Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nearly Two Years

Here is a photo with a difference, as yet unpublished. It was taken with my Leica, now nearly two years ago in Plettenberg Bay. Our second wedding anniversary will be on the 5th of January. It has been a happy two years together, in a tumultuous time. You may click on the photo to enlarge.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Published Unpublished Images

Searching for an old friend on the Internet, I was surprised to come across old images of mine on Google+ Photos, both published and unpublished, if one can speak of unpublished (since they are published, though most of them unpublished). At any rate, I didn't know that they existed in the public domain. Most of those at the above link would be around ten years old, and give a "snapshot" of life and ministry at that time. OBSERVATION: But actually, what is Google doing publishing unpublished images? Someone else commented: "Yikes!" Their unpublished images were out there, too.

Honeybush Tea

I took this photo while on pastoral visitation, of a jar of honeybush tea or cyclopia. Although there are many varieties of this tea, it is rare, and endemic only to South Africa, in the far south. It is similar in taste to rooibos tea, only a little sweeter. Some varieties cannot be cultivated, only harvested in the wild. One thinks this may have to do with some kind of symbiosis: ants, for instance. OBSERVATION: Some local homes keep this tea continually simmering on the stove, so that the whole house is filled with the aroma.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Aesthetics

During the past week, I "had a stab" at the philosophy of Aesthetics, in Part XII of my Society project. Part XIV is on Free Will, while Part XIII is pending. I would hope that Part XII makes viable suggestions as to how some of the conceptual problems of aesthetics may be solved. OBSERVATION: Part XII, for me, represents a return to aesthetics after many years away from the subject (apart from casual reading). Many years ago, I studied aspects of aesthetics under Professors Francis Schaeffer and Marthinus van Schoor.

Twisting And Turning

An insight which may be valuable to ministers is that, where one discovers what I call "twisting and turning", one may well be dealing with some form of corruption. It may be referred to more commonly as "moving the goalpoasts". I first encountered it in a big way when I was framed once. A consultant took a look and said: "Look at the twisting and turning!" Which happened every time I produced an alibi. Basically, whatever the context may be, if one reason or rationale morphs into another, or if one gets replaced by another, be alert.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Discharged

I had a so-called health scare (although I didn't experience it as a scare). After a few tests, it was downgraded from emergency to routine. Today I was admitted to what my father once referred to as "the Alcatraz of hospitals". They were very pleasant there, and more or less efficient by South African standards. However they didn't have the equipment they were thought to have. So I, already under sedation, with a swollen hand (from finding a vein), was sent home. Then I was hit by withdrawal from the sedative -- I joked that I could have jumped into the Molteno Dam. OBSERVATION: I did think things seemed to be running a little too smoothly for our state system ... (Follow the sequel on this blog).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ministry As "Release"

The Congregational Church has a unique teaching on employment (Latin implicare, to enfold). Congregationalists do not use the word -- and at Congregational conferences I have attended, the word "employment" was religiously avoided. Rather, ministry is viewed as liberation from employment, to pursue God's call. The "textbook" on evangelical Congregationalism Evangelical & Congregational makes four plain statements: 1. "A Church does not employ a minister. It releases him from the need for secular employment," 2. "He is not a servant of the Church but of the Lord," 3. "The Lord may give him a vocation wider than the narrow interest of a particular congregation," and 4. These principles depend on "mutual love in Christ, mutual understanding and support". OBSERVATION: When I say that this is a "unique" teaching, I myself have not come across it outside the Congregational Church. I have in fact come across the opposite -- namely that Churches employ ministers.

Laser Beams

We are looking at a multi-faceted approach to security at our cottage in the country. It's been a long time since I looked at laser beams, so I was surprised to see that they are available in Cape Town for a mere R15 / $1.50 each. Laser beams are an ideal security solution (an invisible fence), except for one drawback: they need to be very firmly and accurately mounted, which is time-consuming. And a smaller problem (assuming one knows how to address it): laser beams need to be "immunised" against falling leaves, flying insects, and so on, which need to be distinguished from humans.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mother On The Mend

My aged mother had a hip replacement last week, being virtually lame. Five days after (which is today), she was already walking better than she did before. She thanked me for the spirit I brought with me today (sherry), joking that it was purely for medicinal purposes. OBSERVATION: She suffered a very serious leg injury when she was a teen -- she hit a rock beneath the snow while skiing. Yet it is her good leg which failed, after doing double duty.

Missions Memento

Once a year, a group of Churches does missions around the western border of the Kingdom of Lesotho. It's a long time between visits, so we are to hand out simple mementos to children at "half time" -- which I designed yesterday. They are photos of the last mission, with Bible verses on the back, which can be folded and stood up on a shelf. There are big ones (pictured) and smaller ones, on average costing a mere R1 / US10¢ each.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Not A Clue

I find that there is something that the "big boys" in ministry have in common here. That is, mature ministers who have had a profound impact on their Churches. One such minister said to me over lunch: "I don't have a clue how to run a Church." OBSERVATION: Does he really have no clue? Or is he expressing something else? I myself frequently refer to the words of Solomon at his coronation: "I know not how to go out or come in" (1 Kings 3:7). By way of contrast, there are those who feel well qualified. The leadership literature is replete with examples.

Society Find

There are some very talented people out there hiding their lamp under a bushel. An artist, by surprise, presented the Society with a few cartoon strips. It slowly dawned on us that these were exceptional. Then he revealed a whole lot more. The quantity and quality are such that it's going to take a while to get them all "up there" officially on the Society website, in an organised space of their own. The artist is Youngjin Kang. You may click on the image to enlarge.

Power Failures

We just went through another power failure in Cape Town.  I first noticed it when it was over and my computer reported: "Your battery is now charging."  When major power failures began six years ago, I decided to make my office "bomb proof". Even today, I could keep it up and running almost indefinitely, with Internet.  I started off with an intelligent charger and inverter in my office -- now it can be switched to solar, too (without the charger).  OBSERVATION: I am surprised how few homes just "carry on" when the power goes down. Last week, when the power failed, ours was the only home that could be seen to have light -- and a few hotels.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Utopian Society?

There is an unspoken view in the Church, that a true Church is meant to be a Utopian Society. Nothing should disturb the gentle surface of the waters. Yes, God's elect will always be growing in glory by the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18), and that gives one hope and optimism for ministry always. Nothing stops the Lord, who has promised by His grace both to create and shape His people. However, there will always be "awkward sheep", and there will be the goats. Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others all tempered the notion of a so-called Utopian Society by speaking of wolves, bad leaven, false prophets, and so on -- and of spiritual warfare and demonic attack. One needs to fully reckon with the same.

Yesteryear

If we had built our cottage in the country "as new", it would have had perfect edges, perfect angles, perfect surfaces. Instead, we built it with a few less-than-perfect features, as would have been common in yesteryear.  For instance in this photo, the fit of the windows and the texture of the plaster.  However, one wouldn't imagine the number of little complications this introduces.  It seems that the whole world is designed for perfection now.  At the same time, everyone who has seen it has liked it.