Saturday, February 27, 2010

Council of Churches on Steve de Gruchy

Released Friday, 26 February 2010
Message to:

The Family of Prof Steve de Gruchy
The United Congregational Church
The School of Theology & Religion- UKZN
The South African Christian Churches at Large
People of Faith in South Africa
Academics (in the service of the church)
Friends and Colleagues from all over the world
Fellow (South) Africans

Dear Sisters and Brothers

We are shocked at the sudden passing away of Professor Steve de Gruchy, our brother and friend.

Please receive the sincere condolences of the SACC and all our members. We pray that this period of grief and mourning will be lighter as you reflect on the life and contributions to the Church and broader society that Steve has made with so much dedication. We all bear testimony to the great love that Steve had for life - in all its forms.

The SACC recalls, with adoration, the sterling manner in which Steve assisted our Triennial Conference of Churches (during 2007) to appreciate the important theological connections between the economy and the ecology. We remember how he uncompromisingly stood for justice and promoted righteousness rooted in the infinite love of Christ. This is a love that at times extends beyond our human understanding.

Steve’s theological insights and his vision for mission served as a source of encouragement and consistently challenged the way we do theology and engage in mission. The lenses through which he looked at profound questions were always informed by a deep spirituality, scholarly discernment and passion for the truth. He never had to raise his voice in order to be heard or to convince any opposition, because he was such a humble servant of the poor and our Creator.

Through the way that he practiced our common faith, Steve was able to make many friends and to embarrass those who wanted to be his enemies. He was blessed with the capacities to love even those that wished to be his enemies. This is a demonstration of how dearly Steve loved our Lord and Saviour.

The SACC commends the humility with which Steve served the international ecumenical movement and enriched our lives. He rigorously pursued the family tradition of ecumenism through his unselfish services in the World Council of Churches, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Council for World Mission and the SA Council of Churches - both nationally and provincially.

The wealth of the selfless sacrifices that Steve made in all our lives only adds to the shock of his sudden death.

At this time of bereavement we wish to offer comfort to the family and the many people who had the opportunity to experience the many gifts that Steve shared with us. We are struggling to find appropriate words as we understand that the pain is deep. As we attempt to find comfort by reflecting on Steve’s life, we know who our True Comforter is.
We rely on the promise in the Gospel of John (14:15-31) that the parakletos will fill the needs of the De Gruchy family during this time of tenderness and mourning. When you and the rest of the people who love and know Steve raise many questions, may there be comfort in the knowledge that the Holy Spirit teaches us all things. We believe that the will of the Holy Spirit and that of Jesus Christ is one and we know that Jesus wills for us to have life everlasting (Jn 10:10).

Though we will all miss Steve, and do so sorely, we trust that he is not dead. Steve will always live in our memories. His love for life can not be taken away by water which is a source of life. We appreciate and often value the mystery of God’s salvation. All things tie in directly with the plan of salvation and the blessings it brings. We therefore value the teachings of the Holy Spirit even more.

Dear Marian, Steve's wife, and his children Thea, David, and Kate as well as the parents and siblings of Steve and Marian, be assured that God has a wonderful plan in place. We can rejoice that Steve has been promoted, for his departure is a promotion as he is returning to God our Creator. His death may for a time appear to represent defeat, but it will ultimately be a victory.

May the soul of Steve de Gruchy and many other dearly departed find eternal rest at the place that Jesus had gone to prepare for us.

From the SACC National Executive Committee
On behalf of all SACC Members.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Trouble in paradise: Bennie Hinn is human after all.

We don't know the facts and one could argue that we're not suppose to know what the issues are. Yet, the divorce filed against prosperity apostle Bennie Hinn does challenge the church to look again.We simply have to own up to the fact that we also struggle and yes, that we are also human beings who fail each other and who sometimes divorce. His response does not suggest any such acknowledgement or confession. a Public statement from Hinn, suggest that he is putting the blame on the wife. He states, 'Even though Suzanne has been under great stress, the children and I never expect this to happen' and ' My wife has no biblical grounds for what she has done.'  Its simple: blame it on some-one else. The question is: how is it possible that one could grow so far apart that you dont know what is coming. These grave decisions don't pop out overnight.

Divorce is never easy. Its agonising and the inevitability grows over a period of time.Then let's say it:  divorce also happens in the Christian church. Unless we are able to own up to the fact that its a reality within the church, then we will continue to struggle to develop appropriate ministry and support for sisters and brothers going through this agony. We, as believers, cannot continue to pretend and act as if it does not exist. This is my problem with Hinn's response. This is a season, for him to own up to the vulnerabilities and the complexities of human relationships-even as a pastor. We don't build our marriages in heaven. We can confess that we need help and support-even as pastors, for goodness sake.

But he can not. Why ? Because this is exactly where the prosperity cults struggle. In terms of their 'theology' this is not suppose to happen and we are not suppose to own up to any weaknesses. This flawed theology which denies reality and magically chant biblical spells and rituals need to be questioned. It creates a god, which frown upon poor, infected and struggeling people. This god drives in Harley -Davidsons and Limos, eat caviar and look down upon those that face a brutal, injust worldand sometimes strumble and often struggle.
But there's another God, who are with us in the muck, as we bear our crosses in this world, reminding us where our strengths come from. Let me put some divorcees at ease: The all-powerful God did not hang his head in shame because of your 'failure' in marriage or terminal sickness, God is walking alongside you in love and grace to support in facing the real challenges of life.This God does not magically wipe away reality, but rather, enables us to find deeper perspective and meaning to draw on our inner strength, wisdom, to make critical decisions for our future. This good news is for pastors as well. We also live only because of this grace of God. Faith therefore means to acknowledge that, on this journey, I am a cross-bearer, weak, oftem praying a type of 'Please Lord, I believe, but help with my unbelieve' (Mark 9:24) prayer. It's the God, who triumph and help us to come out strong, yet singing 'I didn't know my own strength'.

The kind of theology that underlie the industries of Hinn, is impotant in addressing this kind of faith and therefore it need to be reviewed. This therefor calls for a fundamental review of the role of pastors and those superstars in these 'ministries'. It calls for a questioning of the ostentatious lifestyle, which are simply  provided as 'proof' that the theology is healthy. In South African black and coloured communities, we see a powerful attraction to these groups, simply because people want hope for a better life and identify with wealth and success and so it seems, this gospel will give me that lifeline. We should however see that this whole movement is facing a serious credibility crisis and cannot stand up to the serious transformations that impact on families and children. The world is reeling under a neoliberal capitalist onslaught, which, driven by crude greed, proclaim that financial prosperity is the way to heaven. For these communities, unless we review and reject these false messiases, we are heading for disaster in the areas which matters most. We need something deeper and an affirmation of the way of the cross. Only in discovering the Crucified amongst cross-bearers, do we find real hope. Here we own up to our weaknesses, challenges, vulnerabilities-our sin and its here that we find grace. Let's pray that Hinn might also find it at the foot of the cross.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NERSA Declares War against the Poor (SA Council of Churches)

The SA Council of Churches has launched a scathing attack on the decision by the Energy regulator, in South Africa to hike electricity prices. The statement reads as follows: 
The South African Council of Churches (SACC) considers the recent NERSA approval of the ESKOM electricity tariff increases the worst and most devastating news the poor of South Africa have received this year.
Clearly NERSA has neither listened nor heard the cry of South Africans. Forced by legislation to conduct so-called public hearings, NERSA went through the motions and in the process caused South Africans of all ranks and class to cry out for it to intervene decisively and constructively. Essentially, NERSA has made a mockery of these submissions. Clearly NERSA has taken the side of ESKOM. NERSA has chosen to side with the powerful. In the process NERSA has dealt yet another blow to the poor whose ranks are swelling by the day. Even if there are electricity subsidies for people considered “poor” according to some random statistic, this increase will impact on food prices and prices of manufactured goods – all requiring electricity somewhere along the line of reaching the consumer.

While the SACC understands the increasing demand for electricity in order to satisfy economic growth, we are shocked at this insensitive slap in the face of the poor and the ordinary consumers, at such a precarious time. The message of this action of NERSA is obvious: the South African poor are on their own. By the time the middlemen, municipalities and agencies have added their own levies and costs, passing all of these to the hapless consumer, the 75% increase over 36 months will in fact be more like the 105% ESKOM had asked for in the first place. In effect, steps taken in the National Budget to be pro-poor are being undermined.  The words which our government has fed us over the past fifteen years pertaining to a ‘war against poverty’ now ring hollow. War has been declared against the poor! The sweet-talk of government is patently negated by devastating short and long term impacts of decisions such as NERSA’s.

The SACC and South Africans know about the poor quality of leadership, the high levels of inefficiencies, the immorally high salaries of ESKOM managers, the environmental disaster into which ESKOM technologies are driving us all, the corrupting monopoly that ESKOM has over our  lives  and the inept interventions of government in ESKOM. These are the things South Africans are being asked to fund. It is shocking that a government given an overwhelming mandate by the country’s poorest citizens is allowing these developments.

We must now brace ourselves for higher rates of unemployment, more small businesses collapsing, more environmental degradation owing the technologies used by ESKOM, slower economic growth, a degradation of the quality of jobs, higher levels of poverty and more ‘service-delivery protests’ – the only ‘weapon’ seemingly available to the poor and marginalized in this country.

The SACC is outraged that yet another instance of long-term incompetence and lack of planning has to be suffered by South Africans. The mere fact that ESKOM now seems to be planning for the next three years is no excuse for missing fundamental developments in the past 14 years. The SACC also wonders why government bail outs are available for other parastatals, but apparently not for ESKOM. We are also concerned that the price hikes seem to be benefitting  environmentally damaging and irresponsible technologies only, as we have yet to hear how the extra income will be used to diversify sources of energy and invest in renewable energy.

SACC reminds government and NERSA that this independent regulator is supposed to base its decisions on the national interest. We appeal to government to produce concrete strategies by means of which the poor will be assisted to deal with the misery that will accompany the lucrative tariff hikes approved for ESKOM. To this end we call for:
a) responsible and competent oversight of the parastatal ESKOM by government;
b) a sustainable vision for the energy sector, including substantial investment in renewable energies;
c) a diversification of the energy landscape in South Africa – it is dangerous for a country to be in the hands of one electricity provider only;
d) pro-poor policies.

For further information please contact
Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, SACC President           082 925 5232
Eddie Makue, General Secretary                      082 8538781 or 011 241 7817

Eulogy for Prof Steve de Gruchy-UKZN (School of Religion and Theology

The University of Kwazulu-Natal, Vice-Chancellor released the following eulogy for the late Prof Steve de Gruchy.


Steve de Gruchy was born on 16th November 1961 in Durban, South Africa, later moving
with his family to Cape Town and matriculating from the South African College High School
(SACS) in 1979. He continued his studies at the University of Cape Town obtaining a MA in
Religious Studies, a STM from Union Theological Seminary, New York, and a DTh at the
University of the Western Cape in 1992. His doctoral thesis focused on the themes of justice
and liberation in the work of the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.
As a young man, Steve’s commitment to issues of justice and liberation were evident in his
involvement in the Students’ Union for Christian Action, as a youth pastor at the Rondebosch
Congregational Church, as a religious conscientious objector refusing to serve in the South
African Defence Force during the 1980s, and finally as an ordained minister in the United
Congregational Church of Southern Africa in Athlone, Cape Town. Committed to both faith
and social action, Steve became Director of the Kuruman Moffat Mission Trust in 1994.
During this time he was engaged in establishing a number of projects to alleviate poverty,
curb illiteracy, and promote theological education, becoming fluent in speaking Tswana.
In 2000 Steve was appointed as the Director of the Theology and Development Programme
at the School of Theology at the then University of Natal. At the time, this fledging
programme was small and little known and Steve has built this programme to be recognized
throughout the African continent as a relevant and contextual centre of post graduate study.
With a strong commitment to the Ecumenical movement he has participated in a number of
consultations and commissions of the World Council of Churches, World Alliance of
Reformed Churches and the Council for World Mission.
Appointed Associate Professor in 2005 and later full Professor in 2008, Steve’s stature as a
scholar grew enormously over the past decade with numerous publications in the field of
theology and development, more recently in the area of public health and issues of water
and climate change. He was passionate about the way in which communities need to regain
their dignity and focus on their assets in order to become more fully human. He has
supervised numerous students who know and love him as a committed and critical scholar,
pastor and friend. In 2008, Steve became Head of the School of Religion and Theology at
the merged University of KwaZulu-Natal. Colleagues have thrived under his decisive and
brave leadership. He was always full of new ideas, ready to relieve tension with a joke, and
determined that the School of Religion and Theology would be a centre of excellence within
the University.
Those who are close to Steve also know that scholarly and activist pursuits are not his only
love. He is a gifted musician, loves walking in the Drakensberg, and always enjoys
socializing with friends. Married to Marian, and with their three children, Thea (18), David
(15), and Kate (11), the family loved outdoor adventures. It was on one such adventure that
the life of Steve de Gruchy was taken by the very waters (pula) he spoke so passionately
about. South Africa has lost a son of the soil. The South African church has lost a key
theologian. The Ecumenical Movement has lost a prophet. And the University of KwaZulu-
Natal, and particularly the School of Religion and Theology, has lost an astute administrator,
dedicated academic, an agent of transformation, and a caring friend. We mourn his loss.

 
(This Eulogy was prepared by the School of Religion and Theology-UKZN)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

they never die

Theologians never die. They live on. Whilst some-one like Dawid Bosch honed many leading thinkers as supervisor and pastor/missionary while he was alive, perhaps his most lasting legacy was his writings, which steadily gained reputation and gravitas after his untimely death in the early 90s.

To make the point, perhaps it would be better to replace theologians with writers, intellectuals or teachers. In any of these cases, the title is not the point. The point is that we leave a lasting legacy when we are willing to share, to give, to try and enrich the lives of others. Michael Le Cordier drove this point home recently when he responded to the challenge to 'bruin intellektuele' to come out and join the debate on Afrikaans. Le Cordier's argument was simple: there are people in our midst, unasuming and perhaps not 'educated' in an elite sense of the word. These people shaped the next generation, planted seeds for the trees that gives us fruit and shade today. Their legacy lives on, their views of God, the world humannes still inspire debate, reflection and new ideas. They remain our incipient theologians and as we stand on their shoulders, we can see better. Indeed they never die-they live on.
Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Steve de Gruchy, let's keep the faith..

Many of us, in the theological and church fraternity are a bit off-key at the news of the disappearance of Prof Steve de Gruchy over the weekend. Apparantly he went tubing and did not return.

De Gruchy, a minister from the Congregational church, is currently editor of the Journal for Theology in SA and Head of the UKZN School of Religion and Theology. He is most probably amongst the best theological minds amongst the younger generation of scholars in Africa, deeply involved in social activism and simply a wonderful person. We pray for him and his family.

Koelkop Wenners is diep gewortel (uncut)

My artikel geplaas in gister se Beeld, is bietjie gesny en die titel was bietjie anders, so hier's die rou, uncut version.
'Dis met ‘n trotse hart dat ek kyk hoe Hashim Amla, koelkop die een Indiese aanval na die ander afweer. Daar staan hy, omring met duisende krieketmal toeskouers wat roep om sy paaltjie, vyf of ses veldwerkers, intimiderend om sy kolf en ‘n wêreld-klas bouler wat wat hom aangluur, uitlok en probeer uitoorlê. Wat gaan in sy koelkop aan? Hierdie onverskrokke Suid Afrikaanse held.
‘n Mens kry een leidraad as jy meer intens kyk, na sy klere. Daar is ‘n verskil tussen sy uitrusting en die van sy spanmaats. Hashim het dit duidelik gemaak dat hy geen handelsmerke van alkoholiese dranke op hom sal dra nie. Hierdie tekens is teen sy geloof. My tienerdogter merk op: dis ‘cool’. Nee, korrigeer sy haarself, dis prysenswaardig dat hy so standpunt inneem vir wat hy glo. Inderdaad. Of ons nou met hom saamstem of nie, hy laat ons dieper kyk. Hierdie jong man, ‘n uitstekende sportman, trotse Suid-Afrikaner, word ten diepste gevorm deur dit wat binne sy hart aangaan.
Sportsielkundiges wat met die elite sportspersoonlikhede werk, is dit eens, op internasionale vlak is die verskil tussen atlete, in terme van talent, vaardighede en liggaamskondisie minimaal. Die groot verskil tussen wenners en verloorders is dieper, dis in die hart. Dis hier waar bepaal word hoe ons koppe werk; hoe ons reageer op ‘n verwoestende aanval, ‘n groot terugslag in die spel, of op hartverskeurdende teleurstellings. Dis hier waar die wenners koelkop bly en besluit om hulself te herinner aan hul vermoëns en waar hul energie en aandag gekonsentreer word op die dinge wat saakmaak. Hulle is in die ‘zone’. Uiteraard kom sommiges by die punt deur diep grawe in hul geloof, ander in hul nasietrots, of dalk ‘n moeder se opoffering wat hulle inspireer. Hulle vind dit in hul hart.
As land en gemeenskappe word ons almal telkens gedwing om keuses te maak oor hoe ons reageer op wat om ons gebeur. Die onlangse verkragting van ‘n diep gelowige suster het ons weereens laat steier. Voeg hierby die roekelose lewenstyl en optredes van ons president en ander hoë profiel persoonlikhede, maar meer nog, die verleentheid van die 20 jaar euforie, wat wys dat ons nie te suksesvol is in ons stryd teen rassisme, ongelykheid en geweld nie, kan maak dat ons kop verloor. Miskien dwing dit ons dieper kyk en onsself herinner aan die hart van ons menslike bestaan en om ons aandag fokus op die dinge wat saakmaak. Miskien dwing dit ons om dieper te kyk as die bekende handelsmerke, die tekens wat baie keer bepaal watter waarde ons heg aan die wat dit dra.
Vir gelowiges gaan dit daaroor dat ons, ten diepste nie aan onsself behoort nie en daarom nie bloot vir onsself lewe nie. Immers, as Christene glo ons dat ons ten volle, in lewe en in dood, aan Jesus Christus behoort. Ons bely dan ook dan Hy ons loskoop van slawerny uit sonde, ten einde as vry mense te leef. Ons bely, dat Hy sy skepping verder versorg en ‘n toekoms gee. Dit volg dus dat ons sin het vir die lewe en daagliks besluit om vrywillig vir Hom lewe.
Dis hierdie diepe sinvolheid wat maak dat ons koppe anders werk. Ons sien ons hierwees as ‘n roeping, ‘n lewe waar ons hierdie wed-stryd om vryheid vir almal, asook om die versorging van die hele skepping, te dien. Ons besluit om ons hier te vestig en kreatief om te gaan deur nuwe tekens van hoop te skep, maar ook om by tye onsself te verset teen die tekens wat teen God se droom woed.
Dis nie ‘n maklike keuse nie. Om hierdie rede staan baie stomverbaas as ‘n ander jong Suid-Afrikaanse held, ondanks haar brutale verkragting, opstaan en besluit dat sy wel die volgende naweek die Midmar-myl gaan swem. Of waar ‘n jong opkomende geestelike leier, met ‘n groot toekoms in die Verenigde State, homself tot Suid-Afrika bekeer en huistoe kom, om ‘n versoenende kleipot gemeente te bou, waar wit en swart mekaar opsoek en leer ken. Dit is waar ons harte, geloofsharte, ons koelkop maak, herinner aan God se vermoens en waar ons energie en aandag gekonsentreer word op die dinge wat saak maak. Dit is hier waar ‘n wenspan gebore word.
Hashim is sekerlik bewus daarvan dat êrens in die toekoms hy weer ‘n nulletjie gaan aanteken of ‘n bal sal misvang. Daar sal weer tye kom waar hy gaan faal en uiteindelik uitree uit krieket. Baie van ons sal dalk sy kolfbeurt op Eden Gardens vergeet. Maar daar sal nuwe name, nuwe helde, nuwe tekens wat ons herinner daaraan dat dit uiteindelik Godself is wat die wenner is en van ons wenners maak.'

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The State of the Nation

I was thinking for a while now about the State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma, 20 years after the release of political prisoners like Nelson Mandela and the then banned liberation movements. This address was expected to be one of the most definitive in recent years. There are of course also the controversies which embroil the president. Apparantly there was some 'robust debate' behind closed doors before the speech and some serious damage control, the last few days. But he stepped up, as usual, jovial and (as usual) our ruling party clapped the hands vigorously as he made his points and laughed at his jokes.

There is however more to be said and done then mere 'robust debate' and another round of handwringing apologies from Zuma. The African National Congress voted him to be their leader at Polokwane and offered him to the nation and the world, as their finest. For them, he embodies the proud legacies of the African liberation movements, despite the serious misgivings from many, in particular from those who supported the liberation struggle and also paid dearly for our freedom.

But there is more, as these things also have an impact on our children. I also listened, in the week, to a interview by Tim Modise with three young people. These were special young learners. They were finalists, chosen in a nation-wide leadership competition. All three young bright leaders said, upon a question by Tim, that they would without doubt, choose ANC-Youth League President, Julius Malema, on their future cabinet. As long as he don't speak to the media and as long as he does his work. The only young man amongst these three candidly (and proudly!) proclaimed that indeed, Julius Malema is his role-model. Seriously.

Something is missing. Evidently there are different frames of references at work amongst a sizable number of our population. Perhaps, the words of Antje Krog expresses it better. In her book 'Begging to be Black', she confesses to her discourse partner, a distinguised philosopher in Western Philosophy.

'Since 1994 I have lived with a black majority that asserts itself more and more and more confidently, as well as the many black people from the rest of Africa who streams into the country. So I find most of my references and many of my frameworks of understanding to be useless and redundant...' (2009:93)

She continues later,

'At times when my president, Thabo Mbeki, (it was before the now famous re-call) speaks, and he is an intelligent man, I sit like somebody in complete darkness. It's not that I don't understand what he is saying; I don't know where it is coming from, from within what logic it wants to assert 'itself'as right. (:94)

One would think that this is simply a white, western malaise, as Krog think. But black intellectual, Xolela Mangcu however saw it coming already in 2007, as he was grappling with the Zuma phenomenon. He states,

I do not think there is any commentator who has been fairer to Zuma than I have. I have refrained from commenting on his guilt or innocence, arguing insistently that that should be the province of the courts. In article after article, I counselled the ANC to find a political solution to the matter. However, Zuma has brought a political solution without much help from the ANC or anybody else. By his own actions he has turned his campaign into a 'theatre of the absurd'. It is one thing to make a mistake, but quite another to display a congenial proclivity to self-destruction. One moment he is taking a shower after sex to prevent contracting HIV, the next moment he is an honorary priest....But one does not have to believe in Zuma's guilt or innocence to reach the conclusion that the man is out of his depth in the high-stakes game of repressentational politics. After all, leaders are the embodimens of our aspirations. We expect that they should carry themselves with grace and dignity. They should be carriers of the finest ethical traditions of their political movements and societies.

He continue,

Part of the attraction of ANC leaders such as A.B.Xuma, James Moroka, Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki is that their were or are gentlemen in the finest sense of that term, carrying themselves with grace and dignity. The same holds for those other eminent gentlemen of the revolution, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe and Steve Biko.

This is the attraction that Krog speaks of as she, in her book looks at the life of King Moshoeshoe and how he and the many African leaders mentioned earlier, have been embedded in a broader communinal sense of being. It is out of this community that the leaders emerged. The question then remains: what does the current leaders say about the parties that offer them to the electorate, but also (more disturbing): what does it say about the nation?

Thursday, February 04, 2010

'love-child' vs love our children

I've picked up that media speaks of President Jacob Zuma's latest offspring, as his 'love-child'. This is not a new expression and its often used. My hunch is that the users want to soften the impact or to rebrand children born outside the confines of marriages, or being born as a result of an affaire (Naas Botha, Steve Hofmeyer, etc). A lot of pain has perhaps resulted in the discovery of an unwanted pregnancy, so, it is felt that it would helpful, or better, crucial, to do away with concepts like 'illegitemate' child. We need to affirm that whether born within the confines of a legal marriage or not, children remain gifts and therefor special moments of grace from God. Children, in various cultures are rightly celebrated and so it should be. Yet, I would argue that the use of 'love-child' is unfortunate and not helpful. I am uncomfortable with it and the way its been used. This, I think, relates also to a warped confluence of sexual intercourse and 'making love'.

It seems to me that 'love-child' connects the notion 'love' to any form of sexual intercourse that produces a baby, irrespective of whether there is any relationship. The purpose is to protect the baby from social stigma. But, irrespective of whether the partners are married or not, the truth is that it is not always the case that children are born out relationships, let alone, of love. The idea of sexual intercourse, in itself, as 'making love', is possibly behind this notion of a 'love-child'. This usage however subverts the meaning of love. The birth of a child, we hope, automatically or magically, sanctifies the act. I believe we need to seperate the two (three?). Sexual intercourse, these days, does not imply any relationship, let alone love and the 'production' of a child, as the consequence of sexual intercourse and conception, does therefor not asume any relationship of love. Let me explain my understanding of the background: In the modern era, the sexual revolution that hit the West and influenced the rest of us through the massmedia and cultural industries, clearly caused a rift between the act of sexual intercourse and the type of commitments, sacrifices and discipline that goes along with love, as understood in most cultures and the major religious traditions. This means that we can have a pumping, commercially driven'sex industry', casual sex and the rest. Of course, faith communities and religious institutions have allways, up to today, mostly been objecting to these developments. It was argued that love, which is expressed and recognised, in a life-long commitment and endorsed by family and the community, was the space within which intimacy, sexual intercourse finds its place. It is a private affair. This is then also the environment, within which the children are born. Here, they experience the trust, safety and security, but also affection, intimacy and affirmation as part of a family, community. They are born in love and this shapes their resillience and identityformation.

But, its not like this anymore and no ammount of warped semantics will be able to gloss over the cruel reality, that even so-called consenting adults, are often not willing to live up to the responsibilities, sacrifices and discipline that goes along with loving relationships. Yes, there are adults that offer sophisticated excuses and who are able to hide behind PR and nice-sounding words, yet remain callous when it comes to the deep respect, sacrifices and commitment for a life-long partner, let alone a baby-gift from God. The notion of 'love-child' is a lie that aims to divert the attention away from the actions and choices made by consenting adults, and their collusion in bringing children into the world, where they, as adults themselves, are not willing or able to provide for a loving environment for our children to thrive. Let's call it out, let's call the bluff, otherwise this lie may hide the fear and violence millions of children are exposed to, as they open their eyes, and have to fend for themselves, in a world created by consenting adults.

Musings.....