Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Broadcast the Call in Micah With Trumpets

Evangelist Brian McLaren, from the US, spoke brilliantly at our plenary session on Monday night, delivering a critique of the state of world Christianity and the “mainline churches,” using humour and imagery; for example, an orphaned male hippo finding solace in a tortoise, or a bridge in Honduras that stood firm after a hurricane but, because the river course was altered, became a bridge that now goes nowhere but has become an interesting tourist site. He called for disciple formation or evangelism that looked at values formation rather than religiosity in our broken, beautiful and bruised world.

Yesterday, our Indaba - the third - went extremely well. There were some intial rumblings but nothing more materialised and everyone came. Brian McLaren's presentation was still alive in all of us, and we discussed the bishop and evangelism.

After the Indabas, we met in self-select groups. I went to the Micah Challenge on social justice and being prophetic for the cause of the poor. The story of what is happening in the Philippines, and how it challenges the church, was moving. The bishops in our self-select group described how the military was "persecuting" Christians. Earlier, in my Indaba group, we heard how Christians in India were being marginalised and harassed for their faith. We need trumpets to broadcast louder the call in Micah 6:8 for God's justice, mercy and peace to be established, and for humility on the part of those who inflict terror.

On another note, we from ACSA are well represented here apart from the bishops and their spouses. We have Canon Dalene Mark, on the Anglican Communion's Peace and Justice Network, Odwa Gonya on the Youth Network, who is one of the stewards and a former ASF president, Canon Suzanne Peterson from Grahamstown and Dean Rowan Smith from Cape Town (who will be joining us to service the listening team).

We press on and continue to talk, encounter each other and open ourselves to the prompting of the Holy Spirit as we are nurtured daily by the sacrament so that Jesus in us is revealed. And the weather is great - you could even get a sun tan here!

++Thabo

(Thanks to Bishop Alan of Buckinghamshire for the photo of that bridge in Honduras)

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