Wednesday, March 29, 2017
This a repost of something I wrote on 15 April 2012, and I put it here this morning without any alteration. With the passing of time, I think it may make far more sense now than it did then:
The eminent Steve Hayes asks in a comment on this blog: "Fight or Decline? What are the issues?" That is, what are the issues with regard to recent turbulence in our Church. We are a Congregational Church, which means government by all. To summarise it in one sentence, the big issue is: Return the power to the members. In everything. Too much power was accrued by the few. Major decisions were taken without the knowledge of the minister, the leadership, or the members. However, trying to return power to the members has been at great cost and pain to myself -- not least at our recent AGM. Perversely, some have accused me of seizing control -- while my heart and my purpose are the opposite. Everything I have done has been aimed at getting power back into the hands of the members. Thank you, Steve, for the question.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
People sometimes ask me whether I have dealt with murder in ministry. In a sense, one doesn't really deal with it, because it is usually more about burial then (it isn't the usual pastoral situation). Also, it isn't always that simple. There is manslaughter and euthanasia and negligence and so on. Which of them was murder? I have dealt with three brutal murders. What is interesting, but tragic of course, is the "maybe" murders. One man hit his head when he fell on a hike -- or did he? One woman hit a table when she fell at home -- or did she? One of these cases remained undecided (I think), and in the other case, murder was ruled out. OBSERVATION: And then there is attempted murder.
NOTE: Apologies, Tasmania. My fault that you got left out.
Strangely, a conversation recently touched on vehicles which were offered to me in ministry. This has happened to me five times. Four out of five times, I did not accept the gift, because I felt uncomfortable. I felt it was inappropriate for a minister to benefit from ministry, or to seem to benefit from ministry -- it just didn't seem to fit. The one time I did accept a vehicle, the owner was leaving the country in a hurry, having been offered a job overseas. I was doing him a favour, so he persuaded me. OBSERVATION: Here's one example of such a situation. A man was converted through my ministry, and he wanted to get rid of everything he had ever gained through not knowing God. I said I felt very honoured, and I was thankful, but no.
OBSERVATION: If you should ever get washed up on a tropical island, you had better know how to husk coconuts. And pierce them, to drink. Here, Temeeti has an iron stake to do it. An islander (Aua of Beru) taught me how to husk coconuts even without the iron stake. My father taught me how to pierce them. One can drink coconut milk of course, but coconut sap (toddy) is drunk more often.
Monday, March 27, 2017
One of the things I have studied in more recent years is semeiotics or semiotics -- the signs through which we communicate. Through this I became aware that I routinely (I would think daily) use a sign for "Yes" which I picked up in the mission as a boy, in the central Pacific. I still use it fifty years later -- but it is not a sign for "Yes" in my own culture. It might be completely useless. OBSERVATION: And there will surely be many things like it that I have missed. It makes me wonder about the uncountable influences on our lives, and how they still are with us.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
In 2013, I was attacked in my robes in Church. Apart from injuries, I went down several times with fevers, and a constellation of fierce infections. Ultimately it turned out that they were all one and the same. While one cannot connect this indubitably to the attack, it was the best explanation. Doctors prescribed antibiotics, but they failed. They prescribed them again, but they failed again. They prescribed more targeted antibiotics, but they failed. They prescribed them again, and at last they succeeded in curing me out -- except for my ears. This week I had yet another ‘blood burst’ in one ear. OBSERVATION: A fortnight ago, a judgement went in my favour -- I referred to it briefly on my blog. It was related to the attack. Someone staged a defence of their part in things, and their defence was judged as being criminal in itself. I have not yet blogged about this. (The antibiotics were of amoxycillin and clarithomycin).
Saturday, March 25, 2017
I heard wife E last night, singing a Youth Choir song from my city ministry, I put it up on Facebook. By the morning, it had 42 views -- therefore I reposted it with 16 photos, most of which were taken at recording sessions. Here it all is for my blog. The full line-up of the Youth Choir was Francis Mvenge, Phakamile Nkosi, Peter Nighswander, Ester Sizani, and Itai Chikadaya.