Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu has long been admired throughout the world for the heroism and grace he exhibited while encouraging countless South Africans in their struggle for human rights. In God Has a Dream, his most soul-searching book, he shares the spiritual message that guided him through those troubled times. Drawing on personal and historical examples, Archbishop Tutu reaches out to readers of all religious backgrounds, showing how individual and global suffering can be transformed into joy and redemption. With his characteristic humor, Tutu offers an extremely personal and liberating message. He helps us to “see with the eyes of the heart” and to cultivate the qualities of love, forgiveness, humility, generosity, and courage that we need to change ourselves and our world.
Echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., he writes, “God says to you, ‘I have a dream. Please help me to realize it. It is a dream of a world whose ugliness and squalor and poverty, its war and hostility, its greed and harsh competitiveness, its alienation and disharmony are changed into their glorious counterparts. When there will be more laughter, joy, and peace, where there will be justice and goodness and compassion and love and caring and sharing. I have a dream that my children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, my family.’”
Addressing the timeless and universal concerns all people share, God Has a Dream envisions a world transformed through hope and compassion, humility and kindness, understanding and forgiveness.
Reading this book is like having a long, and somewhat homiletical, afternoon tea with former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Tutu. Four years after No Future Without Forgiveness, Tutu's reflection on his role as Chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, comes this deeply personal book that Tutu calls "a cumulative expression of my life's work." Each chapter begins "Dear Child of God," and goes on to reflect on vulnerability, transfiguration and the human condition with winding anecdotes from Tutu's personal and public life, stories he delivers with his trademark humor and a deceptive simplicity. For example, when Tutu says we are all one family, what emerges is not some churchy optimism, but a highly developed theology of relationship, what Tutu has earlier called ubuntu ("a person is a person through other people"), with political as well as interpersonal implications. This book is highly readable, perhaps because, like other Tutu books, it is culled in large part from lectures and sermons delivered in Tutu's very public life. That this book aims for more than an afternoon tea becomes clear at its close: we are God's partners, Tutu exhorts. We are humanized or dehumanized in and through our actions toward others. Tutu grounds this appeal most concretely, ending with a list of Web sites from organizations that need more partners for their outreach.