Wednesday, May 29, 2024

South African Elections

I voted today in South Africa's seventh fully democratic elections. When I first showed them my ID, they showed me that I wasn't registered. It took about ten minutes to track down the problem: they had changed my place of registration. That meant that I had to go to another place, and queue for a second time. OBSERVATION: This is the second time they changed my place of registration, and the second time I queued twice. I took the photo at our previous elections.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Could Be Worse

In the night, some memories returned to me of past counselling. I couldn't sleep! I worried about my counselees' worries, and they were not even mine. Besides, all of those situations have passed by now. OBSERVATION: Some people go through terrible trauma. If you ever have troubles, they are not as bad as they could be!

Lexham English Bible

It is generally agreed that the best English Bible translations are the ESV and the Amplified. I generally use the ASV and KJV (for familiarity) and the LITV (a literal translation) -- and lately, the LEB -- the Lexham English Bible. This came about through my recent book, where I needed to quote the Bible without running into copyright issues -- and preserve the structure of the original text -- and have something current. Until then, I didn't know the LEB existed. It is an almost literal version -- using brackets to indicate anything not literally translated. It is simple, too, and uses modern English. The goal of the translators was "clear and readable English".

Monday, May 27, 2024

Noon Day Gun

This is a recording I made of the noon day gun in Cape Town—the echo rolling off Table Mountain for several seconds. The voices are 100+ yards away—the length of a football pitch. That gives some idea of the performance of the microphone, which I specially designed for the task. OBSERVATION: I put this recording up before—however, I processed it now. It was fifth time lucky—five times hiking up the mountain to get this (almost) right.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Another Philosophy Lecture

It seems to me I once again forgot to post something significant. I have been invited to Basel, Switzerland, to hold a philosophy lecture at the Staatsunabhängige Theologische Hochschule, a University Theological Seminary -- perhaps, the foremost evangelical seminary in the German-speaking realm. While there is no fixed date yet, this will be between 22 March and 5 April 2025. The lecture is on Blaise Pascal. I shall deliver this in German.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Changing Service Times

Unexpectedly once, a proposal came up in a diaconate meeting, to change the time of our Sunday morning service -- which was relatively late at 10 am. Our diaconate wanted to vote immediately. I thought this was too important an issue to act impulsively. I said let's take one month over this, and I promised that we would take a decision the following month. I checked our constitutional requirements -- the Constitution stated that "motions dealing with services" needed to be put to the members. I asked our intern to investigate how this would affect various people in the congregation. He reported back that most were indifferent, many in favour, and a few reluctant. So our diaconate voted in favour of the change, and put a proposal to the members. The members said no -- and quite decisively so. It would have been the first such change in 115 years.

Smallest Computer

I wonder whether anyone remembers a computer I designed -- it was one of my Perpetual Projects published in 2001 in the UK -- it appears in the EPE index as a register. I have lost the design. It was a one-bit CMOS computer with input, processor, memory, and display. By way of comparison, the computer I am using to write this post has billions of bits inside. Anyway, it was fun to invent a computer so simple -- and one actually could do some things with it. OBSERVATION: Within living memory, some of the simplest electronic circuits -- such as a one-bit computer -- were not that easy.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Modern Outrage

I have noted this before, on my blog. Ministers today are at extreme risk of outrage, should they say something about the deepest issues of life. I don't think it was that way a generation ago. One might think of sexuality, but it is far broader than that. Issues of life and death, good and evil, purpose and despair, and so on. OBSERVATION: Some ministers tread very carefully, so as not to expose themselves to rage, which I don't think does anyone a favour -- although one may be tactful and thoughtful. 

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gender Based Violence

Something one doesn't find in reports of "Diddy" Combs' violence towards his girlfriend -- which I have both from experience in ministry, and from statistics -- is that violence is far more common where a couple is not married. This is said to be a consistent finding in statistics. The rates of violence are very much higher (about double) where a couple is not married. Child abuse is very, very much higher (about ten times as high). 

Koue Bokkeveld Storm

In October 2018, I took a break in South Africa's Koue Bokkeveld. My hosts in the Great Karoo tried to call me, to warn me that a great storm had struck the area – but I had already set off. Shortly after that, they said, their communications went down in the storm. It took me a week to recover from the exhaustion of battling that storm for 200 miles in my microcar – hour after long hour. The photo shows how I found the roads. I made it through this particular obstacle, a few days after the storm, after getting out of my cab to figure out a way across.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Annual Philosophy Lecture

My Annual Philosophy Lecture in Malta is now fixed. I shall be delivering the lecture on the evening of Thursday 20 March 2025. If you live in Malta, please mark that date. If you don't live in Malta, please mark that date—and be sure to make travel arrangements soon! The lecture is on holism. The venue: the Grand Excelsior. My hosts are the Philosophy Sharing Foundation, a member of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Near Death Experience

Reading of a new book today on near death experiences (Imagine Heaven, by John Burke), I was reminded of my own experience with people who have had near death experiences. Here is an example. A member of my Church, H suffered a brain haemorrhage. When I went to see him in hospital, he was lying on his back, and had a long, curved wound on his head -- a craniotomy. He said that he couldn’t see (he regained his sight in time). He was very excited. He said, “I met the Lord Jesus! I met Him! I met Him!” I said what do you mean, H? Was it a vision, or a dream? “No!” he said, “It was Him! I really met Him!” OBSERVATION: I became aware of such experiences early in my ministry, and have heard many more since.

First Comment

There was that one article that changed everything, and propelled me into the world of philosophy. Published March 2013, in The Philosopher. But there was not a single comment on the article ... until today! A software engineer "thoroughly enjoyed it". My article, he writes, reflects "one of the core concepts in logic programming". The article is (click here) Aristotle's Noun.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Rules of South African Shopkeeping

There seem to be various Enduring Rules of South African Shopkeeping. Here's a sample:

1. If the shopper buys both hot pies and ice cream, be sure to put the hot pies on top of the ice cream, in the same bag.
2. If the shopper buys both milk and chips or crisps, pack the milk on top of the crisps -- and be sure to push it down on them.
3. If the shopper offers to pay with a card, tell them, "We're off-line. You can get some cash around the corner. But that's off-line!"

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Not All It Seemed

It is not seldom that a minister's call-outs do not turn out to be what they seemed. A girl telephoned her mother from her father's house -- saying that her father had a woman in the house -- they were naked and smokin' and trippin', she said. So the mother called me. Would I please check? I paid a visit to the house -- and found that it was not the father's girlfriend but the father's mother -- who had moved in. On the surface of it, all was well. OBSERVATION: I won't even try to figure this out!