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November 2007 CACE eJournal

What could happen to a person if they spent hours upon hours listening to the stories of those who suffered some of the worst forms of oppression in recent history? This year’s CACE Moral Formation lecturer, Dr. Gideon Strauss, has had such an experience on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and will be sharing with us how this experience played a role in his own ongoing Christian moral formation. It is privilege for us to have him on campus this month, and his experience will give us another window into moral engagement in our complex world. This month we are also welcoming Michael Lindsay to campus to discuss his recent work on evangelicals and politics. Below, you will find two links: One is to an article by Gideon Strauss (“My Africa Problem … and Ours”) which was included in The Best Christian Writing 2006 and the other to Michael Lindsay’s book.

All are welcome to come to these events, which we hope will stimulate you to greater depth in moral reflection and greater integrity and potency in your engagement in God’s world. The Peace of Christ,

Vince Bacote Director of CACE Upcoming Events:

Wheaton Lecture in Christian Moral Formation, Thursday- Saturday, November 8-10, 2007
CACE welcomes to campus, Gideon Strauss for our Christian Moral Formation Lectureship. Gideon is the Research and Education Director of the Christian Labour Association of Canada and editor of Comment, the journal of the Work Research Foundation.

Faith in the Halls of Power, Wednesday, November 14 3:30 - 5 PM, Blanchard 339
Michael Lindsay, Rice University, Department of Sociology has recently completed the nation’s largest and most comprehensive study of public leaders who are people of faith.CACE events are free and open to the public. See www.christianethics.org for our 2007 - 2008 Event Schedule

My Africa Problem … and Ours
by Gideon Strauss
This essay was selected for inclusion in The Best Christian Writing 2006.

“Africa makes a mockery of what we say, at least what I say, about equality and questions our pieties and our commitments because there’s no way to look at what’s happening over there and it’s effect on all of us and conclude that we actually consider Africans as our equals before God. There is no chance.”

–Bono of U2, Commencement Address at the University of Pennsylvania, May 17, 2004.

ARRIVED in Canada on January 1, 1998, having flown as far from Johannesburg in South Africa as it is possible to fly before turning back around the curve of the globe. I came to Canada because I was broken and needed a break, but the way in which I was broken were as nothing compared to those that I had spoken on behalf of others in the previous two years.

I had worked for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chaired by a saint with the foibles of a saint, Desmond Tutu. The Arch, as we all called him, would hug us as we came out of our booths at the end of the day, and once, in a red-dirt town where an angry mob danced their vengeful anguish, surging hurricane-like around the hall in which the hearings were being held, he prayed through the noon hour in my booth, seeking and finding guidance to bring peace – or at least calm – to the situation. My job was not a lofty one; I was not a commissioner or a lawyer or an investigator; I was a simultaneous interpreter.

We interpreters were a small but dedicated crew. We bounced three or four languages among one another to enable an audience to hear the testimony of a survivor or a perpetrator of gross human rights violations – abduction, torture, murder – in their own language within two to four seconds after it was spoken in the language of the witness or applicant for amnesty. Many of us drank hard; some of us found harder ways of numbing the pain and horror we spoke every day. For me the worst was the phone calls late at night between me in my hotel room and my young wife at home, when, exhausted – she after a day in the valley of the shadow of the diapers and I after a day of a woman telling of relentless violation or a man telling of testicles and bare electric wire or a mother telling of the sweaters of her infants scarlet with gunshot or a father telling of finding only a scrap of skin after three days of looking in the place where a mine shredded his son – we would curse and slam down the phone, too tired to listen and too worn out to care.

Faith in the Halls of Power
by D. Michael Lindsay

Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals—and for America?

Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans—including two former Presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures—D. Michael Lindsay shows first-hand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the public square. This riveting volume tells us who the real evangelical power brokers are, how they rose to prominence, and what they’re doing with their clout. Lindsay reveals that evangelicals are now at home in the executive suite and on the studio lot, and from those lofty perches they have used their influence, money, and ideas to build up the evangelical movement and introduce it to wider American society. They are leaders of powerful institutions and their goals are ambitious—to bring Christian principles to bear on virtually every aspect of American life. Order book >>