Thursday, September 25, 2008

UPDATE - August 24, 2008

August 24, 2008

Hello, and good morning. I’m in a season of slightly more happenings, but it’s ok.
Last weekend on Saturday (17th of August) I went hiking again on a very short 1 hour hike up Lion’s Head. The cool thing is that it was at sunset.

Lion’s Head is part of the profile the most beautiful CITY on earth, Cape Town. And because of its height above the lights and the strength of a full moon, many people hike up before sunset and then hike back down using the natural moonlight to guide their paths. Others even hike UP in darkness, and then down. Many do this without a flashlight due to the brightness of the moon. And it’s quite enjoyable. Lots of people do it. Before accidentally doing it, I thought it was an exaggeration, but it’s true. The moon is quite bright relative to darkness (it’s not bright relative to sunlight). So it’s bright in that you can see things but it’s not completely clear as in daylight. The other point is that is only lights one side of Lion’s Head, so the other side which you must go around further down is not lit up very well. It’s still quite fun and romantic. And this if the first city where I have watched the moonrise and moonset. In fact, I watched the moonrise from the top of Lion’s Head. It was thrilling especially being a full moon.

The next day I went out of town for a weekend-away as part of the marriage prep course I mentioned. At the Sunday session (I missed the Saturday session because I was tutoring) I was officially sure that it gave me the feeling of discouraging marriage due to showing all the pitfalls and potential disaster areas. But preventative maintenance doesn’t always scare people from other things like driving. But it gave me a discouraging feel—like one of those 12 steps to success books or 7 steps for a healthy relationship or 4 steps to a wonderful family. I was SO thrilled when Lee (I like her; she’s very passionate about South African people) one of our speakers said what you really need is God’s grace in the end. There’s so much to say and learn and remember, but if you can remember that it will take you a long way. I think this was more at the heart of what I was getting at.

The other thing that scared me was that much of what was said is something (for me) you would say to one person. Like I might tell one person (in a couple), alone, to set up specific days where the couple does what the husband ones and then what the wife wants. That way (watch this) the husband won’t mind doing the wife’s event so much because he knows he’s going to get his day next weekend. Now if I am counseling a wife and I say that fine; she hopefully won’t find any inconsistency with the message of love I’ve been preaching. But if I say that to both of them, then it encourages the man to be selfish. Only enjoy this weekend because you know you’ll get yours. That’s not love. It should be more about giving to the other. But much of what was said seemed to have that weird backwards twist which was probably only me noticing from my backwards vision. I just don’t like telling someone to do something in front of the partner so that the partner gets what she/he wants when what I really should be doing is getting each other to give to the other instead of focusing on how to get what he/she wants by having the other person give or giving so that the other person gives so that she/he gets what she wants. Whew! I’m confused. One guy did ask a question about all the stuff we were learning bordering on manipulation. And so one question in the premarital questionnaire/survey is the difference between manipulation and ministry. It is possible to manipulate without knowing it, though. So it’s interesting. I love sitting in and listening to the older people talk. The last session (this past Tuesday) was on planning the wedding and honeymoon and on what the wedding covenant (last week was sexual intimacy).

Coming back from the weekend away, someone mistakenly told me to go to Hillsongs because Israel (one of the music worship leaders at Osteen’s Lakewood church in Houston and one of my favorite artists) was supposed to be there. Well, he wasn’t. He had canceled some Zim dates earlier and is planning on redoing his Zim dates and subsequently going through SA on a later date. So I ended up going to Hillsong without knowing it.

If you know Hillsong (Darlene Czech—“Shout to the Lord,” “I Will Be Still and Know You are God,” etc.), you know they have their own style of music (even their kids worship DVDs/CDs have a specific feel). They are huge globally. So when they said they were coming to Cape Town to open a church a few months ago, people made reservations for the inaugural service with the quickness. I went to the 8th Sunday (after two months) and it was still packed and going. In fact, the first Sunday, they had to make a total of 4 services to accommodate everyone who made reservations over the internet. Now they have two morning services and two different evening services. It was a bit darker than my church here with lots of guitarists, those colored lights on the ground that rotate and move around and stage smoke that oozed out during the music. It was like a concert!

The greatest part was that they actually had a group of black South African youth there called Africa Jam, and they performed three songs. It was so wonderful to see that and to see people mixing together. One of the leaders (?) or pastors (young guy) said he wanted their presence there to be the start of an ongoing supportive relationship. I hoped so, too, though I didn’t understand specifically what he meant. There was a young, pretty girl who led worship from the side (a male acoustic guitarist was central) who sang as if she were at a concert and almost seemed to be manufacturing excitement instead of being naturally incited about the material/topic she was singing.

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