Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Drawing extensively from both the Old and the New Testaments, as well as his experience in battling apartheid, Tutu engages some of the most challenging issues of Christian thought and praxis in this short but very substantive book. His distinctive blend of Judeo-Christian theology in the Anglican tradition with African thought shapes his treatment of all of the major issues.

From the outset, Tutu insists that, despite appearances to the contrary, there is hope for the world that originates in God’s active involvement with humankind and nature. He wrote God Has a Dream, he points out, because of two counterposed realities: First, all of us experience sadness and at times despair, and we even “lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in the world will ever end”; opposing this is Tutu’s “faith and my understanding that this suffering can be transformed and redeemed.” Tutu argues that no one and no situation is beyond repair. All can be “transfigured.” The ultimate cause and manifestation of transfiguration, says Tutu, is the cross of Jesus Christ. Its power and the love that it displayed transformed the lives of Saint Paul, Saint Peter, and many millions of other men, women, and children. In turn, they became God’s “agents of transformation.”

Tutu’s apparent optimism is actually far more than sanguine positive thinking. It is God, after all, who has the dream, and it is thus more than mere wishful human...

(The entire section is 473 words.)