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I dislike the values of a certain popular car-sharing service, which has shown itself to be shameless in its predatory pricing. Yet my wife and I use of this service for our teens on weekends so that they can travel safely. Is this ethical?


Posted: 04 Mar 2015

If you participate in capitalist consumer culture at all, you are constantly navigating one part of this question: Is it ethical to patronise a business whose values are in opposition to yours? And the answer rests on degree. Some people don’t like to shop at Checkers; some won’t eat at Nando’s. But for some, convenience — or love of the product (see: Lulu Lemon) — outweighs whatever values conflict a consumer might have. It sounds like, in this case, you’re not outraged enough by the transgressions of the car-sharing company to cease using ...

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I don’t understand the connection between suffering and salvation. I suppose what I mean is the connection between the cross and the resurrection. What is the connection? Richard in Pretoria


Posted: 10 Apr 2014

The “cross,” rightly understood, is precisely and always unto resurrection. It’s as if God were holding up the crucifixion as a cosmic object lesson, saying: “I know this is what you’re experiencing. Don’t run from it. Learn from it, as I did. Hang there for a while, as I did. It will be your teacher. Rather than losing life, it is gaining life. It is the way through.” The mystery of the cross has the power to teach us that our suffering is not our own and my life is not about “me.” Redemptive suffering is, I believe, a radical call to a dee...

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Do you think that suffering can bring us to God? Jill in Camps Bay


Posted: 10 Apr 2014

The genius of Jesus’ ministry is that he reveals that God uses tragedy, suffering, pain, betrayal, and death itself, not to wound you, but in fact to bring you to God. So there are no dead ends. Everything can be transmuted and everything can be used. After all, on the cross, God took the worst thing, the killing of God, and made it into the best thing—the redemption of the world! If you gaze upon the mystery of the cross long enough, your dualistic mind breaks down, and you become slow to call things totally good or totally bad. You realise...

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I have recently been in a lot of pain. Can spirituality help me to get rid of it? Michael in Pretoria


Posted: 10 Apr 2014

Don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons. When you hold the pain consciously and trust fully, you are in a very special liminal space. This is a great teaching moment where you have the possibility of breaking through to a deeper level of faith and consciousness. Hold the pain of being human until God transforms you through it. And then you will be an instrument of transformation for others. As an example of holding the pain, picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross. Standing would not be the normal posture of a Jewis...

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I have made so many stupid mistakes and I just cannot believe that God could see anything positive in them. (from George in Ventersdorp)


Posted: 08 Mar 2012

God’s one-of-a-kind job description is that God actually uses our problems to lead us to the full solution. God is the perfect Recycler, and in the economy of grace, nothing is wasted, not even our worst sins and our most stupid mistakes. We only become enlightened as the ego dies to its pretences, and we begin to be led by Soul and Spirit. That dying is something we are led through by the grace of God and by confronting our own shadow. As we learn to move into a Larger Realm, we will almost naturally weep over those sins, as we recognise th...

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