Friday, May 25, 2018

Pitch Switch

I made a happy discovery in a trunk today: my original Pitch Switch, covered in fine dust, which I designed for a publisher in the UK. This was a popular design at the time. I tuned the prototype to trigger a switch in Cape Town when someone blew a trumpet in a stadium in the Caribbean, during a sports broadcast. It filtered out everything but that trumpet. OBSERVATION: I said to the publisher, Isn't this potentially dangerous? One could murder someone at the other side of the world with the blast of a trumpet in a sports stadium, and no one would ever know. He said, No, anyone could do that today, with a middling ability in electronics.


It's a mushroom, pushing its way up on my country plot. The plot is full of mushrooms, some of them very big ones. My niece says that all of them are edible. I wish her good luck, and long life. OBSERVATION: We have granted her the use of a wooden cabin on the plot, which she seems very much to enjoy.

A Simple Strategy

It is a simple strategy for ministry. At the beginning of strategic meetings in the Church, recount what God has done. The Bible is full of examples of the same: for instance, Nehemiah on his return to Zion (Nehemiah 2), or Peter at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15). In fact, if it were not about what God has done, what would make it all worth doing? The point is, however, that this approach has a profound influence on both the course of strategic meetings, and the mood -- as it did in the two examples above. OBSERVATION: Sometimes the results are instantly recognisable in a meeting. As an example, I was asked to meet with a discouraged Youth leadership -- they were overwhelmed with their task. A Youth leader, without realising it, took over the meeting from me to share enthusiastically what God had done that I had overlooked.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Restored Photo

Here's another photo that I (somewhat) restored, from the mission. I found it in a batch of photos from early 1966, of the Southern Gilberts. The colours of slides fade, though not equally, so it may be tricky trying to get them back into balance. At first, this one was fairly blue. OBSERVATION: We were the only European children for hundreds of miles around. In a letter to his mother, my father noted that we were beginning to think like the islanders.

Calling To Ministry

One of the most important "lacks" in the Church today is, I think, the understanding that a minister is called by God. What do you expect him (or her) to be? What do you expect him to do? He is just a mortal. What makes him a minister is that God Himself has chosen to act through His calling. That is why he was ordained. The ordination was done to recognise that fact. For that reason also, people once feared if they saw someone interfering with an ordained minister. David's respect for Saul was seen as a type of ministry (1 Samuel 26:11). OBSERVATION: It was at the end of the 19th century that ministry as a means of grace went out of fashion. Today that is unheard of. I would guess it has to do with the increasing secularisation of our thinking.

Peeling Potatoes

If you should ever need a great feast at short notice, lucky for you if you have Xhosa friends. They are both courageous and expert at catering for crowds. I took this photo in the township Mountain View in the Eastern Cape, of women peeling potatoes for a feast. The number of those being catered for: I would estimate two- to three-hundred.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Switching Off

This one's a re-post -- but an important issue in ministry. There is a difference in ministry between “I could help this person” and “I should help this person”. Too often one falls for the alluring temptation to help because one sees that one could help -- bearing in mind that one is speaking of situations which may be extreme -- a single month in ministry may include (and has included, for me) attempted suicide, domestic violence, terminal illness, and a lot more. Combine this with the fact that other help may not seem to be to hand, and one can forget to spare oneself. OBSERVATION: In my original post, I noted also: "If anything keeps me awake at night, it is what I saw and heard during the day."

A Good Time For Tots

This blog is littered -- I should say, adorned -- with photos of nieces. This is a niece (on the right of the photo) with a grandson of my sister's. He has a strange passion for vegetables. OBSERVATION: It's a good time to be alive, for little children. In my time, I wouldn't have got away with this for a second.

Funding Proposal

I completed, this morning, the demanding task of creating a funding proposal. My metaphysic (total philosophy) is largely complete, at 60 000+ words. It has gone through various checks along the way -- a few of them by well known thinkers -- and has benefited greatly through this. The funding would mostly cover competent content editing in most of the major areas it addresses: linguistics, science, ethics, and so on. I have said that I am seeking to "bullet-proof" it. OBSERVATION: My metaphysic could be close to perfection now -- in the sense of conceptual perfection -- or it may have faults which have to be corrected. There will certainly be room for improvement in style. Basically, a metaphysic is a very ambitious project, yet I don't have the means to cover content editing at the level that is ideally required (I have already paid for content editing at an advanced level). And due to the inter-disciplinary character of the work, publishers, too, are ill equipped to edit.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Maligning Ministers

There is a well-known phenomenon in Churches: people who malign either a past or a present minister -- and not only that, have nothing whatsoever good to say about them -- not if one presses them. Where there is no modulation of such views, one is clearly dealing with something abnormal. There is even a name for it: pathological antagonism. OBSERVATION: Under my minstr(ies), the policy of the Church has been: no such person is received into Church membership until this problem with a past or present minister is resolved. Where such a person is already in membership, this is more difficult. There are no doubt rogues in ministry, but I think that these are rare. And where a minister is ordained and called by God, God will use him or her, in spite of shortcomings and weaknesses.

Good Grief

I edited an article on grief last week: ‘Purposeful Living’ Through Grief. It was published yesterday -- and has been extraordinarily successful so far -- early interest is a few times higher than usual. It seeks to interpret grief positively. OBSERVATION: In fact, it was an ideal edit -- one that an editor didn't need to "break his head" over. It just needed a little clarification, and a few small edits for style.

Anonymous Calls

I am again receiving anonymous calls daily, from a few sources. I shall not try to explain it. Sometimes I will pick up the phone, sometimes not. I record all the calls I pick up. Until now, every anonymous call was human (not machine), but silent. If there is anyone calling me anonymously for some good purpose, kindly note that I am in this situation, and whoever has my phone may or may not pick up. Best call me from a real number, and announce yourself -- or send me an e-mail at OBSERVATION: Sometimes government agencies will use an anonymous number. This is awkward if it is a situation like this. I am simply fed up of picking up these calls.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Evangelism Explosion III

Yesterday I took this photo of an Evangelism Explosion III (EE III) course, through which participants are trained to evangelise. I myself have offered this course in my Churches, although I personally have used its lessons mostly in "ministerial evangelism". In most counselling encounters, as a minister, I have been evangelistic, and in many services. This has borne much fruit. OBSERVATION: I find this the easiest thing to do as a minister, but I am overawed by any thought of doing what many EE III teams do, which is to go out and evangelise strangers.

Difference In Detail

I notice a small detail in the difference between Congregational and Episcopal Churches, of the kind that seems to indicate far more. In Episcopal Churches, the altar and the pulpit are mostly off-limits for congregants. There is an unspoken rule that one does not enter certain areas during a service. In Congregational Churches -- at least in my personal experience -- congregants will hurry to the front to whisper something to the minister in the pulpit, send her notes during the service, or even sidle up beside him for a moment -- all done fairly discreetly however. OBSERVATION: I think it all signals different relationships -- above all, that in the Congregational Church, congregants feel like participants in what the Church is doing.

Proteas In Bloom

I snapped this in the garden on my doorstep -- the Table Mountain National Park. Our veld (heath) blossoms all year round. At the moment, in the southern winter, these proteas are out in full bloom. It is the white Protea repens, popularly called the Suikerbossie (Sugar Bush) for the large amount of nectar it produces. You may click on the image to enlarge. OBSERVATION: Why this flower is sometimes white and sometimes pink is a mystery yet to be fathomed. It seems to have something to do with altitude. At the moment, the University of Connecticut is trying to figure it out.