Modern Christian parable

[I suppose this is more a kind of human rumination on the Trinity more than a parable. There’s actually no way one can completely explain the concept of the Trinity. But the doctrine of the Trinity is the only way to make sense of many statements in both the Old and New Testaments.]

Andrew: Hi, what are you up to today?

Alex: I’m trying to sort out this Sprague connection.

Andrew: Oh, is that what one calls this funny plug?

Alex: No, it’s the whole thing.

Andrew: But why’s that plug got 4 pins and not the usual 3?

Alex: 3 lives (i.e. 3 phases) and one neutral; the earth is via the metal casing and this open copper wire.

Andrew: So which is positive and which is negative?

Alex: No, no: it’s AC – alternating current, each live is both positive and negative; it alternates.

Andrew: Oh, I thought alternating current was when we alternate between we’ve got current, we’ve got blackouts; you know, Es-kom, Es-gaan.

Alex: No, the current flows first one way, then the other. It rises to a peak, drops, reverses, becomes negative. Look, let me draw you the graph of AC. I’ll just scribble here.

Copy of Single phase Sine_wave_2.svg

This is what we call a sine wave. You can see where its positive peak (say forwards) is , and where its negative (when it goes backwards) peak is. The whole cycle is 360 degrees; that’s what the figures at the bottom are. In South Africa it does this 50 times per second!

Andrew: Good grief! And this three-phase business?

Alex: OK; what I drew there is single phase. I’ll draw you a 3-phase diagram now. It will look a bit more complicated, because we have 3 phases in one diagram. So I’ll do it in colour if you have a red pen …. Thanks.

 Andrew: I can’t believe it does that 50 times per second; and now you say there are 3 of these; so that’s 150 times per second?
Alex: Not quite. Look here’s the diagram.


You must realise this is ONE current supply in 3 phases; or 3 phases in ONE current supply. Let’s say that above the horizontal “0” line is positive, and below is negative, but remember, it’s the same current in the same cable. We could number the phases, but it’s better to draw them or their wires in different colours. You’ll notice the phases are staggered; we say the second one is 120 degrees later compared to the first, and the third is another 120 degrees later than the second, like your mom’s melktart divided into 3 equal pieces and the angle in the middle is 120 degrees. Four equal pieces would have made it 90 degrees.

Andrew: But don’t they get muddled? The phases, I mean, not the melktert.

Alex: No; they’re in separate wires; that’s why I said there are 3 lives. So you have 3 distinct phases, each with its own “function” (shall we say) but they work together in a kind of unity. They work simultaneously; so there’s never a time when there’s only two or one phase operating. You see they never cross on the horizontal line marked “0″ simultaneously.

Andrew: Okaaaay … But what about the 4th wire?

Alex: Right. That’s the neutral. When those three phases in the lives are completely balanced, there should be no current in the neutral. That’s the theory anyway; so don’t think you can play with it, because in practice it may well have some voltage. The earth, of course, is a connection from the chassis of the motor to ground. So, if there’s voltage on the chassis (which there shouldn’t be) it can leak to earth rather than shocking you. Then you’d be buried in a different kind of earth, hey?

Andrew: Wow, this is so complicated. I mean, it goes backward and forward. The same wire is positive and negative; and there are 3 phases and one current supply and they all exist simultaneously?

Alex: Ja, that’s about it. Each phase has its separate existence and can be measured separately; but they work together in a kind of unity as one current. In fact if you measure the voltage from one phase to neutral, you’ll get 220 volts (assuming Eskom is working!). If you measure “across the phases” you’re going to get about 380 volts.

Andrew: Complicated.

Alex: Not if you study the field. Remember when you tried to explain the concept of the Trinity to me? It just didn’t make any sense. I mean, surely God is one, but you say, “No: three persons in one God. God is the Father; God is the Son; but the Father isn’t the Son; and the Spirit isn’t the Son but ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son’, ‘Filio quoque’,” and all that. Now I just didn’t get that. I mean Jesus was only in existence for some 33 or was it 36 years. But you said, “No, He’s been in existence all the time.” And you also claimed Jesus was both divine and human. Now that didn’t make sense either; just like you don’t get it that AC has both pos and neg in the same wire. I mean, that’s just the way electricity works.

Andrew: It’s certainly difficult for the layman to grasp.

Alex: And shall I tell you something else?

Andrew: What?

Alex: How does electricity flow; I mean, in which direction?

Andrew: You mean, like, from positive to negative?

Alex: Exactly. Now what is electricity? What is it that actually moves?

Andrew: OK, so I know that: we were taught it’s electrons.

Alex: Right. So in which directions do electrons flow?

Andrew: Obviously from positive to negative.

Alex: So you’d think; but actually electrons go from negative to positive.

Andrew: But that’s a contradiction. It can’t be right!

Alex: And yet the theory and mathematics of it all work.

Andrew: No, can’t be.

Alex: So are you an unbeliever? Let me tell you, this IS the way it works. You theological guys aren’t the only ones to have crazy-sounding ideas, which you say are not really crazy, but just too deep.

Andrew: Ja, but, I mean, this is supposed to be science!

Alex: So? “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” That’s from Willem Wisselstroom’s play Hamlet, by the way.


Graphs from:

7 November 2014

We recently had some minor alterations done to the house, and that started me thinking …

Andrew:    Hello, what are we up to today, my friend?

Wilhelm:    Dunno what you’re up to, my china, but I’m fixing this door.

Andrew:    Isn’t it a new door?

Willem:    Yes, the carpenter put it in this week, R1350 to split, reframe and hang it.

Andrew:     It looks good to me. Wow! Feel how smooth this pine is. Why on earth are you using coarse sand paper on it when it’s so smooth? Aren’t you messing it up?

Willem:    Ja, it looks good and it feels good, but at the moment it’s no bloody good!

Andrew:    Come again?

Willem:    It’s no bloody good! What’s a door supposed to do?

Andrew:    Like, open and close?

Willem:    Exactly! You’re doing well today, my china!

Andrew:    So?

Willem:    The left-hand side doesn’t close against the magnetic catch. This strip here catches the door at the bottom when it closes. So it wants to come open again.

Andrew:    What’s that strip for?

Willem:    You check how great this door frame looks? Nice, fancy architrave, hey?

Andrew:    Ja.

Willem:    This thing is damn skew. Looks good, but it’s vrek skew. This strip is to compensate. The hinge is recessed a little at the top and a lot at the bottom. That makes it properly upright.

Andrew:    And?

Willem:    Well, it’s so recessed at the bottom that the strip needs to be sanded back before it closes properly, like I mos told you.

Andrew:    And this nice smooth piece you’re attacking with P40?

Willem:    Ja, it’s nice and smooth, hey? And it’s a nice fit, hey?

Andrew:    Yes, looks great to me.

Willem:    But what will happen when this nice smooth wood has been painted?

Andrew:    Ah, it won’t close.

Willem:    Ah, you twig sharp, my bru. It won’t bloody close. What’s the point of it looking good when it doesn’t fit?

Andrew:    So you’re making it a bit smaller?

Willem:    That’s it. I’m taking it down with P40, and then I’ll use some P100 and round off with P180. Then you won’t know the difference. It’ll be as smooth as a baby’s bum AND it will fit when painted. So it’ll look good and be good.

Andrew:    You know ….

Willem:    What?

Andrew:    That’s the perfect illustration of what God –

Willem:    Not again, your damn holiness! Can’t you keep God out of it, man? I don’t believe in your God and you know it!

Andrew:    No, but look, seriously: this sort of explains what God does. We think we’re OK and life is going smoothly; and then he comes along and roughens it up to make us better fit his purposes. You’re making space for paint and he makes space for grace.

Willem:    If you like I’ll sand you with P40 and a belt-sander!

Andrew:    Seriously, Willem, you’ve explained something that’s bugged me and is a huge challenge for me, seeing so many minor things upset me.

Willem:    What’s that?

Andrew:    All this roughening up in my life is to get rid of the bumps and bits and make me fit God’s purposes.

Willem:    You’ve got some bumps and bits to come off? Just pass me that chisel. I’ll start with your tongue; then you can shut up about religion, so help me –

Andrew:    So help me –who?

Willem:    Oh shut up!

[Jesus often taught using parables, allegorical stories based on everyday life or current events. I suspect that, if only we looked around and thought for a while, we would find that our world is full of parables too. So here’s the seventh one. Enjoy.]

Joshua:    What on earth are you up to now?

Willem:    I’m glad you see I confine my energies to earth. None of your pie-in-the sky stuff: magical, invisible Holy Spirit guiding you and all that crap. I prefer cane spirit. And I’m trying to sort out this damn pump motor.

Joshua:    Something wrong with the brushes?

Willem:    No, it hasn’t got brushes.

Joshua:    No brushes?

Willem:    That’s mos what I said.

Joshua:    So, if there are no brushes, what takes the electricity to the bit that moves? I thought there were brushes brushing on the commutator to get the electricity to the moving bit from the bit that doesn’t move? You showed me that before.

Willem:    You mean, current from the stator to the rotor?

Joshua:    Yes, I mean, it can’t just jump across by magic.

Willem:    This is an induction motor. The current flows in the stator – the bit that stays still – but the current flowing in the stator induces a current in the rotor –the bit that goes round. Now the electricity flowing in the windings causes a magnetic field, and the two fields cause the rotor to rotate. That’s mos why it’s called an induction motor because the current in the rotor is induced from the stator without any physical contact. Hey, that’s complicated for your airy-fairy religious mind!

Joshua:    So electricity can flow from one thing to something that’s not connected to it?

Willem:    Sort of, ou pel. That’s how transformers work. That’s the phemo–meno – ag, the thing called electromagnetic induction. The electric current in one coil makes a current run in the other coil. The two coils are insulated from mekaar, but close together.

Joshua:    So, if they were far apart you wouldn’t get any current being induced?

Willem:    ‘S right. The magnetic field would be too feeble, ou, like you!

Joshua:    And of course you can’t see this magical, invisible electromagnetic induction happening?

Willem:     Of course not! You really dof sometimes ou. It’s not magic. It’s science.

Joshua:    So, why –, I don’t understand –

Willem:    Ag no, man. What now?

Joshua:    No, I sort of understand what you’re saying, but I don’t understand you.

Willem:     ‘s wrong with me, eh?

Joshua:    You understand that invisible electricity can be induced because of magnetic fields and stuff like that –

Willem:    –of course; it’s my job!

Joshua:    – but you don’t understand how God can influence me by his Spirit even though we can’t see it?

Willem:    I know there’s electricity in a thing, because my multimeter’s needle moves.

Joshua:    But you still can’t see the electricity. I want to see the electricity!

Willem:    If you hold these two wires and I switch on, you’ll blerrie-well feel it!

Joshua:    You’re telling me I can’t see electricity, but only what it does to things?

Willem:     Geez, my bru, you are clever today, hey?

Joshua:    But that’s the way God works through his Holy Spirit: you can’t see the Spirit but you see what it does. Like that chap – Jacques –who was an alcoholic and used to beat his wife: he had hands laid on him, passed out –

Willem:    He’d have passed out if I’d given him a moerse klap  –

Joshua:    – and when he got up he begged his wife for forgiveness, hasn’t touched a drop in the last 14 months, no longer loses his temper, no longer swears or even smokes. You can’t see the Holy Spirit but you can see what it does!

Willem:    Ag, jus’ pass me that blerrie spanner!

[There are so many things in life that challenge us: are we living as God intended us to live? Do we see the sense in living according to God’s rules? In life, as on railways, we need to observe and obey the signals which are there for our safety. There are frequently railway accidents, whether in UK, USA or RSA and most are attributable to “human error.” Railways Africa says there are 2.5 mishaps a day on the railways of  South Africa! What about our spiritual life? And yet God still cares for us and calls out to us.]


1    In the beginning transport was without form or organization, and the spirit of chaos wallowed in the muddy roads and ditches.

2    So the Lord said: “Let there be rails, aligned according to my Will & to each other; and let there be flanged wheels.” And behold, two parallel rails 4′ 8½” apart stretched out across the land, able to bear and guide the flanged wheels. And the Lord saw that it was in gauge, aligned to His will, and that it was indeed  good.

3    And when the flanges abided by the will of the Lord, they did enable the wheel to remain on the track and roll freely; but when they did not obey the rails of the Lord, they did derail to their own destruction, and rolled not.

4    Then the Lord said: “Let there be rolling stock to run upon the rails, after the fashioning of my imagination.” And so the Lord created trucks and coaches, and he looked upon them and saw that they were good.

5    But the Lord was moved with pity and said: “It is not good that Man or beast should pull so great a burden.”

6    So the Lord created a contraption to pull the rolling stock, and said: “From the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and the clear, living waters of my creation shall be the means of pulling the load.

7    I shall breathe my fire over the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and it shall burn with great heat. For the impulse of my breath shall give life and the fire shall burn.”

8    And the Lord breathed the breath of life into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth, and indeed it did become fire.

9    The fire did impart its heat unto the living, clear water of the Lord’s creation, and, verily, it did become so hot that it remained not water, but became steam.

10    And the Lord beheld how His breath had transformed the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and the water into an enormously powerful energy, the equal of which had not been seen before by the eye of Man, or Person (?). And the Lord was greatly pleased.

11    The Lord said: “What profit is it to have the power that comes from my breathing fire into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth unless it does what my will is for it to do?”

12    The Lord said: “Behold what power has come from the transformation of the worthless, dirty dust of the earth together with the living, clear water of my creation. Behold,” said the Lord (again), “how the steam expands beyond the limits of its water, and behold the power of its expansion. On such power I will establish the steam engine.” So the Lord did add cylinders and pistons, and saw that it was all very good.

13    And the Lord again said: “What profit is it to have the power that comes from my breathing fire into the worthless, dirty dust of the earth and from the expansion of the steam beyond the boundaries of its water and for the steam to act upon the pistons, unless it does what my will is for it to do?”  So the Lord connected the pistons to the wheels, that the power might be transferred from one to another so that his will might be done and the wheels should be turned by the steam.

14    And the Lord saw that it was good, more or less. For he said: “Surely it is not good for one pair of driving wheels to bear the burden on its own, lest it should slip and fail. Therefore shall I add another pair of driving wheels, and couple them that they may work together and draw strength from each other.”

15    And thus the Lord created the coupling rod, and remarked: “How good it is to see the wheels turn together in unity! Power without performance is vanity of vanities, and a wasting of my steam. My steam shall not go forth emptily, but shall accomplish that which my will desires.”

16    The Lord said: “I shall appoint to each engine a driver, that he shall control the engine and have dominion over the my creation.

17    And the Lord’s will accomplished a great deal; for pretty soon there were lots and lots of rails, wagons, coaches, trains and steam engines and drivers, and a spirit of chaos seemed likely to brood over the railways.

18    So the Lord said: “I shall provide signals. And if it be that my signals shall be obeyed, yea verily shall I bring the trains safely to the place unto which they go. But if they shall not heed my warnings and obey the voice of my signals, then they shall be abandoned unto the consequences of their own wickedness.”

19    So the Lord created a special band of ministers which he called signalmen, for he said: “These men shall signal the voice of my will to those who have dominion over the power that I by myself have created.”

20    And the Lord did so. And he looked upon his creation and saw that it was very good; well more or less.

21    For the Lord said: “Men are so willful, proud and stubborn that there is no guarantee that they shall instinctively obey my signals.”

22    Therefore the Lord said: “I by myself have seen that Man (and perhaps Woman (?)) is unreliable when he has dominion, and that his ear may be deaf unto the voice of my commands. Therefore shall I write down my commands on tablets, and each driver shall have one.

23    And I shall establish a Covenant of Safe Operating Practice between myself and those who have dominion over the rails. It shall be for their own safety and for that of their neighbours.”

24    And behold there spoke up one who had within him the spirit of dim-witted arrogance who said thus to the Lord: “How shall we know if your ways be just, or whether they be the usual practices and deceits whereby management doth exploit the workers? And will the unions accept it?”

25    And the Lord said: “I shall invite you to enter into this Covenant with me and shall force you not.

26     “Let it be to you as you shall wish. But if you shall not accept my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice, you shall have no place within my system. But go thou away and think it over. If thou comest back and acceptest my Covenant,  then shalt thou have a place within my system. If thou comest not back, then shall I deem it to be voluntary severance and a loss of all benefits. “

27    Then the Lord said: “Hear me, O workers on my system. If ye hear the voice of my will and do it, then shall ye have safe passage over my rails, and ye shall live. But if ye hearken not to the voice of my will, then may derailment, collision, and injury overtake you; and — what with the current Minister of Health — ye shall surely die.”

28    And the Lord said: “The consequences of not abiding by my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice are like unto this: suppose a signalman should know of danger and set no signal to danger: then, if disaster come to pass, shall the blood of the people on the train be upon his head, and he shall face dismissal, for he hath broken my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice.

29    “But if the signalman should know of danger, and shall set signal to danger: then, if the driver shall not heed the signal — which is the voice of my Will — and disaster come to pass, then shall the blood of the people on the train be not upon the head of the signalman, but upon the head of the driver, if it come to pass that there shall be shrieking of whistles and grinding of brakes and crashing of trains.

30    “And at the Great Tribunal to such a one I shall say: cast him out, for such a one hath no part within my system: there shall be dismissal, no leave pay-out and no pension.

31    “But for those who faithfully abide by my Covenant of Safe Operating Practice there will be employment, safety, and a pension fund that shall not run out. For I, the Lord, have spoken.”

32    Thus was established by the Lord, the Creator and Ruler,  the railway and the community which should serve therein and do the will of Him who had established it.

33    And the Lord did show that his breath could sanctify the worthless, dirty dust of the earth to do great things with the living, clear water of his creation; and that in it there was great power.

34    And the Lord loved his creation, his system and the community which should serve it, and saw that they were more than good and more than beautiful: they were absolutely to-die-for.
Genesis 1:1-5:  In the beginning, when God created the universe, the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God was moving over the water.  Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness,  and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.

Ezekiel 33:1-7:  The LORD spoke to me.  “Mortal man,” he said, “tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land. The people of that country choose one of their number to be a lookout.  When he sees the enemy approaching, he sounds the alarm to warn everyone.  If someone hears it but pays no attention and the enemy comes and kills him, then he is to blame for his own death.  His death is his own fault, because he paid no attention to the warning. If he had paid attention, he could have escaped.  If, however, the lookout sees the enemy coming and does not sound the alarm, the enemy will come and kill those sinners, but I will hold the lookout responsible for their death. Now, mortal man, I am making you a lookout for the nation of Israel. You must pass on to them the warnings I give you.

Isa 55:3:  “Listen now, my people, and come to me; come to me, and you will have life! I will make a lasting covenant with you and give you the blessings I promised to David.

Isa 55:10 – 11:  “My word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth. They make the crops grow and provide seed for planting and food to eat.  So also will be the word that I speak— it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.

Act 10:15  The voice spoke to him [Peter] again, “Do not consider anything unclean that God has declared clean.”

The modern world doesn’t seem to like the concept of sin, but it doesn’t seem to mind so much the concept of forgiveness. If we had to carry with us all our sins and failures, we would never make any progress at all. We would be like a car stuck in mud or sand: engine revving, wheels spinning, getting deeper, going nowhere. So we need someone to tow us out.

The main, sole, purpose of Jesus’s incarnation was just that: forgiveness of our sins and our redemption. Only when we are released from the bondage of sin, can we be in the correct relationship with God our Father. Many people see repentance as a huge burden imposed by a judging God; but the purpose of repentance is forgiveness, a benefit of God’s mercy. One repents and says “sorry” to one’s wife because one acknowledges that the relationship is precious. Jesus’s death by crucifixion is the means of our forgiveness and restoration. We are unable to save ourselves.

The next time we see a car stuck in mud or sand, trying to “redeem” itself, let’s remind ourselves that God did something to get us out: Jesus.

(This is a parody of the song Needles and Pins by The Searchers, also by Smokie.  6-15 June 2009)

I saw it today, I saw my fate
It was a fate I feared, and I knew
I had to turn away
and get down on my knees and pray
He’d take them all away

And new life begins
Forgiveness of sins
Because of all my pride
The times I had to hide

Yeah, I thought I was smart, I’d do it my way
Now I know that I  – had it all so wrong
Then I thought that I was strong
I’d battle and I’d hurt,  until He came along
One day and spoke to me

And I was on my knees
And I begged Him please
Forgive me all my sins
And wash them all clean away
For ever, for ever

I couldn’t stop when I knew I was  wrong, I was wrong, so wrong
Now I can stand up and in His grace be strong

Oh yes, I saw Him today, I saw His grace
His face was full of love and I knew
I had to turn away
and get down on my knees and pray
He’d take my sins away

So new life begins
Forgiveness of sins
Because my Saviour died
I have no need to hide
Forgiveness of sins
Freedom from sins
Forgiveness of sins
Freedom from sins
Forgiveness of sins
Freedom from sins

Mat 26:28  “this is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Lk 24:47  and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.
Act 13:38  All of you, my fellow Israelites, are to know for sure that it is through Jesus that the message about forgiveness of sins is preached to you; you are to know that everyone who believes in him is set free from all the sins from which the Law of Moses could not set you free.
Heb 1:3  He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for the sins of all human beings, he sat down in heaven at the right side of God, the Supreme Power.
Psa 19:14  May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you, O LORD, my refuge and my redeemer
Psa 49:7  We can never redeem ourselves; we cannot pay God the price for our lives,
Mat 20:28  like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
Mar 10:45  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
Gal 4:4-5  But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God’s children.
1Ti 2:5-6  For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem the whole human race. That was the proof at the right time that God wants everyone to be saved,

Often we can look at something worldly, and with the insight from the Spirit it can teach us a Spritual truth. Here is another modern parable. Something good can come out of battling with a computer. The pain is often not wasted. (When things are rough, a friend of mine often says: “I pray that the pain won’t be wasted.”)

Let’s follow this conversation:

Nico: You know, Mr Christopher, I’m just about to kill this bloody computer: it keeps on hanging, freezing and losing my stuff when it does so. I’m so sick and tired of rebooting that I could kick it to hell and back!

Joshua: A bit of trouble, eh, Mr Demas?

Nico:    Man, I’ve tried everything; I’m sick of trying and struggling. These programs are hell!

Joshua: Don’t blame your programs, man; what you need is to start from scratch again, right fr—

Nico: But that’s all I ever do: start over and over and —

Joshua: No, no. Don’t start over, start from the beginning, anew, afresh, ab initio.

Nico: What! and lose all I’ve got?

Joshua: Well, it’s your choice: either you struggle on doing it your way, or you start over again right at the beginning.

Nico: You mean reformat the hard drive, reinstall Windows98 and put everything back?

Joshua: No way! That’s reincarnation; your computer needs rebirth.

Nico: So?

Joshua: We’ll start right back in the beginning, but with a different operating system. Everything that depends on the OS will work better if the OS is better. I mean, how can you build a decent system on such an OS? Like building a skyscraper on a styrofoam foundation.

Nico: So what’s the deal?

Joshua: Simple. We’ll install FreeBSD which is a kind of like Linux as your operating system. Even if your application freezes, FeeBSD won’t. So a problem in one area won’t bring your whole world down. It’s robust and dependable, and though your applications may let you down, FreeBSD will never let you down.

Nico: What about all these files I already have?

Joshua: No problem: we’ll get a wordprocessor that runs on FreeBSD and convert the files. So it will all be the same, but radically different.

Nico: You’re sure it’s reliable?

Joshua: Absolutely, and that’s gospel.

Nico: OK, but what’s this all going to cost? I paid a fortune as it is.

Joshua: Nothing in money; a little effort, that’s all.

Nico: Don’t bulldust me; you shouldn’t hit a man when his OS is down! I can’t afford more expense at the moment.

Joshua: Look FreeBSD is downloadable. It’s FreeBSD, a free gift, no price. The only effort you need is to choose, accept, and your computer will be born again.

Nico: Hmm, a new life for the box ? Can I believe that?

Joshua: Nothing to lose and everything to gain: I’d give it a go.

Nico: A so-called leap of faith?

Joshua: That’s the spirit!

Joh 3:1  There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees.
Joh 3:2  One night he went to Jesus and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him.”
Joh 3:3  Jesus answered, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.”
Joh 3:4  “How can a grown man be born again?” Nicodemus asked. “He certainly cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time!”
Joh 3:5  “I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
Joh 3:6  A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit.
Joh 3:7  Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again.


Andrew: Hey Willem, what are you up to now? Another day in Paradise?

Willem: I’m grinding the rust out of my car, my china. And no sermons today, d’you hear? I’m just not in the mood to listen to twak, O.K.

Andrew:    Easy, man. Why don’t you just paint over the rust? Won’t that fix it?

Willem: Man, that will just cover it up, so you won’t see it; but it will carry on rusting underneath. Rust is porous, ou. An’ eventually it will come through again till the whole thing rusts to hell. Only way is to grind off as much as you can, like, and then coat it and fill with fibre-glass, or weld in a new plate, man.

Andrew:    No fine. You just  weld in your new plate. But I’ll tell you something interesting if you like — about what you’re doing.

Willem: What I’m doing, hey? What’s that? What do you know about panel-beating, my china?

Andrew: O.K. Check: Now rust spoils things, O.K.?

Willem: No, fine, carry on, O learnéd one.

Andrew: If one has something that has been corrupted — like corroded, rusted — you can’t just leave it; can’t just paint over it, like conceal it from public view, right?

Willem: Right.

Andrew: So you have to deal with the problem where it’s often not seen, on the inside, right?

Willem: O.K.

Andrew: So you have to grind out what is wrong, like you pluck it out. And then you can’t just leave it, because it will rust again, right?

Willem: You twig fast, man. You could become a panel-beater too, man, and then you could mos help me with something useful instead of all your usual twak.

Andrew: Maybe. Let’s see: so you grind or cut out the rust. Then you coat it — like wash it — with your chemical rust-binder  — because even when a man — I mean a car —’s been cleaned of all that corruption — I mean corrosion — it needs something to strengthen it against further attack. So you put in something to cover it, so it won’t rust again.

Willem: You sharp, my bru. Just pass me the wire brush. When I’m finished, this car will look just if I’d got it new. So now we — my Ford and me — we will mos turn our back on the rust and leave it in the dust.

Andrew:    Hey, I’ve got to go; but I’m glad you understand the basics —

Willem: What “basics”? When it comes to panel-beating, I’m professional, ek sê.

Andrew: The basics of Paradise, sin, spiritual corruption, repentance and the need to be covered by grace so that you don’t rust again!

Willem: Hey, I said I didn’t want no sermon, my bru. Why don’t you learn to do something useful like learn to weld?

[When it comes to the things of God, sometimes I’m a very slow learner. But sometimes God lets me see the things of this world in such a way that I learn something about God from something totally untheological. The following dialogue came to mind after I had read about General Electric’s AC6000CW diesel electric locomotive; this is amassive 6000hp loco.The AC4400 is its 4400 hp little brother.

I started pondering  power and Grace.]

Willem:    Hey, check this, my china: this AC6000CW diesel from GE’s a brute, hey? I mean, just check this: it turns the scales at over 193 metric tonnes, man. That’s more than my mother-in-law, ou!

Andrew:    That’s no joke, hey! She must be huge — the AC6000CW, I mean, not your mother-in-law.

Willem:    Look at this: “Starting tractive effort 180 000 pounds.” I don’t know what’s that in kiloNewtons, but that’s only lank powerful, hey. Lots of guts.

Andrew:    Sorry, but it doesn’t mean much to me. I mean, I can’t see 180 000 pounds of tractive effort; I see your boep [paunch], though, without any effort of any kind.

Willem:    No fine, man. O.K. check this now from Trains mag.:”With four AC4400’s … two on the head end and two 75 cars back the 108 car (that’s coal trucks, my bru, blerrie heavy things) the train was pitted against the more than 2 percent gradient [1 in 50] going at 0.2 miles per hour” — hey, even your Volksie goes faster than than 330 metres per hour, man. “The train didn’t stall, and the motors didn’t overheat. In the end the train was brought to a stop, not because the motors failed, but because the coupling on the first car fractured.”

Andrew:    Wow!

Willem:    Ja, man. Imagine that. That’s power, man, raw power. Hey? Makes you feel kind of puny, like an ant in the face of that power, man, hey? That’s POWER, man, real POWER you can see.

Andrew:    No lie! But now, just, like say, something even more powerful, or like maybe someone more powerful was, say, so powerful it or he was pulling something even bigger, like say, the UNIVERSE —

Willem:    You been drinking?

Andrew:    No, man, seriously.

Willem:    O.K. this thing — or person — or, like, being was pulling this load like the universe and made me feel like an ant —

Andrew:    No, say it came upon an ant on the line —

Willem:    That ant would need more than Grandpa headache powder!

Andrew:    No, man; shurrup man. Say, it — and everything it was pulling — just stopped because of the ant, like it didn’t want to hurt this ant. And remember you said the AC6000CW would make you feel like an ant. So take this thing or being pulling the universe,  and it stops for something relatively like an ant —

Willem:    “Relatively like an ant.” So?

Andrew:    Don’t you get it man; just think: that’s GRACE!

Willem:    Good God!

Andrew:    Exactly.