Originally Posted on September 20, 2011 by St Barnabas Anglican Parish of the Bluff
A commentary on Community and Growth
Towards the goals of community
If one has no clear goals, vision and mission then one is going no way. This applies to our individual lives and the parish of St Barnabas as a community. A community needs to know where it is heading too and whether it agrees with this direction. It cannot it be imposed otherwise conflict will arise. Just same as being in a marriage, it is fair and good to live together but that is not the end of the story. The couple have to agree on the direction, values and objectives of the family. This may even involve writing these down and visiting them from time to time. Our visioning Sunday is one way of writing down things that we would like to do as a collective in the parish, and from time to time visit what we have written down. What is written down is shared with others that are why we as a parish have a website(www.bluffparish.co.za/) to share these ideas with parishioners and even those who are looking for a spiritual home. We are on twitter to twit (@bluffparish) what is going on every day in the parish as things happens, we are on Face Book ( Bluff Parish-St Barnabas) as a parish we know that to be technologically savvy in our time is to be apt or apposite and street wise. Sharing of ideas means that tensions in the community are removed because like in a marriage tensions will arise because couples are not sharing ideas and we as community of the parish need to be sharing ideas whether we agree or do not is a different matter altogether. This means that we need a vision and a mission that is why currently we are running a bible study and this will culminate with a visioning Sunday. Followed by a planning morning to beheld on the 5th of November 2011 and parishioners and parish groups are invited( Sides persons, youth, Junior Church, Parish councillors, Wardens, Men of the Parish, AWF, MU, St Agnes Guild, Bernard Mizeki Guild ,Lay ministers, Staff, Sacristan) . Visioning Sunday takes place on the 23rd October 2011 and it will happen in all the four services, (0700, 0900, Junior Church, and Xhosa Service) our shared values should respond not just to the needs of the parish but those who exist outside the boundaries of the parish. “I am convinced communal life can flourish only if it exists for an aim outside itself. Community is viable if it is the outgrowth of a deep involvement in a purpose with is other than or above that of being a community.” (Vanier 1982: 9) When we moved beyond ourselves (meaning talking just about ourselves) then we will grow, we will spend more time responding to God as we serve the poor, the outcast in the community and those in need. “There is a vital link between the two poles of community: its goal and the unity of its members.” (Vanier 1982:9)
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Originally Posted on September 20, 2011 by St Barnabas Anglican Parish of the Bluff
A commentary on, “Community and Growth” by Jean Vanier
Vanier says, “When towns are depersonalised and depersonalising, many people are looking for community.” (Vanier 1982:5) Cities and towns can be places of unhappy people. The city can take toil on one, especially family life. In the city or town we have many lonely people. So a community like a parish can really foster relationships and can be place where one finds a home. At the same time within a community one can feel oppressed by those with strong egos, ambitions and those who have a neck of upsetting people. Vanier calls this signs of our ‘poverty,’ when we have the inability to live with others and insisting on our own way. The poverty that is within us begins to show when we are living in the community. It is when we remove the bravado and begin to pay the price of understanding the other and not letting our egos take over. Vanier makes the point that whilst we lived outside the community we had the perception that we were loved by all and we loved all. However, when we have become party of the community we discover to our shock and horror that we incapable of loving everyone. Vanier says, “Love seems an illusion.” (Vanier 1982:5) “So community life brings a painful revelation of our limitations weakness and darkness: the unexpected discovery of the monsters within is hard to accept.” (Vanier 1982:5) The easiest thing to do is to flee from our monsters and being to point out the monsters in others. This inevitable makes us feel very good. However Vanier says that healing begins to take place when we accept that we have monsters and “we can let them out and learn to tame them.” (Vanier 1982: 6) Vanier says this is growth towards liberation. Scripture says, “ Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? … You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7 vs. 1-6). Facing the self is a daunting task but it is in doing this that we are freed. Vanier makes the point that a community is a place of liberation; it is when we accept ourselves and others. When this happens can authentic relationships began. One of the reason people are always church hopping is that they have not found acceptance: what they come across is egos which are barrier to relationships. “In the community life we discover our own deepest wound and learn to accept it. So our rebirth can begin. It is from this very wound that we are born.” (Vanier 1982:6) A community gives us a sense of belonging. What is important in the community in this case our parish of St Barnabas-Bluff is to strive for good relationships and when that happens we will become a beacon to the bluff. People will be attracted to this community not because of the buildings but of authentic relationships. When we work towards good relationships then the temporary identities of colour, tribe, class, nationality fall away for we will be able to proclaim that we are belong to Jesus Christ and through him do we find our true identity.
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Originally Posted on September 14, 2011 by St Barnabas Anglican Parish of the Bluff
In the secular world that we live in there is a great temptation that especially among churchgoers that being a priest is someone choosing to enter into employment which does not demand much. There is in a sense that the secular world does not seem to understand that this is calling from God.
On the question that being a priest does not demand much and the famous joke that says priests only work on Sunday is wrong and at some level it is down right cynicism, designed by parents to discourage their sons not to be priests.
At the heart of being a priest is the calling. Best described in this phrase, “God put his hands on me…” There is no other explanation. Think about the disciples of Jesus, two of them come to mind in fact three. Luke the medical doctor, Matthew the tax collector and Paul the lawyer all these left they professions and responded to the hand of God. I am sure people around them must have thought that these guys are really mad, to leave all the wealth and social influence and to follow this son of a carpenter from Nazareth. That is the heart of being a priest, being aware that one has been chosen from the congregation to take up a special ministry to serve in the Church of God.
In the world, which we are born, we are taught that those who deserve our respect are those individuals with wealth and those with titles that can open doors. We are taught from an early age to strive for both. This thought has been influenced by the secular world that we live in. Because of this there is a danger for the priest to imitate these world standards and there is a great danger of a priest losing touch with his vocation in our world today. Increasingly in this world the priest is being called upon to justify his existence because the world sees no material worth of having a priest. In some parishes’ assessments towards the priests stipend is grudgingly paid.
He is a priest by the Grace of God. Not by his own virtues or abilities. He is a priest not because he deserves to be one, nor did he earn it, he is a priest because it pleased God to call him into priest hood. If a priest is to be at peace in this world where worldly standards are applied he has to accept that God called him. Through this he faces the world without apology for whom he is, it is by Grace and nor merit, this is the basis of being a priest in the present world.
We have Biblical examples of those called by the Grace of God, Abraham we are not told about his gifts or abilities, but God calls him. The initiative lays with God. Moses was called to lead the people Israel out of Egypt there is no merit mention why he was called. The initiative was God’s. The prophet Jeremiah was called by God, what is required by God from those whom he calls is obedience and trust. As a priest I must trust God that he will provide for me and indeed he does, through the community of the faithful in which I serve my ministry. It is humbling to be looked after because we are raised to be self-sufficient. Priest are called serve God in obedience, trust and total surrender.
© Fr Barnabas Nqindi 14 July 2011
Origionally Posted to wordpress on September 13, 2011 by St Barnabas Anglican Parish of the Bluff
St Barnabas-Bluff is in need of a major up lift. This up lift can be seen in two ways: property and people. The two go hand in hand. Our surroundings can make us cheerful or sad. A cluttered place can take energy from you – drain. If the surroundings are not good then people will not be happy either. Nehemiah become sad because the surroundings back home where all broken down, the walls needed rebuilding. Nehemiah was inspired by God to go home and rebuild the broken walls. In the process he inspired the Jews to believe in the vision and in themselves. This inspiration did a lot to their wellbeing because they began to have sense of direction and purpose and they built the wall and we see this in the preceding chapters. This does not mean that Nehemiah did not have opposition he did. But he continued despite the opposition and the broken walls were restored. This helped to up lift the Jews in Jerusalem. Today we launch our fence project and I hope just like the Jews it will bring to the parish a sense of pride in our property of St Barnabas and sense of joy to us, just like it did for the Jews. The Jews felt good about themselves with their accomplishment and they also knew that this awesome project though daunting at the beginning led them to become motivated and relationships improved because people had to communicate together for the work to be done. This accomplishment improved they sense of identity as a people who worship the one living God. There is a lot that we can get out from the fence project and I hope one these will be better relationships with each other and it is from these relationships that we can become a vibrant parish. Project our Fence will say to those around us this people are united and strong to have pulled this off. This building stands as a testimony of good relationships that where there when it was built. So may the fence project be an inspiration to us in the present and those who will come after us in the future!
Fr. Barnabas Nqindi
Originally Posted to Wordpress on September 11, 2011 by St Barnabas Anglican Parish of the Bluff
Often there is a huge difference between religion and Christianity.Religion by nature is concerned with preserving the institution and Christianity is concerned about showing and sharing the love of God.Religion is seen when we tend to look inwards, self-preservation.Christianity is outward looking and taking a risk with the living God.Religion nurtures the spirit of elitism in the Church and whilst Christianity says that through our Baptism there is no Jew or Gentile, no male or female we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord Jesus.Our baptism unites us.Baptism ensures that there is no double standard, there is no such things as minority in the church.We are called by God and have an equal share in the Kingdom of God.Christianity is living organism that says the love of God belongs to all.Christianity by nature has always resisted being religious throughout the ages.The reason is simply the Spirit blows where it wills.It cannot be held back by legalistic religious requirements.Christianity pursues love, for love is perfect, love is God, so to pursue love is to seek after God.L Corinthians 13 states that, “There are three things that last forever faith, hope and love: but the greatest of these is love.” Religion and its structures will pass away but not love.Religion and the legalistic institution do not promote love and forgiveness.Christianity on the other hand promotes forgiveness and love.An example of this is the woman caught in adultery.Religion and the professional legalism had ruled that she be stoned and Christ poured his love on this situation and simply said, “Let he
who have not sinned cast the first stone.” Christ affirmed the woman, validated her and gave her a sense of worth.How many people will not come into a church because we are being too legalistic and religious? When we fail to show compassion and love then we are being religious.Christianity is concerned about the salvation of people and not its reputation hence our Lord and master ate with the tax collectors and sinners of the day.Jesus said “I have not come “for the well but for those who are sick.” Maundy Thursday
says to us we as Christians are called by God to wash the feet of the world.To.follow the example of Mother Teresa who loved the outcast ofIndiaand this is what we are called by God to do.We are all made in the iIp.age and likeness of
God, the Church has to guard against the temptation of fIlling up churches and preserving the institution instead of proclaiming the word of God to a broken world.St Luke (4 vs 16-18) reminds us of theKingdomofGodmanifesto, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of
the Lord’s favour.” Jesus is speaking about the awesomeness of the love of God that goes beyond the Jewish expectations, this message included an invitation to the gentiles to theKingdomofGod.
(c) Fr Barnabas Nqindi August 2011
My name is Barnabas Sibusiso Nqindi, rector of St Barnabas-Bluff. I enjoy a good debate and I love to see people grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ