Search
  • 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.
Pages
Social networking

Entries in solitude (2)

Thursday
May162013

Solitude and community

In my devotional reading this morning I came across this remarkable quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer about solitude and the Christian community.  Of course Bonhoeffer's context was that of Finkenwalde (the roque seminary he set up for pastors who were not willing to serve the Nazi controlled Church).  

Our Master of Theology students at Stellenbosch University have been studying what it means to have a spirituality that is missional - i.e., to have a spirituality that is alive in God's presence and discerns and acts upon the will of God in the world.  This is a world engaging spirituality, rather than a world-negating spirituality.

This is part of my current journey.

 

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. He will only do harm to himself and to the community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot escape from yourself; for God has singled you out. If you refuse to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called... 
"The challenge of death comes to us all, and no one can die for another. Everyone must fight his own battle with death himself, alone... I will not be with you then, nor you with me" (Luther)
Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. Into the community you were called—the call was not meant for you alone; in the community of the called you bear your cross, you struggle, you pray. You are not alone even in death, and on the Last Day you will be only one member of the great congregation of Jesus Christ. If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ.  If you scorn the fellowship of the brethren, you reject the call of Jesus Christ, and thus your solitude can only be hurtful to you.
"If I die, then I am not alone in death; if I suffer they [the fellowship] suffer with me" (Luther)
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Life Together.

 

Saturday
Aug042012

A growing experience of living (and working) in God's grace

Over the last few weeks I have had a growing experience of living and working in God's grace. It is a very powerful and comforting realization. Particularly so as I face the immense tasks that make up my daily life at the present moment. The Global Campaign that I have the privilege to serve is such a great task. Far greater than I am capable of on my own.

I am a minister. Regardless of what tasks I perform (whether I am teaching in an academic institution, whether I am working in the corporate environment, whether I am with my family at home, or whether I am serving in a Church). I am a minister.

However, in spite of this primary orientation, which is a response to God's call upon my life, I have frequently found myself in a position of 'striving'. I strive to do things that are good, things that are important, things that are significant. Yet, often what I strive for is connected to my own desire and will rather than a response to God's loving and sovereign will.

Here is what is certain - God is at work in the world. God is constantly busy with the work of love. God is lovingly working for justice. God is lovingly working for peace. God is lovingly creating. God is lovingly recreating. God is constantly busy with the work of love.

Over the past few weeks I have had such a strong experience of being invited into God's work of love in the world. It is such a wonderful experience to know that when God invites you to be part of His work you don't need to strive. The only measure of your worth is what God sees in you. You cannot be judged by the inadequate and imperfect standards of the world around you. Only God's standard counts. I believe that God places more importance on the person than on the 'office' that we hold. This does not mean that the office does not matter - in fact quite the opposite. If God calls one into an office, one must perform the tasks with great courage, discipline and creativity (as is fitting for all forms of ministry).

That being said, I have heard some wonderful testimonies over the last few weeks of people who have responded to God's call, an invitation to participate with God in God's work in the world. Some have succeeded by human standards, others have not. A common theme, however, is that each of these persons who has responded to God's loving invitation has had the privilege and joy of doing something that is truly worthwhile, lasting and significant.

The following quote, which is the last of many experiences, readings, realizations, and awakenings, over the last few weeks has been a great encouragement.

Christian ministry is more than doing good. Ministry is an act of service performed either consciously or unconsciously in the name of Christ. Ministry is Jesus Christ expressing his life through us. It is born, therefore, not in activity, but in solitude, where through the spirit we experience the power of life from within. No one becomes a "minister." Rather in trust we so open ourselves to the Spirit that Jesus Christ can express his ministry through us. Prayer and ministry, therefore, are indissoluble. In the stillness of meditative prayer we are confronted by God's loving claim upon us - the most intense intimacy a human being can experience. To know this intimacy we have only to let go. Instead of relying on our own initiative, where we are in control, we discover that we are participating in what God has already initiated within us.
- From Ministry and Solitude by James C. Fenhagen.