To Lead Is To Serve (Summerfield Park, Johannesburg 5 November 2017)

Scripture Reading Matthew 23:1-12
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

http://bible.us/111/mat.23.1-12.niv

Introduction

Jesus talks about the Pharisees and their strict observance of religion. How did they became this way. To understand them better, we need to go back in time.
The Jews were a people set apart with to their belief in one God and their observance of the law.  God gave Moses the Law, who gave it to Joshua, who gave it to the elders, the elders gave it to the prophets and it was passed down by the priests to pthe Pharisees who gave it to the people. Therefore they stood in the place of Moses as teachers of the law.  

The law was first written in the time of David and Solomon from about 1000 BC. The 10 tribes broke away from the northern kingdom of Samaria during the time of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. Only tribes of Judah and Benjamin remained in the Southern Kingdom. The Northern kingdom was invaded by Assyria, (Sargon and Sennacherib) and the people carried off into exile in 740 BC. The Southern kingdom was invaded by the Babylonianians in 604 -586 BC.   After this, the priests studied and reinterpreted the law of Moses in the light of the disaster and wrote the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, to ensure that people kept the law of the Lord, so that this disaster may never come upon them.   There was the return from Exile in 450BC and the dedication of the Law to ensure that people understood and kept the law. 

The Pharisees took the Study of the law to a whole new level, particularly after, when Antiochus Epiphanes tried to destroy the Jewish religion in 175BC by introducing the Greek religion. He introduced the sacrifice of pigs and set up an idol of Zeus in the temple. This was what was called the abomination that causes desolation.
In response to this, the Pharisees emphasized keeping themselves separate and wrote down and obeyed the letter of the law in order to preserve it. That is how they became purists, regarding the law.  

Main Body

William Barclay writes this of the Pharisees: ‘The Pharisees then were two things. First, they were dedicated legalists; religion to them was the observance of every detail of the Law. But second–and this is never to be forgotten–they were men in desperate earnest about their religion, for no one would have accepted the impossibly demanding task of living a life like that unless he had been in the most deadly earnest. They could, therefore, develop at one and the same time all the faults of legalism and all the virtues of complete self-dedication. A Pharisee might either be a desiccated or arrogant legalist, or a man of burning devotion to God.’ http://www.studylight.com

According to William Barclay, The Talmud described seven kinds of Pharisees:

There was the Shoulder Pharisee. He was meticulous in his observance of the Law; but he wore his good deeds upon his shoulder. He was out for a reputation for purity and goodness. True, he obeyed the Law, but he did so in order to be seen of men. 

There was the Wait-a-little Pharisee. He was the Pharisee who could always produce an entirely valid excuse for putting off a good deed. He professed the creed of the strictest Pharisees but he could always find an excuse for allowing practice to lag behind. He spoke, but he did not do.  

There was the Bruised or Bleeding Pharisee. The Talmud speaks of the plague of self-afflicting Pharisees. These Pharisees received their name for this reason. Women had a very low status in Palestine. No really strict orthodox teacher would be seen talking to a woman in public, even if that woman was his own wife or sister. These Pharisees went even further; they would not even allow themselves to look at a woman on the street. In order to avoid doing so they would shut their eyes, and so bump into walls and buildings and obstructions. They thus bruised and wounded themselves, and their wounds and bruises gained them a special reputation for exceeding piety.

There was the Pharisee who was variously described as the Pestle and Mortar Pharisee, or the Hump-backed Pharisee, or the Tumbling Pharisee. Such men walked in such ostentatious humility that they were bent like a pestle in a mortar or like a hunch-back. They were so humble that they would not even lift their feet from the ground and so tripped over every obstruction they met. Their humility was a self-advertising ostentation.

There was the Ever-reckoning or Compounding Pharisee. This kind of Pharisee was for ever reckoning up his good deeds; he was for ever striking a balance sheet between himself and God, and he believed that every good deed he did put God a little further in his debt. To him religion was always to be reckoned in terms of a profit and loss account.

There was the Timid or Fearing Pharisee. He was always in dread of divine punishment. He was, therefore, always cleansing the outside of the cup and the platter, so that he might seem to be good. He saw religion in terms of judgment and life in terms of a terror-stricken evasion of this judgment.

Finally, there was the God-fearing Pharisee; he was the Pharisee who really and truly loved God and who found his delight in obedience to the Law of God, however difficult that it might be. Of the seven, six were all about the show, only one truly delighted in God’s law and in obedience.  

Leadership is a form of service. The purpose of a leader is to provide a vision, guidance, direction, to motivate and encourage people to do great things and be great.
The Pharisees were leaders in Israel. They played a every important role, to bring people closer to God, through teaching them to obey the law as an act of love for God.  They failed, because their leadership was self-serving. Matthew 15:8-9 says, ‘these people honour me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ Jesus condemned them, because their obedience to the law was not out of love for God, for the most part.  

Jesus deplores the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The word hypocrite comes from a Greek word: hupocrites which means to wear a mask and play a role. It was all an act, all for show. So he says do as they say, i.e. Obey the law, but, not as they do, i.e. to make a great show of their obedience.  Jesus encourages the disciples to be humble and serve each other. He illustrates this by washing their feet. He led by example, and performed miracles and taught the word out of love for God, not to be seen by men. He continued in his service unto death, even when his disciples had abandoned him. He was genuine, not playing a role.  

There is a lot of talk about leadership these days. But there is a growing recognition of effective leadership as being a role that serves a purpose. If we bring it back to our country, we lack leadership in business and in politics and even in some churches, because the actions of the leadership are self -serving. We have leaders who:

o Want to be rich and live lavishly at all costs

o Are prepared to subvert justice and bend the law in pursuit of power and wealth to keep their ill-gotten gains,

o Persecute those who speak out against them

o Love the limelight, always posting on social media

o They spout ideology, anti-crime, anti-corruption, etc. Lots of talk, no action, so they do not practice what they preach.

King Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the Sun. Even in Old Testament times, priests were expected to serve God and their to lead the people. The Lord killed both of Eli’s sons Hophni and Phineas because they abused their positions as priests. When Eli died, he was replaced by Samuel. Samuel was tireless in his service.
What God desires is obedience, not sacrifice (1 Samuel 15.22) and service to others out of love. Do nothing out of selfish ambition. Consider others better than yourself (Philippians 2.3)  

Conclusion

True leadership is an act of service, to God and to Men. If you are in a position of leadership, ask yourself whom are you serving?
If you want people to follow you, you must serve them, Jesus does so much for people. As a result huge crowds followed him.  How does your leadership serve the purpose of God. How does it serve those whom you lead? I encourage all of us to model our leadership according to the pattern of Jesus Christ and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us . Let us pray for all our leaders to be authentic and humble, to have a sevant’s heart and a teachable spirit, subject to the authority of God. Only then can we live in peace and prosperity in harmony with God and with each other.  

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Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

From the equatorial forest.

In my imagination,

We make a beautiful duet.

His dark chocolate

with my caramel entwined.

Heady and sensual,

Utterly irresistible.

Electrifying,

Like shot of espresso 

The colour of his eyes. 

One look, is all it took. 

The cup of my heart is brimming.

My head is swimming,

Like after an Irish coffee.

A shot of whiskey,

A dash of cream,

Stirred with a chocolate spoon.

The worst addiction

Demands gratification.

The food of the gods and

The Devil’s own elixir.

Secretly brewed in the dead of night

Now incarnate.

The ultimate black magic,

No cure from a medic.

Desperately sinking,

A maelstrom of emotions.

The worst part of it,

We’ve never even spoken.

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Perfect Match


Smart girls make dumb choices. I’ve made a few of my own. Ladies hear this:

Your perfect match does not:

1. Shine on your shine. We know what that’s about. He has to have the spotlight ALL THE TIME. *eyes rolling*

2. Disrespect his mother, his sister or any female member of his family. He is courteous, even under provocation. He walks away rather than escalate a fight. 

3. Talk badly about you behind your back, to ANYONE, especially the OTHER WOMAN. And if you are the other woman, he is not your perfect match either. 

4. Disrespect you in front of the family. Especially HIS family. Nor does he embarrass you in front of other people, random strangers in particular.

5. Keep you waiting. You’re dressed up, dolled up, it’s 8pm, he’s a no show and he hasn’t called. NO, that is not the time to cry, change, then lie on the couch with a tub of ice-cream. You grab your purse, take an UBER ride and you hit the club, with or without him. Take a girlfriend if you can’t do it alone. If you meet him there, act like you don’t know him. He has already proven that he is not worthy of you. Keep it moving. 

6. Ditch you for his friends, see point 5 above. 

7. Push, shove, slap or kick you. In fact that should be point no. 1.

8. Start drooling over other women in your presence. However hot, he’s feeling about that girl in the hotpants, low cut blouse, whatever, he keeps it to himself ALWAYS. In fact if he’s the one, she could be stark naked and he won’t even see it. 

9. He’s generous and responsible with his money. He doesn’t “forget” his wallet. He pays his bills on time and doesn’t spend every cent of his money, or yours for that matter.

10. He keeps his word. See point 5 above. Life happens, but he is civil, maintains healthy boundaries with his ex- girlfriend, ex-wife and he takes care of his children. And if he can’t make it, he calls. 

Ladies, I pray you attract The One. That you will know that he’s the one and there is no doubt in his mind either, that you’re the one for him. 

And gentlemen, if you do not do any of these things, then You’re the Man! I know your soul mate, your perfect match is out there. I pray that she recognises the good man that you are,  when you meet. 

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No Rules Digital Edition Available on Amazon


It’s Official! No Rules: An African Love Story is now available on the Amazon Kindle Store. To go to the store, copy the link below into your internet browser.

If you want to purchase the book and you don’t have a credit card you can send me your details via the contact form on the blog and I will assist you.

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A Working Girl’s Dream


Picture Courtesy of Pinterest


Dr. King had a dream.

One deeply rooted in the American dream

That one day his nation would rise up

Would live up to its creed,

“We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.”

Dr King had a dream too,

That his four little children would one day live in a nation,

Where they would be judged

Not by the color of their skin,

But by the content of their character.

I too, an ordinary working woman

Have a dream.

Of the day,

When my dark skin, thick lips and nappy hair will not be held against me.

When I will be judged by the stellar results of

My hard work

Leadership qualities and

The brilliant disruptive game-changing genius of my creative mind.

Not by
My expensively made up face, (I only wear Mac darling) or;

The red soles on my stilettos (Genuine Louboutins dear, I don’t wear knock -offs);

Not by

The hideously expensive boutique original outfit (You know from his Ready to Wear Autumn Winter Collection, darling)

Nor by

The price of my handbag, ( Check the label and the stitching please)

the car I drive; or

The address of the secure complex where I lay my head.

Judge me,

Not by

My ability to flatter, woo and schmooze; or

The impeccably impregnable facade of my perfectly managed perceptions,

All designed to flatter and placate superiors

To prove that I’m worthy of my place.

On that day my spirit will dance and my soul will sing.

Free At Last! Free At Last! Thank God Almighty! We’re Free At Last!

Yes! A working girl can dream too!

In living colour!

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Yesterday I was Angry

Yesterday I was angry.

Today I am sad.

My spirit is heavy,

With the news 

Of two good men,

Gunned down in cold blood 

by their brothers.

Dying defending their sisters’ right 

To go out at night and 

Party without harassment.

Their deaths opened 

An old wound I thought had healed.

Of my cousin dying in his bar 

Shot at point blank range 

With a gun he had taken 

For safe-keeping, 

to preserve the lives of his patrons,

then returned to the owner.

Instead of taking his weapon and leaving,

Looking him in the eye,

He coldly took his life.

Leaving a widow, two orphans and 

A heart-broken mother. 

Four shattered lives,

Never to be the same again. 

For every murderous thief,

There are a few good men

Too few civilians with a conscience

And we lose them every day,

In defence against the darkness,

The bloodthirsty spirit of iniquity

That stalks this land

Lalani ngokuthula bafowethu

You may be gone but you’ll never be forgotten 

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Angry Black Woman


Picture courtesy of Pinterest

I am an African. I am a black woman. I get angry. Being black, and a woman does not equate to being angry. I am not always angry. Sometimes I’m happy, other times I’m excited and on occasion I am fearful. Anger is an emotion not a permanent state of being. Emotions come and go as and when they are triggered. There are two triggers for anger, fear or trauma. But today I am angry.

I am angry because yet another black woman not unlike myself has died at the hands of her partner. I don’t care if there was a fight. I don’t care who started it. I don’t care that she spent his money or whether she wanted to break off the relationship. I am angry because it could happen to my sister, my daughter, my niece or my friend.
I am angry because I live in a society where a woman cannot negotiate relationship terms, ask a man to use a condom, or walk away from an abusive man without losing her life. I am angry because men who kill their partners get off with culpable homicide because the prosecution cannot prove that the killing was pre-meditated.

I am angry because black girls are more likely to be victims of sexual abuse, at the hands of family, friends, teachers or complete strangers. I am angry because 40% of women in South Africa are likely to experience rape at least once in their lives. I am angry because the trial, court system, rules of evidence and conduct of police, judges and lawyers retraumatise the victims.

I am angry because black women and girls cannot walk in public or travel on public transport at certain times, without being sexually harassed. I am angry that men actually think they should be flattered by the attention and accept being groped, fondled and raped. I am angry because black women and girls are told what to wear and where to go, instead of telling men not to grope, fondle or rape. I am angry that rapists don’t get to go to jail to experience the hell of rape themselves by other men.

I am angry because in this world, a girl must prostitute herself for alcohol, drugs, a new hairstyle whether Brazilian weave or a synthetic bob, a designer outfit, sanitary pads, a two piece meal at KFC, a can of coke or university fees. I am angry because a young woman must grant sexual favours to the boss to get a job, keep her job or get a promotion.

I am angry because black girls are mutilated to control their sexual feelings. I am angry because they are cut open with knives by their husbands when they have sex for the first time. I am angry because they have to be treated at a specialist hospital for injuries sustained during childbirth.

I am angry because a black girl is seen,  not heard, not educated, or given an inheritance ahead of her brothers to assure her independence. I am angry because black girls are married off before they finish puberty to assure men of their purity. I am angry because educated black women are under pressure to find a husband, as if men who are marriage material are as many as grains of sand on a seashore. I am angry because a black woman cannot decide when and if she wants children or how many. I am angry because black women still die in childbirth in South Africa.

I am angry because I live in a world of whiteness and patriarchy, which puts a black woman at the bottom of the social and economic ladder. White man, White woman, Indian Man, Indian Woman, Coloured Man, Coloured Woman , Black Man then Black Woman. I am angry, because when a black Woman challenges anyone above her on the ladder, even based on facts, she is labeled as emotional irrational and you guessed it, angry.

I am angry because a black woman is offered and paid less than a white or Indian man or woman for the same job, even if she has more qualifications and experience. We know from the cars that they drive, where they go on holiday and where they send their children to school. I am angry that the diversity and inclusion committees have no real power to influence transformation in corporate entities.

I am angry because a black woman executive must put on a performance to get ahead in the patriarchal corporate death cult. She must read more, learn more, work harder, sleep less, lean in. She must show just enough passion, not too much, otherwise the place will burn to the ground. She must smile, be pleasant, make her point without ruffling superiors’ feathers, tiptoeing around gross executive egos with jagged edges. She must be on the side of management even when they are wrong. She must defend the oppressor against the oppressed because they hold her livelihood in the palm of her hand.

I am angry because black women experience racist and sexist road rage, sometimes just for driving with care. I am angry because black women still get verbally abused in restaurants by white patrons. I am angry because black mothers have to bury their children killed by white farmers for spurious reasons,

I am angry that many reading this article will either minimize or deny this constant assault on black women’s bodies, lives and integrity. I am angry because others will be emotional without taking any action or doing any self-introspection. I am angry at the black men who are more oppressive of black women than other races, calling them ‘bitches’ or ‘hoes’. I am angry at black women who blame the victims and take the oppressor’s side, that they lack empathy because they are in a more comfortable position with education, money and choices that other black women don’t have.

I have plenty to be angry about, enough for several lifetimes. Most of all, I am angry that I will be called an angry black woman, as if anger is a permanent state of my being, by the same people who do the very things that make me angry.

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Black Magic Woman

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Black Magic Woman.
Watch her move.
See her slay.
Spinning her sorcery,
Swaying her hips.

A glance of her eyes
Draws you in.
You’re powerless,
Spellbound.
Sparks fly
From the halo of fire,
That dances around her.

You’re tangled now,
In the web she weaves
With your desire.
She tempts you,
Tests you,
Brings you to your knees.
Black Magic Woman.
Your longing won’t let her pass.

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Chapter 6 in Pictures

I see her floating lazily through the market like a butterfly.

Oh yes, I won’t forget the day came shining in. ( Hugh Masekela)


West African Market Place. The smiles are real. (Courtesy of Pinterest)


Johannesburg Central Business District (Courtesy of Pinterest)

Mai Mai Market. Not just for muti. (Courtesy of Pinterest)


Maboneng Precinct. Arts on Main. Market on Main. Johannesburg CB ( Courtesy of Pinterest)

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Chapter 4 My Heart Crowned Him King

Head over heels,

Still falling,

Far still from hitting,

Rock bottom.

Gravity’s nothing

Compared to this feeling.

My mind appeals,

Raging, warning

Alarm bells ringing

This can’t be real.

His hands on my skin,

My fevered response within.

I’m mesmerized, paralyzed and hypnotised.

I want to walk, run and fly

All at the same time,

 From the agony, ecstasy

The relentless intensity.

Held captive by those eyes.

With one look, my heart crowned him king.

 Now my soul has only this song to sing.

Painting attributed to Samuel Ikenna Kong