Dion's random ramblings

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A reflection on a great blessing. The Mighty men of God conference.

I arrived home this afternoon from the airport. It was a great weekend at the Mighty men of God conference - I could have done with a few more 'home comforts', but then again, I am a city boy! Seriously though, being on crutches is not very comfortable in the middle of the mealies, and it got a little less comfortable when it started raining last night. But, heck, that's all part of the experience!

The conference was great. I didn't learn anything new, and I guess that the intent of the conference was not to teach new things, but rather to remind us to do things that we should be doing anyway!

I was, however, inspired by the straightforward manner in which Angus Buchan challenged the men who were present to 'get their lives sorted out'. Most of his talks centered around issues of relationship with one's loved ones, the courage to serve God with passion, and finding a purpose for one's life that is about more than just working and selfishly enjoying one's self.

I enjoyed being with the group I went with - there were 7 of us. We spent time chatting, we braai'd (that's a cookout for those outside of South Africa), we camped on a farm, didn't get to shower (there was not enough water for that), and spent a lot of time sharing thoughts and ideas about our dreams, aspirations, our love for our families, our hopes for our lives, our desire for our relationship with God etc. We spent a lot of time just praying with one another and for one another and our wives and children. It has been quite a few years since I have had the joy of just being an ordinary Christian guy among other ordinary Christian guys (not a theologian, or a minister, or a Dean, but just another Christian guy). And I loved it! A number of significant shifts and breakthroughs came from among the group of men that I had the chance to talk to.

I saw many friends there too (quite a few from Bryanston, many, many, many Methodists members and Methodist ministers that I have met, served, and come to know over the years. I even met a few friends that I studied with at University from the Presbyterian, Anglican and independent Churches). Then there were the many new friends I made! I spent a lot of time chatting with a pastor from Margate who is doing remarkable work to bring together the Churches in his area to address the social needs of the community. Through him I met a young doctor, humble, gifted, and kind, who serves his Church and his community with the love of Christ. He inspired me with his faith.

So, it was a good time. On our way out of PMB we had a chance to meet with Dr Michael Cassidy to talk about the NIRSA meetings this coming week. Michael and I haven't always held the same views on certain theological issues. But he has always kindly sent me copies of his books, complimented me on sermons he has heard me preach, and offered me encouragement, advice, and support. I look forward to getting to know him better.

Of course, being a bit of a gadget guy, I CERTAINLY enjoyed the flight to and from the conference in the company jet!

There were a few 'hairy' theological moments. And I am thankful to my good friend who sent me one or two things via email to read and pray about. On the whole however even those who are less liberal than I seemed to sense when things came across too strongly or were overstated. I had many opportunities to engage with the 50 or so guys we camped with in our small area, and amazingly our theology was fairly similar in most respects. We talked about deep and significant things. Of course the one thing we all shared was a love for Jesus.

Well, I am pleased to be home, to have had a long hot bath and a hot cup of coffee. Tomorrow I go to work for a few meetings, and then on Tuesday I go to Johannesburg for the NIRSA (National Initiative to Reform South Africa) conference. I'll post some pictures and reflections from there. So please stay tuned!

Thanks for all the great comments! I am feeling more Wesleyn, and more Christian, than I have in a long while.

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  • Hi Dion,

    Thanks for all your reports. I want to blog about them and refer to some of them, but it would make it a lot easier to do so if you turned on backlinks in Blogger -- or does that only work if your blog is hosted on blogspot?

    By Blogger Steve Hayes, at 4:48 AM  

  • Hi Dion, more than being and experience and for good conversations, was it possible to make anything applicable to Dion or is it all just analysis of theology. I always wonder if theologians end up in a far away corner of the Congo with no facilities among an un-evangelized tribe, how will all the hours and millions of dollars attending their denominational conferences, etc. help them, if at all. Does all the talk REALLY achieve anything? Can all that money spent be converted into real conversions? Why not stop flying over the people (Africa) and touch down and live among them? Will you be able to do that? I am not talking about a 2 week outreach to Mozambique or writing books about the theology of missions. I just wonder sometimes what is the sense and how is everything justified. I know you will have beautiful answers to all my questions. Hope they are true.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:22 AM  

  • Two quick replies.

    Steve, I enabled trackback URL's this morning. I hope they're working now. Thanks for helping me along.

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for your very challenging and worthwhile comment. There are quite a few hard hitting points within what you write. Thank you.

    First, I think that theology is worthless unless it helps people to DISCOVER and ACHIEVE the will of God.

    Second, with regard to the Mighy Men of God conference itself, I can assure you that the practical, real world, impact of the weekend's events will roll out over the months to come. I am certain that many of the men went home to repair their marriages, change their relationships with their children, deal with destructive habits, and take up their ministry roles in society at large. I am truly encouraged.

    As for myself and my ministry. I am challenged by what you write! Of course each person's ministy is a reflection of their gifts, abilities, and opportunities. I am a theologian. I have had the incredible joy of having the opportunity to gain skills to research, critically consider, and write. It is likely that this will form an important aspect of my ministry going forward.

    Others are evangelists, some have a healing ministry, some are strong on discipleship, others are prophetic, etc... I hope that there are aspects of all of these in what I do.

    Please be assured that I love the Lord completely, and that my heart's desire is to spend my days finding ways of serving Him and this world that he loves.

    Thanks for a gentle, but direct, remind of what we need to do!

    Rich blessing in Christ,


    By Blogger digitaldion (Dion Forster), at 12:02 PM  

  • hey Dion,
    thank you for being so prompt with your photos of the weekend, we were happy to find them this morning, so that my husband could spend anouther few hours rambling, sometimes incoirently about the weeknd. he traveled with some friends that were not in complete 'Christ dependancy' yet, still trying to do it their way on their terms.. well, needless to say, that is not the way they returned.. on fire for God, zeal like you wouldn't believe.. they're about to kick all us 'old, traditional' believers out of the water!!
    God can do so much with 1 God-fearing man.. imagine our world with 60 000 of them..

    By Blogger Maryna, at 6:13 PM  

  • Hi Dion and Maryna
    As a Christian that was standing with my feet in both worlds, I went on this weekend. I also came back as a changed man that wants to live and work for Jesus.
    Dion one of my observations of the weekend was that most of the men were in the age group 35 to 55. This is also the same men that was brought up in the height of the Conservative Apartheid days, where going to church (especially in the NGK) where more of a political stance, than actual Worshipping. Also these were the guys that were forced to do National Service (and nether debriefed) and were forced to do things, because it was something that the "community" expected. Since 1994 al this disappeared and these men became a "lost? generation". I these men must be the focus of transformation of our society in the short term, and a national campaign across church dominations must be done to start where Mighty men? stopped.
    must be started.

    By Blogger Salie, at 2:26 PM  

  • My friend, the education system has failed you. I see in your profile you like theology AND science. The two are not reconcilable. Theology is the study of myths, and science is the study of reality. They could not be more diverse. You cannot believe in both.

    By Anonymous Padraigh, at 4:07 PM  

  • ... want your own mightymen.co.za e-mail address? www.mightymen.co.za

    By Blogger Hermannsburg Class of 87, at 7:48 AM  

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