Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mission Messages

I have been appointed "crack of dawn chaplain" for the mission at the end of this month -- or whatever the designation may be. Today I spent some time looking over three messages which are needless to say on ... mission. I selected Jesus' Parable of the Marriage Feast (Matthew 22). Three themes that I may cover: the generous (and rejected) invitation of the king, why the king's emissaries are again and again referred to as slaves, and the curious (but important) case of the man who was bundled out of the feast.

Water In The Karoo

This is a post with a difference. Water is scarce in the demi-desert. Therefore our Church in the Karoo catches water off the roof, which is channelled into large tanks. At the bottom of the tanks are valves (pictured). Typically one waters the (succulent) garden from the tanks. There are good rains in the semi-desert, occasionally. Early settlers sometimes built massive tanks, to provide water all year round.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lesotho Solar

Today I designed and built my sixth solar power system in a year -- for the Church in Lesotho. Somebody asked me the unthinkable question: "Will it work?" It's a small 12V 2.8Ah system. I gave it a brief outing in the sun after I completed it, and it charged nicely. It will provide two times 80 candlepower all evening every evening and charge small devices such as cell-phones. OBSERVATION: For anyone who's used to one or two candles (or even fifty), that's a big difference. If indeed I designed it right, it should last five years non-stop -- or ten with luck.

Struggle Over A Hard Line

Sometimes, when at a loss as to what to post, I consider: what is on your heart? At the moment, I am struggling greatly with the question as to whether I should lay criminal charges against a number of people I have shown a lot of patience and grace, in fact month after month. I have sought the advice of authorities, and have sought it again. The advice is one and the same: under the circumstances, do it, and do it now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Functions Of Christian Leadership

A fellow South African blogger asked me a question that I understood like this: What are the functions of Christian leadership? listed in single words. I'll list my fellow blogger's suggestions -- my own suggested additions are in capital letters:

. . FAITH
. . POINTING
. . FACILITATING
. . Leading
. . Feeding
. . Nurturing
. . Comforting
. . Correcting
. . Protecting
. . LOVING
. . SERVING
. . ADMINISTERING

OBSERVATION: Many such lists exist -- inter alia by Christian leadership writers Barna, Clinton, Engstrom. However, the list you see here is different, and I think more typically South African. It is different because it tends to focus more on the divine, more on the task, less on image or ideal, and less on influencing others.

Memories

This is the kind of photo that one risks one's life for -- to put it up on a blog. It's a photo of wife E., taken five years ago. She was on her way to Cape Town's City Hall, to listen to the Philharmonia Choir. She was surprised that I had this photo, as she doesn't have it herself. I found it in a photo album of one of her relatives in the east. Unfortunately this isn't Facebook, where one can click on Like. One may click on the photo to enlarge.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oldies And Newbies

A Church leader said to me about another Church leader: “He doesn’t count. He’s only been in our meetings a few times.” I said that everyone who is on a Church leadership is fully on board. Every leader should be treated with full deference and respect. OBSERVATION: I think that there is a spiritual reason for this. We are not merely talking about people's worldly experience as leaders, although a grasp of one's history may have some value. We are talking about a God-anointing. There is a certain pride in pointing to one’s “worldly” assets as being superior to someone else’s. In fact the question mark here would be over the Church leader who said: "He doesn't count." The principle, however, applies not only to Church leadership, but far more broadly.

Fallacy Theory Today

I think I have mentioned on this blog a recent trend to make peer review processes public -- which is made possible by the Internet. A book review which I wrote, titled Fallacy Theory Today, has been under such review, and was just promoted to official status -- that is, it is no longer under peer review. You may click on the link above to take a look. OBSERVATION: There is also a recent trend to make peer review a restricted public process -- restricted to members of a society or a seminary, for instance.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Cultural Diversity?

A post on the homogeneous principle, or cultural sameness, has been one of the most looked-at on this blog. Here’s why I believe that cultural diversity in a Church represents spiritual health (but see the definition here at the bottom): 1. We see such diversity in the New Testament. 2. The experience of such diversity is a joy and a mystery beyond all principles (see the recent songs on this blog). 3. Cultural diversity proves that one has been able to progress beyond culture and values, to exalt Jesus Christ together. 4. It proves that one has learnt to appreciate others for the spiritual treasure they are, not their person. 5. It proves that one is implementing the priesthood of believers. 6. There is great spiritual advantage in mixing with people who have a different spiritual heritage, experience, and outlook. 7. Cultural diversity enables one to see what God is doing across peoples, borders, and continents. 8. It further creates friendships and partnerships to enrich and strengthen the Church of Christ. 9. It opens up many more opportunities to serve one another in love. And 10. it proves that one can trust others in the Spirit as one trusts oneself. OBSERVATION: It is most important to note that I am not referring merely to the composition of a Church, but as in points 5 and 9 in particular, to full participation and service. However, my late wife M. reminded me about such diversity: “We are walking a fine line.”

Happy Birthday

Wife E. (background) is celebrating her birthday today. Here are some of the guests. Most are from the Northern Cape: Augrabies, Upington, Kakamas, Prieska. E. is from the Eastern Cape: Kareedouw. It is the custom to have a feast. Last time I checked on the party, there was a heated debate about President Zuma who, it was thought, was too much surrounded by scandal for a president. You may click on the photo to enlarge to 200k. OBSERVATION: One of the ladies just looked over my shoulder and noted that Kakamas is soon to be incorporated into Namibia. Let the reader understand.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Best Dressed

E. and I helped out today with an Amazing Race-like event in Cape Town. I took this photo of the team which ultimately won the prize for the best dressed team. They participated as The Mimes. You may click on the photo to enlarge to VGA.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Surpassing Himself

Son M. has been "surpassing himself". This week he held ten academic lectures at Africa's foremost university -- and one public lecture on the West Coast. All the feedback on the academic lectures was good to excellent, while the feedback for the public lecture was enthusiastic. It seems like only yesterday that he dreamed that he may one day lecture at university. However, it still is "only a pastime", as he is wrapping up a PhD. See The Drupkelder for a photo.

Nyararisa: The Song

video
Two of the three most popular posts of the last month on this blog (and they haven't been up for half a month) are the two Youth Choir songs I put up. Here is a third. Titled Nyararisa, it is sung in Shona (by Itai, with the green shirt), Zulu (by Phakamile, with the purple scarf), and Afrikaans (by Ester, who later became my wife). I can translate the Afrikaans: "Yes Lord hold me in the palm of your hand." There are some interesting accents as choir members sing along in foreign languages. The other members of the Choir are Peter (English) and Francis (Shona).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fear And Trembling

It is a central concern of my ministry: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act." A common interpretation goes something like this: "You’d better perform as a Christian, or you have reason to fear and tremble." But can this be reconciled with salvation by faith? I have interpreted it like this: "You’d better work out the difference between faith and works and why, and do it with fear and trembling, because the consequences are awesome." Commentator Kenneth Wuest says: "The English translation is good if one uses the words 'work out' as one does when referring to the working out of a problem in mathematics." Too many, who go by the name Christian, have not figured it out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SAPS 496 : Released

This post is another "just the basic facts", without comment. Last year I was criminally charged. The police immediately made it clear to me that the charges could not be withdrawn. However, the moment the investigation got under way, they suggested that the statements were suspect. I asked an officer for copies, but the request was denied. I then put the request to a detective. The request was again denied. I met with the senior public prosecutor. She signed permission to release the statements. I went to fetch them. A very nervous officer stopped the senior public prosecutor -- however, he granted me access to the statements. The file was now open. The police then referred me to their website to request release. The website wouldn't work. I asked my accusers for the statements. I received no reply. An officer promised then to prepare me a SAPS 512, a formal request form. Finally I put my signature to a SAPS 512. A month after that -- today -- I received the accusers' refusal of the formal request. Some context: as a result of these statements, I was criminally charged. I was questioned, fingerprinted, mug-shotted -- and handed a rather serious SAPS 496: released on warning (here pictured). A date was set for trial in Court 15 at Caledon Square. But two days before trial, the public prosecutor threw out the charges, on the basis that there was "no reasonable prospect" of showing any wrongdoing. OBSERVATION: I was charged a second time. But the prosecutor again threw out the charges, on the grounds that they were "baseless". Then the docket went missing. One of my accusers accused me several times more, in writing. I advised them to report to the police.