Sunday, July 5, 2015

Editorial Appointment

Last night, I was appointed to the editorial team of the on-line sister publication of the Philosophical Society of England, Philosophical Investigations. That is, I am now an editor of the publication. My title: Supervising Editor, or Co-ordinating Editor. Thanks to God. OBSERVATION: I am also a Member of the Board of the Society's print journal The Philosopher. I was previously an administrator of Philosophical Investigations.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Writing And Drink

It's good to see another essay of mine topping the charts today: Death, Philosophically (see the image). It's not easy, writing. Small wonder that so many writers take to drink. I think the most difficult aspect of it is clarifying concepts, and it's not something that anyone can do for you, although people can help. Sermon writing isn't easy either. Another minister was telling me that just this week. For me, sermons are a fight to the death -- yet so worthwhile, a blessing to many, and hopefully seemingly effortless in delivery. An old Bible college principal told us: one minute of preaching requires one hour of preparation. OBSERVATION: I received a challenge to my article Death, Philosophically, which I have answered there (Aspects of Mind is mine, too).

Unpopular Woman

There is a certain woman in South Africa who is in a great deal of trouble if anyone should ever discover who she is. She says on the telephone: "You have one minute remaining." Given the fact that so many people buy a mere R5 of airtime at a time (81 US cents), and that others talk so much, this woman must repeat herself a million times a day. People shout at her and disparage her as if she were real.

Assessing Raiders

I previously blogged about raids to my premises. In some cases, personal papers were the only target. Who or why isn't important here. This post is one of assessment of the raiders' craft. • On the plus side, very slick. Photos show heavy bolts gently taken apart. Also, they left no trace -- no fingerprints, no footprints, nothing. • On the minus side, they missed the hot stuff. Miss your target once or twice, and there will be diminishing returns. It may be a huge waste for a client. And they couldn't pick cross-locks, a more advanced skill, although they managed Yale and Xpanda. And not only did they keep dropping papers, they dumped them where they were found. Finally, unless it's intentional, one can't afford to reveal motives in the mix, which poses a greater risk not only for raiders, but for those who gave orders.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Acknowledgement Of Receipt

In my ministry experience, if one should run into any difficulty with an authority -- say hospitals, police, attorneys, or church -- the first and most basic step is to put it in writing and to receive acknowledgement of receipt. So important is acknowledgement of receipt that if one does not receive it, I would advise: no matter how important the issue (once you have checked that it didn't get lost in the mail or something), shut it all down, and start again, or think again. Why attach such importance to such a small thing? Without acknowledgement of receipt, a recipient may later deny any knowledge of a matter. Without acknowledgement of receipt, there may be confusion over due dates -- or worse, critical cut-offs. Without acknowledgement of receipt, a case may be decided without you knowing what was taken into consideration, or whether a document was read before or after things were decided. And so on ... OBSERVATION: In my view, one can't afford to find oneself in such situations. While, on the surface of it, acknowledgement of receipt is a seemingly small thing, it is critical. And if it were faithfully done in our country, a lot of woes that we experience would be set aside.

Writing Mentor

In the case of (I think) all of my articles and reviews of the past three years, I have been mentored by a man who not only has written many books, but among those books, just one of them has sold more than twenty-five million copies. Some things that stand out about him are his continual promotion of others, and his excellent feel for a wide range of subject matter. He changed me from a writer who was in a sense fearful of publishers' rules and judgements, to develop a style of my own through which I can express myself both with power and academic integrity. OBSERVATION: (My first article lay in his in-tray for more than a year before I was discovered).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Three In One

I went to lunch today with a minister whose Church -- having three ministers, to minister to three age groups -- split into three, while retaining its "unity". I followed this from the start, when there was some nervousness as to whether it would work. It has worked, and it has given each minister a more meaningful ministry. OBSERVATION: However, my own view is that Churches should integrate all ages, races, languages, and social strata in one. This is what the Early Church pulled off, although we do not have much detail. Arguably, we pulled this off in my urban ministry.

Children Everywhere

This is a regular feature of my "other life" in my "other world" ... particularly when one is working on a computer or has a camera in one's hands. It isn't something we are used to in our European culture -- being crowded by children. However, one notices it less and less as time goes on. Children everywhere becomes a part of life. The photo shows two nieces of my wife (foreground), and a niece of my mother-in-law (background).

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Grief vs. Depression

It is often said that grief is not the same as depression. Give a grieving person a depression test, and it may not register any depression. I myself lost my wife at a relatively young age (I was fifty). My doctor, therefore, repeatedly tested me for depression. No depression showed up, not even once. And yet, in my own words, I was "knocked for a six" (a cricketing expression). I was deeply, deeply shocked, and the shock did not go away. OBSERVATION: I agree. A grieving person may not be depressed. Perhaps I can put the difference like this: in grief, the "life" may still be there, in one's spirit, while this is typically not the case with depression. For me, that life came above all from my faith, which "kept me". World of Psychology states: "Grief and depression occupy two quite different psychological territories."

Green Point Urban Park

I took (another) photo today of our Green Point Urban Park (above), where I typically take wife E. to the gym three times a week, while I take a forty-minute walk to MacDonalds and back for a chocolate sundae. OBSERVATION: This park, established several years ago, was a successful idea. It is popular, pleasant, safe, and clean, its trees are growing, and its sprawling biodiversity exhibits are always interesting. This is the park in mid-winter (over here).

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

If It Doesn't Say Leica ...

If it doesn't say 'Leica', it isn't a Leica. My first Leica camera was the C-Lux 2, the company's most compact camera. As with many Leicas, it had a Panasonic equivalent. Recently I bought Panasonic's successor to the C-Lux 2. When people see my Panasonic photos, they say wow! (see recent images on my blog). But it isn't a Leica. What I notice especially, as an amateur, is far more noise in the images, and unwelcome effects in editing. OBSERVATION: On the plus side, the Panasonic has a fantastic lens, offers fast high-end control, and does very good videos. But what does that matter, if image quality is compromised?

To “Wegsing” Someone

There is an interesting word in the Church here. In Afrikaans: wegsing. "Ek gaan jou wegsing." "I shall sing you away." This is a technique which is routinely used in Black and Coloured Churches, to move things along if people lose track of time. Usually, it is not the minister who initiates the wegsing, but the people. OBSERVATION: This is not to say that services are short. Two to four hours would be usual. I have also seen it used as a technique for overcoming disruptions.

Conveniences (Not)

In South Africa, some parts are not as advanced as one might think, given all the progressive legislation. Anyway, one place that I regularly visit has outdoor "conveniences" -- which is, the bushes. But last week, I arrived to find that the conveniences had been destroyed in a veld fire. Here is the photo, with one mysteriously surviving aloe. For a European, to find that this has happened to one's conveniences, one surveys the scene with a certain sense of ... loss.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Death, Philosophically

This morning, I had an article published: Death Philosophically. I begin: "The philosophical debate about death, whatever one might believe about it oneself, is most basically defined in terms of whether our present life is related to an afterlife, or not." OBSERVATION: There is only so much that philosophy can say about this. However, my approach would seem to keep Christian views very much in the running.

Receive The Blessing

I took this photo this past weekend, of a service at Suuranys, in the Eastern Cape. It is, as will be seen, a wide angle shot. This is not a Pentecostal gathering. A Congregational minister (arms outstretched, in the background) is saying: "Ontvang die se├źn." In English: "Receive the blessing." OBSERVATION: The churchgoer dressed in white in the foreground is my mother-in-law. Interestingly, she is wearing a shoehorn hat, of the style introduced by missionaries long ago. Suuranys is an outstation of Kruisfontein Congregational Church.