God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

Moments of reflection


Traveling through the world for the last 5 weeks has given me the opportunity to see so many different landscapes – from Corsica to the South of France and the South of Spain – not to forget Bavaria with blue skies and the snow-covered Alps in the background –  the Garden State of New Jersey and finally New Mexico with the desert coming from Colorado with the Rocky Mountains.

Nature can be a blast – it can lift up the mood and it can almost trigger a certain way of talking with each other or even being silent in the presence of each other. Nature, an incarnation of the divine somehow tells you the story of all created being part of something much bigger, much serener, much more enchanted and connected then the good old bible story of  Adam and Eve being told by God to be masters of the world.

Even speaking over death and dying suddenly gets another meaning and a lightness is felt on this heavy thoughts of own mortality as if the comfort of the natural cathedrals changes the tune and mood of those engaging in such talks.

And one suddenly wonders whether the talk of man as the crown of creation is really the adequate language to use or whether this tribal expression coming from the good very old times has outlived its meaning and even damages our understanding of creation and the divine.  And how all is connected and inter-connected in a mysterious way and often only discovered listening to the guts and the feelings and the spirits guiding us.


And then suddenly there are more questions about how we talk about God, the universe and us – there are creeping questions into the conversation whether we got it really right thinking that there is a God somewhere sitting in the heavens – or now better universe or beyond the boundaries of all the known and unknown galaxies?
And whether the thinking of the divine as an opposite of mankind does still make sense or whether we need another language bringing our knowledge of modern science and the core elements of the biblical story into singing one tune.
Discovering ourselves as part of an universal conscience developing – the creation which is according to Paul still in labour – and all existing part of this process evolving more reflective.


Lots to reflect about, alone and together – as I said in a earlier blog – traveling is an adventure and we come home as changed persons – hopefully somebody will notice.

Filed under: Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Nepal and the gender debate

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Messe-83.JPG

Photo via WikiCommons/Sigismund von Dobschütz

While we in Europe and Africa the discussion on gender issues are heating up and churches and some other quarters of society clearly deny any suggestions that gender might be more diverse or partly also a product of society, some countries take realities and sciences into account. I was always thrilled to see that in my beloved Thailand the “katoi” was known as the third gender. And now the Himalayan country Nepal joins such support for transgender citizens.

Currently, Nepal is one of only eight countries that officially recognize third gender citizens, next to Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Thailand. However, despite first including third gender people on a census as far back as 2011, the Himalayan nation of 26.5 million recently marked an important milestone, issuing its first third gender passport.

According to “Human Rights Watch”, Monica Shahi made history when she received her passport with the designation O for “other,” rather than M (Male) or F (Female). Despite recognition of third gender persons, only a handful of the above listed countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, have issued corresponding passports.

It is indeed a step in the right direction – God’s creation is much more diverse as visible on first sight and I really believe that God has great humor and he enjoys to spice up creation and evolution with lots of colors, shapes and diverse beings. And whatever it is, sex, looks, handicaps – it all carries a divine message we are asked to receive, read and cherish one or the other way. God does not make mistakes – but humans are very much tempted to do so in prescribing God how to run his ongoing creation. Ecology and environment, nature and creation are top on the list since Pope Francis was elected to be the “St. Peter of our times”. In his encyclical “Laudato Si”  he combined bible and theology with scientific knowledge in a way no other writing of a pope has done before and it is only consequent to develop this combination of two ways of discovering God in all those other fields where we need answers to questions of today’s world and society. This also might mean and will mean robust debate, careful listening to each others positions, and surely being open to be surprised again and again how God works in mysterious ways. And one is for sure: faith and sciences as two ways of getting to know God and they can never really contradict each other – they always will support each other even if it takes time for us humans to understand and acknowledge it.

 

Filed under: General, Reflection, Religion and Ethics, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Radioactivity

Besides all the news about the bus bombing in Jerusalem today and the war games in Libya – Japan still maintains a role in the news on TV. And listening to the news about more and more radioactivity in food, in water, in the air and the evacuation of all workers of Fukushima Nuclear Plant I ask myself whether we really grasp the reality we are facing. Looking at the pictures of destroyed cities – empty shops, no electricity, no petrol: a whole system, praised as one of the most efficient and technology wise advanced nations has come to a still stand and the radioactivity in the nature and the sea will not go away soon. Most probably at least one generation will be constantly reminded of the disaster.

It is the second time, Japan is hit from the nuclear power – the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are still vivid memories for the Japanese people.

I read from Bishop Williamson, that he connects the disaster with the sins of the people and that God uses such punishment to bring people to re-think their doing. What a nonsense – what an abuse of a catastrophe for a meaningless theology – abandoned in that form a long time ago. God protect us from those Pius-brothers, they are really a pain in the neck of our church trying to recover from all the bad news of the last years.

It seems that most people have lost the ability to comprehend what is going on – the consequences of natural forces and that within minutes, our ordinary life is gone – as the people of a nation, a community or also in a private capacity. It reminds me that also other disasters like HIV/AIDS seems to be so incomprehensible that one stops thinking really of it, because it is “the others”, not me, not us. It is far away – it cannot happen to me, to us, to our family. Or the question of the millions dying of hunger every year, while we throw away food and subsidies destroying food in the rich countries or for farm products never been sold.

For me, the Japanese tragedy reminds me, how short-sighted we are and how we push away all thoughts, which would mean troubling thoughts on a long term run. Which would push me to give answers on questions I don’t want to be bothered with… Which maybe ask me to acknowledge that this world is still “in creation” as the bible put it – not ready, not in harmony – and even not giving an answer to the question “why””.

Be the work in the fields of HIV/AIDS or be it the tragedy in Japan – I hope I led all these questions to bother me as long as I live and challenge me to search for new answers every day.

Filed under: General, HIV and AIDS, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , ,

20.01.2010 Haiti

What can one say about Haiti – days after the earthquake one can still find miracles – people being found while trapped for days – but one also finds the impotence of the modern world to deal with disasters like it. After hurricane Katharina now Haiti is showing us how little we so developed nations with all our equipment can do when nature strikes. For me, besides all the human tragedy it is always amazing to see that we reach to the stars, explore the universe – but are not able to handle mother nature and it’s sometimes brutal aftermath. We are not the crown of creation – but part of it – and being part of creation means being part of living and dying in the circle of life – sometimes so completely against the way we portrait nature: gentle, perfect – or as it is stated in the Bible:  – and it was good.

We have to reconcile our longing for harmony between human mankind and nature with the realities: eaten and being eaten, natural disasters killing innocent people every year. The lion is still not laying with the lamb – but in Africa every year people are killed by wild animals; tornados, thunderstorms, storm flooding, earthquakes, avalanches – they all produce victims and most of it is completely unpredictable and most times, the poorest are impacted the most.

For me it also shows how precious life is – how sumptuous every minute we live and how fast it can be end. Such tragedy is not only a challenge for our compassion and solidarity, but also a reminder about the value of every minute we are able to live and put a meaning to our living.

Haiti – time to open our hearts and show solidarity, but also to open our minds and reflect on the meaning of it all.
And yes, it is difficult to reconcile or explain what has happened, but the most stupid explanation I have read so far was the one of a well-known American preacher Pat Robertson, who according to CNN attributed the earthquake to the fact, that Haiti “swore a pact to the devil” by the creation of Haiti.

Filed under: General, Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

13th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 27th, 2018
38 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018

Blog Categories

Block Entries Calender

September 2018
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Stefan Hippler Twitter Account

  • RT @katholisch_de: Einen Zusammenhang zwischen Homosexualität und Missbrauch herzustellen sei "unverantwortlich" und "eine Stigmatisierung"… - 10 hours ago

HOPE Cape Town Twitter Account

You can share this blog in many ways..

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,015 other followers

Translation – Deutsch? Française? Espanol? …

The translation button is located on each single blog page, Copy the text, click the button and paste it for instant translation:
Website Translation Widget

or for the translation of the front page:

* Click for Translation

Copyright

© Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rev Fr Stefan Hippler and HIV, AIDS and HOPE with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This not withstanding the following applies:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

%d bloggers like this: