Wednesday, October 26, 2016
I wrote elsewhere on this blog about my being deeply affected by intimidation. This is not imagined -- it is probably better recorded than any of my intimidators would hope. But I got to the stage where I was feeling stronger -- and at that juncture, I spoke to my bishop about it. He asked me what I would gain if I were to take the tough line recommended to me by authorities, among others. That clarified my thinking -- though perhaps not as my bishop intended. It was not about what I would gain. It was about freedom of religion, the rule of law, the good of the Church -- and about seeing one's life from beginning to end, and how it is lived -- not about the gains and losses of this particular time.
OBSERVATION: There was a massive student protest outside parliament. As I write, I still hear a whirlybird, sirens, and police fire.
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
finally was able to transcode our wedding video with a handy utility. So, after a mere four years' wait, here are the opening moments in "video conferencing" mode. Wife E's wedding dress was made of silk adorned with Honiton lace and a veil, in a style worn by Queen Victoria. Her employer generously provided the dress. E. carried a bouquet of Haenertsburg lilies. The Church is St. Peter's Anglican Church, Plettenberg Bay.
Have you seen the movie Soylent Green? It was a classic, starring Charlton Heston as a detective, and Lincoln Kilpatrick as a priest. The priest receives a shocking confession: the state is turning people into food. One may indeed hear shocking confessions in ministry: someone intends to commit a serious crime, someone confesses to a serious crime, or someone says they have uncovered a serious crime. By and large, in such situations, I have done three things: • I have kept it confidential, and continued confidential counselling. • I have done all that I can to help the person deal with the situation themselves. And • with them, I have sought to lead them to trust God to work a solution (which need not mean inaction). OBSERVATION: Depending what the situation is, the hazards of personal involvement, for a minister, can be high.
Monday, October 24, 2016
Son M. and I this morning had the rare privilege of meeting our province's Ethics Chief, a man with special powers, accountable only to Parliament and the President. His name isn't out there -- one won't find it out there. I shared with him my experience of the system, in particular the obstruction of justice. He said: "I feel for people. I [myself] don't want to be caught up in this country's play. It's a ?#@*&%! difficulty." OBSERVATION: After a twenty-minute encounter, the state of the nation is as bad as I thought, and my own understanding of the situation seems about right. My compliments to a shrewd, compassionate, and straight talking Ethics Chief. (But they didn't appoint him for his mild speech) ...
Sunday, October 23, 2016
I took the photo this morning of John Child, the longest running lecturer at the Calvinist George Whitfield College in Cape Town. He lectures in systematic theology and ethics. He preached on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit -- giving the subject a comprehensive treatment in the time of a mere sermon. While many appreciated the completeness of his teaching, the sermon seemed to me to be a very even landscape -- too even, I thought, for things of importance really to stand out. OBSERVATION: It's the kind of chance photo that invites a good caption.
When lovers live together without marrying, they set themselves up for problems they never imagined. Yesterday I was called on to advise in this situation: a woman had died, and her partner (not her husband) was left in the house, together with the woman's son. The house now fell to the next of kin, which was the woman's son. Therefore the partner began to intimidate the son in a battle of wits to try to gain control of the house. OBSERVATION: I said it was a cockfight, and the best way forward I could see for now was to get a trusted advisor in, to bring some perspective. No, it was not a cockfight, said the son. There was only one cock in this fight.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
OBSERVATION: The photo gives some impression of the environment in which I lived and played as a boy.
I find it very interesting and rewarding interacting with university students in South Africa. It's a long time since I was a (young) student, so it's hard to know "where I was" at that time. I pick up some general trends. • Students struggle deeply with the split personality, the major contradictions, of South African society. How does one reconcile it all? • There is a tendency to limit their thinking. They could be thinking more broadly, holistically, taking more into account. They would find more answers. Options which are there seem closed to them. • They often carry the weight of not being able to appreciate just how well they are doing, how much they are learning, where they are going. Encouragement matters a lot to them. [I deleted further thoughts, in the interests of simplicity].
Erasing Windows. On my Acer Aspire, the erasure worked, and my new Linux Xubuntu is a dream -- but one needs to read up before one tries it. OBSERVATION: My most popular ministry post of all time (in more than six years of statistics) is still far and away Rushed Resignation.