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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • 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 Ekklesia (4)

Friday
Jun072013

The Church and the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's)

Yesterday I had a chance to do a presentation at the Stellenbosch University Winter school on the role of the Church in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's).  Here are the slides from that presentation.

The good news is that there has been some great progress towards achieving the 8 MDG's and addressing extreme poverty across the world.  However, it is critical that we finish well! It would seem that some early strides were made, and that now many governments have slowed their progress on more difficult issues.

The role of the Church is crucial in this process.  My reasoning was quite simple:

1.  The Christian faith is the largest faith on earth.

2.  Our scriptures are clear that we should work for justice for all people.  The earth is the Lords, we have stewardship of it and we need to do a better job of caring for one another and the plant.

3.  There are simple and practical things that we can do.  They begin with prayer but must move to action.

4.  I encouraged the listeners to move through the 4 stages of engagement (as mentioned by David Korten in his research), namely from A) Charity B) Projects C) Advocacy and Policy engagement to D) Social movements for change (e.g., like the suffigen movement in the last century).

I gave three examples:

- Micah Challenge Australia and the 'Finish the race' campaign at http://www.micahchallenge.org.au

- Unashamedly Ethical which is a global ethics advocacy community with support and encouragement http://www.unashamedlyethical.com

- Promising life, a South African project to work for the maternal health care and the reduction of infant mortality in South Africa (we have one of the best policy frameworks for basic health care, and great allocation of resources, yet delivery and implementation by the Department of Health in South Africa is dismal!) join them here http://www.micahchallenge.org.za

Of course I would encourage you please to sign up to EXPOSED and send a strong message to the leaders of the G20 that global corruption is not acceptable!  Go to the website or sing up below http://www.exposed2013.com

Monday
Jan022012

Vulnerable, gentle, powerful self-giving love

Happy New year to all of the wonderful readers of this blog!

It is set to be an exciting year for my family and I - we have that wonderful mix of security and change.  It is wonderful to know that we will remain in Somerset West for another year, enjoying our friends, our community, our home and our beautiful surroundings!  Yet at the same time it is a blessing to consider that we have a few new challenges ahead.

As of today my time will be split between three primary work projects and one personal project.  

First, I will continue to serve alongside Graham Power in the Power Group of Companies with chaplaincy responsibilities and opportunities to offer leadership within our two main initiatives, the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical.

Second, I was appointed to a post at the University of Stellenbosch in Ekklesia within the faculty of Theology. Here I will have three primary tasks: oversee two Master of Theology courses in missional leadership and spirituality, to coordinate research outputs and projects for Master, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral students who are in the partnership of Missional Churches. It is such a blessing to be back in an academic post! I am looking forward to a great deal of creative growth this year!

Third, I will be coordinating an international campaign to mobilize 100 million Christians around issues of ethics, justice and poverty.  The Campaign is called Exposed - Shinning a light on corruption (14-20 October 2013). The cost of corruption is staggering, over US$1 Trillion each year! In most instances it is the poorest of the poor who bare the brunt of such abuse. We will never rid the world of systemic poverty until we deal with systemic corruption. As Christians we need to be informed and empowered to deal with corruption in our own lives, and hold persons and institutions who have power accountable for their use of the world's resources.  So please do look in on this blog from time to time to see how this magnificent initiative unfolds in the months to come!

The personal project that I will continue to be involved in is a second PhD.  I was truly fortunate to be awarded a scholarship to do a second Doctorate at the University of Radboud in Nijmegen, Holland.  I have been working on that for a little less than a year now and will continue to do so this year.  I am working under my mentor in New Testament studies, Professor Jan van der Watt.  In short I am developing a new narratological approach to reading John's Gospel using integral (intersubjective) identity theory.

When I think of what lies ahead I get a little anxious!  I frequently feel that I may not have what it takes to do each of these tasks well, least of all to care for my family and honour God in the process.

However, in my devotional time this morning this quote from NT Wright offered me great encouragement:

When God wants to change the world, he doesn’t send in the tanks. He sends in the meek, the mourners, those who are hungry and thirsty for God’s justice, the peacemakers, and so on. Just as God’s whole style, his chosen way of operating, reflects his generous love, sharing his rule with his human creatures, so the way in which those humans then have to behave if they are to be agents of Jesus’s lordship reflects in its turn the same sense of vulnerable, gentle, but powerful self-giving love.

- N.T. Wright

Please can I ask for your prayers for my family and I?  Please also pray for each of these projects that I am involved in - each one is making such a significant difference in bringing transformation and renewal in the Church and the world.

May you be richly blessed in all that you do this year! Please let me know what your plans are, and if I can pray for you.

Thursday
Nov172011

The launch of Word and Worship - a resource on the Revised Common Lectionary

On Wednesday I had the joy of attending the launch of a great new resource for Churches and ministers - it is called Word and Worship. It is a great book that was put together by Dr Coenie Burger, Dr Bruce Theron and a team of ministers from various denominations including the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, the Anglican Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Church and various other denominations.

The book takes the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary and gives background information, commentary, liturgical, prayer and worship pointers.

Prof Russel Botman, the Rector of the University of Stellenbosch, spoke at the opening of the event, as did Prof Nico Koopman (the Dean of the Faculty of Theology), Dr Coenie Burger and Dr Bruce Theron. It was wonderful to see my friends Kevin Needham, John van de Laar (one of the conveners of the project - and perhaps one of the world's foremost theologians on worship and liturgy, picture here receiving his copy) and many other colleagues contributing to this wonderful resource!

 

 

Here is the report from the University of Stellenbosch website:

Word and Worship, the first South African ecumenical resource manual written in English, will be introduced on Wednesday 16 November 2011 at the Faculty of Theology.

It was compiled by 35 ministers of six different churches and will be published under the auspices of Ekklesia, a centre of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University.

Ekklesia will be distributing 6 000 copies in November, in time for use by ministers and congregations on the First Advent Sunday, on 27 November.

The purpose of Word and Worship, which follows the well-known ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary, is to assist ministers with the preparation of weekly sermons and services. BUVTON, the forerunner to Ekklesia, published an Afrikaans ecumenical resource manual for 14 years. It has long been a dream to publish an English equivalent, making it possible for churches on any given Sunday to be busy with common texts of Scripture.

I am a staff member at Ekklesia at the University of Stellenbosch, the centre in the Faculty of Theology that managed this project. We are planning to have 'Word and Worship' reflection and conversations starting from Tuesday the 17th of January 2012 between 9-12. If you're interested in attending these sessions please just drop me a line! It would be great to connect you with the group facilitators.

Thursday
Sep082011

I need your help to design a Masters course in Spirituality

Ekklesia web logo.jpg

We are planning to launch a new Master of Theology course in Spirituality and Spiritual formation at Ekklesia in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch

I would love to make this an 'open source' project! Our aim is to serve the Church and society. Ekklesia has a particular focus on shaping Churches, their clergy and members, for effective mission and transformation in the world.

As a result we would like our program to cover both spirituality and mission in what it presents for the participants. The Master of Theology program consists of 6 modules. 3 of the modules are shared with the Master of Theology in Congregational Leadership course. These 3 modules are: Congregations, a Theological module (this year we focussed on the Trinity and 'Missio Dei', and a module that introduces Christian Spirituality.

How can you help?

  • Please suggest themes or topics that you think we should cover in the three remaining modules.

  • Please suggest any books, authors, or scholars that we should consider including (with a brief one line motivation)

  • If you're interested in being updated on how this course develops, or if you may be interested in applying to do the Master of Theology in Spirituality and Spiritual direction at Stellenbosch University, then please leave your details.

    Please feel free to leave your feedback, comments and ideas in the comments section below (see the link below this post), or send me an email via the contact section of my website.

    Thank you!