Friday, October 31, 2008

Dear Rev

Dear Rev. Bentley

I hereby submit my resignation from membership of your church. I do so, because I am unhappy about the Sunday services.

Yours truly

Mrs X.

This is a letter I received the day before yesterday. The person came to see me and said that they are unhappy about the inclusion of children's addresses in the service. "Children should not be in church!". We had a meaningful discussion, after which the person expressed that she feels much more comfortable at one of the churches in our area.

Her husband, an atheist and professed believer in Darwin rather than God, then dug into me. "Why do you do it? This is not the way things used to be in England!". To which I responded, "Even Darwin suggested that we either adapt or we die".

I am happy to see many people come to realize that we are not here to "play church". We ARE CHURCH, which means we are a community. This means "making space" for each other and celebrating our collective space in our common response of faith to God's grace.

Tonight we will be such a community, sharing in a meal and saying farewell to my colleague who is retiring. Children will be welcome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nokia E71 Vodacom Bluetooth modem on the Mac

I've been struggling to use my new Nokia E71 as a Bluetooth modem on my Mac (Powerbook G4), but now got it right. I am a Vodacom subscriber. Here are some simple instructions:

1. Download the Phone script here.

2. Expand the file then in the folder, copy the CID1 file and paste it on "harddrive"\Library\Modem Scripts.

3. Pair the phone with the computer.

4. Instead of doing the normal *99#, type "internet"

5. Go to System preferences, Networking, click Bluetooth, Configure.

6. Make sure the number is still "internet" under the PPP tab.

7. PPP configuration, disable "send data packets".

8. Go to Bluetooth modem and see if the Nokia CID1 is selected.

9. Apply now.

Try and connect now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What I love in what I do

Tonight we had a baptism seminar, preparing the parents for Sunday when they will be making vows pertaining to the way in which they choose to raise their children. I love these moments, especially when through engaging with different understandings, people's eyes light up and it comes across that they now "own the process".

I am always blessed by spouses who do not come to church often becoming new friends. More often than not I sense their reservation when they get to know that I am a minister. I feel the stereotypes being played out in their minds. I think they must think that it is just a matter of time before they will pounce on me for being rigid, autocratic or pious. But that doesn't happen, well it hasn't happened yet. This is because Jesus makes my job easy. I welcome people, listen to them and celebrate their journeys. While Jesus makes my job easy, the church often complicates it, because many people carry negative stereotypes about ministers out of negative experiences in their past.

We parted ways tonight all looking forward to Sunday, celebrating God's love for these children and celebrating their place in community. I pray that it will be a special time for all.

I love teaching. No, I love facilitating journey. Bible studies, preaching, leading seminars, lecturing, these are things that give me life.

I do struggle with depression, and this week has been particularly difficult. This is something that needs to be managed, but I feel so much better having traveled with a few people, for a short time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Faith, hope and love.

I am intrigued by people's conversations on the topic of faith. I am not talking about faith as a structured religion, but faith as an aspect of religious expression.

I am currently praying about a matter which concerns my future. As I have spoken to some folk, I have been told that I should bring the matter to God in faith, knowing that what I ask for will be given. This is not the first time I have been told to have faith, to exercise faith and to hold on to the things I want faithfully.

In my opinion, such an understanding of faith is too concerned with the future and does not capture the meaning of the term accurately.

Rather that speaking about faith as a future oriented term, I prefer to use the term "hope". "Faith" to me is more concerned with the past. I have faith and trust people whom I have journeyed with. When things go bad, my faith in God comes into full operation as I have an experience of God in my past when similar things have happened. Faith does not help at all if journey is ignored. When I look into the future, I have hope, because of my faith. Faith and hope then meet together in the present and manifest in the form of love.

So when I pray, I pray with hope and in hope. Whatever the outcome, my faith is not negated nor disproved, but intact as this is another stepping stone in the formation of my faith. I just hope I find it possible to love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The most expensive 5c ever.

This is the 5c piece Nathan swallowed last week. The doc decided to remove it today. So far this coin has cost me over R1300, hospital bills excluded. I told the doctor if he found a R2 instead of the 5c, that we'll then put Nathan on a 'special diet'.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Explain this...

This is now a true mystery.

My mother-in-law dropped my Powerbook G4 and the battery was dinged quite badly. Now, all of a sudden, the battery life has increased by about 30%. I used to get about 2 hours, but now it is up to almost 3.

How's that?

Just proves that a good knock can improve performance. Must say, that my mother-in-law hasn't recovered yet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Isn't she pretty?

Nat and I converted


We spent two weeks touring Israel and Jordan. It has been a fantastic pilgrimage. The 40 people from my congregation, my wife and I have experienced so much in the past two weeks that it is very difficult to convey. You can view photo's of our trip here.

Israel is great and I'll go back in a heartbeat. Amidst all the turmoil in the country, it still feels like a place with substance and so much to offer the world. Once again, the thoughts are difficult to convey. Our last two days were a bit indifferent. Petra is spectacular, but Jordan as a whole is not on my "to-do" list for the foreseeable future. It is expensive and corrupt.

At the moment I am sitting in Cairo international airport waiting for my flight which is boarding in 4 hours. I am also skype-chatting with my good friend Dion Forster who just landed in Uruguay. Ain't technology great!!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Israel - A complex place

I came to Israel with very strong views. But I have come to realize that the situation in this country is much more complex than my trivial attempts to see the problems easily solvable. I have refrained from drawing parallels between what I have seen here and what happened in my own country under Apartheid. I think to draw a direct parallel is to ignore many other factors that were not present in my country, and many that are not present here.

Besides the high fences and frequent armed children, I have seen a measure of tolerance that does not appear in our country all that often, albeit a forced tolerance. Today Muslims prayed in the Muslim Quarter of the Temple Mount. To my shock, a few people around me started mocking the prayers which were resounding from the Mosque. I had to call my brothers to a place where we do not only tolerate, but respect the religion of others. An so we started listening. And instead of praying against them, I gave thanks for their example of unashamed devotion. I wish we had the same measure of commitment to public witness.

A complex place with complex people and complex issues. I pray for my redemption, for I cannot say "Well, thank you Lord that I am not like..."