Be pro-courage

Grace and peace to you …

On Tuesday evening I was privileged to be at the launch of Sober and Sexy – Fiona McCosh’s naked calendar exhibition celebrating the journey of recovery from addiction. The courage it takes to pose naked in front of a camera was symbolic of the much greater courage it takes for people to strip away the blankets of denial and come clean about being an addict. The courage to lay one’s life bare about the things we are powerless over in the presence of others is huge. This is the courage of the recovery movement that includes Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous as well as other 12 step programmes. I continue to believe that these movements are some of the most faithful expressions of what Church is meant to be. A community so full of grace (non-judgment forgiving love) that we can risk being more truthful about our own lives. This alone will heal and set us free from our inner prisons of guilt and shame. We need grace (embodied in a person or group) to en-courage us to face what we experience as the shame-full truths of our living. And ultimately it is this grace that siphons away the power of our shame.

Then on Wednesday some us were part of the Unite Against Corruption march to parliament. I was struck by what Archbishop Thabo Makgoba said:

“It’s time to stop marching against corruption. Yes‚ you heard me right. It’s time to stop marching‚ having discourses and debates‚ writing and repeatedly speaking about being anti-corruption. Why? Because it’s not about being anti-corruption… It’s about being pro-courage.” Courage was the single most important ingredient in the success of the old Struggle. Yet‚ today‚ those same leaders who showed such courage in the old Struggle have not only abandoned the concept of courage; today they punish anyone who tries to uphold the principles of courage. Today we shouldn’t be here rallying against corruption. Today we should be asking… Aren’t we ready to fulfill our country’s destiny‚ by showing the same level of courage that won our liberation from apartheid?”

To be set free from the many social ills that beset our land it is going to take courage! So too overcome the demons within and without we must pray for courage.

“Courage, then, is the place where change begins. As Katharine Butler Hathaway wrote, “If you let fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will be safe, expedient and thin. Courage is the first requirement to start a new life…”

Graced to be courageous, Alan

Corruption within and without … Statement from the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa joins all our partners in faith in endorsing the anti-corruption marches set to take place on 30 September in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.

Corruption is rampant in every aspect of our lives including the private sector, business and government; it is a silent cancer that is mercilessly eating away at the very soul of our nation. Materialism at whatever the cost has become the dominant culture and impunity a way of life. Enough is enough!

We repent of any corruption that may exist within our ranks and call for reform within the church as we commit to pray and act against this pervasive evil that if not curbed will be the downfall of all our institutions and eventually our very economy.

In the wake of the numerous scandals that have bedevilled South Africa with no evident resolutions, the time has come for all citizens to take back their power and hold everyone in any form of leadership accountable to promote good stewardship and good governance.

We, call all Methodists to exercise their consciences in support of the march and other anti-corruption campaigns and to speak out against dishonesty, fraud and any forms of duplicity at every opportunity.

May the Lord help us,
Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa

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