Calvinistic men and their women…

The whole world knows by now that our beloved Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, is being charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. This is an absolute tragedy for all of us, as Oscar gained so much respect in the way he handles himself and his disability on the track. I do not wish to make any judgement on that case!

But now our “honorable” minister of women, children and disabled persons, Lulu Xinwana, has really gone and make a sweeping statement in an interview with ABC.

“Xingwana told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that young Afrikaner men were raised to believe they owned women and children.

“Young Afrikaner men are brought up in the Calvinist religion believing that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it,” she said during the interview aired on Monday.

(- See more at: http://news.iafrica.com/sa/845215.html#sthash.D7SA3AGw.dpuf

In today’s newspaper she does offer an apology. But this is the problem of South Africa- we all have our own favourite little piece of prejudice against one another of different cultures.

It is also a very sad truth that South Africa has the top statistics on the prevailance of rape in the world. It would be just as wrong to conclude that because most rapists who do get punished by the law, is black, would mean that black men have this tendency to rape.  Before you reach for the tyre and petrol-can- hear me out:  It is wrong to stereotype people!

I am a pastor in a Calvinist tradition church. I also am an Afrikaner male. It would be a small stretch of the truth to still call me young.

So- Minister Lulu Xinwana- I think I am qualified to speak about men and women in the Calvinist tradition. But maybe more qualified to speak about how I see my wife and children and their role in my life.

Minister Xinwana- in my tradition of understanding life, the universe and everything, I would like to point out some things I believe:

  • God created man and woman in His image, as equals, to help each other to live a much better life together than they would separately. This is a symbiotic relationship- it is supposed to benefit all. The equality point of Genesis 1:27 is mostly overlooked by some people.  In my marriage, my wife is not my property. She is the most valuable person in my life, I share everything with her, and her presence in my life makes me a better person. 
  •  Out of the love between us in our marriage, children were born. They are not my property. I believe that they are gifts from God, and that my responsability is to feed them, nurture them, and protect them from harm. I have to guide them to adulthood, so that they may live their own lives as well balanced, happy people, able to make their own moral choices in life.
  • I believe that every woman has the right to feel safe against the predators that some males seems to be. I believe that every woman has the right to say no to any form of sexual advances, and that right must be protected with the full extent of the law.
  •  I teach my young Calvinistic sons to respect and honor women. If they like a girl, they need to approach her with honor and respect.  It is a value I uphold dearly in my house- a woman will always feel safe around me and my sons.

So, minister Xinwana, with all the tragedies happening around us every day in South Africa against women and children, we also feel deeply saddened by the brokenness of this world.  We choose to be part of the solution, a safe haven to the women in our lives.  So no, your sweeping statement to the Australian public  is seen with contempt from this Calvinistic family.

And by the way- even though our church has some Calvinistic roots, I prefer to think of our congregation as followers of Jesus, who want to live in love and peace with God and all humanity. We pray for South Africa’s broken women, and we pray for the restoration of respect towards all in this beautiful country. After we prayed, we go out into our community, trying our best to be a part of the solution of this country’s desperate search for love and understanding.

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Holding on to the prospect of a new Ride!

One of the highlights in my year is competing in the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle tour, one of the most scenic races, going around Table Mountain in Cape Town.

It is held on the second Sunday of March every year, that is next weekend! This is what we are looking at:  109 km around Table Mountain… Cape Argus Cycle Tour 2013 Route Map

There is one slight challenge. I live 1650 km away from Cape Town.

But the solution: Make the whole journey an exciting event!

I am going to Cape Town on my “new” bike. It is an old 2000 model BMW R850 R (Roadster)

A lot of good things has happened the last week in regards to this trip. One of the challenges of going there on a motorbike, is to get my bicycle there. Last week I had an extremely hard 40 km training session, at 12 noon, when the temperature was at about 37 degrees Celcius. Just as I entered our town, I got a flat tyre.  I was just too wasted to change the tyre myself, so I walked to a friend’s cycle shop nearby. I nearly collapsed into his door. He asked me if I have found a lift for my bicycle to Cape Town, and I replied that I didn’t, and might have to go there by car. There was a fit looking young lady in the shop. As I was really tired, I suppose I did not look the same  way as behind the pulpit on a Sunday!  She took a double glance at me, and then recognised me. She and her husband came to attend our church just the last month, moving in from one of the cities. And they are also going to Cape Town, and they can help me with my bicycle. So in the process of a flat tyre I met  a wonderful person, and got one of my problems solved…

The next problem was with the luggage on my BMW. I have lost a set of soft panniers in December, when it caught fire after touching the exhaust of the bike.  Another person in my congregation has a huge engineering shop. When I explained that I want to start on a system of hard panniers, he built me the pannier racks- something I just can not afford if you talk BMW, Hepco & Becker, Trax or Touratech.  And he did a marvelous job on the pannier racks. I do not have pannier cases yet, but I can use some hard duty camping bags that I now can tie to the rack, and it is safe from the exhaust.

So Monday morning, God willing, I will start my journey to Cape Town. I do have a lot of friends in the Cape, and I can’t wait to see them again! This is exciting stuff!

But in this excitement I still need to survive tonight’s Church Board Meeting…

War and Peace

Yesterday morning I had one of the most wonderful Bible studies with a group of about 50 people. We meet every Tuesday morning, and are busy working verse by verse through the Gospel of John.

This one verse stays lingering about in my thoughts since then.

John 14: “27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

This is the words of Jesus the last night before His crucifixion. He knows exactly what is coming His way. Yet the final message to His disciples is one of peace. Peace with God. Peace with other people. Peace within yourself.

This is sometimes hard to remember as a pastor: This is why we are following Jesus, and working full-time in His ministry. We chose to love people, and share the peace of God with them.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch- we are still living in a broken world. Jean-Paul Satre might have been very correct when he said: “People is hell”.  (Are? remember- 2nd language…)

I have this choice to make today. Do I follow Jesus and extend a hand of peace, whatever the cost/ Or do I listen to Sun Tzu who said something like: When your enemy attacks you, make sure you decide the battlleground and time…  (The Art of War- through old memories…)

I want to live in peace with God, other people, and myself.  I do not want to go to battle.  But when do you have to fight for your happiness, and the happiness of your family?  When do you have to stand up for what you believe in, not to be trampled as a doormat?

Sometimes I really need more wisdom than I possess.  Today will be a long day of hard choices to make…

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One of my worst fears just happened…

The old saying is that most of the things we fear in life, do not come to pass.

Well, this time “they” were wrong.

Fortunately I was not called in front of the Church Board and fired. No, it is much worse than that.

May I use this space to confess: there is a huge amount of fear in me. I tremble when I speak it’s name…

The NEEDLE…

My doctor ordered some blood tests. No need to worry- it is just a normal physical needed after being on high blood pressure pills for so long, and living with a huge amount of stress at the moment.

But the worst fear remains: The NEEDLE!

And I just have survived it!

Sometimes the anwer is right in front of you!

One day quite recently I sat in a coffee shop, having a hard time understanding life, the universe and everything. My answer didn’t arrive at 42, sorry Douglas Adams…

But while I was pondering the meaning of everything, my eye caught the message on the discarded sugar package  in my saucer…

I think that is good advice from the former First Lady of the USA!

“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and the best you have to give…”

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884- 1962)

When the Donkey is dead, dismount…

You can not flog a dead donkey into better performance.

I experienced this fact the hard way the last few weeks. My life was going along quite nicely, just the usual amount of bumps in the road to keep me awake.  I really thought I have figured everything out in life, I have all the answers that I need.

And one phone call was all it took to shake that world right into extinction mode.

Suddenly I have to re-evaluate everything in my life.  Some things that I really took for granted, like some friendships, are really being tested hard.

But maybe this also is a good place to be, although it doesn’t feel like that at the moment.

I have to really think about everything in my life.

My faith is being tested like never before.  My marriage is better than ever, I have been blessed with a wife who really meant it when she said she will walk the road with me for the rest of our lives.  It is really good to be the father of some teenagers, although that is always a bumpy ride as well!

I have to really think deep and hard about my employment. Do I really want to go on living the way I do now? Do I really need to be watching my back all the time when my job is very strongly built on relationships?  Do I need to keep continuing certain friendships, when it is destructive to my happiness?

My previous blog reflected the meekness of a donkey. But that donkey was killed along the way. It was a good friend, it brought me through some difficult times. But the time for meekness and timidness has passed. It is time to saddle up the warhorse, and stand up for who I am, and what I believe in.

A dead donkey might have been a good friend in the past. But sometimes something precious needs to be lost, to gain forward momentum. Sometimes a loss of old identity and worn out dreams are needed, to start looking towards the stars again, and dreaming new dreams.

Sometimes it is so hard to start over.  But it is better than the alternative.  Ecclesiastes 9:4 says something about it better being a live dog than a dead lion.

I choose to be a live horse instead of a dead donkey.  I am gaining the confidence to dare to dream again.  And my dreams will not be stolen by some small jackals!

A Donkey died, a Horse is born…

I am back!  In fact, I have never left!

But I still have to break in this wild horse, to go on riding, writing about the things I love.

I also have to answer a few questions to myself. Do I write this blog in English, to reach a much wider audience? Or do I write it in my own native language, which would entail much less work for me- English is still quite a difficult second language to converse in…

I will give the link to this blog only to a few trusted friends. Everybody who arrives here will always be welcome. But if you do not agree with my point of view- that is always your right and privilege to disagree with me. But please, please- do not try to kill me like my previous experience in the blogging world.  If what I write upsets you, there are about 5 billion other blogs to read and enjoy- just move on?

I will always treat you with respect, until you prove otherwise…

Welcome, lets ride…