Warning: these few paragraphs are not for the sensitive reader.

Yesterday was an amazing sunshine day. I was elated. Johannesburg has been (uncharacteristically)enveloped in a cloud blanket for three weeks. Seeing the sun again was like a wonderful re-acquaintance. Part of my day was to spend time with my good friend Eddie. He is the pastor of the Diepsloot community church. They are situated in one of the squatter camps surrounding Johannesburg. As I drove to their site (a marquee) I saw that they got a brand new tent. With the sun reflecting from it, it shone white and reminded me of the transfiguration scene that we’ll visit as a global church this Sunday.

Upon my arrival I saw that the new tent was quite a bit bigger than the previous version. Eddie met me and he immediately showed me around. The new tent is almost 10 meters longer than the old one! “This Sunday we filled the whole tent”, Eddie told me. He stood inside the tent; I stood opposite him on the outside in order to catch some of the sun’s rays. We shared stories of the last few months and then Eddie said to me, “I can’t take this shit anymore, let’s go and stand in the shade.” Allow me to give you some context.

The squatter camps are notorious for bad sanitation. In order to counter it, the government installed some latrines. These toilets are supposed to be serviced every month. Four of these toilets stood outside of the old tent. They haven’t been serviced for close to three months now. The smell is Gehenna. With the expansion of the new tent, these solid structured toilets could not be moved. The end result: four smelly, gross, neglected toilets inside the church’s meeting space. It’s a metaphor. Expansion isn’t good or bad. It’s both. But expansion is almost always shitty. It was a good reminder. Eddie couldn’t tale the stench anymore – neither could I.