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So I am forced into a holiday for a couple of days. Public servants are striking and that means that if I go to work I could be beaten up, even though I work at a private school that has nothing to do with the strike. There are threats of violence. There are tense confrontations. There are postponed cricket matches… and other more serious problems related to the education system.

Meanwhile, for the last two days, the local hospital has been virtually deserted. In spite of promises that the strike would not cause effects that constitute a direct threat to life, my mother in law and wife were on their own for most of the day trying to help a young pregnant woman through a difficult birth. I thank God that a local doctor was able to get into the hospital to perform an emergency c-section. If not, this strike may have cost the woman and her baby their young lives. From what I’ve heard, they would have formed a small part of a big statistic.

Casualties of war.

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government (except for all the others!)

We all respect the democratic rights of the workers to demostrate and strike when they feel they are being abused by their employees. This is democracy, and like any form of government, it isn’t perfect. People are dieing.

I believe in a Kingdom. Not one made up of harp-playing, cloud-squatting, “nice people”. I believe in a Kingdom which compels people to show their faith in practical ways in serving their communities. The love of Christ compels us.

I criticise the church a lot in this blog, and with good reason. We get it wrong so often. But today, in my little town, if it had not been for the church of Jesus Christ, many people would have gone hungry, or gotten infection, or died without much-needed medication, or (at very least) felt unloved and unwanted and abandoned by a society in which ubuntu seems to be a moral ethic that gets switched on and off at will.

As I walked into the maternity ward this morning, I came across a teenage boy who couldn’t figure out what the large silver thing on wheels was in front of him (it was a food trolley) and whether he should clean it or not. He had spent the last two days helping out at the hospital. He did so even though he didn’t know anybody there, he had no expertise (obviously), received no reward, and was in very real danger of violence erupting if the strikers arrived unexpectedly. Why did he and many others like him do it?

The love of Christ compels them.

Lord Jesus, help us to be more like this and less like the idiots we so often are.

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Recently people have been talking a lot about Anne Rice, noted vampire expert and converted then deconverted Christian author. Her public announcement that she is “quiting Christianity” was taken personally by many modern pharisees and church watch dogs.

To be fair, many called for restraint and described the event as an “opportunity” for the church to reveal what we’re made of. Would we crucify her? No, we must pray for her as a prodigal daughter!

Why did she do it?

Well, in her own words, she couldn’t be “anti-gay and anti-feminist” any more. Me neither. She said that she still loved Christ, but not Chrisitianity. Well… sometimes… me too. Let’s just be honest and call the church what it is: a bunch of bigotted, hurting, power-hungry, guilt-ridden pharisees, desperately trying to work out what Jesus did for us and what we should be doing in response. Mostly we get it wrong. This is not new.

The Church got it wrong when they tried Luther for publishing his 95 theses in 1517.
The Church got it wrong when they insisted that Galileo recant on his stance on geocentricism in 1633.
The Church got it wrong when they called Darwin the antichrist in 1859 (some continue to do so!).
The Church got it wrong when they declared the great commission a job well-done in the 70’s (much to the chagrine of Mr Billy Graham and the framers of the Lausanne Covenant).

Anne Rice is not a prodigal. The Church is. Her Facebook declaration of independence from the Church SHOULD be taken personally. She has insulted us. And she is right. And we should applaud her for her bravery.

These little revolutions are the substance of church history. In ten years, we may look back at the dear lady and say thank you for calling us on our crap. Like Darwin. And Luther. And Billy Graham.

So I’m getting a head start: Thanks.

About Me

Ecstatically married to Leane. Studying Theology and Teaching. Working as a worship leader, teacher, coach, guitar teacher. Living in the Mighty City of Mkondo in the sunny province of Mpumalanga, in the blessed country of South Africa.

Favourite Thoughts – Outbox

Religion is to be defended - not by putting to death - but by dying. Not by cruelty, but by patient endurance. - Lactantius (c.304-313).
What is essential Christianity? From first to last it is scandal, the divine scandal. Every time someone risks scandal of high order there is joy in heaven. - Soren Keirkegaard.
Where there are two Christians, there are three opinions... [Actually a Jewish saying, but at least as true for Christians]

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