Not long ago, a DJ on the radio brought up the spine-chilling topic of near-death experiences. The discussion really sank deep with me, because just that week, a family acquaintance’s life had been tragically cut short in a road accident, and so death was already kind-of on my mind.
It was a fascinating radio show to listen to, with people calling in and sharing their own personal experiences. Although each person experienced leaving their bodies in unique ways, there were some common threads that strung the stories together into an eery tapestry of the afterlife. Some of these commonalities were:
- I saw my Dad / Mom / someone I love, and they were dressed like…
- Someone spoke to me and said, “I’m not ready for you, son.”
- I saw my body lying there and I understood what was happening, but I felt incredible peace. I didn’t feel any fear at all.
- I was surrounded by a warm feeling and sensed a presence of peace and love.
- I didn’t want to come back.
Now, I’m not here to write about ghosts and lights and pearly gates. On the contrary, I’ve been thinking a lot about what happens here on earth in those final, fleeting moments before being called home.
I can’t help but wonder if the final encore that a person performs on earth is tragically their most powerful one. You hear it from people who narrowly escape death: they realised in that moment what was important all along. Read more
Sharing this song again.
I wouldn’t even call it a ‘song’. A musical scroll, if you will, inscribed with multiple spiritual messages, each one like a fruit waiting to be plucked at the right time, at harvest time.
Today, as I listen again (it’s been on repeat for two days), the words tease me:
Do you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?
Do you know what I know?
Do you want what I want?
I was recently posed with the question by a bit of a deep thinker that I’ve had opportunity to have long discussions with. The question was: Is God actually perfect, or did he make a mistake by giving us all that free will?
On the surface, claiming that God is not perfect is a big statement. And it bothered me a lot. It kept me awake that night, and many nights that followed. Read more
I received the news by a text message, a kind of chain-mail message being forwarded from friend to friend to friend. It was Sunday evening. We’d finished dinner and my toddler was nattering away into my ear, the TV blaring into my other ear.
I half-read the message, confused and refusing to believe that I was reading correctly. I glanced up and laughed at something ludicrous that my toddler had said.
“No!” my inner voice insisted. “It cannot be!”
I looked at my phone and read the message slowly. No. No. No. Read more
Throughout the gospels, Jesus challenged the Pharisees and religious leaders of the time. He challenged them particularly on one major point: they had lost sight of what God’s heart was all about: people. They had gotten lost in religion and rightness and what Jesus openly termed “human rules” and forgotten about God’s love and passion for humanity.
As I read yet another scathing article this week, where one church leader and his entire congregation was targeted and essentially given that burning label, “false prophet”, my heart broke a little as I realized that so many in the christian church have taken up positions as modern-day Pharisees. I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of shame, wishing I could stash the contemptuous blog away, and hide it from the eyes of those still searching for their Creator. I wouldn’t want them to find this version of God, the un-loving and condemning one. The one that ranks judgment above love.
My plea to writers and bloggers is this….
Stop public bickering about doctrinal issues.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”
Its the wind whispering secrets to dry leaves in tall trees.
The hush. That audible hush interrupted only by an empty breeze.
It’s an ice blue sky stretched from horizon to horizon.
A bone-deep cold broken by the Winter sun arising.
It’s the white-gold of plains like a turbulent honey ocean,
Yet the gnarled claws of blackened trees stand stiff without emotion.
The ground crackling underfoot, the rhythmic beat of gravel.
A farm road winds eternally like a ribbon come unraveled.
The tick-tick-tick of a bicycle wheel with the du-du-du of a bird.
A zebra laughs in the distant veld at a bawdy joke not heard.
Then all at once it’s nothing, not a sound and not a sight.
The silence of the deaf, the dark of the blind, the wilderness at night.
Somewhere in the midst of this, a speck in the expanse of universe,
The words of one soul to another, I love you, dear, for better and for worse.
The wind dies down, as does grass. The zebra returns to dust.
When all that remains are stars above, the only thing left is us.
17 June 2016
Written in a wilderness
Let me tell you a story…
The other day, I popped into a local store for some basic groceries, a small Spar centre that I frequent regularly enough to know the staff and even a few of the car guards* in the parking lot.
*Dear international readers: In South Africa, we have “car guards” at our shopping centres. They’re a lot like this: Read more
I went on leave today, and so I am officially gearing up for the festive season! Yay me!
I’m not one of those Christians that takes offence when I see a greeting card that says “Season’s Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas”. And while the use of “X-Mas” in place of “Christmas” does indeed baffle me, I’m pretty indifferent to that too. If you want to celebrate “X”, whatever the heck that is, be my guest. Read more
Every parent has them: bad parenting days. Today was one such day, and after what feels like an afternoon and evening of motherhood fail after fail after fail… something sinks in.
My kid is 22 months. Apparently, she’s already practicing to be a Terrible Two, as she stretches the boundaries, exercises her defiance and tests the limits of mama’s patience.
Mama’s patience wore thin today, and as a nonsensical fight between desperate mother and completely illogical toddler ended with aforementioned toddler pushing mother away and loudly proclaiming, “GO!!”… Read more
If you read my last post about procrastination, you’ll note that I attributed the disease of procrastination to having a heart and mind filled with fear.
While I offered some basic, practical suggestions on dealing with the habit of procrastination, I still wasn’t satisfied that I’d taken enough consideration of the matter of fear. Being afraid of not being good enough, what people think, or outright failure is debilitating, and keeps us from taking the first step into what is essentially our calling. It’s more than just procrastination; its paralysis. Read more