Sunday, November 23, 2014
I've posted on this before -- however the trends have accelerated. Within this year, about 60% of active members of our Church in the Karoo have permanently left town. This is a stunning exodus of English speakers, not least for its impact on the only English-speaking Church in town. Another minister, with bilingual services, now fills the Church, while I remain consulent minister on paper. I cannot imagine the reason for the exodus, other than a change in the political landscape.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Friday, November 21, 2014
As a minister, I have had a fairly wide experience of public services in South Africa. I consider that some really shine, and I'll name the police services, the municipal services, and home affairs in particular. While I could name others, it would be on the basis of fewer experiences. At the bottom of my list are the postal services and (the worst) the health services. However, with regard to health services, I consider that it is the services which are wanting, not the personnel. OBSERVATION: There is great variation within South Africa. My experience will by no means be the experience of all. And in most things, one needs patience. South Africa is not as efficient as some parts of the world.
NOTE: Thanks to a blog reader who notes that I should give thanks -- meaning I think that God's blessing is in the midst of such things.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
at 4:11 PM
I handed in Part IX today, on schedule, of A New Metaphysics. In the nature of things, this will in due course be seen as a mere draft. It is widely taken for granted today that it is impossible to derive an “ought” from an “is”. The philosopher David Hume's (supposed) insight has taken hold. Yet what does one do then for value? One grasps for fact. Yet fact cannot provide value. Part IX sketches, I hope, the dynamic. OBSERVATION: This has had a lot to do with theology. At the core of Bishop Lesslie Newbigin's theology lay the realisation that "It is a world of facts without value, and a world of values which have no basis in facts." This affects, in particular, the Theology of Community, which has rubbed off all over the world, without necessarily taking root. (I do not follow Newbigin's approach).
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I have close experience of the demise of the dop (tot) system on farms in South Africa. It might be more true to describe it as payment in commodities, since it was not only the dop. The evils of the system are plain to see. At the same time, many labourers grieve over its passing. Paradoxically, a restructuring of wages, intended to propel farm workers into the present, has brought discontent. Everything is now calculated, tabulated, assessed: accommodation, water, transport -- even the old commodities. OBSERVATION: I think that much could be remedied by a little kindness, to make up for the sense of loss.
at 10:47 AM
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I was working today on a regulator for a large solar panel (which "evens out" the voltage which is tapped from the panel). For some of us who grew up with solar cells, we remember when these were electronics not electrics, so it is easy to forget how things have changed today. It is downright dangerous to play with solar power now the way that one played with it then. The panel I was working with today has a sign on the back: WARNING Electrical Hazard.
Monday, November 17, 2014
I was asked in a group last week: "Who had the greatest impact on you, spiritually?" It would be so easy to do someone injustice for the impact that they had, yet the person who first came to mind was a professor, Herbert Jantzen, now 92. One finds him on Wikipedia. He taught us Christianologie -- yet lecture after lecture, he came down from the intellectual heights to challenge us on the heart level. Have you experienced the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit? Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation through faith?
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Someone asked me today the difference between sustaining an urban Church and a suburban Church. My answer today (it may change) was that the turmoil in African urban people's lives is such that a typical suburban ministry will not adequately address the urban need. Therefore one cannot smoothly transfer a suburban ministry to an urban Church. OBSERVATION: However, the same might apply in reverse. Urban ministry might "come on too strong" for a suburban Church. But notice the "Catch 22" here. A Church might be a mix of urban and suburban people.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Friday, November 14, 2014
for fun, here's a 23-second video of me negotiating a desert road after rains, in my old Indian three-wheeler, a Bajaj -- at Gannabos, near the ghost-town Brandkop. The first time I encountered this, from the other direction, I walked it first, to decide how I'd get across.
One of my weaknesses as a young minister was distraction. I would have purposes in mind, from which I could be completely distracted, particularly where emotional events were involved. Decades later, while I still blame myself for some distraction, I have the ability to forge ahead no matter what the (potential) distraction. OBSERVATION: What brought about the change? This is hard to say. What comes to mind is a deeper understanding of faith.