Tuesday, December 5, 2023


I frequently come across this sentiment among artists, and I feel it myself. Here are some 10 seconds of Albert Hammond: "I've always felt somebody's taken me by the hand ... even though everything seemed to be uphill for me."

† David Burrell

I discovered today that David Burrell CSC passed away last month, at the age of 90. We corresponded, and he sent me things to read. His last words to me were, "Time continues to instruct us!!" OBSERVATION: A man of note, who had the time to write to anybody and everybody, with understanding.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Christmas Traditions (Not)

My wife E's family have had no Christmas traditions -- none whatsoever. It is simply the fact that Christmas traditions never reached rural Africa. This year they have decided to change that. We shall exchange Christmas gifts -- yet we are under strict instructions: only one reciprocation each. So, for instance, E will give me a gift, and I shall give E a gift, but neither of us will give anyone else a gift, nor will we receive one. OBSERVATION: I am interested to get behind the thinking here. I can think of a few possible reasons why it is so announced.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Continually Encouraged

Here's an old post  that I found "lying on the shelf". In a demanding and sometimes tumultuous ministry, I received great encouragement from the congregation.

"I know that some ministers are continually dis-couraged by their members (sometimes, chiefly the Church leadership). I am continually en-couraged. Oh, just fifteen minutes with the members makes me feel better. This is not to say that there aren't discouraging moments of ministry, or discouraging aspects -- but on the whole, I am so encouraged. OBSERVATION: I think there are a few things that lie behind their encouragement. Here are three that I can think of: 1. We continually focus on what the Lord is doing among us, 2. I have a relaxed approach to ministry (though not disengaged or slack), and 3. There is a living faith among our members."

Saturday, December 2, 2023


Some consider postmodernism passé. Not if one looks at its core characteristics. It rejects the “single thought” of Schopenhauer. We won't easily go back to single thoughts. It undermines modern metanarratives. The big ones are dead. It erodes Enlightenment hegemonies -- and hegemonies have lost their steam. These things won't soon be reversed. OBSERVATION: Although, witness Russia. (The title of my major philosophy is Everything, Briefly: A Postmodern Philosophy).

Using a (South African) Boom

I watched a car trying to get through a boom today. It was a South African classic. First, they needed me to authorise entry (a delay of several minutes). Then, they needed fingerprint recognition to lift the boom. The fingerprint recognition wouldn't work. But they had a big button as a backup. That wouldn't work. No worry, they had a mechanical alternative with a key. That wouldn't work. They instructed the car to reverse out, and enter through another boom. But the car couldn't reverse out, because traffic was backed up. Once that was sorted out, the second boom worked -- however, it was followed by a big gate -- which wouldn't. They disengaged the motor, and heaved the gate open. The car now got through. OBSERVATION: This involved four personnel, and no small amount of time.

Friday, December 1, 2023

How Much Faith Required?

A common theme in the Bible is: one is saved by faith, not works. Questions which then arise from that are: what quality of faith is needed? How much faith is required? One finds such questions fairly often in ministry. The biblical answer, though, comes in different form. The Bible speaks of "the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption". It lies in the presence of the Spirit. OBSERVATION: On this basis, one can then ask diagnostic questions. It goes to the doctrine of assurance, also called, significantly, "the witness of the Spirit".

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Blog Weather vs. Climate

There were times that I seemed to have strong and plentiful posts on this blog -- yet page-views were few. When I say "few", I mean fifty a day. Yet the weather does not make a climate. This month, there have been more than two-hundred page-views a day. Some months, more than one-thousand a day. OBSERVATION: It isn't all about page-views, though, as if numbers were everything. There is the helpfulness of a blog, the influence of a blog, the training of a blog (for oneself), the blog as searchable source, and so on.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Accessing Old Writing

A cyber-friend of mine detailed today how his information has become dated, and awkward to access. This is to be distinguished from the information which somebody else may lose on one's behalf (suppose, for instance, that Facebook went bust). Here is one of my more challenging problems -- which I do not think I will solve. I have a lot of writing on Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM, pictured, next to an SD card). In the year 2023, how does one access or copy EEPROM? I no longer have computers to do it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Often Underestimated

It is "old news" that ministers may be underestimated for their experience of the world. They are often underestimated, too, for their training: "What does a minister know about X?" Your humble minister may be well trained not only in theology or homiletics (preaching), but in psychology, philosophy, leadership, education, ethics, even biology or music, and a range of other subjects. OBSERVATION: My own theological education encompassed most of the above. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Hot New Release

I'm not sure what makes an Amazon "Hot New Release" -- but my new book is at no. 2 today, among Hot New Metaphysics Releases. My book is available on Amazon here: https://amazon.com/This-Town-Metaphysics-Thomas-Scarborough-ebook/dp/B0CLKZ79V9/

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Members are Ministers

I found something noteworthy yesterday: the 2nd draft of the mighty Gilbert Islands Protestant Church constitution. No date—maybe 1968. The most interesting thing I see is this (bottom left): "The members are ministers ..." And they are not retired ministers. OBSERVATION: That is, members are engaged in praying, teaching, sharing, and so on. This is what we did under my ministr(ies), and this was a major cause of success. Another way of putting it: it wasn't merely me imparting spiritual life, but it was the members themselves.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Article on Mind

It's good to see that an article I wrote on mind is a featured article a year later in (click here) Daily Philosophy. I think this article was not good news for the philosophy of mind! Or maybe it was.

Ujeqe (Amadombolo)

There was much merriment this week when I took Xhosa 
ujeqe, spread butter on it, and ate it with honey. Well, who could blame me? After that, the wife even made me lunch with ujeqe, served up in the way it ought to be. OBSERVATION: Actually, it's better that way. It is too bland on its own.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Crowding in on Cape Town

Wife E and I recently sought a new place to stay. We thought it would be as it was ten years ago -- a laid back affair, affordable places, and spoilt for choice. In the interim, however, all of Africa is crowding in on Cape Town. Some places receive hundreds of inquiries within days. I needed to make nearly fifty applications in one form or another -- until I decided to be street smart. OBSERVATION: Fraud is common. At least 7% of agents I dealt with were fraudsters. One obtained sufficient information from me to make attempts on my bank account. Every time he did, the bank froze my account, which was many times.