Celtic Spirituality & Culture
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Hilton Methodists are hosting a Creation Carnival on the 9th & 10th of August. Amongst our guest speakers are the following:
Dr. David Everard (Environmental manager Sappi)
Topic: "Can We save the earth? (Focus on what we as individuals can & should be doing to 'save the earth.'
Prof. Gerry. Swan (Dean of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria)
Topic: "Some interesting veterinary issues related to the interface between humans, domestic animals and wildlife".
Dr. Michael Cassidy (Founder of African Enterprise)
Topic: "What on Earth are you doing for Heaven's Sake? (The Christian's Ecological Responsibility)".
Dr. Allan Manson (Birder)
Topic: "What can we learn about birds?"
Mr. Drummond Densham (Wilderness Action Group of South Africa )
Topic: "Wilderness an approach to conservation"
We will be having many stalls and exhibitors from various environmental groups, organic picnics, music in the park, art exhibitions etc.
There will be some fun with a Jazz Cafe on the Saturday evening.
May the Church be a leader in helping the community meet our greatest challenge yet.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Death, the inevitable party pooper is himself a real blight in coming to terms with the extremities of our life. Is the hope that singed hair on burning pyre, tore skin by pawing lion and sat in cold barred rooms alive today? The hope that sings of the other place an eternal dream that dies not here. The way we pray - our existence save, indicative of who we are, shallow, blind, a gust of wind, a whirlwind about to end.
Scientists from Cornell University in New York have produced what is believed to be the first genetically modified (GM) human embryo, the British Times Online edition reports. It was destroyed after five days. The announcement of the experiment’s results have already sparked controversy in the scientific community, with some saying this is a way to a new eugenics.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I got quite emotional over the last week reading different articles in “The Witness” (local rag). The one article was an obituary of a 98 year old woman by the name of Irena Sendlerowa. There is a very small and seemingly insignificant photo of her but looks are deceiving. This lady was a Polish resistance fighter during the Second World War who organized the rescue of 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. She smuggled these children through sewers, in ambulances, under her skirt and she hid them in monasteries, with foster parents and in orphanages. She was later arrested and tortured by the Gestapo, but never gave details of the resistance movements work, nor revealed the children’s name. She was saved on the day over scheduled execution. I also read an article about Madonna the pop star diva who plans to build a multi-million- dollar girl’s school in Malawi for underprivileged children this year. It is on the same scale of what Oprah Winfrey has done in South Africa. Which boasts a state of the art facilities, laboratories, a yoga studio and beauty salon. The latter took my breath away for a moment as I tried to see the importance of a Yoga Studio and Beauty Salon for underprivileged children, but maybe I am way too Methodist! The question is – Who gave the most? The answer is quite obvious in my eyes – the one who sacrificed the most.
A young person in our confirmation class this week made a statement that I think is important to unpack. We were appreciating the characteristics of God especially as understood in the Old Testament and we came to the notion that this God we believe in must be a God of Justice. And we started to unravel what Justice means. I tied it into our understanding of God’s call to love our neighbour. And one youngster posed the question, “Why should we love somebody if they don’t deserve it, if they have made bad choices or are lazy. Lets say I have worked hard to achieve what I have got – why should I have to give to those who don’t deserve it?” A good lawyer this young man will make but not a good lover I am afraid to say! I don’t think it is a question of the young but it is a question of any hard working, law abiding, moral seeking person seeking to understand why others don’t pull up their socks. Justice should be to reward the hard working, the righteous, the upstanding! But, this God of the Old Testament continue to bring undeserved Justice again and again. It is especially difficult for a young person to appreciate how privileged they are. They haven’t yet come to see the deprivation of other peoples beginnings and the lack of resources available to them, not of their own choosing, but of their unfortunate circumstances. I thank God, that Jesus claimed to be God. That Jesus was able to give us another take on this God who loved the most undeserving. Sometimes there is no more undeserving than those who think they are deserving but God loves them nonetheless.
Lets be objective for a moment. If somebody comes to you and says, “I sacrifice my life for you,” or if they give you a gift or do something for you that costs them dearly, what is your true view of them? “Weird”, “Psycho”, maybe terms that come to mind. Bringing over a Pizza when you return from a long journey may be considered kind and thoughtful but sending over a catering company to do your dining room up with candle light, serving Peking Duck with Crème Brulee for desert might make you wish you never came to live in that particular neighbourhood. Christian love may seem for some to be way out of line and embarrassing and we need to be careful how we “Love our Neighbour.” Our needs and motives to be loved ourselves can easily get in the way of loving our neighbour effectively. Our dependence for love, care, and acceptance might lump us in the weirdo category if we don’t watch out. Our love is from a love that is given freely with no strings attached. We ‘truly’ don’t want the glory and so it is easy to give space when space is due, just wave when a wave will do, but be able to surrender everything when everything is due. Those who have seen the movie the "The Cable Guy" will understand.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
The search for spiritual direction in a group of people is somewhat troublesome to say the least. We all have our different opinions on things, we have different impressions as to where it lead us and depending on our exposure to historical tradition and scholarship we read it at different literal levels. I like the term ‘selective literalism’ (not sure where it comes from) to describe the way we engage with this ancient giant of literary writings - the bible. We love to read those parts we like and hardly ever read those sections that contradict our impression of God and God’s ultimate desire. So when we come together as leaders or people who are concerned about doing things in ‘Godly’ ways we are often forced into a conflicting situation due to our alternative ‘God directed’ views. What normally happens is that all who think this way congregate in this camp and those who think differently in the other. Stalemate! How certain can we be that our’ take’ is the right one? I believe the more invigorated we become that we are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’ is the first step to becoming a religious exclusivist. So how do we do it? How do we help a group of people ‘listen’ to God and make plans to do ‘God’s will’. I would love to hear how diverse our approaches may be.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Just read chapters 6-10 of Joshua and I have been horrified by the slaughter and religious justification to horde the wealth of the nations destroyed by Israel. In fact it is very off putting to think that this is even in a book that some regard as sacred as God himself. There is no justification in my conscience to slaughter men, woman and children because you think God wants their property and land. We see this today in countries like Zimbabwe and Iraq where people are abused because of the ideals, religious bigotry and the political aspirations of their leaders. It is even worse, the hypocrisy of those who use God as an excuse to justify genocide. Lets be very careful when we use this term “biblical” as God's word to justify our next genocide!
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
The death of the one we love must be our greatest fear. I woke up early this morning to a lucid dream of my wife having died in a car crash. Some of us have woken up and found this to be a reality. I assume it was evoked by what I witnessed on the highway to Durban yesterday. A car’s tire burst whilst it was in the fast lane. It shot into the middle verge then spun back into the lane, did a 180 degree turn, over the middle verge and into the lane on the other side. Nobody was hurt, it was unbelievable. On leaving the scene the image of the passenger of the vehicle staring out of the window to see if any oncoming traffic was going to collide with her was stuck in my mind. It was this incident that got me dreaming the way I did. We die, so what, unless it is protracted I think the worst about death is not so much our death and what happens to us, it is the fear of loosing one whom we love and having to pick up the pieces. To all those who have lost loved ones recently, my heart and soul are with you.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I am in one of those twilight moments in my ministry. The moments where one knows something new is about to dawn but you are not sure what it is going to be. Something strange starts to happen to you - the answers about yourself and God are not sufficient and there is the threat of breaking new ground spiritually. They are not comfortable moments, they normally shatter your impression of self and expose the true person beneath. We hide behind disguises of make believe, hoping others will be as impressed as we are with the image we portray of ourselves. Like all theatricals - the music, stage props and costumes wear thin and eventually date. The show is over and the in-between time is a time of waiting patiently, searching persistently, a looking out for new beginnings that will spark the new script, a script that’s matured and deepened its plot, its themes more poignant, its characters more round…..I look forward to opening night.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Enjoyed my day off yesterday despite the inclement weather, 9 degree chill with snow capped mountain peaks. We went to examine an old Monastery in Nottingham Road that was up for sale – just for fun. Did some fly-fishing in Mavela dam for an hour or two and hooked a couple to my surprise. Then we went to our dancing lessons, just finished our social intermediate course of Latin and Ball Room and we have so enjoyed our Monday evenings. What a day off. I always try and get out and do something different, away from the madding crowds and the pressing ‘to do’ lists that grow roots as if fertilized from above. If it were not for these moments of solitude, rest, and reprieve I would have left the ministry years ago. No joking! They allow me to process my ministry into my life and give me time to breath God’s air for me. I think I understand what Sabbath is sometimes.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Tears are the gateway to our restored life. A matter of 'Befriending our tears' (Trevor Hudson, Touched by Resurrection Love). They are a sign of our surrender to another who can help us. Holding back our tears stops us from allowing others in. Jesus is standing in our midst saying ‘I am the Way, The Truth and The Life’ and we need to allow his Being to touch our being. Not just some teaching to muse over, some truth to ponder, some goal to work toward, but to experience his presence surround us, nurse us and listen to our most intimate of needs and longings.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I watched my first Rob Bell 'Nooma' DVD yesterday and I was very impressed with what I saw. A slick, contemporary no bull look at how we perceive God's presence in our lives. I am not that 'in' with all the latest on the Emergent Church movement etc. but I have read Mclaren's book "A generous orthodoxy" and I like what I hear. There is much controversy in those who claim to 'reinvent Christianity' for a new age but to be honest I am not sure the Nooma DVD I saw reinvented anything. The idea that God is with us and that Jesus is the one who helps us live life in tune with the rhythm of God living with us is not 'news' to my ears. It is Christianity packaged differently in media and illustration for a new generation. I believe his Church is the fastest growing Church America has ever experienced?
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Sunday, April 06, 2008
I was listening to my favourite podcast from pray-as-you-go and the anecdote of Gamaliel's warning in Acts 5 was the topic. In essence he said beware when something new turns up - be careful if its origins are of human decent or of God's. You could land up fighting against God. So often we are faced with a crossroad in the life of the Church. We sit with many an opinion, many a path to follow and we have to discern the way to go. Now, I wonder how often we consider it in these terms or whether we get the sheet of paper out and start weighing up the pro's and con's and if it has more con's we discard it. Our SWOT analysis charts may be helpful, but it could be important to do the exercise "Is it of God? or Is this of human will? " as our first endeavour. Just a thought for an early Sunday morning. (Not preaching this morning, will be at it tonight. Must go and do a trial service for a probationer in Woodlands.)
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
I was in a meeting yesterday where there was a discussion around the stationing of a minister in a particular church. The argument from one in the meeting was that the possible candidate was not strong enough to deal with the particular church in question. The impression given was that the minister who went to this church should be able to defend, fight off, dissolve, block, prevent, defeat, stop the retired ministers from being disruptive. I was saddened by the discourse that used war language to describe the work of God. Language that politicians use when defending their turf. The ability of a leader depended on how well they could fight! The servant leadership model, the first will be last, mercy ministry, the image of Jesus washing the feet of those he led was not impregnated in the words of this discussion. It left you with the feeling that if you were not strong in human terms you would not be successful in the ministry. Wrong, most of the leaders in our scriptures were people who failed to see any strength in themselves. For this reason they became great leaders.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Sparkling waters reflect expectant hearts. Waiting and watching for the moment of rapture, when legs crack to the dance of hopeful questions - do you want to be well? In no other place could such a question elicit such a response, such a dare. In other parts where all things well, response is not so swift. But its ironic to say the least! A portico becomes home, a place of comfy living, sickness ones friend and marital routine. Do you really want to be well?
John 5:6 (New International Version) 6When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?"