Barry Marshall: larger than life

It was exactly a year ago that my good friend Barry Marshall died in a tragic paddle-skiing incident in Port Elizabeth.

I remember the day vividly. 2nd September 2009. Sam and I had just received a mail from Elaine, Barry’s wife, sending us a belated congratulations on our new pregnancy. Elaine didn’t know it then, but Barry had already been lost out at sea for many hours. The next morning I received a call from Mike. Mike tends to phone me when massive stuff is happening, like when he called in 2001, telling me that a plane had flown into the World Trade Centre in New York. Mike’s call went like this on the 3rd September 2009, “Aids, I’ve heard a rumour that Barry Marshall is missing. Do you know anything about it?” What followed was an intense 4 hour period as we received updates from the NSRI as they searched for Barry out at sea. At about lunch time we got the news that the search was over. They had found Barry’s body. He did not survive the night out at sea.

I cannot describe the shock that I was in. Barry was a larger than life character – it was inconceivable that he was dead. So, on the anniversary of his death, here’s an ode to a larger than life character …
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Pre-eminent theologians

This last week I had the awesome privilege of spending time with some of South Africans pre-eminent theologians, pastors and philosophers. We were attending a Dallas Willard conference at Northfield. It is amazing how Dallas, as one of Christianity’s foremost theologian-philosophers, is a magnet for people such as Delme Linscott, Gareth Killen, Tom Smit, Paul Oosthuizen, Andrew Barret and Andrew Evans. I’m reminded of how Barry’s death last year plucked a potentially significant force from the Methodist Church of SA. I profile these guys in an effort to raise the awareness of their contribution both now and in the future for the Gospel.

Here’s a little bit about the amazing work they’re doing …

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The last will be first

Sam and I attended a Marriage Group last night with some good friends. It was the first of a series of evening’s and was started by Dean and Kirsty who have been married for two months – they are keen to invest in their marriage and to learn from other couples who are a little further along on the journey. The facilitation was simple. We sat in a circle and answered questions posed by Kirsty, with everyone getting a chance to answer. She alternated who would go first for each question.

On the way home Sam and I were talking about the evening. She commented that if you were sitting to Kirsty’s immediate left or right, you had an equal chance of either being either first to answer, or last to answer the question, depending on the direction of the answer flow. This got me wondering about what Jesus said to his disciples about the Kingdom of God …

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