• 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 Radio Pulpit (9)


The anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's ordination - Christians and power relations

Today is the anniversary of the Ordination of German pastor, theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (15 November 1931).

I spoke to Bradley Kirsten on 729 Cape Pulpit this morning about how Christians engage with 'power' - power in our nations, power in our communities, power in our families, power in our workplaces.

I chose this theme in reflection upon the life and work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. And then, in my morning devotional reading, this reflection by the South African theologian John Van De Laar challenged me deeply! It is well worth reading. I will place a link to John's daily devotions at the end of this post.

How do we respond to the ways of power and dominance in our world? The most natural response is to retaliate, using force to overcome force and violence to deal with violence. It’s tempting to place our faith in bigger guns, more money, and better power plays, but there is no peace or security to be found in that course. It doesn’t matter whether it’s conflict between nations or conflict between individuals, when we allow violence to beget more violence, we bring nothing but greater destruction, pain, and death into our world. It may feel good to dominate another, or to get revenge on an antagonist, but ultimately, when we make the quest for power the guiding force in our lives, we lose our souls.

Jesus had a very different way of living. When his disciples admired the grandeur of the temple, which had come to represent both political and spiritual power and wealth, Jesus warned them that such human power systems would not survive. The temple, and those who enjoyed power because of it, would be destroyed. Human attempts to claim power – whether through war or pretending to be great spiritual leaders (messiahs) – would ultimately bring nothing but destruction. What lasts is the way of powerless peace that Jesus lived and preached. As powerful as the Roman Empire was when it destroyed the temple (as Jesus had predicted), it could not withstand the power of the Gospel. It took a few hundred years, but ultimately love and peace remained and the Empire collapsed.

Most of us will have little to do with the power plays of governments and nations, except as we use our vote or our voice to engage in political processes. But, we all have to face power dynamics in our lives, our families, and our communities every day. Here is where we need to make the choice either to embrace the power games of the world, or to embody the “powerless” peace of Jesus, refusing to retaliate, being quick to forgive, and quick to share whatever power we have with others. This is the theme we will explore this week.

See John's daily worship resources at:



Taking Jesus to work... Transform your work life!

Recently I was speaking to a friend about his work.  I could see that he was frustrated and worn out and I had been trying to encourage him to see how God could use him just where he was.  Somewhere along the line of our conversation he said, ‘I live for the weekends! I dread going to work on Monday, and when I’m at work I count the hours until it is Friday.  If I didn’t need the money I would stop working’.  As I was driving back to my office later that morning I thought, ‘how sad that he is wishing away most of his life! Surely there must be something more meaningful to your work-life than just hanging in there for a paycheck!’

I’m sure that there are many people who live for the weekend, and many more who simply work because they need the money!  The good news is that you don’t have to wish most of your life away.  God has a wonderful plan to make what you do from Monday to Friday one of the most fulfilling and exhilarating parts of your week. 

Look at this quote from Ed Silvoso:

Most Christians who on Sundays worship God to the tune of inspiring music fail to see that what they do during the week is also meant by God to be worship’ Ed Silvoso

And then there's this verse:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. – Colossians 3:23-24

In this episode of my radio program - The Ministry and Me (for Radio Pulpit) I discuss the notion of 'taking Jesus to work with you'.  You can download a copy of the audio from here (10MB MP3).

The recording is actually based on a chapter of a new book that Graham Power and I have written together called ‘Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling’ - the whole book is about serving Jesus in your work life and in your work place.  It is currently being printed and will be launched at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on the 21st of May - if you're interested in attending the book launch as part of the Global Day of Prayer conference please drop me a line or leave a comment below.

In this episode we discuss the clear and simple principles of serving Jesus where you are right now, without missing the opportunities that God is giving you.  I share some clear and practical examples (mainly testimony from Graham Power’s life, and also some lessons that we’ve learnt in our company).

As always I'd love to hear your feedback, insights!  Please just leave a comment in the comment section below.

Also, if you'd like to be kept up to date on developments with the new book, or enter into some discussion on the book or the concept of ministry in your work life please join the facebook page for 'Transform your work life'.



Making your marriage work (when the honeymoon is over)

The marriage relationship is intended to be one of the greatest blessings in life!  When all is well in your marriage you can be sure that this relationship will give you joy, offer you the love you need to grow, and sustain you through even the toughest of times!  However, when things go wrong in your relationship it can be one of the most painful and difficult experiences of life!

So, how do you make your marriage work when the honeymoon is over?

Some years ago when I was doing my doctoral research on the human brain I read numerous articles about how the human brain causes us to 'fall in love' in order to move us towards reproduction (remember the post some time ago about the three basic functions of human brains and survival?)  This system of the brain causes us to feel good when we're with the person we're in love with.  It also causes us to overlook (or not notice) negative qualities or irritations that may hinder our desire and capacity to add to the human species!  The most common chemicals in the brain that cause this condition are testosteroneestrogendopaminenorepinephrineserotoninoxytocin, and vasopressin. If you're interested you can read the wikipedia article here.

In short, the 'honeymoon' phase of a relationship will pass at some point and we will begin to notice certain elements of our partner's behaviour, character or appearance that will cause irritation and perhaps even cause us to dislike the person.

Life would be so much simpler if more of us chose to get married AFTER this neurobiological phase had passed!  But, alas, most of us tend to get married when we're in love.

So, how do you make your marraige work when the honeymoon is over?

In this episode of my radio program 'The ministry and me', recorded for Radio Pulpit, I discuss this challenge and offer some practical advice on making your marriage work when the honeymoon is over.  Thankfully I have an awesome wife!  She loves me in a deep and mature manner that is emotional, but much deeper than mere emotionalism.  After 17 years of marriage Megan and I have discovered (and rediscovered) the joy of love, friendship, fun, companionship and care.

I'd love to hear your feedback and input!

You can download the MP3 audio file here. (10mb - mp3).

Here's a link to a video I made some time ago about marriage.


Prayer, what is it? And, how does it work?

Prayer!  It is such an incredible gift! Yet, I think so few Christians understand the real power, blessing, and potential that came come from a life of prayer. 

This week is the first Sunday in Lent.  Now many of us have come to think that lent is a time in the Christian calendar when we are called to take some time to grow in our understanding of what it cost God to be in relationship with us.  Traditionally Christians have given something up for Lent, and of course the reason for that was to help the believer to share in some small way in the cost of Christ’s suffering, and to be reminded of what it cost Christ to set us free.  For example some of us have taken up fasting, every time that we are hungry we are reminded that we have become much more dependent on food than on God, that in fact we have a greater hunger for food than we have a hunger for God!  It also reminds us that what we can choose to do, that is remain without a meal, is not a choice for so many.  My temporary hunger is a daily reality for millions of people all around us.  Lent helps us to reconnect with the God who did not count the cost of loving us.

Now, I am not sure what you’re giving up for lent (if anything).  However, this year I want to encourage you not just to give something up, but to TAKE SOMETHING UP. 

In this podcast (which is an episode of my radio program from Radio Pulpit) I discuss prayer by considering an aspect of the prayer life of Jesus.  24/7 prayers as a lifestyle of intimacy with God.

You can download the episode here (6.2mb, MP3).

I'd love to hear your feedback, comments and input!


Be intentional about finding joy in life!


I recently read a single line that has left an impression upon me - 'At work, on purpose'!  I think that sometimes we forget that where we are, what we can do, and who is around us are all very important in God's plan for our lives and the lives of those among whom we live and work.
I have met far too many people that live for a different reality - heck I have even fallen prey to escapism myself.
I recently read Gretchen Rubbin's fantastic book The happiness project.  In it she discusses the discipline of cultivating thankfulness and joy for what you already have.  She calls the discipline 'mindfulness' - I have often spoken of 'living with intention'.
It is important to build such simple little disciplines into our lives so that we can make the most of what we have, instead of wishing our lives away!
So, tomorrow I shall return to work, and I pray that I will be there 'on purpose', i.e., fulfilling the purpose for which God has placed me there.  I will have chances to transform both people and systems with Christ's love.  I can model the including love of Christ, make a stand for justice, and gently do my best to make the lives of those around me better.
But, this requires intention!  Here's a sneak preview of my next radio broadcast from my program 'The Ministry and Me' from - as always I would love to hear your ideas and feedback!  You can download the MP3 file here (6MB)



On being blessed and being a blessing...

Have you noticed that Lions never go on a hunger strike! This post will tell you a bit more about that - you see it comes down to consciousness and choice. These are but some of the privileges of human sentience... Read the post below for more detail on these thoughts, and if you feel like it, download the audio recording for a different perspective on freedom, choice and mediocrity.

Being blessed and being a blessing! A sneak preview of my next Radio Pulpit broadcast. You can download the MP3 recording here (6MB).

So much of life is about choices. I find that I can so easily slip into mediocrity. Do you struggle with the same? I either slip into the routines and expectations of my context - simply responding to the most urgent and necessary things that are taking shape around me each day. It would seem that Newton's laws of motion apply to so many aspects of reality! Inertia is a very powerful force in movement. It takes a lot of energy to break free from the direction in which one is traveling (or not traveling) at any moment. My studies in neuroscience have shown a similar trait in the manner in which our brains (perhaps the most powerful organ in our bodies) operate. The brain is not only geared towards survival (see this post for more on the three basic questions that all human brains operate on). Rather, it is geared towards the conservation of energy as a means of survival. Since energy is a fundamental aspect of our physical survival our brains make all kinds of choices (some that we're not even aware of) in order to ensure our most likely survival in a world of pressure, choice, and obstacles.

Think about this, your brain will increase or decrease your body's temperature, slow or increase your heart rate, and at times even cause you not to hear, see or smell things in order for you conserve energy and survive (women call it selective hearing, us men call it survival! ha ha ;-) But there are many other examples of how our brains, a part of our own bodies, fit into the wider set of systems that make up life in and around us.

Of course unlike animals we humans have the power and ability to control our bodies and minds. Have you ever noticed that Lions don't go on hunger strikes? Only humans have the capacity to consider what is MORE important than the momentary urges of survival. So, we may choose starve for some greater cause - of course even that often comes down to the survival of the species (if not our own survival, then at least the survival of our kin and kind).

We can choose! We can choose to become conscious of what truly matters in life. We can choose to become conscious of ourselves and others, and we can adjust our choices and behaviour in order to do more than just what is necessary! We can do what is Christlike, and in so doing find blessing and be a blessing.

So, the reality is that it becomes easy to just 'go with the flow'. The Philips translation of Romans 12:2 says something like 'Be careful that you do not get squeezed into the mold of this world'.

Energy, that's what it takes to be more than just ordinary! It takes a few radical choices, a few small victories, and a couple of little course adjustments and changes to begin to gain mastery over your life, your context and the 'mediocrity' of the world. We can choose to be more than just ordinary.

In this radio recording for my radio show on Radio Pulpit I discuss this notion in more detail.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

Rich blessing,


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Silence is golden... BUT, not when you are a blogger.

I have been in Durban for meetings, and then today had a day full of meetings in Johannesburg (all to do with the NEW Seth Mokotimi Methodist Seminary we are building in Pietermaritzburg).

Tomorrow I shall catch up on my office work (after a morning meeting in JHB), return the 10 zillion phone calls and emails that are waiting for me, and post a few things that I have been thinking about to this blog.

This morning I recorded three more episodes for my radio program 'The Ministry and me' - I made MP3 copies on my voice recorder. I just want to see what the quality is like and then I shall post them here for those who cannot get Radio pulpit on either their cellphones or the internet.

Thanks to everyone who has been checking in on the blog!

Please could I ask to offer thanks in your daily prayers for the gift of the life of my little miracle son Liam - he turns 1 year old on the 16th of November!


Listen to Radio Pulpit on your cell phone anywhere in the world (no radio required)!

Many people have missed listening to Radio Pulpit, the Christian radio station, since it has moved from FM to AM here in South Africa.

Well, now you can listen to Radio Pulpit from anywhere in the world on your cell phone!  And no, you don't need a cell phone that has a built in radio.  Simply follow the instructions on the Radio Pulpit website and get set up!

Of course you can also listen via streaming audio on the internet.

I shall be on air again at 9am tomorrow (Wednesday, GMT+2).


Me on my the 'Orange bomber', my 1968 Orange VLB Vespa Sprint

Here is a picture of me on my 1968 Vespa VLB 150cc. I think she is looking great, and she sure is running great! (Click on the image to enlarge it).

The photo was taken by Professor Jan van der Watt, a very famous New Testament scholar with a speciality in Johannine literature (particularly John's Gospel). I edit all of his manuscripts for publication. We also share in a radio program on 'Radio Pulpit', a Christian radio station that broadcasts in South Africa.

He is the REAL scholar on the show - I think they asked me to come on because I am English speaking (whilst Prof van der Watt is Afrikaans speaking), and I have a doctorate.... Sure, I know a few things about the Bible. However, I always have to take my laptop with me and access the Libronix software (Logos) for the finer etymology of the Greek and Hebrew words, and some of the socio-cultural, socio-historical, and syntactical intricacies of the text.

Our program is intended to help people read and use the bible responsibly (i.e., to avoid fundamentalism and literalism that often causes religious bigotary, abuse, and struggle). The program is called 'Do you understand what you're reading?' (Verstaan jy wat jy lees?) People get to phone in and ask questions about the socio-cultural background to texts, the original Hebrew or Greek translations, and some of the theological issues that are presented and dealt with in different books and texts.

Anyway, back to the Vespa, I ride her just about everywhere in Pretoria! I ride between my seminary campus and the two other Universities where I teach (the University of Pretoria, where I teach New Testament, and the University of South Africa, where I teach Systematic Theology and Ethics). She (that is my Vespa, fondly known as the 'Orange bomber') is SUCH A STUNNER! She always starts on the first kick (when it is cold) and NEVER starts with the kick start when she is warm - I'm not sure why... These, my friends, are the mysteries of the faith.... ;-) Hey, but it is always fun watching this doctor pushing her down the tarmac to get her up and running! Truly dignified... It is so great to drive her through the city, there are no traffic worries, and parking on campus is also never a problem.