Conversation with Joe Reed

June 6, 2007

We are busy with the conversation on church unity. Although it’s a very sensitive topic, the conversations is very boring at the moment. Basically everyone agree that we should unite, but few are willing to unite at a great speed, the people seem to be very cautious. So I’m just typing some other stuff.

The past few days was just so hectic, I didn’t get round to anything extra. But on Friday afternoon I got a phone call which was quite extra-ordinary. I mean, it’s not everyday you pick up the phone and hear “Hey Cobus (pronounced Kaobis), the is Joe Reed from America”. Well, time was tight on Friday, but how can you not take time out for a conversation. I mean, it’s not like you can tell him: “No sorry, we’ll talk next time your in South Africa”. So, on Friday evening, after I spent some time with my x-roommate and friend, who is gay, to hear his thoughts on the synod, I met this guy in Hatfield Square.

I though about what I should topic this post. “Conversations with an American”, but I just realized that this won’t do. I don’t think this guy is your typical American. We really had a great conversation, mostly about Africa, and South Africa, about it’s problems. Joe really got me fired up, I just talked and talked and talked, about the things I get really passionate about.

I consider the two biggest problems to be HIV/AIDS and the rich/poor division. South Africa is currently the country with the widest gap between the rich and the poor, the country where the rich people has the highest percentage on the money. I don’t have links at the moment, since internet is a bit of a problem, but run some searches on “gini-coefficient”. I think we need to see social problems in a global context. Christians in help richer countries should care for the poor in poorer countries. But in South Africa we must also realize that we have a lot of money in this country, but it never trinkle-down (the capitalistic idea that if the country get richer, everyone in the country will get richer). We have some very rich people, and it’s not only the Americans and Europeans that should care about the poor of Africa, but also the rich of Africa. And I guess then I include myself in this, since I’m part of the richer group of people.

But, and this I appreciated about Joe, he was willing to also ask critical question about his own government, and their involvement in HIV/AIDS.

Well, we just heard from URCSA, NGKA and the RCA. The NGKA again reminded us that they have given a big “No” to Belhar. While we just before that gave a “maybe someday in the future” for Belhar, if I understood it correctly, at least, I think that is the proposal that need to be discussed with congregations, or regional synods, not sure anymore. We’ve made quite a point out of it the past few days to say that the general synod is a meeting of representatives of regional synods, not representatives of congregations. Thus the general synod cannot send things on to congregations, but only to regional synods. That’s if I understand it correctly, I’m not really an expert on this kind of stuff.

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