Monday, December 9, 2013
Sunday, December 8, 2013
This post would seem to be stating the obvious. As a Church leader, one typically does not need to make decisions for the Church. One seeks to make decisions with the Church. If one permits pooled wisdom, pooled wisdom usually yields more than one had thought. Or from a spiritual point of view, one hears the Spirit through the Body. OBSERVATION: My own Plan B -- if the above should ever seem inadequate -- is typically to argue a point, though not to "argue to win". In my experience, any Plan C is very seldom necessary. In keeping with the above, I have seldom made proposals in my career.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
NOTE: There has been a high interest in this post, so here is the link: The Chamaeleon Noun.
It is interesting that, no matter which set of statistics one looks at, this blog is not big in the West -- although different statistics may show different reasons for that. I note this morning that, according to Google, Russia is no. 3 on my all-time list of readers. Спасибо и да благословит вас Бог. See also Blog Readers.
at 8:48 AM
It has been said that Satan's major strategies against the Church are a) to undermine the Word of God, and b) to undermine ministry. But where the Word of God is perfect, ministers are not. Therefore the Word places much emphasis on ministry, not ministers. A better known Bible verse is: "Esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake" (1 Thes 5:13). That is, not for their own sake. OBSERVATION: I have the sense that there is more works-based theology around in our generation, whether it be of the theologians or of the people, and this leads to a (devastating) loss of understanding for what ministry is.
Friday, December 6, 2013
The reason I haven't mentioned solar for some time is that all the systems I built are simply humming -- or is that shining. I did fall short of one goal, however. I wanted to light up our lounge and kitchen plus power my office off a system I designed. I failed with the office, because my six-year-old computer chewed up much more power than anticipated. I could only power my office for, say, an afternoon before my system went "flat". But my wife's far more efficient one-year-old computer would do fine. OBSERVATION: With solar, one can figure out various things only through experimentation, not calculation. For instance, solar is dependent on the weather, and who can calculate the weather.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
People might be mortified to know what mail sometimes reaches unintended recipients. During the past month, several e-mails reached me which were probably not intended to reach me -- and two or three reached me which were certainly not intended to reach me -- namely e-mails about myself. OBSERVATION: I couldn't quite decide why they got to me, as they popped up in my Inbox without explanation. Personally, I feel it is good that they did.
Picking up on a recent post, the "Congregational spirit" means that there will be dynamic discussion in meetings -- particularly spiritual discussion -- and a freedom and openness there. In practice, one may find that this suddenly goes dead when one or two people walk in the door -- or, decisions start to be made on a "ja-skaap" basis (Afrikaans for aye, aye, aye) -- or, people talk about walking on eggs. OBSERVATION: These are things that go far deeper than mere procedure or the "letter of the law" -- deeper even than any apparent domination of a meeting by an individual or individuals -- but they are important.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It has been a tiring day, and so I shall note only that this is a photo that I took of the secluded Kouga River -- one could say that it is on the plateau above the Langkloof: southernmost Africa, inland. The Kouga is a treacherous river, as once in a while it comes down in flood.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
In a Congregational Church, a Congregational dynamic is a precious and sensitive thing. A true Congregational spirit can be quashed easier than one may think -- and this will always be through individuals who do not act in a Congregational spirit -- rather than merely abiding by the rules, which in themselves cannot preserve the spirit. In such a case, it is usually the Elders who seek to restore the balance -- and they may themselves then be suspected of acting un-Congregationally. However, if they do not act, Congregationalism may be lost. OBSERVATION: These are not merely personal thoughts, but Congregational polity. Perhaps more on the "Congregational spirit" in a future post.
I happened to come across a 2011 assignment today that I wrote for Fuller, for an MA. It had the following comments attached: "This is a fantastic critique - clear, cogent, and precise execution. You went straight to central themes of Moltmann and explicated them in view of your introductory work. It was so over the top in fact, I took the liberty of giving you an extra .1 on your grade." OBSERVATION: And so I scored 101%. I took the course under Prof. Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. I am no fan of Moltmann, however (whom I briefly met once).
Monday, December 2, 2013
I asked a village dominee in the Karoo how his ministry had changed since he started there more than thirty years ago. He said: "Thirty years ago, there was one Church in the village, and people's lives revolved around the Church. Today, there are forty Churches in the village, and people's lives revolve around everything."