A well known company put up burglar bars for us last week. A company representative gave us first class service. Then came the installation. They forgot the ladder. They forgot fuel. They ran out of mortar. They fudged the measurements. There was significant cosmetic damage. And so on. It's a South African thing, and I suspect that it originates not so much in the workers as in the way that companies operate. The people who really run the operations from day to day do not have an interest in the business, and those who do have an interest in the business do not really run the operations from day to day. Not down to a level where it really matters.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
OBSERVATION: My paternal grandfather farmed on the Humber.
Early last year, I was part of the re-launch of a publication, after it changed hosts and publishing platforms. It has been quite successful since. Yesterday the editors (which includes me) agreed to a bold experiment:
a democratically created portal to the publication. This would change nothing of the publication itself. Rather it would create a separate ' door' to the publication, for anyone who might wish to give it a try. If readers should prefer more of this, less of that, a format like this, a format like that, whatever, it would be a democratic process on the portal. ' Watch this space' as they say.
Monday, July 25, 2016
OBSERVATION: Although he is an American, he is much loved by Black and White alike, old and young. He has a gift of presenting the gospel simply and plainly in (that curious form of) English. You may click on the photo to enlarge to 90k.
A few years ago I had a spinal anaesthetic, for an operation to my foot. It was interesting that I could wiggle my toes, and feel people's fingers touching the foot -- but I didn't feel the surgeon's knife -- or the removal of any bone, which is what it was all about. The anaesthetist -- a burly, friendly man -- proudly claimed that this was the mark of a first class anaesthetist. He explained that there are various kinds of nerves, and the anaesthetic had specifically blocked those which feel pain. OBSERVATION: Pain control is said to be one of the triumphs of modern medicine. Sometimes there is a problem, however, in applying the knowledge and skills in Africa. In ministry I see -- or I hear of -- terrible pain sometimes, which could be effectively controlled. Most recently this month, a (Black) niece of mine was crying in pain, day after day, with less than efficient help from the hospital.
OBSERVATION: It seems quite useful to me to observe the reasons for blog trends -- insofar as one can discern them truly.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
OBSERVATION: Such testimony is a key, I think, both to unity and maturity in the Church.
As a fairly ordinary citizen -- yet with some special insights, through ministry, into what is happening in society -- it is a little disturbing that I would know enough about corruption potentially to have a handle on fairly important people. Now if I know that much, how much do others know? Add to that evil intent, and one has quite a situation. It is a sobering lesson, too: be open, stay clean. OBSERVATION: And how should a society ever rid itself of such things? One would seem to need a general amnesty, or a total revolution, or people will ever be in the grip of the corruption of the past. Or, they would need to have power over truth. But then there is, too, the way of reconciliation with God.
Silence is Offensive.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
OBSERVATION: They drove all the way from the provincial town George to watch the match, which is 440km / 225mi east of Cape Town. They were looking cheerful ... before the match. (There isn't a result yet).
Theological education is in great need, and is of great importance, yet often "slips under the radar" of Churches. Under my ministr(ies), I have encouraged my Church to support theological education as a part of the missions budget. OBSERVATION: I recall receiving an excited call from the secretary of a Bible seminary. Our Church had donated a goodly sum of money to support students at the college. She asked me whether there were any special requirements from our side. I said, have the students write to us and tell us something about themselves. And they did.
Friday, July 22, 2016
This post is a short one, but an important one. I find that ministers and office-bearers in the Church are often disappointed and discouraged by the lack of response to general appeals for help in the Church. It is true that general appeals often don't yield a good response. However, many people are ready to help. I discovered early in ministry to ask people personally. In that case, one finds great good-will, in fact (in my experience) mostly yes responses -- unless people really can't take something on.