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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Found an interesting article on structural sin in South Africa:

“Give a man a fish”, the saying goes, “and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will always eat”. The problem with this saying, we in South Africa have discovered, is that even when you teach a man to fish, there are still signs that say, “NO FISHING”. So, in addition to teaching a man to fish, we also need to take down the “NO FISHING” signs! There are systems in place that prevent people from fishing, whether they know how to fish or not. Furthermore, my use of gendered language, which is deliberate, is a reminder that there are multiple systems, not just one. We in South Africa are particularly sensitive to identifying systemic signs because under apartheid we were surrounded by such signs. There were signs designating which racial group could sit on which bench, use which toilet, travel on which train, attend which school, be eligible for which job, marry which wife/husband, live in which neighbourhood, and be buried in which cemetery. From the cradle to the grave our lives were regulated by a racially based system. So when we “read the signs of the times”, as Jesus instructed his followers to do (Matthew 16: 1-2, Luke 12:54-57), we have learned to discern and identify the systems that control our lives.
Read the whole thing here.

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