Monday, August 31, 2009

RDM #9 – My Idiot Brother Keeps putting his foot on My Side.


Monday again, and thankfully it’s not really raining.  (At least not when I am writing this.)

One of the blogs I follow is The Church of No People.  I like the premise, and the name, which derives from the fact that, in the words of the author Matt “in the real world, I pastor a church. People show up on Sundays to hear the brilliant thoughts pour out of my mind. This blog is kind of like a church. Except that there are no people. It's the Church of No People.”  His theory is that since no one comes to the church, he can say what he really thinks, without having to worry about it being “fit for Sunday consumption” 

Unfortunately this theory is rather destroyed by the fact that he has over 200 followers. 

However, once upon a time, he had none.  And back in the distant past (last November) he posted a pretty cool post called My Idiot Brother Keeps putting his foot on My Side.  It’s very similar to the sermon we had in church this week, and is still fresh in my mind as I type this.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

My Idiot Brother Keeps Putting His Foot on My Side

Today, I was contemplating the great times I had with my family when my brother and I were kids and we went on family vacations. Mostly, these vacations consisted of going to see the grandparents, who lived several hours away. We went on only a couple of real vacations, but those are another story.

Now, with two boys sitting in the back seat of a car (no minivan, something I'm very proud of my parents for in hindsight) with a small dog and several items to keep us occupied, space was at a premium. There wasn't a lot of room for stretching out. Naturally, we did what any civilized eight year olds would do. We drew an imaginary line down the middle of the car, which neither of us was allowed to cross or allow our stuff to cross on threat of severe penalty.

And naturally, the line was always crossed. One of us would feel the need to stretch out, or my brother's stupid stuff would fall over the line into enemy territory. This breach of personal space was always quickly met with a punch in the arm. Then a quarrel would briefly break out, causing Dad to yell at us. He always addressed us as 'boys,' although I always contended that he should be addressing just my brother, as he was the always the culprit.

So we'd return to our sides, not touching each other. One would go back to his book or game. But something would stir in the corner of his eye. He would turn to find a finger pointed at him, less than two inches from his face.

"Not touching. Can't get mad."

Of course, the phrase 'can't get mad' never really seemed to work, as this phrase always incited carnal rage. We'd pull this on each other, following the letter of the law our Dad had laid down but not the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law was to sit down, shut up, and keep your mitts to yourself for the rest of the trip. We chose to simply 'not touch each other.'

Thus we felt we were righteous for following instructions, even while inflicting delicious suffering on each other. Jesus chided the Pharisees for trying ever so hard to follow the letter of the law, but always missing the spirit of the law. Now Christians are under the New Covenant, where there is no law, but we find ourselves often in a similar situation on the other side of the fence. It is easy to throw out the law, but what we forget is that many of God's laws still have relevant life applications today. We ignore the spirit of the law, because we believe we are not under the letter of the law.

What rules have I throw out in my lust to 'assert' myself as a free man of Christ?

Please leave a comment here, or go visit Matt’s blog.  If you are taking part in Rainy Day Monday, collect the badge, and put your link in Mister Linky.  (Assuming Mister Linky is working today.)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

RDM #8 - Golden Noise

Another one from my archives. I've been doing a lot of writing and poetry lately, so I thought I would pull one of my poems out and dust it off. It's short, but who really wants to read too much this early on a Monday morning?


So I wrote this poem a while ago, and tonight at my bible study group I started thinking about it. How often do we ignore the call for our lives, because we are afraid of what it will mean for us. Do we really want to hear GOD? Sometimes I am not sure.

In silence we hear
The Call to our own true self.
Hence the noise we make.

For more of my poetry, check out my other page, or go to fictionpress.

So you know the drill. Leave a comment, and if you're also taking part in Rainy Day Monday then leave a link in the Mr Linky Widget below. Please link to the post with the Rainy Day Monday in it, not just your blog address.

Well that's a load off my mind

I have to confess, I have always been worried about the rapture. Not because I'm afraid I might miss it, but for a number of other reasons. Firstly, I don't want to look like an idiot when I arrive in Heaven with these kids, and discover I'm the only one who didn't get the memo about the 70's dress-code. Secondly, because it might happen while I have a migraine, and I'd hate to be all grumpy in heaven. But mainly because I worry about all the good people left behind. And by good people, I mean of course my pets. It's all right for all the blasphemous heathens and unreprentant sinners, they had their chance. I am worried about my goldfish, Fluffy. Who will feed and love all these Christian pets once we believers go to our just reward?

It keeps me awake at night I tell you. I have often wondered whether I am being selfish by wanting to be saved. Surely 7 years of hell on earth is a small price to pay for the knowledge that your hamster has a good home.

Thankfully that will no longer be necessary. I have found the perfect solution... Eternal Earth-Bound Pets.

This US based company guarantees that "Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

That's right folks, for just $110 they will send someone to your house within 24 hours of the Rapture being confirmed in order to rescue and adopt your loved pet.

I wondered how we could be sure that this was legitimate, and that they weren't secretly christians. It turns out that "Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God / Jesus, and that they have blasphemed in accordance with Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation."

Oh well, that's a load off my mind.

Now if only I could do something about the migraines.

Monday, August 17, 2009

RDM #7 - The Monk on the Hill


So this week I am going to cheat slightly. If you’ve been following for a while, then you know that Rainy Day Monday is a day for me to pull an old post out of my blog, or a friend’s blog, that was perhaps overlooked, often because it was posted before they had many followers. Today’s post is in fact the first post by someone I know, but it is also his last post. It is in fact less than two weeks old, and is the start of a new blog. I thought I would feature his blog on RDM before he becomes famous.

John Forbis is a monk. And he lives on a hill. So it is rather appropriate that his new blog is entitled The Monk on the Hill: An Introduction. He is also a poet, and the name comes from one of his poems published last year. I am publishing from his blog today because I really like the poem it contains, and it has some interesting insights about writing.

Go and visit his site and welcome him to the blogging world. That will really freak him out, especially when he finds out he is being followed by a fish. :-)


Welcome to my site. I am an Anglican Benedictine monk living as part of the community at Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery. This monastery is a house of the Order of the Holy Cross, in Grahamstown, South Africa. Grahamstown is a university town and includes many other excellent primary and high schools. This population is about 40,000 to about 50,000 people when all the students are here. Our monastery is located in a rural area just outside of the town on 50 hectares of land. We are blessed with beautiful fauna, flora, scenic landscapes and exotic wildlife. Very few flat places. Our work consists of prayer first and foremost. Then, we provide a ministry of Benedictine hospitality to guests who come from all walks of life from all over the world. Organically growing out of both of these is our hospitality to the people and particularly children of the immediate area. We help children to have better educations from primary school on up to a tertiary education. This work includes the establishment and administration of scholarships and an intensive After-School tutoring programme. So naturally we are pretty busy.

My position here consists of providing the publicity for all of these projects and the news of our monastery. I edit a newsletter named Uxolo, published bi-annually and maintain the news for our website, I am also the novice master who is responsible for helping people discern their vocation to the monastic life as well as forming new men when they join our community.

So I was a bit reticent about beginning a blog. Would I have the time or the energy to maintain it? But the other thing I do is to write. I write every day whether it be poetry or any other piece of writing. Some of it has been published. Some of it has not. Some of it is garbage. (Don't worry. I don't plan to inflict you with it.) And some of it is well written. Such is the nature of writing every day. You have to dig through the mud and sand to get to the pearls. Some of those pearls are the mud and sand, just in a different more refined form. After some thinking, I realise that maintaining a page would not be quite the burden that I thought it would be.

I have named my blog The Monk on the Hill, with a nod to Paul McCartney and John Lennon's song, The Fool on the Hill. But it is also the title of one of my poems. It evokes the expanse and beauty of the hills in which we are settled as well as this beautiful country, South Africa. Hope you enjoy this site and if you have comments, I would accept them.

I thought it seemed only appropriate to post as my first piece of writing the title poem of the site. I wrote it a number of years ago as a reflection of the whimsical nature of many of our children. They instil in me a childlike desire for the impossible.

The Monk on the Hill

When the wind lifts the scapular of the monk standing on the crest of a hill
he thinks he could fly .

A small child wanting to come with him
grabs hold from behind
keeping them both earth-bound
to dust and dry grass.

The monk's habit is smudged
by tiny feet
climbing on his shoulders,

as if together they were a
flightless bird.

(published in New Coin)

If you are also doing a RDM post, please post your link in the McLinky widget below so that we can visit you as well. Please leave comments in the comment section here, or go to the feature blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Who are you talking to?

I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned this before, but…


It’s nothing personal you understand?  I actually hate all social media sites.  I just happen to be addicted to Facebook, so I don’t give it such a hard time.   (Don’t forget to join my fan page on facebook.)  But that’s not the point. 

Really it’s not. 

So let me ask you a few questions:

1.  Do you twitter?
2.  How much time do you spend talking to complete strangers about your day?
3.  Do you pray?
4.  Do you see where this is going?

So how much time did you spend yesterday talking to God about your day?  Did you tell him how nervous you were about that staff meeting?  I don’t mean your quiet-time, I mean all the time.  When that car cut you off on Main Street, and you realised you were going to be late for work, who did you tell?  What was your first instinct?  To bring it to Him, or the 500 total strangers who follow you? 

Oh, I’m sure Twitter is great and all, I just find it hard enough to fill my day with quality time for God.  If I’m already praying with one eye on my watch, I don’t know that I can keep the other on my cell-phone/laptop.

I’m just saying.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Biblios Hokku

Some more poems published from my Biblios Hokku collection. 7 down, 59 to go. :-)
I am busy trying to find the perfect closing line for Ruth, but I'm struggling. I'll get back to you once it feels right.

Our faith rewarded
He gave us the land we walk
Myhouse serves the Lord

So quick to forget
We fall and are delivered
No limit to Grace

Sunday, August 9, 2009

RDM #6 - Higher Ground

After posting guest posts from friends of mine for the last few weeks, it is time to do another Rainy Day Monday post from my own archives. Here's a little something I put together in February called Higher Ground. It is something that has been on my mind again lately, so I thought I would share it with you.


And every hour of every day I'm learning more
The more I learn, the less I know about before
The less I know, the more I want to look around
Digging deep for clues on higher ground...
Higher Ground - UB40)

I used to love this song when I was at school. I don't know whether it was the cool melody line in the chorus, or the fact that the lyrics made no sense. I could nod my head and pretend I understood, and that this was just too deep.

Now, many years later, I think that these words kind of describe my relationship with God. Over the last few years I have been trying to learn more about him, but I find that the more I learn, the less I understand. Or, the more I learn, the harder it becomes for me to understand. As a child I was content with what I had, now as I learn more, I start to realise that God wants more from me, and less. All he really wants is a relationship, and then for everything to flow out of that. So simple, but also so difficult. Following rules I can do. Reading and learning I can do. Being kind to others, well.... I can try. Loving God and wanting him only for him? Can I really? I don't know. It's a hard one.

Over at my other blog I did a post titled "It's not just about the chocolate" in which I talk about the fact that as Christians we need to be focused not just on eternity, and what God has done for us, but also on the now, and who he is to us. At least that's what I was going for, it might just be a post about chocolate. I never can tell.

In theory, the idea that God is seeking a relationship with us first and foremost, and that this is more important than our actions, is so liberating. But it scare me too, because I don't know whether I am up to the challenge. I have never been good at relationships. I am getting better, but there is still a long way to go. So I guess the more I learn, the less I know about before.

But I'm still digging deep for clues on higher ground.

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below, and if you are also taking part in Rainy Day Monday then put a link to your RDM post either in the comment section, or in the Mister Linky Widget.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Since I was deleted from Facebook last year, I have been wondering whether it was worth signing-up again. I thought maybe I could keep a low profile, and not be as active in certain circles this time.

I decided not to, that I would just wait until they invented something called Fishbook, and then join up where I was wanted. Alas and alack, technology did not move at the speed I had hoped, and thus I was deprived of the ability to connect with all my friends through the only true social media site, Facebook. (Twitter is for the birds.)

Recently however I made an interesting discovery. I am not allowed to have friends on Facebook, however I am allowed to have fans. Go figure. So I have created a fan page for Sharkbait. Look at me, I'm almost famous. And it's legal as well.

So if you want to be my friend, come along and join the page. Not much happens there, but at least they are friendly waters to swim in.

Sharkbait on Facebook

Friday, August 7, 2009

Caffeinated Randomness / Link Up

Today I am linking to two different blogging prompts.  Look at me, the little multi-tasking fish.  Using both fins at once. 

As always I am being random on Friday in honour of Caffeinated Randomness at Under Grace and Over Coffee.  This week however I am doing it by sharing 10 random facts about myself as requested by Lynnette Kraft over at Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground.  Both amazing women of God - please go visit their blogs. 

  1. I like the fact that I am tall because it make me feel superior;
  2. I don’t like the fact that I like being tall;
  3. Babies and young children love me, for no apparent reason;
  4. Some of my hobbies include Calligraphy, and Origami, which I am quite good at;
  5. Whenever I thought I had failed an exam, I would build castles, palaces and even villages out of paper, covering entire rooms of the house;
  6. My memory is so good I often pretend not to remember things so as not to scare people;
  7. I own my own business, which I operate from home;
  8. I once shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.  (No, I didn’t, but I love Johnny cash);
  9. I’m not really a fish you know. I just pretend. I’m actually allergic to seafood;
  10. Since I started school, I have spent less than two years not studying anything.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

More Haiku

Two more chapters in the Biblios Hokku project.

So quick to forget
We wander out our sentence
Yet still not alone

Hear oh Israel
I am your God, I am One
This is all you need

The entire project (to date) may be viewed here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Biblios Hokku

I love a good Haiku I do.

So I have decided that since my life is not hectic and complicated enough, I am going to stretch my poetic muscles a little by writing the bible in Haiku. That's going to be 66 seperate Haikus for each book of the bible. (Excluding the Apocryhpa)

And just because I felt that this task was not complicated enough already, I have decided to do them in order. So I will be starting at Genesis, and working my way through to Revelation. No pressure. I feel it will be an interesting exercise to try and capture the essence of each book in a few lines, while still retaining everything that makes Haikus so awesome.

I will be posting the entire set on my other blog and on fictionpress to keep them all together. Feel free to pop over from time to time and see how it is growing. I will also be publishing each new "book" here for your consideration and edification.

So far I have done the first three books, as well as an overview of the Bible as a whole. You try and do an overview of the entire message and spirit of the Bible in 5-7-5 and tell me how easy you find it!

Biblios Hokku
By faith, for service
our worth only in His eyes
we are saved for Him

In the beginning
Made for love, called for my own
Follow me, and live

God did not leave us
Fire by night, cloud by day
Our faith in our feet.

As I am holy
So must all my people be
Do this and draw near

Monday, August 3, 2009

Free Will

Why can’t you just
overwhelm me already.
You gave me free will
a wondrous gift to be sure.
But I don’t think I’m using it right.
Can’t you take it back please?

RDM #5 - I Love You


I had planned to go back to posting some of my own old stuff this week, but I decided to do one more week of “guest re-posts” before that. 

One of my friends in the blogging world is Anne Lang Bundy, who describes herself as “ Ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ, wife & homeschooling mom of five, and writer.” She runs a blog called Building His Body with some pretty deep theological insights and thought-provoking posts, go check it out – her July series on the Names of God was awesome.  I read a post on her blog in February this year called I Love You.  It was posted on Valentines Day, and Anne has kindly allowed me to re-post it here as a Rainy Day Monday entry.  I hope you like it, and I’ll go back into my own archives for something next week.



My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 16:24 NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:11-14 NKJV)

I cannot know how many people these messages reach. But as Paul did, I can honestly tell each one of you that I love you. If you belong to Christ I am your sister, I love you, and I look forward to spending eternity with you. If you are among those peeking in at His kingdom, I love you as the beautiful person God created, whom I hope to soon see.

And as long as God gives me the ability, I intend to lay down my life (my right to myself) and to love you as I pray for you and share God with you—His love, His person, His Word, His joy.

Heavenly Father, thank You for adopting me into such a big family. Thank You for the of Jesus that unites us. Please give us and increase in us Your deep love for one another.

Don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below, and if you are also taking part in Rainy Day Monday then put a link to your RDM post either in the comment section, or in the Mister Linky Widget (if it is working).