Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Safety Issue

This is a snippet of a note which I sent to police today, which raises an important issue. For safety's sake, an accused may never, ever see an affidavit. This changes of course once a case is closed. I have been in communication with police over the affidavit (elsewhere on this blog) which serves as a basis for charges against officers -- which must be presented to officers. I expressed my unease like this, to a senior officer:
Thank you.  It is my intention if possible to lay criminal charges against officers tomorrow, Friday, in keeping with the affidavit which I sent you.  Now in the past, the police have informed me that under no circumstances should an accused see an affidavit, because it is not safe.  With regard to the present situation, I have been instructed twice -- by Captain Du Plessis of Central and by Captain Loock of Police Management -- to lay charges at a local charge office.  But in this case, my life has been set at risk, and so on. 

By going to the local charge office, I am probably placing my affidavit in the hands of those who committed the offences.  This e-mail serves simply to register both with the police and with my family that this contradicts the usual safety procedures, and could set me at risk.  In fact, this is something in general which needs to change.  For "common crimes" by offiicers, the police offer no option but the local charge office.  Internationally, there has been a move away from this, so that all offences by police are dealt with outside of the police.

Rain Spider

Some time ago, I put some of my photos up on the Internet, through an affiliate of Shutterstock, so that people could enjoy the best of them the world over. I put up 24 photos, which have so far seen nearly 10 000 downloads -- yet only two people elected to pay for them. My total earnings are therefore twice 70c (South African). This week, the second photo to make me 70c is this one -- the fat, (almost) harmless South African Rain Spider. OBSERVATION: Somebody commented: "If you post photos like these, I'm surprised you got a cent." This is a crop from the original photo. 

An Arranged Love: Chapter 5

I have been releasing preview chapters of "the story about us" -- about wife E and me -- namely, how I found myself in an arranged marriage in Africa. I just put up the final preview chapter -- no. 5 out of 28 -- (click here) Breaking the News. OBSERVATION: My wife had instructed me to marry E following her death. But had she given E some such instruction, too? E and I spoke about it some months after her death. She had indeed spoken to E, but in riddles. It only became clear after her death.

POSTSCRIPT: It is interesting that by far the greatest interest is in Chapter 4.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hope vs. Despair

I have found that one of the greatest spiritual dynamics -- and spiritual struggles in the Church -- is, to put it simply, the interplay between optimists vs. pessimists. In Biblical terms, it is hope vs. fear or despair -- and there may at times appear a great gulf between the two. Generally speaking, it is the believer who hopes in God, and so all things become possible -- and the unbeliever (or nominal believer) who sees only problems. OBSERVATION: This is not the same as positive vs. negative feelings. It is a spiritual dimension. And it has a profound influence on the Church.

Sardine Sunday

I discovered this photo a few days ago: Sea Point Congregational Church Sunday School, Sardine Sunday 1979. I myself first attended this Sunday School from 1969, and by the time of this photo was studying theology. Ten or fifteen years later, this was the only Sunday School on the Atlantic to remain open, as all Sunday Schools dwindled. Our own Sunday School sometimes dwindled to just one child. Under my ministry, then, we brought it up to half this size again -- but also had a group of youngsters meeting during the week, about twice this size. OBSERVATION: One of the best things we did was to keep it going, no matter what. You may click on the photo to enlarge.

Witness To A Murder

In urban ministry, very many people turn to the Church for help. We tried to be helpful in every case, with advice, referrals, or material assistance. And a few we gave special attention. Here is an example. A young man was seeking work in the city. He travelled with a sleeping bag, and sought out a safe place each night to lay down his head. One night, he slept at a garage near the Church, which was open 24 hours, and was brightly lit, with security cameras. But in the night, he witnessed a brutal murder. He was badly shaken. The Church therefore took him in, and let him sleep on the stage. But he would not eat, and would not sleep, and would not venture out. He was wasting away. We got him medical attention, and sought to include him in various Church activities -- but still he went down. Finally we put him on a bus back home to his family, about a thousand miles away. A few months later, we received word that he was doing better.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Symbiosis

At first glance it looks fairly ordinary. I took the photo today of symbiosis. There were clumps of scorched reeds scattered across a wetland -- in every case "indwelt" by another plant -- but that other plant always stayed inside its host, as one sees here. You may click on the image to enlarge.

Find A Reason To Celebrate

One of my practices in ministry (my late wife especially promoted this) is to find a reason to celebrate, continually. Celebrate someone's service to the Church, celebrate someone's birthday, celebrate a christening, celebrate a success, and so on -- and have a cake there, or a speech, or a gift, or a song. I view this not as being contrived, but as the attitude one will have when one is thankful to God for His mercies and blessings. It is ultimately a part of glorifying God in the Church, and putting Him at the centre.

CCO Metal Detector

I am the inventor of the CCO (coil coupled operation) metal detector, which is based on the TCO (transformer coupled oscillator). It was Elektor who announced that my design represented a new genre, alongside BFO, IB, PI, and BB. One uses this design (pictured) in conjunction with a Medium Wave radio. One can use my BFO Coil for L1 and L2. If this circuit is well adjusted, performance is exceptional. An old Victorian penny, at 180mm (7") in air, will induce a shift in frequency through the radio speaker of one tone. This suggests that, with further development, CCO would compete with the best. This design is unfortunately © Copyright, so may not be re-published elsewhere.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Blocked By ‘The Province’

In my affidavit last week, I stated that the police had stopped me from reporting raids and sabotage -- a telling refusal. Here I am in conversation with (click ⊳ to Play) the integrity chief of the Special Investigating Unit. "Central" blocked me twice, I tell him -- which is the police in central Cape Town. The integrity chief contradicts me in his characteristic drawl: "The Province," he says. "The Province blocked you twice." That means the Provincial Commissioner, who appears in last week's affidavit, basically for doing just that. OBSERVATION: The integrity chief was "bang on", but I didn't want our conversation to stray into our connections with the Who's Who of the city. I had heard him. Elsewhere on this blog, there is a recording of "Central" blocking me. In that recording, a Colonel receives orders on a smart-phone, then refuses my charges. Who gave the orders? The Colonel was the chief after all. The snake is the "mascot" of the Special Investigating Unit.

Thoughts About Raids

During the past five years, I experienced many search and seize raids. These mostly came in clusters, with more than thirty separate intrusions to locked spaces. As best I know, just one attempted raid failed (a door lock had to be drilled out to get us back into our home). Now if one thinks that anything can escape such a raid, one should think again. These raids were unbelievably slick, thorough, and powerful. But the raiders had a challenge -- I had a huge amount of information in a few locations, and I was moving between them. The first raids missed the critical core. When I realised what was up, I had to think what to do. Besides, who was it? What were they after? I still held a lot of information -- academic, medical, personal, financial, and so on, and it could take "forever" to copy or secure it. As it happens, I guessed right, and secured all critical information, which went on to survive further raids. Today, there is compelling evidence who did it -- I made an affidavit last week. OBSERVATION: It wasn't easy to cope with such chaos. Once, someone reported a search and seize raid while I was in a missions meeting. Someone in the meeting said: "I can't believe you are so calm about it!" Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, information did go missing which mattered to me -- for example, my personal notebooks.

Celebration

For want of anything to post on the spur of the moment, here is son M with his fiancée L, at a celebration of their engagement. The wedding is to be sooner rather than later. By that time, M might be a doctor of palaeo-biology too. His dissertation is with the examiners.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Inclusive Meeting

This one's a re-post from 2008, about the minister's role in the (Congregational) Church's highest executive body, the Church Meeting. "One of our members came to see me in the vestry after a Church Meeting, effusive in his praise: 'I want to thank you for your considerateness, your tenderness, your compassion ... [and more].' He said this, I think, because I ran a genuinely 'inclusive' or 'organic' meeting. I do get tough, though, when people disturb the democratic framework. One must preserve a 'safe' environment for participation. For instance, if someone turns on the pressure to get a decision through, or lobbies inappropriately, or tries to circumvent the processes of the Body (and so on), a minister needs to take them on -- for the sake of a truly inclusive process." OBSERVATION: In other words, the minister is non-directive as far as issues are concerned, but directive in keeping the dynamic truly inclusive or Congregational.

Yet Another Niece

I snapped not only one but two nieces yesterday. This is (also) my sister's daughter. She married young, and now has two boys. She is a singer, and her husband a signwriter. He does some fairly big signs, high up on city buildings. I had driven past one many times until he showed me -- a huge sign at the apex of a multi-storeyed business centre.

Mediocrity vs. Distinction

In the past few years, I have helped several students -- for nothing -- with Master's and Doctoral theses. Today one of them told me that one of his examiners had awarded him a distinction, but he was still waiting on the other. OBSERVATION: Having read so many theses, it seems to me that a big difference between mediocrity and distinction is that the work of distinction has a big idea and creates an integrated whole. The work of mediocrity is still too fragmented. This is the challenge that I had, too. It is one thing gathering facts -- quite another weaving them together into a meaningful whole. I find that younger students, too, are not by nature big thinkers. They haven't been trained that way.

POSTSCRIPT: I misspelled "mediocrity" when I first put up this post!