Thursday, June 23, 2011


"Welcome to my office" was the cheerful greeting that encountered me at the Olive Tambo airport in Johannesburg. This was unexpected because I was not aware that I was entering an office. I looked at the sign again - yes it read "Men's toilet". And I had been welcomed by the man who cleaned it.

I was entering his work space. And he welcomed me, and sprayed disinfectant on the toilet seat before allowing me into the cubicle, and wiped the taps and basin clean before I washed my hands.

He was affirming the dignity of his work, ands his desire to give meaning to what he did. He made me feel relaxed and welcome, and wished me well when I left.

And so I thanked him for going beyond what I would have expected. And am determined to learn from him in being courteous to the people of my day.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Praying alongside each other

1 Timothy 2:8 "So I want the men a to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute".

It is a sad reality that we are divided by our prayers. Instead of "lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute" - we insult and denigrate those who do it differently from us.

And so my invitation for us to be respectful of those who pray at midday on Friday, and those who enter their Sabbath on Friday evening; those who worship on a Saturday and those who worship on a Sunday.

Let us protect the sacred space of those whose prayers are expressed in flags, and in raised hands, in silence, and in groans and cries. Let us encourage those who pray under trees, and those who turn wheels, and those who wash in a river.

God receives all our prayers - without exception!
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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Enough - but not more!

Exodus 16:21 "So they gathered it each morning, a each person according to what he could eat, and when the sun got hot, it would melt."

The book of Exodus tells us that the Israelites were fed with "Manna" during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. This was food that appeared each morning as "a thin flaky substance, thin like frost on the earth" (Exodus 16:14). I have no way of knowing whether this is a well constructed parable or a daily miraculous magic moment. But the one key teaching carried in this story is the challenge to the people to take only as much as they needed.

Each person had sufficient for that day. But if an individual tried to accumulate more than could be eaten that day - the hoarded food became rotten. And here is the challenge of human life here on earth: that there is sufficient resources for everyone - if we use only what we need. But when we take more than we can use, then life becomes rotten!

Rotten living is visible where some live in opulent homes while many live in shacks. Rotten living is where a few mine owners get fat while the workers in the mine are starving. Rotten living is where some earn more money in an annual bonus than the majority earn in a lifetime.

Join me as I commit my life to resisting and opposing rotten living. And work with me in creating a world where we share our resources.
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Friday, June 03, 2011

Seminarians and the 21st Century

This morning's preacher originates from a context of oppression and poverty. He preaches in a style particular to rural black congregations - lots of emotion and imagery, delivered at increasing volume and passion.

But he is using a laptop for his sermon notes; and a microphone for his delivery; and has a power point presentation to illustrate the points of his sermon.

A fascinating blend of rural third world and technologically savvy first world.

My dream is for our seminarians to be able to grasp all the help that technology offers - and infuse this with cultural heart and soul. In this way the Gospel of Jesus can be shared with excellence, and take root in the human heart.
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