Love and to share them via your status or your Twitter or your blog – for every negative story that is out there, let us share a positive one. if we can’t stop all that is bad [at least instantly] then let us at least celebrate and cheer on and be encouraged by that which is good. let those stories give us the strength and belief to get involved in the less-than-happy ones and hopefully see more positive endings to those as well.

life to the full

i am thinking of the invitation i just received to Linawo Chilren’s home’s 10th birthday celebrations, i am talking about the children’s house Val is a trustee of and the uThando LeNkosi Work Day, i am even simply talking about Monday night’s TheatreSports show at the Intimate theatre in town – whatever it is, let’s just start speaking and sharing some life, so that we don’t get taken completely down by the darkness…

for the first positive upbuilding story focusing on Nicholas McCarthy, one-handed pianist, click here…

a story of pilots flying in water and supplies to flooded areas and also a site for daily stories of good news

the inspiring and humourous no limbed Nick Vujicic has a baby boy…

is anyone with me on this?

the beautiful Val, loved by this guy!

my wife, the beautiful Val [tbV], is an incredible writer who does not blog often enough – i tell he this often and she agrees and one hope i have of this coming 18 months where our work week looks like it should be a lot closer to 30 hours rather than 80 might just give her the opportunity to do so…

if you have never read her stuff before than you should and especially these two written into the very sensitive context that South Africa finds itself in at the moment…

on doing something

on being my sister’s keeper

you should read and like and share and link to her blog because when she writes it is life-changing society-transforming stuff and the more of you that get connected to her, the more we can encourage her to keep speaking…

i love you Valerie-Claire Anderson – keep on cos you are so gifted at this…

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