Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has long been admired throughout the world for the heroism and grace he exhibited while encouraging countless South Africans in their struggle for human rights. In God Has a Dream, his most soul-searching book, he shares the spiritual message that guided him through those troubled times. Drawing on personal and historical examples, Archbishop Tutu reaches out to readers of all religious backgrounds, showing how individual and global suffering can be transformed into joy and redemption. With his characteristic humor, Tutu offers an extremely personal and liberating message. He helps us to "see with the eyes of the heart" and to cultivate the qualities of love, forgiveness, humility, generosity, and courage that we need to change ourselves and our world.Echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., he writes, "God says to you, ‘I have a dream. Please help me to realize it.
Reading this book is like having a long, and somewhat homiletical, afternoon tea with former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Tutu. Four years after No Future Without Forgiveness, Tutu's reflection on his role as Chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, comes this deeply personal book that Tutu calls "a cumulative expression of my life's work." Each chapter begins "Dear Child of God," and goes on to reflect on vulnerability, transfiguration and the human condition with winding anecdotes from Tutu's personal and public life, stories he delivers with his trademark humor and a deceptive simplicity. For example, when Tutu says we are all one family, what emerges is not some churchy optimism, but a highly developed theology of relationship, what Tutu has earlier called ubuntu ("a person is a person through other people"), with political as well as interpersonal implications. This book is highly readable, perhaps because, like other Tutu books, it is culled in large part from lectures and sermons delivered in Tutu's very public life. That this book aims for more than an afternoon tea becomes clear at its close: we are God's partners, Tutu exhorts. We are humanized or dehumanized in and through our actions toward others. Tutu grounds this appeal most concretely, ending with a list of Web sites from organizations that need more partners for their outreach. (Mar. 23) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 16, 2004
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Excerpt from God Has a Dream by Desmond Tutu
Dear Child of God, I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in our world will ever end. I want to share with you my faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed. There is no such thing as a totally hopeless case. Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now-in our personal lives and in our lives as nations, globally. The most unlikely person, the most improbable situation -these are all "transfigurable"-they can be turned into their glorious opposites. Indeed, God is transforming the world now-through us-because God loves us.
This is not wishful thinking or groundless belief. It is my deep conviction, based on my reading of the Bible and of history. It is borne out not only by my experience in South Africa but also by many other visits to countries suffering oppression or in conflict. Our world is in the grips of a transformation that continues forward and backward in ways that lead to despair at times but ultimately redemption. While I write as a Christian, this transformation can be recognized and experienced by anyone, regardless of your faith and religion, and even if you practice no religion at all.
Some will say that this view is "optimistic," but I am not an optimist. Optimism relies on appearances and very quickly turns into pessimism when the appearances change. I see myself as a realist, and the vision of hope I want to offer you in this book is based on reality-the reality I have seen and lived. It is a reality that may not always seem obvious because many of the things God does are strange, or at least they seem strange to us, with our limited perspectives and our limited understanding. Yes, there is considerable evil in the world, and we mustn't be starry-eyed and pretend that isn't so. But introduction that isn't the last word; that isn't even the most important part of the picture in God's world.