"On Sunday, I attended here (pictured). This Church plant was well run, the ministry was sound, and it felt good to be there. I felt that two things were not working in its favour at the moment: it did not have a minister, and I would step up ministry by members, the [Sunday] priesthood of believers, which in my view is important for urban Churches especially."
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
In March, I was very hard hit by rheumatic fever. I described it as being hit by a freight train. A few more days of that, I felt, and I would be dead. Doctors got me back on my feet, but I still struggled with everything -- with the usual symptoms of rheumatic fever. Several days ago, I woke up feeling strange all over. I started my day without any struggle at all -- then noticed I had just had no struggle. In one night, my troubles had left me. While I can still feel that something was there, it isn't live any more -- at least, not for now. OBSERVATION: It would have gone away faster, in my view, if doctors had not departed from the standard treatment as they did. While it is little heard of, rheumatic fever is more dangerous than COVID-19.
Monday, September 28, 2020
Sadly a cousin of ours was killed last night -- and by a member of the first family of the town. The killer landed a single punch, which felled him in the street. An ambulance came by, and found our cousin still alive -- drove away, and returned -- and found him dead. They tend to do a tour when they visit a township. His body lay for hours in the street then, while one waited on Forensics. The deceased is a big man, a powerful man. The scene was surrounded by the homes of family members, who hurried to see him. OBSERVATION: I have photos of the township on this blog, called Mountain View. In Xhosa kinship terms, he may sometimes be called a brother of my wife.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
• solid spiritual foundations (finances are firstly an indicator of spiritual health)• constitutional process (which equals member confidence)• well ordered finances (for example, a budget, monthly statements)• transparency and accountability (for example, audits, reporting to members)• a planned giving scheme, efficiently run, and• congregational participation and control.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
One might say that we are not a “doctrinal” Church – insofar as Biblical doctrines are not an explicit focus in our Church, and we do not mind if people make strange (though not very strange) theological statements. Here are some of the reasons why:• The people who make up our Church have very diverse religious, cultural, and Church backgrounds, which run deep, so we set our focus on the signs of God's grace among us, and our common desire to magnify Christ.• We are situated in the midst of a traumatised suburb and society, which naturally propels certain Biblical teachings to the fore which may not be part of the usual “stock”. For instance, God's providence is surely more prominent in practice than, say, the doctrine of baptism. And• We have among us a mix of mature Christians and very new Christians with little Christian background. In such a situation, the reality of Christian living together may far outweigh correctness while we give people room for “catch-up”.OBSERVATION: This does not mean that we neglect doctrine. During any given year, my preaching and teaching covers a considerable range of doctrine. However, we prefer to let this soak in like rain on the ground. We let God do His work in His good time through the Holy Spirit. We thrive, I think, partly because of a more tolerant doctrinal environment. It matters.
Friday, September 25, 2020
The principles of debate are almost more important than the debate itself. In my own university education, these principles were "drilled into one". But today, debate has become ideologically charged, so that these principles, when one raises them, are very often problematic. There is no shortage of examples:
• A debate concludes, and the camera is about to be turned off. A participant drops a bombshell and everyone is cut off.OBSERVATION: There are many more examples, which together reveal a flood of debate which does not rest on sound principles of debate, and make it difficult to make a meaningful contribution.
• A debate includes only acolytes. There isn't the diversity of thought for a meaningful exchange.
• A participant debates in public with classified information. One doesn't have access to the information, and cannot verify it or even assess it.
• There is a debate about values. One asks what the axioms are on which these are based, and everyone freezes.
• Any debate at all may be interpreted as an attack, rather than a healthy exchange of ideas or an ongoing dialogue.
• Or one enters a public debate. Before any meaningful exchange takes place, there are accusations of "Spy!"