Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tribute to a friend

This afternoon we were introduced to the new students at John Wesley College. Dion went to great lengths to introduce us and did a sterling job. When it came to my turn, Dion gave a very inflated picture of Wessel Bentley, far beyond what I believe to be true. Included was a part which described our early friendship, the one between a phase 2 minister in Carletonville and a youth leader. I had to give a response. At first I thought to say “You know, friends like Dion are like nappies. They should be changed frequently. Perhaps for the same reason.” But this is not true, because I do not want to change my friendship with Dion for anything.

Instead I told another untruth. I cited John the baptist’s description of Jesus where he says something to the effect of “The one who comes after me has…” you know the rest. It was in jest. I repent. I repent not only because I cannot put myself and Dion in John and Jesus’ shoes, but because it simply cannot be.

I have a deep respect and love for my friend. I cannot surpass my friend Dion and have no intention of doing so.

This is why.

Dion has always been a kind of “older brother” figure in my life. He has always looked out for me and I can honestly say that whenever I’ve phoned or visited, I’ve always been greeted with a welcoming smile. Needless to say, Dion has opened many doors for me. Being a quiet person, opportunities are not always taken, but Dion has the knack of pushing me through an open door long before I even thought about entering. For this I am grateful.

His honesty and sincerity is something which I treasure. He is able to stand for justice and truth in ways which are different to mine, perhaps ways which require a lot more courage and conviction… and faith.

Having Dion as a friend is a lifechanging experience. I have fallen in love with a Mac, I got a Vespa, but most of all, if it weren’t for Dion, I think God would have had a difficult time finding another person who could lead me to the Lord.

Why this tribute? Why here? Simply because he is worth it. Dion, thanks. No, really, thanks. You have a very special place in God’s heart. I’m sure. I read Church Dogmatics.

By the way, seeing that all the proceeds of our book will be going to the MSF, you are more than welcome to take 60% of whatever is left. In fact, make it 80.

1 comment:

digitaldion (Dion Forster) said...

Hey Wes,

Thanks so much for the incredible tribute... I am not sure how to respond. Perhaps truth is the most fitting response?

In truth, you are the better theologian, and the better minister. I, on the other hand, look better in a pink shirt, and my wife (and one other minister in Cape Town who shall remain nameless in order to protect his identity) finds me more attractive... These are things to be celebrated...

However, I have never understood Church dogmatics (although I have tried to read it), and unlike you I often lack the humility to know when I am overstepping my bounds and stretching the limits! Boldness comes at a cost, and you have often helped me to 'pay my debts' when I have over committed myself, agreed to engage in this or that project, or objected to myself in a public court of the Church!

You truly are the most blessed example of a student who has far surpassed a teacher! More than that, you are a great friend! What shall I do in years to come?

BTW, I didn't mean that I would like 60% of our NEXT book, I meant 60% of the proceeds of the books that come after that!!! Ha ha!

Love and blessings my friend!

Together with you in Christ,