When some years ago, I rashly offered to write something for ‘Contact’ I had in mind a few things which gave me ‘pause for thought’ and which I thought might be of interest to others. As the months remorselessly came and went it became increasingly difficult to answer my own question – What can I write about next month? Recently there have been occasions when I have had no answer. ‘Contact’ is still a high quality Church Magazine which serves to remind me of the favourite saying of one of my former colleagues – ‘Don’t worry. The churchyards are full of indispensable people’.
This month I want to suggest that if you should ever feel a need to ‘pause for thought’ you should find an opportunity to read a remarkable book which I was recently given as a birthday present. It was advertised as Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s latest book, although it is a compilation of highlights of his addresses to political rallies and church congregations, his speeches, lectures and articles, even his correspondence with the likes of President Botha; all edited by John Allen who served as Director of Communication of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and had also been the Archbishop’s Press secretary. The title of the book may, in itself, give you ‘pause for thought’. It is called
GOD IS NOT A CHRISTIAN
Speaking Truth in times of crisis.
PART ONE:- ADVOCATE OF TOLERANCE AND RESPECT and writes of Interfaith tolerance;
‘Ubuntu’on the nature of Human Community; No future without forgiveness; a radical programme for reconciliation; What about justice and arguments for restorative justice.; Why we should celebrate difference; All, all are God’s children; gays and lesbians in Church and Society.
PART TWO: INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGNER FOR JUSTICE and writes of democracy in Africa – Freedom is cheaper than repression; Watch it! Watch it! – on hope and human rights; our salvation is of the Jews – the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
PART THREE: VOICE OF THE VOICELESS IN SOUTH AFRICA writes of Why black? – A defence of Black Theology; ‘I stand before you’ Why Christians must be involved in politics; Utterly diabolocal – Appeal to the morality of a Fellow Christian; Unbiblical, Unchristian, Immoral and Evil – when human laws clash with the law of God.
PART FOUR:- SOUTH AFRICA’s CONSCIENCE writes to say ‘we must turn the spotlight on ourselves – on hatred, revenge and the culture of violence; Naught for your comfort – a critique of comrades and friends; What has happened to you South Africa? – the price of freedom is eternal
The former Secretary General of the United Nations said this of Archbishop Tutu - His efforts have bridged the gulf between white and black, between oppressor and victim, and helped heal a nation in the spirit of atonement and forgiveness. I would like him to know that I, and a whole generation of Africans, stand tall and see further because we stand on his shoulders.
Time magazine wrote ‘His unofficial legacy will be his life and story of how this tiny pastor with a huge laugh, from South Africa became our global guardian’.
If you can find time to read this book, you will have much to think about and be inspired by.