On the evening of the election, tbV [the beautiful Val] and i hosted our own party. #ISeeWhatIDidThere
We invited around ten of our friends for food and drinks and cake and conversation and just hung out – no agenda beyond celebrating friendship and being in a trusted space with people we love. And it was a diverse group of people. And it was good.
Then last night we gatecrashed [kinda] another dinner with some friends of ours who were hosting an American and a Canadian woman i had met at a meeting the other day [Doing work in anti-trafficking and with peace promotion] and, it turned out, a whole bunch of mostly other friends we know and love. And it was a diverse group of people. And it was good. Very good.
The second dinner was slightly more intentional. Nathi invited us to go around the table [and it was a big table so probably fifteen, twenty people] and share a hope we have. Could be for South Africa. Could be personal. i don’t think he said. But it led to the most powerful time and i was pretty much in tears as the American woman, Lisa, spoke lift into us as people and a country. And also a few more times as other people shared their hopes.
Two things struck me so much i wrote them down:
One thing Lisa said was: This is how we make the world smaller, as we sit at tables together.
But it was the other statement that hit much harder, when one of my friends, a black woman, said this about the 1994 elections which was around the time she became a follower of Jesus and God told her now she had to love white people:
We loved them, but they didn’t love us back.
Sho, this was really meant to be a hopeful post, but then i remembered i had written these two statements down. How devastating is that? And of course #NotAllWhitePeople but clearly enough that it felt significant. And just knowing her story i imagine she would be well justified saying that still today [actually she shared an interaction that happened this last week that was just that!]
A Longer Table
On election day i wrote this as my status which i think is so crucial:
Today is important and today is significant, but if we are waiting for government to do the things we will be disappointed.
If you are not involved in “active courageous citizenship” [love this phrase he shared] and “speaking truth to power” then you are wasting your vote and perhaps your life. You don’t get to shout at the government if you aren’t active in being part of the change.
So what are you doing with your money to help another person, a family, education or an organisation?
What are you doing with your time to help another person, a family, education or an organisation?
What are you doing with your skills, expertise and talents to help another person, a family, education or an organisation?
Find a place to volunteer at, find an organisation to support, start a Common Change group, be intentional about your friendships and those who you invite to your dinner table and let’s build South Africa together.
Two nights of diverse groups of people gathered to break bread together and just hang out. i think that is where the ‘New South Africa’ is going to be discovered. i think that is where that elusive ‘Rainbow Nation’ will be formed. So during last night’s dinner i decided that this is where i am going to be putting my vote.
i want to be intentional about filling our house with a diverse group of people for a meal and a hangout time at least once a month. We’re not talking Deep Dive Dinners with a specific agenda [although we do still want to do more of those] or Common Change Generosity Dinners [an amazing way to kickstart your Common Change group which you should seriously consider] but just people in a place for a time.
My actual vote on Wednesday didn’t really feel like it made so much of a difference in the bigger scheme of things. But my vote to be intentional about creating spaces of diversity might have more of a chance. More as a hope booster than anything else, i think. Because the people we hung out with this week don’t need to be taught that diversity is important – they live it. And they are all people who in their work and in their free time are engaged in life-giving community-and-nation-transforming work and activities. When we share hope we are all encouraged and will go out and do even better.
The hope i shared around the table last night was that the church in South Africa would reflect the people sitting at the table last night, not just in look, but in depth of relationship and commitment and connection. Most of the church in South Africa has a long way to go on this i think. But the hope is there.
The X has been made. Now the real work continues…