Monday, April 23, 2007

I love the new image of the choir

Many comments has been made on the new image of the choir... I just want to add my little bit as well.

Sending the invisible church

Being send, for many of us, presuppose visibility. You need to be seen to witness. Hence, we seek attention, specifically on our strong points, on our successes. This is the marketing material of successful churches. The question is: what happens to the 'not so successful'? to the least of these, the failures. These become the hidden church, the invisible church and these we hide and are ashamed of. Yesterday, Dr Sipho Senabe reminded us that Jesus called these hidden people, hidden stories out as bearers of the gospel- the evidence of the power of the resurrection. The stories ( dankbare harte) of neglected and abused women, the HIV positive, the children, even the mentally challenged, the addicted generation - those hidden witnesses, yes, the invisible church are being send.

Mindful of our history of slavery and colonialism and the ambigious role of the missionaries, we need to start to discover the hidden missional church, in those stories that has been silenced, written out of history, yet remains the echoes of the gospel...

Monday, April 16, 2007

ladies camp last weekend and other things....

We missed the ladies of the house on Sunday. It was however part of a graceful moment to see the men, fathers, leaders, husbands sharing deep stuff on the day. The sudden realization in my mind that as God is raising up the next generation, there is a key role to play for us as men of the house. a Key question that haunted me during the week was posed by a young couple on the verge of getting married: what is the key to success ? Then then next moment 4-5 men stand up and tell their own stories, their own journeys, their own prayers... with the one thread- their search for God made the difference. This is what make the woman's camp, the 'youth service' and the men's stories so hopeful at the moment. This was for me also the key to the sermon by Malin. In the road to success, you never arrive- success is partly the ongoing search and quest for God. The moment we miss this our religious duties and obervances becomes arrogance and dangerous-deadly we start to die. Maybe we need more times of getting out of the routine and away... seeking God, maybe this is our core business ( not our busy-ness !). Maybe we should stop searching for external signs of success ( numbers, loud music and budgets) and ask more, deeper questions about ourselves and our being together in the middle of the key haunting questions ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

ladies camp coming weekend

There was exitement in the atmosphere on Sunday as the last registrations for the upcoming camp of the women in our church came in. Benita shared about the fact that the program is going to focus on dealing with trauma and deep-seated challenges that women in particular is (still) going through.
It would be critical for us a church to own up to our own complicity in the pain and struggles that women face today. The christian faith is about Jesus, in teh cross identifying with the powerless, teh weak and the suggering. Unless we name those- we fail to be authentically christian. Th challenge of HIV/AIDS in particular, Dr Sipho, said many times, relates to the disempowered social position of women in society and in relations. We (as men) still manipulate the money and other culltural resources for the sake of priviledges and justifying dominant positions. The issue of teenage pregancy is till weighing strongly against the female- they are the ones being expelled, whilst the boys can go on irrespective. In the case of maintenance payment (pap geld) it is still the responsibility of the female- at high personal costs to take it up-and many times to forced down the judgement- at the risk of physical and verbal abuse and sometimes death. RecentlyI heard of rape within the marriage of upstanding young christians.

Any way, my hope is that this camp will be intrumental in raising the key issues and claim space for women to start talking, and addressing these issues, because its not just issues for women in our churches, but at the heart of churches to be authentically christian.