Monday, November 05, 2007

NG kerk and Belhar...

It seems as if the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, sadly, is still a prisoner to her colonial racist past. It was hoped that this church could lead her predominantly white, Afrikaans membership out of a fixation with separatism and supremacy, towards a new mission and calling in unity and reconciliation with her black sisters and brothers. An article in an Afrikaans weekly, recounts the most recent set of new (!) reasons why re-unification hasn't yet happened (and may not happen)- the most important being a growing opposition within the DR Church to the Confession of Belhar. Belhar, is a coloured township in Cape Town, where this confession was born, opening new insights in God's desire for unity, reconciliation and justice.The reasons for this growing opposition, however, does not reside in their theological rejection of Belhar, but in what can only be called a general hysteria that the acceptance of Belhar would constitute an acceptance of the new South Africa. An acceptance of the new SA, so they argue, means the acceptance of rising levels of violent crime, corruption and the abuse of power. Where, of course they are correct is that, in the Belhar call, God does call for restitution of injustice, for visible unity hence for the re-formation of colonial type race segregated churches.

In this article one of the ministers of the DR Church, Andre van Niekerk, correctly, express the need for re-unification succinctly '“Kerkeenheid sou ons kon bevry en laat beleef dat alle swart mense nie dieselfde is nie, dat talle nog swaarder onder misdaad en swak bestuur ly, en dat talle gemeenskaplike waardes met ons deel en vir ons voorbeelde daarin is. (Church unity, would have liberated us and let us experience that not all black people are the same, that many share a bigger load under crime and poor management, and that we share many common values of which they are examples to us'). The tragedy is however, that Belhar now becomes the latest 'reason' why the DR church cannot transcend her colonial legacy.
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Musings.....