Amptelike Nuusblad : NG Kerk in Oos-Kaapland

 

OosKaap eNuus

 

Visie: Een, heilige, algemene Christelike kerk, die gemeenskap van die heiliges

 

Jaargang 6  -  Nommer 25 - 14 Augustus 2008  -  www.ngkok.co.za/enuus

 

Teken in                                                                       Beindig intekening

 

 

 

INHOUD

Vroue wil erkenning gee aan gelowiges wat verskil maak in die Oos-Kaap

Sen uitgespreek oor Missie Japan

Die Golgota-produksie met Danie Matthee op Despatch aangebied

Respons van Gemeentes: Sentralisering van Gemeenteregisters

Leraars: Voltooi jou biografiese gegewens

Massa Manne Lofprysing op Jeffreysbaai

Aandag: Alle Christene in gesondheidsorg-sektor

Shane Claiborne : An ordinary radical

The Irresistible Revolution van Shane Claiborne en klankopname van n gesprek met hom

Gratis fotos weekliks vir die Leesrooster-teks

Pos vir Direkteur : Shepherdsentrum, Universiteit van die Vrystaat

Bestel n goeie boek: Geestelike begeleiding vir en deur pastors

Finesse kuier in PE: Vroue van Hoop

Die pa se o

Downward Mobility in an upscale world - Shane Claiborne

Wonderlike skoonmaakmiddel

 

 

Vroue wil erkenning gee aan gelowiges wat verskil maak in die Oos-Kaap

Christine Higgs, Netwerkbestuurder vir ons sinodale vrouebediening, het n blink plan: Tydens Finesse se kuier in PE, met die Vroue van Hoop-dag, word beoog om erkenning te gee aan mense wat n wesenlike verskil maak in die Oos-Kaap.

Hiermee in gedagte, vra Christine dat gemeentes die besonderhede van sulke persone aan haar deurgee. Sy wil graag weet: waar en hoe dien hierdie mense, hoe het hulle God se roeping ontvang, en hoe sen die Here dit.

En: wanneer hierdie werk erkenning ontvang, help dit die vroue sommer ook om te weet welke praktiese diensgeleenthede daar is waar hulle betrokke kan raak.

Kontak Christine asseblief by dhiggs@cybersmart.co.za

Inhoud

 

Sen uitgespreek oor Missie Japan

Die SK-Dagbestuur het op 14 Augustus 2008 dankbaar kennis geneem van Stephan en Carien van der Watt, leraarspaar van Aliwal-Oos, wat in 2009 deur Missie Japan uitgestuur word na Japan. Daar is besluit om hierdie werk onder gemeentes se aandag te bring, en gemeentes aan te moedig, indien die Here dit op hulle hart druk, om hierdie werk te ondersteun.

Stephan het intussen begin met n druk program om die werk aktief aan gemeentes bekend te stel. Hy is DV (voorlopig) van 14-27 Oktober in PE en omliggende omgewing vir bekendstellingswerk in Oos-Kaapo.m. by eredienste, getuienis-kommissies, leraarskringe, individue ens. met die doel om volhoubare ondersteuning te werf vir Missie Japan. Middel-einde Sept sal hy DV dieselfde in die Suid-Kaap omgewing doen.

Die Van der Watts het n fassinerende getuienis hoedat die Here hulle oor jare heen voorberei het vir hierdie roeping.

Julle kan gerus met Stephan kontak maak by jsvdwatt@lantic.net

Inhoud

 

Die Golgota-produksie met Danie Matthee op Despatch aangebied

Ds Marius Lourens, bekende skilder-dominee van Port Elizabeth, en uitvoerende regisseur van die Golgota-produksie laat weet:

Golgota-Produksie  deur die Horskool Framesby en Ikoon word op Saterdagaand, 24 Augustus om 18:30 in die Despatch-Horskoolsaal aangebied.

Die produksie is vanjaar vir die 4de keer op die planke, en ongeveer 2 500 mense het dit alreeds bygewoon.  Die produksie is ook vir 9 Showtime Toekennings vir 2008 benoem.  Hierdie is die laaste aanbieding vir vanjaar.  Marius Lourens is die uitvoerende regisseur en Danie Matthee speel die rol van Jesus. 

Die Despatch- gemeentes beplan om hulle  aand-eredienste af te stel vir die geleentheid. 

Kaartjies beskikbaar teen R10 per persoon.  Ikoon se nuwe CD sal ook beskikbaar wees. 

Navrae : Marius Lourens 041 -775 1459 / 072 202 7652

Inhoud

 

Respons van Gemeentes: Sentralisering van Gemeenteregisters

Die Dagbestuur van die Sinodale Kommissie het hierdie verslag op 14 Augustus in behandeling geneem en die aanbevelings goedgekeur:

Agtergrond

Die SK het op 18 April 2008 (Notule pt 12.1.3) besluit dat gemeentes gekonsulteer word oor die koste van die voorgenome sentralisering van gemeente-registers, alvorens n finale besluit oor die saak geneem word.

n Skrywe is aan alle gemeentes gerig. Dit is beskikbaar by:
http://www.ngkok.co.za/admin/Konsultasie_Gemeentes_Sentralisering_Gemeente-registers.pdf

Respons

Reaksie is vanaf 53 gemeentes ontvang. Dit kan as volg getabuleer word:

 

 

JA

Meer inligting benodig

Nie nou nie

NEE

Aantal

23

3

2

25

Persentasie

43%

5%

3%

49%

 

Die opmerkingskolom op die terugvoerblad kan as volg opgesom word:

* Klein gemeentes ontsien die koste en meen dat hul lidmaatwisseling so laag is, dat die stelsel nie vir hulle voordele sal inhou nie.

* Daar is nie n gerekenariseerde stelsel in die gemeente nie, en die moeite om dit op dreef te kry, tesame met die werk daaraan verbonde om ID-nommers in te samel, is te veel.

* Die skribaat word deur vrywilligers hanteer, en die werklas kan nie vergroot word nie.

* Dit word voorsien dat lidmate onwillig sal wees om hulle ID-nommers te verskaf.

* Gemeentes beskik nie oor die nodige finansies nie, en is onseker oor die koste-struktuur oor die lang termyn. n Gemeente noem dat hulle moontlik van mening sal verander indien hulle n gedetailleerde koste-ontleding kan sien.

* Enkele kerkrade vra wie gefinansier word - Winkerk of Abid? Daar is nie n deursigtige ontleding beskikbaar waarom Winkerk gekies is nie.

* Ons het nie eers n telefoon in die kerkkantoor nie.

* Verskeie gemeentes sien n voordeel in die voorgenome stelsel, maar meen dat die koste-voordeel balans die stelsel nie die moeite werd maak nie.

* Sou graag wou weet hoeveel amptenare hulle werk of van hul inkomste kan verloor. In n tyd waar die ekonomie swak is, word daar darem maklik n opmerking gemaak dat amptenare se salarisse verminder kan word (na aanleiding van die ABID-verslag wat voor Sinode 2007 gedien het).

* Die fooie is te hoog.

* Gemeentes wat JA antwoord, meld oor die algemeen bloot dat die stelsel hulle kan help. n beduidende aantal is opgewonde oor die nuwe moontlikhede. Hulle meen dit kan gemeentes baie help om lidmate op te spoor.

Aanbeveling

* Die SK besluit om by gemeentes aan te beveel dat hulle vrywillig inskakel by die sentralisering van gemeente-registers.

* Die finansile verantwoordelikheid word per direkte kontrak tussen gemeentes en ABID gerel. Die Sinode aanvaar nie verantwoordelikheid vir die hantering van fondse of die administrasie van hierdie kostes nie.

Inhoud

 

Leraars: Voltooi jou biografiese gegewens

Dr Dirk Viljoen skryf:

"In opdrag van die Algemene Argief van die Ned. Geref. Kerk, is ek alreeds sedert 1997 besig met die opbou van 'n Databasis van al die gelegitimeerde predikante (wat hulle status behou het) in die NG Kerk.

Hierdie inligting sleutel ek eers in my rekenaar op 'n spesiale program in en stuur dit dan oor na die rekenaar van die Argief in Stellenbosch. So het ek nou al 2,230 inskrywings deurgestuur. Dit word dan gebruik vir die IN MEMORIAM-berigte in die Jaarboek en ander geskrifte van historiese aard of feesvierings. U sal saamstem dat dit baie belangrik is ! Ons kan nie sonder hierdie databasis wees nie.

Maar nou blyk dit tog dat ek baie van ons leraars se gegewens nog nie het nie. Daar is 'n BIOGRAFIESE VORM wat moet ingevul word waarop al die dinge wat benodig word, gevra word. Ek vra nou dringend dat al die leraars en emeriti van Oos-Kaapland wat dalk nog nie hierdie vorm ingevul het en aan my besorg het, om dit asb. onverwyld te doen.

U kan 'n vorm by my aanvra op die volgende maniere:

1. Klik hier om dit van die web af te laai

2. per e-pos: dirjoen@mweb.co.za

3. Faks aan my by 08 6670 6671 of 012/333-2942

4. Bel my by 012/333-2942 of 082 573 2708

5. Of per pos aan: Huis Herfsblaar Meenthuis 42, Webbweg 1244, Queenswood, Pretoria, 0186.

Baie dankie vir u gewaardeerde reaksie en samewerking."

Inhoud

 

Massa Manne Lofprysing op Jeffreysbaai

Manne word deur n geesdriftige Jeffreysbaai-gemeente genooi na n lofprysingsgeleentheid. Hierdie geleentheid vind Saterdag 23 Augustus 2008 by die NG Kerk Kompleks te Jeffreysbaai plaas, om 18:00.

Kassie de Jongh, organiseerder, skryf:

Ons is in die pylvak vir die groot geleentheid. Alles is in plek, dis net die massas wat kort. Graag nooi ons Oupas, Pas en seuns uit na die geleentheid. Bring u vriendekring saam. Dit is die geleentheid om weer verhoudings te bou.

Daar sal `ʼn kollekte by die deure opgeneem word

Prof Johan Smith is die spreker.

Tema: Godsman : wees `n man en pa van formaat!

Kom loof en prys die Here !

DIE TYD IS MIN: Dis Hierdie Saterdag aand by die kompleks net na die Rugby!

Groete

Kassie de Jongh

0824247491

Inhoud

 

Aandag: Alle Christene in gesondheidsorg-sektor

Lucy Holland nooi julle na die volgende Netwerk-Konferensie deur n organisasie wat wreldwyd Christene in die gesondheidsorg-sektor mobiliseer om lewende getuies vir die Here te wees:

Healthcare Christian Fellowship Networking Conference
23-27 September 2008
Drakensville

Networking Conference - involving the Christian Medical Fellowship, Doctors for Life, Hospi-Vision, Healthcare Christian Fellowship and The Evangelical Association of South Africa.

This conference is intended for all leaders and potential leaders in healthcare and Christian/medical groups who will focus on defining the needs within the health sector from a spiritual or Biblical perspective and then under God's guidance formulate interventions to address the issues.
For more info or registration contact Healthcare Christian Fellowship at hcf@lantic.co.za or 0119752934 before 21 August 2008

Many thanks,

Lucy Hollands.

Inhoud

 

Shane Claiborne : An ordinary radical

Dit lyk op die oog af sommer na n surfer dude, maar as die man begin gesels, luister jy! Ds Matie van Niekerk, van die Bybelgenootskap, vertel vandeesweek opgewonde oor n praatjie van Shane Claiborne, op besoek aan Suid-Afrika, waarna hy op Jeffreysbaai geluister het. Shane staan n eenvoudige, kommunale lewe en n radikale navolging van Jesus Christus voor, vertel Matie. Hy daag Christene uit om werklik erns te maak met die navolging van Jesus.

Na aanleiding van Matie se onderhoudende vertelling, begin ek op die internet rondsoek na inligting oor onse Shane. Wat n interessante prentjie ontvou nie!

Wikipedia skryf die volgende oor hom:

Shane Claiborne is one of the founding members of a New Monastic community called The Simple Way in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This organization was featured on the cover of Christianity Today. Claiborne is also a prominent activist for nonviolence and the redistribution of resources to the poor.

A graduate of Eastern University, where he studied sociology and youth ministry, Claiborne did his final academic work for Eastern University at Wheaton College in Illinois. While at Wheaton, Shane did an internship at Willow Creek Community Church. He has done some graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary, but took a leave of absence, and now is a part of The Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia.

Claiborne's outlook on ministry to the poor is often compared to Mother Teresa, whom he worked alongside with during a 10-week term in Calcutta. He spent 3 weeks in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team (a project of Voices in the Wilderness and Christian Peacemaker Teams). He was witness to the military bombardment of Baghdad as well as the militarized areas between Baghdad and Amman. As a member of IPT, Claiborne took daily trips to sites where there had been bombings, visited hospitals and families, and attended worship services during the war. He also continues to serve as a board member for the nation-wide Christian Community Development Association which was founded by the authors and community developers, John Perkins and Wayne Gordon.

Shane is onder andere n student van die bekende sosioloog, Tony Campolo.

Reg teen die einde van hierdie eNuus plaas ek n artikel van Shane. Google sy name en kyk wat jy kry!

Inhoud

 

The Irresistible Revolution van Shane Claiborne en klankopname van n gesprek met hom

Ek het n uittreksel van Shane se boek, The Irresistible Revolution, op ons webblad geplaas, asook n klankopname van n gesprek met hom: Finding your Calcutta (13.1MB). Daar het ook onlangs n boek, Jesus for President, uit sy pen verskyn.

Inhoud

 

Gratis fotos weekliks vir die Leesrooster-teks

Dankie aan Rethie van Niekerk vir hierdie praktiese wenk:

Vir mense wat moedeloos is met prente soek vir Sondag se Powerpoint:  www.scripturepics.org het elke week gratis fotos wat betrekking het op die Sondag se Leesrooster teks. 

Inhoud

 

Pos vir Direkteur : Shepherdsentrum, Universiteit van die Vrystaat

Die volgende advertensie word deur die UV onder ons aandag gebring:

Fakulteit Teologie: Shepherd: Sentrum vir die Begeleiding van Geestelike Leiers Senior Lektor/Medeprofessor - Direkteur: Shepherdsentrum (Vyfjaar-kontrakaanstelling)

Van die suksesvolle kandidaat sal verwag word om die Sentrum, wat tot dusver op 'n deeltydse basis bestuur is, verder uit te bou, te bestuur en te ontwikkel. Dit behels, onder meer, strategiese leierskap, kordinering, interne en eksterne skakeling, wat skakeling met soortgelyke sentrums asook die bre kerklike publiek insluit.

Die salarisskaal en volledige posbeskrywing is op aanvraag beskikbaar. Skakel gerus (051) 401-2868/49.

Sluitingsdatum: 5 September 2008.

Die Universiteit van die Vrystaat is 'n multikulturele universiteit met 'n parallel-mediumtaalbeleid (Afrikaans en Engels). Die Universiteit staan in 'n innoverende en entrepreneuriese fase van sy bestaan en bied opwindende moontlikhede vir leierskap en bestuur. Op fakulteitsvlak is innoverende leierskap ten opsigte van onderrigprogramme, navorsingsverdieping, samelewingsdiens, gehalte, billikheid, billike indiensneming en finansile volhoubaarheid 'n belangrike element hiervan.

Inhoud

 

Bestel n goeie boek: Geestelike begeleiding vir en deur pastors

Gideon van Dam is predikant van die Protestantse Kerk in Nederland en fokus op die geestelike begeleiding en mentor van predikante.

Uit sy pen het daar in Suid-Afrika n baie nuttige boekie verskyn, Beyond Expression - Approaching the Divine - on spiritual guidance for and by pastors.

Dit is werklik die moeite werd om te lees. Ons het 20 kopie by die Sinodale Kantoor - jy kan dit kry teen R30 per boekie, posgeld en verpakking ingesluit. Kyk by www.ngkok.co.za wat die sinode se bankbesonderhede is (regterhandse kolom) en bestel vir jou die boekie! Navrae: Nellie Westraadt, sekretaresse, by 041 365-3159 of db@ngkok.co.za.

Inhoud

 

Finesse kuier in PE: Vroue van Hoop

 Venessa Schoeman, Liesel Krause-Wiid en Alsab Aldrich van Finesse, die bekende vrouetydskrif, kuier op 11 Oktober 2008 in PE by die Veremarksaal. 'n Geleentheid om nie te mis nie. Volledige besonderhede hier.

Julle beter spring: meer as die helfte van die tafels is al uitverkoop!

Inhoud

 

Die pa se o

Renier Scholtz vertel hoeveel hierdie verhaal vir hom beteken het. Lees self:

In Derde Laan staan 'n klein huisie met n pragtige roostuin en n groot populierboom.  Dit is hier waar Theo en sy pa gebly het.

Hulle het alleen daar gebly, want sy ma is jare gelede al oorlede. Almal in die dorp het di twee se verhouding bewonder.  Theo se pa het nie een van sy rugbywedstryde misgeloop nie.  Of dit nou mooiweer of stormweer was, jy kon verseker weet, Theo se pa was daar.  Hy was sy seun se grootste aanhanger.  Ironies, Theo het nooit in 'n wedstryd gespeel het nie; hy was altyd die reserwe.

N elke wedstryd was sy pa se woorde: "Miskien speel jy volgende keer."  Dan het sy pa altyd met sy arm om Theo se skouers daar weggestap.

Sonder enige druk van sy pa se kant, het Theo aangehou oefen en het hy altyd sy beste by elke oefening gegee.  Hy het egter deur sy hele horskoolloopbaan die reserwebank vol gesit, want - omdat die skool klein was - het hulle net een span in sy ouderdomsgroep gehad.  Maar sy pa het steeds getrou al die wedstryde bygewoon.

Dit was voor een van die laaste wedstryde in sy matriekjaar dat 'n tragedie Theo tref.  Sy pa is skielik dood.  Dit was vir hom 'n baie groot skok.  Hy het die afrigter gevra om di week van die oefeninge verskoon te word.  Die afrigter het vir hom ges:  "Theo, neem soveel tyd as wat jy wil, want dis 'n groot verlies wat jou getref het."

Die Saterdag met die wedstryd daag Theo in sy rugbyklere by die wedstryd op.  Hy gaan staan voor die afrigter en pleit-vra:  "Meneer, kan ek asseblief vandag speel?"  Die afrigter het gevoel dat hy met so 'n belangrike wedstryd nie kon bekostig om 'n swak speler in te span nie, maar besluit toe tog om hom te laat speel.  Hy het geredeneer:  Hoeveel jare lank oefen hy nou al getrou sonder om te speel en boonop is sy pa dood.  Ek sal hom 'n kans gee.

Theo speel fantasties en druk selfs die wendrie.  Na die tyd stap die afrigter na Theo:  "Waar het jy al die tyd hierdie talent gebre?  Jy was briljant."

Theo het met trane in sy o ges:  "Meneer, my pa is in die hemel.  Meneer weet hy het getrou al die wedstryde bygewoon, al was hy blind.  Wel, vandag was die eerste keer dat hy my kon sien speel.  Ek wou vir hom wys ek kn speel!"

Onthou, ongeag hoe jy nou voel, iemand is trots op jou, dink aan jou, gee om vir jou en is lief vir jou. God - en al die mense wat lief is vir jou - hou jou in liefde dop.

Inhoud

 

Downward Mobility in an upscale world - Shane Claiborne

The vision of Jesus is not spread through organizational structures, but through touch, breath, shared life. It is spread through people who have discovered love.

Not long ago, I sat and talked with some very wealthy Christians about what it means to be the church and to follow Jesus. One businessman confided, "I, too, have been thinking about following Christ and what that means so I had this made." He pulled up his shirt-sleeve to reveal a bracelet, engraved with W.W.J.D (What Would Jesus Do?). It was custom-made of twenty-four karat gold.

Maybe each of us can relate to this man both his earnest desire to follow Jesus and his distorted execution of that desire, so bound up in the materialism of our culture. It is difficult to learn to live the downward mobility of the gospel in this age of wealth. For the most part, those of us who are rich never meet those of us who are poor. Instead, nonprofit organizations serve as brokers between the two in a booming business of poverty management.

I believe that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that they do not know the poor. Yet if we are called to live the new community for which Christ was crucified, we cannot remain strangers to one another. Jesus demands that we live in a very different way.

I recently surveyed people who said they were "strong followers of Jesus." Over 80 percent agreed with the statement, "Jesus spent much time with the poor." Yet only 1 percent said that they themselves spent time with the poor. We believe we are following the God of the poor yet we never truly encounter the poor.

About five years ago, I became part of a community called the simple way, a group of Christians literally born out of the wreckage of the church. Dozens of homeless families and children had moved into St. Edward's, a cavernous, abandoned Catholic church in one of the most struggling neighborhoods of Philadelphia. A small group of us who were students at Eastern College, a suburban Christian school, decided to move in with them as a gesture of solidarity. From that initial step, one miracle followed another as those families mentored us in community, worship, and love.

Eventually, we settled in a rowhouse in Kensington, a few blocks from St. Edward's. It is the poorest (but most beautiful!) district in Pennsylvania. There is no place we'd rather call home. Here, we play and dance. We plant gardens. We feed people. We cry. We have a community store. We help kids with homework. We live, and we spend our lives joining folks in poverty as they struggle to end it. Because we know that we cannot end poverty without ending wealth, we also spend time talking with Christian communities about our work and hosting visitors.

Before moving to St. Edward's and then Kensington, I had worked in Calcutta, India, first at Mother Teresa's home for the destitute dying and then in a leper colony. A week after returning to the United States, I began a year at Willow Creek Community Church, one of the largest, wealthiest congregations in the world where a food court graces their worship center. Talk about culture shock!

This contrast brought me face to face with Christ's radical love, a love strong enough to bring us together across chasms of difference. I longed for the two worlds to meet, for the lepers to know the landowners. I committed my life to trying to make that a reality.

Over the years I have come to see how charity fits into and legitimizes our system of wealth and poverty. Charity assures that the rich will feel good while the poor will remain with us. It is important that the poor remain with us, because our capitalist system hinges on it. Without someone on the bottom, there is no American dream and no hope for upward mobility.

Charity also functions to keep the wealthy sane. Tithes, tax-exempt donations, and short-term mission trips, while they accomplish some good, also function as outlets that allow wealthy Christians to pay off their consciences while avoiding a revolution of lifestyle. People do their time in a social program or distribute food and clothes through organizations which take their excess. That way, they never actually have to face the poor and give their clothes, their food, their beds. Wealthy Christians never actually have to be with poor people, with Christ in disguise.

If charity did not provide these carefully sanctioned outlets, Christians might be forced to live the reckless Gospel of Jesus by abandoning the stuff of earth. Instead, thanks to charity, we can live out a comfortable, privatized discipleship.

But when we get to heaven and are separated into sheep and goats (Matt. 25), I don't believe Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me" or "When I was naked, you donated to the Salvation Army and they clothed me." Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He is seeking concrete actions: "You fed me, you visited me, you welcomed me in, ... you clothed me."

If we are to truly be the church, poverty must become a face we recognize as our own kin.

Several years ago, I attended a protest against sweatshops where the organizers had not invited the typical rally speakers lawyers, activists, advocates. Instead, they brought kids from the sweatshops. A child from Indonesia pointed to his face. "I got this scar when my master lashed me for not working hard enough. When it bled, he did not want me to stop working or to ruin the cloth, so he took a lighter and burned it shut. I got this scar making stuff for you."

I was suddenly consumed with the overwhelming reality of the suffering body of Christ. Jesus now bore not just nail marks and scars from thorns, but a gash down his face. How could I possibly follow Jesus and buy anything from that master?

If we are content with discipleship that ends merely with generosity, we still serve money. Generosity is a beautiful response, but we should not confuse it with love. Generosity is merely what is expected; what is required is to return that which has been stolen. God did not create some of us rich and others of us poor.

Basil the Great, writing in the fourth century, put it this way: "When someone strips a man of his clothes, we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not should not he be given the same name? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute." Or, in the words of Dorothy Day, "If you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor." Should we not, then, return our stolen goods with humility, like a child returning a stolen candy bar to the grocery store clerk? Should we not cry out, in the words of St. Vincent de Paul: "May the poor man forgive me the bread I give him"?

Often wealthy folks ask me what they can do for the simple way. I could ask them for a few thousand dollars, but that would be too easy for both of us. Instead, I ask them to come visit. Writing a check makes us feel good and can fool us into thinking that we have loved the poor. But seeing the squat houses and tent cities and hungry children will wreck our lives. We will never again be the same.

As we have done this work and have accompanied others new to it, we've come to see a pattern. People join us with the idea of "saving the poor." Later, they say instead that "the poor saved me." But both comments have one thing in common. They revolve around me what I have to give poor people and what they can give me. God wants us to move beyond ourselves to join all of creation in groaning for liberation. There we face, perhaps for the first time, the reality that we, too, are poor.

I believe the church has forgotten its identity. The church is not an institution, a meeting, or a building. It is not something we go to. The church is something we are an organism, not an organization.

Instead of living out this alternative vision, the church has been content to be a broker between the rich and the poor. Both those trapped in poverty and those trapped in riches view the church as a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. No radical new community is formed.

In this model, both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get fed) but neither goes away transformed. They do not join together to discover a new way of living.

In ministering in this way, the church has adopted the model of many of our nonprofit organizations. Functionally, many nonprofits act as brokers between the rich and the poor. They facilitate the exchange of goods and services, putting plenty of professionals in the middle to guarantee that the rich do not have to face the poor and that power does not shift. Rich and poor are kept in separate worlds. Charity does not feed fundamental change.

Brokering poverty also seduces Christians into being gatekeepers to power. Our progressive movements are haunted by the temptation to facilitate power. If anything, the recent dismantling of the welfare system and the corresponding public praise of small attempts by churches, nonprofits, and other faith-based institutions to take up the slack has increased this pressure. Policies like charitable choice (where churches compete for federal funding to run social programs) allow our government to pat churches on the back: "You do a better job at managing poverty than we do, so we'll just discontinue our social supports and let you do the job!" And our churches, flattered and uncritical, scramble for the new state money like a prize.

In that model, the power structure has not budged. The power has merely changed hands. But power does not trickle down. Just as trickle-down economics has failed, trickle-down politics does not bring change.

Many beautiful Christians working for social change in a range of movements believe we can bring about fundamental change by using power benevolently rather than reworking the power equation. We see ourselves as the good guys who will use our influence for justice and perhaps, in these terms, we succeed in getting our candidate on the ballot or elected. But the Christ we follow has a different, harder path--one of downward mobility, of struggling to become the least, of joining those at the bottom.

Several years ago, I was at a meeting where a new movement to end poverty was announced. I looked around. The only poor people in sight were the handful of people I had come with. Launching a movement to end poverty without poor people in critical roles is like launching a civil rights movement without Black people, or a feminist movement without women. As long as the poor are not present and intricately involved in the process, ending poverty will remain an intellectual, political concept. It will not convert us.

The church needs to stop talking about ending the pain of the poor and instead join the poor. All around us, the poor are crying out. They can no longer be silenced. Wherever that outcry is heard, the church must be present.

All this does not mean that social-service organizations do not do a great deal of good. I am not calling for all these organizations to be dismantled. But I am calling Christians to ask critical questions about their relationship to God's poor people.

I believe all our "programs" should have their genesis in true relationship. At our house, we tutor but we did not start by deciding to do a tutoring program. We simply fell in love with kids who needed help with their homework. We feed people but we did not begin with a decision to start a feeding program. We simply fell in love with our neighbors, and they were hungry.

We have now established a nonprofit organization ourselves, but we did this in order for the organization to serve us. We are not committed to the organization, but rather to our fellowship together.

I see many communities doing amazing things through established organizations. God can and does work through these organizations. But the reign of God dwells in people.

Those of us who yearn for the kingdom of God must follow in the steps of Jesus. Jesus was not "in charge" of the poor. He was poor. The message of Christ from the manger to the cross is that the world is conquered through weakness, through leastness, through struggle--not from the top, but from the bottom.

The people wanted a mighty Messiah. They got a baby refugee. They wanted a powerful king to take over Rome. They got a wandering homeless man. He could have saved the world with his mighty power, but he did it through his ridiculous love. The power of God lies in the brokenness of Jesus: naked, cursed, spit upon, with birds picking at his flesh as he died the rotten death of a criminal.

The great temptation of the church, and of every believer, is the offer Satan made to Jesus in the desert: to win the world with power. But power will not end poverty. We must discover another way of living.

Jesus did not set up a program, but rather modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God. That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems. It spread through touch, through breath, through life. It spread through people who discovered love.

I am haunted by the command of Jesus to love our neighbor as ourselves. I struggle because I sleep in a house while my neighbor sleeps in a cardboard box; I eat twice a day while my neighbor hasn't eaten once. I draw strength from following Jesus in community. I live with people who, if they pass someone with a worse pair of shoes, have taken their shoes off and switched; people who have quietly handed over winter jackets to someone they met on the street without a coat.

This is the reckless love of Jesus, which teaches us to see the connections between our wealth and our neighbor's poverty. The love of Jesus will teach us another way of doing life, a way that will bring God's reign to earth as it is in heaven. The reign of God is not for the future. It is something we live today.

Jesus reminds us that it is easy to love people who are just like us: "Even idolators do that" (Matt. 5:47). We are called to love those who hate us. Love those who create poverty, and love those who are trapped in it. See in each of them yourself the same blood and tears We are all capable of the same evil, and we have potential for the same good. As one believer said, "In the oppressed I recognize my own face, and in the hands of the oppressor I recognize my own hands." From addicts I learn of my addiction, and from the saints I learn of my holiness.

The God of love and the love of God know no bounds. The unending love of Jesus teaches revolutionaries to love police officers, anarchists to love politicians, vegetarians to love meat eaters, peacemakers to love soldiers. This is the love that makes us the church.

Ultimately, only this radical love of Jesus can end the poverty-wealth dichotomy. When the rich meet the poor, together they will end wealth. When the poor meet the rich, together they will end poverty.

People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them.

Recommended

Few pastoral and practical guides help conscientized Christians to move beyond guilt, charity fatigue, or paralysis when they finally confront privilege that insulates. In Beyond Guilt (Adventure Publications, 2000), George Johnson addresses the struggles common to Christians as their social consciousness changes, moving through the natural emotional cycles of reflection, denial, and feelings of frustration and disempowerment to develop a commitment to justice that can be sustained. Though it sometimes diverts from its focus (moving privileged people into liberated, constructive engagement) to talk about the issues themselves, this is a good resource for individuals and groups who wish to make their privilege a tool of empowerment for themselves and others.

Inhoud

 

Wonderlike skoonmaakmiddel

Dis nogal lastig om jou rekenaarskerm ordentlik skoon te hou. Met dank aan die Noordelike Sinode kan ons nou n onfeilbare, goedkoop metode bekendstel om hierdie lastige takie met plesier klaar te kry.

Kliek op http://www.actrix.co.nz/special/cyberclean.html - dis gratis, en dit WERK!

Inhoud

 

Groete tot ons weer gesels,

 

Danie Mouton

Sinodale Kommunikasie

Inhoud