Throughout our training, we were taught always to have a bible in one hand, and a newspaper in the other, and that in order to be relevant preachers of the Gospel, we need an awareness of what is going on the world around us. These past few weeks, I have wanted to put the newspapers away, because I have felt overwhelmed and afraid of what seems to be a world gone mad. The political protests in our country and communities, the hate crimes in the United States, the recent vote by Britain to leave the European Union, and the desperate situations of refugees around the world have all left me wondering 'where to from here?' What is our response as followers of Jesus in the midst of our current political upheaval?
It was through a conversation with some friends this week, that I was able to remember some of the reasons we can have hope, and some of the ways we can respond. Here are a few of my thoughts, I would love to hear some more of yours:
Don't put the newspaper away! Engaging with the tough issues is the only way we can find helpful ways through them. But don't forget the Bible in the other hand. The foundation from which we engage with current affairs is one where God is Love, and God loves the world more than we ever could. God has not given up, and neither should we.
We can be honest with ourselves, and do the work required to recognise our own prejudices, stereo-types and taken-for-grated beliefs and ideas of how things 'should' be and be willing to have our hearts, minds and speech changed by God on certain issues.
We can do what we can to make a difference. Being kind, inclusive, fair and hopeful in the small ways available to us through the way we treat people and speak about people is no small contribution to a better world.
We can teach others to do the same through the way we live. Especially if you are a parent, or have influence over the lives and minds of children. Teaching our children to be kind, inclusive, fair and hopeful is investing in our world.
We can recognise that we have work to do, that we need to be intentional and make an effort to not simply put our heads in the sand.
I was deeply grateful for the conversation with friends, who love this country and want it to become the South Africa we all hope for, and who inspired me remain hopeful.