Wessel's blog

The Religion of Paradoxes

Man in house of mirrors at a funfair
Read time: 17 minutes

Paradoxes amuse us, yet can leave us unsettled. For the person who has a spirit open to wonder, a paradox speaks to how there are things we cannot know or understand. To an analytical mind, this is anathema: a paradox is only useful in proving or disproving some postulate, but otherwise just idle nonsense. Investigating paradoxes have driven us to deeper understanding of the world and philosophy for millennia, starting with ancients such as Zeno of Elea, Protagoras of Abdera, and Epimenides of Crete1. Read more …

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Rights, Privileges and Responsibilities

Read time: 12 minutes

When South Africa became a democracy in 1994, the sea of change swept in a whole new vocabulary for most people in the country. The “Rainbow Nation” was our new identity: celebrating not only a diversity in skin tone, but cultures as well. Read more …

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When Do We Render Unto Caesar?

Denarius (coin) featuring the profile of Emperor Tiberius
Read time: 17 minutes

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” This phrase, from Matthew 22:21, has been used as a proof text of the separation of church and state; where the religious duty ends and the secular authority begins. Read more …

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Unmasking Issues Among Believers

Man in church service wearing a mask
Read time: 11 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a period of acute stress for many people. Pastors and Christian congregants—who are to set their minds “on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2)—have not been exempt. Community, fellowship, the coming together of people, and sharing together in one another’s lives are important in Christian living. Many Christians took (and still take) exception to governments enacting restrictions on gatherings and preventing them from meeting together for worship. This, in turn, has led to divisions within churches. Read more …

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A Religious Perspective on the Vaccine: Part 3, Should I Take the Vaccine?

Person receiving an injection
Read time: 25 minutes

There is a remarkably recent and consistently recurring phenomenon of scepticism towards new vaccines. This should not be a surprise: it is wise to be cautious of putting things into our bodies that we do not know or understand. Read more …

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A Religious Perspective on the Vaccine: Part 1, What is a Vaccine?

Read time: 13 minutes

I recall clearly, aged six, going for my vaccinations. It was necessary for me to be able to go to school—the next phase of life I was eagerly anticipating. My uncle was our doctor and administered the shots. I did not cry, but put up a brave face through the pain and discomfort. Read more …

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Merry Christmas 2020

Read time: 5 minutes

For many people, Christmas 2020 is not going to be merry. Where there used to be happy family gatherings with delicious Christmas lunches or dinners, there will only be solitude. The chatter and laughter of a jolly crowd will be replaced by silence and quietness. Christmas, as some would say, has been cancelled. Read more …

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Meeting You: Identity in the New Creation

Woman looking into a mirror
Read time: 13 minutes

During her pregnancy, my wife at times displayed some strange behaviour. Sometimes she felt teary where she otherwise would have been composed. Other times she overreacted, displaying a degree of frustration or sadness more than the situation warranted. It could be frustration or sadness. As a husband, I had been warned about this: “be patient and recognize that it’s the hormones.”1 This is not some chauvinistic put-down: it is simple biochemistry (to which even my wife readily admitted). In essence, my wife reacted in ways she did not want to, but could not help. In a way, her emotions, feelings and perspectives were at odds with herself. Read more …

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The Surprising Good and Terrifying News of Missions in Africa

Ndebele Culture, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Read time: 15 minutes

Mention “Africa”, and many people will likely immediately think of poverty. For a long time, the continent of Africa has been the quintessential picture of being primitive and backwards, lacking and needing even what is basic in terms of healthcare, nutrition and luxury. Read more …

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Entitled or Enlightened Christianity?

Person typing at laptop
Read time: 14 minutes

The world is in a tumult. It appears as if tolerance among people is becoming less, and that there is less of a willingness to dialogue and understand or engage with others. As the world has become polarised, Christians have not been immune. Read more …

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Dictators and Democracies

Bust of Julius Caesar
Read time: 12 minutes

The Romans were in trouble. The small nation, still confined to only a small patch of land in western central Italy, was being threatened by its neighbours. War was looming. Less than a decade before, the Romans had abolished the monarchy and banished their king, vowing never to be ruled by a tyrant again. They instituted a republic. With the new system of governance came many freedoms. But the decision making machine sometimes moved slowly. Now was a time for action. They decided to elect a man called Titus Lartius as dictator. For a limited time, he was given absolute authority over the Romans. By doing this, the Romans had a man who could make quick decisions and take the swift action necessary to steer them through the crisis. War passed without casualty as Lartius worked to strengthen Rome's position, making their enemies less eager to attack. Before his six month term as dictator expired, Lartius stepped down from the position, and life returned to normal in the Republic. Read more …

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