Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Real Life Stuff

Thomas Scarborough is an electronics boffin and church minister. I've been meaning for a long time to recommend his blogs. My own blogging and blog visiting wheels have fallen off in the meantime!

Please check out his grassroots picture of ministry at

His leadership blog is at

He's based in Cape Town.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Life has been hectic the last little while. And just when I thought I could come up for air, I lost the hard disk on my laptop.

Over the past five or six years I have been convinced that God has me in his own special training programme. By and large I have enjoyed every minute of it and been overwhelmed by his grace and power. The co-incidences - such as the invitation to lead worship in a church for a period when I was studying a course on worship with a large practical component - have been awesome. So now I ask myself what God is trying to teach me. Lord, haven't we done pressure already? Remember when . . . I can see that previously my life was very much more under control. I had more to do, but I could plan when to do it. Maybe this lesson is about handling the unexpected. Tackling the important and learning to sometimes let go what seems to be urgent. So - I am writing this post even though I have deadlines on other things!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Law Was Made For Man

Mark 2:23-28.
The disciples pick corn as they walk on the Sabbath. I was struck by the innocence with which the disciples did this. While Jesus and the Pharisees were on the alert for technicalities around the law on the Sabbath, it seems that the disciples weren't. They didn't even realise that they were giving the Pharisees an opening to challenge Jesus.

If the Sabbath was made for man, not vice versa, can we say that the Law was made for man and not man for the Law? I think so. Just a fresh way of looking at it that reminds me that God is not looking for unthinking obedience from us.

Would this mean that it is ok to steal from a person wealthier than you if you are starving? I don't think so, necessarily. But it means that we are encouraged to ask that question. And to keep asking in every situation and context.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Woe - Slow Down

I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be reading Mark with the aim of understanding who Jesus was (or is) and getting to know him better. I very quickly get caught up in academic thinking. I need to ask how he felt. In that situation what were the other ways he could have reacted? So I went back again to the righteous and the sinners. How did Jesus feel when challenged? It must have been hard for him to stand with the sinners when more influential people were disapproving. Hard for him to choose - as a human being. The influential offered meals and more influence. The 'sinners' offered marginalisation and in many cases poverty. Jesus knew who he was in himself and didn't need to be defined by those around him. I, like everyone I suppose, have a fear of being excluded. In some ways that is good - it builds community, but in others it may lead to erosion of values.
The elephants in the picture were seen running parallel to the road, about 10m away. The one seemed to be chasing the other. They travelled for miles - when seen here they were touching trunks, but the smaller pushed off again pretty soon. Playing hard to get? Elephant romance? I don't know enough about these animals!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meanderings in Mark

This picture is of a cormorant feeding its baby. (Thanks to my husband, Grant, as with the other Pilanesberg photos!) Actually, by the time I got hold of the binoculars to look, there was no food left and the baby was whacking his beak against the parent's, demanding more.

I was reading Mark 2:16 & 17 and reflecting on a discussion we had at Bible Study on Monday. 'Surely God will save all those who try hard to do good even if they are not Christians. How can he be so unfair to exclude them.' Not an easy question to answer. What does God want from us? Sincerity, good works, love for our fellow man? Sure, but that doesn't seem to be the nub of it. Mark quotes Jesus as saying that he came, not for the righteous, but for sinners. When I read it now I saw it as saying that he came for those who knew that he needed him. Not for those who reckon they're ok. It makes no statement on the 'righteous'. For me, I know I seldom get things as right as I want to. I am very aware that often I only succeed because of God's power in me. So, for those who reckon they're ok - good luck to you. For me, I am very, very grateful for a saviour.

Monday, January 07, 2008

We Stop for Tadpoles

This is the sign my daughter put up on the back windscreen during our trip to Pilanesberg. We like to stop and look at things that maybe don't interest other people - and we get tired of people coming up next to us peering anxiously into the bush for a lion or leopard and we are actually tracking down a small brown bird with an unusual call.
I sometimes wish we could live life taking our time and going in our own direction. But on the other hand it is good to work together with other people, changing pace and seeing things from a new perspective.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Giraffes for a New Year

We have been away and are now back! Only away for three nights camping at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. It was very hot and pretty noisy at the camping place, but we had a good time. And given that we have spent the last two weeks not doing much I am hoping that I am rested and ready for 2008!

I have a nice list of things that I want to do - but something in me is so perverse. I struggle to get going. I'd rather do little 15 minute jobs than get stuck in to an hour or so of something - even something I really enjoy. I wonder if I have spent so long in 'mother mode' (where one is interrupted by one child or other so regularly that one cannot focus for long) that I have a block against focused activity? Or maybe I am just lazy. But one of my personal goals for this year must be to have more discipline.

I am sort of going to be employed by my church - doing less than I was last year, I think. I guess I will wait to see how that works out - I'm sure God will make me useful. I want to start my Masters (in theology), even though I don't know what 2009 will hold. I will be homeschooling both boys again - and I need to lay good foundations, because again, I don't know what 2009 will hold. And I hope, hope, hope that they have fixed the astroturf and I can play hockey again soon!

The mystery on 2009 is to do with my 'applying' for the ordained ministry of the Methodist Church. They will decide this year if I can go ahead. Then they will place me somewhere in 2009 and I don't get much, if any, say in where that will be. I have heard that there are many candidates, so there is a real possibility that I may not get the go-ahead.

But for now, I need to catch up on a whole lot of blog reading!