Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Witness To A Murder

In urban ministry, very many people turn to the Church for help. We tried to be helpful in every case, with advice, referrals, or material assistance. And a few we gave special attention. Here is an example. A young man was seeking work in the city. He travelled with a sleeping bag, and sought out a safe place each night to lay down his head. One night, he slept at a garage near the Church, which was open 24 hours, and was brightly lit, with security cameras. But in the night, he witnessed a brutal murder. He was badly shaken. The Church therefore took him in, and let him sleep on the stage. But he would not eat, and would not sleep, and would not venture out. He was wasting away. We got him medical attention, and sought to include him in various Church activities -- but still he went down. Finally we put him on a bus back home to his family, about a thousand miles away. A few months later, we received word that he was doing better.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


At first glance it looks fairly ordinary. I took the photo today of symbiosis. There were clumps of scorched reeds scattered across a wetland -- in every case "indwelt" by another plant -- but that other plant always stayed inside its host, as one sees here. You may click on the image to enlarge.

Find A Reason To Celebrate

One of my practices in ministry (my late wife especially promoted this) is to find a reason to celebrate, continually. Celebrate someone's service to the Church, celebrate someone's birthday, celebrate a christening, celebrate a success, and so on -- and have a cake there, or a speech, or a gift, or a song. I view this not as being contrived, but as the attitude one will have when one is thankful to God for His mercies and blessings. It is ultimately a part of glorifying God in the Church, and putting Him at the centre.

CCO Metal Detector

I am the inventor of the CCO (coil coupled operation) metal detector, which is based on the TCO (transformer coupled oscillator). It was Elektor who announced that my design represented a new genre, alongside BFO, IB, PI, and BB. One uses this design (pictured) in conjunction with a Medium Wave radio. One can use my BFO Coil for L1 and L2. If this circuit is well adjusted, performance is exceptional. An old Victorian penny, at 180mm (7") in air, will induce a shift in frequency through the radio speaker of one tone. This suggests that, with further development, CCO would compete with the best. This design is unfortunately © Copyright, so may not be re-published elsewhere.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Blocked By ‘The Province’

In my affidavit last week, I stated that the police had stopped me from reporting raids and sabotage -- a telling refusal. Here I am in conversation with (click ⊳ to Play) the integrity chief of the Special Investigating Unit. "Central" blocked me twice, I tell him -- which is the police in central Cape Town. The integrity chief contradicts me in his characteristic drawl: "The Province," he says. "The Province blocked you twice." That means the Provincial Commissioner, who appears in last week's affidavit, basically for doing just that. OBSERVATION: The integrity chief was "bang on", but I didn't want our conversation to stray into our connections with the Who's Who of the city. I had heard him. Elsewhere on this blog, there is a recording of "Central" blocking me. In that recording, a Colonel receives orders on a smart-phone, then refuses my charges. Who gave the orders? The Colonel was the chief after all. The snake is the "mascot" of the Special Investigating Unit.

Thoughts About Raids

During the past five years, I experienced many search and seize raids. These mostly came in clusters, with more than thirty separate intrusions to locked spaces. As best I know, just one attempted raid failed (a door lock had to be drilled out to get us back into our home). Now if one thinks that anything can escape such a raid, one should think again. These raids were unbelievably slick, thorough, and powerful. But the raiders had a challenge -- I had a huge amount of information in a few locations, and I was moving between them. The first raids missed the critical core. When I realised what was up, I had to think what to do. Besides, who was it? What were they after? I still held a lot of information -- academic, medical, personal, financial, and so on, and it could take "forever" to copy or secure it. As it happens, I guessed right, and secured all critical information, which went on to survive further raids. Today, there is compelling evidence who did it -- I made an affidavit last week. OBSERVATION: It wasn't easy to cope with such chaos. Once, someone reported a search and seize raid while I was in a missions meeting. Someone in the meeting said: "I can't believe you are so calm about it!" Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, information did go missing which mattered to me -- for example, my personal notebooks.


For want of anything to post on the spur of the moment, here is son M with his fiancée L, at a celebration of their engagement. The wedding is to be sooner rather than later. By that time, M might be a doctor of palaeo-biology too. His dissertation is with the examiners.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Inclusive Meeting

This one's a re-post from 2008, about the minister's role in the (Congregational) Church's highest executive body, the Church Meeting. "One of our members came to see me in the vestry after a Church Meeting, effusive in his praise: 'I want to thank you for your considerateness, your tenderness, your compassion ... [and more].' He said this, I think, because I ran a genuinely 'inclusive' or 'organic' meeting. I do get tough, though, when people disturb the democratic framework. One must preserve a 'safe' environment for participation. For instance, if someone turns on the pressure to get a decision through, or lobbies inappropriately, or tries to circumvent the processes of the Body (and so on), a minister needs to take them on -- for the sake of a truly inclusive process." OBSERVATION: In other words, the minister is non-directive as far as issues are concerned, but directive in keeping the dynamic truly inclusive or Congregational.

Yet Another Niece

I snapped not only one but two nieces yesterday. This is (also) my sister's daughter. She married young, and now has two boys. She is a singer, and her husband a signwriter. He does some fairly big signs, high up on city buildings. I had driven past one many times until he showed me -- a huge sign at the apex of a multi-storeyed business centre.

Mediocrity vs. Distinction

In the past few years, I have helped several students -- for nothing -- with Master's and Doctoral theses. Today one of them told me that one of his examiners had awarded him a distinction, but he was still waiting on the other. OBSERVATION: Having read so many theses, it seems to me that a big difference between mediocrity and distinction is that the work of distinction has a big idea and creates an integrated whole. The work of mediocrity is still too fragmented. This is the challenge that I had, too. It is one thing gathering facts -- quite another weaving them together into a meaningful whole. I find that younger students, too, are not by nature big thinkers. They haven't been trained that way.

POSTSCRIPT: I misspelled "mediocrity" when I first put up this post!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Another Niece

It's another niece -- of whom I have a great many -- when one reckons them as "the next generation" as one does in Africa. I like the characterful photos like this one -- and she liked it, too. This niece, among other things, has done graphic design and botanical research. In 2015 she and others were awarded the Gold World Medal at the The New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards. Taken earlier in the day. You may click on it to enlarge.

Fix Lists (Not)

Our new president in South Africa faces the same question as many new ministers do: what is my priority fix list? Then that fix list, at least to observers, looks impossibly long. All of my ministries, in one way or another, started that way: the fix lists not only seemed impossibly long, but seemed to encompass too many areas. But it's not about the fix lists. It's about ethos and emphasis -- and in the Church that means, of course, spiritual ethos and emphasis. OBSERVATION: Here are some examples. We had one great troublemaker. We "squared up to her", and all the other troublemakers became (almost) quiet. We had disorder in the finances. We applied discipline to one area, and all the rest fell (almost) into place.

Leslie Leyland Fields

By chance yesterday I ran into Leslie Leyland Fields, an American authoress and editor. Christian parenting is her focus. By chance, too, she needed a short promotional video for a speaking engagement -- which we did on the spur of the moment (above). This needed only one splice, as will be seen. She has a Speaking Schedule in South Africa until mid March. One needs to scroll down that page to see the list.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Disclosing An Affidavit

I made an affidavit today, which I here disclose. It serves as the basis for criminal charges which I am to lay next week. On the close of my urban ministry, I entered a nightmare of threats, charges, intimidation, raids, and sabotage. It took a while for things to come into focus. Out of this arises this affidavit. OBSERVATION: One does not wish to be overly dramatic, but my life was in danger, and may still be in danger – as well as my wife’s. This is included in the affidavit. The full text follows below the images ("Read more »"). I made a second, related affidavit today which I do not make public.

Church And Politics

Yesterday our city mayor survived a motion of no confidence with 110 votes to 109 -- and her party’s provincial leader stated that she was now “governing without a party mandate”. Now consider the difference between this and Church processes. It is in fact poles apart. There are three things:
• The Church (the Congregational Church) would not go into a vote this divided. It would be very rare. One would gently defer it, and through prayer seek to reach consensus.
• The Church would not speak of a party mandate. One would diligently avoid that. In fact some Churches ban caucuses. There is only one power in the (Congregational) Church: the assembled members.
• One would not question the mayor’s mandate. In the Church, a vote of the assembled members is “the mind of Christ”, and is therefore sacred.
OBSERVATION: Looking at city politics through Church eyes, it is a bit of a shock. But many politicians, I think, would hardly notice it. It is completely different ways of doing things.