Tag Archive: durban


i flew to durban with four main purposes in mind:

The first was to visit and surprise my younger sister Dawn and spend some time with her Glen and my nephew Josh [i am Uncle Fish and i am cool] and some of my really great friends from years and years.

The second was to do some networking for The Youth Hub which is my two-day-per-week job, writing 100 words or less youth resources and sending them to the phones of young people via Whatsapp, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, Mxit and our new phone app that has just launched. So meeting up with youth leaders and sharing what we’re about and giving them ways of getting connected well.

To connect with my friends at Westville Basptist Church and preach a preach on ‘How Friends can Wreck us’ and also meet up with their leadership, many of whom are good friends of mine as well.

Then to hide in a cave and spend four days finishing the book i started way too many years ago and revised and renamed a total of four times, which i am hoping to get ready for self-publication by the end of the year. Too many people who i told that to, thought i was talking about an actual cave [like where am i going to plug my laptop into?] whereas it is clearly a metephorical one in the form of a Bed and Breakfast [well two bed and breakfasts to be precise – staying here in exchange for scribing some reviews]. But to be cut off and disconnect and unplugged for the most part and have focused distraction-free time to work through the book as a whole and tweak and finalise and hopefully finally bring this thing to readiness.


i am staying at quite a stunning place with a great work desk station and a lovely little balcony vibe with a table and chairs and i spent a few minutes outside, taking in nature and praying about the task that follows. The hope and the ask is that God will take this book which i have, which i think is pretty good, and help me in four days to get it to a place of being pretty great. i am not wanting to produce just another book that people will read and nod their head at and then leave on their shelf. And forget. i am hoping that God will use this book to get people to wrestle and be challenged and inspired and bring out their creativity and to risk and dream and live more fully when it comes to this thing called church. The book is titled, ‘i, church’ and will hopefully be available before too long.

as i sat outside i asked God for a passage to encourage me or give me some direction as i committed these next few days to Him – my mind went to Isaiah 46 and so i turned there…

to be honest when i flipped it open and the title read, ‘Gods of Babylon’ i was not feeling too anticipationary…  but i read it and was greatly encouraged and thought i would share it with all of you, before i got going…

Gods of Babylon

46 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
    their idols are borne by beasts of burden.
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
    a burden for the weary.
They stoop and bow down together;
    unable to rescue the burden,
    they themselves go off into captivity.

“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
    all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
    and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
Some pour out gold from their bags
    and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
    and they bow down and worship it.
They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
    they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
    From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
    it cannot save them from their troubles.

“Remember this, keep it in mind,
    take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
    from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
    what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
    you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
    it is not far away;
    and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
    my splendor to Israel.

Powerful piece of writing and the part my eyes were drawn to was verse 5 and 6:

Even to your old age and gray hairs
    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

“With whom will you compare me or count me equal?
    To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?

and then also verse 9 and 10:

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’

We serve a big God. He is able to make His will come to pass.

My prayer is that He will do so with this book. That this was something He gave me to do.

And that together we will bring it to the place of readiness and completion.

This is my prayer…

To the Brett Cave…

This article first appeared in The Mercury on 27 June 2011 [and arrived in my inbox this morning]

Hope n. the feeling that events will turn out for the best.

I recently attended a small birthday party and Hope showed up. I wasn’t necessarily expecting her to be there, but that’s Hope for you; she always arrives when you least expect her.

She appeared suddenly and silently. It was almost as if she ‘spirited’ into being – like a character from a science fiction movie. She was very beautiful – radiant in fact – but some might have missed her arrival because here in South Africa we’re not that good at spotting Hope. Like beauty, she exists in the eyes of the beholder.

And this is the conundrum with Hope. On the one hand, she is a lady that would never force herself on anyone. On the other hand, we need her in order to survive. Without her, we quickly slip into despair and hopelessness and insightful thought, empathy and creative energy disappear. Hope is as essential to human life as oxygen. Starved of Hope we wither and die.

Hope presents herself in all kinds of situations. Sometimes she shows up at the simplest of events; the scene of a kind word spoken or a helping hand given. On this day, she arrived at a kid’s birthday party at a family home in Glenwood, Durban. A little girl was turning one and family and friends had been invited to join the celebration.

As with most first birthday parties, it came complete with balloons, decorations, juice and a sibling who was stung by a bee just as the cake arrived. It was all fairly typical children’s party fare – except for one or two things.

The little girl celebrating her first 12 months on earth didn’t begin life in this lovely Glenwood home, or even at nearby St. Augustine’s Hospital. She began life on a dirt road behind a clinic in Mayville. The parents hosting the party were her adoptive parents. The sibling who was stung by a bee was their first child – a biological son. The couple had decided when they married to have one child and adopt a second; a true vision of Hope for South Africa.

As I stood on a sunny balcony overlooking the festivities, I saw Hope working the crowd. She clapped and laughed as the once abandoned baby girl excitedly tore open her birthday gifts. She beamed at the cameras along with the Mum and Dad who proudly held their son and daughters hands. She spoke at length with couples both gay and straight, and sat cross-legged on a picnic blanket eating bowls of different colored sweets with different colored friends.

And as I stood there, I wondered if Hope would have felt as comfortable at the closing of the ANC Youth League’s elective conference as she did at this one year olds birthday party.

I wondered if she would agree with the popular view that the World Cup – also just one year old – was of no lasting benefit to our nation. I wondered if she was currently the house guest of nearly 50 million South Africans, or perhaps just a temporary lodger in a few homes. I wondered if she had chosen to come to this birthday party because she was tired of having the door slammed in her face at other South African homes.

And then I wondered; if Hope is essential for life, how do we live with Hope permanently? How do we make Hope the centre of the dialogue and not the peripheral side show? How do we ensure that she is not just wheeled out for special occasions like the 2010 World Cup and then put back in her box when life returns to normal? Is it possible that in the face of Apartheid style racism, xenophobic attacks, the ‘corrective rape’ of lesbian women, militaristic policing, poverty and rampant unemployment, Hope can survive – even triumph?

I believe it is, but as individuals we have to decide to welcome Hope into our homes, our offices, our places of worship and our community groups. We have to decide to seat her at the head of our family table, and make her the chairman of the board. We have to place her in the pulpit and behind the microphone and in front of the TV news cameras. She must become the starring act.

It was wonderful to see Hope again. She reminded me that South Africa is in fact working and that cohesion, tolerance and peace are being created; if not by politicians – certainly by citizens.

Flipside tip of the week:

Where there is Hope there is life. We must choose to foster Hope so that such parties become more common and those parties wishing to destroy Hope are brought down.

so i managed to track down the john ellis article that started all the ‘fun’ and am very much looking forward to having caffeine with the man when i hit durban this week to hear more of where his heart is (and cos, hey, caffeine!!) but i’m not too sure he is going to be poster boy for pagans anonymous just yet – also take some time to read some of the comments by christians and meditate on the whole ‘you will be known by the love you have for one another’ piece of that book we follow…

the article that was published [disclaimer – it was an article, written by a journalist, wanting people to read it]

john ellis blog response

so i met a cool metallic (as in bits of metal protruding froma  variety of face places) german last nite who surprised me by saying he is second year bible college in durban (not your average bible college look, it was great) and proceeded to show me this music video by michael gunga i think it is on his phone – it is very cool (and yes the bit about the flying hamster/guinea pig does make it seem like the singer was implying some kind of drug use, or just absolute merriment and joy perhaps) so watch it and go aaah. simple song, great video.


and before i watched this i never knew that God would change all your vegetables to sweets. schweet.

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