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Showing posts from February, 2006

e*n*j*o*y

In a very success and results oriented society, the simple pleasure of enjoying something is sometimes not seen as a worthwhile expenditure of time, energy and money – perhaps something best left to children. But if you are up on your Westminster catechism, the following will sound familiar:

What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Enjoyment was not something I captured as a mainstay of my faith in my conservative Mennonite upbringing, but I am trying to rectify that now. No, I have not become a hedonist, but this great big life that God has given to me as a gift is to be thoroughly enjoyed as an act of worship to the one who gave it to me, and I will not be found ungrateful if I can help it. Enjoyment involves the senses as well as the heart, mind, emotions, and imagination. I can enjoy a good meal, a drink with friends, a good book or movie, a sunset, a walk in the woods, good music, dancing, playing a game, working hard, sex, traveling…

Comfort, Africa and a few random things

Discomfort is such a maligned word. Since I have made my peace with it and started to realize that awkwardness is usually a symptom of change and often an invitation to be real and give up one’s insecurities, I seldom suffer from it at all. I was surprised how little culture shock I felt in Africa. Though I can be known to be somewhat shy and quiet, I think I did pretty well for meeting tons of new people on an almost daily basis and managing to say at least a few intelligent, and hopefully the odd meaningful, thing. The two things that did affect me the most were the level of security one has to live with (at least in Pretoria) and the stifling sense of cultural conservatism in the church which reminded me just too much of my own repressive Mennonite upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, I am not dissing either the African church I attended nor my childhood church, but let’s face it, we all have our trappings, and I am simply mentioning one that I have spent a lot of my life trying to get …

Friendship and Africa - #1

I believe that God is teaching me to be a friend, and in that way, opening a door on my friendship with him as well. In my opinion, the fact that I flew halfway around the world to see some friends says a lot about my values. Some people seem to be a bit awkward with this bit of information, for while it seems totally acceptable to spend vast amounts of money and time touring the world and that is thought of as adventurous, using your resources to visit some exotic place mainly to invest in people and relationships instead of seeing the sights just seems sentimental or needy or I don’t know what people assume it is. Frankly, I don’t care. I was privileged to live with a family for two-and-a-half weeks and have lots of good conversations and get to know them better by listening and watching and playing and eating together and seeing what adventures and challenges they face in their adopted, temporary country. I feel I gained much more than I gave (they gave me non-stop nutritious meals…

africa one

I just returned from three weeks in South Africa and here are the answers to the questions I am most frequently asked:

1. No, I did not go on a safari and no, I did not see any lions. But I did spend a few hours at a game park and see rhinos, giraffes, an elephant, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, an ostrich, warthogs, guinea fowl, a wide variety of birds and various small bucks.

2. No, I was not there to work with some humanitarian organization. I went to visit friends, but I was privileged to see the child that I sponsor through South Africa Cares For Life and meet his family. They struggle with poverty and health issues and live in a small leaky tin shack situated on a garbage dump, but they have a flourishing garden in the back and smiles for strangers from Canada. I felt honoured to be invited into their home.

3. No, my worldview has not changed drastically. If anything, it confirmed for me how much people all over the world are basically the same – we all share in this thing called hum…