Flights of Faith

Monday, August 17, 2009

South Africa and the Kingdom

Man, I've got tons of posts sitting on the dock. I wanna go chronologically so some of these might hit the streets a little bit later. I'll break the timeline for now. I'm in Johannesburg, and I visited Soweto today. Intense stuff. God's speaking, and I'm trying to catch what he's saying.

5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:5-8)

I love this promise, and I've been putting it to the test. South Africa is a confusing place, and I definitely need God to shed some light on what's happening. Confusion doesn't mean the country is far from God. In fact, I see a lot of Christ's ministry happening in this place. Truth and reconciliation as a way of healing, HIV/AIDS missions, the arts and creativity as a frontier in learning, and the new possibilities that are required when building cities to mark a new page in a nation's history. Besides China, I think it's one of the only countries I've visited that is relatively aware of its own evolution. It's an exciting time. Some similarities too; China reaching awareness as the Beijing Olmpics arrives, South Africa gaining momentum as the World Cup descends on the bottom of the African continent.

Thinking on that scale, I started dwelling on Kingdom countries and the possibility of movements (that would be eventually politicized, not inherently political) starting based on people bringing God's kingdom in this world. Jesus proclaims and demonstrates healings and casting out darkness as individual encounters with people, but he also talks about the year of Jubilee, upside-down social order, peacemaking, and reconciliation. If practiced, these things would rock nations.

It makes me wonder how we integrate the two. It also makes me seriously ponder leadership in any of these movements. Just think if former President Mandela or even Bishop Tutu healed people (maybe they have, I don't know) through prayer in the Spirit. People would be flipping out. There's something about Jesus that's so reassuring: he did not become a political figure in any modern sense. He was aware of political ideology and shrewdly incorporated that into his message, but he was never after political power. He was merely politicized in that way. It really makes me wonder the possibilites political leaders have in Kingdom building.

I definitely get caught up in stories like this, and I wonder how mine will unfold now that I'm more aware of South Africa's narrative. I returned to Jerusalem and Sydney after visiting what I found to be fascinatingly complicated places. I had been thinking of doing something in Africa next summer with friend before this trip, but we were envisioning West not South Africa. Hmm. More wisdom needed.

Zimbabwe tomorrow. Given what's going on with the rest of the country, it's disturbing that because of Victoria Falls so many tourists come through the area. I guess the tourism might be helping in some ways, but Mugabe needs to be confronted. Ironic that we'd visit a formerly boycotted country because of apartheid and then visit Zimbabwe. Currently, 1 dollar equals 30 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. The result: their official currency is the U.S. dollar. Craziness. They're even outfitting their ATMs with dollars now. The average salary is around 60 to 90 dollars a month.

Let Your Kingdom come...


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