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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 fasting (3)

Thursday
Sep162010

Will you consider joining us in fasting tomorrow?

For the past 4 years Megie and I have fasted every Friday.  You can read about that journey here.

We would like to invite you to join us in our fast tomorrow.

This simple spiritual discipline has had immeasurable benefits for our prayer lives.  It is not a big deal! Here's what we do:

 

  • We choose not to eat any food until dinner on Friday evening.  Basically we skip our meals, or any form of food, until dinner on Friday evening. We do take liquids (juice, water, coffee, tea etc. So you can see we're not too strict!)
  • Whenever we feel hungry we remember to pray.  It's amazing how often one thinks of food when you are fasting!  So, I get a lot of 'little' prayers in during the day.
  • Use the time and food you would have used for eating for something else.  I normally take the time I would have used to eat lunch and breakfast and set it aside for reading the scriptures and engaging in specific prayers for particular people and causes.  Our prayers have focussed on children who are sick and their families for the past four years. You might even consider taking the food you would have eaten at lunch time and sharing it with someone who is hungry?

 

Would you consider joining us in prayer and fasting tomorrow?  Only do this if you are not suffering from any medical condition!  I would also ask you to use some of your time in prayer tomorrow praying for our daughter Courtney who will go for cancer surgery next week Thursday (23 September).

If you do choose to fast and have anything to share from your experience please would you share your experiences and thoughts with us here?

Friday
Sep102010

A quick update on Courts and Liam 10 September 2010

It's Friday! Megie, Courts, Liam and I were supposed to be in JHB this weekend for a family celebration - Megie's brother Craig and his fiance Kath are out from England as well.

Alas, that was not to be. But, at least we have the weekend together at home! Which is a rare event in itself! We're looking forward to some quality (and quantity) time together this weekend. I have taken a day's leave today to be at home with Liam and Courtney since Megie has to get back to her office to get some work done for the Lausanne Congress for which she works.

I have also cancelled my trip to Hong Kong next week. So, I look forward to being home with the family for the week ahead as well. I am truly grateful to my friend Graham Power who amended his INCREDIBLY busy schedule to fly to Hong Kong in place of me and spend two days there handling the speaking engagements that Michelle Harding and I were to do. Thanks Graham! Of course if the truth be told I know that our friends in Hong Kong would have loved to have Graham from the very start, but he is just so busy. I know that they will be incredibly blessed by him and our team on this visit.

OK, update time.

First, Megie, Courts, Liam and I want to say how grateful we are for all the messages of encouragement and support. We have been so blessed by your care. Friends have called, sent text messages and posted messages here on the blog and on facebook and twitter. We also had meals dropped off (yum, yum!) Thank you so very much!

The picture below was taken last year (some time towards the end of summer) at our local beach (Strand beach). Happy times, ice-cream, sunshine and sea! We're looking forward to getting back to these joy filled days soon!

Forster Family 2009.jpg

Yesterday one of Courtney's previous teachers (Mrs Bev Austen) dropped off two little books that her class of 3rd grade students made for Courtney. My goodness, these little kiddies have such a wonderful grasp of care and compassion.

Here are two pictures from the one book. Wonderful!

Courts get well book1.jpg

And here's another one with a little prayer.

Courts get well book2.jpg

So, our two little 'patients' are both doing better. Courtney will see her doctor today at 12.45 to check on the infection in her eye. I am pleased to say that the visible swelling is almost completely gone. She will still go for a CAT scan next week some time to be sure. But, she is in good spirits. As mentioned in a previous post she will not go back to school (probably until some time in early to mid October). However, since her surgery has been shifted to the 23rd she will get to participate in her school concert on the 13th and will still do her 'solo' in the guitar concert on the 20th. She is very excited!

As for little Liam - well, I think we just underestimated how vulnerable he still is to infection (even after all these years!) Having him at the hospital to visit Courts was obviously a little too much for his immune system. By Wednesday morning the doctor diagnosed him with tonsillitis, a double ear infection and pneumonia... But, I am pleased to say that he too is looking so much better. The fever has all but gone and we have him on a nebulizer and various medications. So, he too should be well by early next week.

My friend Cois sent me a very encouraging verse from scripture earlier in the week. It has been a source of great comfort.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. A Simple Guide for Behavior ~ Matt 6.34 (MSG).

Today is Friday, and that means that Megie and I will be fasting and praying again. This has been our spiritual discipline for the past four years (almost). As we pray and fast for children and parents. Today this journey takes us in another direction.

So, we appreciate all of the care, love and support! Indeed, we know that we are held within the loving and gracious hands of God; we hear His loving encouragement through your words, and feel his gracious power through your care.

God bless,

Dion

Friday
Aug202010

A long journey in the same direction

For me the journey began late one Thursday evening, on the 16th of November 2006 to be exact.

Megan had been in and out of hospital for about two weeks, at about 25 weeks of pregnancy with our second child, Liam. That evening, just as Courtney and I arrived home after visiting her in Hospital, the phone rang to say that she was giving birth... Liam was on his way, a full 13 weeks early.

I hurriedly took Courtney to our friend Madika Sibeko who lived down the road from us and rushed to the Pretoria East Hospital. By the time I got there Megan was already in the delivery ward, and with less than an hour little Liam was born - 1.16kg's at birth.

From there Megan went into theatre for surgery and Liam and I went into the neonatal ICU. He was very frail.

My father-in-law, Brian, started the journey for me the next day. On Friday the 17th of November 2006 he phoned me to say that he would fast each Friday until Liam came out of hospital. I joined him. Liam came out of hospital 3 months later and I continued the simple spiritual discipline of fasting each Friday.

At first I fasted to be constantly reminded to pray for my son, but over a period of 3 months spending most nights at the hospital I got to know the pain and struggle of many other parents whose babies faced some health challenge. Some survived. Others did not. So, I started using the hunger pangs of that one day - not a huge sacrifice - to remind me to pray for others.

Last year I extended my fast - as I was working on a series of articles on suffering and HIV/AIDS for books and scholarly journals I came to realise that that the majority of South Africans subsist on only one meal a day. So, in order to identify with the struggle of those who cannot choose what to eat, and when to eat, I decided to live on only 1 meal a day from Pentecost for the next 9 months. I used the time and money that I would have spent on my own food to pray for, and practically bless, others. It was a remarkable spiritual journey that has given me a completely new insight into what it means to have to go through the tasks of the day with an empty stomach.

I deliberately chose only to eat in the evening - this meant that I would awake hungry and go into the day, going to work, going into meetings, sitting among people who were eating, and I would do it with an empty stomach. I cannot adequately explain how my prayer life and practical outreach was enriched through this simple discipline. The insights gained prompted me to generosity on numerous occasions - giving away money, food and possessions (in my case mostly 'gadgets' of which I have far too many!).

And so, today I am fasting once again as I have done for the past 4 years. I'm sorry to say that my son Liam is not well at the moment - so please do join me in praying for him. However, I am also aware that today there are many parents who sit next to incubators and hospital beds worried to death about their children. There are even more people who awoke this morning having gone to bed without food.

There is work to be done! It is our work to do! Let's transform the world and start by making a difference where we are.

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness [a] will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. Is 58.6-10

Please consider joining me in this 'long journey in the same direction'. Let's walk together to loose the chains of injustice in the world. This is part of the core of the Gospel of Christ.