All posts tagged: Culture

Echoes of grace in the Springboks Rugby World Cup Win

5 min read South Africa’s national rugby team known as the Springboks or the Boks arrived from Japan with the Webb Ellis Cup. They defeated the English Roses with an emphatic 32-12 win. They made history. Siya Kolisi was the first black captain of the team. This was a momentous achievement. You need to live in South Africa to know what this meant to the nation and especially to black South Africans. Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe were the first players in rugby history to score tries in a final. It hadn’t happened before. The Springboks were also the first team in history to have lost their first game against the All Blacks and gone on to win the main cup. A lot of firsts.  When they landed at ORTIA—the O. R Tambo International Airport, jubilant South Africans from across the nation met them. It was a glorious homecoming. I watched on TV the scenes unfold at the airport. Jenny was on her laptop finishing some work. Bad! As usual, I see grace; I see …

Rebel against the status quo

4 min read A few days ago, l listened to Tim Keller, the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church talk on personal prayer, and in his message, he made this statement that “Prayer is an act of rebellion against the status quo.” This line of thought seemed out of place with the rest of his talk because his subsequent points did not match. The thought stood out on its own like a sore thumb, like a socket out of joint. The feelings it provoked in me, though, were stunning almost breathtaking, blows to the gut feelings and yet restful and comforting. Think of this, most Christians consider prayer a nuisance, an interference, a waste of time, a break in the stride. Why pray when I could just solve this problem, when I can just send that email, tweet or Facebook post, when I can just take my wife on holiday and our marriage will come right, when I can just kiss the ring and I will get the promotion, when I can just sleep with him or her with no commitment, when …

Joshua Harris and the sexual prosperity gospel

8 min read In April 2018, I wrote a post titled, On Dating and being a Virgin. Check out the post here. Basically, the premise of the post was this—most, if not all teaching in the church on chastity is reduced to this idea—if you are chaste and pure, preferably a virgin, God will bless you with a Christian spouse, mind-blowing sex, and marital bliss forever. This is what Christian singles constantly hear from the pulpits and from well-meaning couples married for many years. I received comments for and against my post that made me realize this was a hot button issue among Christian singles. I argued in that post that 1) It is unscriptural to teach or preach that, 2) It is unlivable and unrealistic because we live in a fallen world, 3) Chastity is no guarantee that you will succeed or fail in marriage, and 4) Even if you were a failure sexually, God can still bless your marriage. That God works with failures for his glory. I came across this post, recently, from Katelyn Beaty …

Who is your Center?

1 min read Whoever or whatever is your CENTER will master and enslave you. And when you fail they will crush you, and when you succeed, it will never be enough. In all worldviews except the Christian Gospel, there is one center. Human beings or the general term “Man” is the center. Consider these ideas Fundamentalism, Man is the center. Cultural Christianity, Man is the center. Spirituality, Man is the center. Psychology, Man is the center.

The lies our culture tells us about what matters…​ and a better way to live by David Brooks

15 min watch This is a talk David Brooks, the New York Times Columnist and television pundit gave at TED. I watched the video and heard faint echoes of the gospel. The gospel? Yes, the gospel. And especially how the gospel critiques and offers alternatives to our modern culture. I hope you hear those echoes, too. That’s what grace looks like.    Image: David Brooks delivers a TED Talk in 2019. Video screenshot

On grace and friendships. How the offer of friendship Jesus gives is way much better.

4 min read Open your voice memo app and ask a 21st-century man or woman to define who a friend is or what friendship is all about, and you will be inundated with many definitions. Make it personal and ask your friends what they think your friendship means to them, and the answers will be varied. Some answers might sound like these You are my friend because you make me feel special. You challenge me. You make me a better person. You inspire me. You’ve seen the worst in me and still stayed with me. You make me laugh. You are my normal when I go crazy. You are the person I can trust with my life. Notice the common refrain? Me! It’s all about the benefits that your friends get from you. It’s your friend basking in the sunlight and you are the sun. I’ve listened to countless sermons, talks, and read books that push this idea that you should only be in relationships that benefit you—cut off these bloodsuckers and ticks that suck from …

Why the gospel is the missing piece in the fake miracles debacle in Africa

2 min read If you are a casual observer Africa’s spiritual landscape you won’t help but notice there is clamor for either religious governing bodies or local goverments to act and curb the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies. Such is the ongoing case here in South Africa with the CRL Commission, and in other parts of Africa. There is heated debate on both sides of the argument (proponents and opponents of legislation), with each side making justified points. Yes, church leaders are concerned about the spread of fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies, and are concerned about infringement of religious freedom. It’s both/and, and not either/or. I worry, however, the church’s response to fake miracles, the so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ and heresies is anti-gospel. Here’s my point.

100% Black or White owned?

2 min read This week, a new 24-hour news channel went live on DSTV channel 405 here in South Africa. The company is being described as a 100% Black-owned channel. This description “100% Black-owned” caught my attention. It always does but not for the reasons you might think.  100% Black-owned? What does this mean?  Does it mean that it is only Black people who own and run this business? If so, will they attribute the success or failure of this business to the fact it is 100% Black-owned? If Black-owned, does this mean they won’t be able to consult other races for input in running the business? Can a qualified White, Indian or Colored presenter work for the business? When the business needs a capital injection (which it will need), can a White, Indian or Colored person make this investment? If this business accepts this capital injection, will that be construed as diverging from the core identity of the business? Can White people claim their business is 100% White-owned? Do White-owned businesses succeed or fail because they are 100% White-owned? Notice …

Paul F. M Zahl’s book, Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life – Part 5: On why the world and religious people have​ a hard time with grace

2 min read It is not only the world that detests grace. The Christian world also finds the absolution of grace to be a bitter pill. Every time you preach or embody grace, some Christians will accuse you of “antinomianism,” the idea that you are against the law. At the root of the finger pointing is the fear that if grace is given to a sinner, the sinner is going to take advantage of the amnesty and do a bad thing. This is the fear of antinomianism, the conviction that grace equals permissiveness. On this view, grace is against the law. Why do religious people have a hard time with grace? Why do religious people have a hard time with grace? People come to faith during times of trouble. Even if they grew up in church or had a religious experience as a teenager, they usually come to faith during a period of trouble. A specific problem in life leads them to question or to look at God in a new way. Sometimes it prompts …

Grace and religious liberty

3 min read This is my short response to an issue that a Christian brother raised on whether Christian ministers in Zambia should pass a government-sanctioned exam to authenticate their callings and ministries.  After all, other areas of expertise have to pass exams to qualify to work in a particular area. My response was as follows Exams are not the issue; the issue is state control. I know with the rise of charlatans and heretics our governments want to protect its citizens from abuse and manipulation. Such is the case with the Bushiri’s here in South Africa. Unfortunately, because religion is inherently personal, such noble ideas by our governments are usually futile. What the Minister of Religious Affairs is doing is an overreaction and overreach. He or she will soon be challenged in the Supreme Court hoping that your courts are impartial, and not loaded with the religious right.