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 story : A Clenched Fist and an Open Hand: Lessons Learned from Desmond Tutu #WorldNEWS I know “the Reverend and the rock star” sounds like the start of a joke, not the description of a friendship.

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A Clenched Fist and an Open Hand: Lessons Learned from Desmond Tutu #WorldNEWS
I know “the Reverend and the rock star” sounds like the start of a joke, not the description of a friendship. Improbable as it was, Desmond Tutu, who died on Dec. 26, and I did have a friendship, and it’s been one of the blessings of my life. Not just to know him, but to have the chance to learn from him, to take inspiration from him, and to try to get a grip of the radical Christianity he preached even, at times, against the orthodoxy of his own church.
I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.
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I was in the room when he raged against his own government as represented by the African National Congress (ANC), promising he would be praying against them if they didn’t change their ways. Prophet versus Profit. He could be pushy with his fans too, i. e. me. “Do it!” he once chided me, “or I will personally stand in the way of you entering the gates of heaven. I’m an archbishop I have influence. ” His understanding of scripture demanded he afflict the comfortable as surely as he comforted the afflicted.
Tutu’s concern for structures as well as individuals helps explain why his ministry focused not only on the consequences of injustice, but also its causes.
There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.
U2 played our first anti-apartheid gig in 1979 in Dublin, before we even had a record deal. We were teenagers who had grown up around a home-grown version of religious apartheid—applied by the U. K. to Catholics in Northern Ireland. Even then, Tutu was describing apartheid as less a structure than a metaphor for good and evil—a spiritual complement to Nelson Mandela’s more secular analysis. Beginning in the Eighties, both men had a serious impact on our band and, ever since, on my activism.
One of the first things I had to learn from him was just to listen. This, it turns out, takes a serious resolve for someone like me—someone with a big mouth and a foot the size of it.
I cannot forget the look on the very reverend’s face the first time we met him in 1998, when U2 and other guests crowded into his office of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Cape Town. The look wasn’t indulgent or even dutiful, it was polite verging on dismissive. If I could have spelled it out: TOURISTS. “Let us bow our heads,” he said to the traveling circus (half of whom were not at all religious). “And let us ask the Holy Spirit into the room to bless the work going on in this building, and to search all of our hearts for how we can do more to fulfill Your Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven.


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