I wonder how anyone could possibly have laid hands on e-mails which went to the heart of state capture in South Africa -- exchanges on "private computers" between the people principally involved. It is all in the news this weekend. I had my own such experience, at the close of my city ministry. Somebody slipped me e-mails which had passed between the Church accounts clerk and Church auditor (who was later revealed as being bogus). I never knew who slipped me those e-mails or how or when. I just noticed them in front of me one day. I am still baffled as to how they could have materialised.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Congregationalism, at the time that I entered Congregational ministry, seemed to be pretty much dead in the water: another great Protestant tradition which had become moribund. But no one would have guessed what happened next. There was a massive resurgence of Congregationalism worldwide. Under my own ministr(ies), then, we hosted Congregationalists from all over the world, and received blessing from them. This included some leading figures. OBSERVATION: Congregationalism is government by the people, for the people (and nobody else, whether inside or outside the Church), under Christ. But seen as a form of Church polity, Congregationalism encompasses far more than those Churches which have the label "Congregational". It includes Baptists, for instance. (There are two other types of Church polity, by and large: Presbyterianism and Episcopalianism).
South African businesses are legendary for their tardiness. In some cases, one would think they are determined to sink their own businesses -- which perhaps they are. I have however found three businesses which, in this order, are both exceptional and impressive:
• Rudd (water pumps)OBSERVATION: They have excellent products, excellent service, and excellent backup where something goes wrong. I would confidently go to them again.
• Makita (power tools)
• Fujifilm (cameras)
Saturday, May 27, 2017
There has been much discussion in South Africa of state capture, which happens when private interests (more or less) commandeer a state. What I have never seen discussed, however, is regulatory capture. This happens when regulatory agencies are (more or less) commandeered, in favour of those they regulate. I speak on the basis of what I know is the case, not what I think is the case. It is a disaster, because the cream of the professions are no longer strictly accountable. OBSERVATION: I blogged about this more than a year ago: Buddy Protection Rackets (which is what a journalist friend calls them). The methods are quite simple, once one knows what they are.
Friday, May 26, 2017
I was reading an article last night about Church Life Cycles, by the Congregational minister Robert Neilson. According to some theorists, Churches are like human bodies (one calls Churches a Body, after all). There is birth, childhood, adolescence, youthful vigour, maturity, old age, terminal decline, and death ... then resurrection. Will the Church become "a carpet warehouse"? At that point, God's resurrection power intervenes, perhaps through a small remnant (a living spiritual rest in the Church's midst). OBSERVATION: What is the main reason for a Church beginning to slide? Robert Neilson says that "paradoxically and rather perversely, sections of the congregation who have been around a long time ... look back". And there you go. It kills it. If I understand it correctly, this theory differs from others in that it holds that this process is inevitable.
OBSERVATION: But watch out for the wasps that prey on them. If a wasp thinks you are after its prey, you could have something nastier than a tarantula bite. You may click on the photo to enlarge.
Thursday, May 25, 2017
For want of anything to post tonight, I am posting a photo of wife E at Cape Town airport last year, with her favourite South African drink: a rooibos latte. I doubt that one would find this in any other country. She likes it best with cinnamon and honey. OBSERVATION: Not to be confused with local honeybush tea, which is rare. Some honeybush species "have resisted all attempts at cultivation". A possible explanation is that they have a symbiosis with insects. Rural cottages sometimes smell of honeybush.
I was talking to a deaconess a few years ago, about how she was getting on with busing some choirs to our Church. She said, “Decisions, decisions!” -- and she was taking these decisions on her own. I said, “You’re not alone. You don’t have to take all these decisions yourself. You’re surrounded by Christian brothers and sisters who can help and advise you.” OBSERVATION: Ministers have this syndrome, too. Church leadership experts Roxburgh and Romanuk wrote: “Pastors have been schooled to think and act in a SOLA PASTORA way.” They assume the wise and lonely role of King Solomon, forgetting that they can just ask the Body, even on the spur of the moment. In the Congregational Church, that is ultimately the sine qua non of Church governance -- the “without which not”.
OBSERVATION: Publishers want to know how a work is unique. This work is unique for three simple reasons:
• It may well be the first new metaphysic in generations,
• It seeks to reincorporate ethics into metaphysics in a postmodern age, and
• It is written deliberately with possible application to theology in mind. Theology tends to trail philosophy.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
OBSERVATION: Unfortunately it is in the Church as well. Very much so.