My heart bursts its banks, spilling beauty and goodness. I pour it out in a poem to the king, shaping the river into words. (Psalm 45:1)

Welcome to our new blog!

Note that this blog is primarily for members of CWOSA. Only those members who have signed up as authors to the blog are able to post on this site, although all may leave comments.

You may not pass on any posts from this blog without permission of the author, but you may pass on a link if you wish to share something written.

To join CWOSA, you are required to either be a Christian writer or aspiring writer who lives in Southern Africa, or a Southern African Christian writer living overseas. If you qualify and wish to learn more, click on this link.


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Saturday, 24 August 2013

Get-togethers Galore!


This has been a good year for CWOSA get-togethers. Apart from some individuals spending time together, we also had three official times of fellowship.


In May a few of us were blessed to attend the Writers Uncaged mini-conference run by Aldyth Thomson and her helpers. This conference came about as a result of talks Aldyth, Linda and I had way back when in Cape Town. Having experienced American writers' conferences, Linda and I longed to see a similar event taking place in South Africa. At the time it didn't work out. A few years later, Aldyth and I again met up--this time in Johannesburg and again talked around the topic. It was just such an expensive proposition with so many challenges. Once again, nothing happened.

Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference - Johannesburg, 2013.

This year, 2013, it finally came together! It was nothing like the American conferences. After all, that's why we have CWOSA, right? Our requirements are different. However, Aldyth and team put together a top-rate teaching mini-seminar, lasting from 8 am to 3 pm (I think!).

Mary de MuthMary de Muth, who had been flown out as one of the two speakers for the Beauty for Ashes conference commencing that evening, presented an outstanding day of teaching, and a wonderful time was had by all.


After the writers mini-conference, we went off to a local Mugg 'n Bean for supper where we met up with Clinton.


Sue Keddy

Then it was off to Beauty for Ashes Women's Conference for the evening and the whole of the next day. There we enjoyed excellent inspirational speaking from both Mary de Muth and Sue Keddy.


A few weeks later, in June, my husband Rob and I drove to Cape Town where once again I was able to meet up with some of our CWOSA members.

It was so good to meet up again with some of our earliest members plus one newbie, Retha. We talked writing and shared experiences for several hours whilst Ross's wife and my daughter plus another friend, who were all roommates and friends in college years ago, caught up on news at a nearby table.

I hope you've enjoyed this glimpse at some of our members enjoying each others company. Make a decision now to try and join us next time. Better still, why not find out which members live close to you, and have your own get-together. Writing is a lonely business, and it's great to have fellowship with one another whenever possible.


Did you enjoy seeing these photos? Do any of us look like you pictured? Click on "Comment" below and let us know. Also click on the block closest to your reaction.

Wednesday, 07 August 2013

Travels in Turkey

After the rapid growth of the first church in Jerusalem there was soon persecution, which scattered the new Christians into ‘all the world’. Modern-day Turkey was one of the major areas to which Christianity spread, with Paul as the trail blazer, and others of the early church figures playing a prominent role.

Turkey is an amazing country – full of interesting features of geography, of history and of religion. It reminded me often of the Western Cape, particularly on the west coast, and in Bergama (Pergamum) we saw a bank of vygies and sour figs, which made us feel at home.

Turkey has been inhabited for thousands of years, with culture succeeding culture. This was the land of the Hittites; it was later conquered by the Persians, then by the Macedonian Alexander the Great. Then came the Romans, who made Constantinople (previously known as Byzantium, now Istanbul) the capital of the eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. Eventually the Ottoman Empire conquered the land, and while Turkey is today officially a secular state, the Muslim religion is predominant, with very few remains of Christianity other than at archaeological sites.
Sardis Gymnasium

And there are plenty of archaeological sites! We saw some amazing ruins, where the archaeologists have painstakingly pieced together fragments of stone and have rebuilt large portions of the old cities. Through the years many cities have been destroyed several times by earthquakes. If anyone likes jigsaw puzzles, study archaeology and go to Turkey!
Laodicean archaeological jigsaw puzzle

One thing was hard to miss: There was always at least one temple in the major cities. We saw temples to Artemis, Zeus, Athena, Dionysius, Trajan, Aphrodite, Domitian and Apollo. Amazing among this list of names are Trajan and Domitian – Roman emperors! The Imperial Cult was the issue that made Christians the enemies of Rome. Saint Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was martyred because he refused to say ‘Caesar is Lord’.
Temple of Trajan, Pergamum

Polycarp was born in 65 AD, and is thought to have been a disciple of John, who ordained him as bishop. When required by the Romans to revile Christ, he is reported to have said, ‘Eighty-six years have I served him, and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?’

One of the strongest impressions that I took away is the courage and endurance of those early Christians. Jesus was absolutely clear when he told the 72 of his followers that he was sending them out as ‘lambs among wolves’ (Luke 10:3). The early missionaries were heading into the teeth of opposition and darkness, trusting their lives to God. The incident in Lystra described in Acts 14:8-20 is an example. There, after Paul had spoken God’s healing to a man born crippled, the priest of the temple of Zeus wanted to sacrifice oxen to them, calling Barnabas ‘Zeus’, and Paul ‘Hermes’. They managed to stop him, but very soon the opposition from their last town (Iconium) followed them to Lystra and turned the crowds against them. Paul was stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead. However with the help (and doubtless prayer) of the believers, he recovered and went back into the city. The following day, undeterred, he set off for Derbe – his next mission station.

It struck me recently that on the night before he was crucified, Jesus told his disciples that he had conquered the world (John 16:33) – which must have rung very hollow as they watched him die the following day. But he had – through his death and resurrection. The early missionaries were clearly prepared to follow in his footsteps.

Fiona McCutcheon