Miranda Terpstra - interview with Mpho Tutu van Furth.
The honorable canon Mpho Tutu van Furth is an episcopal priest, artist, author, talented speaker and retreat organizer. She also is actively involved in charitable causes. She was the Founding Executive Director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation. She is an environmental and human rights activist working for equal rights for everyone no matter what race, class or gender. Together with her wife Marceline she is creating an online mentor platform for women. Tutu van Furth and her wife live in the Netherlands. They have four children and two amazing grandchildren.
Mpho Tutu collaborated on The book of Queer Prophets which received a wonderful review from Ruth Hunt and others:
The book of Queer Prophets is a carefully chosen title. There is much to be learned and does not consider those stories as strange history. It shows us what we can expect from God when we treat someone as outsider. Read this book and become a witness of God’s good future.
Why did The book of Queer Prophets need to be published and why should we read it?
It is written in memory of Stonewall, the time period when LGBT+ Americans protested police brutality.
Why did you collaborate on one of the chapters?
I thought it was important to document my life and love stories as a spiritual autobiography. This book seemed to be the right place to share that.
Do you recognize Bible stories that could create room for total inclusion of every human being?
The whole movement in the gospels is a wonderful message about inclusivity. The loss, the people living on the margins, refugees, widows and widowers all find a special space with Jesus. In Mary’s ode she sings: “he sent away the rich empty handed”
Christians believe they have been saved and set apart. Is it possible that this understanding will create Christians who feel special and see others as outsiders. How do you see this?
Maybe that could be, but the gospels teach us exactly the opposite. The psalms bring us the poetry reminding us not to think to highly of ourselves. Pride and humility don’t go together.
There will be two new laws in the Netherlands. One will ban conversion therapy and the other one will explicitly name the LGBT+ Community in artikel 1 of the constitution. What is your opinion?
I’m not too familiar with the Dutch constitution. Everything I know about conversion therapy is is that it is psychological abuse. I am glad that it will be prohibited.
What can we learn as a movement for equality of the LGBT+ community ( in congregations too) from the movement for equality in South Africa?
The lessons we learn are always the same: power only allows change under duress. We hoped to find different values in the church. Values of love and inclusion. We have discovered that church a human institution is, even though she belongs to God. That means that the church does not always reflect the glory of God.
Wijdekerk is a large network of LGBT+ people who believe(or used to) and other allies (like myself). Anything else you would like to share with your readers?
There is a spiritual home for us all.