Friday, May 30, 2008

Stressed, so I got creative in the kitchen

I made a killer-stew last night. If you don't believe me, then try it yourself.


Olive oil
About 600g chuck
4 Tablespoons Ina Paarman's beef stock (dissolved in about 2l of water)
2/3 bottle of Shiraz
Basmati Rice
3 Large Carrots
4 Large Potatoes
4/5 baby onion
DO NOT ADD SALT! (The stock has enough to flavour the food)


Heat the olive oil in a pot. Cut the chuck off the bone and cut it into about 2cm blocks. Peel the carrots and potatoes and cut into similar sized blocks. Place a few pieces of chuck in the pot. Allow to brown and turn over to brown on the other side. If it sticks, leave it for a few seconds, it will come away by itself. Once the chuck is browned on all sides, remove from the pot and brown the other pieces. Remember to place the browned chuck in a dish, because the oil and some of the fluid in the meat will settle. You will see that the oil browns a bit. That will add to the flavour. COOK THE STEW IN THE SAME POT IN THE OIL THAT's LEFT)

When all the meat is browned, place it back in the pot, including the oil and liquid. Add the wine. Add the stock. swirl it around a bit. Add 2/3 of the carrots and potatoes. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for about an hour.

While you make the basmati rice, you can put in the rest of the veggies - carrots, potatoes and now the onions (Peeled, but whole) (The first lot is to thicken the sauce a bit, while the second lot should be ready by the time you dish up.)

Way to make basmati rice: I usually use 1 and 1/2 cups of rice (For 2 adults and 1 child). Place rice in a dish. Add cold water and allow to stand for about 10 min. Drain water, place rice in a pot with 3X the amount of water than the amount of rice. Add a pinch of salt and boil away. Once the rice is cooked (should be ready just before it is completely soft), drain the water and add a bit of butter.

By now the stew should be ready.

Tell me what you think.

ps. Steam a bit of broccoli so that you get something green as well.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Everything must change.

Download this article here.

'The poor are becoming impatient'
Carol Hills | Johannesburg, South Africa
29 May 2008 07:24
The border between South Africa and Zimbabwe should be "comprehensively" abolished, Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn told academics at the University of the Witwatersrand on Wednesday.

"In exactly the same way we pulled down the fences in 1994 and found that instead of restricting, it enabled. Instead of closing the economy, it opened up much wider trust in the economy," Verryn told a colloquium on violence and xenophobia.

He said foundation for what had gone wrong lay in the labelling of vulnerable people as "illegal aliens" and their criminalisation.

He pointed out that the xenophobic attacks were not on the rich Zimbabweans, but the poor Zimbabweans, "the ones in the shacks, the ones in the streets ...".

The attacks were a warning to the community about what it did with its resources, said Verryn.

"Resources in this country belong to the entire nation and need to be shared in a way that ensures that every human being knows that they are of value and they have human dignity that cannot be alienated from them.

"And so you have this phenomenon [xenophobia] having wind in our community because the poor are becoming recklessly impatient."

While the first xenophobic attack he experienced was in Braamfontein three years ago, the government had known of the problem for at least four years.

Each and every South African had to "scrutinise profoundly" the attitude that "breeds such vicious violence", said Verryn.

The system of values at play was inconsistent with the country's Constitution, many of whose words, he believed, were "written from personal experience of alienation in your motherland, of humiliation by people over and over again".

Other academics speaking at the meeting said inequality was at the heart of the xenophobia sweeping the country.

The government claimed to have done more to address poverty since 1994 than any other developing country and indeed had, said economics Professor Stephen Gelb

"Poverty and inequality are not the same thing and cannot be treated by politicians as if they are," he said.

The problem of poverty was extremely deep and intractable.

"The problem of inequality is equally deep and intractable."

While it was clear that the government had addressed poverty, it was "equally clear inequality has not been addressed at all".

Inequality was "extreme" and had actually worsened since 1994, Gelb pointed out.

Inequality could only be addressed by the transfer and building of assets such as education, skills, land and houses.

Only asset ownership would persuade people they had prospects and hope for the future.

"The government hasn't succeeded at all in asset building and transfer."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A meditation

Margie Orford wrote the following. It was read on 702 and I think is one of the best descriptions of what people are feeling.


If being a South African means beating on the red door of a shack and demanding to see a green identity book – the dompas of citizenship, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means dragging a woman into the road to push up her skirt and drive my boot between her legs, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means sharpening my machete to split the skull of a man returning home from work, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means ripping an infant from the swaddling on its mother’s back to spit in its face wizened by terror, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means dropping concrete blocks on that mother’s head until it bursts like a ripe watermelon on the dry dust of my street, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means arrogating the roles of policeman, prosecutor, judge and executioner, then I am a foreigner.

If being a South African means hanging over my garden fence and watching the smooth skin of a man blister as he burns a live, then I am a foreigner.

For that skin was an infant’s once, caressed by a mother’s marvelling hand.

That skins is a man’s, and a lover’s hand passed over it, marvelling at its smoothness. That skin is a father’s, reached for in the night by a child afraid of the dark.

That burning skin was a man’s and if being a South African means I cannot feel that skin as my own

Then I am a foreigner.


An update on my last post:

Forgiveness is taking place, the road to recovery has started. It is proving to be a painful and demanding road, so please continue praying for my family. My dad will still go to the coast for 6 weeks, but he seems adamant to make a change.

Thanks for your prayers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

She's had enough.

She shouted, packed her things and left. After 33 years of dealing with alcohol abuse, my mom decided that she could not take my dad's violence any more. No, he did not physically attacked her, but the emotional scars are there for all to see.

All about a plug.

This happened over Friday and Saturday. Since then he has "stopped drinking", apologized and promised to change his ways. Too little too late. They agreed to separate for six weeks and not to make contact. After that they'll reassess the situation.

Why am I hanging this dirty washing on the line for all to see? Well, because it hurts. Pain that is hidden hurts more. It festers.

Strangely, I feel extremely sorry for my dad. No, I don't think that is accurate. I feel compassion, grace, love and that feeling when you know that a tight hug will change a life.

I pray that during these next few weeks, both my mom and dad will meet Mr. Jesus in a new way, a way that is reVITALizing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Synod 2008

Well, I'm sick in bed with a tummy bug and so, instead of being at Synod, I'm nice and snug and able to update my blog.

Our district synod is being hosted by Willows Methodist Church in Pretoria, and I must say, it has been run very efficiently. Bishop Gavin Taylor was re-elected as our district Bishop, much to the delight of the whole Synod. We heard testimonies of thanks for the ministers in our district who will retire at the end of this year. It just so happened that both are colleagues in our circuit, David Buwalda and Paul Bester.

Last night we dealt with some resolutions. Our circuit put 2 resolutions on the table, one asking Conference to rescind a decision to take part of the minister's pension fund to build... ok, let's not go down that road, and one tightening legislation in the Laws and Disciplines in our church which would "force" ministers who occupy party-political posts to resign from the ministry. As you can imagine, both these issues sparked debate, but at the end of the day received overwhelming support from Synod.

That was the last I saw of Synod. I am now going to finish my chapter for a UNISA textbook and then mark some assignments.

Please pray for the family of Kevin Rheeder. Kevin is one of our congregation's young people who was in an accident last night. He is not doing at all well.

Please pray for my mom, dad, sister, her husband and children as alcohol has once again caused a lot of pain in our family.

Please pray for me. I feel overwhelmed by all this pain and suffering and sometimes wonder if there is a different way.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"It is good"?

The creation story in Genesis 1 was probably written after Judah's return from exile. They had reason to hate their oppressors and to distrust any people other than their own.

But they then tell this story, not one which explains how God created, but that God created. It is a story of unison, fellowship, interaction. As things work together in creation, things that are completely different but essential for the smooth running of God's order, so God looks at creation and says "It is good".

I wonder what God is saying when God sees Alexandra? I wonder what God must be thinking when a continent which prides itself to be the bastion of social cohesion - Ubuntu - displays everything but respect for human life?

Paul writes to a congregation in Corinth, segregated by doctrinal emphases, and states: "I plead with in peace."

God bless Africa
Guard her children
Guide her leaders
Give her peace.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Link is fixed

Hi all,
Our book has arrived and is ready to be shipped to you. All you need to do is place an order by clicking on the link to the right, downloading the pdf and faxing or e-mailing it to Upper Room.
I realized that the link didn't work because my Yahoo account does not permit people who are not members of my group to download files. I now created my own webpage (being an mweb customer I get 20 Mb webspace) and ftp'd it to my space. blah-blah, just click next door and if it doesn't work, let me know.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The Outsider

"Any man who does not cry at his mother's funeral should be condemned to death."

This is how Albert Camus summarizes his book "The Outsider". I have just finished this book and must say that it has been the most moving and thought provoking novel that I have ever read.

It is only about 100 pages long and costs about R60 (less that $10) at Exclusive books, but what a read! I was introduced to the work of Albert Camus by Prof. George Hunsinger, who used Camus' work "The Plague" to describe the relevance/irrelevance of faith from an existentialist worldview. I started reading The Plague, must must honestly say that it didn't really grab me.

If you want something good to read, click on the link on the right and get this book! Tell me what you think.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I blogged something about counseling . I saw this lady who was mainly looking for sympathy and a quick handout. When I asked her if I could pray with her she responded by saying: "Well, if money is going to fall out the sky...". I then told her that I would not pray with her. She was a bit taken aback by this and we proceeded to chat until we got to a place where she invited me to pray with her.

On Saturday evening I got the following SMS from her: "Your God answered your prayers, but He gave me secondhand stuff!"

I wanted to get upset, but rather decided to smile, turn over in bed and fall asleep.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Shake, rattle and roll...what happens to idols.

This story was published by The Citizen

Zuma’s God talk condemned.


JOHANNESBURG - ANC president Jacob Zuma has invoked the wrath of political opponents for claiming God’s backing for eternal ANC rule.

In his most recent utterances during a party rally in Khayelitsha on Sunday, Zuma said: “Even God expects us to rule this country because we are the only organization which was blessed by pastors when it was formed. It is even blessed in heaven. That is why we will rule until Jesus comes back.

“We should not allow anyone to govern our city (Cape Town) when we are ruling the country.”

Reacting, Ryan Coetzee MP and CEO of the Democratic Alliance (DA), said Zuma’s statements displayed the anti-democratic attitude of an absolute monarch, and as such the DA condemned them.

“Clearly Sunday’s performance in Khayelitsha was no aberration – Mr Zuma consciously and repeatedly invokes God to justify eternal ANC rule and demonise its political opponents,” Coetzee said.

According to the DA, Zuma first made the claim that the African National Congress would rule “until Jesus comes back” during the 2004 election.

Last October he repeated it, saying: “We believe it (the ANC) will be in power forever until the Son of Man comes back.”

Coetzee warned: “As tempting as it is to dismiss this kind of statement as eccentric, or amusing, it is actually very dangerous, because to oppose a government backed by God is to oppose God. To oppose governments that rule by divine right is to be a traitor; to attempt to dislodge them, even through the ballot box, is a declaration of war.

“In short, opposition to the ANC is rendered utterly illegitimate.”

A fuming president of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Kenneth Meshoe said yesterday: “The ANC president Jacob Zuma will see with his own eyes what is happening to Zanu-PF will happen to the ANC.

“His statements are arrogance of the worst kind. God it not pleased with ANC immorality that kills thousands of babies through abortion (and) that generally disregards God’s laws.

“Anybody who’s rebellious must read the Bible. God blesses obedience not rebellion, as displayed by the ANC. The ANC Titanic is going to sink. Its call for unity will not materialise, as the cracks and divisions are going to increase.

“Zuma (will) one day ask me to pray for him when the ANC Titanic sinks forever.”

ANC spokesman Jessie Duarte was not available for comment.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

So much for war

"I'm a pacifist because I'm a violent son of a bitch." - Stanley Hauerwas

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What is left...

My colleague, Beryl, said something the other day that struck me very deeply. She said: "Religion is what is left when God has moved on."

This resonates with my spirit. I took this phrase to my Bible Study and we discussed it more. Rene, a good friend, responded by saying that it is very similar to the place which defines a building and a home. A building with all its structures is necessary, but without the people inside, it will never be a home. When families move from buildings, all that remains is a building.

Karl Barth endorsed this view. He described religion as "Religie als Unglaube" - "Religion as faithlessness/unbelief". Religion per se can do nothing more than be the "crutch" that Freud saw it to be, or the destructive cohesiveness that Dawkins describes.

I am challenged by this and I hope that our congregation is too. What is left when people leave the church building on a Sunday? Is there a difference? Does the building cry out for that time when the church will meet again? Does the community "outside" long for our being?

Just some thoughts.

Religion is what is left when God has moved on.