God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

Pentecost and Ramadan in exhausting times

 

 

 

 

 
Let’s be honest: our times are overwhelming in the moment – it is tiring to learn every day new scandals about our government, president and ministers and associates in South Africa. It is causing fatigue to see every day tweets and news from the US American president whose self-absorption trumps all his predecessors, adding to the complication of international politics. It is simply too much to watch the news and learn about new horrors of terror, killing sprees and war in our global village. And closing the circle and coming back to South Africa it simply creates sadness and incomprehension to read constantly about all the rapes and murders in a society having lost completely the moral compass.
“Enough is enough” one would like to shout and close eyes and ears to withdraw from all those stories, yearning for times of a “normal” life whatever it means for each and everybody of us.
Feeling helpless in the chaos of our times might be a normal reaction, but maybe such times remind us how important it is to know who we are and what we stand for. Maybe such times bring us closer together with those, who care, with those who mind more than their own business. Intact families and knowing the own values also helps as does speaking truth to power. Using whatever means one has to encourage each other and simply to do good, to do what has to be done and being a living example for others.
It is indeed difficult especially in South Africa to do so – the narratives of colored pain and historical entitlement versus prescribed guilt creates a sensitivity which is in danger to be the base for new injustices and for the time being complicates the ability to face all the challenges of life in our times.
We Christians celebrate Pentecost today – we believe that the divine spirit opens new doors and let people of different languages and faith understand each other. It is a reminder that our lives meant to be full of love, hope as well as tolerance and respect for each other. Pentecost opens a new dimension of faith being a tool to understand each other – it contrasts so greatly from those using faith as a tool of destruction or hiding place for their insults on the divine. Our brothers and sisters of Muslim faith celebrating Ramadan – a month of reflection and devotion to a God of Mercy. We should never forget in these trying times there is faith as a source of encouragement and rooting ourselves to withstand whatever is thrown at us. And not only to withstand, but to change and alter to the positive. The true meaning of faith: a source of hope…

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

Prolonged Good Friday and hopefully Easter in South Africa

Tomorrow Christians around the world are celebrating Easter – feast of the resurrection. It feels odd to me on first sight as South Africa seems to “enjoy” a prolonged Good Friday experience – crucified by corruption, downgrading, political ignorance, state capture and witnessing an agonizing dead of a liberation movement trying to turn into a political party. And not only on the level of politics and society but also on an personal level Good Friday continues: poverty, lack of food security, high crime rates, xenophobia – maybe this inner connect of a religious celebration and reality brought so many people to churches all over the country yesterday; the sense and recognition of despair and sometimes the knowledge that alone one can’t stem the wave of all this negativity. And South Africa is not alone in this prolonged Good Friday experience when we look around in the global village.

For that very reason the message of Easter, the message of resurrection, the message of hope carried by more than a billion Christians is so important in our days – Easter does not negate or take away the pain of the past or the pain of the present times but it holds the promise of a turnaround and a better future. And more: it speaks not only of a promise but for us Christians it manifests a reality that this turnaround is possible not only in a far away future, but that Easter, that resurrection can and will happen in our days if people just find the courage to act on it, simply to live it.
Easter is not so much the promise of a life after death – it is the promise that things can be turned today – the bible tells multiple stories of people encountering the risen Christ, e.g. on the way to Emmaus and always after such an encounter life is not the same anymore.

Understanding the deeper meaning of Easter frees from many anxieties – it also brings to the forefront that we are at the end all part of one,of the divine – we call it in human language we are brothers and sisters in one family. There is no race except the human race being inter-connected in the divine mystery. The day people understand that we are part of one creation – as the Apostle Paul puts it – still developing through space and times – is the day we will move forward and that will be the day Africa will be rising within the global village.

Easter, the religious message of Easter holds so much for the situation South Africa is in today – and I hope and pray that those attending the Easter celebrations in any of the churches not only are filled with hope but also filled with the energy to heal and transform our South African society for the better – ambassadors of a reality ignited in the midst of darkness.

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

10.09.2009 Thursday morning

I just got into the office and thought it would be nice after all the evening notes to write one in the morning. A new day is laying ahead of me – blue skies, sun – a beautiful spring day in Cape Town. A dentist appointment is the only misery ahead this day as I hate dentists. Dentists are associated with discomfort and pain. But on the other hand: isn’t pain not part of everybody’s life and is pain not a catalysator for growth very often? How many painful lessons we had to learn in life? Sometimes so painful that we thought we will never make it through; only to discover that we were stronger and more mature afterwards. Well, if this thoughts are not helping while sitting on this hot chair later, I will just try the “ohm” meditation…

Meetings with a representative of a bank is also painful – the fees are high, the service standards are very low, the ignorance concerning the client is breathtaking. Still a long way to go before the attitude is changing. I also have to phone my security firm again. 5 phone calls, a reference no, numerous emails and the result is as you would not be existing. ADT shows a service delivery attitude which is mind-blowing as well.

The volunteer of “weltwaerts” promised to finalize the webpage of HOPE Cape Town today as he will leave on Saturday and wants to take off tomorrow. He is good, but also good in waiting until the last minute, wondering what went wrong… Amazing youth.

I have to visit the post office as well today, LH Miles & More really emailed me to enquire about the right address to deliver their card. Amazing and a double plus for them. The first time in 8 years. Well done!!

And in the evening I will have my farewell dinner with the pastoral community council members and their partners. I invited them to the Mediterranean Villa, our guesthouse and community center for a Asian style dinner buffet. I am looking forward to it, as they have been really marvellous over the years, supporting, helping, and just being there for the community and for my own sorrows. So the evening will most probably end on a more somber note of farewell and “time to say good bye”.

Last but not least I have to pack my stuff – tomorrow I am flying to Durban for a farewell weekend in my second community in Durban. Also a very special crowd and I am looking forward to meeting them.

Filed under: Reflection, Uncategorized, , , , ,

06.08.2009 amazing and difficult

Sometimes looking up the lists of sponsors and donors or reading through emails I am amazed to read and sense how much people, whom I  never have seen in person, are close and well connected to my own life and work.  The work in the fields of HIV and AIDS, the somehow upstream battle with being able to hold on your own conviction in your own church, it leaves one often exhausted and down. But then, somehow and from somewhere, an uplifting email arrives, a much needed donation is done, an to me unknown person dedicates times and thoughts to be with me in spirit and thoughts.

For me, this is the most amazing part of working with HOPE Cape Town and advocating a measured and meaningful response to the pandemic. Even if the conflict potential within the church sometimes brings me down, there is always a light coming from somewhere. Be it a person, I am dealing with in my work, be it a totally stranger from the other end of the world.

For me, this is the miracle of life and the most amazing experience I have made in the last years. And the warm feeling it creates is worth all the pain and suffering while trying to develop a way in the minefield of HIV and AIDS and all the moral implications, when some of our church leaders are to afraid to tackle them.
It is so endless difficult to have my voice heard in my own church and to be respected for what I am going through and experiencing while doing this work. It is breathtaking how fast one is corned and in effect put in a corner and labeled and sidelined from individuals within the church, who think that their own limited (office) experience represent the whole world.

But once again reading through the encouraging emails, listening to voices of strangers on the phone just wanting to say their appreciation of what you are doing – they are like angels and they do more for the good course than they can ever imagine.

Filed under: HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Reflection, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12th HOPE Gala Dresden

HOPE Gala Dresden - the event to be in DresdenOctober 28th, 2017
33 days to go.

Ball of HOPE 2018

Join us @ The Westin in Cape TownMay 12th, 2018
7 months to go.

Blog Categories

Block Entries Calender

September 2017
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Stefan Hippler Twitter Account

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 2,019 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: