Monday, December 28, 2009

What a nice little book

Someone gave me a book voucher for Christmas and I stumbled across this little book entitled "Do you think you're clever?". It is a book listing some of the absurd questions prospective students are asked before being admitted to Oxford or Cambridge. It also gives some possible answers to these questions. Some of the questions include: "What happens if you drop and ant?", "Can God create a stone so heavy that he wouldn't be able to lift it?", "If you made a whole straight through the center of the earth to the other side and jumped in it, what would happen?", and my favourite "How would you explain a spoon to a Martian?".

If you're looking for some light reading with good laughs, then this one is for you!

My little red car

This is the first Christmas without my grandfather. I miss him dearly. We all do. The year was 1978, I was two years old and my grandfather wanted to get me something special. He found a little push-car, red with black wheels. I played in this little car for several years to come.

While visiting my gran over Christmas, this little car stood outside her front door, all rusted and worse for wear. The memories flooded back. She saw me reminiscing and told me she thought it best if I took the little car home. Today I spent a good deal of the afternoon panel-beating, bending and respraying. I then presented it to my boys and they dubbed it their "red Ferrari".

I will treasure this photo alongside the photo's of little Wessel in his little red car.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking back at my goals and looking ahead

At the beginning of the year, I set out t accomplish some goals. Well, now is evaluation-time:

Editing the Ethics textbook which should be published by the end of the year, DONE
Submitted a research article last night, DONE AND PUBLISHED
Wrote a set of devotions for Disciplines 2010, DONE AND PUBLISHED
Writing a book on prayer during financial crisis, DONE AND PUBLISHED
Writing a book of Lenten devotions (long overdue), STILL BUSY, ALMOST FINISHED
Preparing a proposal for a paper which I plan to deliver at the Theological Society in June on Calvin's pneumatology and the African spirit-world, DONE AND PUBLISHED (did not go to TSSA)
Gathering notes for an article on leadership and ethics (due Oct), ALMOST DONE
Planning another book with Dion on the relationship between church and state, ALMOST DONE.

I feel good about what has been accomplished this year. In the meantime my thesis was published as a book, I had to undergo surgery and I'm recovering well. I'm learning how to relax and to enjoy life without its busy-ness.

Goals for 2010:

Finish outstanding projects from 2009
Write a meditation book for those growing older
Write a book for disillusioned Christians
Do 2 courses towards an Honours in Psychology (only have 4 to go)
Publish 4 research articles
Write up our project "Change the world in 15 minutes"
Play more guitar
Play more tennis
Attend all my children's sporting, school and cultural events
Take my wife on a date once a month (at least)
Plan a trip to Turkey
Survive, no live in 2010

Monday, December 14, 2009

Visit to the Voortrekker monument

Some call it the world's biggest advert for Trotters Jelly. To others it is symbolic of South Africa's racist past.

This is the Voortrekker monument, a monument erected to remember the Great Trek of the first white pioneers in Southern Africa who traveled by ox-wagon from the Cape of Good Hope inland to where we now have the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The architecture is astounding! Built between 1938 and 1949, this monument is structured in such a way that at noon on December 16th, the sun's rays fall directly on a large stone with the words inscribed "We, for you, South Africa". It's walls contain the carvings of the stories of the Great Trek. And so, we spent the morning sharing this part of South Africa's history with our boys.

It was a violent history, but also one telling of the Afrikaner's determination to get away from Dutch and British oppression, surviving, innovating and choosing to travel north. This was met with great battles and conflict against the local inhabitants.

Very few of my ancestors came from these people. My mom is a third generation Dutch immigrant. Her maiden surname is "Van Goeverden", a family related to Dutch royalty. My father's family came to South Africa during the second Anglo-Boer war. Seven Bentley brothers landed in, what is now KwaZulu-Natal to fight the Boers. One of these brothers became a captain in the British military and was stationed at a Boer concentration camp. There he fell in love with one of the captive Boer women and later married. This lady, my great-great-great grandmother was the only one of my family who knew the hardships of the Dutch pioneers. A family name from her family, Wessel, was then passed on from generation to generation. This name has stopped with me, unless my sons choose to give it to one of their children.

I am reminded of how far we have come as a nation. On the walls there are pictures of how the Boers faught against the Zulu's, Matabeles, Xhosa's and others. I now have friends from all these nations, and count them to be some of my best friends.

It was a good visit. I don't know what to do with all the conflicting emotions inside, but for now, I remembered the stories and I am reminded that one's search for liberation and freedom is often shortlived. New institutions are formed, new conflicts, new power struggles. Politics always interferes.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Thoughts for my new book

I am busy writing the next installment of the '28 days' series entitled "28 days of prayer for disillusioned believers" and came across the following thoughts from John Wesley in his book 'A plain account of Christian perfection'. (These are excerpts from this book). I thought of using this as a basis for reflection. What do you think?

Hereby many are hindered from seeking faith and holiness by the false zeal of others; and some who at first began to run well are turned out of the way.
Q32. What advice would you give them?

• Watch and pray continuously against pride. If God has cast it out, see that it enter no more: it is full as dangerous as desire, and you may slide back into it unawares; especially if you think there is no danger of it.
• Be aware of the daughter of pride, enthusiasm. Oh, keep at the utmost distance from it? Give no place to a heated imagination. Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions, revelations to b from God. They may be from Him. They may be from nature. They may be from the devil. Therefore ‘believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God’.
• Beware of Antinomianism; ‘making void the law’ or any part of it, ‘through faith’. Enthusiasm naturally leads to this; indeed they can scarce be separated.
• Beware of sins of omission; lose no opportunity of doing good in any kind. Be zealous of good works; willingly to omit no work, either of piety or mercy.
• Beware of desiring anything but God. Now you desire nothing else; every other desire is driven out; see that none enter again.
• Beware of schism, of making a rent in the church of Christ. That inward disunion, the members ceasing to have a reciprocal love ‘one for another’ (1 Cor. 12:25), is the very root of all contention, and every outward separation.
• Be exemplary in all things; particularly in outward things (as in dress), in little things, in the laying out of your money (avoiding every needless expense), in deep, steady seriousness, and in the solidity and usefulness of all your conversation. So shall you be ‘a light, shining in a dark place.’. So shall you daily ‘’grow in grace’, till ‘an entrance be ministered unto you abundantly unto the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.’

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

State of health

Natalie: Upper Respiratory Infection, Bladder Infection
Matthew: Bronchitis
Nathan: Upper Respiratory Infection, Middle ear infection,
Me: Getting sick of medical bills... and Upper Respiratory Infection