God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

The sound of silence

I don’t know how you as the reader have experienced the last 14 months – for me, I can say I have had times when silence was the only answer I could give to all the challenges I saw appearing on a daily basis.

There was the challenge of the small little bug threatening to disrupt life in a massive way – so many things we took for granted were suddenly gone – and the freedoms we naturally enjoyed curtailed in ways not seen in my lifetime. And as much as it made sense in the beginning, there was always that voice of concern that democracy and civil rights seemed to be very vulnerable and the abuse of power by politicians a real opportunity.

Covid-19 also was the mirror where humanity could see all the failures, gaps and injustices it got so much used to; the vaccination story tells us about a still colonial mindset on both parts – those in the first world donating freely after securing their very own, but also the begging of African leaders while hiding the failures of their own doing, corruption and incompetence. For South Africans, the Covid-19 story will always be connected to a mind-boggling corruption not leaving out the Minister of Health and the department, tasked to save lives and not to play with them. But also Germany had its scandals in this regard; the temptation of power and money is universal…

Having to travel in the midst of a pandemic and often to deal with unreasonable rules and people, who seemingly have lost their minds in theories on COVID-19 and vaccination defeating any reason and departing from the possibility of meaningful discussion, adds fuel to the challenges on the road. The frustration of people and the trauma caused by all the lockdown rules will accompany us for a long time to come.

As a church person the ongoing discussions over child abuse, the refusal of many within the church to understand the depth of hurt and the cheer unbelievable clinging to power in Diocese of Cologne as an example simply added to the rollercoaster of feelings in the last month. Covid-19 has obviously put churches and their relevance for society on the spot – and we can expect more discussions on this topic as we go forward.

Obviously, as chair of the HOPE Cape Town Trust building a campus in the midst of a pandemic where funders and sponsors are fighting for their own survival has its own challenges; still, I am encouraged by the willingness of many to continue support and to encourage in all ways possible. For me, this goodwill is indeed a counterforce to all challenges mentioned.

The sound of silence – being able to switch of all the noise and to withdraw into the silence of your very own, to listen to the whisper of your inner voice confirming who you are and what you stand for – and what really counts in life – this might be the only point of reference to conquer the challenges of our times.

I strongly believe that you can find a meaning or a teaching or a hint or a message in any situation if you are able and willing to go back to your own roots and convictions. Covid-19 might be a great teacher in this regard. There is a chance that we as individuals come out much stronger than we thought – and this strength can be used to contribute to the well-being of society and humanity.

Filed under: General, Politics and Society, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , ,

After weeks of silence II

Sometimes it is good just to pause and be silent – especially when the world around one is seemingly drifting and spinning somehow in confusing directions. Silence gives time to reflect and to sort out what is important or not important – silence gives time to calm down and find the own midst again before the necessary action. Silence is the cushion to hold a situation close and intimate enough to discern and decide on the way forward.

After 7 weeks of traveling in Europe and America the first I have noticed in all the silence is the fact, that there are so many good people out there – while the newspapers and internet news are full of horrible and anxiety causing matters one has to remind oneself that most people are good people – that most people simply want to have a decent life and a better future for their kids.  The mean ones, the trouble makers are a minority – so there is meaningful hope that times will change.

Obviously coming back to South Africa and the load shedding, the corrupt political past and present as displayed by the official inquiries and watching the behavior of politicians clearly  having not the good of the nation in mind but their own perks and benefits – it becomes more difficult to remain hopeful for this beloved country and chosen home.
But also here looking more closely one cannot miss that hopefully the phase of naked corruption and untainted fascist rhetoric of some opposition politicians will come to an end and South Africa will be back on a way to prosperity for all and a non-racial society – home for all.

Given, Trump country teaches us that fake news or complete ignorance to sciences and truth can be voted into office in a democracy but the midterm election have shown that checks and balances are still possible and the institutions hold against the madness of self-absorbed politics attempting to spin out of control. The diversity of people within a society gives always a chance that balances are shifted – but also here there is hope that all will come alright after a detour which always teaches mankind a lesson to learn.

It is this hope the time of Advent is talking about – a hope which has its deepest roots in the certainty that our lives are meaningful and that the lives of all those around us are as important and as meaningful as ours. Nobody is first – nobody has a firstborn right – we are all equal as brothers and sisters called to reflect in the season of Advent and then to bear witness of one human race responsibly living on the planet given to us for the time being.

And where is that hope, there is love and there is faith – two other components important to the time of Advent. There is the willingness to work together for the good of all – and when we celebrate Christmas in some weeks – this hope, this love and this faith is manifested in the little baby born and celebrated on Christmas eve. New life means a new chance – in every newborn we can see all the possibilities of life and the sky is the limit – and so is our possibility to assist in turning this world into a good place for all.

Everybody is needed,
every good will be appreciated,
every good deed counts

– let us encourage each other and not despair –
the message of Advent is that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel – closer than we think and brighter than we can imagine.

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

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