Who owns the land?

On Saturday 26 January, the topic chosen for our Diversity Dialogue was “Who owns the land?”

The dialogue began on an intellectual level with much reference to facts and articles written about the land issue. It became apparent that the facts were interpreted differently according to the framework people were coming from. People tend to expose themselves to the information that confirms their bias. As we continued, the underlying optimism or pessimism of people became apparent, with the majority sounding more pessimistic.

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How do we manage inconsideration in community and how do we improve?

Inconsideration was the topic chosen by the group on 8 December 2018.

Here are some comments made at the end of the dialogue – perhaps not always answers to the question, but certainly food for thought …

  • “I believe that bullies get supported, no-one wants to escalate the situation and to avoid conflict, so we support the bully. If that’s the way we do things interpersonally, we are not going to change the broader picture in our country.”
  • “Most fear is coming from men. If men are secure in their position, they will be more considerate to women.”
  • “We need to change selfishness, where people are concerned with themselves and don’t do anything even when they hear screaming.”
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God with us

It starts with a genealogy going back right to the beginning, to the first man, fallen.

The fallenness is evident in the list of real people

God has chosen to be part of his son’s very human ancestry:

The venerated patriarchs – who paved the way for those behind

but stumbled over their own lies, cowardice and cheating.

The kings – some men after God’s own heart but also adulterers, murderers and idolaters …

even upright leaders of society had their hidden sins exposed by God’s Word.

Women are mentioned – a prostitute who saved Jewish spies,

a gentile widow who followed her forlorn mother-in-law wherever she went,

a multiple widow who tricked her father-in-law into donating his sperm.

All are mentioned by name, known completely in their complexity by their creator,

who majestically stands outside and beyond.

 

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Finding Hope

During our October Diversity Dialogue with the topic of “Finding Hope”, two strong voices emerged – the “trapped” and the “free”.

 

At one point the trapped voice explained “It feels like we tell them our struggle and they bombard us with this hope thing. They say, here is a wall, climb it and everything will be okay. We come from a background where no-one climbed the wall. Hope and motivation itself are a leg-up we did not have.”

Later, the free voice said, “At some point, I have to ask, how can I help you with the skills I have learnt coming from my background? I take the time to sit down and try to help you. How do I show you that I am trying to empower you and not belittle you? I am trying to pass on skills down a chain.”

During this dialogue, there was movement towards each other and a greater understanding of each other’s point of view. We left with the will to apply what we had learnt into our contexts, trying to pass more hope on to others in love.

Love and Trust

At the Diversity Dialogue at the beginning of September, the topic chosen was Love and Trust. When we asked ourselves, what was standing in the way of building love and trust, many voices emerged, including: masks, anger, selfishness, poor self-esteem, lack of respect, fear and patriarchy.

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What blocks progress?

This topic drew the most votes at our Diversity Dialogue on 4 August 2018 – “We have such potential as a country. Why are we stuck?” A long list of reasons was identified: Inequality & poverty, Labelling & discrimination, Poor leadership with no integrity, Broken people, families & communities, Fear, A culture of destruction & rage, Greed, Denialism, Right wingers, White supremacy, Patriarchy, Despondent & desperate youth … it seemed overwhelming – there was a general feeling of paralysis and fear in the room.

Anger moved the system out of this trapped overwhelming feeling at the beginning of our time together and it became a lively dialogue. This was illustrated by the movement of the person in the “Despondency” voice to join the new voice of “Young black (disadvantaged) women” that emerged. Other changes included that the voice of “Patriarchy” was heard speaking from “Poor Leadership” and the individual in “A culture of destruction” became a “Fix it” voice.

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White supremacy

On 7 July at Christ Church Midrand, the topic chosen for our dialogue was “How to kill white supremacy” with the themes of “land restitution” and “dealing with anger” influencing the conversation.

Apartheid was described as “successful in meeting its goals”, because the structures it put in place largely remain and this outside structural racism has penetrated our insides. Our inner racism, even in those who don’t want to be racist, is pervasive. Often both white and black people think that white people are superior and black people inferior. Many black women feel they are at the bottom of the oppressive systemic racism pyramid. At the same time, black women spoke from the pain of being married to black men who feel trapped in their circumstances – they want to be strong for their women but feel they have to swallow racism to keep their jobs and survive financially.

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Events Calendar

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