Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oupa Goewies

His name was Hubertus van Goeverden. To me, and many others he was simply Oupa Goewies. He passed away almost a month ago after surgery. Oupa Goewies was a fireman, and proud of it. I remember as a small boy being put on the fire-engine and my Oupa would arrange a courteous sounding of the sirens. On Wednesdays they used to spray foam in the ambulance parking lot - a fantastic place to play hide-and-seek.

My favourite time was spent boxing with my Oupa in the quadrangle. If more people were like Oupa Goewies, we would not have a tenth of the world's problems. Did he love God? Yes. He loved God too much to belong to a church. It sounds strange, but you would understand if you knew him. A humble man, filled with love, but having no time for lying, cheating, laziness or hypocrisy. The depth of his faith and the level of his reasoning would certainly entertain great minds such as Barth and Bonhoeffer.

As news reached me of Oupa Goewies' passing, one thing struck me. There was still noise coming from the highway near our house. Horns were blaring, traffic was moving, people carried on with their lives. One of the greatest men that I have ever know had just passed away, but the world carried on as if nothing happened. What a pity.

So are all our lives, I suppose. We are all but dust. The things we regard as important are not always so. Working 18 hour days won't help the world to remember you. What do people remember? Things like sitting on top of a fire-engine, sparring in the quad, playing hide-and-seek in foam, taking walks in the park, helping to fix a flat bicycle tyre, nursing a wound, wiping a tear, celebrating life, taking time to listen.

I hope I can be even half the man to my boys as my Oupa was to me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hans Kung - a modern Luther

Hans Kung is one of my favourite theologians, one who is willing to stand by his beliefs despite the influences and powers of the institutional church. He recently published the second volume of his memoirs. For a brief description of the man and his work, click here - it is a fascinating read!

Luther on salvation

God works by contraries so that a man feels himself to be lost in the very moment when he is on the point of being saved... Man must first cry out that there is no health left in him... In this disturbance, salvation begins. When a man believes himself to be utterly lost, light breaks.
- Martin Luther

Friday, June 05, 2009

Back home

I am back home after my operation. They call the operation a Nissen-procedure. By the costs, they should have named it a BMW-procedure.

They made 5 holes on my stomach and then did the following by means of telescopic surgery:

1. Pull the stomach down through the diaphragm;
2. Tighten the hole in the diaphragm;
3. Wrap my stomach around the esophagus to make a one-way valve.

This way I will not get reflux into my esophagus again.

It is pretty sore, but the doctor reckons the operation was a success. Now I'm booked off until Thursday.

This was step 1. As soon as the Halo360 technology arrives in SA (a couple of months), We'll discuss zapping the Barretts and removing it completely. Thanks for all the prayers, messaged and telephone calls. It is much appreciated.

Now back to my soup, jelly and fruit juice diet (for a month!)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The night before

So, tomorrow morning at 7:30 I will undergo an operation to repair my hiatus hernia. This will hopefully stop the acid reflux. If it s succesful (doctors are very positive), then I can come off the Protein Pump Inhibators.

It has been a tremendously difficult month. My grandfather passed way last week and I conducted his memorial service on Saturday. Yet, I can feel God's presence in a powerful way. I feel at peace, yet quite nervous about the operation. The next time I blog it will be all done. God bless, and spare prayer for a brother.