Sam and I have just returned home from the Opening Ceremony and Match 1 of the FIFA 2010 World Cup. It’s a little surreal as this moment has been a few years in the making. The World Cup has always been 3 or 4 years away – something distant, not quite rooted in my reality of now. And now, it is here. Ke Nako.

As I suspected I would, I feel a huge swell of patriotism and national pride. I’m frikkin proud of my country and that we managed to get here, and get here successfully. I really wish I could revisit those social occasions when I had to listen to the naysayers waddle in their pessimism and just say “Na na na na naaaa”, ending off with a good show of the tongue.

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It has been a long time coming, but I finally managed to get around to moving the furniture around on Well, okay, I didn’t do it all myself … Anthony van Beek is the design guru behind what you now see. I really love it!

I wanted my home page to be something unique, but also something that represents me. In considering how to represent the multiple facets, roles and aspects of my life, the idea of a puzzle slider came to mind. It also brings in a little bit of fun when visiting my site (the current record is 20mins to solve the puzzle ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, behind each slider you’ll be able to aspect some or other point within my online identity. ย The blog is one of the main reasons why I have a personal site, so it is pretty central to the design.

As with most new toys, I’m hoping this redesign will now prompt me to blog on a more regular basis. Let’s see …

Sam and I have been talking about our families a lot lately. We’re on the verge of bringing a new being into the world, and into two very different families.

One of the questions I’ve been asking myself for the last 24months or so is: how do I reconcile my faith-life with my family life?

My folks have always been very supportive of my church endeavours, but they themselves have not found any traction from a faith perspective. As I’ve moved closer to the teachings of Jesus and the influence of the Holy Spirit, I have found that I lead a double life: that of my faith-community, and that of my family. I have not been good at being a congruous being. At times I have felt that I’m the same old Aiden in front of my family, but a different person in my faith community.

This incongruity is an imbalance, and like nature dislikes imbalance, I have felt the need to address the issue. My solution: to try and be more upfront with my family about my faith, my relationship with Jesus and how it all affects the way I see the world.

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This TEDGlobal video is one of the most poignant talks I’ve ever viewed. It is by Chimamanda Adichie, an African novelist, who shares some experiences of how encountering a single story of a person, people or country framed the way she viewed them.

Her point is that being exposed to a single story is very dangerous, and that we’ve got to open ourselves up to “balanced stories” in order to really get a grasp on the world around us.

If you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with “secondly”. Start the story with the arrows of the Native American Indians and not with the arrival of the British and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African states and not with the colonial creation of the African State and you have an entirely different story.

As I have written before, the heart of narrative therapy is about helping a client identify the “dominant story” they have of their own life, and to create awareness of the “alternative stories” that are present and, if given some prominence, open a doorway to healing and intentional living.

Again, Adichie resonates with this:

Power is not only the ability to tell a single story about a person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.

The single story creates stereotypes. The problem with single stories is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.

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I love listening to the Naked Scientist, Chris Smith, on Redi Direko's Friday talk show. The dude is amazing … an intellect and memory worthy of stellar accolades.

This last Friday he was asked a question about headaches (I think). Chris started responding with how the human body is setup and reacts to different stimuli. At one point he said, “the body is designed to … um, no, I shouldn't say that, that's naughty.”

He then corrected himself like this: “the human body has evolved to do this and …”


Well, the Naked Scientist clearly sounded his theological views on creation there and then.

One of the things you cannot ignore if you choose to believe in and follow Jesus is the concept of personal sin.

For years I have revolted against the notion.

But of late, I have come to realise how important it is for me to grapple with my own sin as I try to lead a healthy lifestyle. Not only that, but for me to really walk the path, I've begun to see how I need to hate my own sin to move beyond it. I have begun to make progress when exploring the hate I have for my own sin.

I'll give one example.


There is an aspect to looking at porn that tries to convince me that it is not thaaaat bad. After all, the ladies are so beautiful … how can this be evil … and sinful?

And so, my sin starts to entice me.

I've begun to learn that part of the journey of conquering an addiction to porn is learning to hate my sin. I have found it helpful to explore how I hate what porn does to me. Hate what it does to my personality. Hate what it does to my ideas of healthy sexuality. Hate what it does to my ideas of a sexual partner. Hate how it influences the type of father I'll be one day.

And hate who I am when I look at porn.

If there is one deep personal wish that I could have fulfilled right now, it would be to trust my voice.

I was driving my late friend Barry Marshall to an appointment one day and we were talking about life and personal development. Barry had seen me develop from my teenage years to my late 20's. I glibly commented to him that I would like to “find my voice” in life – that unique and particular influence that I could have on this world.

Barry quickly said to me,”I think you have found your voice. You have just not learnt to trust it!”

That moment has stuck with me in a significant way.

It was a memory at the fore of my mind as I grieved Barry's death at his funeral in September.

And I think it's true. I have not learnt to trust the “voice” God has given me.

I walk out of sales meetings, deeply disturbed by how I feel I did not speak up as I should have. And this is just one example.

So, this is a self-development mission for me now: learning to trust my voice.

It fascinates me the way people use the Bible, especially the way people interpret it and use it to make sense of the world around us.

I received an email a little while back that explained how the Bible predicts that Barack Obama is the long-awaited anti-Christ. Read on … and I quote:

IN Luke Chapter 10, verse 18, And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning falling from the heavens.

From Strong's word number 1299, A primitive root to lighten (lightning) cast forth: baraq

From baraq: lightning by analogy, a gleam concretely, a flashing sword–bright, glitter (-ing sword), lightning. Hebrew: baraq.

The Book Of Isaiah is the origin or source of the concept of Satan or Lucifer as Isaiah calls him in Chapter 14 especially in Verses 12 through 19. Chapter 14 Lucifer said, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, i will be like the most high.” In the verses from Isaiah that mention Satan it says that Satan has fallen from the heights or from the heavens or a high sacred place. The Hebrew word, 1116, for this word for heights is bamah (pronounced Bam-maw) IN Hebrew the letter 'wah' or 'vah' is often transliterated as a 'U' or an 'O'. It is primarily used as a conjunction to join concepts together. So to join in Hebrew poetry the concept of lightning or baraq and a high place like heaven or the heights of heaven the letter, 'U', or sometimes 'O' the Hebrew letter 'wah' would be used. So Baraq “0” Bam-Maw (or Baraq “U” Bam-Maw) in Hebrew poetry similar to the style written in Isaiah would translate literally as lightning and the heights or the heavens or lightning from the heights of the skies or the heavens. The word, Satan, is Sa-tan in Hebrew, a direct translation. So back to Jesus' prophesy in Luke Chapter 10 verse 18, And He said unto them, I behold Satan as lightning falling from the heavens. If spoken by a Jewish rabbi, today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah he would say these words in Hebrew, the words of Jesus in Luke Chapter 10 in verse 18: 'And I saw Satan as Baraq-O-bamah. Did Jesus reveal to us the name of the anti-Christ? I report, you decide.

I dunno. I find this exercise of logic a little dubious. Firstly, it is such a stretch of linguistic interpretation, and secondly, if this was indeed true, how come we did not know before Obama became president that he was indeed the anti-Christ? It sounds like a prime case of retrospective interpretation to me.

But hey, who am I to judge? I'll have egg on my face if the interpretation is correct.

See you at the Pearly Gates …

It strikes me that, in the Scriptures, Jesus first asked people to follow him before he asked them “Who do you say I am?”

It's like he was giving people, and his disciple especially, the opportunity of a trial period (21 days free ๐Ÿ™‚ before they were asked to really commit to believing in him.

How different is this from the way churches evangelize people nowadays? I know soooooooo many people who are emphatic (maybe paranoid is the better term) about getting non-believers to make a “first-time commitment” to Jesus the first time they walk into a church or attend an event.

Is this fair, if we've not even given these folk an opportunity to walk with Jesus for a while, to listen to him speak, to evaluate his actions – to really suss out if he is the best for our lives?

I was recently asked by a journalist to contribute a comment to an opinion piece she's writing that looks at how men see the need for help from their wives around the house. Here's my comment:

Does a man ever need help? I suspect that if we had to honestly listen to the voice of Maleness in our lives, we would hear arguments that a man is (or should be) independent, self-sufficient and assertive … especially around the house. It is our domain after all. Isn't it? These primal arguments that Maleness tries to woo us mortal men with are not helpful though, especially when we live in a new reality. An integrated and healthy Maleness realises that help is needed, nay required, on many more fronts than we would admit.