Soul gardeners

Life is messy and not a 5 point plan! Jesus gave us wonderful metaphors to navigate the mess. We are an African couple committed to the Gardener. Our passion is tilling and working the soil of our lives and gardening with a community. We live in South Africa and we are praying for God's direction in our lives.


We went to Lollie's reunion today. It was good and sad at the same time. Good to see my wife mingle with old friends, bad because some of them have not changed a bit. They are still amused by booze - getting motherlessly drunk is still their favorite hobby. Most people asked us the predictable question : "So what are you doing?" To which we only replied - nothing - trying to figure out what God wants us to do. I reflected again on how we rap our identity into our jobs. Instead of work flowing out of our being we allow our being to be defined by our work, that usually sucks :( That reminded me that the lines in the heading of our blog should change, it said:

Life is messy and not a 5 point plan! Jesus gave us wonderful metaphors to navigate the mess. We are an African couple committed to the Gardener. Tilling and working the soil of our lives and gardening with a community is our passion. We live in Colorado Springs and our tribe is Pierced.

I should probably update our physical location. We live in Johannesburg, South Africa now, but in a real way we identify with Paul that carried the people in churches he visited in his heart. We love our friends in Colorado Springs and they will always be a part of our community.


Today is Ascension Day – the day Christ rose to heaven. It’s a day that can be very deceptive, in distance that is. Hearing the phrase ‘Jesus went to heaven’ can leave us with emptiness - almost a lost ness. Thank God that it’s not true! He is not far removed from us. He is intimately involved with me and you and every person in the world.

The Lord’s Prayer starts with the first phrase: Our Father in Heaven. I always interpreted this as a statement of distance. Dallas Willard opened my eyes to the fact that the heavens consist of every inch around us. When we look, breathe, talk, touch – then we move in the realm of the heavens. That is really good news and make the world a very safe place.

On a total different note. Yesterday Dad and I hit a few golf balls at the driving range. We had a lot of fun. As we drove our balls we heard the frantic screaming of a woman. After a few minutes we distinguished that she screamed “Thief, thief”. Two men ran over the driving range with her stuff, with the loot under their arms they fled – 5 men chasing them! Welcome back in South Africa I thought to myself.

Today I’m reminded that this is the heavens God came to pierce, redeem and change. We have the privilege to pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

And then we actively join Him in doing just that!

Seductive Statistics

Statistics have the subtle power of seduction,
Infamous for reducing to the impersonal -
A precious child of God turned into a dollar amount,
A hungry soul reduced to an attendance figure in Excel!
I’ve lived that way far too long!
Raving and bragging about comparative statistics -
No reverence for the individual stories,
Lusting for bigger and more
Over time only .......


I want to live incarnate,
exchanging numbers for names,
Investing in the particulars not the abstract!

So you like statistics?
Here’s one that should break your heart :
Today 5000 Africans died of Aids -
If this tragedy leaves you unfazed then you are
SEDUCED ......

repent.... if you have time.


We are home!

Just a quick note to let you know that we arrived home in one piece. We are really tired and feel like emotional wrecks. It was hard saying goodbye in the Springs but also very cool to say hello in South Africa. It's my birthday today and our families will celebrate tonight with my mom's cooking - yeah! We love all of our friends!

If you commented in the last post, please e-mail me - I can't access those comments and I'll switch to a new comment system


Check out this new site! These people are the REAL THING.
Please pray for us as we make the transition back to Africa. Our flight will be 39 loooooooong hours.


In less than a week we will be on a plane heading for South Africa.
The last few days have been emotional. A lot of good-byes.
Who knows what God will do?
We are lightening up - all our possessions in two suitcases.
It feels great to be mobile again.
I spent my day clearing my deleted folder in outlook. I've kept every e-mail since 2000 in there. As I deleted every one of them I had a lot of memories! Some good some bad. Mostly good.
Our days are mixed. We are afraid - not knowing what will happen with us - this morning I got these verses:

Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God. We are the people he watches
over, the sheep under his care.
Oh, that you would listen to his voice today!

+ Lord, help us to listen to your Voice and follow your guidance +


Muscle memory

When you repeatedly execute a physical movement like for instance a pro-golfer hitting a ball then you develop a muscle memory. A person with muscle memory can hit a golf ball with their eyes closed. In the spiritual life we are urged to develop the same principle. The ancient writings continually encourage us to REMEMBER.

I was thinking about all this earlier this morning. As some of you might know we are heading back to our homeland South Africa. We are living the adventure of the unknowing! Three years ago we took this same step of faith in moving to the US. When fear or panic set in I can fall back on this spiritual muscle memory.

+Thanks be to God who lead us then and leads us now +


We are back in Colorado Springs. Our visit in San Luis Obispo and Camas Washington was great. The trip was refreshing in a relational sense; it's always good catching up with friends. Today in two weeks we will be back in South Africa, it will also be my birthday. Most of the practicalities in moving have been taken care of and now we can hang out with friends!

Something happened in Camas that's playing over and over in my head. Tod and Valda (our friends in Camas) bought a house from a guy who apparently lived like a slob. He had German shepherd dogs that lived in the house; our friends cleaned food from the walls. The house is beautiful now! On Monday evening Tod got the mail. A couple who lives in the neighborhood congratulated/thanked him for taking care of the house.

This picture is still on the sticky note in my brain. We all know that we are the house of God individually and corporately. If someone keeps a clean house then it compliments the rest of us. But if someone’s house looks like a pigsty then it brings down the value of the neighborhood. I hope my life will reflect more good than bad.

Anyhoo I have to go I have some spiritual lawn mowing to do! I'm going to use a book "Celtic Daily Prayer" as my mower,


If only .....

We had a good weekend. Visited with some friends and made some new ones. Last night we had a discussion about church and how to be and do it. I went to bed haunted by this quote I read on Greg's site. If we would only spend as much time talking about Jesus as we do about church.....

This is a Henri Nouwen quote:

"If you were to ask me point blank: 'what does it mean to live spiritually?' I would have to reply 'Living with Jesus at the center.' There are always countless questions, problems, discussions, and difficulties that demand one's attention. Despite this, when I look back over the last thirty years of my life, I can say that, for me, the person of Jesus has come to be more and more important.

Specifically, this means that what matters increasingly is getting to know Jesus and living in solidarity with him. There was a time when I got so immersed in problems of church and soceity that my whole life had become a sort of drawn-out, wearisome discussion. Jesus had been pushed into the background or had himself become just another problem. Fortunately, it hasn't stayed that way. Jesus has stepped out front again, so to speak, and asked me: 'And you, who do you say that I am?' It has become clearer to me than ever that my personal relationship with Jesus is the heart of my existence."


Reflections on grapefruit

On a recent trip we ate some fruit over breakfast with some friends. Eating a grapefruit is how I want to live life. To successfully eat grapefruit you have to slice it in two – then use a special knife to dissect it after which you lift the flesh out and eat. After you’ve depleted the fleshy part of the meat, you squeeze the fruit to get the juice out. Our hostess then collected the empty fruit shells, cut it up and used it in other dishes she prepared! I want to live life like that.

On our toad trip this week I reflected on my gusto for eating grapefruit. It is so easy to skip through life and never extract the beauty of now. Our trip this week has been to California and Washington State, while we were in California I found myself thinking ‘We will be in Washington next, I’m really looking forward to it’. These thoughts are not wrong but if it becomes the modus operandi of my though-life then I will never be ‘in’ the moment rendering me harmless.

Imagine thinking you can drink the grapefruit juice without slicing the fruit in two – it will be an exercise in futility! Some of you are already thinking of ways to get the juice without slicing like – inserting a straw etc… That’s what I mean. I want to be where I am. Jean-Pierre De Caussade called it ‘the sacrament of the present moment’


Bush mail

My friend Schalk van Heerden - who is doing some amazing work in Mozambique sent me this piece, some good thoughts to ponder:

I’m not a morning person. Never has been and at times wonder if I ever willbe. This is not conducive to early morning ‘talking with God’.

Two days ago, on a 2100km trip from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Manica (Mozambique) I slept over in a small hotel called “Huka Kuna Hotel – best food in Xai-Xai!” It was surprisingly clean and I was just out of luck with the air-conditioner in my room braking the previous day. (That’s what I was told, at least.) Anyway, here I was sleeping in 34 C without an ‘aircon’ and
in place of the aircon was a gaping hole in the wall. Not good in Mozambique! I slept well from 22:00 till 02:00 when I got up and out of bed. I was feeling wide awake and energetic, I switched the light on and diligently started working. My task? Killing the mosquitoes in my room before they killed me. By two-o’clock, hunting the little demons that caused me the itching and irritation, it looked as if I was turning into a young marshmallow. As I killed them one by one, I placed them in a row on the open bed in my room. (This evidence, by the way was to make good evidence at the early morning management feedback session!) By 03:20 I was sure that the
enemy’s spirit was broken and that the remaining forces would flee. So, with the “death-row” on 53(true!) I climbed back in bed sleeping with renewed peace and a little victorious smile. Getting up at 06:00 and continuing my treacherous journey toward Manica I started to contemplate on my nightly adventures. Why was I so wide awake to battle mosquitoes at 02:00, while
getting up at 05:30 to battle my sinful nature and speak to the Creator of the universe seemed more unlikely and difficult with each passing morning?

Does the prospect of a mosquito free room seem more appealing to me than asin-free character? Does the adventure of killing bugs seem more exciting than walking with God? Maybe at times, mosquitoes feel more real than God? He is gentle, soft, loving and a gentleman- waiting. Mosquitoes are not. I love God however and I hate mosquitoes. My prayer is that I will learn to
live with my Love and not to be driven by the little pressing, stinging issues that each new day drops at my door.


On the road again

We're in California this week Will blog on the road.
Please visit this newcomer to the web.
Have a good day.


The spirituality of toilets

We all use the white throne regularly; at least I hope so. A month ago I noticed it for the first time. On the rim of one of the most used and less noticed seats in the world you will find something like this:


It stands for 1 gallon per flush or 3.8 liters per flush. It indicates the flow rate of the toilet. We all know without a good flow rate the toilet mutates into a really nasty place. In a way the toilet is a wonderful representation of physical and spiritual regulation.

These days when I use the toilet I ask myself this question: What is my spiritual flow rate? Everyone have had pains with the toilets in their lives, these problems mirror some of our spiritual conditions, faulty flow rates.

The waterless toilet:

Every now and then the toilet can’t flush because there is no water! The holding tank is empty and we need to fill it with water. Either turning on the tap or using a bucket to fill the container can fix this problem.

The waterless spiritual life has nothing to give because there is no substance. All that’s left is a dusty dryness and we need a refill. Refreshment will come by spending time with God by bringing our spiritual bucket before Him and asking Him to fill our tank.

The dripping toilet:

You’ve experienced it! You and your loved ones are safely tucked into bed and then you hear…drip…drip…. drip… It drives you nuts. You get out of bed and try to stop the nagging toilet; it’s no simple process though. More often than not a worn out washer causes the leak. This small instrument regulates the water flow, if it is worn out – then it wears us out, a constant misdirected barrage of water going nowhere. Lost energy. A waste of time, decibels and water. The cure – a new washer to help focus and regulate.

In the spiritual life we get distracted. So easily. The simple rhythm of love God and others distorts into a scrambled techno/rap with no sense to it. Like a heart defibrillated our life seeps and drips. No focus, no washer to regulate. One thing is needed, regulate and thus stop the dripping. The people around us will appreciate the halt to the nagging drip…drip….drip.

The blocked toilet:

Embarrassment is probably the best way to describe it. You’re visiting some friends and the toilet blocks. You engage in bouts of frantic flushing but alas you’re flooding the bathroom! It is blocked like cement. Sweat and odors mix together creating a conglomerate of chaos. The life-saving device is a plunger. In the haze of your frantic scrambling you hope and pray that the black magic wand will be hidden in the bathroom. Finding it will save you from the agony of telling your hosts that you broke the crapper!

When we receive everything from our Giver. When we are full of the blessings. When we are bursting with the graces He gave us and don’t give it away then we are like a blocked toilet. Over time we will smell and sweat and reek of death. The only thing that’ll save us is a spiritual plunger. It can be thanksgiving, or secret service. Maybe using your spiritual gifts to actually edify others? Search for that plunger and then start working!

Where are you today?

Do you need the,