Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is famous for his work and life.
He’s also famous for his role as the chairperson of this Truth and Reconciliation Commission where he endeavoured to help cure the state as its father confessor; and ultimately at a frequently deferred retirement, because a respected international elder in trying to resolve both the local and worldwide conflicts.
Where can you even start to begin writing in admiration of such a individual and such a life? Luckily, my job was defined for me personally. I’ve been asked to write about his theology, an odd request, but significant nonetheless, given that what Tutu has done and said was shaped, not by political comprehension and ambition, or from ecclesiastical pursuits, but by his own faith in God, in other words, by his own theology.
However, his profound spirituality isn’t and hasn’t become the piety of a spiritual ghetto; just the contrary.
This was this that prompted his involvement in seeking justice for the downtrodden and encouraging the liberation battle. It was this that gave him the guts to face political disagreements, stand up to abuse from inside his own church, and direct protest marches at the face of overwhelming screens of state authority.
Functionaries of the apartheid country in addition to those of our existing authorities who misuse their power, seem decidedly tawdry together with the Arch. They’re no match because of his moral authority, his religious thickness, or his theological wisdom. Nor can they contend with his humility, humour or humankind.
Critics who label him a priest, completely misunderstand him. Tutu is politically astute, but he’s had no political aspirations, nor is or was he a part of any political party.
His social participation began because he celebrated the Eucharist, listening to the silence to identify what had to be done and said in the public arena.
It goes without mentioning that Tutu was well versed in the doctrines of Christian religion. Specifically he had a deep Comprehension of the incarnational nature of Christianity.
Therefore, he emphasized that the incarnational and reconciling ministry of this church in the life span of earth. He uttered the picture of God imprinted on the surface of all human beings, also considered that despite their own sins, none had been beyond redemption. Thus the inclusive embrace of those other are essential to human and societal well-being.
His favorite theological motif was that the Transfiguration, a sign of hope and encouragement in times of inexplicable grief once the cross looms big and suffering becomes unavoidable although possibly redemptive. Tutu drank deeply from the wells of the prophets whose words prompted his own because he contested wicked, spoke truth to power along with words of hope into the helpless.
All the time, he had been drawn deeper into the mystery of God because he journeyed to the anguish of individuals and seeking to locate significance in the darkest of times. On one occasion, in talking about the untimely passing of a young Christian chief, he cried out
That’s if theology gets real — if the word God becomes hard to complete, when God is seemingly absent. It’s in the cross that religion is born. That’s the religion of Desmond Tutu; the faith that allowed him to battle injustice and supply leadership in the battle against oppression.