Friday, January 29, 2010

A Metaphor

This Calvin and Hobbes cartoon makes a good metaphor for how I sometimes see seminary!
We seminarians are good and obedient and toe the line, knowing that we are just waiting for the time that 'they' let us free and we can do our own thing.
I'm sure it's not supposed to be like that!
For myself, the difficulty is with knowing what, of the input I am receiving, is applicable or likely to be applicable in my own ministry situation/s. So often (and this is mostly from last year's experience) I listen to someone talking and think 'he has no idea of what my church is like'. The Methodist Church is extremely diverse and there is certainly no 'one size fits all' option in many areas of ministry. I'm sure that SMMS will deal with this and I hope that most of us can learn to listen intelligently as well as critically so that we absorb the principles at least!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Focus on the Poor

We've had a few talks at seminary urging us to focus on the poor. I was thinking about this when I woke up this morning and thought that I would reread Luke 4 which is a key passage to this message. Then I realised that it was the set passage for today in my three year Bible reading programme!
I am wondering if we are not involved in some sort of escapism when we engage in a preoccupation with the poor (especially as church ministers). There is no doubt that Jesus is concerned for the poor, as Luke 4 (I have come to preach good news to the poor etc) and Matthew 25 (As much as you have done this to the least of one of these you have done it to me) point out. But I asked the question - to whom was Jesus speaking when he read that passage quoted in Luke 4? And the answer is that he was in the synagogue - speaking to the rulers and to the relatively wealthy. Again, where was Isaiah when he originally spoke the words that Jesus quoted? Again, speaking to the oppressors of the poor.
I am wondering whether too many people become church ministers when they should really be social workers or relief agents. Ministers need to be people who want to bring about change (through the power of God) in the rich and the poor alike.
Working with the poor shouldn't be at the expense of working with those who pull the strings in society.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lions in Zimbabwe

Is this for real?

Aid agencies in Zimbabwe are providing tents and other forms of relief to hundreds of villagers fleeing attacks by lions.The lions have killed four people at Kanyemba on Zimbabwe’s northern border with Zambia.This is a full-scale humanitarian operation. According to the Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs at least 100 families have fled their homes.

There is some sort of message in this. When civilisation breaks down, the wilderness breaks in?Or perhaps it is a reminder of what made human beings try to work together in the the first place. Maybe the preceived absense of real enemies is what has caused us to turn on each other.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More adjusting

I am starting to get into some rhythm as regards 'home life'. Weekday nights I sleep at my flat at the seminary, but I can go home at the weekends. I am in a waiting period at the moment. The seminary staff are meeting with each seminarian to discuss their study programme for the year. This is a good thing, but does mean that we are hanging around at the moment. Which is ok-I am starting to find time to read some more and getting used to the idea that I can have some sense of 'real life' even while in my seminary flat (ie I don't expect to be entertained all the time!) Also I was able to get out and do the grocery shopping without trying to invent extra hours in the day.
I'm always a bit of a poor sleeper, so I'm feeling tired most of the time :( but hopefully that will get better.
On Monday lectures start and we should begin another period of adjustment!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Of churches and refugees

The buzz in the Methodist Church at the moment is all about Rev Paul Verryn's suspension by the church. I wasn't going to blog about this, but Steve Hayes asks the question, 'Why aren't Methodist bloggers talking about this, whereas the previous buzz re same-sex marriages was aired throroughly?'
The reason that I find this difficult to blog about is that it is an issue that revolves around a personality. This is about the person of Paul Verryn. The Ecclesia de Lange same-sex marriage thing didn't revolve around Ecclesia, but around the principles and stand of the Methodist Church and the Christian church as a whole. Ecclesia's action forced the church to act on its rules regarding clergy and same-sex unions.
Whatever it may seem like to outsiders, (and please note that I speak on my own behalf, not on behalf of the MCSA) Paul Verryn's suspension should not be seen as a rejection by the church of his work with refugees. This is not a question of 'what does the MCSA think about refugees or our role in working with them?' The church has many times publicly supported the work at Central Methodist Church.
For this reason, the two cases are very different. Ecclesia's was a test case, if you like, to test the church's stand on civil unions. This case does not 'take on' the church as regards a principle. In fact, it is simply a disciplinary issue involving an individual. Because this individual is high-profile it, unfortunately, cannot easily be dealt with privately as it should be.
As far as I understand, and I don't have any 'inside' knowledge, the charge/s against Rev Verryn are to do with following process within the Methodist Church and to do with obedience to the Church. This charge could have been laid by anyone (where the reason could be a personal grudge or a genuine desire to see the church act with integrity or whatever), but this charge was considered by a lawyer (the one appointed by the church annually) to be worthy of consideration - that's how the Church works. I'm not sure if suspension is automatic at this point, but it is a temporary arrangement until the disciplinary committee meets. In this case, there is no foregone conclusion as to the outcome of the disciplinary process. It seems to me that the committee could hear the reasons for Rev Verryn's actions and concur with him, saying that he did the right thing. It could also uphold the charge.
Obviously, as in any big organisation, there is stuff that happens behind the scenes. Paul is by no means a neutral leader. He has many people who agree with him and many people who don't like him. So people look for conspiracy and factions and hidden agendas. I don't know if they are there or not. Well, they are there, but are they coming into play in this situation? I don't know.
I think the biggest concern for the Methodist Church is the way that this has hit the media and the sensational aspect that is has taken on. Whether that was intentional or not, I also don't know. We all make mistakes and the MCSA maybe just didn't know how best to deal with this.
So, those of you outside, does this help? It is just my take on the situation.
Other posts Dion, Steve Hayes.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Saturday! Trying to switch off and rest. Not easy!

David Barbour is back with his blog Skypilot. Check him out, I have always enjoyed his insightful and reflective writing.

The Amatomu ranking seems to be working again! And so I begin the slide down . . . But it is good to see it happening again. And it is good to see Because He Lives and My Contemplations up near the top - the blog world has changed while Amatomu has been asleep.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Personal Stories

Here are two stories written by people with personal homosexual experience. One is a Christian and one is not (as far as I can tell). One speaks of accepting homosexuality in themselves and the other of rejecting it. The stories are just the two most recent that I have seen, not chosen for any other reason.

During my late teens I came to the conclusion that I am a lesbian. I realized that this discovery would not be acceptable to my family or church and so I concealed it. I tried to fit in by being in heterosexual relationships, appearing to be normal and acceptable to the community . . .

(HT: Gus (in the comments))

Twenty years after he came out, Patrick Muirhead, 41, explains why he is suddenly feeling the appeal of the opposite sex.
A minor incident in a barber’s shop last week has helped me to realise that I may no longer be gay. Not a fully fledged homo, anyway; . . .

(HT: Contact Online)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Just another thought about factors that make debate more difficult (or interesting). Whether we feel that we are coming from a position of strength or a position of weakness affects how we debate. Many of us, for one reason or another feel that we are in a position of weakness (even though we believe that we are right) and see ourselves as 'the oppressed' or as victims.
In the Christian way of thinking, the strong lay down their lives for the weak - as modelled ultimately by Jesus. This helps debate, in general, because their is a quietness that helps us to listen to each other. For instance, when the traditionally strong 'male voice' quietens down to listen to the traditionally weaker 'female voice' in a meeting.
There are two areas where I am conscious of the possibility that everyone sees themselves as the oppressed or victims. The one is the same-sex discussion. Those who hold that homosexual acts are 'sinful' find themselves in a minority in society (where laws and political correctness are in support of homosexual behaviour) and so see themselves as victims. Those who wish the church to accept homosexual behaviour find themselves to be in the minority within the church community and so also see themselves as victims. This means that neither side is willing to sacrifice, or to let go for the moment, because it is never the victim who lays down his life. Does this make sense?
The other area where this occurs - and will occur more as we go on, I should think - is between black and white people in (church) discussions. Black people are historically oppressed, many lack the education of their white peers and they see themselves as victims. White people, on the other hand, are a very small minority in a representative group and are aware that should any item be voted on and the vote goes by race, that their culture and practices are and will be threatened. So they, too, see themselves as victims.
I'm not sure what the solution is to this. Because I think we might end up with vulture eat vulture situations!
Hopefully, God can lift us above this!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scattered thoughts about settling in

I'm not even sure how long I have been in Pietermaritzburg. This is a good thing - last year when I was away from my family, I could have told you how many days I had been in Grahamstown and how many days until I saw my people again!
I've been running, with three of my kids, nearly every day for about two weeks - good thing.
There is an eight month waiting time for ADSL, so my kids have been without internet access. I let them hook up to my laptop to connect - worked fine - but now my feedreader won't work. It's happened before, but I can't remember how I fixed it! Minor irritation.
My family are all happy in their respective little worlds of school, work and church - good thing.
I have moved into my flat at seminary. There is some awkwardness in sharing with another lady, but everything seems to be ok. Orientation is fine. A lot of sitting and listening which is hard work, but I guess that's how it goes. I tend to watch how the speaker communicates and am learning what works with our diverse group and what doesn't (we are approx 45 black, 4 white and 1 coloured - as in indication of cultural and language diversity). It's also good to meet and hear people of significance in the church community.
Thought for the day from yesterday: We prejudice our arguments by the terms we use. Our registrar gave maybe the most accessible talk yesterday. Key point: education can be used for Liberation or for Opression, but is never neutral. My thoughts: - How about if we rephrased it? Education can be used for the Maintenance of traditional customs or to Encourage rebellion, but is never neutral.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thinkers and Feelers

We did a 'thing' on the Myers-Briggs system of 'classifying' personality types last year at a Grahamstown District ministers' retreat. For those who don't know, the Myers-Briggs test draws out things like whether you are introverted or extroverted and so on. I know a reasonable amount about Myers-Briggs, but an exercise that we did on the retreat made me think. One of the classifying criteria is 'thinker' or 'feeler'. Thinkers (obviously) think about life, the world and everything. Feelers react to situations with more of an (obviously) feeling response. Of course, we all have aspects of both thinker and feeler, but one will dominate. I am a thinker, but being a Christian has encouraged the growth of my 'feeling' side.
The exercise that we had to do went like this. The facilitator asked us to divide into 'thinker' groups and 'feeler' groups, according to what we felt dominated in our own personalities. Then each group had to try to persuade the other group to do something. The exercise didn't really work, but it did make the point that 'thinkers' just miss the boat when trying to argue with 'feelers' and vice versa.
As I said, I am a thinker, and if my bias shows in this post - sorry! We were supposed to argue in favour or not of building a swimming pool. Feelers would argue about how much benefit there would be in this pool - the relief and refreshing - especially if it will benefit people who are in need in some way. Thinkers will ask about the cost, whether there is a long term benefit and so on. Most of us are not completely blind to the other position!
The thing is that when we argue about theology and church matters we come from these different 'dominances'. Feelers may react to a thinker argument by being convinced that the thinker is heartless. In the same way, thinkers may react to a feeler argument by being convinced that the feeler is brainless. We work together best when we realise that all have a contribution to make - and that it is not either/or, but rather both/and.
I thought of this illustration. A father who really loves his child comes home from work feeling a little short tempered. The child accidentally does something that irritates and father snaps at him. The child is hurt and confused and runs crying to mother. Now mother (hopefully) comes with built-in feeler compassion. She hugs and comforts the child. She wants to say to him, 'don't worry, your father is an idiot' (because that is what she feels just then). But then her thinker comes to her rescue and realises that saying things like that undermines father's parental authority and can confuse the family dynamic. Far better to comfort the child and then privately discuss the matter with father - who then, if he agrees, will rebuild his relationship with the child. In this way we see thinker and feeler operating within one personality. Somehow, as a church, we need to be able to do the same.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Yesterday we started orientation at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary. I am going to have to figure out how to fit blogging and reading and so on into my new schedule! But it will be interesting to be a student and to focus on learning. Last year, my focus was also on learning, but as a minister. This year I have moved my thinking back into 'lay mode' and I think it will work for me. Although, technically, I am still Rev, I don't have a station and I think I can just go to church without having to feel 'ministerial'. I am sure that God will find something useful for me to do.
I am finding the whole seminary thing, so far, constructive and - can I say 'loving'? I have no complaints and I believe that this will be a good year!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blogging Stats

So, we have a discussion about Technorati and how to improve authority - after I had a dizzying fall through the rankings. And then I blog about a controversial topic at a sensitive time - and my Technorati authority has gone from 124 to 480 or thereabouts. I was about 36 000 in the world rankings and am now just under 10 000. I don't seem to have made it onto the religion pages, as I was before, though - I am confused about that. (Technorati has a general rank and then sometimes ranks within category - I thought you had to be high enough in the rankings to get there, but now I don't get it.)
Thanks, John van de Laar, for linking to me in a post, because that has scored me an 'influential reaction'. Sorry to others who linked to me, you don't cut it! (Don't ask me . . .)
I'd like to link back to John for a post that relates to the homosexual discussion. I think that this is the sort of thing that needs to be in place to develop a theology/praxis around homosexuality.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


When I started writing this series of posts I thought that through a pragmatic approach we might find enough common ground that people could agree about 'what to do with the homosexual debate'. From what I have seen (mostly outside of this blog) I now think that this is unlikely!
We approach the debate from the ideological aspect, the pastoral and also in addition (thanks to commentators) the personal. We are aware of militance and sensationalism. The pragmatic approach needs to take all of this into account as well as issues that are purely pragmatic.

From a pragmatic point of view the church has had to deal with the issue of divorce and remarriage. Whatever the ideological point of view, there were and are many hurting people trapped in marriages that one just couldn't blame them for ending. The church doesn't help by closing its eyes and saying 'divorce is wrong'. It is like a doctor refusing to treat an accident patient by saying 'you shouldn't have been driving so fast'. Society has delivered the church a problem in terms of its inability to keep people in happy marriages. There are similarities in this to the homosexual debate. Society has presented the church with a problem. There are people in homosexual relationships. Does it help to just say 'homosexual acts are wrong'? Or for that matter to just say 'homosexual acts are ok'?
Secondly, there are clearly people that are more disposed towards homosexuality than others. This needs to be acknowledged.
Thirdly, there are many 'sorts' of homosexuals as has been pointed out in the comments. Some homosexual (as heterosexual) behaviour is 'not ok' (even if you accept homosexual sex as ok). Sleeping around, brutality, concomitant use of drugs and so on. Some homosexual behaviour is due to past pain and hurts and can be 'healed' - the person becomes heterosexual.

I am struggling at this point to keep myself as a sort of neutral party. I want to present things in a neutral way - a bit because I am scared - but mostly so that we can have a facilitated discussion, rather than a war (and thank you to all who have contributed). But let me open myself to fire by saying that I believe the Methodist Church in SA has reached a fairly pragmatic position, where it is now. To the ideologist who wants things tied to the Bible it is too wishy-washy. To the one who feels passionately for the rights of homosexual people it is limiting and offensive. The position, however, takes both the Bible and homosexual issues seriously and recognises that they should not be treated simplistically.
I would like to see a thought out theology/praxis position in favour of allowing homosexual clergy to enter civil unions that deals with all the issues raised in this series of posts. Simply because it would take the argument out of the ideology realm (I'm right and you're wrong). But I will leave that for those who feel strongly about this position!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


This is another angle that needs to be looked at as regards the homosexual debate, because I believe that it clouds the real issues at hand. Unfortunately, it is also one on which I don't really have much authority to speak. So, just to mention it here.
The media has played a useful role in humanising homosexual people in the public eye. I hope that we would all agree that the idea that people had in years gone by of homosexuals being - um, what? I'm not too sure- maybe that is the thing, people invented an idea of homosexuals as monstrosities, which wasn't very friendly.
But what is the role of the media today? What caused the Generations people to include a homosexual theme to their episodes? Was it a concern for the Gay community or was it a desire to sell their programme by shock tactics? At the end of the day, it is again dehumanising to use any sort of sex in this of way - for people to look at and marvel at and perhaps be horrified at. And when the public becomes desensitised to this, the media moves on, finding new areas that shock in order to draw in an endlessly hungry public.
I know that not all media is like this - and I do not know the motivations of the Generations people - it could be that they do have a genuine social concern, but it sounds more than a little naive to write that!
I could say more, but let me leave it here and let the reader contemplate the implications!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Finding Pietermaritzburg

I think we are finally starting to develop a sense of 'home' here in Pmb. My husband and I can both get to the places we need to go often without having to think through the route first! We are starting to get things like the laundry done before reaching a point of deperation and the kids are picking up their old hobbies and interests.
Seminary starts for me on Sunday. I don't have any details, other than that we need to have arrived before orientation starts then. I hope that more info will be forthcoming. I have moved into my flat - insofar as I have the keys and have made the bed. I know so little of what my life will entail that I don't know what else to do at this stage! I am looking forward to next week and gaining a bit of a sense of purpose.
We visited our closest church on the first Sunday we were here and the family is very happy to get involved there - I'm not sure what the seminary is going to expect of me. I hope that I will be able to be involved in a local church - that did seem to be the case for the students last year.
My mind is a little bit obsessed with the same-sex debate. I have wrestled with this seriously for the last three or four years and I periodically go through spells where I can think of little else. I do think that I am starting to get a handle on what God is saying to me. But then you would have noticed the posts!
Today is busy, so more later!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pragmatism - no, actually Militance

Before I write about the pragmatic approach to the homosexual debate I want to mention two issues that cloud the 'moral atmosphere' - two issues that get in the way of the real issue. These are militance and sensationalism. So for this post: militance.
For some reason the homosexual debate leads to militant behaviour. We've all seem images of protests by the American right-wing Christians who stand with 'God hates gays' banners at inappropriate places. Fortunately, that seems to be absent from the South African Christian arena. On the other hand, I have observed a high level of militance in South Africa from the 'pro-homosexual faction'. I don't mean physical violence, but rather an attempt to force agreement by vehemence, harsh words and protests. Is it possible that we will soon see banners saying 'God hates homophobes' or even, 'God hates the church'? For me - I have a straight forward reaction 'the more you shout at me, the less I listen'. The people who comment on this blog do so with love and gentleness and I have all the time in the world for them. But others who seem to rant just turn me right off.
We also see a strange militance in the gay community in general. I imagine that its origins are historical and due to pressures created when society was oppressive of homosexual people. But now things like Gay Pride seem a bit over the top. Steve Hayes makes the point that for people to say on one hand that what they do in their own bedroom is their own business to then have ostentatious parades seems a little odd. This is not about rights - let anyone parade - but about the impression that one wants to create. Like it or not, the Gay movement comes across as cultish and whether intentional or not the impression is given that they want to proselytise. To what though? What is this strange thing? What is on the agenda actually - whether conscious or unconscious?
At the end of the day the actions of Johan Strydom (against the NG Church in Moreleta Park) and now Ecclesia de Lange in the Methodist Church come across as intentionally confrontational. Is this their goal? The message that I am hearing is that they want to bring the church to its knees (as in crippling, not praying!) Where are their priorities?
I know that this is seriously difficult debate, but militance and confrontational behaviour cloud the issue and I don't believe that they are helpful in bringing about some sort of reconciliation and cooperation.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Recent Bible Discovery

This is an interesting piece of archaeological research:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 8, 2010) — A breakthrough in the research of the Hebrew scriptures has shed new light on the period in which the Bible was written. Professor Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa has deciphered an inscription on a pottery shard discovered in the Elah valley dating from the 10th century BCE (the period of King David's reign), and has shown that this is a Hebrew inscription. The discovery makes this the earliest known Hebrew writing.

[Click the link for the rest of the article.]
I must admit that I thought there was evidence of earlier writing. I need to get more clued up!

University of Haifa (2010, January 8). Most ancient Hebrew biblical inscription deciphered, scholar says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 9, 2010, from­ /releases/2010/01/100107183037.htm

Pastoral Care

I've included this as an angle from which to approach the 'homosexual debate' because I believe it is an important aspect, but I must admit that I do not have words of great wisdom. As Thomas pointed out in a comment on the previous post, many of us speak from a position of limited pastoral involvement with homosexual people.
Fortunately, I believe that in the Methodist Church we speak with one mind in that we believe that homosexual people are human beings loved by God and that he wants a relationship with each of them just as he does other people and so should be treated with love and respect.
What we somehow need to do is to learn, through our counselling and care, what God might be saying about homosexual practices. In other words, to try to drop our ideology for the moment (insofar as that is humanly possible) and let God speak through the healing process. I say the 'healing process' because mostly if we are involved with people pastorally it is because they have come with a problem, some form of brokenness, for which they are looking for our help in attaining wholeness. If we start with our ideology then we might be inclined to say, 'Embrace your sexuality, stop fighting it,' or, 'You must leave this perverse relationship, it is hurting you.'
I'm afraid of showing my ignorance now - but somehow we need to watch God heal people and see what that healing looks like. Does that make sense? Facilitate the power of God without enforcing our ideologies on people more than we can help. Liberation theology talks about 'reflection on praxis' - what can we learn about God through our mutual cooperation?
Unfortunately, so many studies show an ideological bias that it is difficult to use them to discern truth.
I am not suggesting that we totally abandon our ideological positions - I can't go along with Scott Peck who in 'A Road Less Travelled' suggested that he would quite happily have sex with a client if he believed it would help. I am just wondering if in this specific issue it would be helpful to step back ideologically and watch.
I am heading into my 'Pragmatism' post here, but I think the one thing that we need to recognise is that there will not be only one definition of wholeness. Some will give up their homosexual practices and others will find themselves affirming them. What does this say to us?

I kind of want to put a disclaimer on this post. I am talking about part of an approach to discerning truth, not a complete approach! This is so much thinking out aloud and I might regret what I have said and I hope that it won't be misinterpreted!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Left Out

Here's a funny thing. One of the seminarians at SMMS who I met recently (he's already done a year there) phoned my cell yesterday and asked to speak to my husband. He wasn't with me, so he explained that 'some of them', and he mentioned two other male seminarians, were getting together for coffee and would my husband like to join them? I know guys like to get together, but it felt so funny to think that my husband could go have coffee with my colleagues, while I was - presumably cleaning the kitchen? Or getting together with 'the girls'?
It reminds me of the old days at school where the boys used to say, 'you can't play with us, you're a girl!'
I have been very fortunate that in the last ten years, both in Grahamstown and in Johannesburg, I have not felt that I have been treated any differently because I am a woman. SMMS is going to have its challenges!

Thursday, January 07, 2010


There are three angles - according to my current thinking - from which the 'homosexual discussion' needs to be approached. They are ideological, pastoral and pragmatic. The latter two will be dealt with in later posts.
Ideologically, we are all asking the questions, "What is true? What is right? What does God want and expect from us?" In the Methodist Church of Southern Africa I am pretty sure that we are all asking that question as a starting point. However, in some extreme approaches to this issue there are those who say, "This is what I believe to be right and I cannot accept a God who does not think as I do."
Traditionally, we in the MCSA, hold to the Bible as our basis for the understanding of our faith and the source of answers to our questions. The problem is that the Bible, like statistics, can be used to support pretty much anything, depending on how it is interpreted (remember apartheid). My feeling is that gradually the consensus has subliminally become that the only honest interpretation of the Bible is that God is not in favour of homosexual practices (I know that there are those who will disagree with this). Because of this consensus one ideological position becomes that we cannot rely on the Bible as being in any sense the 'inerrant word of God' and it should be used with caution as should any historical text.
So, the two sides to the story are, 'God is not in favour of homosexual practices, as can be seen in the Bible, and they should not be condoned by the church,' and, 'God is ultimately a God of love and inclusion and if the Bible implies otherwise . . . (I'm not sure what), but he cannot possibly be offended by the homosexual practices of his beloved.'
And it is not an easy call to make between the two positions. For me, the problem is that if the Bible is rejected as my basis for faith, I don't know where to turn. I don't believe that I can trust my intuition (God-led or otherwise). I'm not sure about the community of faith as the source of wisdom. So where to turn? Ideologically, even though I can't fully understand how it fits together I need to accept the Bible as a sound source of wisdom, when read in an intelligent straight-forward way.

All things are permissable . . .

. . . but not all things are helpful. It looks like the Methodist Church is going to be wrestling with this in a big way over the next little while. The same sex debate had died down, but has been reignited in a way that could split the church. Pete Grassow tells the story here.
I am afraid of this debate because of the fanaticism that it seems to attract on both extremes - throughout the church that is, as far as I know there is no one in the Methodist Church who recommends violence against any sort of person.
Could it split the church - as seems to be happening to the Anglical church? The Methodist Church has enormous stability because of the fact that all property owned by the church and its individual societies is held in the name of the church as a whole. This makes it very difficult for an individual society or minister to declare UDI. Unfortunately, I think that this stability also causes stagnation and mediocrity.
If I have the courage I might post my thoughts on the debate over the next little while - from my position in the fearful middle!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Blog Stuff

Over the last few weeks of last year I enjoyed the high status of being in the top 50 religion blogs on Technorati ( This meant that I was on page three of their religion blogs and got a few new visitors. I supposedly had an authority of over 700. I suspect that this exalted status was due to a couple of links that appeared on overseas blogs, almost by chance. I am now grovelling at the very bottom of Technorati with an overall authority of 120. How the mighty are fallen!

It is nice that parts of Amatomu ( are working again, but I do wish that the rankings hadn't jammed with me at my all time high of 7th. I know that if and when that gets working again my ranking will also plummet.

Today I am 11th on Afrigator ( That is more likely than 7th, but I am also doubtful about their way of doing ranking.

MyBlogLog ( is not proving to be very helpful yet - it could be that I haven't thoroughly explored the options.

It is interesting to note that, in looking through the Technorati religion pages, the [only?] two South African blogs that appeared in the first 20 pages were Khanya and Sacredise. Sorry if I missed one!
I get more referrals from John van de Laar's Sacredise blog than I do from any other source (other than search engines!)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


This is an interesting blogpost about the thinking of Kierkegaard (about whose thinking I know very little)!
How much are we motivated by the desire not to be bored? I know that this is a strong motivation for me. I wonder how that compares to the need to be loved? Or the need to 'matter'?

Monday, January 04, 2010


Sometimes, as I may have mentioned before, I get into a state of just feeling grumpy and bad-tempered. And so, on this rainy Monday morning, I feel that way. And, of course, I feel guilty about it. Shouldn't I be a model of radiance and light? Setting an example to all around me? Inspiring my children and whatever other arbitrary people with whom I come into contact? I'm not sure that it helps, though, if people believe that I never have a doubt or a fear. If they believe that I am terminally good-natured (actually I don't think anyone could think that about me!).
But something yesterday just triggered a collapse of my propped up optimism. I just suddenly felt that I faced a brick wall with no door. That the future was bleak and that I am an absolute idiot for even travelling on this road.
What is it all about? I am attending seminary this year. I don't know why, other than that it is a requirement of the Methodist Church. I'm ok with that, but I want to know what I am going to learn, or study, or discover. Is it wrong to ask, 'what is in it for me'?
I've been away from my family for a year and it is still a struggle to fit back in. We fight when we don't mean to and misunderstand each other. And I withdraw more and more because I am reluctant to get in the way of a system that works for them.
We've moved house to a new town. I really can't complain about much, but there is stuff that the estate agent needs to sort out and I am getting impatient. The lighting in the main living rooms is so bad and we all want to read. My husband and I aren't sleeping very well, which multiplies the 'grump factor'.
So, today I just feel like moaning! And I feel so much better for sharing it with the world of blog!
We visited our closest Methodist Church yesterday and found it a good place to be. I think we can be happy there - if they are willing to accept the presence of another trainee minister.
Things will start happening now and we will all start to find our new environments and I do believe that God will straighten everything out. But it is tough. And that's ok.