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God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time    by Desmond Tutu order for
God Has a Dream
by Desmond Tutu
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In God Has a Dream, Archbishop Desmond Tutu shares his thoughts, beliefs, experiences, and life with honesty, directness, compassion, and humor. The Nobel Laureate tells us, 'we all experience sadness ... despair ... While I write as a Christian, this transformation can be recognized and experienced by anyone, regardless of your faith and religion, and even if you practice no religion at all ... This book is a cumulative expression of my life's work'.

Tutu addresses transfiguration, apartheid, the release of Nelson Mandela (imprisoned for twenty-seven years), thousands of deaths in massacres, civil war and rebellion. The Archbishop cast his first vote after sixty-two years. Addressing prejudice, Tutu uses one of many analogies to show the absurdity of racism, discrimination, and bias: 'In South Africa they used to have signs on toilets saying "Whites Only." Drawing attention to his own nose, Tutu says, "Suppose you are looking for a toilet and instead it says 'Large Noses Only.' If you have a small nose, you are in trouble if nature is calling.' He carries his point even further - to attend the 'Large Nose University' one would have to get permission to attend from with the 'Minister of Small Nose Affairs'!

The Archbishop encourages us to see 'with the eyes of God', that is 'to see with the eyes of the heart and not just the eyes of the head. The eyes of the heart are not concerned with appearances but with essences'. He tells us that we create endless divisions between us in religions, ethnic groups, nationalities, and different kinds of love - even to the extreme of condemning the love of gays and lesbians. The aforesaid are irrelevant to God, who 'smiles whenever we recognize our need for one another.' Tutu supports the ordination of women, and that God is either gender, i.e. the 'Fatherhood or Motherhood of God'. In a wonderful analogy, Tutu plays out a scenario in the selection of a teenager named Mary to become the mother of Jesus. What if the event went like this? The archangel is sent to visit Mary '"Knock, knock." "Come in." "Er, Mary?" "Yes." "Mary, God would like you to be the mother of His Son." "What? Me!! ... You want me to be an unmarried mother? I'm a decent girl, you know. Sorry, try next door."'

To read Desmond Tutu's writing is to be seated with him, in a quiet place, exchanging conversational banter, feeling the love of God no matter who you are, where from, or in what you believe. He writes of humanity's need to be quicker to praise than to find fault, to thank others, and to see good in a person no matter how small. The retired Archbishop of Cape Town presents a powerful endorsement of humanity, hope, and the oneness of us all. Tutu writes with a down-to-earth style, telling of his youth, his twenty-month hospitalization with tuberculosis, and his bout with cancer. He has faced death threats, yet pokes fun at himself, and is open about his needs. I recommend God Has a Dream to any reader who would enjoy a lift for the day, also as a reference for clergy in sermons, and for religious instruction.

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