Sunday, November 19, 2017

Investiture Of Auxiliaries

Earlier today I attended a service in my old stomping ground, Sea Point (pictured). It was the investiture of men's and women's auxiliaries in the Methodist Church. OBSERVATION: It reminded me of the mission -- the regimentation in particular. I had opportunity to meet the new minister, too. First impressions were very good.

The ‘Drugs Hook’

I met with a young man for counselling once, who held a privileged position in Cape Town's GrandWest casino. Some gangsters had got the "drugs hook" into him -- which is, they had got him addicted. Now they threatened him with cold turkey if he didn't do them some favours. Then, too, they were terrorising him daily, popping up where he was least expecting them to. The trouble is, he suspected that the casino was now monitoring him, too. He didn't want to trade his position of privilege at the casino, he couldn't escape his tormentors, he couldn't quit the drugs, he felt that it was all too precarious to go to the police ... When I saw him, he had rings under his eyes, was panicked and tearful, and said he couldn't take any more. OBSERVATION: It was, needless to say, a complicated situation. I wrote down some spiritual priorities for him, and never heard from him again -- until recently. He had settled down, married a lovely young woman, and they were happy together. The casino and all its troubles were history.

Recording The Police

I recently blogged how the police had set me up. I pressed them for information, there was a search and seize raid on my property, then Colonel Lento summoned me to the Sea Point police station. There I was told that I had nothing, nothing, nothing! (listen to a recording at Publishing Police Woes). Then, on 5 May 2015, I informed the police in writing that I had audio of that meeting. Colonel Lento was one of those I informed. Immediately, there was another search and seize raid on my property. About 100 personal letters were searched, and about 50 audio tapes were seized. This included my late wife's precious doctoral research. Many tapes were left behind in a scatter (pictured). Valuables were untouched. I opened a criminal case -- which the police abandoned, in violation of police procedure (the case is still open today). OBSERVATION: Again, the Church was connected. And now there was a fearful turn. More in another post.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Engaging With Situations

It has been one of my principles of ministry to engage with situations. There is, in our time, a general reluctance to engage, of which I take a dim view. Here are some examples of such engagement. Someone told me that their company had "discarded" them in retirement. I contacted the company. Someone told me that their landlord refused to repay a deposit. I went to see the landlord. Someone told me that they feared a confrontation. I said that I would do it for them if it would help. There have been some dangerous ones, too. For example, someone said that a man was threatening them with a gun. I went over and persuaded him to put it down.

Water Crisis

Cape Town may become the first city on the planet to run out of water. At the moment, it is not far off. Thus there are  a lot of people sinking boreholes in the city -- I took this photo this morning outside a residential property. OBSERVATION: One would hate to suggest that people don't trust the government to solve the problem. Incidentally, Cape Town may also be one of the first cities to sink, according to the World Economic Forum. Our government does not seem to have noticed that -- yet.

Ins And Outs Of Visitation

A thriving Church, if it has one minister, is thought to have an upper limit of 150 people attending on a Sunday. Under my ministr(ies), Sunday attendances have from time to time broken through that upper limit -- sometimes over extended periods. Now, this post is about visitation in such a Church. I have aimed for one visit a day. That is apart from many other responsibilities in the Church. One would think that this would soon cover 150 people. Consider, though, that most visits are not "regular" visits -- which is to say, a minister is not going through the members one by one, but he or she pays many visits as the need arises. Then, I have found that one major crisis may easily take up 20 visits -- say, a death in the family. To help me keep my "forward motion" going, I have asked office secretaries to make one appointment for me each week with someone I did not see during the previous, say, six months -- certainly one year. In addition, I have had several visitation weeks each year, when I have not preached, but have focused more on visitation. And always, I have done Christmas visits. OBSERVATION: I have always consulted the Church Meeting about my visitation, so that members may know what to anticipate, and can inform me of any desired emphases. In a Congregational Church, of course, visitation is considered mandatory for all, not just the minister. Curiously, "regular" visitation is not considered mandatory for a minister in the Congregational Church.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Colonel In The List

I was plagued with an episode of anonymous calls. But why? This was crazy. What was behind this? "Intimidation," said a police officer. There is a counselling technique, also useful for solving puzzling events in life. One asks: "What happened before this?" and "Do I see a pattern here?" So I looked for a clue to the intimidation so-called in my recorded meetings and calls. This is what I saw. The list reads from top to bottom, in chronological order. OBSERVATION: There is the name of a Colonel here (Colonel Lento). See what my list looks like before the Colonel and after the Colonel. Is this noteworthy? You may click on the image to enlarge. It was under the Colonel's watch that, according to the Cluster, the police set me up. In this list, I had met him about a related matter.

Dealing With Cohabitation

A woman applied for Church membership once -- but she was living together with a man (cohabiting). It was a 25-year relationship, and they had two children together. We told her that she qualified in every way for membership -- except this, and this could be mended. Why should cohabitation be problematic in a progressive age? Here's why:
• What would we tell our youth if it was fine for others? At the time of this episode, youth in our Church were dying through cohabitation (AIDS).
• The Bible does not condone cohabitation -- for example Exodus 22:16. And
• There are in a Church those who have done it themselves, in the past. Paradoxically, it is these people who feel very strongly about it. One may have an insurrection if one ignores them.
OBSERVATION: There is more to it than this. But as for the woman who applied for membership, she preferred not to change her way of life. The reason, she said, was that she was afraid of marriage after looking at other marriages. We urged her to trust God to bless the right decision. One of her children sadly died of AIDS.

Plant Thieves

All over Table Mountain National Park, one finds holes like this in the ground -- often along the footpaths. Is it plant thieves? Well, yes, although it may not be human ones. This is what porcupines do, too. OBSERVATION: Porcupines were a part of wife E's diet on the plateau where she grew up, and still provide an occasional feast for the family. A porcupine may easily weigh as much a a car tyre, or a dozen chickens.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Police: Move Out!

Recently I blogged about a search and seize raid on my property. In fact, there were several (more details in due course). In the first raid, a massive amount of papers were taken. The Caledon police launched an investigation. On that same day, the Sea Point police met with me, at the behest of Colonel Lento. In a previous recording, Publishing Police Woes, the police told me again and again that I had nothing, nothing, nothing. These snippets here (above) are from that same meeting (click ⊳ to Play), Warrant Officer Bartholomew here tells me again and again to leave town, go, move out! The beeps represent splices in the audio. OBSERVATION: It was in my best interests to go, said the police. I did not make sense of that then, and have not made sense of it now. What is clear is this: when the police speak to someone like this, it is not a good situation. This was the situation at the close of my city ministry. (The image shows the area that I should move out of).

Youth (Damage) Report

I looked in on one of our Church groups one night. One of our Youth leaders was there. I asked her how she was. She said: "Just a bit nervous, because I have to report on the Youth at our Church Meeting." Someone chipped in: "Oh, it’s easy. You do it like this: Four broken windows. Six smashed light-bulbs. Under our new integrated policy, we have a 2% reduction of damage since last year." OBSERVATION: This kind of situation is common in the Church. But what attitude shall one take? I advised this Youth leader to focus on "what God has done". Entire Youth works have collapsed because people focused on damage, disruption, misbehaviour, and so on. The price of the damage is small compared to the value of the ministry. Of course, one does what one can to limit damage.

‘Anniversary’ Plants

Every month, to celebrate our wedding "anniversary", I give wife E a gift. She is particularly fond of plants -- but at first, none of them survived. I then tried succulents, in wonderful variety. Ten out of ten still survive, and only one of them looks a little weak. There is one plant, however, which has died and come back to life multiple times: a violet (pictured).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Consequence Of A Crash

In 2003, I crashed an Indian three-wheeler -- a re-badged Vespa called a Bajaj. The vehicle was destroyed in the accident -- its replacement is pictured here. I compared myself then to a china teapot which someone had dropped, which now was full of cracks, though not in pieces. The crash left a furrow on my head. A specialist said it likely was a skull fracture. I had a temporal artery removed after the crash, which is a major artery of the head. Anyway, the point of this post is that that furrow still randomly strikes me with pain -- like today.

Metaphysical Stir

I have been sending out copies of my magnum opus to scores of people around the globe. It is a draft. In the process I have been in touch with some truly famous people. So far, there is a keen interest. My work is certainly causing a stir. But will it pass the test of scrutiny by those who are competent to scrutinise it? So far it has, but I keep asking myself how long it will be until someone finds the fatal flaw. OBSERVATION: My own assessment is that the concepts are sound. The question is whether I convey them successfully. Basically, I claim to have a postmodern metaphysic, which is largely thought to be impossible.

Enigmatic Photo

I took this enigmatic photo on Sunday. The young man on the right is a protégé -- I am mentoring him as a writer. The goal is to get him standing on his own two feet within a year -- which means that he would be in a position to submit his work and have it accepted without my involvement. That might be too ambitious, but we shall see.