One or two things I want to add to my previous blog…
Coming back to the chat show on the SA economy. A number of small business owners phoned in to say that they were only too glad to give employment to people, seeing it as their contribution to nation-building. However, the amount of red tape and paper-work to get around on an almost daily basis was so discouraging, if not slowly strangling their businesses to death.
In a social setting, in attempting to serve Jesus in a poverty-stricken township/squatter-camp community for several years, I have had similar experiences. For years now we have wanted to re-establish a small, informal ‘half-way home’ for HIV Aids sufferers who, by virtue of extreme poverty, abandonment by family, etc., need a place where they can be nourished with good food to receive medication or at least die with dignity and something of the ‘tlc’ of Christ. However the red tape from our city council plus governmental social departments has made this impossible thus far – consider this in the light of caring social workers, nurses and community members pleading for such a facility. It’s certainly not for lack of trying on our part. Of course we believe that with prayer we will succeed.
From my dealing with institutional churches over a lifetime, I have found things almost equally frustrating. By the time you have got a pressing need past church constitutions and regulations and committee meetings, people have suffered unnecessary misery and often despaired of life itself. All this when Christianity is essentially the life of God in the soul of man and the extension of Christ’s incarnation. After all, the Church is ‘His body’ on earth (Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4).
Some years ago we hosted a Pastor Zuccharelli from Argentina in our city. Together with Ed Silvoso and others he had seen revivals break out in Argentinian prisons, to the extent that in a certain prison 80% of the inmates professed faith in Christ, they virtually guarded themselves, and they tithed some of their meals to feed hungry street kidz outside. He related to us his experience of his first visit to Africa/South Africa. As his plane approached Cape Town airport he was asking God for some understanding of the needs of our continent and country. One word dropped into his spirit, ‘CONTROL.’ Makes you think, doesn’t it? Why is it that Christians (and particularly Christian leaders) find it virtually impossible not to organise/control everything?
By the way, there was another sentence I recall from Pastor Zuccharelli’s visit at that time: ‘You can’t change what you don’t love.’ As my seminary professor used to say, ‘Put that in your theological pipe and smoke it!’