In Manzini, Swaziland a Christian and a member of the Church of the Nazarene works daily in the Ministry of Natural Resources providing valuable and important technical expertise to the leadership in this government ministry. His biggest challenge is the corruption that runs rampant in various mid-level bureaucracies, a characteristic that has come to challenge many governments in Africa. He has choices, he can close his eyes to what is going on around him, he can confront the institutions that seem to breed corruption and subsequently lose his position, or he can engage by creating a faithful presence in the midst of corruption and abuse. He can choose to live his life as a living witness to the power of his faith. He can create a “faithful presence.”
I wish I had invented the phrase Faithful Presence. Rather, it is a phrase that is given to us by James Davison Hunter in his book, To Change the World. Davison encourages or more specifically challenges us to avoid the pursuit of power and control that has come to dominate the religious and political discourse of our time. Rather, Hunter is looking for a faithful community that will enter the circles of power and influence in the institutions of culture, business, politics and education. We enter not for control or power but to transform our environment. Those circles most often produce the systemic changes that transform a culture. Faithful presence is being there and being true to your calling and your values in the midst of brokenness and despair. It is a prophetic and humble work in which individuals and communities should engage and leave the pursuit of power at the doorstep of service.
My friend in Manzini is making a difference and quietly and humbly he does his job in a way that is providing water and food for his country and his people. He is a model of Faithful Presence.
More models of faithful presence in subsequent blogs. If you have examples, please forward them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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