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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

saving private ryan dilemma

by Cobus Oosthuizen
So I was in court today...again! Working with youth-at-risk often means that drug dealing spots, prisons and courts becomes one’s second office. Today I was once again showing my support to one of our LifeXchange girls who smacked the back of another ladies head with a brick and now has an assault case against her. She is why then do I support her? I call this the “Saving Private Ryan dilemma.”

Have you ever watched the (absolutely brilliant) movie Saving Private Ryan? Halfway through the movie a small group of soldiers from the US military who’s mission was to find Private Ryan, decides to take out a German bunker with a machine gun that can cause serious damage. After they have flanked the banker, a scene of shots being fired and hand grenades being thrown ends with the dust settling and the small group of soldiers surrounding their good friend and medic who had been shot. A dramatic seen of his last breaths are followed by a scene where the German who killed him is captured and forced to dig his own grave after which he would be executed. To the absolute horror of the group of US soldiers, a non-combatant, inexperienced, translator that joined the US squad for translating purposes convinced the captain that it would be wrong to kill the German soldier. Because keeping him captured would jeopardize their mission, the captain decides to let him go free. The last war scene of the movie ends with the same German, who rejoined his army, killing the captain...the very person who had given him his freedom.

Am I the “translator,” that with my letters, my testimonies of good conduct, my advice and support let the German killers go free, just to kill again? I want to believe that everyone deserves a second chance, that the moment for that person on the stand might be the moment of change...or at least the moment where they realize that LifeXchange is committed for the long run. I want to believe that there is more to the story than what the spectator sees...that the German hated war, had his own family, was living in fear of Hitler, was doing his job… and had very little choice...

so is it my task to advocate for those who are guilty...what about the victim?

Please share your thoughts by commenting...

Monday, July 26, 2010


I’m learning what it means to love unconditionally.. it means no conditions, no circumstances, that will increase/decrease my love. We hear about unconditional love in the biblical context with reference to God’s love for us, and that is something that once we grasp is liberating to experience in our own personal lives, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to us with regards to other people. Yet offering that same unconditional love to others is so invigorating, I feel like its miraculous, that we really do only have that capability to love in such a manor because God shows us how.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

world cup is over and south africa falls silent

The neighbourhood sounds freakishly quiet, schools are back, the working world has returned, there are no kids playing in the streets, and.. I don’t hear vuvuzelas! It’s almost eerie.
Being one of the few South Africans who, prior to the world cup, was positive that South Africa could pull it off, even I was blown away at how adeptly South Africa hosted the world cup, like we’re regulars at this! I think Brazil should hire South Africa to run their world cup for them!
They estimate about 2 billion people were watching the world cup. That’s 4 billion eyes on South Africa, 20 billion fingers and toes jumping and clapping as they cheer! I swear I could feel the earth bounce when Ghana scored their goal in the quarterfinals. I’ve never seen such amazing unity in any nation than I have over these past 6 weeks. Businessmen and beggars have a common topic of discussion, who are you supporting and what do you think is going to happen in the next game??

A sad realisation of the world cup was how it really is a money making endeavour for FIFA. They don’t care much at all about the country it is being held in. Instead of promoting as much South African and African revenue as possible, they go with what earns them the most money. Can you believe that the ONLY official food company allowed in the stadium grounds was McDonalds - not Steers, not Nando’s, McDonalds! And the ONLY beer served in the grounds - not Castle, not Windhoek, Budweiser! Which you don’t even get in South Africa, period! Thanks FIFA for giving our visitors a real taste of.. America. (to my American readers, this is a stab a FIFA not America and plus having now been to America I know it has way better things to offer than McDonald’s burgers and Budweiser beer). The advertisements in the stadium are companies that we’ve never seen or even heard of. Many FIFA adverts are not even filmed in South Africa. This has been the most profitable world cup for FIFA, maybe because they didn’t pay the security contracts?? Hundreds of thousands of security folks were not even paid!! And when they protested, they promptly got fired, losing their jobs altogether.

But through it all, South Africa was amazing! When I was in the US, I remember writing about how awesome it was that Americans would have the US flag flying even from people’s homes and that I really liked this open display of pride for their country. I can now say that South Africa has achieved this in full glory. Not only have flags been raised in peoples back yards and across the gates of their homes, but flags are painted on faces, shirts, scarves, hats, converted 3D glasses J. Every item you buy has the SA flag on its packaging, every shop window has flags strung across it, people’s cars are dressed in flags in every way perceivable and my all time favourite was a quiet most unlikely haberdashery which had even taken the time to stack their wool balls in the window in the shape, size and colours of the South African flag. That made me really smile!

South African pride is hanging off every edge perceivable and it is tucked into every corner of our nation. How far we have come in 16years! We would never have seen and come to know this if it wasn’t for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. And no matter what might come in times ahead, we will always know and remember the unity, the flags, the faces of South Africa dancing side by side. May this be a platform for South Africa’s future.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

in abundance

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10 v 10 NKJV

To live life abundantly is not to have health and wealth, it is not prosperity and wordly gain. In contrary it is said we are to encounter persecution and times of suffering. We can fill our lives with all the excitement that life has to offer and still find life to be empty and unfulfilling. With knowing God and living fully for God there comes a new vitality, a superabundance of life. It is only when we live with Christ that life becomes really worth living and we begin to live in the real sense of the word.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20 v 31 NIV