Monday, September 3, 2007

The Church

(1) I haven’t been to church for years unless for weddings or funerals.

(2) We drive to the black township of Langa. It’s still scary, but SAJ thinks he’s getting better at driving here. When he tries to use the turn signal the wind shield wiper comes on.

(3) My first time in a township. Overwhelming. I am so, so, so pale. I have to admit, it’s weird. And weirdness runs very deep. What is color? Keep asking that. What is race? What is tribe? What is family? What is blood? Really, what is blood?

(4) They have a coal-water cooling plant here that looks like a nuclear reactor.

(5) We are early for church, so we drive around. I feel foreign, out of place, a tourist to a struggle.

(6) The church is right across from the police station.

(7) We are standing waiting to meet our host, Gege. He doesn’t recognize SAJ because of the lack of the ponytail.

(8) Remarkable smile – Gege.

(9) Music everywhere. Even before we go into the church.

(10) We sit at the back of the church.

(11) Children everywhere. Youth choir, teenagers that sit on the risers facing the congregation, late-teens or early 20’s in blue blazers and caps doing the confirmation of faith.

(12) Children make you see your sins and your hopeful redemption.

(13) Unbelievable music and everyone knows the songs and can perform them in six part harmony.

(14) I am fighting back the tears. The beauty of the children.

(15) The pews in this church are even smaller the ones at St. Teresa’s Catholic Church in Hutchinson, KS.

(16) Well, it’s official. At a holy ceremony of the First United Langa Methodist Church of South Africa, I was introduced as one of two “fellow Africans from America.” SAJ and I are really brothers.

(17) Long service. Almost 4 hours!

(18) AIDS Awareness everywhere. It’s good to see a church addressing the issue.

(19) Gege’s mother is beautiful and has a remarkable voice. And he is a dynamic force that makes you optimistic for the future.

(20) Meeting with Gege, lots of stuff on tape for Deb.

(21) I miss my wife.


Video of the children's choir singing in the church in Langa:

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