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Book Review

Desmond Tutu

God has a Dream

ISBN 1 844 13237 4

Rider Press, 12.99 hardback; 7.99 paperback

 

Audiobook on CD:

ISBN 0975263102

Maui Media LLC, 2004, 17.99

(price at publication of review)

 

Reviewed September 2005; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2005

When I met Desmond Tutu, at a conference more than a dozen years ago, he told us that as we are all made in the image of God, we should be genuflecting to each other.  From this belief, this attitude, has sprung this book.  His title echoes the words of Martin Luther King - but in this case God has the dream and wants our help in realising it, in transforming the world so there shall be more laughter, joy and peace, justice, goodness, compassion and love.  Each chapter begins, "Dear Child of God", which in a book by any other author would be cloying sentimentality; but here one can hear his voice saying it, which robs the phrase of any sickliness.

As Christians, we do not regard one another merely as equals but as brothers and sisters, as one family.  Tutu uses the African word ubuntu to describe our interdependence, the way our humanity is inextricably twined together, bound up with others in the bundle of life.  Yet to love our brothers, our sisters, we must love ourselves, and to do that we must know that God loves us.  Tutu says, 'at the risk of getting myself into trouble, I will say that in a sense it actually doesn't matter what we do.  For nothing we can do, no matter how bad, will change God's love for us.'  This means that ' as much as God loves you, God equally loves your enemies.'

There are many anecdotes, as illustration, from his years of ministry in South Africa and from the more intimate life of his family.  But this is not an autobiography nor a memoir, and these personal stories are not overused.  A naughty sense of humour escapes occasionally.

And to end: 'Human beings .. must be held in awe and reverence   We should really genuflect before one another.'

Sandra Hancock TSSF

 

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