Reading and learning
We spent some time with good friends this week. Those of you who know us well understand that we have a huge value of allowing COF’s (Cool Old Farts) into our lives. This week we reconnected with some of them. One of the blessings of our visit was an answer to the question: How can we discover the history and climate of our country? Our friends directed us to a bunch of books written by people who were part of the apartheids-era.
It’s weird how you can grow up in a country and live in it for almost 30 years and not really know it! Both Lollie and I grew up in middleclass white South African families (and it was a blessing). Now after reengaging in our country it is fun discovering and researching things far from our experiences while we were part of the day to day survival in Africa.
I’m currently reading My traitor’s heart by Rian Malan:
Like many white South Africans of his generation, Rian Malan fled his country to dodge the draft. He felt incredibly guilty for this act, but would have felt equally guilty for not doing it: “I ran because I wouldn’t carry a gun for apartheid, and because I wouldn’t carry a gun against it.” Malan, the product of a well-known Afrikaner family, returned to South Africa and produced My Traitor’s Heart, which explores the literal and figurative brutalities of apartheid. Death is a constant presence on these pages, and the narrative is driven by Malan’s criminal reportage. This acclaimed book intends to illuminate South Africa’s poisonous race relations under apartheid, and few books do it this well.
We know that it is crucial for pastors to know the stories and history of the country they live in and that’s what we are doing. It is also crucial to know the history and stories of the church – we are also reading a lot of church history stuff. This is a season of discovery for us!