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POST 25TH ANNIVERSARY / MAPHALALA TALK CONVERSATION
 
Below is a limited conversation that was sparked by a talk given by Rev. Mandla Maphalala on 08 MAY 2010 – the 25th event of Muzi & Lydia’s wedding anniversary. Even though the email conversation is now closed the blog conversation continues on: http://soundandsilence.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/872/ 
The post anniversary / Maphalala conversation will be held at the Birchwood Conference Centre (near East Rand Mall) on 16 JUNE 2010 from 9 am. Those interested should rsvp by 11 June 2010 to: info@muzicindi.net. Seating is limited. FIRST COME FIRST SERVED!
 
OLIVA VELBROEK’s COMMENT

I just wanted to thank you very much for the invite to your 25th wedding anniversary. It was for the first time I had a privilege to attend an event of that magnitude. I feel very honoured to have been considered. When I think about it, it would not have made a difference to the event itself, whether I was there or not, so it is purely out of your kind heart that you invited my wife and I. So thanks to you and your family, very much!

I am sending this mail also as a personal review of certain things that were said by different speakers at the event, and that is the reason I have copied the people that you always send emails to. I have copied them also because I believe that they are mature enough to have and stand by their own personal convictions. Thirdly I have copied them, so that I am corrected wherever I am not accurately saying things or even to evoke discussions and debates around these issues. I am going to keep it very short though.

I have personally not known you for a long time, but I have grown to respect you as a person. Like the rest of us, I do not believe that you are perfect in anyway, but you have some qualities that many people would aspire to have. Having said that, I also would like to say, it appears that the speakers at the event were either coached what to say or they were trying so hard to impress you. The invitation that I received said that it was a 25th wedding anniversary, but with the exception of your wife and children, all the speakers were giving us their findings and their ‘radical’ theological positions. It would have been more fitting for us to have brought our research articles and Bibles and have a debate, than to be bombarded with debatable positions. I am mentioning this, only because it is dishonouring to the guests, in the sense that we went there to celebrate your anniversary and nothing else.

Now hereunder I would like to point out just few things based on what was said by the speakers and maybe just to incite some debates:

1. After listening to the keynote speaker, Reverend Maphalala (I hope this is how he spells his surname, otherwise forgive me.) I had to ask myself this question, “How liberal are the liberals?” This should be giving it away that I am not a liberal myself. I am of the understanding that liberals are tolerant and open to other ideas and school of thoughts. Reverend called us ‘the most stupid and foolish people’. By ‘us’ I mean Christians. It would take a very serious stretch to call that tolerance and open mindedness. So how liberal are the liberals?

Please note that being called a stupid or fool as mentioned here above, is not on its own an issue. I don’t mind being called names. It is only a problem when I am called a fool and stupid by a liberal based on my beliefs and practices 

2. One of the things that have caused me to give up on following South African politics, especially of the opposition, is because they are defined by what they are standing against and not what they are standing for. That on its own is a spell of danger. If a political party is defined by what they are against, it clearly does not have a future. This is simply because when what they are against is dealt with, then they would not have an agenda. I am drawing from this example mainly because every time I look closely at the emerging church/liberal Christianity I see the same pattern. The survival of the emerging church is dependent on the willingness to give up dogmatic religion and beliefs. In other words, if people are not willing to give up their beliefs, the emerging church has no hope. The death of ‘Christianity as we know it’ is the agenda and the result of the emerging church. This is a huge concern. The existence of the emerging church necessitates that Christianity should be ridiculed at all costs, otherwise it stands no chance. Emerging church thrives on the ‘flaws’ (apartheid, slavery, rapes etc) of Christianity. Simply put, “the emergence of global spirituality cannot be without the end of dogmatic religion.”

3. The death of ‘Christianity as we know it’. You mentioned this again on Saturday and you gave us your new books to rub it in (Thank you for the book, I have started to read it). History is teaching us that there is always a revival of fundamentalism. It does not matter how long its tenets are ignored, after some time they find their way back again. I am saying the so called death of ‘Christianity as we know it’ is not a new thing and it should never send an alarm to the fundamentalists. Secondly, there are no real signs of the death of Christianity. This is, with due respect, more of a wishful thinking than it is a reality. ‘Christianity as we know it’ is not validated by the number of people who accept it, it is standing on its own convictions. So even if few people would turn against it, it would still stand.

4. Extremism and Fundamentalism. Having listened to you and Reverend Maphalala on Saturday, I also believe that there should be a line drawn between fundamentalism and extremism. I believe that it is possible for one to take what is fundamental to the extreme. That on its is own does not make the fundamental evil. I always give an example with the knife. It is a very useful and helpful kitchen tool. However, many people have been killed by it. That on its own does not make a knife wrong or evil. It is just used wrongly. The fundamentals have been used by people wrongly. Apartheid as you always use it as an example of fundamentalism, is not in essence a fundamental, it is someone taking a fundamental and wrongly taking it to the extreme. It is not fair and honest to your readers to use fundamentalism and extremism interchangeably. 

5. Lastly, I would also like to point out to the use of your words to achieve your end. With all due respect, I do not think that it is an honest way. For example, whenever you speak, you call what you say open-mindedness, even the Doctor who spoke as a family friend, started by saying that you have an open-minded approach. Is it rightfully called open-mindedness or is it something new, camouflaged to prevent suspicion? Whenever you speak about Christianity, you speak about rapes, killings etc. It does not take long before one notice that emerging church is having its fundamentals and will soon be traditions. For example, it is their fundamental that Bible should not be taken literally, it is their fundamental that their god is not the ‘sky God’ and the list goes on. So in short, what the emerging church is requiring of us is that we should give up our fundamentals for their fundamentals. And when we do that we are open minded.

As I have spoken to you before and even after I read Elreta’s critique to your book and your response, I am not into name calling and character assassination. I hope that even in this mail it would be obvious that I am not trying to attack you personally but I am trying to give my honest opinions based on my observations. 

I have also learnt on Saturday that, it is possible to do a wrong thing for 42 years. What I mean is that 42 years of doing a wrong thing does not necessarily make it right. So in essence, 42 years mean nothing at all. 
God bless you!
MUZI CINDI’S COMMENT
 
Hi All!
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20 
 
I actually got this scripture quote from today's Sowetan newspaper.
I take this moment to thank you all for gracing my anniversary with your presence on Saturday. The purpose of this email is mainly to open up a limited conversation over the talk that was given by Rev. Maphalala. I'm emailing this to only a selected few who might be interested in responding. May we keep our responses short and to the point and may this conversation not go beyond the end of this current week. Please be gracious, if you can. Let me know what you are sensing, whether negative or positive it does not matter. You are also not obliged to respond if you do not feel the need.
  • I was approached by some people requesting me to publicly distance myself from what was said by Maphalala because other people were offended. I refused because I was not offended and this is the reason for this email. My authentic self fully concurs with the message delivered by Maphalala. I heard him say that HE was not a Christian. I've never heard him say HE WAS a Christian before, anyway. I heard him talk about his hatred for Christianity as an oppressive religious system. I did not hear him say that He hated Christians. I did not hear him say that other people were not Christians. Maybe other people heard him say the latter two statements. As a person who has followed him for 30 years I fully understand the way He comes across the very same way my son understands my "shouting" at him. I allow Maphalala to be his authentic self the same I expect him to allow me to be my authentic self. I prefer to treat him the way I would like to be treated after I have told my story the way I deem it fit. Some Mpumalanga friends commented that they now knew where his radicalism comes from. I'm also not sure who is a disciple between us or we are each others disciples.
 
  • I therefore distance myself from the thinking that suggests that I distance myself from his utterances. I know that this may cause some to distance themselves from the thinking that causes me to distance myself from the thinking....and so on it goes. I am truly of the opinion that God spoke through Maphalala on Saturday. His message was timely though I never expected it or even discussed it with him. All I requested him to do was give a talk and gave him the theme of our anniversary. In hindsight, I'm grateful Noel Jones was unable to make it. I now understand the reason. 90% of those who have called me so far are very appreciative of the message delivered on Saturday. Some of the are included in this email. I affirmed them and confirmed with them that I heard God speaking on Saturday. I am prepared to hear any contrary opinions and reasons.
 
  • Christianity as a Religion of fear, control, and power is coming to an end, I've said this before and will continue saying it until it is self evident. The Religion of a 'police thought' is no more. I feel like John the Baptist announcing the birth of a New Religion. I cannot "unsee" what I have seen. I will continue to pursue my calling within the evangelical tribe (my exile) until this truth fully manifests. I leave others to take this truth to their own tribes. Each one of us is called to a specific domain prepared only for us. My domain and calling is within the evangelicals. 
Depending on the appetite for a further conversation we may convene a further dialogue where we may take these issues further in conversations. For now I request those who will respond to this email to please: 1) keep your responses short. 2) reply to all. 3) reply from your IP domain for transparency purposes. 4) respond in the spirit of the scripture I quoted above.
 
I have included Maphalala in this conversation so that He is kept abreast.
 
SEKETE  .F. KHANYE’S RESPONSE
 
Hi Muzi and All
Thanks for the last Saturday, may you and Lydia see many more. Also, thanks for this engagement. Please see below my input, in italic and in brackets, after every point raised. The summary of my input is that if we do not define concepts or construct and notions or ideas that we are relating to, we have not begun engagement. A lot of confusing is generated by a lot of assumptions.
Yours in Christ and in His service
Sekete F. Vivian Khanye
 
Hi All!
"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man works not the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20 
 
I actually got this scripture quote from today's Sowetan newspaper.
I take this moment to thank you all for gracing my anniversary with your presence on Saturday. The purpose of this email is mainly to open up a limited conversation over the talk that was given by Rev. Maphalala. I'm emailing this to only a selected few who might be interested in responding. May we keep our responses short and to the point and may this conversation not go beyond the end of this current week. Please be gracious, if you can. Let me know what you are sensing, whether negative or positive it does not matter. You are also not obliged to respond if you do not feel the need.
  1. I was approached by some people requesting me to publicly distance myself from what was said by Maphalala because other people were offended (being offended is not intellectual but emotional. Issues we are engaging on here are supposed to be theological. A theological engagement should be intellectual. Let us focus on the intellectual/theological engagement - Loving God with our mind is the third component of our love-expression for God). I refused because I was not offended and this is the reason for this email. My authentic self fully concurs with the message delivered by Maphalala. I heard him say that HE was not a Christian (but he did not define his take on what a Christian is? Further, didn’t Rev. Maphalala confuse the term ‘Christian’ with the term ‘brethren’ when he said something to the effect that we were labelled Christian by the outside world?). I've never heard him say HE WAS a Christian before, anyway (did he ever define what he understood a Christian to be, before?). I heard him talk about his hatred for Christianity as an oppressive religious system (what he referred to was the ‘Christianity’ that informed the apartheid system. This was the ‘Christianity’ grounded in Calvinism. Liberation theology and contextual theology, among other theologies, have proved to be too powerful to be matched by Calvinism (a distorted version of the original Calvinism for that matter) and indeed have corrected that, what Rev. Maphalala referred to as Christianity, was not Christianity, necessarily). I did not hear him say that He hated Christians (Rev. Maphalala’s version of a Christian still not defined). I did not hear him say that other people were not Christians (Rev. Maphalala’s version of a Christian still not defined). Maybe other people heard him say the latter two statements. As a person who has followed him for 30 years I fully understand the way He comes across the very same way my son understands my "shouting" at him. I allow Maphalala to be his authentic self the same I expect him to allow me to be my authentic self. I prefer to treat him the way I would like to be treated after I have told my story the way I deem it fit (Much appreciated but I am interested in the validity and reliability of one’s story beyond and above one’s development stage of being authentic). Some Mpumalanga friends commented that they now knew where his radicalism comes from (what did they mean by the term ‘radicalism’? I understand radicalism to mean: “dealing with the root-causes of a problem is a total (revolutionary) manner. From this definition, I did not hear Rev. Maphalala being close to being radical). I'm also not sure who is a disciple between us or we are each others disciples (who is us? And since discipleship is rooted on disciplines, what disciplines are you referring to?)
 
  • I therefore distance myself from the thinking that suggests that I distance myself from his utterances. I know that this may cause some to distance themselves from the thinking that causes me to distance myself from the thinking....and so on it goes (the request was reactionary and therefore if you address it your response becomes reactionary. What would be progressive and constructive is for you to address yourself to theological points Rev. Maphalala may have raised. For instance, he kept on saying that we do not understand (the institution o)f marriage and our fore-parents could not understand it either. This is an example of what I mean by a theological issue). I am truly of the opinion that God spoke through Maphalala on Saturday (but when he said what? Let us not be quick to bring God into the equation of our engagement even before it is clarified. Let us first engage and arrive at what is attributable to God through our engagement). His message was timely (it sounds like he hit the note of your agenda. Timely according to what?) though I never expected it or even discussed it with him. All I requested him to do was give a talk and gave him the theme of our anniversary. In hindsight, I'm grateful Noel Jones was unable to make it. I now understand the reason. 90% of those who have called me so far are very appreciative of the message delivered on Saturday. Some of the are included in this email. I affirmed them and confirmed with them that I heard God speaking on Saturday. I am prepared to hear any contrary opinions and reasons.
 
  • Christianity as a Religion of fear, control, and power (but Muzi what do you mean by these terms i.e. religion, fear, control and power? These are among others, sociologic, psychological, political and philosophical terms. They could mean anything and everything within these respective disciplines. Theologically what do you understand them to mean? And further, how do you attribute them to Christianity? At any rate what do you mean by the term Christianity?)is coming to an end, I've said this before and will continue saying it until it is self evident. The Religion of a 'police thought' is no more. I feel like John the Baptist announcing the birth of a New Religion (what if John the Baptist was not necessarily announcing the birth of a ‘new religion’ but announcing the fulfilment of the old. Didn’t Christ say that He has come to fulfil the prophets and the law?) I cannot "unsee" what I have seen (neither can I ‘see’ what I do not see – hence the need for engagement). I will continue to pursue my calling within the evangelical tribe (my exile) until this truth fully manifests (if you state that ‘this truth’ you imply that there are ‘other truths’ or ‘the other truth’. Now, what truth are you referring to and what other truth(s) are you implying?). I leave others to take this truth to their own tribes (who is others? It is obvious that you are no longer addressing the list aforementioned and cc copied). Each one of us is called to a specific domain prepared only for us (who is each one of us?). My domain and calling is within the evangelicals. 
Depending on the appetite for a further conversation we may convene a further dialogue where we may take these issues further in conversations (much appreciated). For now I request those who will respond to this email to please: 1) keep your responses short. 2) reply to all. 3) reply from your IP domain for transparency purposes. 4) respond in the spirit of the scripture I quoted above.
 
TSEPO TSOTETSI’S RESPONSE

Greetings to all,
 
The keynote address by the Rev. Maphalala was conspicuous in its exhibit of what congregants at times go through when in the course of Word ministration clarity seeking questions arise with no platform to voice such as that will be perceived (to be) disruptive;
 
At audience glance (in the course of the presentation) one could not help but see the somehow devastating effects of this lack of a platform to engage on deliberations (given the nature of the occasion);
 
From concept articulation, logical deduction to practical application some assertions were indeed very sweeping with no room for exceptions; the ground for dialogue and conversation is indeed very fertile;
 
I am ambivalent that this mode (email) will serve the means to that end and purpose as expressions have a potential to be lost in an attempt to find suitable words;
 
I therefore suggest (as indicated to Muzi in a separate conversation) that a date and venue be set wherein such can be delved into; in conversation with ourselves;
 
In the mean time we individually owe it to ourselves to prepare a carefully reasoned argument for a constructive participation;
 
Ke nako – now is the time,
 
NIC PATON’S RESPONSE

Muzi
 
I note the responses of Tsepo Tsotetsi, Oleva Velbroek and Sekete Khanye in separate threads. Speaking as a post-evangelical I’m encouraged with the level of engagement shown thus far to the gauntlet thrown down by Mandla Maphalala and yourself. In each response I see a willingness to ask questions and to validate those who do so.
 
In my mind the details of the arguments and issues that will be raised in this process are less important than the overall ability and willingness to create and maintain Conversation. This sacred conception of conversation is not mere dialog, but exists at the very heart of the Godhead, (notably in the Trinitarian idea). We are moving from a modern didactic (teaching-oriented) consciousness to a relational-pluralistic-communal one, in which the agenda is not determined beforehand by those in power, but is created in the very act of opening up to one another and to God or Truth.
 
I am glad to see you are planning events and gatherings to “mop up” and continue what is already in motion. Face to Face remains primary in my conception of ubuntu, “church” or community, but I urge you to create a viable online presence which is appropriate for these sorts of discussions, and I recommend a blog (email is too cumbersome and messy, while a full blown social network is too demanding and not really necessary with the likes of Facebook or Transform already in operation).
 
For what it is worth, for the benefit of those on this email, let me draw attention to the following 2 posts as an example of how we are documenting this process:
And lastly, thanks again for making it happen, and giving a platform to The Sout Project.
MUZI CINDI’S RESPONSE

Oliva, Sekete, Tsepo, Nic & All,
 
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
- Arthur  Schopenhauer, Nineteenth Century German Philosopher
 
Below, are my closing musings, mostly in questions, on the conversation I started on Monday. We are planning to continue this conversation on 16 June 2010 at the Birchwood Conference Centre (next to East Rand Mall) from 9 am to 3 pm. Invitations will be forthcoming soon. Please diarize this date in the mean time. Those who responded to this conversation will be asked to participate in facilitating the conversation. I think it is proper to get those who responded to give their closing comments on what I say here below, should they deem it important.
P.S Apologies for an extra long mail. 
 
How liberal are liberals? How conservative are conservatives? I can go on to ask Oliva; what kind of a fundamentalist are you? Are you a liberal fundamentalist, moderate fundamentalist or conservative fundamentalist? How would you rate your Christianity compared to the Christianity of 1950? Is it fundamentalist or liberal - comparatively speaking? What do you call Christians who voted for questionable wars against Iraq and Afghanistan? Where do you locate Christians who, after 9/11, requested President George Bush to go out and "blow 'terrorists' away in the name of the Lord?" Are they conservatives or extremists? Many Christians who respond to my emails justify theologically the act of "blowing people away in the name of the Lord". I do not necessarily have a problem with war. I have a problem with a theological justification of war; killing in the name of MY LORD!  Just like I disagree with with the theological justification of: slavery, holy land, burning heretics at stakes, burning scientists at stake, burning innovators, rape, women subordination, apartheid, homophobia, crusades, racism, tribalism, ethnocentrism, land seizure, etc. We cannot deny that this is Christianity's horrible past, it makes some of us want to throw up. No wonder I ask; how conservative are conservatives with regard to these? Would Jesus justify repaying evil with evil? This makes me hate Christianity. I'm just using a language game to show that the liberal /conservative / fundamentalist name calling will cause us all to lose the debate before it even begins. Very liberal Christians accuse me of being too conservative while extremely conservative Christians say I am too liberal. Someone asked what my daughter meant when she said I am the most liberal person she has ever met. I said;, ask my daughter because my response will be totally subjective, I can only speak from inside my head. Let her also speak from inside her head. Words are useless until the one expressing them and the one hearing them give meaning to them. In politics they call it a spin. This is thus my subjective way in which I 'see' things:
 
At any rate what do you mean by the term Christianity?)Sekete asked this question, which has become a bone of contention of late. I'm quite impressed with Sekete's intellectual approach to contentious issues. He makes me reconsider my post-evangelical, post-Christian badge. I thought evangelicals react emotionally only.  "Christianity as we know it’ is not validated by the number of people who accept it, it is standing on its own convictions. So even if few people would turn against it, it would still stand" - these were Oliva's words. How does Christianity stand without people? In 1900 there was more than 90% attendance in European churches - the heart of evangelicalism. This was after the great awakening that began in 1710. Today less than 1% of Europeans go to Church. Christianity is dead in Europe. Sociologists have given us the reasons for this sudden decline. It was the expansion of knowledge; this knowledge collided with a biblical worldview. With the expansion of knowledge, they were no longer allowed to love their God with their minds. People were told to choose between the Pastor's way and the highway, they chose the highway in their millions. They chose science over the "inerrant" Bible. Which Christianity is standing in Europe - Oliva? Thousands of churches that used to be packed by revivalists are now museums that serve international tourism. Europe has more than 500 million people and less than 1% ATTEND church. The same trend is taking over in the US. Evangelical Seminaries are closing down, Evangelical Professors are resigning in droves, and the Evangelical theology is collapsing before our eyes. 4000 Pastors a month are leaving the Ministry. Research it yourself. Christianity is ending because the cosmology that sustained it for the past 2000 years is no more. Are we confusing Christianity with Jesus? Back to Sekete - I'm not sure what you mean by 'brethren' as opposed to Christians. The book of Acts says the followers of Jesus were called Christians. It was unbelievers who gave them the term. We know that Christianity was established as a Roman Religion in 325 by Constantine. Jesus never started any Religion and will never start one. Whatever we mean by this word Christianity - why are we so protective of it? Are we not supposed to be followers and disciples of Jesus? Is our primary relationship not supposed to be with people and not institutions of men.
 
IS IT TRUE THAT TO BE EVANGELICAL IS TO BE: anti-biblical scholarship, anti historical research, anti intellectualism, anti science, anti church history, anti gay, anti woman progression, anti other religions, anti evolution, anti biological research, anti psychology findings, anti secularism, anti statistics, anti free thinking, and finally; anti any scientific innovation contradicting our "inerrant" Holy Book? Can I be Pro ALL the above and still be called Christian and Evangelical? I hope we will respond to this question on 16 June. It is my opinion that people are simply weary of Christianity as a culturally naive, socially inconsequential, and spiritually lifeless institution. I don't know how many Pastors are aware that they are talking to a world that no longer exists. The failure to treat Maphalala the way we expect to be treated by our congregants, (after our 'absolute conviction' sermons) is a sign of this malaise. Why won't we go the way of Europe? Who says this is impossible? We need to take good stock of what went wrong inside this 'huge ship' of ours over the past 2000 years. How did we evolve into such a tribal, punitive and ostracizing religion?
 
MAPHALALA
I asked Maphalala not to respond to any emails for now, in case you are wondering. Christians missed a good opportunity to show Maphalala that they are real Christians. They enforced his prejudices by treating him in an UN-CHRISTIAN manner. I even got an sms from a Christian saying; "I do not want to see Maphalala in my life ever!" I thought these wee Christians who were expected to be Christlike. I was shocked and angered by the 'stone throwing', judging, emotional reactions, and anti-intellectual approach in dealing with the Maphalala case. Instead of showing him that Christians are good people, we showed him the opposite. The late Michael Jackson sang a song; "Before you judge me...try to LOVE me first.....Ask yourself questions about my past.....The lateMother Theresa said; "If we judge people we will not have time to LOVE them". I hope those who throw stones at Maphalala and ask us to join them in stone throwing will ponder and reflect on the above. We will then ask and search deep for the stories behind the story Maphalala is trying to convey.
 
KE NAKO!
Tsepo has just hit the nail in the head - ke nako! The battle lines are drawn in the 21st century. Let the games begin! The 'postmodern' Mount Carmel game is on. Let the sky god (theos) come out of the skies and defend himself against the tsunami of the postmodern God. Let us see if theo can answer by fire. Prophet Elijah's battle is on. Let the war of the god's begin. Let Baals fall. Lets see which God will come on top and which one will relegated to the dustbins of antiquity. Any God that can be killed ought to be killed, and will indeed be killed. There is still a lot of pain coming as the idols are exposed and killed. Let the postmodern day Pharisees, Sadducees', Zealots, Essen's, and disciples take their positions and play them well. I wish everyone luck! I honestly have a feeling some people are entering an arena where issues are going to backfire on them badly. This brings me to the suggested topics for our upcoming conversation. The idea is to allow as many people as possible (without passing judgment), to tell their OWN story regarding these two bullets.
  • Who is God. Has there ever been Theos? What has a belief in Theos done to to the overall consciousness of humanity? Is humanity moving away from the concept of Theos?
  • Who is Jesus? Is Jesus and Christ one and the same thing? Can Christ be boxed into our creeds, doctrines, traditions, and even our belief systems?
  • How should we understand and interpret the Bible in the twenty first century scientific age?
OLIVA VELBROEK’S RESPONSE
 
Brothers and Sisters,

This would hopefully serve as my closing statement. Taking into consideration the conversation that is going to take place on the 16th I decided to reserve my comments for that day. Having mentioned that, I would like to respond by saying it is not completely accurate and fair to say that we treated Rev Maphalala in Un-Christian manner. This is like putting a gun against our head, preventing us to speak openly and honestly. In all the responses that I have read since Monday, there is really nothing that supports that statement. Realizing that outside and beyond these emails we cannot account for any other responses. 

I am still saying that even if the entire Europe might lose their faith,  that does not kill Christianity. Christianity is based on the truth and the truth does not change just because people reject it. So even if people might not accept it, it will still stand, that is the point that I was making. Christianity does not depend on the number of people for existence.

I will also like to make it clear that I am taking my beliefs seriously. This is the only reason I am willing to be part of the conversation in the first place. This to me is not a game, nor is it a quest to prove a point. I do it based on Jude 3 “… I felt I had to urge you to contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.” (NIV, emphasis mine)

Thank you for the platform though, I will certainly diarize that date and I will certainly love to be part of the conversation.

May God bless you all!

PS: May we all be given a chance to at least state what we feel should be discussed and even the kind of questions that should be asked. I am requesting this because that is what will inform the direction of the conversation and since we are part of it, it will only be fair for us to participate in this stage as well.

 
Note that this email conversation is now closed. However the conversation on Jesus, God, and Christianity continues in this link:  
 
TSEPO TSOTETSI’S RESPONSE
Greetings to all

I am mindful of all emails on the subject in question subsequent to mine,

In view of them I wish to reiterate that the ground is fertile for dialogue and conversation,

I embrace Nic’s assertions of ‘the overall ability and willingness to create and maintain conversation’ in our case we have Rev. Maphalala’s presentation as a point of departure then take it from there,

Muzi allow me to disagree (with) and thus suggest we park your proposed approach in terms of engaging on the bullet points you’ve alluded to for future deliberations for reasons of them not (in my opinion) being of immediate significance, will in consequence interject the immediate purpose of this gathering but secondly at the risk of sounding pedantic some bullet points; in them being questions paradoxically impose a pre-conceived rhetoric – I don’t think it’s the ideal direction - at least not for now; rather let’s allow everyone’s assertions (on that day) to imply their story of God then some time in the future have them express the same story;
I therefore propose that in view of concerns raised via all modes which I would like to believe Rev. Maphalala has been privy of to be given an opportunity to comment or correct misinterpretations/misunderstandings of and if needs be re-phrase where (with all due to respect to Rev. Maphalala) it might have been a case of unfortunate choice of expressions and words)
I trust my email is not in any form or shape disrespectful as that will not be my intention both in letter and spirit;
Kind regards..,