Saturday, 28 November 2015

We Will Work With Each Other, We Will Work Side By Side

Thank you, Holy Father

I hear in the news that you are raising awareness about inequality, poverty, climate change, tolerance and inclusion, justice for all not impunity for some, and lobbying in the corridors of power.  This is very encouraging to me, a missionary who went to one of the ends of the earth instead of keeping my career options open in the comforts of North America.

Inequality is the not just about which side of the tracks you are born on, it is about which continent you are born on.  Some are luckier than others in this respect.  But the Refugee Crisis in Europe is evidence that we cannot live in our palaces indefinitely, untouched.  Remember Lazarus...

Poverty of course depends a bit on where you are.  No one where I live sees me as poor, but I am told that what I earn here is now below the poverty line in Canada.  And with the Rand sinking now to almost 14-to-1 to the US dollar, my prospects of retiring in Canada get dimmer.  Never mind, I will remain here for "the duration" where ironically some people resent me for what they perceive as wealth.

On climate change, next month we are concluding a project that has trained 1000 youth to be green activists.  We are bidding in a tender this month to deploy these youth as "contractors" for the next 3 years at 120 sites.  Those projects can become "cash-for-work" channels for another 14 000 unemployed youth.  It's astounding to me, like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes, but that is the directions things seem to be going in.  Remind our North American prayer partners that as the West's carbon footprint has been so heavy for so long, they need to do proportionally more to conserve and to "live simply - so that others can simply live".  Including the next few generations.

Your condolences to those who lost family members at Mecca was so apropos to your teaching and example.  Way to go!  Did you hear that no less than 8 police officers were convicted of murder for dragging Mido Macia to his death behind a police van?  They said it was an accident.  Foreigners are not treated as equals here, going back to the issue of inequality.

Forget the impunity of the past.  It just makes matters worse, not better.  If clergy are out of line, charge them.  people in authority must be held accountable.  This week on Sept 30th there is a March Against Corruption.  It will be held at two venues - Pretoria and Capetown - concurrently.  I will be there, singing "We are marching to Pretoria..." although it is now Tshwane.  Ai ai ai.

And talk about lobbying in the corridors of power!  You spoke to the US Congress?  Wow, good form!  We have to do that.  But then you went to a lunch with poor people as well.  That is what validates what you say to the shakers and the movers.  We have to get used to dealing at both these levels.  Service is not enough without advocacy.  I remember hearing that the morning that Mother Theresa spoke to the United Nations General Assembly, she was washing toilets at the convent of her order.  She did a lot of that task. It says a lot about her.

I am encouraged to hear what you are telling people in North America.  It's precisely what I've been telling them for a long time.  But it's better coming from you.  That there is no point in "Ora" without "Labora".

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