To Nathan on His Fifth Birthday

On your second birthday I made a decision that on every birthday, for as long as I was able to do so, I would write you a message. I know how fragile life is, and I wanted you, one day – should anything ever happen to separate us too soon (it will always be too [...]


To Nathan On His Fourth Birthday

In October I attended the funeral of somebody for whom I have a great deal of respect and fondness. She was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident, and everyone expected the memorial service to be a particularly emotional and sombre affair. Indeed, when her daughters spoke, it was particularly moving. But not because her loss [...]

Life Begins at 40

My friend, Estelle, summed it up best when she found out it was my 41st birthday yesterday: “Is it your birthday today? I am not sure whether to offer congratulations or condolences!” Whoever said that life begins at 40 was quite obviously mistaken. I have given it a year now – I am not the [...]

Where Evangelism Goes Wrong

In recognition of yesterday’s being Pentecost, and because I have been reflecting a lot on the early church lately, I want to talk about evangelism today. It is, in many ways, at the centre of the church’s activities, and indeed should be. Still, as with many of the modern church’s practices, I feel that we [...]

There’s Something About Mary

National Geographic recently published an article about Mary, the mother of Jesus, describing her as the world’s most influential woman. Certainly she is a powerful figure, capturing the imaginations of millions and an icon to many of devotion, faith, strength and purity.  I am aware, of course, that since we know so little about her, [...]

To Those Living in the Land of the Shadow of Death

I am finding it difficult to write a Christmas message. It is so easy to fall into the trap of promoting mindless cheer. I am not suggesting that we discard the cheer, only the mindless. No doubt, even as I write this, hundreds of sermons and even more devotional bloggers will be reminding us not [...]

To Nathan on His Third Birthday

I apologise that this will not be my most eloquent piece. I write it as I watch you sleep, with a drip attached because you have had your tonsils taken out and you refuse to drink. We had other plans to make your birthday special, but – not surprisingly - you had other ideas.  I [...]

Heritage Day: Reflecting on What Matters

I have been told that I am overreacting when I express criticism of how we celebrate Heritage Day (September 24th in South Africa). I truly love the concept of Heritage Day. Knowing how the currents of history have influenced the space in which we find ourselves provides invaluable insight into who we are, both as [...]

Against New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. People who need to make them are either not committed enough to make the desired change, or have no strategy for effecting the change, thus ensuring failure. It requires serious dedication to break a bad habit and reforge a new one. Not a vague, whimsical suspicion that one’s [...]

Merry Christmas, Flatland

In Series 3, Episode 12 of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon mentions that Flatland is one of his favourite imaginary places to visit. Flatland is the title of a Victorian novel by Edwin Abbott Abbott (I don’t have a problem with giving a child a surname as a second name – after all, Nathan’s second [...]