+Tutu speaking of faith

Public Radio’s Speaking of Faith program features “South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on “the God of surprises” — how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded through the history he’s lived”:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: There’s no question about the reality of evil, of injustice, of suffering, but, you know, at the center of this existence is a heart beating with love. You know, that you and I and all of us are incredible. I mean, we really are remarkable things. That we are, as a matter of fact, made for goodness.

For a direct link to the audio here

Podcast found here.

Excerpt – but listen to the interview to get the full flavor:

Archbishop Tutu: You know, they recently did a genome sequencing and found that through my mother I’m related to the sand people, who are the earliest inhabitants off southern Africa and probably some of the earliest human beings. But I think, I mean, that the later resistance was because of various factors. You know, the people who influenced me, the schools that I went to. You know, at one time I worked for the World Council of Churches and we were based in London. I came from Africa. There was someone from Taiwan. There was someone from Malaysia, someone from the States, and then someone from Latin America, and he introduced me to Latin American liberation theology. And I came to visit for the first time in the United States and here encountered black theology. So all of that was a very significant part of what helped to open my eyes. Mercifully, there isn’t anything like the so-called self-made person.

Ms. Tippett: Right. You had spiritual companions.

Archbishop Tutu: Yes. They are more than that. I mean, they are people who helped to form me. And then discovering that the Bible could be such dynamite. I subsequently used to say if these white people had intended keeping us under they shouldn’t have given us the Bible. Because, whoa, I mean, it’s almost as if it is written specifically just for your situation. I mean, the many parts of it that were so germane, so utterly to the point for us …

Ms. Tippett: Can you recall one of those early discoveries as the Bible as dynamite? Some teaching that you suddenly saw as so relevant?

Archbishop Tutu: Well, it’s actually right the very first thing. I mean, when you discover that apartheid sought to mislead people into believing that what gave value to human beings was a biological irrelevance, really, skin color or ethnicity, and you saw how the scriptures say it is because we are created in the image of God, that each one of us is a God-carrier. No matter what our circumstances may be, no matter how awful, no matter how deprived you could be, it doesn’t take away from you this intrinsic worth. One saw just how significant it was.

Although I was a bishop, I was working now for the Southern Council of Churches and had a small parish in Soweto. Most of my parishioners were domestic workers, not people who are very well educated. But I would say to them, “You know, mama, when they ask who are you” — you see, the white employer most frequently didn’t use the person’s name. They said the person’s name was too difficult. And so most Africans, women would be called “Annie” and most black men really, you were “boy.” And I would say to them, “When they ask who are you, you say, ‘Me? I’m a God-carrier. I’m God’s partner. I’m created in the image of God.'” And you could see those dear old ladies as they walked out of church on that occasion as if they were on cloud nine. You know, they walked with their backs slightly straighter. And, yeah, it was amazing.

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