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  • 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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Entries in death (6)

Thursday
Oct062011

Giving thanks for the life of the Rev Dr Angela Shier-Jones

It was with great sadness that I learnt that Angie (Dr Angela Shier-Jones) passed away in September this year.  This is such sad news.  Angie had been struggling against cancer.

I remember a great conversation we shared last year when I was in the UK.  We were on the train after a meeting at LEAT and we were talking about dissease and faith.  The topic of our conversation centered around a special edition of the Epworth Review of which Angie was the editor for which I had written an article on being Christian in an HIV+ world.  As always her input was deeply challenging, a magnificent theological mind matched only by her pastoral heart!

Thanks for sharing the news of her passing with me Jenny.  I am deeply saddened by the news of her death.  However, I can only imagine what she is doing in heaven!  

Here are two wonderful memorial posts I would encourage you to take a look at.  Each of them gives a wonderful insight into one of the great (Methodist) theologians of our age.

Indeed, Lord, thank you for the gift of your daughter Angela.  Teach me to number my days correctly that I may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90.12).

Thursday
Oct062011

Steve Jobs dies - prayer and reflection

This morning I awoke in Malaysia (I am here for a conference) to hear that Steve Jobs, the co founder of the Apple corporation had died during the night at the young age of 56.

I spent some of my quiet time this morning praying for him and for his family.  I would like to encourage you to do the same.  Of course there will be many who are critical of Steve Jobs.  However, in this time of sorrow let's ask God to bring blessing, healing and grace to his wife, children, family, friends and colleauges.

There is little doubt that this man has left an indellible mark on recent history!  I was struck by how much he had achieved in his young life.  In part my decision to 'buy out' some of my time to retun to academic work and consultancy arose out of a journey to use my limited time on earth wisely.

I remember sharing this video (well worth watching!) of Steve Jobs speaking at the Stanford University Graduation with my Forum group and saying that the time has come for me to make some bold choices, even to take a risk, in order to move closer to God's purpose for my life.  And of course the courage to spend your life well begins with choice of how to spend your minutes and your hours.

Watch the video here when you get a chance.

So, I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:

The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty, if we have strength... for they quickly pass, and we fly away... Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90.10,12

May the Lord give you grace to know how to spend your hours and your days.  As Gretchen Ruben said so aptly, "While the days are long, the years are short".

Rich blessing from Malaysia,

Dion

 

Tuesday
Nov062007

16 Tombstones that make you go hhmmmm....  [Pictures]

Here's a link to 16 of the funniest (and saddest) tombstones I have ever seen.

Click here to see all 16 of them
.


I need to find something interesting to put on mine (and write it into my will!)

Any suggestions?

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Saturday
Nov032007

What is the worst way to die? A strange, and insightful, article.

I found this very interesting article on how stuff works, I thought it was quite interesting, although somewhat morbid!

Anna Gosline's recent article in New Scientist, entitled "How Does It Feel To Die?" got our hearts pumping here at HowStuffWorks. Gosline interviewed experts to find out what it's like to drown, fall from a tall building and ride the electric chair, among other terrible ways to die. This got us to thinking: Is there a worst way to die?

Buddhist monk burning alive
Courtesy Keystone/Getty Images
Immolation is one of the most painful ways to die -- which makes this Buddhist monk's protest of the Vietnam War by publicly burning himself to death all the more significant.

As it turns out, determining which mode of death is the worst way to go is subjective. There are impromptu polls on sites around the Internet (burning has a high ranking). But there's no consensus among professionals like physicians or funeral directors about which method is the least desirable way to exit this mortal coil. A person's fears may factor into his own personal worst way to die. The thought of falling to one's death from a tall building, for example, would probably scare the daylights out of someone who is afraid of heights, but wouldn't qualify as the worst death for someone else.

Awareness of the type of death and fear of the unknown can also make one kind of death more grisly than another. Dying in a plane crash is one example: The time between the airplane beginning its rapid descent and the moment of impact is more than long enough to generate terror. What's worse, depending on the circumstances, the passengers may remain conscious during the entire process. The plane is literally -- and unstoppably -- carrying its passengers to their probable deaths, and of this they are all totally aware.

With most forms of death, unconsciousness meets the victim before the grim reaper does, thus releasing the dying person from the fear that grips him. But the moments before death can be fraught with fear and pain.

A physician we interviewed recounts the story of a laborer in Africa who worked around vats of sulfuric acid -- one of the most caustic forms of acid. The man fell in one day. He quickly leapt out, but was covered in sulfuric acid, which immediately began to burn him chemically. In a panic and excruciating pain, the man ran outside. By the time his coworkers caught up to him, the man had essentially dissolved.

The acid burned the man to death, searing through skin, cauterizing blood vessels, and eating through organs until he died. The pain would be unbearable, and the circumstances irreversible. This is unquestionably a really bad way to die.

But what is it about stories like this? Why is it that on some primal level we feel the urge to imagine the man running madly about as his tissue fell away from his bones? Why do articles like Gosline's become so popular? In other words, why do we think about death? Read on to find out about an entire field of study dedicated to exploring death.

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Thursday
Oct252007

Top 10 IMMORTAL people... Guess what, Jesus is NOT one of them... I wonder why?

You may have noticed that I have been rather busy of late... I have had back to back meetings, classes, and appointments. As I've said a few times before I don't mind being busy. Occasionally, however, I do wish that the days had a few more hours to them!

However, what would you do if you could live forever!? I got to thinking about immortality AND eternal life....

First a bit of theology, a common heresy (and I used the word heresy very lightly here, since it could equally be applied to much of what I say and think) in popular Christian theology is that everlasting life means never dying... I can't tell you how many youth pastors, lay preachers, and ministers, I have heard speaking about accepting Christ and equating that acceptance with immortality (often framed with the notions of overcoming death, and living forever). Everlasting life is quite a tricky concept. Since the phrase does not assume that one has never died, it simply suggests that once one has received the gift of everlasting life one shall not die again. So Lazarus, in the New Testament, did not receive everlasting life when Jesus raised him from the dead... he just got a another chance at it, until he died again... Everlasting life is something that is likely to have come for him after he died again... You get the idea!?

Now, of course there is some truth in what our pastors and ministers say... One shall certainly overcome the effects of death through salvation in Christ, and then go on to an eternity of bliss in Christ.... However, death is central to the Gospel of Christ... It is NOT that Jesus DOES NOT die, neither is it true that we shall not die. Rather, the power of God is shown in that God overcomes sin and death. Death cannot hold us - that's the point!

Anyway, have you every thought who the TOP 10 IMMORTALS are (Just remember, that according to my little rant above, Jesus is NOT immortal! He died, and NOW lives forever)...?

Here's a link to a nice little list of top 10 IMMORTALS... I found a few of them quite entertaining. See if you can suggest any other 'immortals'.

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Friday
Oct122007

An appeal for help - Life in Zimbabwe is murder these days


The poster above, which is in South Africa, reads "Life in Zimbabwe is Murder these days. Just remember your country still needs you - come home at election time and vote for FREEDOM"

I was born in Zimbabwe. It is a beautiful land.

It is so sad to see what has happened there. It is time to start helping out!

I have a colleague who drives up to Zimbabwe from South Africa with a trailer full of basic food stuffs and stationery for ministers and their families about once every two months. He smuggles in things like pencils, powdered milk, nappies for babies, a few sweets and treats, hand cream, rusks, coffee and many other things that I take for granted. Of course it is not that these things cannot be bought in Zimbabwe, they can be bought, but usually one needs to barter on the 'black market', and payment can only be made in South African Rand, or US dollars.

Well, I want to help him as much as I can. Naturally it would not be a good idea to share who this person is on the internet. However, if you're eager to help then please make contact with me off the blog and I'll be sure to put you in touch.

I shall be donating the proceeds of the sale of my little book "A guide to prayer for use during examinations" to this cause - so, if you want to buy a few copies to give out as gifts, the proceeds go to a worthy cause! Just search for 'pre-order', or drop me an email, and I'll send you as many as you need.