Dion's random ramblings

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What is the 'emerging church'?

My friend Arthur, who is the Children's Pastor at Bryanston Methodist Church, sent me an email about the emerging Church. WOW Art, this blows my mind! AND...., your blog needs updating.....

What is the emerging Church? Here's a quote from the paper you can download below:

Perhaps a little Mark Twain tomfoolery will give us a fresh start. Here's the urban legend: The emerging movement talks like Lutherans - which means they cuss and use naughty words; they evangelize and theologize like the Reformed - which means, in the first case, they don't do much of it, and in the second, they do it all the time; they confess their faith like the mainliners - which means they say things publicly they don't really believe in their hearts; they drink like Episcopalians - which means - to steal some words from Mark Twain - they are teetotalers sometimes - when it is judicious to be one; they worship like the charismatics - which means with each part of the body, some parts of which have tattoos; they vote liberal - which means they all move to Massachusetts come election time; they deny truth - which means Derrida is carried in their backpacks.

Ha! Isn't that GREAT! I loved the bit about worshiping with every part of the body, "some of which have tattoos"!

Download Scot McKnight's address to the Westminster Theological Seminary on the emerging Church here. (Gus, you and I will enjoy this guy, he is a progressive New Testament scholar! Very few of those around! Except you and I of course ;-)

Wes, I would love to hear your learned thoughts (being a Doctor of the ecclesiological arts yourself).

The article is a GREAT read, and certainly resonates with my idea of what the Church should be! I will be using some of this when I preach at the Highveld and Swaziland SYNOD of the Methodist Church in a few weeks!

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Some Vespa porn!

For those who love style, reliability, the ability to carry a backpack, a laptop, a dataprojector, a Greek New Testament, an analytical Greek Lexicon with semantic domains, a Greek dictionary, a few Biblical commentaries, classwork handouts, and student marking, all on a motorbike that you can ride without messing up your shoes! (How's that for a sentence! It is almost Barthian, or Rahnerian!)....

Here are one or two pictures of my babies... Well one of them is still mine.

In this picture you can see my VW Polo as well! The amazing thing about her (the VW) is that she is almost as economical as the Vespa's! Diesel is the only way to go. When, oh when, will they make a diesel Vespa!? Or an orange VW Polo (just kidding)!
Oh, and did I mention that it is a sin to covet?! My students love my Orange Vespa! I ride the one in the picture above (on the right) to College every day! Even when I am preaching in Chapel, I will ride up to chapel on it, often with my guitar, books and marking for the day, dressed in a clerical collar and jacket! It is quite a sight. I have joked with them, saying that we need to petition the Presiding Bishop to make in mandatory for ALL Methodist clergy to drive ONLY Vespas! Hey Pete and Greg, what do you guys think? Pete, I have managed to convince Wessel, how about it, are you willing to give up the TAAAAIIIIIGGGGGRRRRRR for a Vespa?

I also think that Gus should get one (I used to ride my black 1972 VBB all over Fraschhoek and Stellenbosch), so should Murray (fuel prices are too high in England! Oh, and I couldn't find my link to your blog, would you mind posting it in the comments if you get a chance?), and of course Sharky Buttner.... If you live in Cape Town, you NEED a Vespa!!!

PS. If you want to follow a recent convert to Vespaism, check out Wessel's Vespa restoration page.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A biased perspective... An attempt at reading the scritupres through a women's eyes - Women and ministry.

I am seldom without an opinion... Or at least that's what Megie tells me! Ha ha.

Last week on Friday I combined my New Testament 2 class (with whom I am currently doing an introduction to the Pauline and pseudo-Pauline epistles and letters), and my Systematic Theology 1 class (with whom I am currently doing contextual theologies, such a liberation theology, feminist theology, and black theology).

We got together to study the topic of 'women in the ministry'. For those who are not familiar with the debate - two thirds of the Christians (that is Roman Catholic Christians) do not accept the ordination of women to presbuteral ministry i.e., they will not ordain women as priests. Moreover, for those who know anything about African culture, you will know that African men (particularly Xhosa and Zulu men) who hold to their ancient traditions are very patriarchal. This often means that women have a great deal to contend with when they enter the ministry in South Africa, not only do they have to face opposition from other Christian denominations, they also face cultural opposition.

So, here's what I did. I brought my two classes together. Just less than half of the students in these two classes are women. I then gave them an opportunity to prepare a debate on women in the ministry. However, I got the women to argue that women SHOULD NOT be allowed to be ordained, and the men to argue that WOMEN MUST be ordained to ministry. It was a lively and creative interaction!

Here is a little paper that I wrote to hand out to the students.

Women in Ministry 2007.doc (it is a small document in MS Word format).

It is an attempt at approaching the scriptures from a womanist perspective (in other words, I attempt to read the scriptures with the perspective of women who are called to ministry in mind).

Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject, and on the paper!



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Liam the GREAT has a bath!

I uploaded the Video below onto youtube this evening. It is a video of Liam the great having a bath! So, for the more sensitive, and prudish, not that this video contains nudity (you'll see a naked 5 month old guy! Oh the shame!!!) Ha ha.

Take a look at how fat his little tummy is getting, and you'll even get a glimpse of Liam's little smile!

(PS. since this is a youtube video it does not need to load completely to play... So if you are on narrowband internet, just set it started and come back in a few minutes, move the slider to the start of the movie and you should be able to watch it without any problems).

As mentioned in the previous post, little Liam now weighs just over 5 kilograms (that's 5 times his birth weight). And he is perfect in every possible way!

Have a great week!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

MAD dash!! But a happy dash!

Cape Town, JHB, Pretoria, East Rand, Soweto, Kempton Park, Durban, Boksburg, Bryanston, Soweto, JHB Central, PTA Central.... A total of 8 hours stuck in traffic in two days, about 16 hours just this week (between JHB and PTA - only 50km's!) A total of 11 hours waiting at airports.... AND, all this in just one week! Luckily I can send email, and make phone calls from my car.

Sometimes my life feels like a 'merry go round', lots of action, a fair bit of movement, but at the end of day I seem to get off in the same place I got on! I got back from the Airport late last night, was up early this morning to try and get a headstart on the day. The week is not over yet! It is off to Kempton this afternoon for ANOTHER meeting (after two meetings this morning), then a few hours in the traffic on the way home. Then once Megie, Courts and Liam are sleeping it is prep for tomorrow, catch up on some marking...

The weekend looks pretty much the same, Class groups at 7am, staff meeting at 9am, teach at 11am, wedding rehearsal in JHB at 3pm on Friday, Graduation in JHB on Saturday morning, Wedding at 3pm, wedding reception, then home to sleep at 11pm ish, sleep from 12 - 4am to get back to JHB to preach at Bryanston at just before 7am, then again at 8.30am, and again at 10.15am, back to Pretoria to change, back to JHB to preach at the evening service at 6.30 pm (just over 4 hours in the car in one day. That is of course if the traffic flows, which it does most Sundays), home by 10pm, sleep, wake up to get to Chapel on Monday morning by 6.45am...

Another week begins!

HOWEVER, on Thursday I leave the office (with the customary marking, some reading, and a small tad of writing), and drive to Durban for the long weekend with my fantastic family! Bliss, glorious bliss!

I often pray "Lord, I give my WHOLE life as a gift to you. Spend me generously and lavishly for the sake of your Kingdom". I don't mind being busy... It keeps me from distraction, it helps me feel that I am adding value somewhere, that I am helping to establish God's Kingdom in some places.

Of course I do jealously guard time with my family! Even if I travel somewhere in the Country, I always try to be home before Courtney goes to bed (even if it means that I must wake up at earlier to get to my destination earlier, in order to fly back earlier). I am also pleased to say that no matter how busy my day is, I still pray, read the scriptures, and spend some time in quiet (my friends Peter Woods, Peter Grassow, and Kevin Needham have taught me those disciplines). AND, whenever I can, I find the most creative and enjoyable way of getting to and from meetings - whether it means sadling up my Vespa steed, or listening to Top of the Pods (the VERY best podcast on the intraweb) on my iPod!

So, I am busy, but I am happy! It's the way I like it. If only I could do something about the TRAFFIC!!!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter MIRACLES!!! This one's for you Janet!

Happy Easter everyone! I pray that it was a time of renewal and rediscovery for you.

I had the great honour of preaching an Easter Mission entitled 'The week that changed the world could change your life'. I preached the following messages from Palm Sunday to Wednesday (and I've thrown in my Easter Sunday message from Bryanston Methodist Church for good measure):

1. Sunday morning services Growing like Christ: God's unexpected tools for maturing people.
2. Sunday evening Christ the King: Is God ever satisfied?
3. Monday evening Easter's empty promises.
4. Tuesday evening Judas Christ's most honest and successful disciple! Coping with failure and living without regret.
5. Wednesday Evening Prayer under pressure: There's a lesson in the tone of Christ's voice.
6. Easter Sunday The hope of Victory: More certain than death and taxes!

We had an incredible response to the mission! It was such a joy to be with Les Green and his wonderful people. I am always overwhelmed by the generosity and grace of God's people. I was so lovingly received and richly affirmed by them.

OK, now onto our little Miracle! Janet gently reminded me just recently in a comment on this blog that I haven't given an update on little Liam in a while. Well, he is doing so well!!!!! He now weights just under 5kg's and is 5 months old. He has had 3 of his synergis injections (so one leg is worth R20 000 and the other is worth R10 000!) So, 3 more to go! He has responded well to the injections and has been infection free. Thank you so much to all those who have prayed for us, offered us support, and donated towards the cost of these life saving injections. We appreciate it all so much. You may never know how much! Hey Wes!!! What can I say? You're a gift and a miracle of God's grace to us!

Sometimes we forget just how far we have come over the last 5 months. Take a look at this photo that was taken just after his birth.

Look how little and frail he was!

The picture on the right was taken just after his birth. He was so tiny! Now, however, he looks like a REAL baby!!! He is quite heavy to hold and such a strong and robust little guy.

What is even more wonderful is that he has started to SMILE!! All parents will remember those first smiles from their kids. Liam has been a little late in getting to his smiles, but when he finally got there it was the most incredible and wonderful sight in the world! It melts my heart (and my brain! Dr Dad goes 'goo goo, gaa gaa, choo' all day long, just in the hope of getting him to smile).

How COOL is this!? Look at that smile. Isn't Liam looking great? Not only does he smile like this, he has also started to 'churtle' a bit. It sounds fantastic and it just blesses us so much to get this type of response out of him.

Megie, Courtney, and Liam spent the Easter Weekend with Megie's folks, Brian and Brenda, who have moved to Hilcrest in Kwazulu Natal (I on the other hand had a bit of work to do, but was also ill, so it was just as well that I couldn't go with them). This photo was taken at their new place (Megie went down with her mom to help her to unpack and visit with them in their new home). So, this was Liam's first trip to the coast. He LOVED the sea. Megie put his feet in the water and he couldn't get enough! A water baby!

Courtney also loved it at the sea! She is constantly nagging Megie and I to 'move back' to our home in Cape Town! Wouldn't that be great!? Here's a picture Courts sitting on the beach (she is growing up FAR too quickly!!! Just look at this pose! Even though I am a 'Gun Free' campaigner I need to start saving for a shotgun!)

I am so blessed with these wonderful people that God allows me the joy of sharing my life with. Megie is a wonder. I am more in love with her day after day! Please pray for her as she prepares to go back to work full time at the end of this month (she has been back in the office a few times a week already for the past few weeks, but I know it is going to be heart wrenching when the time comes for her to go back full time. So please do pray for her!) Courts goes back to school on Tuesday after her Easter break. So it will be morning rides on the Vespa! Yipee. Although it is starting to get a bit colder now, so we will have to wrap up to stay warm.

Some personal news from me is that I am starting my second Doctorate in the coming weeks. I have been toying with the idea for a few months now, spoken to a few friends, colleagues and advisors, and have decided to get going rather than waste anymore time thinking about it. Yup, you read correctly, I am starting a second Doctorate. I will share some of the reasons and motivation behind this as it unfolds. For now I simply need to say, I cannot cope without studying! I need to read, I need to be challenged to think beyond what is commonplace, and I need a bit of extra pressure to write! Plus I still don't sleep all that well and I need something more worthwhile and stimulating to do with late nights and early mornings! I also love reading the Bible and have been wanting to take my New Testament studies further at a more critical level. So, this one's going to be in New Testament (at this stage anyway).

Well, there you go. That's the news Forsterdom!

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