46664

Nelson Mandela (Madiba) was imprisoned on Robben Island in 1964, and was the 466th prisoner to arrive that year. The prison administration’s scheme of numbering prisoners was to follow the sequence number of the prisoner (466 in his case), with the last two digits of the year (64). This number was imposed on him by the prison for over 25 years, until his release in 1990. “Prisoner 46664” continues to be used as a reverential title for him and has also been the title of a song by U2 and inspiration for a series of concerts to combat HIV/AIDS.

Like most people I was taken y surprise when I heard the news Madiba’s passing.  I understand he was 95, but death always seems to take us by surprise.  As I watched the coverage my mind quickly began to think of all the history that this man had seen and been apart of.  Additionally, I began to wonder what I have not been told about Madiba.  The first thing I always wonder  when someone passes is about their life in relationship with Christ.  I always found the level and [seeming] completeness of Madiba’s forgiveness to be unique to Christ but I never heard of his spiritual life outside of a baptism when he was in primary school.

Ultimately here is what is most puzzling to me is the change that happened while in prison, from a Malcolm X figure to a Martin Luther King type figure. Mandela was arrested, tried, pleaded guilty to on 150 counts of terrorism and ultimately sentenced to Life in prison between ’62 and ’64. This is the same time in our nations history that the Civil rights movement was running its course in our country. Yet our two context have had completely different, though parallel paths. We were both dealing with entrenched racism which broke the back of our countries, yet our laws and forced integration have not solved the problem. Simultaneously, South Africa’s apartheid became even deeper entrenched and without hope for change. In February of 1990 Mandela was freed and the fate. Of a whole nation began to change in seemingly and instant. Over the next 4 years he led them from apartheid to a new constitution and a republic not all that dissimilar to ours. The difference is that what it took our country over a generation to accomplish was done, in a more hostile environment, in about 4 years.
This brings up a couple of questions:

  • Whats the difference between the 2 countries?
  • Which model should we follow in the church?

You see the American church in the 21st century is still dealing with 20th century problems and race is a huge dividing one.  Honestly,  I am not too worried about our country of South Africa’s but I am concerned about the issues surrounding the Kingdom of God.

So I would love to hear you thoughts, which model do we follow to solve this HUGE problem within the church? U.S. desegregation, Mandela’s or something else?

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About Jon Nelson

I am just a nobody trying to tell everybody about Somebody [Christ Jesus]!

Posted on December 18, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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