Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Prodigal Husband

I read this book by Lazarus Miti over the weekend. It is an African cultural book and deals with the issues related to polygamy - through a story. It really gave me such insight into African culture. The book is written with understanding, warmth, honesty and without moralising. It is not a high-action book. It is a book that made me think - and keep thinking. Lazarus Miti is a professor of linguistics and happens to be a member of our congregation - I guess we are pretty privileged!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Always Rethinking

I am told, by someone who claims to know, that Methodist Probationer Ministers will be required to attend two years of residential college from next year. This is a thought that troubles me. I know there is a lot to learn - but I don't think I can survive two years of undergraduate theology and 'spiritual formation', along with the lack of active involvement in church ministry that residential college requires. I have dreaded even the thought of one year in college which might have come my way. I am too old. Too interested in practical ministry. I read too much.
Phase 1 - which I do next year - is a sort of church ministry boot camp. It is meant to be hard. And although I know that it is going to be tough at times, I am sort of looking forward to the challenge. But to see that I am likely to spend the next three years being essentially unproductive is very hard for me.
Maybe I should be looking for a job as a lay pastor. The time to pull out is now. I won't, I know. But I will think very hard about it. Trust God.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It has been interesting to see people's reactions to the thought that I will be going to the Eastern Cape next year. The most common has been a moment of shell-shock. Everyone has known, at least in their heads, that I will be going and quite likely far away, but generally people have somehow felt that it would not happen. But the next reaction is that the place I am going is pretty cool.
Now I am hoping that the powers that be don't change their minds - I like the thought of the church that I have been told about!
We are thinking about how to cope as a family. Everyone is optimistic and we see plenty of goood things ahead - but there will almost certainly be separation and that is going to be hard. Of course, everyone I speak to has their ideas as to what we should do. And then I shut down - because I get obstinate when told 'do it THIS way'!
I am looking forward to confirmation from Conference, because until then we can't really plan.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Well, I know unofficially where I will be going next year. I'm not sure how widely I am supposed to spread the news . . . So, just to say that it is not in the Central District, but rather near the PE phase one centre. Difficult for the family . . . , but I am very excited! God will bring things through. I knew I was going to learn about myself in this process and already I am learning.
I got the phone call from my wonderful 'unofficial source'. Do you want to know where you are stationed? And then I knew what I was hoping and what I didn't want! This was a very good news answer to the question.
But pray for the family. Being separated is not God's ideal for any family.
And things could still change. But I do like this option.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Trinity Methodist Linden

On Saturday I had the opportunity to be part of the Women's Day Service at Trinity Linden. It is always a privilege to speak to a congregation and I enjoy seeing different churches, so I had a good time. It felt a bit odd coming so soon after trial services and I had to let go of the feeling that I was going to be marked!
It was good to meet Candice and Joy again after being with them on mission to Mozambique, and also to meet Jonathan (Candice's husband) who found my blog while we were in Mozambique. The internet does make the world smaller.
Impressions: Trinity is a warm friendly church, I felt very welcome. And I have developed a tendency to talk too fast. Always stuff to learn.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Shack

I've just finished reading 'The Shack' by William P Young. I enjoyed it very much. Someone from my Bible Study group lent it to me - she couldn't believe I hadn't heard of it. It's basically a sort of theological metaphor or allegory. Eugene Peterson compares it to Pilgrim's Progress in the quote on the front cover.
The author has really done a good job - I can be very critical of intellectual consistency and this book stands firm. I love his characterisation of the three persons of the trinity. It would be great to use this book in a Bible study and pick up each theological concept, studying the scriptures that relate.
I'm not sure that I agree 100% with his theological viewpoint - I might shift the emphases. But then again I might not. Definitely a book that is worth reading.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Church is Fun

I arrived at Hlalanathi 'Methodist Church' yesterday and found the people in a good mood and just looking to having a good time. I was tired and I struggle with the Methodist liturgy - does it really touch the people? But we got going. We sang quite a few choruses, which feels more like worship to me. The congregation participated well in the sermon - and laughed at all the right places. The church is firmly there now. No longer do I arrive wondering if there will be a congregation. There were nine adults - ten counting me - and five children old enough to listen. Next hurdle - grow the church! But God has been good. Rev Vuyelwa and Lay preacher Khuthala have both had a positive impact on the place. Unfortunately, as happens in the Methodist Church, Vuyelwa only has this one year in that community. Next year - is wide open.

Friday, August 01, 2008


We've been talking about stewardship during the last three Sundays. Our minister spoke about generosity being key to our Christian life. It struck me as he was speaking that generosity is a good opposite to selfishness. We talk about being unselfish, but that is a little vague. We talk about being sacrificial, but that is scary. But generosity is something that we all appreciate. We all want to be generous.

So I like the idea of generosity as a positive, practical way of encouraging us to get rid of a 'me-first' mentality.

There is a little about our sermon series on the church blog.