Sunday, 20 March 2011

The Heart of the Matter

Jesus had a way of cutting straight through to the heart of the matter.

He went unto the mount of Olives, and there he saw a group of men rolling up their sleeves and choosing rocks, and he said unto them, “What’s to do, like?”

And they said unto him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act, do you know what I mean? And custom and practice,” citing the Law from Moses onwards, “says that we get to stone her, leading to a pile of stones and no need for a grave as such.”

He said to them, “Oh, I get it. And I expect he who is without sin among you gets to throw the first stone, right?”

And they said, “Um, well, when you say without sin, then perhaps not without all sin as such, per se, not necessarily. . . My goodness, is that the time?” and they all crept away.

Jesus said to the woman, “Are you still here? Where are all the guys. . .? Off you go. Oh, and sin no more, eh?”

(John 8:1–11, somewhat paraphrased)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

African haiku

A poetic update from Craig and Kate and kids and Hlekweni....

African Haiku

Blossom floats upwards
White butterflies drifting past
Before the rainstorm

Children trailing home
All morning through the tall grass
School fees still unpaid

Frogs croak in the night
Lightning flickers silently
Lighting up the clouds

Monday, 7 March 2011

God speaks for the silent man

The Quaker book group is beginning to outgrow its birthplace. The small room upstairs in the Blue Moon cafe was crowded, with more new people along for Barbara Kingsolver's Lacuna. We started with a concern from some who felt they were personally not giving enough back to Blue Moon; I know that some months I have turned up and hardly even bought a coffee (if that). We agreed to mention this in our publicity so that we share the concern. Some of us thought about staying on after the group for supper, the advantage of that being you can then have a wine or beer during the group; not too much of a sacrifice.

People commented what a good group discussion we had. What I remember was the comment by someone that Trotsky (who appears in the book) was depicted as rather a bureaucrat, whereas Pasternak in Dr Zhivago painted him as a visionary military genius. There was something there about - what does someone actually do month by month to qualify as a military genius - how, if at all, does that differ from being a militaristic leader - can those capacities ever be put to right use, even by someone fighting for the oppressed?

We talked about the social hierarchy of shades of skin colour in Mexico and Jamaica; about how Kingsolver joyfully throws artistic creativity in with the political mix; about the theme of successful people coming to need help from others to manage their lives so they can go on doing what made them sucessfull.

Someone noted how the structure of the book had similarities with the Gospel of St John, and someone else immediately pointed out the first line of the book ('In the beginning were the howlers'). We sat for a minute taking in this example of the synergy of the group (I think that means the sum being greater than the parts); perhaps Kingsolver had the Gospels in mind, as well as Frieda Kahlo, Trotsky, and the McCarthy hearings, when she wrote the book. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (John 1.1)

And God speaks for the silent man.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

How far have you got?

Each of us sets out on a journey. None of us knows how far we will travel; none of us knows how far there is to travel. None can predict the twists and turns the journey will involve. So none of can say of any other that he or she has (only) got so far (which would imply that we have gone further or know all about it - none of us knows how far along we are. There is no set course to run. The spirit may lead one person further than another, but who can say so? There are no merit badges, or black belts. I may be able to say that I am further along than I was, but further along than someone else? No way. Praise be.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sing! in Pitsmoor...

Good friends here in Pitsmoor are organising a celebration of five years of the Christchurch Singing Group - on the 26th March from 10am til 2pm. I think it will be a lovely event. I'll be going along with Saskia (childcare willing) and thought that there might be a few from meeting interested. Contact Julie ( for more details. I can't get the whole image on I'm afraid so just click the picture below or title above to see the flyer.