• What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.
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Update on Liam - 22 November 2006.

The good news is that Liam is stable. He is now completely off oxygen, and is managing to metabolise about 8 millilitres of his feed. He is still fed through the little tube in his nose and receives supplements via a drip. Megie was discharged on Saturday evening. She is doing so well! Now, however, we spend our days and nights running between home (and work) and the hospital.

The bad news is that Laim had a cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding on his brain). It was a grade 4 bleed, which is not good news since it is the most severe. Thankfully there is no paralysis, and it seems as if the immediate threat has passed. However, we now have to guard against post-hemorrhage hydrocephalus (a blocking of the cerebral spine fluid drains). And, then of course, since it was such a severe bleed he is likely to have sustained some measure of damage to his brain. We will only be able to ascertain to what extent he has sustained damage once he is a bit older and more stable and can be examined by a neurologist.

Please pray for Laim, and also for us. These are difficult times.


In God's perfect time!

Update 17 November 2006. Today is Liam's first full day not swiming around in his mom's tummy. He is doing very well in the neonatal unit. His breathing is stead, obviously he is still on a ventelator. Megie is also doing great! It is amazing how quickly she is recovering. She should becoming home this evening (18th). Then we will be back at the hospital every day to feed, visit, and take care of little Liam.

Just a quick note (very early in the morning, or late in the evening), to let you know that our little boy, Liam Angus Forster, was born at 22.30 on Thursday 16 November!

He was born premature at 28 weeks and weighs just 1.1kg's (look at the picture of his tiny little foot!).

However, he is fighting fit and is doing well! The doctors are all very happy. As you can see from the photos below he is a bit of a gadget man (like his dad), and couldn't wait to get acquainted with all the hospital machines and things!

He will be in the neonatal intensive care until he weighs around 2.5 kg's, or until he reaches his supposed birth date (mid February next year). So, please do keep us all in your prayers! We still have a bit of a journey ahead of us.

Megie is doing very well indeed! She was resting when I left the hospital a while ago. She sends her love to all. Thanks to everyone for your prayers, support, and care, over the last two weeks. It has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride!

We thank God for our little gift! He is just perfect!

Much blessing,

Dion, Megie, Courts AND Liam (BJ)


Apartheid!? What the heck is that? Perhaps we forget the truth too easily.

A post from my friend Murray's blog (hi Murray!!) made me laugh and cry at the same time.

His post centered around the death of PW Botha, a tyrannical President during South Africa's Apartheid era. Please check out his post for the radical difference of opinion between the two cartoonists. However, it was the cartoon below that almost made me rupture my spleen!

Simply click on the image to enlarge it. I would love to hear from a few readers (particuarly those in South Africa). How many of your children, or the children you interact with, remember what apartheid is. I use the present tense 'is' since this evil is still an ever present reality. Now, however, it is slightly less visible (whites still dislike and abuse blacks, blacks resent and abuse whites, and the rich abuse the poor). In fact the South African government's adoption of the 'civil union bill' is another form of apartheid which says, "everyone can be equal under the law, all persons can have a civil contract, but gay persons may not marry. They're less equal"... Sadly the MCSA seems to be saying much the same - our Church has chastised ministers from sharing God's blessing and grace freely. It would seem that this blessing is only allowed to be shared with persons who the Church regards to be members in good standing, persons who are like 'they' are, good Christian folks. I wonder when last they read the Bible to see who Jesus hung around with, and who received His blessing. It was not the Priests and the officials of the Church, that's for sure!

By the way, if you want a superb insight on the Widow's mite (Mark 12:28-44) for the lectionary, please read the post for Proper 27, year B, on Dylan's lectionary blog.

What do you think? Will Christ's justice, mercy, and peace, also be forgotten in time?


At last, a sensible pie chart!

Do statistics confuse you? Yup, I know the feeling...

Well, this must be one of the most sensible pie charts I have ever seen! One look, and it all made sense to me!

Admit it, this one made you laugh... or at least chuckle. Heck it is not a monkey punching itself in the...... Well you know the story. But, hey it is a simple, sensible, pie-chart. Nothing deep here!

What do you think? Come on people! Post a comment! Let's see who will be brave enough to break the silence! Who rolled on the floor laughing their heads off (ROFLHO), who laughed out loud (LOL), who just grinned :-)


Is your faith simply a delusion?

I love reading stuff that is challenging. The book that I am dipping into at the moment is "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

It makes for very interesting reading indeed. Of course it has caused quite a stir among religious people! Dawkins pulls no punches. However, in the process of trying to take a digg at religious fundamentalism, he makes the mistake of naively believing that all religious persons are to be painted with the same brush.

I read a review of this book that is even better than the book itself! You can read the whole review here. It is skillfully writen and has a keen insight into both Dawkins' style and his aim.

Here are a few extracts from the review. (P.S. I do still encourage scholars, theologians, and persons of faith to read this book. It is always a good idea to be informed on what people may be thinking about you and what you believe! However, this book is not for the faint hearted - if you're not sure what you believe, it is probably not worth reading.)

A comment on Dawkins' theological insights:

Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don?t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince.

A critique of Dawkins' concept of God:

Dawkins speaks scoffingly of a personal God, as though it were entirely obvious exactly what this might mean. He seems to imagine God, if not exactly with a white beard, then at least as some kind of chap, however supersized. He asks how this chap can speak to billions of people simultaneously, which is rather like wondering why, if Tony Blair is an octopus, he has only two arms. For Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is. Nor is he a principle, an entity, or ?existent?: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist. He is, rather, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever, including ourselves. He is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. God and the universe do not add up to two, any more than my envy and my left foot constitute a pair of objects.

And lastly, some insight into Dawkins' favourite subject!

In its admirably angry way, The God Delusion argues that the status of atheists in the US is nowadays about the same as that of gays fifty years ago. The book is full of vivid vignettes of the sheer horrors of religion, fundamentalist or otherwise. Nearly 50 per cent of Americans believe that a glorious Second Coming is imminent, and some of them are doing their damnedest to bring it about. But Dawkins could have told us all this without being so appallingly bitchy about those of his scientific colleagues who disagree with him, and without being so theologically illiterate. He might also have avoided being the second most frequently mentioned individual in his book ? if you count God as an individual.

In the light of his love for himself, maybe the title of the book should have been "The Richard Dawkins delusion"?

Need I say more? Read the book, but also read this wonderful book review by Terry Eagleton.


My chapter for an upcoming book is done at last!

Some weeks ago I delivered a paper at the Southern African Science and Religion Forum. The title of my paper was:

Identity in relationship: The ethics of ubuntu as an answer to the impasse of individual consciousness

After presenting the paper I had to edit it to get it ready for a book in which it will be published called "Indigenous knowledge systems".

Well, the great news is that I managed to complete my edits this morning (in between a thousand interruptions!) However, it is DONE! Tick.

You can download a copy of the chapter below if your interested to read how the ethics of ubuntu can help scholarship in consciousness studies and identity to overcome the impasse of an identity crisis that is looming as a result of consciousness emulation in strong artificial intelligence.

ubuntu and identity Dr D Forster 2006


The outcome of the Doctrine, Ethics and Worship Comission's (DEWCOM) discussions on same sex relationships

A number of persons have emailed to ask how the presentations and discussions on the Methodist Church of Southern Africa's attempt to grapple with same sex relationships went this week.

Here is one of the Sumissions made by Greg Andrews. You can also find his reflections on the meeting, which is very well put, in his blog post "Dassie finds hawks may be doves" (26 October, 2006).


Bluebulls are faster than Cheetas! Scientific evidence...

This post is in honour of my good friend Dr Bentley! He is an ardent supporter of the South African Bluebull rugby team (who recently drew the Currie Cup final match with the Free State Cheetas! VRYYYYYYYSSSSTTTAAAAATTTT!)

However, I was sent this amazing video of a Blue bull outrunning a cheeta in the wild. It is amazing, never before seen, footage of this kind of event in the wild! The video is not that large (2MB). Download it and be amazed!

Click here to download the Video file


I just can't connect the dots.

Wow! Take a look at my Clustr map (the most up to date version should be on your left somewhere near the top of this blog). Can you believe how quickly the dots have returned?!

You may have noticed that somewhere in September I cleared my map (it was by mistake, I'm sorry to say - one wrong click and all the dots disappeared. I was quite sad! I had put a few of those dots there during my travels around the world (I'm still missing one from Korea!)). It took ages for the dots to start coming back again!

Then, I post something about George Bush being drunk, or possibly something about transgender sexuality (I think it is more likely to be the latter, rather than the former) and VIOLA all the dots re-appear!

Isn't it scary to think that each one of those dots could represent some person searching for "transgender" and "sex" somewhere on the web? MMmmmmm...... Makes one think doesn't it?

I haven't been brave enough to do it myself (search for those terms, that is)... What if someone sees me? What if some l33t haX0r from a 'warez site', or 'all free serialz', or 'free mp3 downloads', or 'porn king' is 'sniffing my packets' (and no that is not some kind of sexual innuendo, it means to trace someone's movement online!). PS. I inserted all those terms to see whether I get a whole lot MORE hits to my page from strange places! Watch the dots, and let's see if it works!

How about one of you types that ["transgender" AND "sex"] into google and see if my website comes up? Wouldn't that be a HOOT! Let me know what you find! I would be very interested to hear!

Of course, the easiest way to get 10 000 hits to your page is to post it to and manage to get 'dug' to the front page. We all live in hope.


Choose your battles.

As I grow a little older (please note the word little), I have come to realise that I have to choose my battles carefully. Sometimes it is simply because I don't have the time to get involved in all the things people ask me to get involved in, at other times it is simply a matter of being wise enough to get involved in enough things to make a real difference. The cartoon below says it all!


GW Bush is drinking again! (Late Late Show)

Anyone who has ever had the joy of watching CBS' late, late show with Craig Ferguson (what a great Scottish accent he has!) will truly appreciate this next video.

When I watched this, I laughed so hard that I almost wet myself! It is one of the funniest videos I have ever seen! Of course it is a bit of 'TV trickery', but who cares? It's FUNNY!!!!!

Watch it, and let me know what you think. Is George Dubulya Bush drinking again!?


Eunuchs and transgender sexuality in Matthew's Gospel...

I was sent the attached paper (please download the PDF) by a colleague of ours. It makes for a fascinating read!

It is a very accessible exegesis of Matthew 19:12. It poses the question whether our traditional reading of this text is valid in relation to the prevailing view of eunuchs in Matthew's cultural and religious setting.

It also offers some remarkable insights into heterosexist readings of scripture and the the dominance of masculinity in modern biblical scholarship (and of course popular Christianity).

This has been a real eye-opener for me. I have never thought of any other reading of Matthew 19:12 than the heterosexist askesis approach (i.e., that what Christ demands, according to this passage, is sexual purity and fidelity. Which, is of course, what we assume the Eunuch to embody).

However, this transgender understanding of the Eunuch, particularly as it relates to cultural understandings of both sexual morphology and social acceptance, challenges that view fundamentally!

From what I read in this paper, 1) Either Matthew records this saying, and intends quite a different reading from the one that has become accepted in modern scholarship (i.e. heterosexist askesis), or 2) it is a later redaction of Matthew to make a point to support social and cultural norms that prevailed after the 5th century 'outlawing' of transgender eunuchs. Of course this is quite plausible as well since this text is a logion with no other text to compare it to (from either the Gospels or the Epistles).

I would love to hear what your thoughts are!

Please click here to download the PDF file.