Why Pastor Andre G. Olivier is wrong in pulpit statements and apology!

 

Daniel P. Kidder in his Treatise on Homiletics notes ‘A moment’s reflection upon the eternal consequences that may issue from the preaching of a single sermon in the name of the great author and finisher of faith, should be sufficient to effectively rebuke the haphazard carelessness and the recklessness of self-conceit with which texts are sometimes taken and treated in such as may harmonize with the divine guidance often as he may perform that important task.’

 

I thought about the words of Kidder when I listened to the clip of Pastor Olivier of Rivers Church’s sermon. I was further troubled when I read the bereft of pensive reflection immanent in due repentance and evidenced in lame apology he offered after the outcry.

 

Perhaps I must start in stating upfront Pastor Andre Olivier of the Rivers Church in Sandton is entitled to have an opinion as a citizen of a democratic society. I therefore will defend his right to have an opinion no different to any of us.

 

Therefore free speech as a constitutional bill of right subject is not on trial when many of us across various platforms and strata of humanity air our discomfort and disdain with the statements accredited to Pastor Olivier.

 

Perhaps what is cause for grave concern is where and from where these ideological views and statements were shared.

 

As a fellow member of the clergy, some solicited my opinion as to how I see or understood Pastor Olivier’s statements.

 

I have attempted to delineate six levels or areas where Olivier in my assessment erred. I will attempt to highlight these herewith:

 

Firstly Olivier did not maintain a discerning of the pulpit as sacred

My conclusion is I am burdened by the preacher’s articulations. In order to appreciate my postulated burden with Olivier I must first start in addressing where the words were released. I light my proverbial candle by hearing John Calvin “when a man has climbed up into the pulpit… it is (so) that God may speak to us by the mouth of a man”

 

The pulpit necessitates a consciousness and an awareness of the sacred context of preaching for such preaching is truly the prognostication of God’s Word. The pulpit is not a place for opinions, Calvin reminds us its God speaking in the mouth of human beings. The pulpit is not the place for racial rhetoric or the postulating and defending of racial ideologies regardless to how dear one may hold them.

 

So carried away with sharing his clearly deep-seated views that he had to remind himself that he was off the topic. It is clear somewhere in the sermon the Holy Spirit was no more leading but a man who has defined conclusively his identity as ‘white’ on a mission emerged to make the case for the white identity in success of economic expression.

 

 

Secondly Olivier perhaps did not discern the true identity of the body of Christ.

 

Pastor Olivier’s understanding of the believer is scripted in blackness and whiteness of identity constructs. It appears he speaks as a “white” man less as a Christian. He will forgive us to read him as first “white” and than a Christian. The complete Redemptive Work of Christ that finds all humans in an equal state of sinfulness and therefore in need of righteousness simply has no place for racial classifications as the supreme identity of the believer.

 

We dare not reduce the costly redemptive work of Christ to be subservient to race for an identity for the believer. It must be that we condemn with every fibre in our collective bone the idea in which “black” and “white” are supreme as descriptive of the believers’ identity.

 

 

Thirdly Olivier ventured to share his personal opinions as the word of God.

 

He opts to share from the pulpit his personal views on South Africa in economic history and present circumstances along racial lines, in which he opts to explain and defend the wealth of whites. So categorical and confirmed are the views of Olivier that he challenges those who argue those with a denotation of white for their human agency never to have taken any land or anything from them.”

 

I shall remonstrate right here the preacher left the house and a crusader of a ‘white’ identity stepped in. At this point Olivier had just become a politician and it can be argued he had just violated the ethical code of preaching, because his audience reflects South Africa in history warts and all. To become a crusader for white economic defence Olivier opened himself up to be questioned as no more preaching but engaging in a form of politicking in an election season.

 

In the fourth instance Olivier proved perhaps oblivious if not insensitive to our current race informed discourse.

 

Olivier it can be argued proved very insensitive to share these clearly deep-seated views when he as faith leader ought to know where we as a nation finds ourselves with the constant and regular racist statements of those who claim a “white” description for their identity.

 

He must have known the unwelcoming and stubborn reality that fills our media and public space on a daily basis. Yet common sense or should I say God sense simply didn’t caution the pastor from the richest square mile in Africa to venture into very troubled waters of inequality, race ownership of an economy and the defence of whites as hard workers.

 

In the fifth instance Olivier proved insensitive to our collective historic and current land ownership in South Africa

 

It is common that there is an attempt to whitewash a history of colonialism and apartheid, in which land the actual proverbial nerve stands paramount

 

The subject of stolen land raises the ire of many who shares a discomfort in being tagged as beneficiaries of that which was stolen, violently dispossessed and in many cases robbed from those who became subhuman under white supremacy.

 

To Pastor Olivier we must say regardless to how discomforting our history portends we dare not attempt to annihilate it only because we embarrassed by it. To disown our history of stolen land in one-dimensional claims of land was not taken from its rightful owners is simply not acceptable.

 

Whilst our history may prove discomforting we simply can’t airbrush colonialism and apartheid.

 

I implore Olivier if he is to preach the Word to attempt to do so and leave his confirmed political opinions for his braai mates.

 

Lastly Olivier’s apology attests a public relations exercise of damage control

 

Let me in conclusion turn to the apology of Olivier. The broader South African society finds itself subjected in recent times to the tasteless and completely unpalatable racist exploits of an endless list of publicly known cases. These include the likes of Penny Sparrow, Chris Hart, Richard Slade, Judge Mabel Jansen, Vicky Momberg, Justin Van Vuuren to name a few…

 

These are all documented cases in the last couple of months. In each instance when these racists were caught out they offered lame duck apologies that ranges from, it was as a mistake, I was angry, I did not mean it to hurt anyone, I was stupid,  If I had offended anyone..

 

It has almost become a subculture by now that you first prove brave in racist rant and when you caught out you apologise and a very forgiving ‘black’ South Africa forgives and we continue until another, and another and another. It appears it has become fashionable to be racist.

 

Today Pastor Andre Olivier took to twitter to tend his apology too.

Reflecting on my sermon last weekend I believe that it is right to express my regret for the hurt and offense…that was caused by my statements made during my message. For that I unreservedly apologise…I recognise that my words were poorly chosen, particularly in context of where this country comes from. My comments did not reflect my intention, and I acknowledge the harm that has come as a result. I love all South Africans & am committed to build the country to overcome the wrongs of the past. Words cannot express my remorse. I trust my future actions will support the sincerity of my apology.”

 

It is clear from this apology that Pastor Olivier was advised or counselled because these words were coached to be diametrically the opposite of what he shared in certainty yet without restating any of the controversial subject matter.

 

It appears his apology refuses to address each of the controversial subject material he in braveness of white defence crusade led. He now gives a generalised blanket apology clearly the work of a public relations and spin doctoring.

 

What we expected to hear from Pastor Olivier should perhaps have read:

 

I, Andre G. Olivier was wrong for having abused the pulpit in dragging my personal ideological stances as God-speak, a transgression of sin for which I am petitioning God for mercy.

 

I gravely erred when I tried to defend ‘white’ wealth in claim of hard work I gravely insulted the intelligence and being of those whose share a denotation  of “black” for the human agency.

 

I dismally failed as a leader when through these utterances of mine I destroyed the dream of Autsomoah, Nelson Mandela, Beyers Naude, Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko, Van Zyl Slabbert, Neville Alexander and many others.

 

I erred when I challenged documented history of land ownership and acquisitions in South Africa, the very reality of an ungodly colonial and apartheid supremacy  past.

 

I proved insensitive to everyone who shares a denotation of “black” for their identity, because in defending “white” wealth immanent in hard work I had implicitly stated “blacks” are lazy.

 

I sinned for letting an unscientific notion of race in ” white” identity count more than the believers’ identity in Christ. Yes I spoke in certainty of my whiteness and my class disposition proving very insensitive to the poor, the very poor that Jesus reminded us we will always have with us.

 

 

I have sinned before God and man and have not respected God neither those he made in equal in Likeness of His Divine Image.

 

In my arrogance I allowed my pride to enter God’s pristine moment when he addresses His people and He does not see them in colour of ‘black’ or ‘white’ but as His beloved.

 

My utterances were irresponsible as a leader in a democratic society where we struggle to heal the wounds of racial hatred, thus my utterances fuels the demon of racism.

 

I now petition God and my fellow men to extend mercy for this my sin. I pray that over time my actions will confirm the repentance of evil and that I be embraced in the society of South Africa as equal to all and above none.

 

 

Rather what we hear from Olivier now is, he is all of a sudden conscious of our collective historical context. He is today full of love for all South Africans. He wants to build now.

 

I implore Pastor Olivier to repent and go and rethink your apology, and allow repentance to lead your apology not a public relations damage control premise.

 

Respectfully submitted.

 

Bishop Clyde N. S. Ramalaine

 

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The politics of nominations lists and economic freedom / material gain !

Material gain not ideology the great divide in the ANC for the last 22 years!

 

 

“I didn’t join the struggle to be poor” are the words accredited to Smuts Ngonyama. Those who condemn him as articulated in this statement are not truthful to themselves. This statement remains a statement of truth. To appreciate this one liner of simple words you must understand that colonialism and apartheid was about wealth and poverty, it was about land and no land. It was about control and no control. It was about human beings and sub-humans. It was about privilege and those not privileged

 

Like Ngonyama, I didn’t join the struggle as 17-year-old boy  in a home where apartheid police constantly harassed my dad, to be poor. I didn’t sacrifice my school career, and went on the run after I was expelled for activism as vice-SRC president of the school Woodlands High in Mitchells Plain where I was a matriculant in the mid – 80’s, to be poor. I didn’t join the struggle to see how others who were with me and after me benefit materially whilst some of us still wait for economic emancipation. If I may add we didn’t struggle to have our people 22 years later still using a bucket toilet system and live in shanties for homes far from places of employment opportunities.

 

We have seen a wave of unrest, protests, violence and even deaths as all accredited to what is called ANC nomination lists for the 2016 Municipal elections.

 

It is not the first time that nominations and lists fuels a divide and manifests in sordid activities of violence and mayhem.

 

Yet hardly 6 weeks before the actual elections event the intensity of the unrest and protest visits with more frequency with a deeper sense of violence and less regard for life.

 

This naturally brings the question – but why?

 

The ANC prides itself on being very democratic in listing and nominations processes exemplified in all its relevant structures from branch, region, province to national for being a part in giving content to this confirmed claim of a democratic election process. Let me hasten to add it is very plausible that the ANC remains very democratic in its nomination and electioneering processes, yet despite this confirmed democratic practice the problem of nominations and lists persists.

 

It appears we therefore won’t find the answer in question of the democratic process. Perhaps it lays somewhere else. The nomination and lists processes has come to and end as I pen this note with ANC confirming its new nominee Thoko Didiza for the Tshwane metro. Yet despite the process having reached its administrative and consulted end it has catapulted into a crisis where violence and the destruction of property through arson rages tonight in the townships of Tshwane.

 

There are those who in armchair convenience call these the works of thugs, this argument regardless to how sardonic proves challenging because these are ANC members rallying around a nominee. Blaming third forces regardless how romantic and easy will not help us deal with the issue at hand.

 

There was a time when the ANC members were divided in engaging along ideological lines. When ANC members engaged it was from convicted positions informed by defendable argued ideology be such rhetoric or real.

 

We can safely contend the current crisis in the ANC when it comes to elections and lists has little if anything to do with opposing ideology but it’s directly linked and borne from access to material benefit perceived or real.

 

Perhaps it’s time the ANC becomes real with itself on the issue of what it means to be on the list of this movement who has made multi- millionaires of its leaders since Mandela.  It can thus be categorically argued being on an ANC list directly translates to the potential of economic access and material gain. This reality cannot be denied. The ANC it seems is in denial as to this reality because conceding to this established reality might sacrifice its history in values imminent of selflessness. What is indisputable is that ANC leaders become wealthy, thus being on a list is a dividing line in being empowered or not.

 

The ANC in its values prides itself in being against a form of careerism and its twin crass materialism. Yet the reality is that an aspiring to political power becomes the bedrock for a career and access to economic empowerment.

 

An attempt in dissecting the history of material gain compels us to look at the ANC before political power. The ANC before political power lived from handouts and the choice benevolence of individuals sometimes groups of those who identified with its fight for freedom from apartheid. Thus the ANC benefitted from the benevolence of what I coined ages ago “white privilege and Indian cuisine”. Whether it was a small business Indian family business guy or a rich Jewish Family business, an Afrikaner or an English who shared some of their colonial and apartheid made wealth.

 

These were considered cadres because they shared the pain and agony of what it was to be ‘black’ in a white mans world, though they never lost their whiteness. There is enough evidence of how the ANC and its leaders benefitted from the benevolence of ‘white’ privilege. When ANC leaders came out of prison they were hosted by white privilege, they slept in the homes of white privilege and were driven around in vehicles and flown around from the benevolence of white privilege. It appears hanging around white privilege will make you fall pregnant with it; its manifestation material gain is the seed that was left in the ANC after its affair with white privilege.

 

I contend that material gain crept into the ANC in pregnancy before 1994. Material gain the proverbial infant in the Mandela era became the adolescent under Mbeki and now is a full grown man with it’s own voice under Zuma. The difference is under Mandela the moment of reconciliation blinded us to the reality of material gain that was among us in infancy already.

 

Under Mbeki with his correct two-nations in one country analysis we were introduced to policy frameworks and footprints to ensure the transfer of material gain to those who never shared in such as denied by racial classification. South Africa proved it appears more tolerant if not oblivious to the Mandela era infant that was now growing into adolescence.

 

BEE in its first pajamas draft, and praxis though it was claimed back then was for the masses, we know today was never for the masses but for a few who shared close proximity to political power.

 

Being associated with political power directly translated to economic empowerment. So a few names kept popping up, the same faces at all the deals, the same families their spouses, cousins friends and ultimately their children. Aided by the white privilege group who lost political power the carefully selected families of the new small politically connected blacks were quickly roped into board memberships, shareholding offered by white privilege companies to ensure the latter had access to a purported changing political and economic landscape at least as was to be anticipated by the BEE policy frameworks that had as was claimed a sense of punitive action against uncontaminated white privilege.

 

In 2016 we have ANC members, veterans even stalwarts who condemn the grown man duly named Material Gain as selective moralists. They disown their direct and indirect role in this material gain. They pontificate to the youth how these must not gain wealth through political association. Even more caustically troublesome is the fact that those who condemn today have already gained materially and gained by way of political proximity. It becomes difficult to take these empowered ones serious because they don’t talk how they benefitted materially!

 

Perhaps it’s time the ANC admits it has made all its leaders at national, provincial and municipal wealthy in economic sense. It must perhaps admit it set a precedent for what it means to be on an ANC list. It would appear the municipal elections list has become for some the last bus to their economic freedom and since they feel they have lost out on the 22 years of gravy trains since Mandela, this is the last stop.

 

 

The ANC clearly didn’t foresee that material gain would tear at its soul attempting to shred it to pieces. We are dealing with a grown man called ” Material Gain”.

What is undeniable is that we are at a precarious place in both ANC and SA context. A blind ANC spells a blind SA.

 

How does the ANC fix this situation? It does not fix it by condemning others who are like them ANC members. It does no fix it by being arrogant out of a place of economic comfort. It certainly does not fix it in accusations. It must admit the road we have travelled till this hour; it must accept full responsibility for its decisions to have affairs with white privilege that impregnated ANC leaders who were engaging on ideology to ANC leaders who have become multi- millionaires. It must seek to find a way in listening instead of wanting to tell. It must refuse to be suffering of selective amnesia and admit economic freedom for the masses is a compromised reality when ANC leaders are empowered and has become a buffer zone for capital.

 

If you ask me, I agree with Smuts Ngonyama, I too have not struggled to be poor. Who in his right mind would not want to be on that list yes I too want to be on that list if the list is my meal ticket to material gain and ultimately economic freedom.

 

You see I too was in 1995 on the ANC list, to serve as counselor for Ward 33 in the City of Joburg in the first democratic Municipal Elections.

 

The issue became demarcation in which the cadre from Motsoeledi and myself were called for interviews. In that interview which was chaired by Cadre Khabs Sonkutu, he said to me in the presence of the Motsoaledi Branch candidate, comrade you are the better candidate in many aspects but we not sure if we can win Naturena which at the time was predominantly white. He then said to me it is your call, I accepted that Cllr. Stefaans from Motsoeledi became the candidate and I gave him my full and unreserved support until I determine to answer my call to the clergy office, as he himself will confirm. Our Naturena branch was not happy with the decision but we placed the greater good of the organization before material gain.

 

I however in hindsight have often been asked whether I did not shoot myself in the foot with that decision. I must admit from the heart I will say no but from my mind I think I did deny myself to be apart of my generation who today are wealthy.

 

I didn’t struggle to see the liberation aristocracy benefit alone. Until I share in that I cannot agree with ANC leaders who want to be the adjudicators of those who engage in unrest and fight to be on a list, from the comfort of their attained material gain.

 

 

What divide us today ANC Leaders, members and supporters is not ideology but material gain. We can theorize till the next century, we are divided in material gain and political proximity determines where one ends.

 

Clyde N. Ramalaine

Former ANC Branch Leader and ANC voter.

Hillary Rodham-Clinton: The 45th President of the USA finally rises in uncontested seniority!

The 45th President of the USA finally rises in uncontested seniority!

 

It is said one speech makes not the man, I beg to differ one speech made the 44th President Barack Hussein Obama of the USA and it seems that history will repeat itself for one speech in my assessment has just made the 45th USA President, Hillary Rodham-Clinton.

 

The race for finalising the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party appears for some still up in air with California to make its voice heard with a tight race between Clinton and Sanders, yet I dare stick my neck out to call it in her favour.

 

I am not the only one to think that way but will be excused for asserting even Clinton with this speech engaged with her opponent the Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump. She took the game beyond next week when she will be confirmed as the Democratic Party nominee, and fired the first salvo.

 

Have we just watched the 45th and first female president of the United States of America, Hillary Rodham-Clinton stepped up into her rightful place?

 

Having followed the unfolding race hitherto one would be forgiven for suggesting though we saw Clinton engage with others in the up-run to today we have never seen her step up in taking the lead to set the tone and establish the narrative for the 45th Presidential Race.

 

Tonight Clinton in very calm, astute and composed sense defined her campaign in unmasking the androgyny of a Trump campaign for the Whitehouse.

 

She turned Trumps ‘make America great” campaign on its head, in analysing the campaign, the man and his content in etched sardonic comedy of words. She unveils this campaign as anchored on a diaphragm of the common populist rhetoric of fear. A campaign crutched in makeshift twin pillars of an America that is unsafe and currently badly managed.

 

She remonstrates the campaign fallacious and undeniably bereft of truth. She argues this campaign in the true sense as of aim to tear America down rendering necessarily it unsafe. She reminds America, Donald Trump will bring more wars and make the USA hostile towards long standing national peace loving neighbours.

 

Clinton asserts it’s the very campaign of Trump laced with his ignorant blind-hate of Muslims that directly plays into the hands of fundamentalist formations such ISIS rendering them to comfortably garner empathy and support. She lectures Trump that America as a nation imbibes in its founding principles the right to freedom of association of religion and faith. She informs him since he clearly is oblivious to the fact that Muslims citizens serve the USA in all facets of its society even protecting the very borders where Trump wants to erect walls.

 

In order to understand the content of this campaign she burrows into the man Trump, who despite billionaire status remains a clinging cymbal of ignorance, indolent in pomp and arrogant in lack of knowledge.

 

She argues he leads a false campaign premised on a myth that the USA is on shaky grounds, it teeters on bad management under an Obama presidency and that it is in bad space on foreign relations praxis with more enemies than under Bush.

 

Clinton went to the heart of the Trump campaign, which is primarily informed, by ignorance and scaremonger tactics and crowned with what she wraps as reality TV trimmings. She tore through the façade of a claimed America in crisis, remonstrating a denial of the great work unfolding in the USA as led by this Democratic leadership.

 

She calls Donald Trump to come out of his Trump Reality TV Show and face the pressing challenges of a global context of politics in which real issues are on the table. She cites the naivety, total lack of coherent and systematic thinking or analysis of Trump’s grasp on foreign relations for answers on Syria.

 

Clinton in measured tone reminds America tonight of more than a decade of Donald Trumps words. She mocks his proverbial ostrich-head-in-hole or coffee-tin views on Syria, in which he devoid of thinking suggests maybe Syria must be made a free zone for ISIS. On another occasion Trump would suggest the deploying of tens of thousands of ground troops in Syria to fix the problem of the centre of the world. Clinton with this shows Americans the man who speaks before he thinks is clearly not having a plan for ISIS.

 

Rodham-Clinton unpacked the Trump Reality TV show; she unmasks the Trump, the racist, Islamaphobe, Trump the one with scant regard for America’s neighbours. She unveils Trump the chauvinist, who has ill regard for women but one who sees them as objects of pleasure and beauty contests. She calls him thin skinned whom as she delivers this speech is already tweeting.

 

Her analysis of the Trump Campaign sets the narrative of what a USA presidential contest in November will confirm. Clearly she dishes out, Trump, a lecture on what constitutes a prism or an epistemology of foreign relations for a nation that leads the world not just because it is the biggest economy, or for its military prowess but because Americans work hard to lead in entrepreneurship thus economically.

 

In a sense what Clinton said was not new, what made it significant is that it was done in precision sense, putting the true Trump in the face of Americans. She calls his ideas not different but dangerously incoherent. Meaning this man poses a threat by every stretch of the imagination.

 

This she lays before the USA electorate body in saying, this is my opponent somebody clearly inept of visionary outlook as evidenced in utter lack of any constructive policy or plan. However one who strings along nice and easy clichés that is coined devoid of pensive reflection. The 45th President of the USA says America cannot afford incoherent leadership at its helm.

 

This she takes to another level when she attempts psychoanalysis of the persona of Trump. Which she dovetails in declaring him temperamentally unfit. Clinton effectively says Trump deserves to be on mood control medication because his temperament renders him unstable one that  really needs medication. She therefore unequivocally suggests a USA with Trump at its helm who blurts stuff on his twitter account depending on his mood swings attest danger if he has access to the proverbial ‘football’ nuclear controls of America as president.

 

She cogently asks why America should trust a candidate who since Ronald Reagan never believed in America, for which he is on record.

 

 

There will off course be those who will ask why Clinton waited so late to take the lead in setting the narrative of what a great a USA is.

 

Perhaps the answer lies in the narrative of the 2016 campaign as set by the Republicans. Commentators are in unison that the 2016 presidential nominees for parties’ nominee was not the usual type. It was consistently a campaign evidenced for unorthodox, less structured, and empty of policy debate. The Republican Party nominations process set the tone for this content of the campaign that came to be defined as one of insults, denigration and all forms of sordid theatrics of nominee families being attack. It became what I term a gangster fight in which no rules applied and the rule book was drafted hour by hour of Trump’s media blurts.

 

While the Republican nominee contests set the tone for this campaign Trump filled it with his own content, which soon became difficult to manage in coherent discourse. He provided the narrative, he developed the content of this insult-ridden campaign in which the size of the male organ became the barometer of sensibility.

 

We saw how low Trump went as he teetered one from one low to the next. Content immanent in racist attacks against minorities evidenced in African American and Hispanics groups. He spared not women his wrath in calling them pigs. He ventured to opine on foreign nations that has no clue where these were located. He spit his vitriol on African leaders calling them lazy, great when it comes to sex and useless.

 

Clinton as a much more seasoned politician who has a much better grip on how the world is organised politically, economically if not militarily perhaps never felt at home in the Trump charade of a campaign. She therefore could not have a decent debate because the waters were muddled if not contaminated by the Trump poop.

 

She tonight wrested the debate of a future America and its choices for leadership from the dung and mud of what has come to define the campaign until now.

 

I shall concede Trump won the Republican Party mud-fight for party nominee. The key question remains can he contest and debate sensibly in an environment where insults and incoherent thinking is absent? My sense he was never able to and will not be able to, he loves a street brawl, where no rules abide. My guess is Trump is not ready for a boxing heavy weight contest where scientific skills matter. Yes a 15-rounds contest where low blows simply do not gain you an advantage but count against getting into the White House.

 

Tonight Hillary Rodham-Clinton decided with 5 months to go its time to lead. It is time to place America in global sense at the epicentre of the debate. Yes off course its early days in the contest, yet I hold this one speech has set the tone and I would not be surprised if she as early as June 2, clinched the 45th USA Presidential Campaign and Bill is getting ready to pack his bags to move back to the Whitehouse in making history this time as the First Man.

 

My unsolicited advice to the Republicans, if you have any hope of saving your party vote with you minds and not your hearts.

 

Let us wait and see….

 

Clyde N.S. Ramalaine

Independent Observer