/ yards to the north, and pure igneous rock 100 metres / yards to the south.
Thursday, November 23, 2017
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.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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.
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.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.
• 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: This is a very talented niece, having (co) won gold once at the New York Film Festival.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
• On 19 November 2014, I registered a demand for papers in which the police had set me up.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.
• 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.
at 5:16 PM
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!”
Monday, November 20, 2017
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 weekOBSERVATION: 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.
• 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: 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
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.
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.