After a three-month hiatus from sending emails and writing blogs, I’m back with an update. In full disclosure, my re-engagement and trip earlier this year to Zimbabwe caught me completely off guard. There is an ancient proverb “It is always darkest before the dawn”. It was applicable in my case. By time December rolled around last year, I was emotionally drained. I found myself questioning everything I had ever thought about myself or any dream I might have had about where life would take me. I was in one of those seasons of profound disorientation where you lose your bearings and your sense of self. I hung on to a phrase I remembered from years ago during a similar season. That inner voice reminded me…a fool runs in the fog. I knew that in my disoriented state I needed to hunker down for a while. Some precious friends saw my plight and offered me the use of their summer home by a lake. It was a Godsend and my place of refuge for my weary soul. In the quietness, away from the pressure of other’s expectations, the fog started to lift and clarity emerged from the mist.
BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS
The first thing which happened was the rebirth of a vision for a series of books which I started writing back in 2013. During that time frame, I reconnected with an old friend from my 1990’s Southern California days named Brad Cummings. Brad was a co-writer, editor and publisher for a very popular book titled “The Shack.” In 2014, we got together in Los Angeles and during the course of our conversation, he asked if I had written anymore books since my first book “Saving Zimbabwe”? I laughed and told him, “Yes, I’ve been writing about people like us. Those God chooses to work through who are not in ministry and work outside the realm of institutional religion. People with callings similar to Joseph, Daniel and Esther.” He was really intrigued as this had been his journey and, therefore, a very personal subject matter. We then proceeded to launch into a dialogue over the next couple days which was incredibly stimulating to say the least.
Before I headed out of town I left the manuscript with him as our discussion had ignited a fire in his heart. As for me, I was excited to simply have someone who understood me and had similar perspectives. It had been a lonely road the previous couple decades as my own ministry colleagues had a difficult time digesting what I was saying. We had all been trained in bible school and seminaries that the most important people God uses are all in the ministry and the most important thing He was doing was building churches. My expansive ideas of what God was up to were viewed as a threat to the status quo. They didn’t want to hear that the status quo was going to be upset by larger cultural forces that would force us to rethink a great deal of who we are and what we are about.
My trip to LA launched us on an adventure together which has taken a few years to unfold, due to necessary delays in order to release a movie version of The Shack. During that time frame, Brad asked me to expand on the first manuscript which resulted in a second book’s worth of material. It was irritating to hear him say he wanted more from me as I was anxious to get the book out and published, but he was right; I was attempting to cram too much into a single book. While the movie was in the post-production process, we met again to discuss both manuscripts and out of that came an additional two books! I started realizing we were dangerous together. Whatever that creative energy is, when you get together 1+1 does not equal 2, it equals 4! We are now sitting on 4 books of material. We hope to have the first book out by this Fall and the others out next year. In time I will let you know what we are going to tackle in those other three books. I guarantee they will make you think, while possibly stepping back and re-looking at a few familiar things in different ways.
Late last year, while I was trying to get my personal bearings, Brad started inquiring as to what was I seeing for the days ahead and why did I think the Joseph’s I was writing about were so crucial to what is coming. We got into a rather intense discussion because while I was comfortable talking about it with him, I was uncomfortable writing about it and putting it in the book. I didn’t want the book to become another eschatology book in the nature of the 1970’s classic “Late Great Planet Earth”. In his most persuasive way, he changed my mind! From December through February of this year I researched and wrote about what I see unfolding… a great shift. The next two decades are going to be unprecedented as far as significant change. It will have a profound effect on how we live, how we relate to God and how we interact with each other. It’s not a Doomsday scenario as there will be huge opportunity ahead if we can see it and respond proactively like Joseph did. I can just feel some of you begging me to go into more detail here. Sorry, you will have to purchase the book!
CRY MY BELOVED ZIMBABWE
For those who may be just now catching up with my Zimbabwean journey, the backstory can be found on my blogs posted from the nation earlier this year. For the rest of you, if you’ve been following the news, you know the nation is in a tumultuous and precarious position at the moment. The people of Zimbabwe are caught in the middle of a huge conflict between two political parties. There is an ancient African proverb which says “When two elephants fight it’s the grass which dies”. This proverb is playing itself out currently in Zimbabwe and the grass is literally dying. The election was held on July 30th and the final results were announced in the early morning hours of August 3rd. The government agency in charge of the elections, the Zimbabwe Election Commission, had been accused by opposition parties even before voting day of many improprieties while not following the law. When the Commission made the announcement that current President Emmerson Mnangagwa had won by barely getting the minimum 50% (50.8%) required for an outright win, the opposition cried foul and accused ZANU-PF of election rigging and the ZEC of being an accomplice. That .8% is in the neighborhood of a mere 30,000 votes and the difference in a Presidential run-off between the two top vote getters.
Given ZANU-PF’s history of corruption and election rigging, many people were understandably suspicious and upset. They took to the streets to protest and the government unleashed the Army on them resulting in the deaths of six people. I was particularly pained by the story of a woman shopkeeper who was closing her store to go home to be with her family and was shot in the back! The photographs of the dead were all over social media within minutes. More people were beaten and jailed as things continued to escalate. One of the opposition’s leading figures, Tendai Biti, was hunted down as he tried to flee to Zambia. Even after crossing the Zambian border seeking asylum, officials there returned him to Zimbabwe against an international outcry. Last week the opposition party MDC-Alliance filed papers with the Constitutional Court to challenge the authenticity of the election results which then postponed the Presidential Inauguration which was to be held on the 11th. Given the Constitutional Courts consistent past rulings in favor of ZANU-PF, it is a longshot the opposition will prevail. At this point, they are using the media to argue their case in the court of public opinion in hopes that it will hold the court accountable. The US, UK and EU are all watching this case intensely with so much at stake.
The mood in Zimbabwe is very somber at the moment. The streets of the capital city Harare have been quieter as people hunkered down in their homes. If you can imagine the heights of euphoria Zimbabweans reached on Nov. 14th 2017 when dictator and tyrant Robert Mugabe’s 37 years’ reign of oppression ended. Well, they have equally descended into the pits of despair over what has just happened in their country. For many they had hoped for a whole new start and this was a kick to the gut taking their breath away. In reviewing the election results, Zimbabweans voted very similar to Americans in the last election. It was the urban areas vs. the rural areas. In Zimbabwe, 70% of the population still lives in the rural areas and are conditioned to centuries of tribal/command style government. The democratic vision of the young and educated urbanites was simply not enough at this point to swing things in their favor. That will change though over the next ten years. Currently, 60% of the population is 40 and under. They don’t care about the Revolution of their grandparents because it hasn’t worked out well for them as there are no jobs. The young visionaries are frustrated and ready for change. Whether the older generation wants it or not, change is coming and they won’t be around to stop it.
LEAVES OF HEALING
Besides needing to take a break from writing, my silence over the last three months has been strategic. There are a number of significant things going on behind the scenes at the moment as a result of my time in Zimbabwe. I am guarding them very carefully and holding them close to me to insure they don’t get politicized by those with ulterior motives. Up front I’m going to apologize for not disclosing fully what I’m up to but in time you will understand why it’s so important to keep things under wraps. Here is what I can tell you; Zimbabwe has to heal. The soil in Zimbabwe runs red with blood which has been shed over centuries of conflict which precedes even colonialism. The only way forward is to actually go back and deal with the past. Those in power over the centuries, driven by selfish ambition and greed, have used a divide and conquer strategy to stay in power and control the wealth. Using people as pawns they have perpetuated conflict after conflict while millions have died and they continue to get richer. The grass in Zimbabwe has died a thousand deaths.
It is my view and those of my many colleagues in Zimbabwe that its only hope for future prosperity is to deal with past pain. We are linking arms on a mission to heal the country despite whatever happens politically. In our view the need for National Peace & Reconciliation transcends any other need and here is why; without healing the broken relationships across the nation, it will be impossible to reform the political, economic or religious sectors which all need major overhaul. The nation is so fragmented as a result of people being pitted against each other by their leaders, it is virtually impossible to get everyone to agree to walk together in the same direction except for on one thing…PEACE. Interestingly, as I traveled the nation for three months I found 100% buy in from people wanting peace. The people are weary of conflict and tired of being used. Their hearts are crying out for something transcendent which can bring everyone together.
Without wanting to come off arrogant or presumptuous, I believe God has entrusted me with something which will do just that. It is the fulfillment of what we started in 1982 at the Community of Reconciliation. I have shared it confidentially with a few key national leaders who after seeing it, all have agreed, it is the most significant national project in the history of the nation. Given the dynamics of the situation I find myself in a quandary… I need to raise money on the front end to get this off the ground without divulging too much publicly. If you need more information email me at [email protected] and we can set up a conference call.
Immediately, I need $10,000 to purchase airfare to the UK, Rwanda and Zimbabwe leaving on October 15th.
I also need $500,000 for development costs to get the necessary pieces in place before we go public to raise the $50,000,000 we will need to build it. While it is a mountain to climb, I am convinced God is in it and therefore I am excited. I am also keenly aware of how strategic this project will be for the rebuilding of the Jewel of Africa… Zimbabwe.
You can help with the initial $10,000 cost of travel expenses here at:
You can also mail checks to:
Compassionate Justice International
6701 West 64th Street
Suite 220 Bldg 5
Overland Park, KS 66202-4170
Thank you for continuing to support