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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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Dr. Dion Forster's Books and Resources

This page contains a list of books that I have written - you can order them from Amazon.com by clicking the link below each book. 

I have two new books that will be published in 2010.

First, there is the inspirational book 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' - you can visit the official web page for the book here.  You can purchase copies of the book in most book shops in South Africa - or you can order the book online here (it is shipped overnight in South Africa, and anywhere in the else in the world as well).

You can download the first few chapters of the book here.

Second, I am under contract from Cambridge Scholars Press to publish my research on neuroscience and artificial intelligence. The working title is 'Why you may not be who you think you: An adventure in neuroscience, artificial intelligence and theology'.

If you're interested in articles and chapters that I have published in other books please follow this link.  I have not listed all my academic articles.

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley

    Endorsements for What are we thinking?

        'My enthusiasm for this book is fired by a number of factors. First, there is the variety of authors and topics. Second, the variety of topics reflects key points in our social, cultural, economic and political context. Third, there is a crying need to up-to-date books that relate the whole gospel to the whole world. Fourth, the book does not aim to indoctrinate us, but rather to challenge us to become thinking Christians in our own contexts. And while Christian readers of all denominations will be challenged and enriched by this book, a fifth reason for my enthusiasm is that it gives contemporary expression to the spirit of John Wesley. Not only were his interests wide ranging, as are the topics in this book, but he managed to develop that rate and precious mix of a theology that is simultaneously passionate and reasonable, both deeply spiritual and socially engaged. That is the excellent mix that this book also offers' - Rev Prof Dr Neville Richardson

        'This timely release introduces the reader to fresh, diverse, provocative and urgent voices within the Wesleyan tradition. They share insights on a number of contemporary issues that will push theological boundaries, spiritually enrich, motivate and challenge to action. Each contribution draws from the deep wells of their own life and pastoral experience and beckons the reader to drink from this veritable calabash of collective wisdom which adds to the current theological and public discourse. What are we thinking? is a source for growth. I recommend it to all thoughtful readers' - Rev Ivan Abrahams, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. 

    About the book:

    What are our emerging theologians thinking and saying about some of the pressing issues confronting the church and society today? Most of us need to have our thinking stimulated and challenged from time to time. Here is just such an opportunity. You may not necessarily agree with everything you read, but the issues are critical and need to be debated!

     

    Contents include:

     

    • Whose truth will set us free?
    • Searching for an African Methodist Liturgical theology
    • How we can read the same Bible and reach different ethical conclusions
    • Pastoral care with Christian gay women
    • A response to global warming and the environment
    • The economic implications of Biblical principles
    • Biblical metaphors of healing and transformation
    • Reading the Scriptures through women?s eyes
    • A perspective on youth development in South Africa
    • The use of rape in the Bible as a military metaphor
    • A call for 'affirmative action' for theological application

     

    Contributors:

    Rev Dr Wessel Bentley | Rev Mogomotsi Diutlwileng | Rev Dr Dion Forster | Rev Kevin Light | Rev Mantso Matsepe | Rev Madika Sibeko | Rev Alan Storey | Rev Debbie van de Laar | Rev John van de Laar | Rev Vusi Vilikati

     

    The full reference for the book is:

    Bentley, W & Forster, DA (eds.) 2008 What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists. Cape Town. Methodist Publishing house. (ISBN 978-91988352-6).

    Here's a bit more information from a section that I wrote in the Editors' introduction:

        The idea for this book grew out of a conversation with Bishop Ivan Abrahams, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. One afternoon he and I sat in Christ Church College, Oxford, speaking about the richness of our Southern African Methodist heritage. As we talked we celebrated the blessing and diversity of our Methodist Connexion. The Methodist Church of Southern Africa covers a geographical area that spans 6 nations (Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa). Within the denomination there is a veritable rainbow of cultures, and age groups - not to mention the divergent theological perspectives and styles of worship. When you mix the Wesleyan passion for Christian perfection with such diversity and a rich social history, the outcome is quite remarkable to say the least!

        In the weeks that followed that conversation I thought how sad it was that we did not have a resource, such as a book or a journal, that could capture and reflect the blessing of our theological diversity. So, early one morning, I emailed a number of 'emerging' scholars with the following idea: Each one was to write a chapter for the book. The only requirement was that their chapter should reflect a clear position on some theological or social issue about which they felt passionate. Many responded enthusiastically to the challenge, and so this book began to take shape!

        In the pages of this book a variety of topics have been considered. Some chapters deal with theological issues (such as the notion of theological truth, approaches to theology, and the use of metaphor in theology and scripture), others consider more practical matters (such as economics and the Christian faith, the training of laity, youth development, and crafting an authentically African liturgical tradition), still others have considered some of the topical issues of time and context (such as the Church and persons of a same sex orientation, gender issues, and issues of the environment).

     This book has two simple aims:

        1. To present a compilation of 'position papers' by Methodist scholars that reflect some of the issues that Southern African Methodists are praying about, talking about, and thinking about. In this sense the book aims to be 'zeitgeist' (a 'spirit of the times'), reflecting some of our current theological thinking on contemporary issues. You may not necessarily agree with all of the points made here. However, you are encouraged to consider the points that the author makes, to understand why he or she holds the position that is presented, and then to go on to form your own opinions and understanding of what you believe in relation to the issue at hand.

        2. This leads to the second aim, namely that we wanted to open the way for our members to begin to think critically about some contemporary challenges and opportunities that Southern Africa, and the Church in Southern Africa, faces. In this regard the book aims to stimulate prayer, thought, further conversation and ultimately courageous action.

        I pray that you will be challenged to grow in your own faith as you read the chapters of this book. Ultimately our common aim is to find the most effective, Christ-like, God honouring ways of establishing God's Kingdom here on earth.

    Order What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists(edited by Dr Dion A Forster and Dr Wessel Bentley) for R165 in South Africa (order form)

     
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley

    One cannot be a faithful Christian without being in mission!  The question is, however, what is true mission?  And more specifically what mission does God want you to do in your context?  This book is a rich resource that will aid you to work out the answers to these critical questions.  In its pages you will find challenging insights from our past, helping you to understand the unique and special mission focus that God has given to Southern African Methodists.  You'll be able to get some insights into what the Church is currently doing in mission, and perhaps even find some places in which you can involve yourself or your congregation.  But most importantly, this book will help you to think about how you can take the healing and transforming love of Jesus Christ into an unknown future.  The contributors to this book include past and present Bishops, University lecturers, Pastors and Ministers of Churches, all of whom are dedicated to Christ and committed to helping you fulfill your call to mission.  This book is a collaboration between the Education for Ministry and Mission Unit of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, and Africa Upper Room Ministries.  The profits from the book go towards the ministerial students fund of the Methodist Church and help in the training of ministers.

    To order this book please email Dion Forster (R140 in South Africa, $20 if outside of South Africa).

     
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster

    Are you tired of 'consumer' driven religion? Are you finding that the 'popular' steps to faith no longer satisfy your desire for true spiritual living? Then the novel and courageous approach of this book could be just what you have been longing for.

    The truth is that people cannot be whole unless they have an active and deep spiritual life. One of the great shortcomings of many contemporary western cultures is that they lull us into believing that we can find peace, joy, and fulfillment in what we own, or in what we do. Sadly, many people have come to discover that the pursuit of wealth, power, and recognition by one’s peers, are shallow and meaningless against the backdrop of what it means to be truly alive. When one considers that a human person has physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, the pursuit of true and ultimate meaning becomes all the more important in a world that seems so increasingly devoid of depth.

    This book charts a different course to the norm. It examines a way of life that may seem quite austere and strange to most of us. However, it will be shown that it is not the spiritual methodology, or even the content of this particular spiritual path, that brings blessing and peace. Rather, it is passing beyond methods, ideas, and even doctrines, that brings us into the presence of the God who gives and sustains true life; the kind of life Jesus speaks of in John’s Gospel (John 10:10)

    This book charts this uncommon spiritual path by examining the 'non-dual' spirituality of Henri le Saux (Swami Abhishiktananda - meaning 'the bliss of Christ'), a French Benedictine monk in India. His approach is challenging, courageous, and even unsettling in some instances. However, his deep commitment to finding Christ is an inspiration.

    About the Author

    Rev Dr Dion A Forster is the Dean of John Wesley College, the Seminary of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Pretoria. He is an Ordained Methodist minister. He holds a Doctorate in Science and Theology. He teaches Systematic Theology, Ethics, New Testament and Greek. He serves as a part time lecturer in Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of South Africa, and in the Department of New Testament at the University of Pretoria. Dion preaches regularly at the Bryanston Methodist Church, and has a weekly radio program called "The Ministry and Me" on Radio Pulpit.

     
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster

    About the book

    This book aims to address some of the common problems that 'modernism' and Western materialism have wrongly thrust upon the Christian faith. These problems include such things as the assumption that true Christianity must be framed in a Western cultural guise, the false duality between spiritual living and social responsibility, enmity between faith and science, unnecessary conflict between Christianity and other living faiths, and the loss of the sacred as a result of the dominance of Western individualism and materialism. I attempt to address these problems by presenting a novel and creative spiritual path that has the potential to address these dualities and struggles. At it's core this book is a discussion of Fr Bede Griffiths wonderfully rich Christology. Throughout the book the doctrine of Christ is framed within a mystical approach to the person and work of Jesus, offering new insights and a fresh theological vocabulary.

    Karl Rahner wrote that the "Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all". Increasing numbers of Christians, and Christian theologians, are starting to recognise how important a lived experience of the mystery of Jesus Christ is in finding true life, and in doing sound theology. Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine Monk who was educated at Oxford and spent most of his life adapting his Christian faith to the culture and philosophy of India, came to embody the depth and riches of mystical spirituality in his life and teaching. His integrated approach to spiritual living has helped many people to discover, and rediscover, the rich experience of being truly and fully alive in Christ. This book examines the elements that made Fr Bede's spirituality so significant. It discusses his understanding of the Person, nature, and work of Christ from a mystical and spiritual perspective. Fr Bede's Christology is informed by such varied sources as the Catholic Christian tradition, Indian philosophy, Hindu religion, quantum physics, transpersonal psychology, micro-biology, and the perennial philosophy. This book is a valuable resource for persons who seek to deepen their relationship with God and foster fresh and creative ways of expressing that spirituality in their everyday lives. It also has a great deal to offer the more serious theological mind through the discussions on experiential theological methodologies and the challenging new vocabulary and approach to Christology.

    About the Author

    Rev Dr Dion A Forster is the Dean of John Wesley College, the Seminary of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Pretoria. He is an Ordained Methodist minister. He holds a Doctorate in Science and Theology. He teaches Systematic Theology, Ethics, New Testament and Greek. He serves as a part time lecturer in Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of South Africa, and in the Department of New Testament at the University of Pretoria. Dion preaches regularly at the Bryanston Methodist Church, and has a weekly radio program called "The Ministry and Me" on Radio Pulpit.

     
  • Making Disciples in a World Parish: Global Perspectives on Mission and Evangelism
    by Paul W. Chilcote

    Paul Chilcote to let me know that 'Making disciples in a world parish: Global perspectives on Mission and Evangelism' was published.

    I was privileged to contribute one of the chapters that make up this book.  I wrote about the theology and ministry of Christians in Southern Africa in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  In my chapter I discussed issues such as the contextualisation of theological methodology, an insight into what it means to live with HIV/AIDS and what it could mean for Christians and the Church to respond appropriately in that context.  It is entitled 'Evangelism, mission and discipleship in Southern Africa: How hope is overcoming tragedy'.

    I'd encourage you to check out the book at the following URL - you can purchase the book from Amazon here.

     
  • An introduction to Wesleyan Spirituality (Wesley Society of South Africa)
    by Dion Forster
    About the book:
    Christian perfection is central to Wesleyan spirituality. John Wesley's understanding of the notion of Christian perfection owed its development to the three primary theological influences on his spiritual formation, namely: 
    • Puritanism, 
    • mysticism 
    • and the early Church fathers.

    Wesleyan spirituality is first and foremost a matter of Christian practice - Wesley wanted to figure out 'what worked'. As such, doctrine is a secondary priority in this pragmatic approach to holiness. By this it is simply understood that John Wesley was a Christian pragmatist, seeking a livable spirituality, rather than primarily focussing on doctrine. 

    From the author.

    I was asked to write this monograph as part of the Methodist Church of Soutnern Africa's Wesley Society series (it is volume number 6 in the series).  Having completed the first draft of the manuscript in 2001, Dr Arthur Attwell helped to sharped the text and grammar.

    This little book was intended primarily for lay readers and lay preachers in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, many of whom have English as a second or third language.  As such we did our best to keep it as short and clear as we possibly could without diluting the historical and theological elements of Wesley's Spirituality.
    Please do take a look at the two other books on Methodism and Wesley that I wrote with Dr Wessel Bentley. Those volumes are each about 150-200 pages in length and contain a number of superb scholarly and inspirational articles on Methodist history, theology and mission.  They entitled 'Methodism in Southern Africa:  A celebration of Wesleyan Mission' and 'What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists'.  Both of these books are available for purchase in the Amazon book store.
    God bless you,
    Dion Forster (Cape Town).