Monday, March 19, 2018
A young man who attended my Church got a job as a traffic officer. The same day (I think) that he started, he saw the traffic police illegally parked at the High Court. He dutifully took out his book, wrote out a ticket, and attached it to the vehicle. This caused such a stir that before he knew it, he had made front page headlines. OBSERVATION: I write this with a "moral lesson" in mind. They say that the law is blind. When it is not, one may worry not only about the public, but the officers who enforce it. In South Africa, this is a big problem. Law enforcement is surrounded by uncountable “political” considerations -- as in this rather unusual example. I think that if the law were blind, it would take great pressure off our law enforcement officers.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Rehabilitating Joad. Thanks to Martin Cohen for applying his editorial skills to my piece. Joad was very popular in his time, but he fell from grace -- and then he was (all but) forgotten. In my essay, I maintain that he shouldn't have been. He developed a moral epistemology which is both unique and substantial. OBSERVATION: It may be hazardous to state that anyone had a "unique" moral epistemology, so it will be interesting to see whether anyone can contradict that in the Comments. I do not agree with Joad incidentally, but I do think that people forgot him before they paid proper attention to his "teaching'.
I received orders from my father-in-law yesterday: I should be on stand-by at my desk. He was learning how to use a cell-phone -- for now, to punch in sequences of digits and press Send. This morning, to our great surprise, he called wife E. OBSERVATION: Perhaps it is the "revenge of the elders". When they first erected a cell-phone mast on the plateau a few years ago, he complained bitterly that the elders were now "out of it". Everybody talked to everybody now, he said, whereas previously the elders had been at the centre of attention.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
I am adding some spiritual perspective to my last two posts, to offer some counter-balance, as to how one responds -- if here or there one sees psychological problems in ministry. The fact is that some of the greatest men and women of God, both in the Bible and in the Church, had significant psychological problems. Elijah is a well known example in the Bible, while in the Church there are many: Bunyan, Watts, Spurgeon, and so on. I think the key question in such cases is: is this person called by God? We do not ask first whether he or she is a broken reed -- or worse, write them off because they are. OBSERVATION: I think that there are three potential advantages to psychological or emotional weakness in ministry: such a minister may better identify with his or her people's pain, he or she may have gained greater wisdom to minister, and we are told that Christ's power is made perfect in weakness. Paul wrote: "For the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses." I believe that these weaknesses would include physical, emotional, and psychological weaknesses.
POSTSCRIPT: Here is some necessary detail. In the beginning, I had to settle on an approach to this most unusual situation. Partly because of this, I took a small quantity of the medications. Also, there were and still are some patches in my records. However, taking these patches into account, I see evidence that about 10% of the medications were used. Even if, through some massive mistake, I took a whole third, this would be very perturbing. (See also Discrimination -- Or Something).
This one's "just the facts". It has to do with my medication in ministry. I suffered PTSD once. After that, I generally took a maintenance dose of Thaden (the smallest dose) each day -- if that. Now after my wife died in January 2011, the "Church Doctor", Dr. Mike Nicholas, checked on me every so many months for depression -- first with the Hamilton rating, then with the Zung rating. I scored "no depression" every time without exception. Then:
• As a "precaution", he said, he would double the Thaden (Thaden is generally used to treat major depressive disorder -- and a few things besides).By the time I finished up with the doctor, I was on more than 3000mg of psychopharmaca each month (but see the next post). One sees this on a chemist's list below. At the same time, rumours began to circulate in the Church that the doctor was treating me for depression. I placed these rumours on record with an attorney, then with a Church consultant. However, to take such medications as a "precaution" (one might say: without diagnosis) did not sit well with me. Here is what I did ...
• Now he would phase out the Thaden, he said, and phase in Lexamil. He put me on Lexamil, too (also used to treat major depressive disorder).
• However, he did not phase out the Thaden -- he tripled it. And he doubled the Lexamil.
• He further added Zolpidem (a hypnotic), and Zopax (a sedative). And there were a few things besides (not psychopharmaca).
Friday, March 16, 2018
I am today starting out on another major revision of my metaphysic, the working title "Everything, Briefly". The revision will firstly clarify concepts. Some concepts are "embedded" in the work at the moment, and need to be made more explicit. Secondly, I shall expand on concepts which in places are too densely packed. OBSERVATION: On the positive side, however the concepts are expressed at the moment, I am told that they form a complete and coherent whole. I have a workable metaphysic in hand -- and arguably the first in generations.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Haemanthus cocineus. OBSERVATION: It has a very interesting lifecycle, and is said to predict rain. I have heard, too, that it heralds love.
Here's a post I put up eight years ago, however it is of abiding application: "I'm very thankful for patient elders and deacons. A Church is at times the field of spiritual warfare, which may be intense. Then it becomes crucial that people not only have patience, but stamina to go with it. One of our stated requirements for leadership (we call it servanthood) is that leaders should be "peaceable". I think it is vital that we have adhered to this selection criterion. Even under severe strain, our leadership has been peaceable, with not more than one or two transient exceptions during the past ten years. OBSERVATION: Our situation does not reflect the statistics or the trend -- we have far less conflict than the average -- for example, Lyle Schaller says: “Three-quarters of all church ministry is significantly reduced because of nonproductive conflict."
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
OBSERVATION: My fascination with such things has grown since I married E, who has a good knowledge of the veld. The generation before her still has a very good knowledge of the veld -- but they are dying out now and the knowledge is dying with them.
at 6:16 PM
Yesterday, yet another invention entered my mind -- as sometimes happens, in fact, every day. As I turned a door on its hinges, I saw in the hinges a new clothes button, which potentially would be easier to use than the old round button we all know -- and of similar negligible cost. I sent the idea to a button company. They immediately referred it to their art department. That was interesting. One would think that something like that would go to the technical department.