Friday, March 7, 2014
Last month, a publishing house looked over my research on Christian leadership. Following an assessment, they expressed "our interest in publishing it". That, however, is where it ended, as I felt that I would be signing away the copyright to my research with patchy information from their side as to their own operations. All that glitters is not gold.
one's a post with a complete difference. It's just a six-second clip, to give a fleeting insight into my life. During the past three years, I have attended many celebrations such as this. This one was to celebrate my wife's parents. But this was just the beginning of the event. In Africa, such celebrations tend to swell with time -- and with this one, many children later appeared. The hall was donated to the community by the EU.
I frequently get stopped in the street by people I don't (really) know. Sometimes they seem to think that a "priest" owns the temple treasury. Sometimes they would like counsel. In the latter case, I often say: "Come, walk with me." Recently a man stopped me in the street and said: "Why did my father commit suicide?" I asked him what had happened. He said he didn't know, he didn't understand. So I said: "Come, walk with me," and I ran through the general dynamics of a suicide. He said: "Thank you so much. You don't know how much that means to me."
Thursday, March 6, 2014
An anonymous mail today brought to mind a barrage of anonymous mail I have received during the past year or two in particular. If one includes false names, then my anonymous mail has been much. What was the subject matter? Some of it contained insults, some threats (some very serious threats), some of it was racist, some retold events in twisted fashion, some was sexual, some was photocopies -- and some was supportive. OBSERVATION: Today's mail was supportive. But supposing now that I should put it on my blog? Who wrote it? A supporter? Me? A detractor who'd say it was me? I once had a professor who praised his own work (anonymously) on his website. I rescued him from himself.
Recently I was invited to do a "box" on the neutrality (or not) of language. We all know that language may be used for hate speech on the one hand, or for love songs on the other -- that is, language is assumed to be a neutral medium. But could it be that language is inherently good or bad? OBSERVATION: My recent writing has received much attention -- and I think that I was on form when I wrote a (tentative) box this morning. The subject has obvious application to theology. If language should be inherently bad, then this would be suggestive of original sin.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Genadendal is the oldest mission station in Southern Africa. It lies about 130km/80mi east of Cape Town. I took this photo on Sunday of the old mission bell. The first missionary there, Georg Schmidt, had to leave, essentially because he was persecuted for elevating the Khoi, both educationally and spiritually. You may click on the photo to enlarge to 300k. Click on the link above for a touching story.
In a Bible study group on Sunday, we discussed gifting vs. education as it pertains to ministry -- any kind of ministry. I think we agreed that there needs to be both. You can't have one without the other. Wife E. made an interesting point. Her grandparents were elders in the Church, she said, without being able to read or write. This is in fact the case all over Africa.
People make much, sometimes, of people who leave the Church. An elder of another Church once said to me gravely: "I hear that so-and-so has left your Church." I said that it wasn't just so-and-so. Masses of people had left. It was in the nature of the ministry. OBSERVATION: I once made a comparison between a 1997 Church address list and a 2011 Church address list. 84.5% of the surnames that were there in 1997 were missing in 2011. That's just 14 years. However, the Church in 2011 was fuller, and younger, and richer, and more diverse -- a testimony to God's grace. See also Numbering The Congregation.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
I got thumped yesterday -- fortunately not hurt -- and I had it coming to me. I was sitting in a Church board-room when I received a call on my cell-phone. As I spoke, I tried a side door, and it opened into a small space. Oh, this was an interesting place! There was a narrow staircase with a door at the top. Lost in conversation, I walked up the steps, tried the handle, and the door opened -- to reveal more steps going up. Still lost in conversation, the staircase did a turn, and continued higher, to a landing. Still talking, I thought: "I wonder whether I've got into a Church tower?" That's where I got thumped, in the shadows. It was the caretaker, thinking I was an intruder. Wife E. comments: "Why do you always wander when you speak on the phone?"
Monday, March 3, 2014
A new edition of my electronics book lies not far behind me -- yet I keep inserting new projects in a next edition. I inserted nine today -- among them a Mars Clock. This will, needless to say, show the time on Mars. We have clocks which show the time in Tokyo, New York, London. Why not Mars? Thus one may know, for instance, when the sun is to rise over the Mars rover Curiosity, or (in the future) when to dial Mars, so that one won't go waking people up at night.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
I wondered whether an old dog can learn new tricks, when I took on ministry in the Karoo semi-desert. It is one thing to be in ministry -- another to embark on it. Bearing in mind that I am an "absentee minister", and that the congregation does much without me, it has been a good ministry. An unsettled Church has settled much. There was a doubling of attendance (I am told) when E. and I started, and since then this has held steady -- in spite of a complete change of Church Council, which had us all nervous. The old Council served faithfully, and the new will build on the old. Collections have about trebled in this short time, which gives the Church "room to move".
Friday, February 28, 2014
Here is a photo of Cape Town's famous-notorious Long Street, here rendered as one might expect one of its patrons to see it (it is known for its drug culture, among other things). It is a very lively street. I almost laid down my life for this photo -- one will see that I took it standing in the middle of the road, and traffic comes from behind. Our home is situated not far from Long Street.
I had never viewed Alan Paton (an author) as a churchman. However, I very much liked this prayer that someone sent me today:
O Lord,Alan Paton.
Open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
Open my ears that I may hear their cries;
Open my heart so that they need not be without succour.
Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.
Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
And use me to bring them to those places.
And so open my eyes and my ears
that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee.