Mosiuoa Lekota thinks that Julius Malema is more of a problem than simply being a joke in the political arena of South Africa. I guess it’s easy to laugh a guy like Malema off without making a stand on the fact that the actions and speech of Malema are simply unacceptable in a country claiming to be democratic.
Archive for the 'South Africa' Category
Who was I kidding? There’s no way I’m going to find the time to write a series of ‘top 8 for 2008′ posts between now and the end of the year so instead I’ll simply cram them all into one post. So here you have it, my top 8 for 2008 of everything!
Top 8 things I did or experienced in 2008:
- Got married! (October)
- Got engaged! (March)
- Started planning and implementing a church plant (All year – but especially last three months)
- Heard Piper, Driscoll, Chandler and Mahaney at the Resurgence Conference at Mars Hill in Seattle, spent time at the Journey Church in St Louis and met a whole lot of great peeps from Acts 29, and others, in the States (February)
- Was taught Deuteronomy by Gary Millar – the best Old Testament teacher I’ve been taught by to date (September)
- Road up Sani Pass – my first real 4×4 experience behind the wheel (October)
- Decided to stay in Cape Town long term – gotta love this city (March)
- Had my thinking about the gospel deepened and enriched ten times over by Tim Keller through numerous mp3s, articles and the odd blog comment (throughout the year)
Top 8 Blogs I followed in 2008 (See my 2007 list here):
- Church Planting Novice – Jonathan Dodson. A newcomer to the list, this blog has been perfect for where I’m at in my thinking at the moment. So much wisdom and insight from a guy on the ground.
- Between Two Worlds – Justin Taylor. Last year’s number 1 drops down one place – but still a great blog.
- Tim Chester. Up from last year’s number 7 spot. Tim’s writing never stops enlightening, challenging and encouraging all at the same time.
- John Scheepers. Give it up for the Saffa bloggers! John is a friend of mine who writes a great blog and brings a welcome voice to the South African Christian blogsphere.
- Drew Goodmanson. Down from #2 – sorry Drew. Drew doesn’t post very often, but when he does its almost always worthwhile.
- Justin Moffat. Another newcomer to the list. Justin writes an informative and challenging blog with an Anglican slant – I’ve enjoyed it a lot this year.
- Michael Jensen. Michael drops down from last years 3rd but still turns out great post after great post. Plus he sent me a copy of his new book which I’ll be reviewing here shortly.
- Jason Allen. Jason was one of the first people I became ‘blog friends’ with when I started blogging. I’ve always enjoyed his blog and the sanity he brings to some current trends that rage through the church blogging world.
Top 8 Books for 2008 (books I read this year – most of them are older than 2008 – please note that the books are a little one-sided topically because most of my reading this year revolved around my dissertation):
- Total Church – Steve Timmis and Tim Chester. Ok so I first read it in 2007 but I’ve read it several times this year because of my dissertation and I still think its the most important book I’ve ever read on ecclesiology.
- The Reason for God – Tim Keller. The first apologetics book that I feel comfortable giving to my friends.
- Planting Missional Churches – Ed Stetzer. Great book with practical insight. Really helpful for where I’m at.
- The Forgotten Ways – Alan Hirsch. Really good yet at times frustrating. I’m on the same page as Hirsch with a number of things – I guess I’m just a bit more conservative on one or two others.
- Breaking the Missional Code – Ed Stetzer and David Putman. Another great help on all things missional.
- On the Incarnation – Athanasius. I delved into a bit of church history this year and thoroughly enjoyed this one.
- The King of God’s Kingdom – David Seccombe. Dr Seccombe (Doc) was my New Testament lecturer this year and so I got a chance to have a crack at his book. It’s a great overview of Christ in the gospels.
- Jesus and the Victory of God – NT Wright. Vintage Wright – I don’t agree with him at every point but this is an important book.
Top 8 places I visited in 2008
- Seattle, Washington, USA
- St Louis, Missouri, USA
- Castleburn, Drakensburg, KZN
- Sani Pass, Lesotho
- Lost City, Sun City, North West Province
- Franschoek, Western Cape
- Betty’s Bay, Western Cape
- Durban, KZN (my old stomping ground)
That’s my year in a nutshell. It’s been the year with the biggest changes in my life to date. Not only did I get married but we decided to stay in Cape Town and plant churches here rather than in Durban. Things have come a long way in the last 12 months – here’s to an equally exciting 2009.
Merry Christmas all – have a great one!
Apparently the Soccer World Cup is not the only thing coming to South Africa in 2010 – it seems that Mark Driscoll has tentatively penned in March 2010 for a visit to our shores. Out of interest: does anyone know who is bringing him out here?
Life in South Africa has been lived somewhat under the shadow of HIV/AIDS for over a decade now. Conservative statistics put us as having 5.5 million people infected with the virus, which is about 16% of the amount of people infected world-wide. As a result of the pandemic we sit with an ever rising number of orphans, currently at about 1.4 million. And so today my blog post is a call to prayer. Won’t you stop for a second and direct some pray towards the following issues:
- The rate at which the virus is spreading: Pray that God will intervene here.
- The availability of medication: Less than a quarter of those infected in South Africa have adequate access to the right medication.
- Child-headed homes: As more and more parents succumb to the virus, more and more children are having to take over headship of households looking after even younger children
- Abstinence as a solution: Pray that people we see abstinence amongst the un-married as real solution and not something to be scoffed at.
- Faithfulness as a solution: Pray that married couples would be faithful to one another throughout their marriage.
- Discrimination: Pray against the terrible discrimination that some face after being diagnosed with the virus.
- The orphan crisis: Pray that God would raise up emergency parents, foster parents and even parents willing to adopt.
- Pray for our churches: Pray that the redemption they have received in Christ will flow out into acts of love and kindness towards those infected.
Pray for South Africa on World Aids Day. For more information about how to help with the orphan crisis here in Cape Town check out Arise: A ministry to vulnerable children.
In the midst of Obamamania I’ve been reflecting on the one area I differ most with the new president-elect: the issue of abortion. It’s quite clear to me that particularly in America, but here in South Africa too, mainly as the result of American politics abortion has become so entangled with conservative political ideals that Christians fail to really take in or adequately respond to the horror of the murder of unborn children. I think its a desperate tragedy that we’ve allowed politics to numb us toward this massive issue.
I think this is causing a lot of younger evangelicals who are far more liberal politically than a previous generation (like myself) to not take the issue of abortion seriously. A new emerging church in the west needs to correct the abuses and incorrect emphases of the past but it must never stop being the advocate of justice for the unborn. Throw your politics out the window and vest your energy into caring about the people because they are created in God’s image and are his.
Precious little at the moment to be honest. I woke up to quite a bit of euphoria this morning in the media over Obama’s victory. Tim Modise was raving about it on SAFM, my Kenyan friend was so overjoyed he blew his internet cap watching and re-watching Obama’s victory speech, and my Angolan friend has been carrying around this smirk on his face all day long because a black man occupies the most powerful position on the planet. So what does it mean for me? Well I’ve written before about the fact that I’m rather distressed by the man’s views on abortion and the murder of unborn children is rather a big issue for me, but let’s not be a party pooper.
I think his election has the potential to do wonders for race relations the world over and that excites me. I’m also quite keen to see how his foreign policy will play out – on paper it looks a whole lot more friendly than the previous regime – that’s a plus. At the end of the equation however I’m reminded that he is just a man and so just like any other man he is incapable of bringing about true lasting heart transformation which lies behind all of the issues and ills we see on the global landscape today. Will his victory be a positive one for me a white South African living hundreds of miles on the other side of the planet? I hope so. But as I wait to see how his term pans out I must consume myself with the victory that has made all the difference to this life and millions of others. I must consume myself with Christ and be an agent of blessing and transformation – that’s what means the most to me, and ultimately it will mean the most for all of us, Barack included. So to my Stateside readers – I hope this one works out for you – in the meantime keep living in light of the ultimate victory.
Well there’s a new blog doing the rounds in South Africa entitled, “The Emerging Threat of the ‘Emerging Church’ in South Africa“. Wow that’s quite a name. The stated purpose of the blog is the following:
‘This blog exposes the problems with the ‘Emerging Church’ Movement – an attempt to merge Christianity with the philosophy of Post-modernism: particularly in South Africa, but is also relevant to the rest of the world.’
Then I glanced down the sidebar and low and behold I found links to posts I’ve recently written under the heading of ‘Blogs on the Emerging Church in South Africa’- now does that make me an emerging threat or is it just because I’ve written about the EC on occasion (both positively and negatively). Not sure. Although the author does seem to be taking quite a number of pot shots at some of the EC guys I’ve interacted with here in South Africa. I’m not sure if his efforts are all that helpful – I’m also not sure all of the people he’s having a go at actually see themselves as part of the EC. Besides that I just think peeps like Roger Saner and Graeme Codrington need a break, they must be a bit tired of opening their inbox every morning to find out that some new blog or Facebook group has been created having a go at them for being heretics. I’ve met Roger and I’ve interacted with Graeme a bit online and I’m just not that sure that they really are heretics – but then maybe I’m an emerging threat too so my two-cents wouldn’t mean to much.
It’s quite strange that there seems to be a little bit of an upsurge of interest in the EC here in South Africa – even google is taking note. I guess that makes sense because South Africa has always tended to be half a pace behind the rest of the western world when it comes to church trends and most other things. I’m also guessing that the fairly large churchy culture that still exists here in South Africa is quite fertile ground for post-everythings to emerge out of. So its not really that much of a surprise. It will be interesting to see what tangible difference actually emerges in the church landscape over the next few years as a result. Till then be on your guard for those threats:)
Some of you from the other side of the Atlantic have asked me where exactly we’re doing our church plant next year. Well here are some pics of the areas of Green Point and Sea Point which are the two suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa in which we’ll be starting the work. They’re both on the Atlantic seaboard of Cape Town, right next to the central business district – in fact Green Point kind of just fades into the CBD.
Here’s a shot of both suburbs – Sea Point is the larger suburb on the right and Green Point is central – the CBD is in the background around the corner of Signal Hill which is the middle of pic. Table Mountain is in the background and the new soccer staduim and the fields around it (which are presently being transformed into sports complexes and other things) is in the foreground, the Waterfront is bottom left:
Here’s a close up of Green Point where you can see the construction underway (they’re quite a bit further ahead now) and Signal Hill in the background – Lion’s Head is the little peak behind Signal Hill which is above Sea Point (far right). The CBD is just out of picture to the left:
Here’s a shot of Sea Point from somewhere up on Lion’s Head. Sea Point is the most densely populated suburb in Cape Town along with the Townships:
And of course there’s also the world famous V & A Waterfront, one of our top tourist destinations, that lies at the base of Green Point – you can see the edge of the CBD on the left:
So that’s where we’re planting – possibly the most cosmopolitan and diverse area in Cape Town and maybe even South Africa. We will have our work cut out for us. Pray for us, or maybe if you’re able to, join us.
If you have a Facebook account then you can sign up to attend the Acts29 Church Planting Conference happening in Cape Town from the 2nd to the 4th of February 2009.I’m sure there will be a more official sign up shortly but start by signing up on Facebook.
No its not the name of a cheesy Christian band but a really cool up and coming South African band that deserves a listen. BTW – if you look carefully you’ll catch glimpses of the beach apartments of Sea Point in the background, the area we’re church planting in next year.
(HT – Burgo – dude is that the name the Aussies have given you?)
Yes, I think the cartoon was in bad taste and, whilst conveying the convictions of a ton of people in this country, in general I think it was a mistake on Zapiro’s part. What I find completely ludicrous however is Julius Malema’s suggesting that the only motivation that lies behind such a cartoon is racism on the part of white journalists.
There will be no progression in this country if people like Malema keep pulling out the race card. Racism, especially because of its sensitive nature in this country, needs to be treated like other criminal activities – the individual must be presumed innocent until proven guilty. We can’t keep publicly denouncing each other as racists without any sort of judicial enquiry. It creates and stirs up the wrong emotions amongst our people. So where Zapiro was out of line in terms of tact and provoking unhelpful emotive responses towards the ANC and its partners, Malema, to my mind, is equally out of line in appealing to the race card out of nothing more than his own speculation and opinion.
What ought a Christian to make of Zapiro’s latest offering of political satire. It looks pretty over the top even though many of us might agree with the sentiments he’s trying to portray. I guess he could have been a bit more careful. Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape charges and so Zapiro should be careful of undermining the very judicial system he’s suggesting that Zuma and co. are raping. Some people have commented that the woman in the cartoon is white whilst the rest are all blacks – I’m not sure if I can see that it – let’s not turn this into a race issue again because I don’t think that’s Zapiro’s line given contributions he made to the struggle during apartheid.
I was listening to SAFM on the way home today and a discussion about literacy levels in South Africa at present. To date there are over 4 million people who are completely illiterate and a further 4 million who are semi-literate but to the point that the written word has no benefit to their quality of life. That leaves us with just under 9 million people who technically qualify as illiterate in this country. Now surely that has to impact upon ministry? What do you think?
Well Mark Driscoll has a reputation for being controversial and he kept that intact down-under with two talks he presented to the Sydney crowd at a training day. His second talk – from the notes I’ve read – seems to be something of quite a brave critique of operations in Sydney. I think it’ll generate quite a few blog responses in the not to distant future. For the low down you can check out Michael Jensen’s brief thoughts here, Mike Jolly’s summary of Driscoll’s points here and Gordon Cheng’s notes from the two talks here. With my own denomination, the Church of England in South Africa (CESA), borrowing a ton from Sydney I wonder if Driscoll would have pretty much the same critique for us? I’d have to listen to the talk myself before passing judgment, but from a surface point of view I resonate with a lot of his points from my own experience here. That said, a few of his points don’t quite make sense to me and I fear he might be missing the boat a bit on some – but they’re all worth looking at and thinking through (In reading remember that, as Mike points out, this is friendly-fire).
I want to see more reformed and evangelical South African Christian blogs – I want to see more people talking about what it means to be the church in South Africa in the contemporary world in which we live. So I’m laying down a challenge to anyone out there who is a South African Christian to start a blog.
Now most people think its a stack load of work to keep up a blog – and I guess if you want to post everyday then it is a bit of work and time. But I think its also very rewarding (read my post on the 10 benefits of blogging I’ve experienced in the last 2 years) and you don’t have to post everyday to write a good blog. So go over to Blogger or WordPress (blogging platforms) and get going.
Here are some tips to start off with:
- Start reading other good Christian blogs (browse through the links on my sidebar)
- Learn how to use a feed reader and syndication (I use Google Reader and Feed Burner)
- Don’t write long complicated posts
- Sign up with Amatomu
- Link, link and link to other similar blogs
- Make sure the template or layout you choose is simple and easy to read
- Categorize or tag all your posts
- Don’t use corny pseudonyms – use your real name!
- If you can, make your name the url
- Always give credit to material you find on other blogs by linking back to the source
- Don’t promo your blog by dropping spam comments on other people’s blogs telling them to check out your site
- Don’t rant and preach too much on your blog – people will get tired of you – write posts that encourage dialogue rather
- Have fun…
If you decide to take up this challenge then leave a comment below with a link to your new blog. Come on your bloggers…
UPDATE: If you already write a reformed, evangelical South African blog then introduce yourself and leave us a link in the comment section to your blog.
The small community of evangelical Christian bloggers in South Africa has just grown by one. My friend, Martyn Kilian, has decided to take the plunge into the Christian blogging world. Martyn is the pastor of the Church on the Hill in Simon’s Town. Go over to his blog and give it a read: newLIFE
Well it was going happen at some stage…It appears that the South African law court has decided that the constitutional right to equality trumps the constitutional right to religious freedom. What do you think about this issue?
In thinking a little further about the whole Yebo Yethu thing a thought struck me – I know it doesn’t happen often, and when it does happen its not always that profound but just try stick with me on this one…
I’ve been doing a huge amount of thinking and research into the whole subject of community and even doing the odd talk on the subject recently. This has all been in the context of ecclesiology – my study of the church – which, for obvious reasons, is quite high on my priority list at the moment. An issue that I continually bump into is the rampant individualism of the modernist west and how it has saturated our lives, thought patterns and the structures in which we work, live and have our being. But thinking about the Yebo Yethu issue got me thinking about Black Economic Empowerement (BEE) in general in South Africa. I wonder, just wonder, if the reason that so many white people can’t stomach BEE is partly because they’re wrapped up in an individualist worldview.
So a white, individualist might look at something like Yebo Yethu and conclude that it is discriminatory in nature because it doesn’t allow HIM/HER, the individual, to invest in Vodacom shares. The collectivist (whatever colour he/she is) on the other hand looks at Yebo Yethu and sees that THEY, the collective group of non-whites who make up the majority of the country and who have often in the past had limited opportunity and know how in the area of investment, are being given a chance to invest and learn more about investment. A collectivist could then look at the whole situation and conclude that South Africa as a nation (white/black/coloured/indian etc) will benefit from this programme. Now obviously there would be a number of caveats I’d have to include – so for example if these programmes were attempting to build up the nation at the extreme exclusion of a minority group then I think it would also have a problem, but as I see it whites in this country still have plenty of investment opportunites – so I don’t think the exclusion can be described as extreme. And I do think that ultimately it is for the good of the collective.
So my my thought is: I wonder, just wonder, if western individualism is stopping us from building this country into the country it should be. Maybe I’m just a naiive optimist who hasn’t in any way, to date, incurred loss due to BEE or affirmative action – or maybe I’m right. What do you think?
Our first port of call in this plant has been to pray. Now this might sound obvious but its super easy to leave out. Like most Christians I really struggle with disciplined prayer – I have my good weeks and I have my bad weeks. But in reality I’m kidding myself about the entire venture if I’m not going to regularly get down on my knees and plead with God that he would be pleased to plant a church in Cape Town.
Jacques, my co-planter, got us all together just over two weeks ago for our first corporate prayer meeting. There were only 9 of us but it was the most exciting time we’ve had together around this plant so far. We’ve now committed to getting this group of people, and others who’d like to join, to pray corporately twice a month from now until January when both Jacques and I will start full-time on the plant. If you’d like to pray with us then here are some of the things you can pray for:
- Jacques and his wife Lindy are heading over to Redeemer Church Planting Center next month for a 6 week training intensive – pray that this would be an amazingly fruitful time for them.
- We’ve had a number of people mention interest in the plant to us – pray that God would start to firm up this interest so that they’ll commit full-time to the plant next year.
- Robin and I don’t currently live in the same suburb that we’re planning to plant in – pray that until we can find accommodation in Green Point or Sea Point we would make time just to explore and hang out in the area more, meeting people.
- Pray for Holy Trinity, Gardens and St Stephen’s, Claremont, our two sending churches that God would use this church plant to mature and grow their congregations in godliness and gospel-centered thinking and living.
- Most of all pray that God would, through this plant, seek to glorify himself as his Son is proclaimed in Cape Town transforming the lives of broken and lost people.
Vodacom have a recently started a BEE program called Yebo Yethu that exclusively enables black South African’s to purchase shares in their company. They’ve frozen the trading on the shares for the first 5 years and then only limited trading for the 2 years following that in order to help first time investors understand the benefit of long term investment. What ticks me off is that some white South Africans are branding this as discrimination. They’ve got more than enough great shares to invest in and have had the opportunity to invest for decades and now when an organization wants to help increase the number of non-whites (the vast majority of our country!!) to benefit from investments other white folk start crying foul. It seriously depresses me.