vrijdag 26 mei 2017

Jaspert Slob, born 18 January 1945, died 16 May 2017

Jaspert Slob was born in Hardinxveld-Giessendam, a section of the Dutch 'bible-belt' where quite many orthodox Protestant live and foster their churches.
Jaspert was a clever boy, son fo a farmer, who went in Gorcum to HBS, the secondary school for people who want to do technical or business studies. Jaspert was excellent in chemistry, but after secondary school he decided that he wanted to study theology. During two years he had to study Greek and Hebrew (as well as some latin), before he entered the theological faculty of Utrecht University, considered at that time the most orthodox in the country.
In 1976 he was sent by the missionary organization of his church as a lecturer to the Theological School in Tomohon, where he taught until 1982. Jaspert fell in love with the country and culture of Indonesia and until the end of his life he remained a true follower of anything that was happening in Indonesia.
For some time he became secretary of relations with Christians in Asia, but his finest hours were always when an Indonesian delegation visited Oegstgeest or (later) Utrecht. He liked also field trips to Indonesia to give a good warming up to the mutual relations.
One of his duties was also to make contact with Indonesian student in the Netherlands and one of these was Th. Sumartana. The idea of a dialogue between the religions was heartly welcomed by Jaspert who was no longer a staunch and obsolete orthodox Calvinist any longer. I found a paper by him where he considered what had been done by the mission to Sadrach as a big mistake, while he also praised the openness of Kartini. These two were his great heroes.
From the beginning (was it 1988?) he supported DIAN/Interfidei in Yogyakarta. This reminded me about the problems Ben Boland had experienced around 1970 when he completed his doctoral dissertation on contemporary Islam in Indonesia (1945-1970) where Prof. Mukti Ali featured as the great hero of dialogue. Boland was considered too pro-Islam and as an enemy of the Protestant missionaries.  Boland hoped that there would be a less aggressive message by the Christians in Indonesia and more openness for the many nice aspects of Islam. Only 15 years later Jaspert Slob could be instrumental in the new turn.
Until one year before he died (after a long process of heart problems and pneumonic cancer) he sent weekly excerpts from Indonesian newspapers on current affairs.
Probably the most beautiful period in his life was the period of more than five years when he was with his wife Josien Folbert in Salatiga supporting the Percik activities of Pradjarto.
Jaspert and Josien had two (adopted, Indonesian) children: Anne en Marteun. They enjoyed five grandchildren who decorated the coffin with joyful drawings. He now 'lives in another light'or, following the text of Rumi quoted in the service:God has spread his light over all souls. Happy are those who open their robe to receive this light. They do not see anything else than God. Without this robe of love we cannot live a full life.'

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