It is Nelson Mandela’s birthday today and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, the local press and virtually all other forms of media are voicing themselves in accolade and tribute to the greatness of the man. We verbalize our honour of him, also of his achievements, his moral, ethical, humanitarian, reconciliatory stand.
Even government officials in our country are taking the time and effort to give tribute and thanks. Many are jubilantly celebrating the high ground on and from which he took his stand.
We all bask in the glory … once a year.
But a year has 364 more days…
… and we all go back tomorrow and re-occupy the ground we usually stand on … not so high at all really.
I woke up to these public accolades this morning and penned my own little contribution. I published my “status” update and it went like this:
“what about this as a real birthday present for Madiba: – instead of doing the doting ‘fan’ accolades why not honour him fully by simply following his example of love, respect and inclusive reconciliation by extending dignity to all?
(does anyone know how to get politicians presently in domination to read this?)”
A bit closer to home perhaps we Christians love to quote scriptures. In so doing we reference what we value. We honour the scriptures because we believe in the righteousness contained therein, the ethics, the morality, the humanitarian values, the grace and the reconciliatory stand it takes, the goodness, peace – yes the peace, acceptance and all the other benefits it proclaims. We jubilantly celebrate the high ground on and from which Christ took his stand.
On Facebook I have a whole bunch of ‘friends’ who quote scripture as their status multiple times a day. Many do not leave any personal point of view, just the quote and its topographical grid reference. Nothing about them personally at all.
Great truth, profound wisdom, powerful transformational potential. However, a theory remains a theory until proven.
For me obsession with quoting scripture is like a heavy hammer beating on a thin, tin roof.
The Word became flesh and desires those who receive to flesh out the Spirit like he did – like he fully represented, lived, died for.
He never wrote anything down himself that we know of. His written ‘letter’ was intended to be evidence on the hands and feet of his followers, felt in the actions of the faithful, experience through the birth pangs of personal transformation. He intended for the life he offered to be lived out and expressed individually, personally, intimately, demonstratively, articulately. Not in multitudes of repetitious, parrot-fashioned memes or regurgitated declarations of intent, but rather in the impact of actions offered, lives surrendered.
The politicians love to celebrate Madiba, as do the world, us – you and me.
The politicians quote their version of scripture. They quote from some historical act of virtue and significance. An act performed on their behalf. They don’t seem to honour it, but they love the memory and the stories about it.
They quote Madiba – and then go about business as usual, mostly violating everything about him, his actions, his values, his example. But they remain committed members of “his” party. Committed to his memory and the legend of his life.
If there was a “Christian” social network (and I truly pray to God there will never be), I would enter the same status I did today only with this one alteration, I’d insert Jesus’ name for Madiba’s