Monday, May 30, 2011

You carried the cross of my shame

I want to talk very honestly. Forgive me if the mood is dark or shameful, but this is a topic I find very close to my heart.

I want to take a look through the eyes of JUDAS. 


How many of us HATE Judas? Just look at the way he is portrayed, in the Gospels, in paintings and more recently in films. 

I was taught from a very young age about this dark, deceitful, greedy little man who, in a moment of blatant self-preservation, deceived our almighty-bright-and-shiny saviour.
That’s it, end of story… See you on Easter Sunday, and make sure you read your bible and pray before you brush your teeth. Amen

But more recently I started looking a bit closer. And this is MY interpretation of events, and it is how I am able to find some hope in this passage.

I started by giving the poor guy a chance to explain. He’s had a bit of a rough ride in his own journey, as well as throughout christian history. I mean can you even begin to imagine the torment, the anguish, the pain and the confusion going through his mind? Can you even fathom the sinking feeling that you had been responsible for the arrest, and ultimately death of your HERO? Besides which, we’re not supposed to be the judges anyway right? Let’s here what he has to say…

One of the thoughts I’ve picked up from some wise people recently is that Judas was quite likely a political activist of some sort. Pushing hard, possibly even violently for revolution against the oppressive Roman government of the time. 

Sound familiar?

Perhaps, like a lot of people in his day, he assumed this “New Kingdom” that Jesus was proclaiming was a political reality. 

Viva bra Jesus, viva!?

It seems to me that he wanted Jesus to make His big move. The moment when the revolution kicks off. If he could push Jesus into action, then…

Perhaps he EVEN felt like he was chosen to kick things off? Given the nod from Jesus, saying… “It is time.”

The fact is, Jesus DID have a plan. But it was not to be the way Judas understood.

Now this may explain a little about why this means so much to me. You’d probably be shocked to hear me say honestly, out of all the perspectives of Jesus we see, this one is me. I am Judas.

I too find this constant need to understand EVERY detail. I always THINK I know what God is doing, or that I may know better and so act prematurely. Sometimes, maybe even often, the things I do can be seen as mistakes. I’m often left thinking to myself, “If ONLY I’d known…”

It sometimes takes me back to Ecclesiastes, you know.. “Its all useless, everything is useless.” (click here to read the passage)

The writer goes on to say that pretty much no matter what we do, life will always have it's ups & downs. If we work really hard, we miss out the fun. If we have too much fun, we miss out on our life's purpose. I kinda see the whole book as an old testament blog of this dude saying, "What on earth am I supposed to do? God please just freakin' TELL me the meaning of life!"
It all makes no sense…

But I have my purpose.

What happened to Judas was pivotal in our faith today. Can you imagine if he’d been our “goody-two shoes” disciple and never betrayed Jesus? We can’t say for sure, but perhaps we wouldn’t be basing our faith around Jesus’ crucifixion.

Even Judas has his purpose.

I like to believe that just as much as He did for Judas, Jesus LOVES me too. Just as much as He did for Judas, Jesus FORGIVES me too. And just as much as He did for Judas, Jesus DIED for me too.

Just as much as He did for Judas, Jesus CHOOSES me too.

Even though I don’t really understand Him, even though I have made dreadful mistakes, and EVEN THOUGH I still continually search for this “meaning that Jesus is meant to bring into my life.

Jesus has, and will STILL save me…

Even though I still haven’t found what I’m looking for in this confusing, complex, mysterious Rubik's Cube life that God insists on us finding our own key to, instead of just giving away the answer(s).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who are you?

Ok, let’s be honest. How many of us are the same person inside of church and out? I’m not.

How many of us feel like we can enter the sanctuary with all our agendas, scars, blemishes and selfishness? I don’t.

Ever sworn in church? I have.

Gossip? Yep, done that too.

What about idolatry and the love of money? Oh boy, it seems I have no place in God’s house. Or do I?

Thankfully, love is kind, not jealous. Love is patient, not selfish. Love keeps no record of wrong, and love never fails.

God never fails.

As we journey through lent, let me encourage you to be honest with God. Bring the “real you” you to the foot of the cross, and not the person you think is good enough for church. He is longing to meet with you, to love you and transform you. I truly believe that God is so much more impressed with honesty than a shiny, albeit shallow reputation. Besides, He knows the truth anyway. And yet He is STILL longing for your heart.

God is waiting to touch you, to love you and to renew you.

And God NEVER fails.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Rob Bell: "Suffering, it turns out, demands profound imagination."

Made me think, it's easy for us to imagine our lives going well, as we planned, on track. But ask the average joe on the street about what they see happening in their lives in the future and i think for the most part they find it more difficult to imagine and articulate clearly it going pear shaped.

There is an inbuilt desire in us to see things go well and so our minds actively work against the bad and focus on the good.

You never hear of high school students saying "In five years I'll be in a huge ball of shit!" it's more along the lines of a bright future - degrees, good job, family, friends, hobbies...

So here's the crunch: where does negativity creep in? And creep it does, like a ninja into a shopping mall...

Why, if it takes more imagination to see our lives end up in suffering, do we occasionally find ourselves looking that way instead of at the possible positive?

It's like putting a chocolate cake and a mud cake in front of a kid and they pick up the mud cake and eat it? what's with that?

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I wen to a talk / intro thing the other day by a guy names Sean Tucker, it was at 7am so my faculties may still have been at home in bed while I was out in the rain, but besides having a cool video with words popping out of his head (which made me a little jealous because the video's I'm in don't have those), he has some interesting things to say.


the church is flawed, but it's the best idea we've got. Got any thoughts on that one? I wonder if it is the best idea. Maybe the church is a terrible idea. An automatic 'you're either in or out' scenario. What if we had no formal buildings, no authoritarian leadership, no claim to have the answers on the gospel... but rather groups of people who's sole desire is to live more like Jesus every day, to meet together every so often to make sure they're on the right track and to generally have a good time together?

What if?

Then again, maybe he's right and the church is the best idea we've got, but it's just not functioning to it's full potential. But that begs the question, what is the full potential? Is there even one or is the potential limitless?

If you're like me, you see the potential good in a lot of things (and the potential pitfalls), and I see some of it in the Church, and when I say Church I mean you and me.

Not those people who meet in that building on a Sunday.

Not even 'us' who follow Jesus teachings.

But you (maybe I should say me).

The individual. The gospel of Jesus, the "Church" is a person, is this person, is me.

Maybe that's the potential, realising that I have the capacity to change my life (does that mean the world?)

Am I the Church? Really?

He also spoke at the interview of things that we can do better with our 'resources' as churches (as in the groups of people who meet as a congregation at such and such a place) - things like using our facilities for more than just directly church related stuff, even this morning I was speaking to a minister in Jozi who's church opens their doors every afternoon as a place for school kids to come and do homework etc (...there is the spin off that they then invite them to church events), but the question remains: Are we using our facilities - halls, equipment, etc. to their fullest potential, or are they standing unused for six out of seven days a week? Sean mentioned a group of people who broke away from an existing church - about 30 or so people - who met together after the breakaway and asked, "How do we follow Jesus better, and how do we make the world a better place?" and he told us some stories of putting kids through school, fixing people's cars so they could get to work and support their families, and other stories I forget... Simple stuff. Only 30 people. But can you see Jesus in it?

I can.

Contrast that with annoyed looks as people sit in church on Sunday if the wrong hymn is sung.

Or God forbid a homeless person wanders into 'our' service.

A lady was at our offices yesterday, a Zimbabwean refugee, no food, no place to stay, nothing. The only thing we could do for her is give her a pack of uncooked mielie meel and direct her to Central Methodist.

I was left asking the question: "Is that it? Seriously? Is that the best we can do?"

Sadly, that was the best we could do.

Is that our full potential?

I'm scoobied.

And I suppose I've got what some might call 'emotional fatigue' - I see so much injustice and rubbish every day that I can't even bring myself to feel bad about it anymore, let alone do something about it... maybe most of us have it.

But is that an excuse?

What about the people who the rubbish is happening to on a daily basis? Are they 'fatigued'?

So, what can we do about it?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Zuma blurs the lines between religion and politics

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy New Year!

Last year we started our “choose community” video series, and these started posing a few real day-to-day challenges to us. As the New Year begins I am VERY excited about what can be achieved and how many lives we as a community can touch in real ways.

Yes there will be difficulties like our old nemesis the financial situation. However, no one ever said that making the world a better place is an easy task. It was a wounded Bob Marley playing at a concert promoting peace, only two days after gunmen made an attempt on his life who said, "The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?"

What gives me hope is the incredible way in which I feel our community can pull together. Time and time again I have felt so wonderfully blessed when we’ve been able to make superhuman efforts for the benefit of those in need.
Let us keep this momentum and as we move into the exciting possibilities of 2011, I simply wish to remind you of Brett’s words from “here…”

“How are YOU making Jesus available in real ways to those people around you?”

Monday, October 11, 2010

just one (slightly less spiritual) question... or two...

So. I've been a bit girly/nerdy the last few days... I've been following the progress of two male weaver birds making nests in a tree in the back garden of my mother-in-laws house. All I can say is; "Chics Bru!" because I was standing drinking coffee on the lawn the other day when I felt the sky fall on my head! well, no, it was actually the female weavers unceremoniously ripping the nests apart and throwing the contents onto my head - after the males have spent serious amounts of time and energy flying back-and-forth getting grass etc to make nests from.

So the question is: how often do we do that? someone takes a whole lot of time to do something/prepare something/puts a lot of thought into something and then we go and rip it to peaces? Or even the other way around? how often do we do something/prepare something/put a lot of thought into something and then someone else goes and poo-poos on it? how's that feel?