The concept of “stewardship” has weaknesses. The idea of stewardship sets
humans over creation, not within it. It depicts the relationship of humans to
other creatures in a purely vertical way. Stewardship does not acknowledge that
we are also creatures, as we care for creation, creation also cares for us! The
focus on a vertical relationship (ruler, steward) has separated us from creation.
Modern western thought has denied our creatureliness, our embeddedness within
creation, and our interdependence with other creatures. It can be more helpful
to refer to us as part of the “the community of all creation” iv
THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION EVENT
What will geologists of the future see when they study this period in history?
Earth’s ecosystems have evolved for millions of years. This process has resulted
in diverse and complex biological communities, living in balance with their
environment. These diverse ecosystems provide people with food, fresh water, clean
air, energy, medicine and recreation. Over the past 100 years, however, nature and
the services it provides to humanity have come under increasing risk.
Scientists call this new era the “Anthropocene” (Anthro means human). During the
Anthropocene, our climate has changed very rapidly, oceans are acidifying, and entire
biomes are disappearing – during the short period of a single human lifetime. The
Earth is becoming much less hospitable for human and animal life.
Such is the magnitude of our impact on the planet that the Anthropocene is
becoming known as the world’s sixth mass extinction event. In the past such
extinction events took place over hundreds of thousands to millions of years. What
makes the Anthropocene so remarkable is that these changes are occurring within an
extremely short period of time.
Over the long period of the history of the planet five mass extinctions have been
identified in the rock records. How might a future geologist identify our generation
in the rock records?
Scientists suggest a range of markers will be detected, from pesticides to nitrogen
and phosphorus, and radioactivity . The accumulation of particulate plastics in marine
sediments will be found in many of the rocks. Finally, it is likely that a future geologist will notice the rapid decline in the number of species based on clues in the fossil record: the sixth mass extinction event has already begun.
The Living Planet Report WWFv.
Lili Radloff reflects on why the 9th of August is such an important day in the lives of South African women.
Let us focus on the reason we have this holiday in the first place.
Because, it is a good reason, even if the present day status quo leaves a lot to be desired. I’m sure most of you know this already, but let’s recap the history quickly:
On the 9th of August in 1956, a protest of over 20 000 women, led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn marched to the Union Buildings.
They dropped off petitions, signed by more than 100 000, at Prime Minister J.G Strydom’s offices, protesting the pass laws that proposed further restrictions on the movements of women.
These women of all ages and races marched bravely even though they faced arrest, detention and even bannings. When they arrived at the Union Buildings they sang Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika and also a new song that was especially composed for this march, “Wathint' Abafazi Wathint' imbokodo!” (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock) less directly translated as "You strike a women and you strike a rock".
So, in a nutshell, Women’s Day/Month is there to commemorate the bravery of those 20 000 women who put themselves at risk to rise up against injustice.
Rise up, O woman of God
In what He has given you,
The things God has laid on your heart,
Rise up, go forth, and do
Unlock what God has placed within,
The potential you have inside
The world is waiting for your release
To expand your wings and fly
Arise in your God-given gifts
For this is your finest hour
Arise in the Lord's holy might,
Ignited and empowered
For God is calling you to come forth
To impact this world for Him,
Don't hold back or limit yourself
Let His power arise within
And take His message to the world
To those that have lost their way,
For you can surely make a difference
If you'd hear His voice and obey
You shall be strengthened in the Lord
As you begin to arise,
Conquering those doubts that pull you down
And believe who you are in Christ
For you shall surely be transformed
As, in you, God increases more
And become a woman of true excellence
Bringing honour to her Lord.
Mention the name Saman Gunan in a discussion about modern-day heroes and you will most likely be met by either blank stares or a furious scratching of the head by those struggling to remember why the name sounds familiar.
Saman Gunan is the name of the Navy SEAL diver who died in the Thiam Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand while trying to rescue the schoolboys that were trapped there for nearly two weeks before they were all rescued.
The Gospel of St John records Christ saying: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
It is irrelevant to discuss what faith community Saman Gunan belonged to – if any. For all we know he could have been a devout atheist. In these days of religious fundamentalism and proselytizing, it is easy to forget that faith is expressed best when it is in the service of humanity.
Yet his willingness to lay down his life, not just for his friends, but for children that he probably did not even know existed, is a reminder of just how the human spirit is moved to be there for the other – Ubuntu/Botho – is embedded in the human genetic makeup.
In the words famously, and contentiously, ascribed to St Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words,” we are offered a stark reminder. Less contested and a source of an equally profound call are the words of Jesuit priest St Peter Claver (1581-1654), who said that “We must speak with our hands before we speak with our lips.”
This is a message that is lost to many faith communities who waste time debating why their religious dogmas or practices are better than those of another.
This does not mean that we must all be prepared to die. At the young age of 38 years, it is not unreasonable to assume that Saman Gunan and his family would regard his an untimely death.
The difference between heroes like Saman Gunan and many of us is that we would rather mute the instinct to serve the greater good at the expense of our personal comforts. Far too many of those who profess faith seem to think that the cramming of religious texts, the ability to recite and name the relevant chapter and verse, when called upon to do so, is of utmost importance.
The message that we learn from Saman Gunan’s life and death is that we must all be ready to use the skills and resources that we have to do whatever we can to ease the plight of those around us, even to the point in which we could bring ourselves into harms’ way.
We do not need to know the intimate details of Saman Gunan’s life and whether he believed in the same things we believe in. In his life and death we see the meaning of loving another as oneself. We too are invited to lay down our lives. The live feed of the rescue operation vividly showed the gospel in action. Whatever we do to the least among us, we do it for Christ himself.
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ