emerging event at TUKS
October 23, 2007
TUKS mission is an organization that promote mission at the university of Pretoria. Most people, myself included, knew no more about TUKS mission than their yearly missions week, where they usually got some fancy preacher from America. I attended this event in my first year (2003), and the first evening of my second year, but then decided that this was the end. I couldn’t stand the people trying to manipulate everyone into going to faraway places to preach a gospel of sin management (to use the words of Dallas Willard). And what was more, I got fed up with the people they got to man all kinds of book stalls and stuff outside or in front of wherever they were meeting. I especially couldn’t see what the creationists had to do with missions.
OK, now I’ve got this of my chest, the secret is out, and everyone can know what I thought about these people. Then I saw a poster on campus a few days ago about an analogy meeting which would be held last night, and from what the poster said, I had this feeling that these people got some ideas from the alternative worship or emerging crowds, so I decided to give them a second chance. I told Maryke beforehand that if I get irritated, I’m just going to leave. I’ll leave them to do things their way, but I’m not going to attend just for the sake of attending.
But I was quite wrong! Waiting outside TUKS conference centre I noticed more people than I expected. Analogy isn’t the big missions week event held every year, but something new that got started by TUKS mission. I also noticed a number of first and second year theological students, which was something new. Usually the theological students don’t mix with the TUKS mission crowd, not that the theological students don’t like mission, they are very much involved with the outreach events from Universiteitsoord, but there has, since I can remember, been a major discomfort with the way TUKS mission did things, and the people they associate with.
OK, so we came into the conference centre, right outside the door was a table with coffee and tea. Inside there wasn’t any chairs, everyone sat on the ground, and the room was filled tight! The event started out with a home made video, that was done quite professionally (advantage of a student community), that showed some picture while a song played that I didn’t know. Then someone stood up and told us that we can stand up and get coffee at any stage in the meeting. There was a number of different voices that added to the event, reading poems, explaining things, or whatever.
We then watched a video from Special Assignment about child prostitution in Sunnyside, the area right beside the university. This was great! The move from talking about Afghanistan and the Muslim crisis in the mid-east to talking about the realities at our doorsteps, talking about the needs of people just a couple of blocks from us was great! Afterwards someone that work with these kids talked for too long, didn’t time her, but that was the one thing that could have been shorter. After her we had two homeless guys that formed a panel, they told their stories, and then we could ask them questions.
The evening ended of with a time of reflection, lying around on the carpet (at this stage some people had to go, so there was more room), while some poems was read. All in all, this was a good experience, and somehow, I’m not sure whether they were aware of this, they started doing that which many of us are talking about. The liturgy won’t be found in any textbook, but the evening was big on liturgy. There wasn’t a sermon, but you found theology. We didn’t know each others names, and there was no “let’s get to know each other” activity, but there was community.