'Spiritrestoration' Articles

These articles first appeared on an American website, Spiritrestoration, that no longer exists.You are welcome to use these articles. Please attribute them to the author. Notification of their use would be appreciated. The only exception is articles that are marked copyright or have appeared in books where permission may be needed. Link to further articles are listed in left-hand column. 

When I think about South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup and the country’s continuing challenges, particularly with the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche, a white supremacist, I am reminded of the courage of two South African friends of mine, black and white, who long before many others were pioneers of truth and reconciliation and forgiveness.

A year ago my brother-in-law, Paul, was given at most two years to live. He was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Now he has just been told officially by his doctor that he is in remission and, if all continues smoothly as expected, he will be cured.

Why the difference? It has all to do with stem cells, which up until then, I must admit, had been for me just something remote which some people somewhere else were arguing over.

GPS – or Sat Nav – as we call it in England is all the rage. When my wife and I rented a car in Los Angeles we found to our surprise that it had GPS already installed. We got to our destination before we had figured out how to make it work.

Change is in the air. Despite the pervasive aura of fear, fed by images of destruction in the Middle East and the economic turmoil buffeting every family, there is an air of optimism, and not only in the United States, since a new American president has taken over. The Economist uses the word ‘optimism’ in the context of ‘America’s awesome power of self-renewal’.

A new publication in Britain, Faith in the Nation, addresses issues which face many of our countries whose religious and racial landscape is changing and where some regard religion as the problem and others see it as the answer.

‘Today the long-awaited tide of history flows toward the non-white races. Those tides will lift burdens of the centuries and wipe out blood stains in the sands of time. Be sure that tide elevates all humanity,’ said Peter Howard.

I once mentioned Sadie Patterson's name to Nobel Peace Prize winner Betty Williams when I was interviewing her for Oregon Public Broadcasting. She responded, ‘O, you mean our Saidie.’ For Saidie was regarded as the mother of the peace movement in Northern Ireland. And, as her biographer, David Bleakley, said at her funeral, ‘An Ireland full of Saidies would be an island at peace.’

I have been asked how I come to be writing books about forgiveness.

Is 2008 going to be the year of unconditional forgiveness and reconciliation? Not in America if election campaigning is anything to go by.

I was once asked to give the invocation for the Oregon senate. I was introduced and the senators duly bowed their heads. As I spoke astonished heads were slowly raised. It might have been the English accent, or perhaps it was the invocation, unlike others they were used to. I simply told the story of a politician who I thought was a good example for politicians anywhere, anytime.