Wessel's blog

The Root Sin

Peacock
Read time: 8 minutes

In a previous article I discussed what sin is. In this article I am going to explore where it comes from—that is, what Christians commonly understand to be the root sin: the one from which others spring. Conversely, we are going to look at which sin surfaces when all the others are deconstructed. [node:read-more:link]

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When Fairy Tales Offend

The White House lit up in rainbow colours
Read time: 8 minutes

2015 has been a difficult year for the University of Cape Town (UCT). It has been at the centre of multiple controversies. First, there was a protest movement to have an iconic statue of Cecil John Rhodes removed. The campaign brought out bitter enmities between those in favour of and against the removal. The controversy deepened when it suspended the instigator of the movement over harassment charges on the staff. Then it saw a public fallout over a comment which its student representative council (SRC) vice-president, Zizipho Pae, made on her Facebook account wherein she responded to the US Supreme Court's decision to legalise homosexual marriage across the USA, saying "We are institutionalising and normalising sin". [node:read-more:link]

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What is Sin?

Eve and the Serpent
Read time: 9 minutes

Sin is a word with which most people in the West are familiar, even if only intuitively so. In fact, I am confident that most cultures in the world has a similar concept. Informally, "sin" refers to things (usually actions) which are "bad" or are "misdeeds". It also usually has a connotation to religion. As such, in this article I shall explore what the word means in the Christian context. Having a correct and accurate understanding of what sin is, is important, as it plays a fundamental role in the Christian worldview. Additionally, when speaking to a Christian it is good to understand what they mean (or ought to mean) when they use the word. [node:read-more:link]

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Dignity in Dying

Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit
Read time: 10 minutes

The South African High Court recently passed a landmark ruling that would legally allow a doctor to help a terminally ill man to end his life. A high level summary of the case can be found here. This ruling is not new legislation and euthanasia remains illegal in South Africa. However this ruling opens the door for future cases which will be decided individually (until, perhaps, legislation is proposed, which would undoubted reference this ruling). In this article I would like to share my thoughts on this case. [node:read-more:link]

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Reflections on Christian Loneliness

Read time: 11 minutes

I previously wrote an article on Christian singleness. It highlighted a metaphorical elephant in the room—that while there is an expectation to be in a relationship and settle down, this does not happen for all Christians. Indeed, the expectation is not a biblical one, but rather societal. I was encouraged by how well the article was received. Today I want to touch on a related topic: that of Christian loneliness. [node:read-more:link]

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Being Ineffective with the Xenophobic Attacks

Africa without South Africa
Read time: 12 minutes

Like a man suffering from post traumatic stress disorder startled by a loud noise, South Africa was jolted last week. A combination of controlled power cuts and xenophobic attacks reminded the country of 2008—a dark time in our post 1994 history. Again people fell on their keyboards, denouncing the violence of the xenophobic attacks, shaming the perpetrators and pleading for a more humanistic attitude and solution. Again I add my voice to theirs, because I worry about how the bourgeoisie perceive the problem. [node:read-more:link]

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Recent Discoveries in Contemporary Christian Music

Read time: 10 minutes

Growing up as a Christian teenager, I was very much into the "Jesus Culture": the music, the clothes, the paraphernalia, the books, the whole lot. I have since "settled down", even developing an aversion for commercial/popular Christian stores and the "fads" that they sell. I do, however, sometimes miss good Christian music (especially as the church which I attend is quite conservative regarding music). [node:read-more:link]

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Do Christians Worship the Cross?

Cross and Church
Read time: 11 minutes

Some time ago a friend told me of a Jewish friend of his whom he invited to attend a church service. "I'm sorry," said his friend, "but I cannot go into a church. We [Jews] believe that idolatry is wrong, and Christians worship the cross as an idol." I must admit to being a bit stunned when I heard this story—I had never before heard the accusation that Christians are idolatrous for worshipping the cross. Was this accusation perhaps true? What is the relationship between Christians and the cross? [node:read-more:link]

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On Respecting Disrespectful Charlie

Je ne suis pas Charlie
Read time: 8 minutes

Following the events this past week in Paris, where 17 people died as a result of Muslim extremists attacking the leftist satirical newspaper Chalie Hebdo, I have been thinking quite a bit about how to react to it. I have watched people in the West react with shock and unbelief, I have seen the defiant reaction of cartoonists and journalists worldwide (although apparently not universally), the far right has gained momentum, radical Muslims have praised the actions of the attackers, I have seen moderate Muslims claim they denounce the attack, but lament that they themselves are in fact the real victims, and I have seen stories relating to bombings and massacres in Africa and the Middle East be largely ignored. While most of the West rushed to social media to pledge their support with #JeSuisCharlie ("I am Charlie"; including past and present Archbishops of Canterbury), I have been deeply uncomfortable with this. [node:read-more:link]

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