Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year

The Kid
Merry Christmas (a bit late) and a Happy New Year!

The readings for tomorrow are about the boy Jesus at the temple, and young Samuel - also serving at the temple... It made me wonder what the boy Jesus aspired to become...

I thought of a question - inspired by the Walt Disney movie - "The Kid" - What would your eight year old or twelve year old self say to your grown up self?

Are you who you were intended to be?

I particularly like the part when the 8 year old version of Bruce Willis buries his head in his hands and exclaims "We don't have a dog?!!!"

Friday, December 15, 2006

Back to the Cape!

From PTA - CT 2006
Last week Heather, Tullamore (the dog) and I crossed the country voortrekker style to get back to the Cape. As I have already mentioned - we have been stationed in Paarl. We were able to make it to the Paarl Church last Sunday - what a warm community - a great place to take my first (almost grown up) steps in the ministry... I am responsible for two whole societies, one in Paarl and one in Franschoek. (I could not ask for a more beautiful commute).

We're going to miss the friends that we've left behind in Potchefstroom and Pretoria, and my colleagues and their families scattered across the land like seeds. (I wish you all peace as you summon up the courage to preach your first Christmas sermons - in your new churches! May you be filled with the creativity to speak the inconceivable into being.) To friends - don't be strangers - we will be back to visit I am sure.

(Don't you just love the way Tullamore snuck herself into this picture (bottom left).

We had an awesome time crossing the country - bypassing the big trucking routes along the long back roads.... Got me singing Michelle Shocked again - East Texas (Freestate, Northern Cape etc.), Red Clay, Back Roads (something like that).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ho Ho Ho!

It's that time of the year again!

The decorations are up in the shops - in a BIG way! I am packing my books, kitchen, and stuff into boxes and getting ready to move - my exams are almost over - it must be Christmas time.

But this year - I have to preach at my new Church on Christmas day. I've never preached at Christmas before!?

Its quite exciting. But now I have to come up with something cool and creatively captivating... Hmm....

This picture is from Helen Martin's owl house in Nieu Bethesda - very beautiful little nativity scene.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New addition to the family


Meet Tullamore.

Our brand new Irish Terrier. (She's still gloating over Ireland's win last night.) We've named her Tullamore, after my Gran and Grandpa's old house in Gonubie near East London. Tullamore is where I first met McGinty - my Grandfather Apple's Irish Terrier.

She's in her second day with us and already falling into routine - my only complaint is having to run down the stairs with her in the middle of the night when she needs to pee. (She sleeps in a box next to our bed and wakes me up with a whine when she wants to go outside.)

Her two favourite toys are a piece of rope and a squeaky hedgehog.

Anyways - its feeding time - just thought I'd make her famous.

More pics of her are here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The force be with you

(I am sure this is profound - one day when I look back on my blog I will remember why)

Today we met some of the incoming phase ones - people who begin the journey like we did (the group of phase ones of which I was a part) in 2004. Its quite awesome to think back to those days - phase one was my biggest deterrent to getting into the ministry, I didn't know how I would cope. I convinced myself that it was a good idea because it would be the best way to learn to be a relevant minister in a very difficult context.

I learnt some skills - but the question as to whether I will ever be able to be truly 'in the context' remains. Perhaps that was the lesson - I will never be a very good chameleon - but as an authentic and original Angus engaging in different contexts and being as much my self as I am - then I think God will be able to use the fool that God made in the way that God wants to use him.

But I'll have to say, whatever doesn't kill you builds character, and sometimes character is a good thing.

One of the things that I have learnt, or been reminded of along the way is that the Kingdom of God is not in the Church - the Kingdom of God comes in the work that we are each called to do, and that we do do. Some wise person whose book I read said that Jesus said 'the Kingdom of God is here' and since then we've been mistakenly looking for it in the church. I think that if we look for it in the church we will end up broken and disillusioned - but if we find it in our interaction with the world around us, in our work within the Spirit - that will be a source of life and not destruction.

Then we will begin to see the Kingdom of God.
(And the force will be with you)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

On the way to church this morning


I saw two elephants. Then I saw hundreds of motorbikes being ridden by teddy bears taking humans somewhere.

Isn't life strange.

PS. I've added some books to the book blog... check them out: http://gruntlebooks.blogspot.com

I'm better now

On the right is a picture of the staff and students at John Wesley College. I'm the tall handsome guy in the middle at the back. The guy in the pornographically red academic gown in the middle is digitaldion (the dean of studs)! The photograph is a bit fuzzy 'cos it was taken through my cell phone which got dirty in my pocket. (I'll explain some other time - about snotty tissues and camera lenses.)

This week is the last week at John Wesley college for many of us who go to circuits this year. It feels a bit strange to have to grow up and be responsible after being a student for a year. Please pray for us all as we take on new responsibilities in the big wide world. (That we may keep something of that laid back student attitude.)

One of the things that has come accross in the seminars that we've been having to prepare us to go back to the circuit is the notion of knowing who you are - what you're called to do - and be organised enough to do it. I'm busy trying to organise myself a bit now... But I think I do have a pretty good idea of who I am and what I'm called to do.

I am Darth Vader - and I am called to dominate the universe. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dried eyeballs


Today I feel a bit like Zefrank describes in his video blog... I've got flu. Heather brought it home from school on the weekend, and now she's left it at home with me. Aaarggh. SO if I read too long, or look at my screen for too long my eyeballs seem to dry up.

I must go back to bed now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

National Teacher's Sunday

As some of you may know, I am married to a teacher. Being married to a teacher has taught me new respect for these admirable and very important people - then again I am a bit biased.

I want to try and encourage as many churches as possible - throughout the country to have a special event in their services on the first Sunday of the first term next year. At this service I want churches to pray specifically for teachers; dedicating them, and praying for them in the important and difficult task which they do.

In South Africa especially teachers are struggling as their job becomes more and more difficult. Classes are overcrowded, many children speak different languages at home to the language they speak in school. Aids is having a significant impact as more and more children are becoming the senior figure in their homes. Parents are busier and busier having less time to help children with their school work.

Teachers often fill many roles for children - they act as parent, counsellor, social worker, minister, special needs educator... and so much more.

I feel that as churches, as Christians we need to support teachers more and more so I am setting up a campaign to promote a national teacher's sunday on the first Sunday of the first term of the year...

Please sign up for the campaign mailing list by visitin http://groups.google.co.za/group/teachers-sunday

Or send me an e-mail at gruntleblog@yahoo.co.uk

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Stolen Identity

Some villain has made off with my web url! I am getting failed delivery reports from e-mails that I haven't sent. So if you get a strange e-mail from something @ gruntle.co.za it wasn't sent by me, or by a virus on my pc. It was sent by a villain!

Just so you know.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Don't just sit there... blog something


I am busy writing an essay on the Hermeneutic of Supicion.

Why am I writing this?
What does it mean?
Am I here to oppress you?

hmmmm......

And just why did I include that cartoon?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Croc Hunter!

Theology and aeronautics...


I met an aeronautical engineer once. His job was to design the front wing on formula one cars...

But thats beside the point. All I have is a question:

"Is theology to religion, as aeronautics is to flying?"


Just wondering.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Collaring! (A blast from the past)


Originally posted on Sunday, November 07, 2004:

On Sunday the 31st of October 2004 I was collared! My circuit of churches has sent me on my journey into the ministry. I guess its all too much to take in and understand at the moment, but it slowly seeps into my soul, like the gospel.

Today I blog from my favourite coffee shop in Cape Town (Kalk Bay actually) The Olympia Cafe! It's Tuesday and I'm on leave for a month - a beautiful day and time for me to reflect on where God - the one who holds me by the colar is taking me! The crazy guy at church thought the colar was hilarious and kept asking me to bark like a dog! Prophetic? I hope not.

But I did just see a big great dane walk past the window - ginormous compared to the person who held its leash - it could have dragged her from here to Somerset West, but it chose to submit - actually it was holding the leash in its mouth, walking along happy as mud!

If I was a dog, I would want to be a Great Dane - big, gentle, strong and quite affectionate. God gives me the freedom to bolt and run off, but I choose to wear my collar and with all my heart, I hope to hold the leash in my mouth, knowing where God is leading me every moment. (I can only pray that God will give me this grace.)

Leaving the congregation at Church Street is sad for me, relationships built up over the past couple of years will fade again, I confess I have guarded my heart with the knowledge that we would be moving off. I guess its a hazard of ministry, developing a hardened heart that won't let people in for fear of being hurt by departure etc.

Oh well, its a journey and I am just young - life with God goes on and I grow with it. Hopefully with the leash in my mouth, excited about the new adventure that my master leads me on.

(Woof!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm alive!!!


I am happy to announce that I am alive, and so were all people involved. (Myself and Ananias)

Today, on our way back from the airport from taking Ananias' wife to catch a plane a huge big metal jobby (which my friend Jaco tells me is used to hold containers on top of trucks) flew off a truck, bounced off its tyre and through my windscreen.

All I have is a very bruised arm and a broken car to show for it, but it was close! And I can count a few things that could have been different...

  • If I wasn't changing gears when it hit me it would have hit my arm holding the steering wheel and I would have probably veered into the truck.
  • If I wasn't wearing my sunglasses my eyes would have been peppered with glass like the rest of my face.
  • If it had hit the car a few inches lower it wouldn't have been deflected by the body work, it would have flown directly into my upper body.

I am a little freaked out! And I have a new 6kg paperweight to help me appreciate what it means to be alive...

I don't mean to be melodramatic - but that was a bit too dramatic for my liking.

I'm not sure if I believe in God sparing people - because if I did I would have to believe that God intentionally doesn't spare some and that doesn't make sense to me. But... It does remind me that God wants me to enjoy every moment I have with everyone I have around me; to be who I am called to be without apology to anyone... and a whole bunch of other important things.

I am happy to say that my life is full, I am in many ways a gruntled human being. Life is a gift, lets treat it as such. Thank you to my friends for smses and calls!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing...


Another politician with a Messiah complex. Tony Yengeni. I heard him saying "Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing" on the news last night as he was booking in to Polsmoor prison. His crime, according to him: "Getting a car at a discount price..." - not that it had anything to do with a multi billion dollar arms deal or anything. Yea, I definitely do see the Jesus parrallels.

Anyways, I must say that I particularly like the Donkey in which he rode to polsmoor. If I'm not mistaken it was a Rangerover Sport, HSE.

Proof that, (in a very dubious, round about manner) the Messiah might actually prefer Range Rover to Land Rover... Definitely anything might me better than a Mercedes M Class. (Just speculation.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thou shalt not covet...


I prefer to think of the ten commandments as the ten suggestions. I insert certain conditions. Like: "Thous shalt not covet anything other than landrovers." I think this is valid - Moses knew nothing about landrovers and if he did he would have inserted the same condition. (Think how handy it would have been in the desert.)

The 2007 landy (Defender) because there can be no other. Will have a 2.4 diesel codeveloped by Ford Engine (better than Beemer if you ask me). A six speed box, and more comfortable chairs...

Covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet covet....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Manna & Mercy...


If you haven't read Daniel Erlander's book (and its footnotes) you've missed out on a greatly clarifying, mind opening, quick, in depth, challengin re-reading of scripture. But this is not about that.

Its about my need to be corageous, to remember who I am, and who God called me to be. The first time I did the Manna & Mercy course with Allan Storey at Observatory Methodist Church it really got me excited. I had just resolved to follow God's call, I had big amazing and wonderful ideas.

Yesterday; doing the course again I was disapointed in myself. I have not been as courageous as I had hoped to be, I was challenged once again to stop being such a nerd, to remember that rules are meant to be broken and the gospel challenge is here to burst the world.

So I write this to remind myself next year, when I look back over my blog postings, to be more courageous, to watch for a new thing, to be who God calls me to be.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Paarl here we come...



Just been informed that we're on our way to Paarl! Great news, especially now that its confirmed and all lined up... Looking forward to being close to family and old friends.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Waiting for a station...


One of Michelle Shocked songs has a line in it... "I'm waiting for a station, just like - some people wait for a train."

One of the things about becoming a Methodist Minister is becoming itinerant... the church sends, and the people go. Funny that I often sing Thuma Mina! Send me! But when it comes to the crunch - I'm not sure I like being sent. Even though we hear rumours, we know where we might go - us probationers live a bit in the balance - It makes me feel a bit insecure.

But hey, I had no idea where Potchefstroom was - but we did find it, and we had a wonderful time there! Made friends with some wonderful people, so wherever next year takes us, it is in God's hands. (Even if its not what we expect.)

My colleagues here at college are restless, waiting to find out where they have been sent... tomorrow, the next day - soon. The tension is thick. Pray that we will all have the faith to know that wherever God's love takes us, God's grace can provide for us.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Counting the Cost of Crime


During my hospital visit today I met a man who had been robbed. Thugs beat him up badly, took his wallet and his cell phone. His name is Israel. The people who stole his stuff got away with a few hundred rands worth of goods, but this crime will cost him a lot more.

Israel told me that he has no way of contacting his boss and by now his boss will have found someone else to do his job. Israel has a family in Kunwana - a location in the middle of nowhere really, he's probably their only source of income.

Its amazing how when we count the cost of crime in SA its so often to do with banks and security companies - even the hospital bill that the state will bear because Israel is confined to a hospital bed.

But the cost is human. Israel and his family will probably survive - it seems that people have learnt to get by in this country, sometimes miraculously. But there is no way of telling how much the crime cost him.

Please pray for Israel and his family.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

40 days of porpoise


My church is currently engaged in a mission.

The porpoise driven wife course, based on the book by Rick Warren. Its something of a phenomenon... I think he's even been on Oprah because of it.

But consider the implications... 40 days of porpoise! I've heard of rice diets, potatoe diets, cereal diets etc. etc. But porpoise? Do you have any idea how hard it is to find porpoise meat? I am paying a few hundred rands per kilogram to get porpoise from a guy who comes by my house at 2am on fridays. Why? - Because I believe that if my wife becomes completely porpoise driven she will be happy and complete. And what price is too dear for such a blissful goal?

The reason I'm writing this is to ask - does anyone have any recipes for porpoise? She's tired of porpoise and egg. And if anyone sees a porpoise (the bottom one is a dolphin) please harpoon it and post it to my home address.

Yours in porpoise,

Gus

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The stakes have never been higher...


"In the front pews the old ladies turn up their hearing aids, and a young lady slips her six year old a Lifesaver and a Magic Marker. A college sophomore home for vacation, who is there because he was dragged there, slumps forward with his chin in his hand. The vice-president of a bank who twice that week has seriously contemplated suicide places his hymnal in the rack. A pregnant girl feels the life stir inside her. A high-school math teacher, who for twenty years has managed to keep his homosexuality a secret for the most part even from himself, creases his order of service down the center with his thumbnail and tucks it under his knee...

The preacher pulls the little cord that turns on the lectern light and deals out his note cards like a riverboat gambler. The stakes have never been higher."

- Frederick Beuchner in Telling the Truth
(Quoted from Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Brilliant!

I'm not so sure about this world

From the Mail and Guardian online... (www.mg.co.za)

18 July 2006

Sending a message: An Israeli child writes a note in Hebrew onto artillery shells that will be fired towards Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon on Monday. Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, dismissed hopes of a quick resolution to the conflict on Monday night, vowing his military would continue operating at full intensity. (Pedro Ugarte, AFP) Read more

Here in South Afruca my wife teaches kids the same age as the one in the picture. Their lives are more complicated than I remember mine to have been - scary world we live in.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Magic Time

Been home since Sunday 9th July...

Couldn't really find the words to say what it was like to be back in Cape Town, with familiar family and friends - especially new family (baby Luke on the left - he's smiling 'cos he thinks I'm a boob). With time at my disposal to sit - to do the things Heather and I like to do - like eat, sleep, read funny books like spud arb around - goof off and drink Vida E Coffee!

I was reminded that its important to stop for a while and remember who you are - not what you do. I study and do the things that I do a lot, to the detriment of who I am. I guess thats why wisdom tells us a day off is a good thing. So I am dedicated to taking my leisure time more seriously - and also my work time - in their place of course.

The good news is that the rumours of being nearer to family in the new year are getting louder! So hold thumbs for us.

* * *
For my Birthday my brother gave me a CD voucher - which I spent tonight on Magic Time, a new (2005) CD from Van Morrison - definitely a bit of old school Van Morrison shining through - thats what rhythm and blues was! (Before my time.)

* * *
The view from my sister's stoep (best place for a cup of coffee in Cape Town)
Cuzin Patrick! Seems like a few days ago we were fishing and you ate all the bread. Now we's old and all grown up, aint that sad. Congratulations on yours and Jacqui's engagement - much happiness to you both!
Michelle and Andre - it was good to see you - Michelle stay strong, thinking of you and sending lots of love (you're a wonder!)
Had more pictures to post, but blogger is being difficult - will post some more in time!
Sam - thanks for the music guy! The band sounds real. Posted by Picasa
vida e cofffeee! Posted by Picasa
Kalk bay pier with cousins/friends Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm leaving on a jetplane...

It's holiday time!!! Heather and I are taking off for Cape Town this afternoon. Isn't air travel amazing, it usually takes us a couple of days to drive to Cape Town... tonight we get on the plane and land in Cape Town 2hours later. You have to have driven that distance to see how amazing that is. Wow!

Looking forward to seeing the Cape Tonians we have the time to see, especially our new nephew Luke!

Looking forward to Vida E Coffee, Olympia Cafe Pastries, Table Mountain, Somerset West, Franschoek chocolates.... the list is endless.

On top of it, I've got about 3 weeks break from 'scheduled' study. No early mornings. Yay.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Its time to get a dog (almost...)

Dogs are great.

I've been wanting to get myself a furry pet for a while. So now I am on the look out for a dog - and not just any dog... I'm looking for an Irish Terrier - like the one on the left. (That's Cony, my uncle's dog.)

The first Irish Terrier I met was my grandfather's dog, McGinty - or (Jinty). I remember going for walks with her and grandpa on the beach in the morning... those were good times (I was smaller then than I am now).

These dogs are a little hard to find, so, if you know anyone who has a dog that looks like this - let me know - I want to track down a breeder.

Thanks

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My Birthday tomorrow!


Tomorrow is my birthday - 18 June. I was born in 1976, two days after the 'Soweto Uprising.' For better reflections on that see Wessel's and especially Rock in the Grass' blogs. I've always thought of the day / time / era in which I was born as significant.

I like the title of Paul Simon's song, born at the right time. I believe that I was born at the right time to be me. The individual that I am - apparently my name, Angus, has something to do with being unique.

I am grateful that I was born when I was born. I thank those people who 'rose up' to make this land the land that it is today. I hope and pray that I will be able to rise up as courageously as they have to continue to make this world better for all people (in my own small way).

Whenever it is, I believe we were all born (somehow) at the right time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Jesus loves you!



Lovely sentiment, but sometimes the whole historical Jesus thing makes that sound a bit arb... I mean if I had a penny for every Gallilean, Jewish, Mystic, Activist peasant that loved me! Or whatever other descriptions you can come up with for the historical Jesus.

I guess thats why we need faith.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New book blog


I know of more books to buy than I have money to spend. But that does not stop me from coveting them.

So, in order to guide my coveteousness I thought I would set up a blog for books - maybe just asking for comments, or reccomendations on books to read. I will tell my friends who read books (the kind of books I enjoy) an e-mail address to which they can e-mail their posts.

I will update / moderate/ beautify the posts, and people can also comment on them. There will also be a handy link to www.Kalahari.net where you can order them online. (and you can follow the link at the top of my blog to get to the book blog.

www.gruntlebooks.blogspot.com

Friday, June 09, 2006

Gruntled are the peacemakers...

My new baby nephew Luke whom I will meet in less than two weeks:
Disgruntled...

Gruntled...
The good prof asks the question in the M&G:

"If on a bad day I am disgruntled, then why on a good day am I not gruntled?"

I'm not sure really - but god gruntle you anyways.

The reason I like this word is this:

Because I figure if Jesus had known the word gruntled (actually I am sure he did, if his listeners had known...) then I think the sermon on the mount would have gone something more like this:


“Gruntled are those who know they are spiritually poor;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Gruntled are those who mourn;
God will comfort them!
Gruntled are those who are humble;
they will receive what God has promised!
Gruntled are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires;
God will satisfy them fully!
Gruntled are those who are merciful to others;
God will be merciful to them!
Gruntled are the pure in heart;
they will see God!
Gruntled are those who work for peace;
God will call them his children!
Gruntled are those who are persecuted
because they do what God requires;
the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
“Gruntled are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil
lies against you because you are my followers.

Be Gruntled and glad,
for a great reward is kept for you in heaven.
This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted."

- Good News Bible (Adapted for Gus)


So when I feel gruntled or disgruntled, I always try to think of these verses - (not so keen on the insults and persecution tho) - and before I get to these verses I think of a whole lot of other things like food... drink... gadgets... (such is my condition)

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm famous - I can retire now

Wow - my picture is on the front page of The Dimension, and its not even for something bad... pitty there's no sexy pic of me in my lingerie on the back page.

Bummer.

Anyways, now that I have been on the front page of the dimension - for no other reason than the fact that I sat in the front row I can move churches and see if I can get to the front page of their paper!

Yay.

(Don't tell anyone, but I am posting this from my palm... I am supposed to be paying attention - I look like I am taking notes.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Pentecost Year B - To conspire

Dassie, I must thank you for the idea - conspiracy... I've taken it on a slightly different tour.

This is the sermon I conspire to preach for my trial service on Monday... published as a pdf, because - lets face it - who wants to read a sermon?

Here is the sermon

PS. If you see any charges of heresy coming my way - or you have any suggestions, please let me know before I expose myself to the College!

God Bless
Gus

Getting into hot water...


I avoid trouble. (I have found that it only causes headaches.)

I was reading a horsey book (I am not a horsey person) but it is quite inspiring besides the cheesy horses on the cover (Run with the Horses by Eugene Peterson). And I came accross another good quote from one of the most quotable Christians who ever lived - GK Chesterton. Here it is:

"I believe in getting into hot water, it keeps you clean."



One of the things I struggle with in the church (particularly the seminary) is the sometimes and often reluctance to get into debate. When there is debate - the water boils. The subjects of debate are always too hot or too close for comfort. (I am one of those who boils too soon.) I worry that the 'cut and thrust' of classroom debate might be a bit more 'hack and shove.'

I guess to change the world we start with ourselves... so I'll work on it.

But wouldn't it be nice if debates in the church didn't run so quickly to boiling point but just remained hot enough to keep us all clean.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Saw this on someone's blog, apparently it's a real billborad up in Missouri...