The challenge that our communities struggle with is complex. Often church people, even we as leaders, succumb to a soft minded approach, which ease people into or in our organisations. Our ultimate aim (with this strategy) is ultimately to grow the numbers - lift my position on the ladder and everyone is happy. Its a win-win situation. Recently I participated at the Transatlantic Roundtable on Race and Religion. One of the themes that surfaced time and time again during this roundtable, was the lack of social consciousness and prophetic edge of faith communities, in the SA and USA context especially. So, the question is what are we to do in this kind of context?
I would not succumb to the temptation to offer easy answers, in others words, quick populist fixes for complex challenges. However, I would want to propose that we start by asking those awkward questions about the "lack of social consciousness" and the current eroding of the witness of faith communities. My question would be whether the so-called prophetic role of church "in the struggle" was really what populists would want us to believe? Was it not merely key individuals who drove this "prophetic witness" or perhaps it was Synodal meetings or ecumenical meetings who issued papers? Did the local faith communities join the struggle and or were they transformed into radical alternative spaces, where social justice issues were confronted. I wonder. Perhaps, what we see today (as lamented at the Roundtable) was merely the consequence of these key individuals who "moved on". They are now in the plush seats (as they always dreamed of) and the "papers" of the meetings has become simply that - papers.
In the mean time, there's a struggle going on, outside. This struggle is illogical, not making sense in terms of the well-known frameworks of the time; it subverts these frameworks and turns them into spaces where no-one has ever been, where maps doesn't exist. That is where perhaps the most exciting things are happening. Its the edge...
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