Monday, February 24, 2014

Annual post of the year! Its (again) time to fly.

Its been another year. #justsaying.

My annual blogpost. Lots have been happening, but I think the best is a recent reflection by our colleague on the "adelaar". I will translate it as an eagle. The gospel of the "adelaar" is that we are destined to fly. The cage is open on the top. The question is whether we are free in our minds or is it our minds that are holding us captive.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

REVIVAL

Yes, revival is coming your way!

For almost a year our blog has been sleeping, hibernating.... Ok, dead.

Today, we speak life again. We speak revival, growth, new depths, new heights. So, if you landed here by accident, well we don't believe in accidents, we believe that its by design that you ended here. So, lets continue our adventure in following the Spirit of God, moving around the world. This is the exciting possibilities of new life. Its re-Vive-all!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Built for eternal purposes...built to last

Some crisis situations can break us. Yet, it can also build us, depending on your attitude.

Christ Jesus walked amongst the most dangerous religious fanatics-in fact they were some of the most lethal. He had crisis situations, which eventually led to his execution, yet he remained conscious of God's plan and calling upon his life.

Hence, for Jesus, the crisis, even in persecution and execution didn't meant his death or loss- it meant a nee phase in how God was turning the world around. Violence and power games was not to remain our weapons of choice, but serving and caring for the other... That is building for eternity, for eternal purposes, built to last..

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Making that talent grow... the good struggle continues.

I always struggled with Jesus' story of the talents (Matt 25:14-30). The one where the owner of the talents go away and give the 3 workers talents to work with. My struggle is with the unfairness of the situation. Some get 5, others 3 and a last ou, gets 1. Here, so it seems, Jesus endorses the idea that God discriminates-God gives more to some, and less to others-so suck it up.  

Of course, one have to ask what's the point of the Matthew author, writing up this story and placing the story here. That's an important consideration, if we want understand the story (or at least Matthew's interpretation).

I do however want to say something about inequality. It seems to me that Jesus is, in fact saying that, we are born are different capabilities and that some people do grow up with more opportunties than others. The reasons for this state affairs is important, but I will not dwell on that now. What is important though is the fact that we will account for what we've recieved and more so, we are not to account for what we've not recieved. Put differently: work with what you have and make the most of it.

There's another comment to make. The owner of the talents came back and expected some increase on the investment. The guy who looked after his talent carefully and who were able to present it to the owner, was lashed for being 'lazy and unfaithful'. Yes, whilst we've recieved some talents, from the starting point, that is certainly not to be our destinty-our destiny is to make the most of what we have, to raise the bar everytime and break the molds, creating new ones.

Tim Goodenough in his most recent book, Raising Talent, makes the distinction between a mindset that is stuck with 'what we've recieved', i.e. a 'Fixed Mindset'  and what he calls a 'Growth Mindset', i.e. a mindset 'characterised by the belief that no ability, skill or aptitude is ever fixed in stone-it can all be developed, grown and fine-tuned...' (p.14).

So, here's the possibility of a new struggle: the struggle to raise, grow the talent... so that when judgement day comes, it will be a podium finish. I guess, now we can say, the good struggle continues...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Women Leaders, Innovators, Groundbreakers

John Maxwell, leadership guru, defines leadership, simply as influence. Of course, influence assumes authority and the question is, where does authority comes from. Some authors, speaks of three kinds of authority, namely, task, teaching and spiritual authrority.

Yet, we are living in a time where authority is challenged. We are living at a time where the traditional spaces of authority are challenged.
Family is not what it used to be. And ironically, the challenge to the traditional family, comes from women. Sociologist Manuel Castells in His Book, The Power of Identity spends a whole chapter on the what womanist movements and feminism has challenged the traditional family.
For Castells, the challenge comes from two forces, i.e. The change in the division of labour, and Feminist movements, which, since the 1960s changed the consciousness of women. 
This is not an accusation.  It is a historical fact that the traditional family, in, particular patriarchy, is challenged. The question is w
hat are the consequence of this? For Castells, 1)      A backlash to recreate and romantizise the past. (Fundamentalism- Family values) and 2) A violent abusive response from men, who don’t know how to respond- in a new world. We see this in a spike in domestic violence.
This calls for a new kind of leadership.

There are two kinds of leadership (according to Floyd McClung), i.e functional, hierarchical, organisational (linked to roles on org)
He explains, 
Hierarchical leadership is based on position, title and power. It is a command and control model of church that operates like a top-down company. Management models of how to lead church break down at this point. The church is an organic, reproducing movement not a highly structured company. To follow a formal process to recognize that the system of having leaders in the church is not inherently wrong. But human tendency is to institutionalize the way we do things. When that happens we make the maintenance of established structures our focus rather than risk taking advancement and innovation. Without apostolic leadership the church is unlikely to risk at all, and when it does, it lacks the conviction and commitment to sustain 
(McClung, Floyd (2011-08-05). You See Bones, I See an Army: Changing the Way We do Church) (Kindle Locations 762-767). New Holland South Africa. Kindle Edition.

Then, he also calls for apostolic leadership, which is visionary and bold. He explains
Apostolic leaders are groundbreakers and strategists who initiate new endeavours to ‘go where no one has gone before’. They work in the market place as well as in the nations. They are entrepreneurs and innovators. Ideally, apostolic leaders focus their creative energies, not just on the activity of creating something new, but on the ultimate goal of pioneering – and that is reaching and gathering followers of Jesus who in turn are discipled to reach others also. The ultimate purpose of the apostolic gift is gathering those who come to faith in Jesus into vibrant, reproducing, obedient communities of faith.
(McClung, Floyd (2011-08-05). You See Bones, I See an Army: Changing the Way We do Church) (Kindle Locations 789-793). New Holland South Africa. Kindle Edition.

Our church but also our context, calls for prophetic vision- for leaders coming from a different perspective, for groundbreakers, strategists….they are out there in the market, in the school, building a movement of Jesus followers, in a new world. It seems that its women who understand these, moreso, who take the lead. 

Friday, April 06, 2012

What is so 'good' about this dark Friday?


My daughter asked, me this question: Why good Friday, when it was the day of the cross?

Indeed, in many ways, the "Good Friday", scene as painted by the gospel of Mark, is dark, but more than that, it contrasts the Old and the New. Whilst the birth of the new is always exciting, it remains painful; it remains also an end, of sorts. The new always has an element of an ending, a loss, a death. 

Looking closer at the texts, one can see that Mark draws sharp contrasts, illustrating the old and the new, but also the contestation between these.  Mark 15:16-31 foregrounds the mockery, the humiliation of Jesus. Die eerste 3 ure staan, in die teken van spot. Its fascinating how people respond to the new, or to the break-in of the new. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” (Ghandi). Another variant is, "First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you…

Markus skets egter die volgende 3 ure in die teken van duisternis – miskien moet ons dit nie letterlik neem nie; dis ‘n teken… van rou van belangrike persone, die rou van die skepping. Some Old Testament scholars, speaks of “die straling van die heerlikheid van Christus skyn so groot dat die son daaronder beswyk’ However, it is critical to read the phenomenon of and the symbolism of darkness, against the background of the Old Testament, in particular Amos 8:9: Darkness stands in relation to the day of the Lord. For the Jews’ understanding, (Judaism) it was the day God will deal with all their enemies. For the enemy it was to be a day of darkness; for the people of God a day of light (Verhoef). That was the expectation, the nationalistic interpretation, the interpretation of people who saw themselves at the centre of Gods plans. They based their interpretation on their ethnic roots. Yet, the prophet, Amos turns this around:  The nation Israel, itself will see and experience darkness, the concrete ethnic, nation will experience the wrath of God, because of their own injustice, the evil in their midst. It’s not enough to be God’s people in name, but live a life of injustice.  God’s darkness will fall upon the sin, sinners, those who rejected God’s ethical code. Amos connects with Isaiah 53, where God will send his servant, from the outside. His servant, a foreigner will take the sins of the world, yet there is also a future dimension pointing to the Messiah.

It makes sense therefor that Jesus’ prayer on the cross, is also related to the Old Testament: Ps 22.  He sees deeper then the suffering, the cross. There were other martyrs, political martyrs, nationalistic heroes who died for the people; Jesus’ death however, has a deeper meaning. Jesus came as a Jew, steeped in the traditions of Judaism, yet his life was also the sign of a break with Judaism, with the expectations of their religion, their ethnic and nationalistic aspirations, his death points to the break with the ‘old’; with the well-known imagination, his cross points to the new.

I refer to three ways in which his death is a break with the Old:
1)      The day of darkness is not simply the usual imagination, of revenge and wrath, towards the enemies; its now directed towards the people self, towards their own guilt. More so, God do not punish the guilty ones, but his own son, in their place. The little lamb which was the sacrifice for the priests, was not enough, God provided a new lamb, the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. Darkness fell on God’s Lamb, separation, death, judgement. In the darkness and death, however there is the seed of new life.
2)      The death of Jesus, his last breath, also breaks down the dividing wall, it tore the curtains down, between the people and the Holy of Holies. Yes, in the old, there is separation between the people and holiness. Only the priest, here the Holy One hangs in between criminals. Yes, he separates those who call upon their names in repentance, and those who call His name in vain, mocking him. He connects sacred and secular, yet it remains those who call upon his name, ‘Jesus remember me…’ who are saved.
3)      Jesus breaks open the divisions between people, the heathen confess; women became the people of God. The centurion was a man who knew and experienced the brutality of war, the insanity of the life of a soldier, he was part of the machinery which crucified Jesus, yet at the foot of the cross, he also finds love, healing, new perspective. He finds the break with his own past; he finds the clues to a new life, ,a broken body, blood, a cross, Jesus. His confession is the break into the newness of life, but also into a new community.
The women were rejected, part of the property of men, in the Middle-East up to today, they are despised, they don’t have human rights. Up until this point they are invisible children in the stories of the Old. Phantoms, who remain part of the background. Here, at the foot of the cross, they, gain a new identity, new names. Yes, it was their names all the time, but here they are called by their names. Affirmed. Recognised.

Indeed, in the darkest day, history is spit. On the darkest Friday, God’s new is birthed; it’s a painful birth; it’s a new day, in the dark hour. It’s the new dawn. The night still hover, but on the horizon, one can already see the signs of a new day, Dark Friday is also Good Friday, the broken body, the blood, death, the cross also connects with, anticipates an open grave, the Third Day, Resurrection Sunday…. But it’s in dying that we find life. The Hymn states, ‘deur die kruis leef ons sterf om te leef’ Let us sing that and together join in eating the bread and drinking the wine.   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What's in a name? Towards a different Joseph.


The #StopJosephKony has hit the headlines. His name is famous for all the wrong reasons. But there is a story of another Joseph. The one who became famous for his vision, determination and drive towards success and leadership. Names matter. 

In their book, ‘In the Zone: How to achieve top performance in Sport and Life’, Michael Cooper and Tim Goodenough ask the question: ‘Are your aspirations limited by your identity, or empowered by it’. The question they ask: are you an ‘active identity-shaper’? Are you speaking of yourself in a way that empower you for higher achievement, not simply in winning over your competitors, but in achieving your maximum potential. 

Perhaps Peter de Villiers is correct when he states, ‘There’s no difference between winning a game and losing it, the only difference is, you feel better when winning it’. What does he mean: I think he means, that we should aim at achieving your maximum potential. Winning is when you grow towards being the best that you can be. 

That was the life of Joseph (not the Joseph Kony type!) The other famous Joseph saw and imagined himself to continue to grow. He saw himself as having potential, believing in God’s dreams for himself and to keep those alive (never stop dreaming. Michael Owen (English soccer player, Liverpool), said: ‘I want to be a top-flight football player, so I lead the life that enables me to be that type of player’ 

      What are then the key tasks that Cooper and Goodenough identified for active identity shapers:
    
1)They can verbalise their potential and integrate that into behavior. They reject negative identities; they aspirations and not shaped by others (family) and friends or limited by others or by excuses. They see their coaches, opponents and teammates as equals, as God given opportunities to grow and excel.
2)They have decided to become the top performer. It was said of Proteas al-rounder and captain, Shaun Pollock that even though he was born into a cricketing family, he still had to decide and align his decisions and behaviors with his dream. Yes the expectations was there, but he had to align his decisions and behavior to the expectations. This is called the 'Pygmalion Effect'. It refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, often children or students and employees, the better they perform.
3) Athletes often assume the identity long before the accolades, trophies and records. So they are working hard at their craft; they are internally referent and they display high levels of self-belief.

The new generation of Josephs are people who know who they are an surge ahead, on the basis of their strong sense of who they are.