South Africa: prayer for solutions

It’s hard to open a newspaper in South Africa without being saddened by front-page stories about police corruption and brutality, the abuse of women, and the misuse of political power. Yet, almost everyone you meet shows some measure of hope and a determination to help make things better—very often through prayer.

For example, one of the senior ministers in His People Johannesburg church told me when I visited South Africa recently that during their 15 worship services every Sunday they try to be proactive in bringing about a change in values in South Africa. “We constantly marvel at the way Jesus chose ordinary people to change the world through acts of kindness and love,” he said. “We are concerned to promote multiculturalism at the personal level, and cross the barriers of racism, sexism, and ageism, with a special thrust toward young people.”

And young people are getting the message, said a mother of three who runs a horse-riding school in Ballito on the Natal North Coast. She told me she had turned to the Oscar Pistorius murder trial as an opportunity to discuss the culture of celebrity with her children. At all times beware of creating idols, she told them. “Rather put spiritual qualities on pedestals than people. When we elevate humans into Godlike figures we set ourselves—and them—up for disappointment.” As a family, she explained, “we turn to the Bible every day for spiritual intuition in everything we need. We rely on it and trust it.”

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June 17, 2013

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