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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Celibacy, Sex, Crime and Everything in between

Recent news stories have picked up at a very high speed. The news sells when it's about the priests on matters of sex, celibacy and all the packagings in that line and frequency.

The Church may think that settling the issues in private and paying the lost dignity is the better option, yet it ends up being a bitter option. Crime and sin is all mixed in the same boiling pot of men who were sex preys in the name of holy men of God.

The church has to examine the sickness of all in the Church. If the crimes were committed, it shows someone, somewhere slept on his job. Sometimes the more the crime the more the transfers.

It's unfortunate that the pain is so deep and even to address it needs courage, good listener and just being there in silence to count the many years of silence. The question is. Should I make noise inorder to be heard?

The  debate about celibate is good and needs to addressed by those who live it to daily renew their commitment of why they wanted to live that life in the first place, went through formation and constructed big walls to keep the Seminarians from much temptation of the world.

I do remember Card. Emmanuel Wamala of Uganda, sharing about walls and fences of seminaries.

He said "You can construct a fence of poles and wires, the poles will be eaten by termites, a high wall, one day it will be brought down...what seminarians need is to construct fences in their hearts."

There should be no mixture of celibacy and individual crime and think celibacy is a catalyst of crime. That is wrong...

As Seminarians are trained, they are year in and year out told what they are getting into and what it means for their lives.

Don't die with passion of marriage or women and then you still want to be a priest. There is no short cut to priesthood.

It's a long tedious, military like reconnoitering into inner soul search.

It requires much discipline and isn’t some journey of head only, but head, heart, body and everything in between to be intact and secure.

Like marriage, which is a covered dish, you have to open and see what is there. Celibacy is a mystery only understood and lived in deep prayer, because isn’t lived by the power of man but the Holy Spirit and everyday renewed to God.

This incidences have exposed many churches and Episcopal conferences to rethink about the formation systems as schools of hard knocks. What is happening behind those holy walls? What was meant by statements like: see no evil, speak no evil, talk no evil, feel no evil. It reached a time and everything went into silent mood.

Priesthood was respected and whatever a priest said then was Divine.

The priest couldn't be questioned and who are you to do that. Holy men are never questioned. In some cultures, bishops  knew what was happening but kept silent I guess for the dignity of the Church, or simply got flat footed, great dilemmas.

Much was written about Africans how they can't live celibacy, it's very hard for African priests. This was a sort of conspiracy against Africans while what was happening in Europe/America was another drama that the Church is today paying heavily through the nose.

The western explosion should be awake call for Africa to put its house in order.

The formation done in Africa is tough, real years of hard formation, any doubt on a Seminarian meant no vocation.

To some bishops, it was clear don't waste time to even step in his office once you are suspended and sent back to the diocese. Some bishops came be known as headmasters of schools of hard knocks. While in Europe life looked so easy, soft and freelance, because you would see when they get back to the diocese after studies to be ordained. They would be called America boys...they came with a brand...well informed, open minded and up in the air, compared to those formed locally. Humble, simple, approachable, kind. It was easy to identify who went to which seminary. As the scripture says, you will judge them by their fruits.

Celibacy is a discipline like traffic laws. You follow the lights and learn to be patient that you don't cross and cause damages.

Celibacy is not meant for all and once one is touched to serve God as a priest, there and then the ingoing accompaniment starts and assurances are activated.

That is why the formation team of seminarians has to be humanly rounded formators who know what happens out there, smart at SWOT analysis and strategists of church missiology, not saints or perfect formators who feel they have to bake holiness immediately from the Seminarians.

Most of the African cultures, you don't mention about sex in public, because they people can't comprehend why the priest has to talk about sex and he doesn't have a girlfriend, wife. That is a taboo, even to think of having a girlfriend meant many things to the Seminarians.

It doesn't mean that they were not to have them, but it looked awkward to have a girl when you want to be a priest. While in Europe it was normal to have girlfriend, go to the disco, feel a global citizen.

When this was narrated to the Seminarians, in Africa it was a scandal. How? In Africa... that was like myth yet it was true. You now know what we are dealing with here.

It may seem to be a European/ American problem, but it's a challenge to the universal Church. As we say, if you are not affected then you are infected. The church has to do a SWOT analysis of events and do compare and contrast.

The disease is bigger than the cure, some clean up has to be made. People are going to fall off their thrones, some will break, some will be wounded and of course many are resting in peace...let those who sleep in peace rest in peace. Why disturb someone sleeping unless you are out of your mind.

The big question is: is celibacy RELEVANT the answer is YES. Can there be a way of rebrand it? YES. HOW? Involving the parents in the formation team, catechists, and exposing the Seminarians to public schooling in public university, to interact with women, girls so as to do serious discernment, then Spiritual formation is blended concurrently.

The Seminarians should be subjected to internships, seminary exchange programs of different Episcopal conferences of Europe, Asian, America, Oceania...for six months after studies to know the global system thinking.

The bishops have to be fathers to the Seminarians. The Seminarians should fear the bishops or seen as a tough man as many may tend to portray themselves at certain moments.

The bishop is a father not a sex prey to the Seminarians. It's pain, sad if things turn out to be so. It's criminal and unchristian.

The bishops have to be professional in their acts, ISO certified and clear in their minds of their call as pastors of the ordinary flock, to guide the sheep not to eat the sheep like Samuel' sons in the temple and sacrifice.

One is either part of the problem or part of the solution. (#Ppvisualparishcommunity)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

WHEN BEING A FRIEND OF THE SOCIETY OF JESUS BECOMES A LAW

  1. Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
  2. When in company, put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.
  3. Show nothing to your friend that may affright him.
  4. In the presence of others, sing not to yourself with a humming voice, or drum with your fingers or feet.
  5. If you cough, sneeze, sigh or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.
  6. Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.
  7. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed.
  8. At play and attire, it’s good manners to give place to the last comer, and affect not to speak louder than ordinary.
  9. Spit not into the fire, nor stoop low before it; neither put your hands into the flames to warm them, nor set your feet upon the fire, especially if there be meat before it.
  10. When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them.
  11. Shift not yourself in the sight of others, nor gnaw your nails.
  12. Shake not the head, feet, or legs; roll not the eyes; lift not one eyebrow higher than the other, wry not the mouth, and bedew no man’s face with your spittle by approaching too near him when you speak.
  13. Kill no vermin, or fleas, lice, ticks, etc. in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle put your foot dexterously upon it; if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately, and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.
  14. Turn not your back to others, especially in speaking; jog not the table or desk on which another reads or writes; lean not upon anyone.
  15. Keep your nails clean and short, also your hands and teeth clean, yet without showing any great concern for them.
  16. Do not puff up the cheeks, loll not out the tongue with the hands or beard, thrust out the lips or bite them, or keep the lips too open or too close.
  17. Be no flatterer, neither play with any that delight not to be played withal.
  18. Read no letter, books, or papers in company, but when there is a necessity for the doing of it, you must ask leave; come not near the books or writtings of another so as to read them unless desired, or give your opinion of them unasked. Also look not nigh when another is writing a letter.
  19. Let your countenance be pleasant but in serious matters somewhat grave.
  20. The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.
  21. Reproach none for the infirmities of nature, nor delight to put them that have in mind of thereof.
  22. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  23. When you see a crime punished, you may be inwardly pleased; but always show pity to the suffering offender.
  24. Do not laugh too loud or too much at any public spectacle.
  25. Superfluous compliments and all affectation of ceremonies are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be neglected.
  26. In putting off your hat to persons of distinction, as noblemen, justices, churchmen, etc., make a reverence, bowing more or less according to the custom of the better bred, and quality of the persons. Among your equals expect not always that they should begin with you first, but to pull off the hat when there is no need is affectation. In the manner of saluting and resaluting in words, keep to the most usual custom.
  27. ‘Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered, as well as not to do it to whom it is due. Likewise he that makes too much haste to put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to put it on at the first, or at most the second time of being asked. Now what is herein spoken, of qualification in behavior in saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of place and sitting down, for ceremonies without bounds are troublesome.
  28. If any one come to speak to you while you are are sitting stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.
  29. When you meet with one of greater quality than yourself, stop and retire, especially if it be at a door or any straight place, to give way for him to pass.
  30. In walking, the highest place in most countries seems to be on the right hand; therefore, place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to honor. But if three walk together the middest place is the most honorable; the wall is usally given to the most worthy if two walk together.
  31. If anyone far surpasses others, either in age, estate, or merit, yet would give place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere, the one ought not to except it. So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.
  32. To one that is your equal, or not much inferior, you are to give the chief place in your lodging, and he to whom it is offered ought at the first to refuse it, but at the second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.
  33. They that are in dignity or in office have in all places precedency, but whilst they are young, they ought to respect those that are their equals in birth or other qualities, though they have no public charge.
  34. It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they be above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.
  35. Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive.
  36. Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor then, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogance.
  37. In speaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at left. Keep a full pace from them.
  38. In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.
  39. In writing or speaking, give to every person his due title according to his degree and the custom of the place.
  40. Strive not with your superior in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.
  41. Undertake not to teach your equal in the art himself professes; it savors of arrogancy.
  42. Let your ceremonies in courtesy be proper to the dignity of his place with whom you converse, for it is absurd to act the same with a clown and a prince.
  43. Do not express joy before one sick in pain, for that contrary passion will aggravate his misery.
  44. When a man does all he can, though it succeed not well, blame not him that did it.
  45. Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in private, and presently or at some other time; in what terms to do it; and in reproving show no signs of cholor but do it with all sweetness and mildness.
  46. Take all admonitions thankfully in what time or place soever given, but afterwards not being culpable take a time and place convenient to let him know it that gave them.
  47. Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance. Break no jests that are sharp, biting, and if you deliver any thing witty and pleasant, abstain from laughing thereat yourself.
  48. Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.
  49. Use no reproachful language against any one; neither curse nor revile.
  50. Be not hasty to believe flying reports to the disparagement of any.
  51. Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleaness.
  52. In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.
  53. Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, kick not the earth with your feet, go not upon the toes, nor in a dancing fashion.
  54. Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.
  55. Eat not in the streets, nor in the house, out of season.
  56. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.
  57. In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him, but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.
  58. Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ’tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature, and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.
  59. Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules moral before your inferiors.
  60. Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.
  61. Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects among the ignorant, or things hard to be believed; stuff not your discourse with sentences among your betters nor equals.
  62. Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things as death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse. Tell not your dreams, but to your intimate friend.
  63. A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities of wit; much less of his riches, virtue or kindred.
  64. Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not aloud, nor at all without occasion; deride no man’s misfortune though there seem to be some cause.
  65. Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.
  66. Be not froward but friendly and courteous, the first to salute, hear and answer; and be not pensive when it’s a time to converse.
  67. Detract not from others, neither be excessive in commanding.
  68. Go not thither, where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not; give not advice without being asked, and when desired do it briefly.
  69. If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your own opinion. In things indifferent be of the major side.
  70. Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters and superiors.
  71. Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of others and ask not how they came. What you may speak in secret to your friend, deliver not before others.
  72. Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar. Sublime matters treat seriously.
  73. Think before you speak, pronounce not imperfectly, nor bring out your words too hastily, but orderly and distinctly.
  74. When another speaks, be attentive yourself and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired. Interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech be ended.
  75. In the midst of discourse ask not of what one treats, but if you perceive any stop because of your coming, you may well entreat him gently to proceed. If a person of quality comes in while you’re conversing, it’s handsome to repeat what was said before.
  76. While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse, nor approach too near him to whom you talk, especially to his face.
  77. Treat with men at fit times about business and whisper not in the company of others.
  78. Make no comparisons and if any of the company be commended for any brave act of virtue, commend not another for the same.
  79. Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author. Always a secret discover not.
  80. Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith.
  81. Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private.
  82. Undertake not what you cannot perform but be careful to keep your promise.
  83. When you deliver a matter do it without passion and with discretion, however mean the person be you do it to.
  84. When your superiors talk to anybody hearken not, neither speak nor laugh.
  85. In company of those of higher quality than yourself, speak not ’til you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.
  86. In disputes, be not so desirous to overcome as not to give liberty to each one to deliver his opinion and submit to the judgment of the major part, especially if they are judges of the dispute.
  87. Let your carriage be such as becomes a man grave, settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others say.
  88. Be not tedious in discourse, make not many digressions, nor repeat often the same manner of discourse.
  89. Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust.
  90. Being set at meat scratch not, neither spit, cough or blow your nose except there’s a necessity for it.
  91. Make no show of taking great delight in your victuals. Feed not with greediness. Eat your bread with a knife. Lean not on the table, neither find fault with what you eat.
  92. Take no salt or cut bread with your knife greasy.
  93. Entertaining anyone at table it is decent to present him with meat. Undertake not to help others undesired by the master.
  94. If you soak bread in the sauce, let it be no more than what you put in your mouth at a time, and blow not your broth at table but stay ’til it cools of itself.
  95. Put not your meat to your mouth with your knife in your hand; neither spit forth the stones of any fruit pie upon a dish nor cast anything under the table.
  96. It’s unbecoming to heap much to one’s mea. Keep your fingers clean and when foul wipe them on a corner of your table napkin.
  97. Put not another bite into your mouth ’til the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.
  98. Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are drinking.
  99. Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking wipe your lips. Breathe not then or ever with too great a noise, for it is uncivil.
  100. Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork or knife, but if others do it, let it be done with a pick tooth.
  101. Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.
  102. It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat. Nor need you drink to others every time you drink.
  103. In company of your betters be not longer in eating than they are. Lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.
  104. It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first. But he ought then to begin in time and to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.
  105. Be not angry at table whatever happens and if you have reason to be so, show it not but on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.
  106. Set not yourself at the upper of the table but if it be your due, or that the master of the house will have it so. Contend not, lest you should trouble the company.
  107. If others talk at table be attentive, but talk not with meat in your mouth.
  108. When you speak of God or His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence. Honor and obey your natural parents although they be poor.
  109. Let your recreations be manful not sinful.
  110. Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

CONVERSION IS REVOLUTION!


Sometimes we believe that for us, things cannot really change. Conversion is an interior revolution.

Anything less radical simply misses most of the meaning of that word. Revolution is not evolution. Itsn't a smooth transition or a peaceful, gradual, non painful, non upsetting thing.

It's an upheaval, a radical overturning. It arises precisely when people have despaired of gradual change.

Revolution becomes necessary only when the old order is hopelessly stagnant, when there is no longer any hope that peaceful, non-violent, gradual change can bring about improvements of any significance.

That is why virtually every political-social revolution in history has been followed by a blood bath.

All that is dissident is systematically eliminated. Why? Because the new guard knows that, unless this is done, it will forever live under the danger that the old guard will rise up and recapture the new.

The old guards must be killed off. As scripture puts it: "You cannot put new wine into old wineskins!"

Conversion to be effective, must be radical. It must be revolution! Aristotle said "Habits become one's second nature..."

Bad habits do become our second nature. We must all make an effort to break off these but often we find ourselves helpless. Year after year, we make resolutions we never accomplish, we break them.

What can we learn from that? Because we have been associating resolutions with something gradual, that doesn't hurt too much and doesn't disrupt our lives too much. This goes on and on and on for years.

We must accept that revolution and certain violence are necessary. Radically shake up our lives.

But most of us don't love the subversive. We try instead, year after year after year to change ourselves through good resolutions, through means that will not be dramatic, painful or disruptive.

That is why we fail and stay ever the same: mediocre, frustrated, and unable to break out of bad habits that have dominated our lives.

We allow bad habits and mediocrity to keep the upper hand. Genuine conversion and real change will come when we have the nerve to risk dramatic upheaval.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

WHEN WE HAVE TO CONFRONT THE TRUTH

Sometimes we go through a long distance to reach a point of truth with our colleagues we call friends and more so those we see as being young, healthy and with great sexual prowess upon which our culture rotates.

Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835-1910), an American writer, humourist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer, once remarked “There is nothing wrong with the youth except that it is a shame that God chose to waste it on young people.”

Today, the youth find themselves in great boost of health and sexual prowess which is quite good and creative world of its own, because we all at a given time of our lives were once there.

The unfortunate thing is that we rarely see something beyond the young lads. We are daily regretting why we did spend well our exhausted lives when we were at the ages of our grandchildren.

We have the tendency to lock ourselves into dreamlands hence, become fragile and delicate everyday of our lives.

We tend to pin our hopes for happiness upon the young, we idolize them, we absolutize them etc.

The health, the youthfulness in the youth and the great sexual opportunities in them simply kill us to death. Why? We never made use of our sexual creativity and now we live in utter poverty of pains.

The question now should be, do we believe in the power our bodies can produce? What marvels us the attitude in which we treat our bodies and what we want to get in our bodies, whether we are old or youthful.

Our culture, here the emphasis is on modern globalised culture, promises many things to us, all its seductiveness and promises but at the bottom-line its all mud and clay, once it dries up all cracks can be seen through.

The best life our culture can give is the gift of youth, health and sexual promise. Good as they may look or want to present themselves to us, they are limited. But when we are young and healthy, we may be full of ourselves.

Who among us the old still yearn for more youthfulness in our weak and old bodies? More so when we daily keep on holding on to loneliness from the community, we used not to be in the community when we were strong, vibrate, energetic, charm, now that we are frail, we need the community, we still think that we can bridge life and hell, for others feel that such a bridge better it doesn’t exist.

When we are young and healthy, dreams come easier, there are opportunities aplenty.

But when our bones start cracking, health breaks, the sexual attractiveness fades away, the cream we used no longer stick to the body, the perfume becomes a health hazard to our respiration, we remain to face death, dreams stop, because the time of dreaming is the time when we start to wake up, our cultures we used to defend to death cant just save us from the stupid ideas we invested in them as protagonists of oppression, discrimination, pride and uncouth attitudes.

We become like dry clay, that the youths can easily see the cracks we have created in our lives. We are struggling to hang on, to get back in, but it is impossible.

Nature has its limits. Its for the young, the healthy, the taunt of flesh.

But whether our lives have a future beyond the middle years, beyond health, beyond sexual prowess, depends entirely upon our value of the body supreme. We may as well give up to the fact that all experience, after a point, is a down slope realty.

Life is too short, very fragile and in the end very slow for those who have nothing to do.

Once our bodies lose their sexual attractiveness, we will have to revamp by artificial and perverse fuel.

There will be a difficult time to let go because we grow with hatred and regrets as old people instead of changing our attitudes.

Its not that you are old in age, but your eyes have ceased to shine, and your face have a prolonged skin due to anger and stress. We have to move on to new things even at our old age.

Tagore a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music as well as Indian art with contextual modernism in the late 19th Cent and early 20th Cent. once remarked “Truth comes as a conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as a friend”

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

Dear Sir/Madam,                                                                                            02.01.2019   Ref: An...