Thursday, November 23, 2017

Migmatite Zone

In 1836, Charles Darwin visited some rocks on our Atlantic coast. These are mixed igneous and sedimentary rocks which were influential in understanding the geology of the earth. I took this photo today in the “migmatite zone”. If one were to zoom out, one would see pure sedimentary rock 300 metres / yards to the north, and pure igneous rock 100 metres / yards to the south.

Straight Talking

People ask me whether it is difficult to talk to people about their sins as a minister. The answer is no, not at all. If they know that you are on their side, you can say anything. In my experience, it is one in a hundred who will take offence. OBSERVATION: Wife E points out that such "straight talk" tends to be the reserve of a minister -- and in her culture, of the elders, too -- but in my culture, she says, we have generally lost that. In my experience, the one in a hundred tend to be those who are oppositional to begin with, or those who suffer what in Afrikaans is called skaamkwaad -- anger born of shame. Also, I probably exclude sins against the Church. Those are harder.

Inclement Weather

I took the photo this morning, of inclement weather on our Atlantic coast. Or should I say it is a photo of sea shells? I took a batch of photos here, with different depths of field. The one with the greatest depth of field seemed the best. You may click on the photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Philosophy Of Gesture

Did I birth a new branch of philosophy? In July 2014, Philosophical Investigations published an article that I wrote: A Philosophy of Gestures. In October 2015, McGill-Queen's University published a "revolutionary" new book: The Philosophy of Gesture. Between the article and the book, various concepts overlap: performance, structure, logic, system, form, rationality, dialogue, embeddedness, culture, retrospection, universals, imperatives ... OBSERVATION: A coincidence? One does find some extraordinary ones.

Memories Of A Mission Ship

I had the privilege as a boy of sailing for years on the last mission ship of the great missionary era, the John Williams VII. Here are some memories:
• My father tearing open the fridge door when the ship rolled away from him, slamming it shut before the ship rolled back. And mistiming it once.
• My mother flying backwards across the cabin as the ship rolled, and the bunk ladder flying after her and striking her.
• My sister and I rolling toy cars to one another up and down the dining room table as the ship rolled.
•  Seeing water pour into the dining room at one side, then on the other side of the ship's "second floor" as the ship rolled.
• Watching the sonar to see the ship clearing the reef (just).
• Schools of dolphins swimming before the prow of the ship, and flying fish darting in all directions.
• Me being dragged down the ship's deck after catching a fish too powerful for me (maybe a swordfish).
• Watching the launch slam, slam, slam into the side of the ship, and timing the jump across. My father mistimed it once, and got pounded between launch and ship.
OBSERVATION: The ship is mentioned on Wikipedia: John Williams. On Google Images it curiously appears on the same page as the Titanic. Not surprisingly, I do not suffer from seasickness today, no matter how rough the ocean.

Yet Another Niece

This is a YAN (yet-another-niece) on my sister's side. On wife E's side, one doesn't hear people speak of nieces. They are all daughters, or children in the sense of "my children". There are a great many of them. OBSERVATION: This is a very talented niece, having (co) won gold once at the New York Film Festival.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Raids Then Sabotage

I am here listing some facts, without comment. For the thrust of it, see the end of this list. 
• On 19 November 2014, I registered a demand for papers in which the police had set me up.
• On 20 November, neighbours reported a raid on my property. Thousands of personal papers were seized.
• On 21 November, about half my papers were retrieved from the Klein River, searched.
• On 24 November, police opened an investigation.
• Also on 24 November, I recorded the police when they summoned me.
• They told me over and over that I had “nothing”, and I should "move out of this area".
• On 26 November, I made an affidavit, listing the missing papers. The affidavit went missing.
• In violation of police procedure, the investigation was closed after three days, on 27 November.
• Now fast forward, to 5 May 2015. On this day, I informed the police that I had recorded that meeting of 24 November.
• I next entered my property on 11 June 2015.
• There had been another search and seize raid. This time, ±50 audio tapes were seized, nothing else.
• At the same time, my main water pipes had been cut (pictured). These were my main “in” pipe, and my main “out” pipe, so that my water storage tanks were drained, and I could not refill them.
• On 29 June 2015, the police opened an investigation.
• In violation of police procedure, the investigation was abandoned.
• This was the first time that sabotage to my property entered the picture.
OBSERVATION: It’s a long post, I know, but I wanted to share something without comment. In a post scheduled for the morning: sabotage that threatens my life.

Street Mentality

A street person was without shoes. One of our members warmed to his plight, and bought him some (she herself being quite poor). But she wanted to know that the money was well spent -- therefore our Church caretaker went with the man to buy the shoes. The next morning, there was a large and angry crowd at the Church gate -- demanding shoes, and accusing the Church of unfairness and favouritism. As for the street person, he had already sold his shoes and, according to his friends, “had a party”. He was, of course, again without shoes. OBSERVATION:  Our caretaker said: “I don’t have the heart to tell [our member] this.” My late wife Mirjam commented: “He must!”

Carollers

These carollers called round yesterday evening. They seemed relieved and pleased that I gave them a warm welcome. I ordered "O come all ye faithful". You may click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Extreme Interpreting

Sermons are often interpreted in South Africa. This sermon (click ⊳ to Play) is being translated from Xhosa to Afrikaans. But what to do when the preacher gets carried away? This interpreter (on the right) was unflappable. I took the 20 second video yesterday in Sea Point Methodist Church in Cape Town.

How The Youth Soared

In the latter part of my city ministry, our youth group soared. It reached its highest attendance in a generation. How? I shall cast it in terms of what our youth leaders did right: 
• They offered meaningful Christian input each week
• They brushed off collateral damage
• They noted what the youth enjoy
• They heavily staffed the youth to curb ruinous youngsters
• They were sensitive to the temperaments of the youth
• They truly loved the youth
• They could live with chaos
• They gave the youth attention, and
• They drew on the spirituality of the youth.
OBSERVATION: Churches often miss one or more of these points, which perhaps can be summed up like this: sound spiritual focus and sensitivity to the youth. If there was anything I did myself to contribute to this success, I think it was to give critical support to the leaders.

Yellowwood

I snapped these (I think) local yellowwood leaves in Cape Town's Glen. One finds yellowwood trees male and female (they are dioecious). The trees are very slow growing, and have a wood of exceptional quality -- something like yew wood. OBSERVATION: We considered yellowwood for pews when, under one of my minstries, we built a Church. Needless to say, the price was out of the question. We finally chose sapele wood, which is like mahogany. Our building committee had the good taste to reject pine.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Investiture Of Auxiliaries

Earlier today I attended a service in my old stomping ground, Sea Point (pictured). It was the investiture of men's and women's auxiliaries in the Methodist Church. OBSERVATION: It reminded me of the mission -- the regimentation in particular. I had opportunity to meet the new minister, too. First impressions were very good.

The ‘Drugs Hook’

I met with a young man for counselling once, who held a privileged position in Cape Town's GrandWest casino. Some gangsters had got the "drugs hook" into him -- which is, they had got him addicted. Now they threatened him with cold turkey if he didn't do them some favours. Then, too, they were terrorising him daily, popping up where he was least expecting them to. The trouble is, he suspected that the casino was now monitoring him, too. He didn't want to trade his position of privilege at the casino, he couldn't escape his tormentors, he couldn't quit the drugs, he felt that it was all too precarious to go to the police ... When I saw him, he had rings under his eyes, was panicked and tearful, and said he couldn't take any more. OBSERVATION: It was, needless to say, a complicated situation. I wrote down some spiritual priorities for him, and never heard from him again -- until recently. He had settled down, married a lovely young woman, and they were happy together. The casino and all its troubles were history.

Recording The Police

I recently blogged how the police had set me up, based on the Cluster's testimony. I pressed them for information, there was a search and seize raid on my property, then Colonel Lento summoned me to the Sea Point police station. There I was told that I had nothing, nothing, nothing! (listen to a recording at Publishing Police Woes). Then, on 5 May 2015, I informed the police in writing that I had audio of that meeting. Colonel Lento was one of those I informed. Immediately, there was another search and seize raid on my property. About 100 personal letters were searched, and about 50 audio tapes seized. This included my late wife's precious doctoral research. Many tapes were left behind in a scatter (pictured). Valuables were untouched. I opened a criminal case -- which the police abandoned, in violation of police procedure. OBSERVATION: Again, the Church was connected. And now there was a fearful turn. More in another post.