Wednesday, January 2, 2019

An Open Letter to the Kenyan peace builders initiative...


Dear Sir/Madam,                                                                                           02.01.2019

 


Ref: An open letter to the Kenyan Peace Builders Initiative

 

Happy new year to you all,

Allow me address each one of you in your capacities as elders with due respect you deserve. From the day you took the responsibility to work around the bridge peace building initiative, you all became enthusiastic and well-focused and you seemed to know what you were out to do. In the eyes of many Kenyans politics took an upper hand and party alignment and loyalty became a display, you all wanted a prevailing peace to take place. Each one of you represented your interests of who appointed you to the committee. You take the risk to get into the political Kenyan drammers, with a good intention of making them sober up.
I am one kind of person who is very curious to take risks to know people at a closer range. To know and help a drammer, you should have travelled on that route so as to help the drammer, lest you are simply becoming an academic emotional diffuser. The intervening rage, hatred, sadistic emotions and contempt seem to be part and parcel of the Kenyan society, because we never address such issues publicly.
Building a peace initiative or what you loved to call it Kenya bridge peace initiative should also carry peace in each one of you.
You cannot not give or construct a bridge of peace if your own backyard is stinking due to waste disposal of hate, tribalism, tribal clashes, discrimination and political rivalry. Most of us have learnt to suppress the impulses of hate, anxiety and love, reproducing memories of situations in many bad ways.
It’s my deep utmost prayer that each one of you carry something personal to share with other committee members this New Year 2019. Individually as committee member of this committee what are you bringing of a traditional, ethical, moral value of your tribe to share with others to learn.
I want to think good in each one of you in good faith, that you have no political interest whatsoever, of course many will think and say we are political beings and we are all entitled to take a stand in political matters more so in Kenya where politics is part and parcel of life, we eat, talk, play, and think politics 24/7.
You were chosen because you have lived in Kenya, witnessed great unfolding that the nation has gone through since independence to date, you sound to be wise men and people of substance, for that we say thanks for your different experiences open to great hopes for this multi-coloured nation, but remember the future you are building has to connect with the young people. These same strong wasted force that is mobilized every five years, give few shillings to become lethal to everyone, even to themselves in the long run. If the young men are not involved in this dream peace bridge building initiative, sorry to let you know the committee will be collecting water with a basket and expecting to fill the water tank.
We have 43 or so tribes in Kenya, and the country seems to be talking only about top three as if other tribes don’t matter. There are issues you have to carry along in 2019 and we what to be part of this talk in our small way down there in the rural areas, schools, colleges, barasas, churches, mosques, market place, matatus, buses and name it.
1.      Building peace bridges starts when my grandmother can engage and she becomes part of the talk about bridge peace initiative. If herself is not even sure whether that bridge cross road made of wooden will be repaired for her so that she does not get occupied of falling into the river, during rainy season, that to her occupies her, very concrete and vivid, her life is there.
2.      Involve young men in your discussions country wide and allow them talk and say all they feel
3.      Listen to those tribes who have never talked or their voices heard, you all know who they are.
4.      Break off yourselves from tribal associations however much you have a tribe at the end of the day…building a bridge, builders never write their names on it, but the engineering construction firm, how long it will take, which sometimes elapses without a true shape but money is spent, how much it will cost, how many people will it employee, more so the locals of the place and the structural law that guides the construction etc
5.      Be transparent in your dealings, don’t say one thing as a group and the say something else in your tribal barasas in your villages which doesn’t create cohension.
6.      Peace builders have to be Christians, no necessarily belonging to any institutionalized, structured hierarchy but respecting God in the first place and respecting people in their humility in collaboration, interreligious dialogue, the kingdom of God made real hinc et nunc.
7.      Involve the women in your discussions. Women do a lot of behind the scenes work when it comes to peace initiatives, this should be brought on board and recognized.
8.      Kenyans have to be educated right from kindergarten to the highest institutions that peace is a lifelong process that goes beyond five years or two term presidency. This starts and ends in families, once the family is ruined with no peace then don’t expect it out there with politicians.
9.      Institutions should not be tribalised, the national map should not only remain on paper but should be felt in every ministerial department.
10.  The agenda four issues should be addressed concretely
11.  The integrity chapter of the constitution should not be politicized, or polarized
12.  Stop the board office meetings in Nairobi, get down on peace talk, social media platforms, create concrete day to celebrate national diversity. 
I remain sincerely a true son of the soil and patriot at heart,
Nyamunga                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Marks of the Kingdom in open Hands and Hearts


The Marks of the Kingdom in Open Hands and Hearts

The prayer of Our Father brings to us the reality of the Kingdom which is Jesus and Jesus who is the kingdom. Once the kingdom comes we see the risen Christ, Jesus opens up the future for us to choose. God doesn’t manipulate our history, but offers us a future and we become protagonists, playing our part in its consummation. This kingdom is in our midst, it’s provisional, complete and not yet complete. The challenge is that we do not play as per God’s will or what he wants for us.
The Lord’s Prayer is a royal road to the kingdom. It’s a sign post on how best we need to live, serve and become what the kingdom requires, making out of the new culture a frame of a new reference, by which we know, we belong to Christ. We need to admire the wonder. Like Moses we should realize that we are standing on a holy ground once we are saying Our Father who art in heaven…allowed be your name…
We have to present our own failings and inadequacies of our societies, but the sense of forgiveness turns that judgment into a vision of what might be, but above all repentance, a change of heart, and mind. So pray ‘Thy will be done.’
There exists powers and principalities which will try to get us off the track, vision, and, so we must therefore tear away those obscuring curtains by praying for wisdom and discernment so can keep time to the vision. Our poverty today derives from our family failings, globalization expects us to buy into its obscuring myths, so as we pray for God’s will to be done, we should make sure that these myths do not succeed in obscuring the kingdom vision. We are slowly finding ourselves in 666 market place, where everyone is given a price tag, brand and label but not necessarily their values. (Rev 13:17) “So that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.” We need to understand that the word Ecclesia was a Greek word used in antiquity for the assembly in the market place at which the whole community would decide together upon community issues, it became an alternative, non commodifying way of being in the market pace. The kingdom of God theology therefore demythologized market so that it doesn’t become the hidden assumption underlying our life choices, but helping tool for some.
The gardener who only gardens and never stops to look at the beauty of the garden has somehow missed out on the very reason for gardening. The demand for ever increasing efficiency in the urban life means that anyone who is not ruthlessly efficient goes to the wall. Competitive efficiency shouldn’t drive the weak to the wall.
Today at the press of a button we are in touch with vast reams of data to the extent that many of us now feel we have information overload. The happiest key on the key board is the delete key button. We are often convinced that the more information I have the better my judgment may be. “I know that fact, I believe that information, then I can assert that I have the truth” But the truth as an information was actually the rampant heresy of Gnosticism (A heretic movement of the 2nd Cent Christian church, partly Christian origin. It taught that the world was created and ruled by lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of the remote supreme divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit) which assailed the church in its earliest years and which the Bible vigorously challenged.
In the Bible the word “to know”, doesn’t refer to an information at all but to loving intimacy. The God if truth is found in loving relationship and, what is more, actually it’s a relationship of the Holy Trinity. Christian truth is not a statement but a relationship and it’s the quality of the relationship which we have with God, through Christ that will be for us the truth (John 15:1-2). “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful.”
The globalized world always wants us think that information is the root of all wisdom, then we are simply being profoundly misled. Even the very word globalization may hinder our discernment of God’s will. Governments both national and international have failed to address injustice which are within their field of responsibility, claiming as an excuse, that their hands are tied by global forces. This hides very much behind the media, music production, arts, professional football and entertainment. We have to rise above the earth idols and “seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness.” Whatever we have we must share it, treating our physicality with respect, we are not disembodied spirits, even though intellectual and class elitism has, since the time of Plato valued more above matter in most exploitative ways. We are living in our sedentary lives so much by the application of our intellect that we get almost no physical exercise. We are watching screen all day and another each evening is to live a life as an out of body experience.
How can we pray “Give us our daily bread” when we have so evidently squandered our bread from yesterday? We have wasted the potential of others by offering them sparse and inadequate training, education, and opportunity that is effecting us, de-stabilization and urban violence. Our economic theory and practice is predicated upon scarcity that is why we draw economic charts of demand and supply. But God’s economy, much to our surprise, is predicated upon generous over abundance and extra ordinary preparedness to share. The labourers in the vineyard are paid a generous day’s wage even though they have not been able to work a full day and how much more will the heavenly father give to those who ask him “unlike ours, God’s economy is one of extravagant generosity. And when it comes to debt, in God’s economy it is all forgiveness, even seventy times seven times. This is different from the loan shark mentality of our housing estates and our city finance houses.
Generosity is a gift the young people can bring to us the old, our life together must mirror the self-sacrifice which Jesus makes as he forgives us, includes au at the banquet and gives himself as the bread for the world. This can only be possible once we know the other. We just have to have a sense of responsibly one for another. God is “Our Father” makes us all brothers and sisters in the commonality of the human race, but you still get people who fear to give a seat to someone else dressed differently, or in clothes form another culture, who look so very different from us. We realize that we have no common language with which to communicate and all that seems to be communicated is otherness, so we construct defences against them in a form of a wall.
Jesus crosses the ultimate boundary of the otherness, from divinity to humanity, so that the veil of the temple is torn in two- the holy and common at last in “holy communion.” In the land of exclusion and racial conflict, he reaches out even to the collaborator Zacheus allowing him to entertain him in his home, Syrophoenician woman, a person of altogether another ethnicity, is granted her request, excluded lepers are healed and welcomed in. Jesus life demonstrates that the Kingdom of God must be marked by welcoming inclusion and embrace of difference and otherness, God’s work of reconciliation meets very powerful counter forces that ours sins may be mutually forgiven and must be in ardent prayer. Even on the cross, where Jesus is being attacked by the powers of fragmentation and dislocation, he prays, Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.
Our gospel must become Pentecostal, multi-voiced, allowing the Holy Spirit to speak in each language and each culture and context in ways that each of us of us will understand. The gospel in a local accent, mutual respect and acceptance which is life transforming. If we treat people like rubbish, they will end up to behaving like rubbish. We are today, becoming fearful, even to our personal cohesion. It’s easy to lose memory of who we really are, for our identity feels threatened, so we heat out at those who appear to have found a sense of identity by belonging to an alternative group. The person who looks vaguely different begins to count, more and more as an enemy. Sometimes the tearing apart, in fragmentation, bringing us back to our senses of who we are.
We have to be a church that reconciles, listens and a forgiving community, a meet and listen church, connections ought to be made, voices have to be heard, stories told, and meeting the victims, even if it means for a moment. Jesus tells his disciples to stay in the city, to confront the city challenges, not to flee from them into holy huddle. It’s there that we will meet God. In the midst of struggle, surrounded by others who are very different, so that we can learn that our sins are forgiven, as we forgive those who sin against us the gift of reconciliation.
The structure which surround us have a way of controlling us, they form the culture which we must critique. The complex hidden structures of society are not always benign, but can be quite beastly. We always feel powerless to sort out our problems. The beast had invaded the structure that we felt no solution. The beast makes us impotent because of the sheer scale of the problems, the beast is just too vast to manage. Some structure promise well, but let us down.
But in Jesus, “we created all things in heaven and on earth-all things were created through him and for him. He exists before all things and in him all things hold together? (Col 1:16-18). Holding all things together is simply “systematize”. The structures are meant for service, but have fallen from grace, we can appreciate the market forces, but we refuse them to dominate us. We must engage the powers of evil, just as did the lamb, with courageous action and vulnerability. Just as the kingdom is now and “not yet.” The Church is the privileged instrument of the kingdom of God, but it is sometimes more concerned for its own welfare than it has to sacrifice itself for the sake of the kingdom of God. The church has to change radically into listening, engaging and trustworthy community, and must be seen to have become so.
Evangelism is about sharing the good news of trust, hope and reconciliation between different generations of the estate, breaking down barriers of fear and antagonism and finding new ways to be church, proclaiming Jesus with our hearts.
 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

IN MEMORY OF DAVID JACOBUS BOSCH


TRANSFORMING MISSION: David Bosch- Some Personal Reflections by Willem Saaymann, Prof. Emeritus in Missiology at Unisa, Pretoria, South Africa, in Mission Studies, Brill, Leiden, Boston, 26 (2009) 214-228

Once you enter into the world of Missiology will have to come across this a man called David Jacobus Bosch. A man who has been quoted by many scholars who has had a real respect and homage because of his venture into mission land, who know didn’t look very professional in his attire but who showed a man on the move due his simple dressing, as in the words  Willen Saayman himself, he states:
 I still remember the photo I saw of David Bosch, it has been something of 40 years ago, in a Dutch reformed mission magazine, and it was taken on one of his mission stations in then Transkei, (Today Eastern Cape) South Africa (S.A)… in contrast to the quite formal “Minister’s clothing” which the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) missionaries and ministers wore in those days, he was dressed in an ordinary farmer’s khaki shirt and trousers…and I immediately took a liking of this missionary, because in my mind he was dressed as a south African missionary “in the bush” should be dressed…but I had no idea to why he was considered extraordinary, just like his dress sense…Later I learnt that there were more similarities between us than a similar taste in clothes: like him, I grew up in a poor farming community, and both grew up in houses consisting in total of four rooms only, with an outside toilet (called a long drop in South Africa). And we both passionately loved and enjoyed doing missiology.”
David studied in the South Africa of the 1940s and did his studies and his master’s dissertation studies in Afrikaans literature. This shows at that time there was nothing called missiology, but he built a great theological love of his life in the passion for New Testament studies, he completed his first degree in theology and went to Basle in Switzerland, to study New Testament under Oscar Cullmann, for whom he had great love and respect. This completely made a great paradigm his of looking at reality and also interpreting it in light of his mission. He completely his doctoral thesis, on Jesus’s eschatological approach to Gentile mission in the synoptic gospels magnum cum laude before returning to South Africa in 1950s.
 
At that time South Africa was going through a complete turn of political dark pages, in the apartheid election of 1948. The whole study on the Bantu homelands and a grand launch and institution of apartheid in South Africa. This role was made public in 1954 and the role of mission societies and churches was very clear in this process. This created a great enthusiasm inside the DRC in S.A and a great increase in mission vocations among DRC theological students preparing for ministry.
 
David was one the young ministers caught in the upsurge, as was another well-known South African Missiologist, Nico Smith. David strongly emphasized the importance of studying indigenous language and culture, he was very much ecumenical minded, in an era where ecumenism played a very minor role in the national DRC, very active in the Transkei Council of Churches.
 
He was too outstanding that he was played in the black DRC Theological College at Decoligny in the Transkei, his star kept shining until he was appointed ad hominem to newly created post of professor in Missiology and Science of Religion at Unisa. He always held an ecumenical and contextual view of the church, and saw the need for Missiological development in SA, where most Missionaries at that time were foreigners, who had studied overseas.
 
He started an idea to start South African Missiologists, in 1968, convened the first conference which was to become Southern African Missiological Studies (SAMS) very alive and kick to date in SA. David was elected the first the first general secretary of SAMS, a position he would unopposed until his death. SAMS organizes annual congresses open to Protestants and Catholics, white and black, male and female, lay and ordained alike, Missiologists and other social scientists. Relevant Missiological topics were discussed by a wide variety of experts- sociologists, economists, anthropologists and medical specialists were always involved.
David had to make sure the information debated circulated to other parts of the world and he stared a journal called missionalia with is famous abstracts section. International Association of Mission Studies (IAMS) was started in the 1980, which catapulted David to an international figure, he played a major role in IAMS having had a great milestone success in SAMS, and it baked him into a system thinking fellow.
 
In 1992 IAMS had an international conference in Hawaii, just a few short months after David’s death, which created a sad moment in his colleagues, to have lost a whole library of missiology, just more than a year after the publication of Transforming Mission, Saaymann in his words could say So many nights I was left with so desolate but unanswerable cry, Why Lord, why at this time? Yet we had to deal with the reality of life after David, for the department of missiology at Unisa was greatly given a great blow which represented seven years of hard work as Seeymann quotes his colleague Klippies Kritzinger, would aptly say “Poor use of resources, but what a wonderful humanity!”
What can we continue to draw from this quite rich legacy of a man called David Bosch? Witnessing of people and their living faiths in Transforming Mission (Bosch 1991:489)…There is no place in authentic Christian mission for triumphalism, only humility, Christian missionaries are vulnerable, because they do not have all the answers, and are most likely to fail as anybody else. Yet this doesn’t incapacitate us, because we do know that we are witnesses, envoys and ambassadors of the servant Lord who sits on the throne. For David did not only talk the talk, but he also walked the walk. There was no disparity between Missiological teachings and his everyday life, word and deed existed in seamless whole.
David in in his book Transforming Mission, says the only adequate way in which we can define mission in many modes, and therefore as “mission as…” to talk, think and write about mission, a truly liberating experience, and underlying his concept of “mission as…” is the overriding reality that this mission could only be carried out in vulnerability, as “mission in bold humility” “We live in the abiding presence of the shades, those great forebears who have gone ahead, but who still with us. Thank you David, for the privilege of getting to know you, of working with you and still in your presence. Mooi loop, ou lang man!”

HOW DOES ONE FORGIVE?

 

We shall always learn to forgive, to seek the heart of God, which is love itself. This will involve doing the difficult part of damage repair and reconciliation. One has to enter into that door which seems uninhabitable to soul search the sense of forgiving and praying to get the ability to make a move on the road less travelled, often with no travel Geo-Map yet you have to soldier on.
 
One has to create a space of experience that is open to the horizon of hope, because the more one is open to that self discovery, s/he encounters God’s tender mercy towards that inner conviction of who He is in one's life, enabling Him to extend that mercy and compassion and above all  more so towards others. (Reid, 2011). The Lord is an active agent in promoting forgiveness, and he uses our acts as vehicles to accomplish his agency (Wade and Worthington, 2005). God is always patient to all you go through all the emotional process you feel like, so as to face your very self, this sometimes escapes our meditation and discernment.

As one considers all these  he  also learns to find the connection between forgiveness and love, for the two cannot be separated from each other. One is called upon to proclaim the good news of the Gospel, which includes the forgiveness of sin as the gospel message teaches one from the Scripture (John 20:23). This can only happen through love. Love cannot be experienced in the fallen world without forgiveness. Love must start with God and be consistent with God’s eternal relational paradigm of love. (Cheon and DiBlasio, 2007).
 
Loving God is a response  has to give to God’s indwelling love, you cant remain indifference to that gesture of warmth of God's loving face. As God initiates love, His children respond as gratitude. The affections, thoughts and will are reoriented in Godward direction, evinced in the command that Paul said “Walk in the ways of love” (Ephesians 5:2) and “be rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) and “bear fruit” in love (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus himself showed the way when he said “Love one another just as I have loved you” (John 13:34). It’s a source of deep joy to know that God can be trusted (Harvard, 2014).

Lack of forgiveness of self and others can result in guilt and shame. Therefore self-forgiveness and communitarian dimensions of forgiveness, shame and guilt also need to be considered. Forgiveness involves making right relationships. In Hebrew Bible, these aspects were applied to the temple, the family, the courtroom, business dealings, treatment of widows, aliens, orphans, and the poor and the most of all, to relationships with God.
 
In the New Testament, it involves a process of restoration after an act of injustice has taken place. To forgive you must do it individually, recall all moments in your life when you also were forgiven, people had mercy on you and the feeling you went through to receive forgiveness. As many would say, you cannot understand love if you don’t know what hate is. The more you love, the more you will be hurt, but the more you feel hurt the more you ought to change the form of looking at certain things in life.
At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, what are you living for. Everyday you have to wake up, good, everyone seem to be doing the same, but for you what gives you the reason to wake up, you have entered into the world of resignation, living because you have life...that is too cheap way of evaluating yourself? The  world  is  full of doubt, confusion, and leaving your legs on the breaks ruins the clutch plate, you will smell the burning that indicates things are not fine, you just have to relearn your mechanical electrification of you car (life), or you have a free drive through the park and enjoy the breath of air and respiration, so that you fulfil life by looking at everything with new eyes and freely accepting to be surprised by God and counting your blessings every day and seeing what the lord has done in your life. The choice will always be personal.
As Pope Francis teaches that to wise you have to three languages: "Think well, feel well, and do well, to be wise allow yourself to be surprised by God". You ought to respect your dignity as a person, recognizing your personal struggles and refusing to judge. God's mercy reaches out to everyone and you have not justification to hold it for yourself or against your brother or sister.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

THE TRIBAL DRAMMERS

ECO- CONNECTOGRAPHY
 
NEGATIVE ETHNICITY
 
06.12.2018

Negative ethnicity  refers to an attitude that thinks or informs that one's culture remains the yardstick by which other ethnic groups are judged. Simply put, thinking that your tribe is superior, forgetting that everthing is interconnected. This will always call for profound interior personal conversion than a community conversion.
 
This means that one has to come in touch with a cultural diversity of co-existing in unity in its diversity. Sometimes those with lack of interest in cultural differences will always avoid situations where such differences become apparent. Literally they would prefer to stay put, and associate with only their tribal group. This drives such people to a defence of looking at their tribe as "good" and the best way in dealing with issues. The stereotyping comes packaged as threats, it now turns into "us and them" view of reality. "We" do things this way but "they", do not realize the importance of this, "they" don't share our values, "they" dont understand how things really work.
 
This comes as a result of lacking an understanding at a deeper level, where the point of reference remains at that tribal level, and one's own culture. Acceptance does not necessary mean agreement. It is a  personal decision to say No to Tribalism or negative ethnicity. Its harmful, it is wrong and morally unacceptable, because it doesnt transcend cultural values. Its has to be a balance between accepting the relativity of values within a cultural context. That means making a pardigm shift to see reality from the eyes of the other tribe, culture and people in a very natural way without exaggerating anything or any people. This too doesnt mean assimilation, you dont give up your culture in order to take another culture, but adding different and several cultural perspectives to that of one's native culture.
 
It has also nothing to do with learning rules of what is approriatr in different cultures but to shift to another culture and being able to feel people in that culture. One has to self identify yourself as an individual, free from cultural manipulations. You just have to be your own authentic man or woman. You have to get integrated into the society, being a man and woman of your own skin in a global world, you have to be a global citizen.
 
Sometimes meeting other people out of our tribal centres makes as to be reborn in a new reality, the fear we have created we come to realize that it does not exist, except we have to let go of something to gain something, this is what worries us often. You get a person locked into self identity, closes his or her hands and not willing to embrace others in the sharing of life. We have to feel at home in many cultures in this common home, planet and manyatta.
 
This is how religious men and women live in a very intercultural way practicing communion and communication. That does not mean that  they dont encounter challenges, they do but the difference is that its smoothened out with time, like a big mountain rock that goes through erosion and turning into a small beautiful pebble, there is always conversion and transformation, that personnal spiritual renewal like in  in marriage, in religious commitments, now becomes seasoned in this school of hard knocks.
 
Transformation is an ongoing school of love learning that has to produce fruits of conversion to the mission of Christ, its a true witnessing of life that is authentic, that invites others to listen to us in our state of being. We are called upon to uncover respect, honour genuine demand of our cultures and seriously commiting ourselves to meet other cultures with gratitude and willingness to learn.
One has to grasp the eco-connectography and power of a new global culture of brotherhood and global citizenry. We have to know what stifles us in our environment or frees us in our cultures so as to  have a constant challenge to appreciate cultural differences so as to co-existence creating harmony and peace in our common home.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

THE DIFFICULT BUMPY INROADS TOWARDS FORGIVENESS/ RECONCILIATION

Today we are being confronted with daily issues which entail the dilemmas of zero tolerance towards inflicted evil, power abuse, injustice, forgiveness and reconciliation. There are becoming increasingly important and very easily misunderstood concepts. We all have gone through the experience of forgiveness and maybe we are still struggling with it as you read through this or some of us just don’t want to talk about it as the Italian could put it lascia perdere (forget about it). What does forgiveness among people imply? and above all in your life as a Christian or someone of good will.


Forgiving doesn’t necessary mean that we think we know what are talking about, so that we are never messed up or misunderstood, but it is all about creating an interpersonal connection between the enemies, recognizing and sharing the pains of the other, injury, judging and simply correcting the injuries caused. This will eventually have to lead to confession, restoration, and purification. This means that one has to be helped to understand God’s forgiveness and religious reconciliation. Forgiveness today crisscrosses different science disciplines: the world of therapy, church, society, politics national and international frontiers.

Forgiveness among persons, what it implies and how it works.

In life you will always find that you just have to forgive and create a path for peace personally because of what your values you have upheld in life and the sense of Christian upbringing. You forgive and reconcile because God too has forgiven you your many sins. (Monbourquette, 2000) states that you do justice as a human being because of the human reality of forgiveness, there is when you release how difficult things are when you have to forgive you perpetrator and reconcile and start walking on a new road. Without it life becomes impossible to live. Through that process we discover God’s exceptional force of mercy bestowed on the victims and perpetrator.

Forgiveness does fall from the sky

This is truly embedded in the entire existential, relational, social, religious and ethical context. One thing or another will always have to proceed it. (M. Buber, 1958:193-210). There is always the perpetrator and the victim. An affront, of an insult, an infidelity, forms of psychological or bodily harm, (sexual) abuse of power and violence.

There is a breach violated of the warm relationship shared, at the time may not be the case but only arises after the wrong doing. This we have to factor in when we have to be confronted with when we have to deal with forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is directed to the person who has committed evil, entering a special specific relationship with the one who has done evil, it’s a relational event. It is never directed towards evil, for it will remain unforgiveable but it is always towards the person in relationship to the evil. (D. Pollefeyt : 121-159).

Forgiveness is a conscious act of the will, which deals at a certain moment, in a vacuum, as, as it were to forgive. It is part of the process that takes place between two people. Forgiveness is exculpation, the one who has committed an offense is not excused by for he is not accountable, because of some psychological incapacity or due to variety of elements form his or her family or social history. Forgiveness is not possible if the guilty one cannot be held responsible for what he or she has done. We have to be held accountable for our decision making and behavior.

Learning the path towards inter-human forgiveness

This will require patience and humility in order to accept that forgiveness and it will comprise a number of steps and this will never be taken in a sequential manner. Sometimes it can be slow and uncertain, retracing the steps missed, sometimes we remain stuck on certain point hence not having the courage to go ahead. If you don’t forgive you will remain in that embitterment. One has to remain o the experience caused by the inflicted evil on the victim and allowing it work through the usual normal processes, you shouldn’t force it if you are not ready.

As a victim you have to come face to face to what needs to be forgiven and naming it as it is. This means you have to avoid generalizing everything, or attempts to neutralize the pain and discomfort quickly and easily. One has to face the real hurt where it lies and not to fall into the temptation of over dramatizing or underestimating what happened. The perpetrator cannot run away from concrete realities into self-protecting stories.

How we are to acknowledging and share the inflicted injury

All sorts of feelings that are negative, bitterness, disappointment, anger, revenge, hatred and the so forth, are normal reactions in the victim, sometimes denied or suppressed (repressed). We build up a defense of “you cannot touch me” “your attack cannot harm me,” “I am above all that” (L.Basset, 2007: 21-60). All these have to rise to the surface, the victim has “right” to these feelings as a form of self-respect. Trivialized when they are shunned, repressed or hidden behind a so called “understanding of the perpetrator, they need to be shared with someone, a confidant.

We have to  stop doing evil and rectify issues

The journey of self-discovery must start looking inside out of the self (victim), injustice must be stopped and rectified. The victim ought to approach the perpetrator about the wrong done, reproach the perpetrator about the wrong doing. At times the victim may want to do it in silence without saying anything or the perpetrator knowing anything about it. Injustice, insults, infidelity, pestering, humiliation, abuse should not be allowed to happen or continue, the evil has to rectified, which has to be completely different from revenge... Without addressing the bitterness within the victim could be the bed rock of cancer. The emotional acknowledgement of what has happened and the suffering caused forms the basis both for fair rectification as well as for the generous act of forgiveness, which one not only should want to give but also should want to receive.

Forgiveness is about reconciling with one-self

To avoid unburdening oneself emotionally, from negative and bitter feelings that remain at work underneath and disturb one’s inner emotional peace. Psychologically and therapeutic dimension of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a method of healing the injured. (Offended, insulted, violated) “psychologization” therapeutization of forgiveness, forgiving the guilty one. Forgiveness in the first place is about the one who is forgiven not the one who forgives, applied by the victim then that is a welcome bonus. (B. Flanigan, 1997). Forgiveness cannot be equated with healing, it’s about walking towards restoration. Only the victim can decide when the time to forgive has come. You cannot not be demanded or forced. It can only be given.

Learning to look differently at the guilty one

Diverting the attention from the self (victim) to the perpetrator standing in the shoes of the perpetrators, to see what picture could have been created, the perpetrator has his dignity. He remains a person not a demon, not simply an embodiment of evil. There should be a stop to the rebuking of perpetrator as a person, who has also bad and good qualities and the challenge of being human. Humility of the victim, sober knowledge and awareness of one’s own mortality.

You have to allow forgiveness take place.

One has to arrive at a point of feeling that she or he needs forgiveness. Failure and mistake, one will realize that it’s all in humans. True self knowledge is the acceptance of one’s own finitude or incompleteness. Humble towards gentle openness that knows how the temptation towards inflicting evil, sinning lurks in every human heart. An act of letting go and surrendering can be magnanimity experienced by both the victim and perpetrator, as a freeing gift that opens new paths to relationship. Then there is no longer any winner or loser. (Lafitte: 92-95).

Forgiveness brings about liberation

We have to be confronted with one personal responsibility and seriousness of guilty that clings to us often. This may urge us to escape from it by means of forgetting it. “What is the past is the past” but into “diversion of amusement” “To forgive and forget”. Forgetting only brings a brief delay or deferment, without ensuring a final removal of the guilt.

Forgiveness is a very special form of memory. The perpetrator receives once again the breathing space and new opportunity to become different, this doesn’t mean to become innocent being, as if nothing has happened differently the same. Forgiveness is a unique form of redemption insofar as it allows the perpetrator to enter into new relationship with his own act. Actions already done, can’t be undone, but the missteps committed no longer exercises a destructive influence, but the misstep committed no longer exercises a destructive influence onto the actual self- experience of the perpetrator.

No forgiveness without confession, restoration and purification

The perpetrators must confess and acknowledge in an authentic, tangible and perceptible way what he has done or inflicted on the victim. Inner and outside form of confession. Only when the perpetrator acknowledge his misstep towards the victim can the victim make his or her desire to forgive effectively. One must acknowledge that has done evil and injustice to another person and also accept that this evil is to be settled and that the victim has the right to do so. (S. Gormley, 2014: 27-48).
The desire becomes effective when it expresses itself in the confession and request for forgiveness directed to the victim. Committing an evil means the perpetrator is defiled right from the core, it affects one’s mentality and manner of living, so that the future doesn’t relapse into wrong doing, avoiding certain contacts or occasions, building up new social milieu, living or working elsewhere, they are easily consequences that intimidate people. The help of the others as individual or community will also help, therapeutic help and spiritual direction is indispensable.

Forgiveness is unconditional

It can only work when the perpetrator shows remorse, regret, it belongs to the order of gratuitousness. It cannot be imposed or requested by confession, neither doesn’t it wait for confession, in order to offer its gift, readiness of the heart and mind. The peak of love that desires simply to offer itself freely and nothing to everyone. Only when forgiveness is a conditional, is it truly forgiven, in the full sense of the word, exceptional and extravagant stronger than the impossible.

Forgiveness belongs to the order of the irrational: forgiveness is insane and must therefore venture fully lucid into the night of incomprehensible. (Jacques Derrida). Extravagant, gratuitousness of forgiveness can only be effective among people when we do not isolate it from its psychological cultural, historical and ethical context. Linking it to forgiveness with magnanimity, amnesty and the attempt at understanding the perpetrator, as well as with intolerance with regard to the evil, retribution, punishment and restoration.

It can be the result of negotiation and consultation, of give and take, of a strict calculable reciprocity. On the side of the victim it can be given freely and for nothing, one on the side of the perpetrator can be requested and not enforced. Forgiveness can be given and not given. The victim avails the possibility of not yet granting or even simply refusing the requested forgiveness. The victim and not the guilt one can determine the moment to forgive. (Gen 50:17, Matt 18:15-17).

Service to others and a greater commitment to avoid all trappings of evil, while continuing to be patiently and humbly open towards the victim. (E. Wyschogrod, 2006: 157-168). Forgiveness according to the Jewish tradition has three times attempts when asking for forgiveness. Every time you get three friends to ask for forgiveness from the victim and he refuses, you change and look for other new three friends, at least three times. (3x3x3).

Forgiveness is a promise

Forgiveness is related as a promise, unique form of promise. The quality one should know that there is still a future, that everything about his life has not yet been said and done, he may nurture a trust in that future. Every promise is an attempt at finding an answer to the human heart, with its dark sides, where by no one is absolutely certain, to know what I will be tomorrow, (Arendt: 243-244) but also from the unpredictability of others, it’s impossible to foresee how people shall act tomorrow, for they are free beings who can make different choices.

Our future is like a chance in lottery, counter attacking this double darkness of myself and others. Establishing an island of stability within a sea of possibilities that can go off in all directions. The hope and promise. The longing of the people and can thus never be fully trusted, uncertainty and despair, made and addressed by someone else. Promise is an external speech-act, that comes towards me, frees me from the disquiet and doubt of the present towards the future so much so that I dare to entrust myself to it (Psalm 31,3-4, Deut 32,4, Lk 6,36, Matt 5,45, 6,12). If God gives us the means and Grace of His love to do so, even though as finite and sinful human beings we will always remain wanting in this imitation without as being crushed by our guilt.

Moving  from forgiveness to reconciliation

Reconciliation is after all applicable when the afflicted evil caused a breach in the relationship that the perpetrator and victim had previously. Reconciliation means to heal the breach caused by the wrong doing in the relationship so that the relationship can be taken up again and acquire a new future. Sometimes it’s difficult due to emotional feelings underneath, or simply no longer possible. (New marriage of relationship with children after divorce) irreversible or would be simply unjust. Hence, there should be no confusion between forgiveness and reconciliation (Monbourquette, 2000:217-217). Forgiveness is a state of the heart and mind by which one affords the other new opportunities for the future, one regains the inner peace and freedom in oneself at the same time. Reconciliation is rising to a new level of relationship.

The extravagance of God’s mercy

Forgiveness and reconciliation are together for God. Reconciliation from God always comes first, and precedes all human reconciliation towards God. “Out of the ordinary” loving bound with his creatures, even those who do evil. One must dare to acknowledge his responsibility and bad will. God judges and he is a just God. Judgment without mercy is inhuman. Judgment is never final. God repents and offers new opportunities by means of promise of new future, of a new covenant. (Cain and Abel) as well explained in by the sacrament of penance. Conversion must be expressed in deeds, likewise called to act of contrition. (D. Borobio : 2008)
Conclusion
You forgive because you are convinced and are willing to search yourself to see  the other rooms you have never opened, there are doors in your life which you have not opened to see the beauty that lies there-in. How many people do not see the meaning of life, or prospects of the future, how many have lost hope and  are plunged into  the destitution, by unjust social conditions. The family is the place we learn to forgive, confess and reconcile, a place of affection, intimacy, where one acquires an art of dialogue and interpersonal communication.

Books cited

BASSET, L., Holy Anger: Jacob, Job, Jesus, London/ Ottawa Continuum, Novalis 2007, pp. 21-60

BORGGRAEVE, R., “The Difficulty but Possible Path Towards Forgiveness and Reconciliation”, in LOUVAIN STUDIES, A Quarterly Review of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies KU Leuven, Spring 2018, pp. 38-63

BUBER, M., “Guilt and Guilt Feeling” crosscurrents, 8, No. 3 (1958) pp. 193-210

BOROBIO, D., “Sacramental Forgiveness of Sin”, in Concilium no.184 (1986) Oxford, Blackwell, 2008.

FLANIGAN, B., Forgiving Yourself, Paducan, KY: Turner Publishers 1997

GORMLEY, S., The Impossible Demand of Forgiveness, International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 22, No. 1 (2014) pp. 27-48

MOULE, C.F.D., Forgivenessand Reconciliation, and Other New Testament Themes, London SPCK 1998, 1-47

MONBOURQUETTE, J., (ed) How to Forgive? A step by Step Guide, Ottawa: Novalis, 2000.
PELLEFEYT, D., “Ethics, Forgiveness and the Unforgiveable after Auschwitz” in Incredible Forgiveness, ed Pollfeyt, 121-159.

____________.,Repentance, Reconciliation and relationship: The Silence of Jonah and Boundaries of Forgiveness”, in Reconciliation in Interfaith Perspective, (ed) Bieringer and Botton, pp. 28-39

ROBERT, D., Enright, Exploring Forgiveness Conference 1995

WYSCHOGROD, E., “Repentance and Forgiveness, the Undoing of Times” in International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 60, no. 1-3 (2006) pp. 157-168







Tuesday, July 31, 2018

LEST WE FORGET WHERE WE COME FROM

It’s very interesting for those who love history to just get back and do the disectional analysis of events, more so the church history or the history of the church depending from where you are standing.

We have to begin by understanding what Christendom is all  about and what it all involves.

“Christendom is about economic, political, social life as inspired by Christian principles.

That is in the modern trend of events it’s ending  and witnessing it die.

The symptoms seem to be before  our very eyes: the breakup of the family, divorce, abortion, immorality, general dishonesty.

We take it for granted, we get used to things, and almost accept them as the rule.

Despite the decline blaring today, isn’t that a rule? Today, how many Catholics accept the counter message to Humanae Vitae?

The press that we read, the television that we see, is in no instance inspired by Christian principles.

As a matter of fact, there is, on the part of many of us, the tendency to go down to meet the world rather than to lift the world up. We are afraid of being unpopular  so we go with the mob.

The Church is not a continuing thing it dies and rises again.

It proceeds on the principle of Christ himself as priest and victim, and there comes the defeat, the seeming decay, we are put in the grave, and then we rise again.

We have had four deaths in our Christian history
The Church became “rotten” as nuns and priests were defecting.

Then came the reformers who “almost always reform the wrong things.

And they began reforming the faith, and there was nothing wrong with faith it was the morals that needed to be reformed.

It’s not renewal it’s really a moral reformation that is needed today more than yesterday.

The Church rotes, and it is rotting, we’re spoiled no great zeal, no great learning, no great fire.

Yet there’s hope because those who know history  are never disturbed.

By the 16th century the attack was on the body of Christ, the mystical body, the Church.

It was Reformation time. Today we have to conform to the world or we’re branded. One has to be politically correct.

“Our Lord said, I have taken you out of the world. We say, ‘No we have to win the world, and to win it you have to be one with it.’ Our Lord says, I pray not for the world. He was praying for the spirit of the world. And this is the easiest kind of way to fall off the log worldliness.

It’s so simple, and it can be justified for a thousand reasons; namely, the Vatican Council said we have to go into the world indeed, but not to be world, which is quite a different matter. So this is our attack today.”

Today the current is against us. And today the mood of the world is, ‘Go with the world, go with the spirit.’ Listen, dead bodies float downstream. Only live bodies resist the current. And so the good Lord is testing us.”

We are testing Western Christians with worldliness, and how many of us are falling?” How far the decadence and corruption have piled up?
God is testing us in the modern desert. St. John says in his Epistle: ‘They did not love us really from the beginning. That is why they left us.’

And so the souls that are falling away have just failed to meet the test. It is very much like the test that the Jews had.

What we are having in the Church is a minority report: a minority report of sisters, a minority report of priests, a minority report of laity not the minority that is aggressive and troublemaking, but the minority that like Caleb and Joshua, trusts in God. So we are tested just as the Jews were tested.”

And if there is anything that has to be restored in our day, we would say it would be violence.

Violence! The kingdom of heaven is won by violence. And only the violent shall conquer it. Shouldn’t it be about peace?

 We are dropping peace, discipline, commitment to the Cross, and the world picks it up…That’s why there’s no stopping the violence of this country. We just have to…hire more police guards, build more hospitals for the addicts. Why? Because there’s no moral reason on the inside why they should stop.”

We should take seriously spending an hour before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament every day not only for our own souls, but for the world, and to strengthen our minority. It’s “violence” to ourselves, easily enough understood.

The Lord is keeping reserves. He is training us. We’ll make the entry. We’ll prepare for a new Church.

And he is with us we just simply can’t add rules only we’ve already won as a matter of fact, only the news has not yet leaked out —and so it’s violence that has to be restored.

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