World leader from the pulpit – Desmond Tutu celebrates his 80th with Bono

I was cruising the web tonight, visiting the usual sites that I do at 9 p.m., when I found out about Bono’s singing for Desmond Tutu on his 80th birthday. I decided to dig deeper into Tutu’s background by visiting an expansive dossier on Wikipedia. It’s no wonder that Bono gravitated towards him.

What most impresses me is how Mr. Tutu speaks of the good book (some of you call it the Bible). He says that it’s a collection of books filled with words of inspiration. I wonder what he thinks of those who use it as weapon against humanity, like the ones who hold it up in the air and speak of God’s disliking of homosexuality or that women shouldn’t be ordained. I feel Mr. Tutu sees a bigger world outside of the scripture and not stuck in some Biblical mindset of some 2,000 years ago. He’s focused on the realities of the world and how to heal them without beating us over the head with the rule book from the good word. Whether you are religious or not, Tutu’s philosophy of caring for others is paramount as he seeks to end AIDS in Africa, a project close to Bono’s heart.

Sadly, we do not hear of Mr. Tutu’s good deeds on this side of the pond and that is why I have interest in diving into his memoir. When he was a young boy, he aspired to be a doctor, but went on to study theology. He was always at near the front of friction in South Africa like abolishing Apartheid. What we do not hear of his triumphs outside of this major political shift. Did you know he was the first black man to be appointed Anglican Dean of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg in 1972? I didn’t. At what is more fascinating is how South Africa was further behind us in Civil Rights for its own people.

Mr. Tutu is a controversial figure, however he’s a leader from behind the pulpit and one who is aware of the ever changing world around him. Bono singing at his birthday gives us an opportunity to explore this Tutu’s great achievements and the changes in South Africa over the past four decades. An 80th birthday is worth celebrating, along with life’s achievements. It’s sad that the other change candidate in the world, the Dalia Lama, wasn’t allowed travel permission to South Africa. In closing, I feel we should all carry a little bit of this man with us as we travel amongst ourselves as change agents to the world.

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