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Oscar Siwali is mobilizing conflict mediators as the country goes to the polls. He only wishes his organization could train more.Oscar Siwali remembers watching Nelson Mandela’s triumphant walk as he left prison after 27 years. In 1990, as the young pastor of a Baptist church, Siwali saw himself as an evangelical focused on winning souls and tending to his flock’s spiritual needs, not needing to prioritize political concerns. Nonetheless, he shared the pride of his people’s successful anti-apartheid activism that demanded “Free South Africa Now,” an outcry that inspired worldwide solidarity.But just three years later, a far-right white nationalist assassinated Chris Hani, the charismatic leader of the African National Congress (ANC)—an attack that threatened to derail South Africa’s transition from the oppressive white-minority rule to a democratic government that represented the entire country.When Hani’s murder threatened to unleash a civil war that South Africans had labored so many decades to avoid, Siwali, like fellow Christian leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, realized his faith compelled him to action. He began to preach peace in his sermons and to talk to those who had taken to the streets.“I saw a different way of the work that I was called into, where I wasn’t just in service from the pulpit,” Siwali said. “That was truly my first revelation in seeing the importance of the clergy being out there, engaging with people … and [figuratively] taking that pulpit and placing it in the center of a community.”In 2013, Siwali founded SADRA, a faith-based organization that trains people of all ages and backgrounds to be conflict mediators in their communities. It also has special programs for local church leaders, whom SADRA believes can be most effective in areas prone ...Continue reading...
We do not deserve to wield influence in the church while being simps and sycophants to the secular world.There’s good reason for the church to be wary of social media influencers—particularly those who speak to spiritual matters. We aren’t wrong to be disconcerted at the idea of Christians being led by online personalities who might be more charismatic than theologically sound or more creative than credible, especially when the influencers are disconnected from church discipleship and discipline themselves. Algorithms, monetization, and viral moments create endless temptations and adverse incentives that can seduce even well-meaning creators into serving themselves and the worst elements of pop culture.Yet I’m also persuaded it’s possible for Christians to speak faithfully in that tension, and that we do ourselves no favors by running away from the reality of social media’s influence.I was reminded of this while attending this month’s Black Christian Influencers (BCI) Conference, where founder Jackie Horbrook succeeded in curating an atmosphere that was both aesthetically dope and substantively gospel-centered. Christian creators in fields as varied as theology, activism, and fashion came together to discuss how to use their platforms to glorify God—and how to navigate the risks that come with staying on the cutting edge of culture while centering Christ.Those risks are not as new as they may seem. In John 7, Jesus’ brothers essentially tell him that he’s not maximizing his potential as a pre-digital influencer. He needed to be more outward-facing, they argued, and show off his miraculous works more frequently because “no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret” (v. 4).That advice exposed their failure to understand ...Continue reading...
Comedy show satire features Defense Minister confronting Eurovision critics. Sketches parody campus activism and political response.
A recent article in The Atlantic by Helen Lewis made the bold claim that “The Gender War Is Over in Britain.” An overstatement, to be sure, but not entirely unwarranted. Keir Starmer, head of the Labour Party, recently led his party away from full support of radical gender ideology. This was a notable shift for the United Kingdom's largest left-wing party, which had previously encouraged radical elements of trans activism and stood aside as feminists were canceled for resisting the new orthodoxy. The shift, which was quietly announced to the public, made “three big declarations.” Â
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