Friday, October 26, 2007
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
One of the blogs I read is 'Real Live Preacher' by Gordon Atkinson. He has been doing training in mission outreach where they are taught to install water purification systems. You can read his experience here. I was curious about these systems because there is obviously big potential for their use in Africa. The mission organisation is Edge Outreach and I trekked along to their web page. If you dig around you can find some of the stories they tell. One is about a tribal king in one area who refused to allow the mission team to install a system. This organisation is very conscious of the need for the locals to buy in and are not into forcing anything on anybody. But they asked this king why he would not allow it - given that so many small children die from diahroea every year. The king's reply was that babies have always died and the people will not be angry with him for that. However, if there is not enough food, the people will be angry with him. The implication being that if the babies lived he would have a problem. Our western outlook is horrified about this approach, but it does raise real ethical issues.
One's thoughts can go in so many directions after hearing this story. But what worries me most is my feeling of paralysis. If solving one problem simply causes other problems, what can we do? Maybe we should not install purification systems . . . Loving our neighbour is not really that simple!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Central Methodist Mission Jhb
The picture is apparently of refugees sleeping in the foyer at Central. I didn't see crowds of people there, but I did hear about them.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Good Samaritan - Different Angle
The lawyer asked who his neighbor was, and the Lord Jesus responded by asking who was the neighbor of the man who fell into the hands of the robbers. In other words, the lawyer was the one who had fallen into the hands of the robbers. The One who showed mercy to him was his neighbor. The neighbor does not refer to any man; it refers to the Savior. The Lord showed the lawyer that the neighbor is the Lord Himself. He said, "Go and do likewise." This means that the lawyer should do his best to love that Samaritan. Many people have turned this parable around. They think that the Lord wants them to be the Samaritan. They do not realize that they cannot go to the cross to forgive sins, and they cannot be lifted up to bring down the Holy Spirit. Only He has the wine and the oil. Only He has the beast, the inn, and the denarii. We are not the Samaritan. It would be totally wrong to ask the man who fell into the hands of the robbers to be the Samaritan. The neighbor whom the Lord referred to was the Samaritan. This means that the Lord came to be our Neighbor; He came to save us, to provide us with the beast, the wine, which signifies the life, the inn, which signifies the church, and the denarii, which signify the gifts and grace. These things He gives until He returns. When the Lord tells us to love the Samaritan, He is telling us to love Him.
This parable has always bothered me, because it is not clear who Jesus is asking us to be in the parable. It is nearly always interpreted to mean that we have to be the Samaritan. I read this interpretation from Watchman Nee and I almost need it to be right. God has the wine, the oil, the beast, the inn and the denarii. We cannot be God. We don't need to be God. He is the provider of riches, of relief, of salvation. Yes Lord, you be God. But please let me help where I can. Give me work to do for your kingdom. And let me be content to do the work you give me.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I spent Thursday with a generally uneasy feeling. I couldn't figure out was wrong with me, until it struck me that filling in these forms was making things feel uncomfortably close. There is so much that I am scared of. Being out of control. Having to do things for which I can't really understand the purpose. Submitting. Money and cost of living.
Some of this stuff I know I need to learn. Some I'll only realise I need to know when I know it. And some of it is going to drive me crazy.
But I don't think I have any choice any more. So let it do its worst!
At least as it comes closer I can also see further and as I see the potential for a future beyond probation it is easier to be optimistic. God-willing I will see the other side!