ABOUT ME


 
I am not the creator, but a scribe with a pen
I'm recreating visions through a cracked and broken lens
And only One has ever seen the home for which we long
And I am just a beggar who gives alms
Downhere, The Beggar Who Gives Alms

 
That's really all that this site is: "a beggar giving alms", for "out of his fullness we have all received grace upon grace" (John 1:16).
 
I've been around the block a few times, messed up in more ways that I thought possible, and yet I daily discover that God's grace, expressed in and through His only Son Jesus Christ, is enough for me. Every day is a new opportunity to learn more about that grace, about the love of God that passes all understanding, about the mercy that inspires songs of worship all over the world. The apostle John wrote that if everything Jesus did were to be written down, "even the whole world would not have room" to contain all the books, and yet He is constantly writing more books in our lives. This whole site is one beggar trying to share his book with the other beggars out there.
 
I've studied theology, and in the process discovered that the best place to learn to live the Christian life is in the trenches of everyday life. I've spent many years in Christian media, but I've discovered that writing your own life-story of God's love is far more awe-inspiring that reading those of others; I've learned that singing your own song is far more satisfying than knowing the latest worship song; I've seen that the hand of God in my life is creating something much more precious than all the art our species has produced. At various times I have laboured in the church or tried to avoid it, and discovered that I am the church... displaying or obscuring the One who should be the center of the church. Sometimes I felt proud of my life, but mostly I tried to hide in embarrassment, and ever so slowly I started learning that it's not about me and how I live, but about the One who said "I am the life".
 
On these pages you'll find some of the things I've learned on my journey of grace, and are still learning every day. I pray that it will inspire you to go out there with God and live your own lifesong.
 
 
Flip van der Merwe
March 2015

 


ABOUT THE BANNER BACKGROUND

The background of this site's banner comes from a composite photo of the Great Isaiah Scroll, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was discovered with six other scrolls by Bedouin shepherds in 1947 in Cave 1 of the Qumran Caves, located about 2 kilometres inland from the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name. The scroll, officially known as 1Qlsa, is now housed in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.
 
The complete scroll is about 730 cm long and 28 cm high, and consists of 54 columns of text, written on 17 sheets of parchment. Except for a few damaged sections it contains the complete book of the prophet Isaiah.
 
Apart from two silver scrolls excavated in Jerusalem at Ketef Hinnom, dating from around 600 BC, the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest scrolls containing biblical text ever discovered. Pieces of the Great Isaiah Scroll have been carbon-14 dated at least four times, giving calibrated date ranges between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC - you are looking at a photo of a hand-written manuscript of a Bible book that is more than 2,200 years old...
 

 
[More "ramblings" like this at Ramblings Of A Stranger.]
 
 

 

RAMBLINGS OF A STRANGER

Short textual doodles on life, love, and everything else. Each rambling is only two or three paragraphs, or less, intended to be a starting point for your own exploration of faith in daily living.

THE VOICES OF CHRISTMAS

What if the Christmas characters could tell us their experience of that night in their own words? What would they remember? What would they tell us?

STORIES

Short stories about about life, love, and a lot in-between. The characters are fictional, the situations sometimes very familiar. Archangels, little boys, fugitives and rascals. Christmas stories, school days and a young man saying goodbye. Ordinary people, coming face to face with eternity. May their stories inspire you!

REDISCOVER

So, after years of drifting along, you have rediscovered your faith, and this time you want it to be more than another nice experience - you want it to last beyond the initial excitement and become a way of life. That's what prompted me to write this: a workbook on rediscovering what faith is all about, and making it last. Thirteen studies built around the songs on Downhere's album "On The Altar Of Love".
 
(PS: This is a work in progress, and will take some time to finish. Come back often and share the journey!)