/ automobile), it was cheap to run, parking was easy, I could wave to people in the street and easily talk to them from the cab -- and the reaction to this vehicle was warm in the townships. One also picked up all the sounds and smells around one. OBSERVATION: A minister friend near Cape Town followed suit, and bought one.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Before I edit an article for publication, I read the whole article, so that I have all of it in my head at once. This may take some time as I seek to understand it completely. Then I edit, though not necessarily at once. Once in a while, an author will get in touch with me in the middle of the process and say, Here, take a look, I shuffled it around, or, See my changes to pages 3 and 5 -- or something of the sort. For me that may mean starting all over again, since I don't work in fragments. A few times, in such situations, I have said no, I’m not returning to this article.
OBSERVATION: Elsewhere on this blog, I describe how we lost someone of the next generation up when a clinic failed to order their medication.
Friday, February 17, 2017
2003, I wrote an expansive report on the Kiribati Protestant Church. I felt ‘a burden’ to write it. It was published by an English Dame, and for several years was the preferred report on the Church on the Internet. When therefore there was a revolution in the Church, just a few short weeks ago – with the Church ‘separating out’ into the Kiribati Protestant Church and the Kiribati Uniting Church – I wondered whether I had been a part of the equation. Probably, yes. Among other things, I was invited to participate in a Church boardroom on-line. OBSERVATION: I have been surprised by photos I have received. I have never seen such passion for the Church, not since my youth (an example above right). Yet I feel that I am not needed as a partisan. I simply share my own perspectives and encouragements, with anyone, from time to time.
Many years ago, I struggled to write more accessible sermons -- something which I aspired to. I therefore enlisted the help of writing analysis software, and aimed for Grade 7 for all my sermons -- ideally Grade 5 (Grade 7 is of a surprisingly high level). Finally I found that the software was no longer needed -- most of my sermons scored Grade 7 or lower -- and I wrote without it. OBSERVATION: In some Churches -- not least multicultural ones -- it is important.
have regular, almost daily contact with the central Pacific. These are photos, posted earlier in the week, of a massive beaching of dolphins on the remote atoll Aranuka. It is less than five square miles in area, and less than a tenth of a degree north of the equator. I lived on this atoll as a boy. The people had never seen this before. They hugged the dolphins, jumped on them, tried to pick them up, did everything imaginable with them. Even if the dolphins could have been freed, I don't think there is an easy escape from that lagoon. OBSERVATION: In the last few weeks, this has been happening all over the world. It is described as "unprecedented". Some blame the West.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
My blog suffered a little damage this week, and it's a case of "it's not what you think". When I took a look, one post was an obvious candidate for what I shall call ideological offence. I removed the post in question, but may put it up again reworded. I have reworded other posts. OBSERVATION: This is in a sense an international blog. The top ten countries looking in during the last 24 hours lie on six continents. This week, my blog has taken a hit mostly in what are night hours in Africa. It has (mostly) escaped foreign censorship in the past by being a ministry blog.
Many Churches, when they grow, strain to capacity and continue in a condition of strain -- or unfulfilled potential. It has been my practice to be proactive at such points. Do something. Change something. Lay it on the table. Make it happen. Don't just wish for it, or work within your present reality. For many ministers, this is primarily a question of faith. What does God want us to do at this point? OBSERVATION: Perhaps this is not as safe as straining to capacity, or failing to fulfill one's potential. Or is it.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
OBSERVATION: Girlfriends are commonplace, unless you received last instructions from your late mother, took exceptional and prayerful care, and first made a move in your thirtieth year.
A professor of mine, Bobby Clinton, listed nine motivating factors for ministry: • finishing well • the return of the Lord • one's giftedness • confidence in the power of the gospel • a burden to minister • the resurrection • handling God's Word for impact • the perspective of eternity, and • love for the Lord. My own most crucial motivating factors are not on the list. Near the top of my list would be, to put it very simply, God's faithfulness. OBSERVATION: What I personally see in Dr. Clinton's list is that God works in me, in my ministry. It is by and large an inward look, rather than outward. This would seem to be typically American.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Clergy and crime has been a much debated topic, in particular: should clergy report crime to civil authorities? This issue especially came to the fore when it became known how certain Churches had dealt with sexual abuse -- but not only that. On the one hand, it is (or was) said that there is the honour of the Church to think of, there is the assumption of confidentiality in counselling and confession, and there are criteria which the Church uses to judge things which differ from those of the world (and occasionally, crimes in the world may be virtues in the Church). On the other hand, from experience I think there are great risks involved in not reporting crime: clergy may overlook the motives of the crime (what is really going on), they may not guess the extent of it, they may not see the consequences (the big picture), and they may not be equipped to deal with that crime. Further, if clergy do withhold a matter from civil authorities, they themselves may become suspect. Nowadays, the law has caught up, so as to make certain reporting mandatory by clergy. OBSERVATION: Ideally, I think that civil and ecclesiastical (Church) processes should run parallel. Personally, I have tended not to report crime against me as minister -- but I am not sure I can recommend that. I have, too, received serious confessions and revelations -- an issue which may be more complicated than it seems. I have written about it elsewhere on this blog. There are some interesting considerations over at FCPEI.
OBSERVATION: We don't often (or ever) hear the word phytiatrist, yet it may be one of the most important jobs on earth: plant doctor.