A man was sitting opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his friends to him, the man said, “This poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”
i enjoy playing poker when i get the opportunity.
There is a term called “All in” where you push all your chips [representing all your money and your life in the game] to the middle and back yourself to win the hand. Or possibly be out of the game for good.
HOW MUCH ARE YOU PUTTING IN?
This is the question i sit with as i reflect on a variety of conversations online and off just from the past week or so with regards to South Africa.
You want a “New South Africa”, you hope for a time when the Rainbow Nation can be an actual thing and not simply an empty political promise or image many cling to.
But what are you prepared to do to see us get there?
# Are you prepared to be uncomfortable? In online conversations when so many people rush to speak, to interject, to make excuses or to deflect the conversation with a “Jacob Zuma” or “ANC government” comment [Yes, i think Jacob Zuma and the ANC government have let everyone down in many ways], to “explain themselves” [you know, so that no-one thinks i’m racist cos heaven forbid] to “Yes, but…” and more… are you prepared to be quiet for a bit and listen and try and understand and learn and hear perspectives that are very different to your own or very different to what you grew up with. Are you prepared to continue engaging with someone who does think you’re racist? Are you prepare to say or write the words, “I’m a recovering racist” because you realise that well, actually…
Are you prepared to host conversations over your dinner table? Maybe with friends and family. They don’t have to be as official as the kind of Deep Dive Dinner Conversations tbV and i have pulled together from time to time, but just being intentional about discussing the latest news bulletin or interesting article you saw – you know, investing in real conversations about real and significant things.
# Are you prepared to be loose-handed with your resources? You have a spare room and you hear of a student struggling to find accommodation. You have a particular set of skills and have the ability to mentor someone who is starting out in your line of work. Or you have an hour or so a week to get involved in an after-school program. You have a birthday coming up and instead of getting a bunch of things you probably don’t need, you could find a creative way of directing people’s affection for you into some other worthwhile project or need. Have you thought about down-scaling your house or your “standard of living”? If you gave up coffee for a year, what would you be able to do with those [for some people] thousands of rands?
# Are you prepared to get creative? i know of many people who have chosen to make where they live a part of their wanting to see change in South Africa. From Manenberg in Cape Town to work with people trying to get off drug addiction to Durban CBD to groups of people moving into Salt River and Nyanga to hopefully impact the community to our more simpler “move into a community where not everyone looks like us”. Is where you stay something you would give up as a means to connecting more with different people?
The Warehouse in Cape Town are responsible for many exciting ventures and conversations but one of the most exciting at the moment is how they are championing The Justice Conference which is going to be happening in Cape Town in March next year. My friend Ashley and his wife Helene head up Bottom Up NPO in Cape Town training children how to play chess and other games and opening up opportunities for them that might otherwise not have been possible.
What is your skill? Your gift? Your passion? And how can you direct that towards people less fortunate than you so that somehow you become a part of redressing the imbalances of the past?
WHICH TWO CENTS ARE YOU THROWING IN?
It’s not enough to only be doing activism, calling for change online.
Let me say that again: It’s not enough to only be doing activism, calling for change online.
If the only “work you are doing towards a better South Africa” is fighting with people online or sharing things, then you’re missing the point. There has to be relationship happening. There has to be life engagement. There has to be some kind of cost.
One of the things i firmly believe is that all of us have to be embracing the idea of a #NotOnOurWatch movement where we interrupt racism, injustice, sexism, bullying, negative watsapp profiling, rape culture wherever we see it. The more that more of us start letting those of us around us know that “That is not okay!” to things that aren’t okay, the less they will do it. It’s positive peer pressure. And it works. Eventually.
The story right at the beginning of this piece, and it is a story from the life of Jesus incidentally, involved not a lot of money, but a whole lot of sacrifice. The woman gave everything [based on the belief that God had her back]. How much are each of us prepared to personally and cooperatively throw in to the basket to see the kind of country we are looking to see happen.
How far are you willing to go? And is there a change or a move or a decision or a conversation that you need to be having this weekend?