welcome to the warehouse!

The Warehouse was established in 2003 through the parish of St John's, and exists to serve the South African church network in its response to poverty, injustice and division. We work with local churches in all communities, helping them to implement sound, effective and practical acts and renewed attitudes, to see transformation in our communities.

  • Child Protection and the Church

    The Warehouse has a resource available which describes the principles and provisions of the Children’s Act and its relevance to churches in their work with children. These are some of the topics that are covered:

     Background to the Children’s Act, its aim and purpose
     Biblical Principles
     General Principles for children
     Who can work with children
     What to do when you suspect a child being abused or neglected
     What to do if a child is injured or dies while in the care of the church

    In the midst of continuous atrocities against children in our communities, The Warehouse will be hosting three events on 9 August (Women’s Day) and Saturday 12 August, on the responsibility of the church towards children.

    9 August 9h00 - 15h30: Presentation on the Children’s Act and its application to churches

    12 August 09h30 - 12h30:  Gathering of church- and children’s ministry leaders to share experiences and thoughts around the responsibility of the church in addressing this scourge

    12 August 14h00 - 17h00 Repeat of the Children’s Act workshop, but in a shortened form.
    The book, Children, Church and the Law will be on sale at a cost of R300.

    There is no charge for the workshops themselves, but donations will be much appreciated, both towards the cost of refreshments, and towards the cost of the book so that we can subsidise churches who cannot afford it.

    Please make you booking for any of the events by phoning 021-7611168, emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or via Quicket.

  • What are you doing on the 10th August?

    There is a huge buzz in South Africa around the second week of August.

    On Monday, 7 August, #Unitebehind has planned a march to call on the ANC to recall President Jacob Zuma. You can read about the march here and the greater #unitedbehind campaign here

    Whether you march or not, we would love to encourage you to join us in prayer and in acknowledging that, when we as Christ-followers frame discussions on corruption in our country, it is critical to understand that corruption has been overtly present in South African society, with devastating social consequences for the original people of the region since the advent of colonialism and through the time of apartheid, and that much work still has to be done to tear down strongholds of power and privilege in our country, and to repair, restitute and restore all that has been lost.

    On Tuesday, 8 August, another march is taking place, calling on Members of Parliament to vote with their consciences. You can read more about this here . That is the day on which Parliament will be debating the Vote of No Confidence in President Jacob Zuma. Whether you participate in the march or not, we would again love to encourage you to join us in prayer and in acknowledging that when we as Christ-followers address corruption, we do so with a theological and practical understanding that corruption starts in every human heart and therefore that the first act in fighting corruption is one of humility and repentance as we ask God to search our hearts and shine a light on anything which is not aligned to God’s heart, and turn from those thoughts, attitudes and actions.

    Wednesday, 9 August, is a public holiday. We would love you to join us for training in Children, Church and Law, or as it is Women’s Day, to spend some time reading and reflecting on our article on Gender, Violence and how our theology can shape our society.

    But most importantly: what are you doing on 10 August?

    Because come that day, regardless of who marched, who voted which way, whether Jacob Zuma is still our president or not, we still have the work of justice ahead of us. As Christians, our hope does not lie in a political solution or in the actions those in power, but in the Kingdom of God which, through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, we work to establish and expand on earth as it is in Heaven. Thursday, 10 August becomes the most important day of that week, and we would like to invite you to join with us, in your homes, your communities, workplaces and churches, as we re-imagine, intercede for and work towards a city and country which reflects the fullness of the Kingdom - where each person is able to flourish in the fullness of how God has created them to be, where relationships are whole, healed and just and where people live in true freedom with God and each other.

  • Let’s Talk about Gender Violence (and Jesus)

    A letter to the Church
    (10 - 15 minute read)

    When atrocities take place on a grand (or small!) scale - such as war and genocide, racism and racist systems, and the ongoing and pervasive gender violence we see, hear about and experience on a day-to-day basis - I believe it is the role of the Church to stand up against these systems, to call out the evil intrinsic in them and to offer another Way. We have something so beautiful to offer the world - the Good News of the Kingdom and all that it entails.

    But I also believe that, before we can be a voice of Hope and Love in the world, we need to examine ourselves carefully to see whether there is a need to prophesy to ourselves before raising our banner to society at large. Our constant prayer of “Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” needs to be one which we pray corporately, and with more urgency than ever before: “search us, O God…know our heart…see if there is any offensive way in us”. 

    I am writing this blogpost because I believe that we, as the Church, need to do some deep soul-searching, with honest and contrite hearts, around any offensive ways we have inside us - as a body - which might match, contribute to, or give licence to the ongoing gender violence in our society. I believe we need to do this before we can become a voice of integrity against gender violence in our broader social context. I have been wanting to write a post of this nature for a while now so, while I am certainly writing in the context of the stories which are coming more and more into the light as our sisters express their pain through social and other media, I also write from a more long-standing conviction that many of my sisters have been, and are, paying the highest price for a belief which not only spills into the Church from the patriarchy of the world, but has actually been upheld by many denominations in the belief that it is a responsible interpretation of scripture.

    But to clarify why I believe we have much to see and much to repent of, I would like to start by laying a foundation to these thoughts.

    Let’s talk about theology (and South Africa):
    Theology, very simply defined, is what we know or believe about God’s essential nature, activity and presence in the world. I want to start this line of thought at a place we all agree. Can I start with the assumption that we all agree that we can - or should be able to - trace a clear connection between our theology and both the content and quality of our individual lifestyles? And that this also affects the quality and nature of the wider social landscape in which our theologies intersect, merge, clash or blend?

    I think I can also assume that most South Africans would now acknowledge that the political systems of colonialism and Apartheid, with their accompanying social and economic plans, were rooted in an evil belief - a belief that allowed one group of people, by virtue of their specific DNA, to subjugate and rule over another group of people whose DNA differed.

    As I stated at the beginning of this blogpost, when such evils have managed to wreak the kind of destruction we have seen in our societies and world, it is necessary for us, as the Church, to examine carefully whether our theology played any part in it. Yes: We can all point to the fall, the departure of humankind from God’s original plan for us and the brokenness that this state perpetuates, but it is imperative that we examine whether we have, in any way, conformed to these systems and perpetuated them inside the Church.

    The devastating truth, as we now know, is that the Church during the colonial and Apartheid eras could hardly be differentiated from the rest of society - with the always notable exception of the few, to the greatest extent how we lived, how we gathered, how we worshipped, mirrored the exact divides and attitudes prevalent in the context in which we found ourselves. (Did you know there is a Slave Church in Cape Town’s city centre? How did those two words EVER come to stand next to each other? How was that ever acceptable?)

    As a whole, the Church not only did not speak up against these atrocities and live a life which set us apart from these evils, but rather, many denominations decided that these issues did not fall within the ambit of preaching the “Gospel” and so did not involve themselves in standing against these systems and structures.

    Alongside this group was another part of the Church which actually developed and taught theologies which drove and ratified these systems.

    It is a heart-breaking and, indeed, horrifying truth that only a small part of the Church saw one group of people violating the image of the Creator in another group of people as an issue central to the Gospel, named the theologies which propped these systems up as heresy, and actively fought against the deep injustices which were fruit of this heretical root.

    Let’s Talk about Roots (and Fruit):

    ”...Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree produce good fruit. So you will recognise them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7: 16 - 20)

    When plants first begin to grow, it can be quite difficult to tell them apart. They first shoot up as a tiny bit of green, then they get to the “two-leaf stage” where many plants look exactly alike. One could be forgiven, at this stage, in thinking that a diseased or poisonous plant was a healthy one. Even when they grow to look like the plant they are meant to be, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether they will indeed bear good fruit (or even the fruit of the seed you thought you were planting!!). And even as they bear fruit and it seems offish, it takes some time to figure out whether it is the soil that the tree is planted in, or whether it is the tree itself which is producing bad fruit. But, once it is established that it is indeed the tree itself that has a diseased root or whose fruit is poisonous, there is absolutely no excuse to wait any longer before the whole tree is destroyed. 

    As a gardener and a parent, if I found out that I had planted a tree with poisonous fruit, I would waste no time in yanking the thing up by the root - and I would dig down as far as I possibly could to make sure that no tiny bit of the root remained which could start germinating this plant again. I would scour the ground around where the tree had stood and make sure no baby saplings started growing from seeds which had fallen from the tree. I would certainly not wait until the tree had finished blossoming and pick all the fruit off before my children could possibly get to it. Neither would I erect signs saying the rest of the tree seemed to be OK, but not to go near the fruit. No - the whole thing would be ripped out.

    Over the past 22 years (and longer than that for some), as the South African church has woken to the horror of this fruit and its heretical root, many churches have done the work of uprooting this theology entirely while others are beginning to get to the roots, recognising how far the disease has spread. Still others have a different response - scrambling to pick all the bad fruit off the tree as quickly as it reproduces. It is embarrassing that the fruit keeps coming back: shameful that we are still governed by the divides which give one group of people, by virtue of their DNA, more power in the room, more access to privilege and more opportunity for human flourishing than another group of people. So we try and pick the fruit as quickly as it appears, claiming that the good fruit will come SOON, as long as we rid the tree of its bad fruit. Sometimes I get that feeling that we even hang fake fruit on the tree and try to convince ourselves and others that this truly IS now a good tree, bearing good fruit.

    We rearrange what people can see above the surface of the ground, but the tree still produces bad fruit because we are not fixing the disease, we are not destroying the root. That will take a whole lot of digging, a whole lot of getting down into the dirt, a good lot of hard work and a new planting…something a little too threatening to those who have not only tended the trees, but have set up dwelling places in its shade. 

    Part of the problem, I think, is that it seems to be difficult for us to distinguish between the trunk of the tree which seems to be healthy and strong, the lovely green foliage which gives shade to those under it and the fruit that the tree eventually bears. I don’t doubt that many people who promoted slavery and Apartheid with what they thought was a biblical backing (Paul told slaves to obey their masters, remember? It was quite clear…*sarcasm font*) thought they were doing the right thing and thought they were treating “their” slaves or servants or those of other colours or classes “kindly”. I am sure many were horrified at other people for treating their slaves violently, or decried the actions of Apartheid police when they viciously beat up, tortured and killed people of colour. And I am sure that people met in their one-colour-only churches and prayed against the violence of Apartheid. And yet now we can look back and see quite clearly that even the “best” slave master had believed a demonic lie - one that allowed one group of people, by virtue of their DNA, to subjugate and rule over another group of people.   

    And so,

    Let’s talk about sex (and Jesus):
    But I don’t actually want to talk about sex. Sex is a biological distinction based on which sex organs are visible at birth. I would rather like to talk about gender. Gender is the social meaning, significance and value which is placed on the sex you are identified as at birth. Whereas sex is a biological label (and, most often, binary), gender is a social construct. [Much like skin-colour is a result of a specific DNA combination, but race is a social construct]. This means that the understanding and expectations we have of someone, or a group of people, based on their sex organs, differs across time, culture and place and is shaped by many factors: including people’s belief systems and theology.

    When Jesus began His ministry in human form, those who were women were hardly even considered to be human - pious Jewish men would pray and thank God that they were not a gentile, a slave or a woman. One can only imagine what this reflected about a woman’s place in society. A care-filled reading of scripture shows us that, through His life, ministry, works and words Jesus broke down every stereotype which dehumanised women (indeed, not just women, but any and every group of people who had been marginalised and subjugated by the religious and political powers of the day). In a way, His death and resurrection were the official inauguration of the Kingdom - one in which all people were recognised as bearing the image of the Creator and were thus beloved, holy and One with God and each other. This Kingdom restored the VERY GOODness of creation before the fall, when male and female were given the task of caring for the earth together, side-by-side, with none ruling over the other. 

    This new way of being was once again confirmed at Pentecost (the birth of the Church) when Peter proclaimed the realisation of Joel’s prophecies: the pouring out of the Holy Spirit onto people of all ages, genders and classes. Paul again confirms this (and adds “ethnicity” or “race” into the list) in the “baptismal manifesto” in Galatians 3:28 when he declares, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female*, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    I cannot express to you how radical this teaching of the early church was - it is difficult for us to recognise it now because its very radical nature has transformed the world over the last 2000 years in such profound ways that we can no longer imagine the context in which those words were said, written, received and read. But it is important for us to try, otherwise we miss the very richness of what Jesus lived and taught. That now, because the Kingdom of God is amongst us, no group of people can, by virtue of their DNA, birth circumstances or living conditions, lay claim to authority or leadership over another group of people different to them. Instead we are invited into the beautiful Trinitarian dance of mutual service and submission - each of us submitting to each other out of reverence for Christ. Just imagine how wonderful and beautiful this Kingdom could be as it is established wider and deeper amongst us - no wonder people were attracted to the early church and no wonder it grew in huge numbers daily. What Good News to so many people!

    I can go on about this, but there are people who have already done a good lot of work explaining the full and beautiful trajectory of God’s story in the bible, as well as dealing with “the tricky verses” which seem to go against this.

    So, what I would really like to do is come back to the original point of this blogpost.

    Let’s talk about Gender Violence (and the Church)
    When atrocities take place on a grand (or small!) scale - such as war and genocide, racism and racist systems, and the ongoing and pervasive gender violence we see, hear about and experience on a day-to-day basis - I believe it is the role of the Church to stand up against these systems, to call out the evil intrinsic in them and to offer another Way…but only after we have examined ourselves and repented of anything within ourselves (including theologies and structures) which have matched, contributed to or given licence to these evils.

    I believe we need to begin with an interrogation of gender divides or hierarchies - and specifically the belief that men have been created to lead - before we can examine whether we have had a role to play in gender violence.

    When it comes to gender hierarchies, the Church has once again had different responses. Many Churches have recognised that the belief that men are created to lead (and therefore that women are created to be under men’s authority) has direct roots in the same thinking that gave rise to colonialism, slavery and Apartheid: that which allows one group of people, by virtue of their DNA, to subjugate and rule over another group of people with different DNA. These churches see this as an integral issue to the Gospel of the Kingdom, and have done the hard work of pulling up the roots of this system and are beginning to see good fruit from their newly planted and beautifully tended trees.

    Others still consider this issue not to be central to the Gospel and so either ignore it as an issue or gather on Sundays to pray and preach against gender violence, without fully interrogating the root of this violence.

    And still others form theologies which drive and ratify gender hierarchy**.

    And, much as those people who treated “their” slaves well and kindly - allowing them to build lovely churches for themselves - would have been appalled to think that they had anything to do with the violence meted out to enslaved people, many Christians cannot see the connection between the theology that males are created to rule over females and the gender violence which is so pervasive in society. (Indeed, many call us back to these hierarchical roles as a way of curing this societal disease!)

    Because, let’s face it: at the first stages of growth, this belief can even look beautiful: man is made to protect, provide for and lead woman - what could be so wrong with that? The trunk looks strong and the wonderful green foliage gives shade to many. But, higher up the tree, some fruit begins to form: if a man is made to lead a woman, then men are made to lead women. Women as a whole cannot lead men as a whole - this would be unbiblical. Or women can be part of a pastoral team, but under the covering of an all-male eldership. A little further out on the branches, males stand up and walk out of a church gathering en masse when a female missionary begins her report back of her time in the field - believing this is the Godly thing to do. Higher up still, men discipline their wives when they need to be brought back into line for disobedience to their husbands. Pastors counsel women who have been abused (or “disciplined” as some call it) that they should submit to their husbands and God will reward them for their obedience….do you see where this is going?

    Perhaps it is difficult to see the connection between even these full-grown fruits and the gender violence that has flooded our newsfeeds in the last few weeks. It would be a relief to believe that the more “benign” fruit of this church tree has fallen into diseased social soil and has born saplings in the outside world, and that it is the fruit on these saplings which has turned poisonous. And I do believe that the context in which this theology takes root can have an influence on just how poisonous the fruit is. But the question we need to ask ourselves is whether the Church has stood out as a peculiar group of people who are strangely different to the context in which they find themselves - a people within whom there is no trace of violence?

    Here it is vital (quite literally) to note that even a cursory overview of the literature available shows that, as opposed to the Church standing out as an incontrovertible beacon of hope in a world battered by stories of domestic abuse and gender violence, the rate of domestic abuse is as high, if not higher, in homes where beliefs of gender hierarchies are adhered to than it is in broader society. On top of this, studies show that the belief of male headship and female subordination leads many church leaders to counsel women not only to stay in abusive situations, but to imply that the abuse they suffer is as a result of their insubordination and that submission will lead to different results***. As one part of the Church works towards the emancipation of women from these horrific personal and social conditions as a core outliving of the Gospel of the Kingdom, a large part of the Church still mirrors the very injustices which we are trying to eradicate.

    In conclusion, while I do believe that we have particularly fertile soil for violence in our society (particularly because this root of inequality has changed so much of our soil), and that many a good and right thing can be adopted by those outside of the church and warped and used for destruction, I do not believe gender hierarchy is one of those good and right things that has merely been warped by society. I believe it goes against the original “very good”ness intended by the Creator, against the life and ministry of Jesus, against the mission of the Holy Spirit and against the call to the Church to be one body. I believe it is part of the same heretical root which produced slavery, colonialism and Apartheid… and I believe we are continuing to know it by its fruits. 

    An Epilogue

    I know many wonderful Christian men reading this would never DREAM of raising a hand to their wife or any woman. I also know this can feel really, really difficult to read without feeling defensive. But I also believe that our sisters are paying the highest price for this belief system and so, in the balance of things, I am OK with risking some discomfort in my brothers.
     
    I will end on this note. I love and honour the impulse in men who have responded to the stories of violence against girls and women with a call to all men to stand up and protect women. I would like to suggest that this is a good start: all Christ-followers are called to protect the vulnerable, the weak and the marginalised. But our greater call is to join Christ in tearing down the dividing walls of hostility between all people and work towards a society in which each person is honoured as an image-bearer of the Creator. For now, I will humbly accept your offers of protection, and am grateful for them because we, as women, are indeed vulnerable. But please can I ask, rather than enforcing the power dynamics which are already at play by confusing your current role as protector with being in perpetual authority over us, that you join us, side-by-side, in tearing down the systems which keep us vulnerable and in need of protection - including those systems that dwell within the Church. 

    By Wendy Lewin

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Footnotes:
    * Just to distinguish again between sex and gender: When Paul said this, he was obviously not meaning that there would be no more distinction between our mostly-binary biological sexes - only that your biological sex, like what position you were born into, or what race of people you came from, would give you no more or no less standing in the Kingdom. That, just as gentiles were recognised as being able to receive the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit and all the spiritual gifts and Kingdom citizenship that came with it, so too were women, as were those who had been enslaved or shut out of Jewish worship by virtue of their different race.

    ** I use the term “gender hierarchy” intentionally. Many people use the term “complementarianism” to talk about men and women being equal in our salvation, but holding different roles in church and family life. The word “complementary” would be a good description if it referred to a system where women could occupy positions of authority in the church or home which men could not, while the reverse was true for other roles. However, men are not blocked from performing any role in church (save, perhaps, soprano?), while women are certainly barred from being pastors, teachers, or elders - depending on which church one is talking about. Men are also believed to be the natural leader at home - set in authority over their wife by virtue of their maleness alone. This, then, is not a complementary system, but rather a hierarchical one.

    *** “To quantify clergy beliefs about domestic violence and divorce, a questionnaire was sent to more than five thousand Protestant ministers in the United States. A full 27 percent of the clergy who responded said that, if a wife would begin to submit to her abusive husband, God would honor her obedience and the abuse would stop (or God would give her the grace to endure the beatings).” Study quoted in https://www.cbeinternational.org/resources/article/priscilla-papers/clergy-responses-domestic-violence

    Some recommended readings:
    (There are so many. These are the main ones I kept going back to in writing this, as well as some others which I read afterwards and which convinced me I wasn’t mad to be taking this on!)

    “How I changed my mind about Women in Leadership” - published by Zondervan and Edited by Alan F. Johnson. I would highly recommend the whole book, but particularly - when it comes to the greater conversation around self-arrogated leadership of one group over another, a chapter by Gilbert Bilezikian entitled “Renouncing the Love of Power for the Power of Love”.

    “Beyond Sex Roles - What the Bible says about a Woman’s Place in Church and Family” - Authored by Gilbert Bilezikian and published by BakerAcademic. This provides a wonderful overview on leadership itself and God’s intention around that, as well as being a key biblical exposition of particular themes and passages around women in the church and society.

    The website for Christians for Biblical Equality (http://www.cbeinternational.org) has a wealth of seriously helpful resources. I was particularly encouraged by this publication (https://www.cbeinternational.org/sites/default/files/Ideas-Have-Consequences-reprint-web.pdf) in general, and both Mimi Haddad (beginning pg 9) and Alan Myatt’s (beginning pg 21) articles specifically.

     

  • Children are a heritage from God

    A day does not pass without us reading about a child being abused, neglected, exploited, abandoned, raped and/or murdered. More than 33 children have gone missing and killed in the Western Cape since January 2017 and these are only some of the reported cases. It is said that more than 800 children have been harmed, maimed or murdered in South Africa in the last six months.

    My heart cries out for these innocent victims. The perpetual trauma, pain and physical and emotional damage these young ones have to endure at the hands of adults – the very ones they trust and look to for care, protection and love. Look around – where is their protection from violence, cruelty, danger, hunger, exploitation and disrespect? Psalm 127:3 clearly says: ”Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

    Children across all spectrums are caught up in situations that affect their very being, and have long term consequences for living a full and fruitful life – a life that God intended for them to live. It is not only the atrocities of violence, rape and murder that have a devastating effect on children. They are exposed to situations that can negatively impact and influence their life on so many levels. Let us consider a few of these:

    • Socio-economic situations forces children to join gangs, indulge in substance abuse, promiscuous behaviour leading to teenage pregnancy and early school dropouts.

    • South Africa is listed as one of the top five countries with the highest divorce rates in the world. Children are caught up in the furore between mother and father, they feel they are to blame, and can often be used as a pawn to ease the conscience of the parent.

    • Children who grow up without their fathers may experience problems in their school performance and behaviour. Low morals, low self-esteem, low self-love can all lead to bigger emotional and psychosocial adjustments and behaviours. Stephan Baskerville from Howard University says: “Violent crime, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide – all correlate more strongly to “fatherlessness” than to any other single factor.”

    “He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” [Mal. 4:6].

    • Unemployment further exacerbates the family finances and children are deprived of food, shelter, education and just the basic living commodities. Hunger and poverty can drive children to desperate measures by dabbling in things for extra cash that can lead to detrimental consequences. In some cases where parents do have jobs, it is the older siblings that have to take care of the younger ones. This means no schooling, and goes against the Children’s Act in terms of child labour.

    • Let us not forget that any disaster, like the recent floods and fires, which results in families losing their homes or where the death of family members happen can further increase the level of vulnerability that children experience.

    • Domestic violence and conflict in communities also deprives children from having any psychological, social, economic or spiritual support.

    In Matthew 19:13-15 Jesus says: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” In the preceding chapter the disciples question Jesus about who the greatest is in the kingdom of heaven. [Matt. 18:1-6]. He uses a little child to illustrate His point, that unless we become like a vulnerable little child, we will not inherit the kingdom of God. We learn from these two passages that children are treasures and not commodities for exploitation in His kingdom. They must be welcomed, protected and blessed.

    So, what is the role of the church in ensuring that children are safe and protected? The church has always been involved in caring for, protecting and advocating for children. Sunday School, community camps, holiday clubs, homework clubs, child-and-youth-care centres, are some areas where children are vulnerable and in the care of the church premises. Both the children and the church are at risk. Those involved in working with children need to have an understanding of the Children’s Act and its related laws and how this is relevant for the church.

    The Warehouse has a resource available which describes the principles and provisions of the Children’s Act and its relevance to churches in their work with children. These are some of the topics that are covered:

     Background to the Children’s Act, its aim and purpose
     Biblical Principles
     General Principles for children
     Who can work with children
     What to do when you suspect a child being abused or neglected
     What to do if a child is injured or dies while in the care of the church

    In the midst of continuous atrocities against children in our communities, The Warehouse will be hosting three events on 9 August (Women’s Day) and Saturday 12 August, on the responsibility of the church towards children.

    9 August 9h00 - 15h30: Presentation on the Children’s Act and its application to churches

    12 August 09h30 - 12h30:  Gathering of church- and children’s ministry leaders to share experiences and thoughts around the responsibility of the church in addressing this scourge

    12 August 14h00 - 17h00 Repeat of the Children’s Act workshop, but in a shortened form.
    The book, Children, Church and the Law will be on sale at a cost of R300.

    There is no charge for the workshops themselves, but donations will be much appreciated, both towards the cost of refreshments, and towards the cost of the book so that we can subsidise churches who cannot afford it.

    Please make you booking for any of the events by phoning 021-7611168, emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or via Quicket:

  • Nehemiah and Social Change: Part Two

    Taking Ownership

    Nehemiah 1: 6-7

    ‘Let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses.’

    We, as human beings, are often very quick to pass the blame, and very slow to accept responsibility. This tendency is often multiplied in situations in which it is easy to see ourselves as the victim. Israel had been under attack and the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. From just about every angle, most would agree that the Israelites were the clear victims here. And yet, in this very moment, Nehemiah takes stock of his own life and the lives of his people, and takes responsibility for the areas in which they have not practised justice and righteousness.

    I believe that the practice of this kind of ownership is in fact the thing that qualifies us to be part of the solution. And by solution I do not simply mean something that looks like a fix from the outside, but something that brings healing all the way to the problem’s root. A radical restoration.

    Nehemiah’s legacy was not the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. That was merely part of it. His legacy was the rebuilding of the people, Israel. He recognised that if his work had ended as soon as the city walls had gone up, in all likelihood, those walls would have soon been in ruins once again. Instead, after Nehemiah’s individual acceptance of, and owning up to, his own culpability in the circumstances of Israel’s current state, he led his nation into a place of collective ownership of responsibility for where they were as a people (Nehemiah 9), and in so doing, brought them into a space of radical restoration.

    There is something about the vulnerability of admitting that we are imperfect, that restores to us our humanity, and opens us up to healing. And our healing becomes a springboard for the healing of others. Defensiveness, while it may assume the guise of a friend, promising to keep us safe and unexposed, in reality is the greatest threat to our humanity, building higher and higher walls around our hearts, until even we lose sight of who we are. The ability to take ownership, to accept responsibility, is a gift. It allows us the chance to be absolved, to be forgiven. The chance to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into the solution. The chance to experience freedom.

    It is time that we refuse to take the route that looks easy- that performance of absolving ourselves of guilt by pointing the finger at the person that appears the most culpable- and instead do the hard work of examining our own hearts, taking responsibility for our actions or inactions that have contributed to the state of affairs that we find ourselves in.

    Instead of ending the conversation on corruption by placing the blame fully on the corrupt government, ask how you have contributed to its epidemic. Instead of blaming poverty on the state, ask how you have contributed to the economic inequality so rife in our country. Instead of finding someone else to blame for racism, ask how you have contributed to the upholding of the systemic racial injustice still so present in South Africa. All the while remembering that inaction is a contribution too.

    And if, after a thorough examination- which should ideally include difficult conversations with other people too-, you find yourself guilt-free, then perhaps look to the example of Jesus. The one who, despite his absolute blamelessness, chose to take ownership of, and responsibility for, all the terrible things that humankind had done and would do, all so that the image of God that we bear could be restored completely.

    I think that if we are seeking solutions that bring true healing and restoration, far deeper than the surface, we need to let go of our pride and defences, and humble ourselves by owning up to our responsibility. Then, and only then, we should take up the needle and thread to get to the work of mending what has been broken. That work for which our ownership has qualified us. 

    By Thandi Gamedze

  • Resources Available

    WHEN THE DOORBELL RINGS

    This manual offers guidelines to the church in its response to people coming to the door for help, and the many challenges that this presents.

    Part 1, for those at the front desk, discusses ways of exercising compassion, wisdom and discernment; how to say “yes” without being patronising or feeling manipulated, and how to say “no” without being dismissive or feeling guilty.
    Part 2 assists church leaders with developing policies that offer a unified response to those in need, and with supporting the front-of-house staff as they implement these decisions.
    Part 3 provides practical tools for record-keeping and setting up a data base of resource- and service providers. The book includes templates for developing these lists.

    Format:
    50-page A4, spiral bound booklet
    Cost:
    Hard copy R100
    Mailed copy R150
    Pdf R50

    GENEROSITY REVOLUTION

    Generosity Revolution is a month-long campaign for a church community. Its aim is to encourage mindset change around ownership, giving and receiving in a context of inequality.

    Based on a study of the book of Ruth, this resource promotes a theology of generosity that gives birth to exciting and achievable ways of giving and receiving in a way that upholds dignity for all. The package includes the following:

    • Material for sermons and liturgy
    • Small-group Bible studies
    • Resources for children
    • Posters, bookmarks and ideas for “daily drip-feeds” to encourage interest and motivation that leads to action.

    Format:
    80-page A4 spiral-bound booklet, with resources that can be copied
    Cost:
    Hard copy R150
    Mailed R200
    Pdf R50

    CHILDREN, CHURCH AND THE LAW:

    A Practical Guide for Churches on the Children’s Act and Other Laws Relating to Children

    This practical guide offers an overview of the Children’s Act and how it relates to churches and Children’s institutions and ministries.
    It enables leaders of churches and child-care institutions in South Africa to better understand and adhere to the Children’s Act and other relevant legislation. Its purpose is to promote the protection and wellbeing of children in all aspects of church and community life. The book outlines general principles of the Act, and examines issues around the safety and well-being of children, issues such as rights and responsibilitites of both children and carers, and how to confront issues such as child labour, child trafficking and other abuses.

    It’s a very practical book, written in simple English in a question-and-answer format. Its full colour format allows for easy reference to the different sections. The book includes a glossary of terms used, real life examples of application of the different principles, and snippets that illustrate the principle being described.

    Format:
    200-page A4 full-colour book
    Cost:
    Hard copy R300
    Mailed R365
    Pdf R150

    RESTORED – A JOURNEY THROUGH JOEL

    A one-day process enabling the church to take concrete steps towards addressing the challenge of substance abuse.

    Many in our churches and communities are concerned about the poverty, violence and social challenges that confront us, but feel crippled by fear, hopelessness or lack of ideas of what to do. Using the book of Joel as a text, this booklet offers a format for a series of conversations that move people from a position of stuckness and despair to being hopeful, energised and ready for action.

    The focus of the book is substance abuse, but the methodology can be applied to any challenge facing your community.

    Format:
    13-page A4 soft cover booklet
    Cost:
    Hard copy R50
    Mailed R80
    Pdf R50

    CAPACITAR

    Exercises and techniques for managing stress

    Using a hands-on, popular education approach, this booklet describes simple exercises for relieving stress, managing emotions and living with bal¬ance in the midst of the challenges of life. It is especially effective in communi¬ties affected by violence, poverty and trauma.

    Format:
    16-page soft cover A5 booklet
    16-page spiral-bound booklet
    Cost:
    Hard copy A4: R50, A5: R30
    Mailed R80
    Pdf R50

    Please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information or to order.

  • Towards Sanitation Justice

    The Praxis Cycle as a tool for the building of a movement towards sanitation justice:

    We are looking to run all the stages of the Praxis cycle as a means to communicating an ongoing truth about the sanitation issue in South Africa and more specifically in Khayelitsha.

    We are looking to launch our four-month intensive on the 15th of June with an introduction and grounding for the next four months. This will take place at the Warehouse from 12:00-13:00.

    The praxis cycle as a tool is effective in its ability to communicate simple truths and allow for an ongoing revisit of the various stages, both cyclically and then interchangeably.

    Stage 1 Immersion: (July 20)

    As a first place of immersion, we will draw on the biblical tradition of liberation and freedom. We’ll begin to immerse ourselves in the context of sanitation in Cape Town, from a walk in an area with informal toilets to a walk in the mall to grasp the complexities of what it means to talk sanitation in the City; a pilgrimage that will seek to open eyes and hearts with a theological framework. We are also seeking to move people from charity to justice, the question cannot be about fixing the present toilets or what type of toilet we use but the human element of what it truly looks like to be present within this situation, the ongoing lifestyle trauma and the risk to women, children and the LGBT.

    Stage 2 Social analysis: (August 17)

    The opportunity for each person to undertake a social analysis of the area that they live in. This includes a brief understanding of the sanitation in your own community and understanding who the power players are. The overview will then look at how you are able to find out and make contact with these power players. Each community has the obvious players like ward counsellors etc. and the less obvious like block managers, neighbourhood watches, private business people who have government contracts, etc. Social analysis will also be used as a tool to recognise and understand who has power, and how this power is used, moving people to understand both their own power and the power of structures and institutions.

    Stage 3 Prophetic Imagination / Theological Reflection: (September 21)

    Each individual is given the opportunity to freely dream and imagine what a better future for the City would look like, a freedom to use the imagination in such a way as to look beyond what seems impossible into a God-dreamed future. We’ll be focussing on advocacy and creative protest, using various models from both within South Africa – Reclaim the City, SJC, the Poo Protests at UCT and the Airport – to examples of creative change in Medellin in Colombia. We will also take this time to walk through some spiritual formation practices to help keep people both focussed and strong during what can be a very trying and difficult time. Prayers and readings will be used that both form and reform us, how to use centering prayer, the prayer of examen and the use of community life as means of learning, unlearning and relearning together.
    The opening of one’s eyes to the spatial injustice can be jarring.

    Stage 4 Pastoral Action: (October 19)


    The process then moves us on to action. The action stage begins to ask how then now do we live and respond. A call to simplicity for the wealthier contexts is tempered by the realisation that simplicity and responsible use of water etc. is not going to build infrastructure.
    Cities are not built off the back of national governments, in main the data points us towards the reality that the City scape is sculpted and built by local government working hand in hand with other role players both private and public.

    The action stage allows us to sculpt a working pattern with an overarching narrative but deeply embedded in each person’s context.
    The action will include making available contextual bible studies and offering to host and facilitate these within specific churches / NGOs / concern group settings.

    If you are interested in journeying with us over the next few months please contact Wayne (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) or Nkosi (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). 

     

  • Prophetic Image-nation

    “God, the justice and mercy You speak to me about in your word, are so unfamiliar, I don’t see it anywhere around me. Yho! I’m so tired of trying to live my life as a voice for this thing that all these people don’t even acknowledge!”

    These words are from a journal entry I wrote while I was attending a predominantly white Christian Conference which led me to once again confront the ongoing internal conflict of being a black woman, passionate about godly justice, while existing in church spaces where the topic seemed close to taboo. As most of my journal entries go, I had written it as a way to help me process what I was experiencing- not at all mindful of the possibility that the God I was writing to could actually read it and do something about it!

    Well, He did just that. The very next day Valerie (a stranger up to this point) sent me a Facebook message inviting me to join the team behind the Conference. After meeting Val and the team of amazing people who spoke of godly justice as anything but taboo, I began to realise that this conference, these people were an answer to my unspoken prayer. I was stunned by their relentless quest to create a space for prophetic imagination around the event, disrupting the injustices we have come to accept as the ‘norm’.

    One of the decisions reflecting prophetic imagination that had a significant impact on my life was around the conference clean-up. I volunteered to oversee the cleaning team for the event. I must confess I chose that mostly because I felt immensely under-qualified to handle anything else, so I figured cleaning would be my safest bet. That’s until we had a conversation about seeing cleaning as a justice issue. In South Africa, cleaning at an event like this is often a woman’s job, and all too often a black woman’s job. We wanted to create a space where this was disrupted, which meant having white people, white males in particular, volunteering to do the ‘dirty work’.

    I could have never imagined how God would use this aspect of conference organising to lead me to confront an old grim race-gender-inferiority complex ghost. In the build up to the event, I was thoroughly freaked out by the prospect of having to instruct white men to clean up toilets and trash cans, and I found myself feeling under-qualified yet again. But after meeting the crew, my fears were eased by their incredible humility and gentleness. Words cannot fully explain how this seemingly simple act of cleaning up after hundreds of people left me with an unshakable feeling of acceptance, belonging and empowerment.

    This feeling would be further entrenched by the powerful expressions of diversity throughout the event. As a black woman, painfully aware of the battle against inferiority complexes, I was most encouraged by the expressions of black voices. One of my closest friends got emotional as she remarked on how listening to Adam Thomason’s talk was the first time she had seen a black man, in a position of leadership, speaking on a Christian stage in front of white people. The same friend went on to express that she was struck by the fact that there were no ‘reserved’ seats at the event. We shared this moment, realising that we had both been to enough Christian events to be able to recognise that this too, was an intentional prophetic imagination decision.

    One of my desires for the conference was for it to be a space where people who felt dejected and alone in their quest for justice in South Africa would meet like-minded people with whom they could share frustrations and encouragement. I wanted “justice orphans” who felt like I had when I wrote that journal entry to find a “tribe” of co-labourers, like I had found in Valerie and the team. I was encouraged by eavesdropping on people congregating around coffee stalls (as Capetonians do), sharing stories of what had brought them to the conference.


    Prophetic image-nation

    Imagine a day
    where a voiceless woman
    loses her muzzle
    learning a new language of expression
    empowered by others who were once muzzled
    liberated by the One who created vocal chords

    Imagine a nation
    plagued by poverty and greed
    nightmares of murder and rape
    shadows of depression and dispossession
    learning to imagine
    gazing at the stars to see a brighter future
    illuminated by the One who Created the stars.

    By Lindiwe Mpofu

  • Nehemiah and Social Change

    Delving into disequilibrium

    Now it happened in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Susa the citadel, that Hanani, one of my brothers, came with certain men from Judah. And I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
    Nehemiah 1:1-5

    Thus begins the book of Nehemiah. He learns that his people, with their turbulent history of being enslaved, forced into exile, and oppressed, are once again in a very precarious position. The wall of Jerusalem is in ruins- clearly the result of an ill-intentioned attack - leaving an already vulnerable people group completely defenseless and prey to the whims of a very real enemy.

    This was gut-wrenching news for Nehemiah. These were his people. This attack on Jerusalem and its people was personal. And so, he sat down and wept and mourned for days.

    As human beings, I think that it is in our nature to want to fix things, and often that desire leads us into bringing band aid solutions that address the problem’s symptoms, and in so doing, address our own symptom; the discomfort of disequilibrium.

    This is a trap. It is the same trap that we fell into when the laws of apartheid were abolished in South Africa and we placed over the gaping wound that remained, a band aid called the Rainbow Nation.

    These symptom-alleviation techniques do not fix the problem. Instead, they cover it up, providing the perfect environment for it to fester and rot, eating through even the flesh that was once healthy.

    Nehemiah did not rush in with a band aid. He refused to buy in to a symptomatic cure to propel him out of his pain, but instead chose to remain in it. To be affected by it. To be inconvenienced by it.

    He wept and mourned for days, allowing the extent of Jerusalem’s reality to penetrate into every aspect of his being, while praying and fasting before the God of heaven. Nehemiah went on to lead a movement that resulted in the rebuilding of the city walls, and the re-establishment of an entire people.

    I believe that our ability to enact real change - change that is not merely symptomatic but that gets right to the root system- corresponds to the extent to which we are willing to be affected by that which we wish to change. Our authority is directly connected to our engagement. Before Jesus performed many of his miracles- of healing, of liberating, of supernaturally feeding thousands- the bible says that he was moved with compassion. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I believe that the healing that he brought was intractably intertwined with the choice that he made to allow himself to be affected by those who sought healing.

    Important also, is our ability, in the midst of our pain, to connect to this being that is higher than we. A being who is woven from love, goodness and justice. Who freely pours out comfort, solutions and hope to those who will sit at his feet and ask.

    Nehemiah prayed and fasted before the God of heaven.

    There are times when things just seem too big and too impossible for us to change. Not so for the God of heaven- who is also incidentally the God who is deeply invested into each life on earth, and the God who loves with reckless abandon, and the God for whom injustice pierces like the sharpest of knives.

    This God has gone to great lengths to make himself fully present and available in the times where we are just too aware of our own limitations. There is hope in the midst of chaos, for he resides there, speaking peace to the storms. Because of this, we do not have to shy away from opening ourselves up to be affected by pain and injustice, and from remaining in that uncomfortable disequilibrium for as long as necessary.

    This is the place from which real change is birthed.

    By Thandi Gamedze
    Part 1 of a series

  • Have you given money to The Warehouse this past year?

    If you donated to The Warehouse during the past year (tax year ending 2016/2017) or if you donated to the IY fire disaster, you should have received a Tax Certificate from us this past week. If you have not yet received this, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and he will rectify that.

    Thank you so much for your ongoing support of the work we do in South Africa at this time.

  • Finding God in the Suffering

    Where is God in the suffering? A blogpost by Nkosivumile Gola

    Life is a constant response to the plight of the suffering God and the suffering God is constantly responding to the plight of the suffering humanity. If this was the view we had concerning life then the view we have of the cross would be radically transformed, because then the cross does not just become a historical ‘salvific’ event, but the very present suffering and saving act of the God-forsaken God in the midst of the least of these which requires an urgent response.

    It has to be made clear that if God is not the victim of suffering in the world today then God is the cause of suffering in the world today and if God is the cause of suffering in the world today then God is unable to save and to end human suffering. If we see God as the victim of suffering in the world today, then God can and will save and rescue the suffering. This is in line with Bonhoeffer’s statement when he argues that, “only the suffering God can help us”. 

    There is no father who can be nonchalant in the face of pain and suffering of their offspring, the pain that affects the offspring of the father cuts deeper into the heart of the father – a true father is personally affected by the suffering of his children.

    Why then has God been given a spectator role in the face of the suffering of His own children? Why then has God been sidelined in the matters that affects His own? Why has God been made worse than broken and evil human beings in compassion with His own children? It has to be made known there is nothing of God that happens to God without God, and everything that happens to humanity is directly happening to God.

    If God created social beings then God has to be affected by and respond to social ills as all these are suffered by Him. That is the reason why Song (An Asian Amerikan Theologian) argues that “the history of God is the history of Jesus and the history of Jesus is the history of humanity”. Therefore the very pain as experienced by the image and the likeness of God in history is the very pain that has directly affected God in history. God is in the midst of the least of these suffering the worse forms of all oppression as suffered by the least of these.

    We need to see the picture of a creator subjected (as the face of the least of these) by his own creation to perpetual oppression. We must view our lives as a response to a plight of the suffering God. How we then respond to this plight whether we ignore it or we intentionally act to end it is dependent on whether or not we see Jesus in the face of the least of these. Love must be understood as all the radical, intentional actions as extended in responding to end human pain which in actuality is the end to God pain. We locate God pain in the world today by looking at the pain and suffering as experienced by the least of these. 

    Nkosivumile Gola
    Nkosivumile, theologian and activist, works for The Warehouse, is founder of the Food is Free campaign, and longs to see the Church responding to the suffering of God’s children in more tangible, liberating ways. 

  • What about Schools?

    From a pedagogy of the oppressed to a pedagogy of liberation

    “It is probably cultural inertia which still makes us see education in terms of the ideology of the school as a liberating force and as a means of increasing social mobility, even when the indications tend to be that it is in fact one of the most effective means of perpetuating the existing social pattern, as it both provides and apparent justification for the social inequalities and gives recognition to the cultural heritage, that is, to a social gift treated as a natural one” (Pierre Bourdieu, The School as a Conservative Force)

    If the kingdom of God is one of freedom, liberation and justice, then as the church we have a moral responsibility to participate in calling into question the powers, systems and institutions which reinforce the status quo of inequality by privileging some and oppressing others. Education is one such site, a site of struggle and a primary site where inequality is presently being reproduced.

    Inasmuch as South Africans can celebrate the changes of 1994, a closer look at schools in South Africa may leave one wondering about what actually changed? Despite the sloganism of a “rainbow nation” and the chanting of “Simunye, we are one”, very little seems to have shifted with regard to the transformation of schooling. While the opening up of schools formerly reserved for Whites has enabled a movement of middle-class Black (Black, Coloured, Indian) families into the old Model-C schooling environment, the majority of Black South Africans remain in schools that were grossly under-funded during Apartheid and remain under-resourced, overcrowded and ill-equipped even today. The patterns of academic achievement produced today still mirror past (and contemporary) inequalities. Life has not changed very much for the majority of the South African population. In the words of Lefebvre “a revolution that does not produce a new space has not realised its full potential”.

    If we want to encourage diversity and equal education then we must interrogate those aspects of educational policy which are preventing racial and economic integration, the remnants of apartheid-era thinking that have not yet been effectively dealt with in the South African Schools Act.
    Educational Inequality is a problem of access, integration and economics.

    Access

    In 2016, Gauteng MEC Panyaza Lesufi was engaged with FEDSAS in a landmark case surrounding the constitutional right of schools to determine feeder zones of a 5km radius surrounding a school. This results of this particular case may well be what is necessary to encourage schools to change their admissions policy but it remains shocking that in 2017 we still have schools with exclusionary admissions policies. Implementing a feeder zone policy within a country that is not yet spatially integrated and in many ways still resembles the design of apartheid urban spatial planning means that many learners in disadvantaged communities are excluded from the possibility of applying to previously (and presently) advantaged schools. In addition to the implementation of feeder zones, the ability of schools to implement their own fee structures has created public schools that effectively operate as private entities, using the fee control mechanism as a means to filter out learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. At present there is too much space left between the Constitution, the South African Schools Act and provincial level policy for schools to continue operating the way they do currently. Instead of facilitating access, we have a situation of strict access control which is little different from physically erecting a sign outside a school that reads “Whites Only”.

    Integration
    A twin problem within an access controlled environment is the problem of integration. In some ways the game has shifted from race to economics where former model C schools and private schools are arguably more racially diverse than the average township school. This is not genuine integration though, it is simply the assimilation of a Black and Coloured middle class into middle class schools. The real win would be to see middle class White parents placing their children in township schools but this goal seem almost unattainable within the present structuring of South Africa’s education system.  The very existence of the private schooling industry undermines the goals of racial, cultural and economic diversity in our schools by providing a haven for middle class and elite families to shift their children (and of course their economic resources) to when the culture shock becomes too much to bear. At the risk of jumping too quickly to solutions, it may be worthwhile to consider alternative models such as mixed-income schooling, more pro-active affirmative action policies in the education sector and the winding down of private education in SA. Of course, as pro-active as these suggestions may be they mask the underlying issue, our communities remain segregated because they reflect the economic inequality and segregation that plagues South Africa, and in fact education cannot be viewed apart from the broader macroeconomic issues which plague our nation.

    Something more to watch on the education front in relation to integration is the new proposal for a three-stream education system (academic stream, technical-vocational stream and technical-occupational stream). Attempting to layer a three-stream education system similar to that in Germany, within a racially and economically stratified society would be almost a throwback to Apartheid era politics. Inevitably, the poor would end up filtered into technical streams where they may aspire to be no more than labourers for their wealthier and supposedly more academic counterparts… “a social gift, treated as a natural one” (Pierre Bourdieu, The School as a Conservative Force).

    Economics

    Finally, whilst schooling has the potential to be a liberating force we cannot treat it as an institution that is divorced from the rest of society. There is far more evidence to demonstrate that out-of-school factors (Coleman, 1966), and that socio-economic factors can negatively influence a learners schooling achievement than there is to show that schools transform communities.

    “…Broader social inequalities ripple through schools in complex ways – inequalities of poverty, class, race, gender and region – and schooling tends to perpetuate both forms of injustice if they are features of the broader society. In fact, the most effective way for schooling to do this is to act as if these injustices did not exist by treating everyone the same.” (Pam Christie, Opening the Doors of Learning, p. 172)

    This does not mean we should resign ourselves from righting the wrongs in the education system and fighting for equal education and quality education that takes into account every learner. Rather, it means that in our fight for equal education we need to also be conversant about economic issues, land issues and health issues, as all of these weigh in very heavily upon the task of schooling. This calls for an alliance across the sectors, and the working together of activists who are fighting the battle on different fronts. It implies that that we need to educate ourselves about how economic policy and land issues intersect with issue of education and schooling and vice versa.

    In closing, I am hopeful that in the present moment we are experiencing an awakening of individuals and communities who recognise the political dimensions of kingdom work and who are motivated to genuinely make a difference. If we should give the revolution a name, let it be a revolution of love, for it is God’s love that draws all near and ushers us all into the place of shalom. If such a revolution must produce a new space, let it be a space where peace, love and justice prevails.

    A final quote:

    “We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and co-opted by the royal consciousness that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought.” (Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, p. 39)

    Ashley Visagie
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    http://www.bottomup.org.za

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“But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish. ”

Psalm 9:18

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Sanitation, Health, Information and Theology Talks in Sweet Home Farm