Skip to main content

Friendship and Africa - #1

I believe that God is teaching me to be a friend, and in that way, opening a door on my friendship with him as well. In my opinion, the fact that I flew halfway around the world to see some friends says a lot about my values. Some people seem to be a bit awkward with this bit of information, for while it seems totally acceptable to spend vast amounts of money and time touring the world and that is thought of as adventurous, using your resources to visit some exotic place mainly to invest in people and relationships instead of seeing the sights just seems sentimental or needy or I don’t know what people assume it is. Frankly, I don’t care. I was privileged to live with a family for two-and-a-half weeks and have lots of good conversations and get to know them better by listening and watching and playing and eating together and seeing what adventures and challenges they face in their adopted, temporary country. I feel I gained much more than I gave (they gave me non-stop nutritious meals, regular swimming lessons, introductions to their friends, taking me along on jaunts around town, arranging day trips, praying for me, going shopping with me, and in general, taking good care of me in a strange land), but I pray that in some way they are richer as a result of my visit and know how much being in their home as an honorary family member meant to me. Their acceptance and love remain the highlights of my trip.

I was also privileged to stay with another family for 4 days that I did not know very well at all. They, too, embraced my presence wholeheartedly and offered that unique combination that I love so well: accepting me while challenging me to try new things. Though our time together was shorter and not as profound, I felt the weight of God’s hand on several conversations and encounters and I hope that I cross paths with these folks again.

Whether we live in Africa or Canada or anywhere in the world…the main struggle in relationships is how close will we let people come? How much will we trust? How much of ourselves are we willing to show? How far out on a limb will we go for one another, especially if we do not know them that well? The example is clear: while we were strangers, God died for us. Let me offer my heart and life just as freely – that is the greatest gift I can give.


Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.


When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …