I have been reflecting on what I saw and experienced in Zimbabwe, the physiological, political and financial needs, the church, the business, the searching for a saviour and the reflections I see in the UK. My reflections bring me to the theme of water. What concerns me is the church has become reliant on models of delivering sanitised spirituality through a Victorian system or a bottled version with exaggerated promises.
As a team of mostly white Europeans Christian’s we rely on our money, tablets, bottled water, lotions, potions, phones, wifi, we don't rely on God. We rely on our intellect to win the game of politics of church power and control. We rely on safe foods, hand sanitizer, ability to bride, insurance, contacts in high places ... who is our God?
Fridges that would typically stock soda’s and juice are empty as there is no one bringing supplies A couple of craft shops remain open and we are amused by a poster stating “The Party Starts Here” yet everywhere is closed and there are few people around.
We learn that 55% percent of the country now has no internet, meaning that there is no way for the demonstrators to communicate with Whatsapp or similar are easy rally masses of people. It also means we are without much communication to the outside world and don’t know what is happening. Without access to social media, no TV and a broken DVD player it seems like this is going to be a long and quiet day.
It was insightful, honest, challenging, gripping and inspiring. Rev. Gondongwe articulated the theology, thoughts and practices I have had as meandering ideas but he expressed them with clarity and in a succinct manner. Rarely do I hear Christians speak about the faults and mistakes of the church as well as its successes and positive contributions. It was excellent.
You must have a framework of justice! Be guided by the principal of justice!
Our hearts were certainly in our stomachs as we crept along. It began with a sense of tension that we could feel from our driver and the team leaders of our trip.
Baboons run and climb around all over the place (though not in the lion enclosures) looking for food and being a nuisance. I am particularly found of the Galapagos Tortoise named Tommy who, we are informed, is estimated to be around 340 years old.
We drive onwards through the rain. Our driver is from the Harare area and is there able to talk a little about the places we pass. I am struck at one point when he points to an area that looks like an area that is simply a natural area of trees and vegetation. Our driver says that this was a farm that grew Gum Trees, they produce naturally straight poles which are used to construct houses. It is perhaps the first time I have knowingly seen such a farm, the result of the land appropriation of the early 2000's resulting in the exodus of white farmers.
The singing is great, only this time we are required to dance when our name is called. It is a somewhat embarrassing experience, though fun, I am pleased that none of us are famous enough to warrant TV crews who will share footage far and wide. It is enough to say, white folk can't dance!