Review by Jenny Young
“Everybody deserves true love.” These are the sentiments expressed by Angel in Angel’s Journey, the second of the Angel Trilogy by Gillian van der Walt, published by Gill van der Walt. Aptly titled, the book is exactly that:- a journey. It starts with Angel and Doug’s first anniversary. Doug, a recovering alcoholic, is in his final year as a law student at the Varsity where Angel is studying child psychology. The book walks us through the various highlights and low points of Angel’s life. Her best friends, Crystal and Faith, as well as Doug’s best friend, Craig, ably support them through the journey.
Low points include the relationship between Doug and his alcoholic father. Luckily with a few well-chosen words from Angel and Faith, and the shock of Angel’s miscarriage of his first grandchild, John reforms and eventually becomes a tower of support and asks Faith, who is a widow with an eight year old daughter, to marry him.
Review by Corinne Andrews
This is a ‘must read’ book for everyone, although perhaps aimed more at women. It gives the truth about changing the world and tells us of the courage that requires. Like Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, she says, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down” (Nehemiah 6:3 NASB).
Dalene says that if we want to make a difference in this broken world, we should expect opposition, so our long records of old wrongs and our brand new fears all come under the hammer.
But, what if we are called to be here for such a time as this and we need to change, mould, challenge and fight back the darkness from our own corner of the kingdom? Most world changers are so ordinary that we wouldn’t give them a second glance in the check-out line.
This is the first in a series of reviews of books written by local writers. We have a wealth of talented South African writers and RUC’s WriteOn! Group will be highlighting just a few of their books over the next few months.
Review by Cheryl-Lyn Selman
It has been one of the great tragedies of the last two decades to witness the church largely turn silent on the subject of ministry in the marketplace. We’ve been in the ‘Great Regression’, going back to thinking about ministry as too time consuming in our frenzied world as we climb the corporate ladder, get married, start a family, study further, acquire assets. Too politically incorrect and best left to the private sphere, appropriate for church settings and Sundays. Too demanding when full-time ministry is the preserve of those with a seemingly higher calling as church workers and pastors, missionaries and evangelists. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dr. Oliobi sketches with solid biblical reference how God has called and gifted by far the overwhelming majority of His body, to serve in the marketplace. How ministry and the rest of our lives were never intended to be separated, what ministry actually is and how we can start to live one unified life in service of God no matter what we’re doing and what day of the week it is. Dr Oliobi calls Christians to leave their ‘froggish’ ways behind, those ways of staying put. Comfortable. Numb. Waiting for a great big chance to glorify God to come within an inch, and instead become marketplace ministers who take up the ways of the lizard. Lizards don’t sit still for very long. They’re found in stock exchanges, boardrooms and palaces, in warehouses, hospitals and in retail stores, places of lavish luxury and places that are cold, wet, and dark. The marketplace minister that thinks and moves like the lizard is one who lives with integrity and reaches out in kindness, deals ethically no matter the cost and grows to lead, serves out of love and earns the right to share the gospel. One who learns, understands the times we’re living in – the great issues of our day, focuses and becomes very effective, skilled at their work, and so serves before kings.
Telling somebody else’s story can be meaningful to both you and that person. It also gives readers a glimpse into a life they might never have been exposed to otherwise. Such accounts can entertain and inform and perhaps even change readers’ perspectives and attitudes.
A racist is a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.
Growing up in South Africa during the Apartheid era, I didn’t get much exposure to black people. The only ones I came across were domestic workers or gardeners. They couldn’t speak much English and seemed to be uneducated.
It’s funny how not being able to speak a language prejudices people against you. In those days there were a lot of Portuguese people in Brakpan where I lived. They would stand in shopping queues and hold up everybody as they fumbled to find the right money and didn’t understand what the tellers were saying. I thought they were stupid.
It was only when my family went one holiday to Lorenço Marques, now Maputo, when the shoe was on the other foot. I couldn’t understand a word of Portuguese and I fumbled in my purse for the right money. I was holding up the queue. It was my turn to feel stupid.
by Ian Laxton
“A moment when you suddenly feel that you understand, or suddenly become conscious of, for the first time, something that is very important to you.”
Write On is delighted to publish the first story in our ‘What’s Your Story?’ series. This account of growing up in South Africa and awakening to the wrongs of Apartheid was written by Shelley Seiler, RUC’s Office Manager.
I was born in the 1950’s in the early days of apartheid and spent my formative years in a privileged white family in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. My parents employed a black man who worked in the garden (we lived on a one acre plot with a tennis court and a swimming pool) and a black woman who worked in the house. Both of them lived on the property in the ‘servants quarters’. As far as I was concerned this was normal. My parents were liberal, English-speaking South Africans who taught us to treat all people with respect and who modelled this behaviour.
The only black people I encountered were ‘servants’ or the children of our employees who came to stay with them in the school holidays sometimes. As I grew into my teens I was influenced by my sister who is five years older than I am. She opened my eyes to the wrongs of apartheid and in discussions with her and her friends I came to realise that the way we lived in South Africa in the 1960’s and 1970’s was not ‘normal’.
Rosebank Union Church is currently running a ‘What’s Your Story” campaign as part of the nationwide initiative by Heartlines. This campaign seeks to connect people through storytelling, particularly between people of different racial, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. The idea is to break down barriers, open minds to accepting people from different backgrounds and promoting communication — the basis of healthy human coexistence.
RUC’s Write On! group has a blog offering people inside and outside the church the opportunity to post stories, opinions and essays. Now, as part of the “What’s Your Story?” campaign, we invite you to share your own–or another’s–story through the medium of the Write On! blog.
It was the name that caught my eye! I knew I was meant to attend the writer’s weekend retreat at the Good Shepherd Retreat overlooking Hartebeesportdam. My memoirs “Bands of Gold” was started about 15 years ago but after two chapters and a prologue everything seemed to come to a halt and no more chapters could be written no matter how hard I tried. The anointing had lifted. I learnt during the writer’s workshop that due to having professional assistance the style wasn’t “me”! It wasn’t MY voice! I was wearing someone else’s second hand clothes. Since then I have been motivated to start my story all over again. I am very grateful to Joan and Mandy for holding the workshop. At last the blockage has been lifted. One day when I am famous (ha, ha) they will get the credit for their obedience to the calling on their lives.
I thought writing was my dream. I was wrong. After spending about 5 years writing two novels and a children’s book, sending e mails to hundreds of agents and publishers, giving the books to friends to read, even I had to realize that I was not a writer. At least not a fiction writer.
Sure I can write sermons. At a retreat about 13 years ago Rowan Rogers talked about unopened treasures packed away in boxes right beside us. An image came into my mind of a pair of golden lips and a golden pen. As a result I became a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church where I was inducted in 2006 after two years of studying and practice.
My childrens book, “The Saddest Little Sugar Bowl in the World” was written particularly for children who were somehow “different”. I got a better response for that one but still nobody wanted to publish it. Finally I published 50 copies myself and then went from bookshop to bookshop trying to get somebody to sell them for me. I sold some at work but still have 20 copies left, lying abandoned in a pile.