Friday, October 31, 2008

...Thy Kindom Come...

You are a Christian only so long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in ... so long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.
- Henri Nouwen

Friday, October 24, 2008

Never Again

I will not travel this road again. For the past seven yearsI have driven the road from my home to the school every school day - twice. Today is my youngest daughter's Valedictory. Amy has completed her formal schooling, except for her final examinations. I am watching her with pride as she is awarded a music prize and honours for academic achievement. And my mind remembers her desperation not to be late for school [she never was], her quiet glare when I was late fetching her [I often was], her group of five good friends who hung together through the high school years, her outrage when she saw injustice... Oh the memories are sweet. I am proud of this little girl who has grown into a dignified young woman. And I know that I will never travel this road again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Diversity seeking Unity

I have spent the last three days at a meeting of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. We are trying to define a response for the MCSA to the Civil Unions of Gay\Lesbian Christians. This has identified two deeply held convictions that asks for mutual respect and understanding. It is hard to eat\talk\pray\sing with someone who believes something diametrically opposed to my own views. But I am convinced that following Jesus will always ask us to travel together with people who are 'not like me'. And it is in this encounter that we find opportunity for growth. Brian Jennings puts it this way: 'When we stand at the foot of the Cross we leave our differences up to Jesus'.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Discipleship is not limited to what you can understand – it must transcend all comprehension. Plunge into the deep waters beyond your own understanding, and I will help you to comprehend.

Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge. In this way Abraham went forth from his father, not knowing where he was going. That is the way of the cross. You cannot find it in yourself, so you must let me lead you as though you were a blind man.

Not the work which you choose, not the suffering you devise, but the road which is contrary to all that you choose or contrive or desire – that is the road you must take. It is to this path that I call you, and in this sense that you must be my disciple.

Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "The Cost of Discipleship."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A New Jerusalem

Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. 2 And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband

We all have moments when we struggle with the way things are – and long for things to change: for example we have prayed for a renewed Zimbabwe; we long for better political leadership in our country; we seek new ways of managing international finance; and many of us want better physical and emotional health. As with the words of Revelation 21 vs 1 & 2: we wish to the first heaven and earth to disappear and for the New Jerusalem to become a reality.

But this is often a longing for that looks backwards – to the days when we imagine that things were simpler, and presumably better. We want a “Garden of Eden” that is less complicated than our present lives. But the image offered by Revelation looks forward and not back. It looks forward to a City, and not back to a Garden. It suggests an image of God being with us in the complexity, messiness and confusion of the city.

The Good News of our faith is that God is not “somewhere else” where life is tranquil and uncluttered. God is with us in the complications, the pressures and the disorganisation that is our life here on earth. And God “comes down out of heaven” to be with us. And God works alongside us like a husband with a bride in renewing the earth. God works in partnership with human beings as we struggle to find a just and equitable financial system for our world; God assists us as we work for a new South Africa; And God is in our homes as we build relationships with family and friends. Let us celebrate the unfolding new Jerusalem/ the new Earth with us in 2008.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Morality and the World's Resources

Feeling that morality has nothing to do with the way you use the resources of the world is an idea that can’t persist much longer. If it does, then we won’t.
- Barbara Kingsolver (Backtalk)