This past week, East Mountain had the opportunity to participate in a community enrichment workshop on the history of the church in South Africa. The workshop was led by John Scheepers, the founder of a local organization and training centre called Isiphambano which strives to pursue cross-centered theology in response to the injustices seen in South Africa. These same injustices seen today are the repercussions of generations of racial and economic discrimination, including slavery and apartheid. A particular aspect we honestly examined was the painful legacy of the church’s involvement with many of these injustices. Colonialism and its consequences were deeply entrenched in the lives and even the theology of the same people who sat in the pews on Sunday. And yet the workshop also looked at the ways that God has worked, is working, and will always work in spite of humans. As painful as the history of the church in South Africa is, stories still emerge that show that the gospel is greater and bigger than we could ever hope or make it to be ourselves. In light of all we learned about the difficult history of the church, we as the body of Christ now have the responsibility to ask good questions, recognize that we will make mistakes, and think deeply and practically about what it means to pursue reconciliation as we love our neighbor well.
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