Monday, February 8, 2010

SIMPLY FRIENDSHIP II

... The late 70's saw the Invis plant churches. From Joburg, to Pretoria. From planting in East London and Port Elizabeth to Capetown. Pinetown and Pietermaritzburg soon followed. When London and Amsterdam were planted, the excitement and imperialistic expectation grabbed our hearts. Matched with a move from the little Lutheran church to the big warehouse, we were stirred. Folks those were the 70's.

At the home base, the leadership now shifted from Nelson to Carl, and we explored the cell, congregation, celebration model of Yonghi Cho. This was multi-siting before its time. Rob, Big Dave and I were sent out to lead the Westville congregation. We had fun out there. The three of us worked so well together. I was around 20 years old, Rob a seasoned 25 year old and Big Dave a bullet at about 32.

It would seem that the power of friendship, beyond simply beers and BBQ's, is to labor together. Even face weighty challenges together. Rob and I are peculiar. In many ways we are so different. He is older than I am. His journey through an agnostic home, into the wild Rhodes Univ [the one garment parties] into Hinduism and the farm, was so foreign to my world. My father was a blue collared worker, my mother a woman of great faith within a more traditional framework. My suburban teens kept me in touch with church although I first came to faith on my bed at home in 1976.

When God put us together, our lives intertwined. We led home groups together, we were in the worship together, acted in salvo plays together spending much of our times together. I remember the evening Rob was preaching on the street. We were in different parts of a particular stretch of the beach front, when Rob appeared with a look of horror / amazement. He was witnessing to someone who, being somewhat drunk, turned and punched Rob on the side of the face. He had lost his hearing. So we did what we knew to do. We laid hands on him and God did the rest [although Glenda does seem to think that the hearing is not fully recovered. It seems that chores around the home could possibly see an unhealing manifest - but I am not sure!]

True friendship has to have some guts and fight. My friend Alan Hirsch calls it communitas - friendship forged under fire. When Rob and Big Dave planted the Invis Pinetown, we were stoked - and Rob was petrified. What so few understand is how shy my friend is. He overcomes that shyness every day. With bold Reformed foundations Rufus started preaching. His primary source outside of the Bible was Spurgeon - afterall we had just been schooled in straight up 5 pointers and we preached it with passion. I preached my first message on propitiation when I was about 21 - that was a long time ago.

I was so stoked for Rob and Glends. As I was soon going to do my military service, I did not join them although I did help out with worship when they needed a hand and I was around. We prayed together, theologized together, ran together, trusted God together. I marvelled at Rob's prayer life. I was intrigued by his remarkable mind to process weighty theology. I was delighted that such a shy retiring man would take on such a mammoth task of planting a church. Under the fire of planting, our compelling friendship of fun, just transitioned to friends who needed each other in times of fighting that only pioneering can require...tbc

1 comment:

  1. fascintaing. never knew that part of your history.

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