20 March 2023

Unity is Strength. Unity in Diversity will give greater Strength.

I shared some thoughts with various people on 19 March 2023, the day before a national shutdown planned by a small group of people who love to dress in red and wear red berets: 
Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ has never been needed more than it is today. Contention violates everything the Savior stood for and taught. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and testify that His gospel is the only enduring solution for peace. His gospel is a gospel of peace. Preaching the Gospel of Peace, Russell M Nelson, 2022
This is so relevant to the threats made by the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) in South Africa who are staging a national shutdown on 20 March 2023. What we need is the opposite of this kind of behaviour, not what seems to be immature bullying that can not be based on love, but seems to be based on selfishness. Let us strive to live up to our national motto.

The RSA motto post 1994 is: !ke e: /xarra //ke, written in the Khoisan language of the /Xam people, literally meaning diverse people unite. It addresses each individual effort to harness the unity between thought and action. On a collective scale it calls for the nation to unite in a common sense of belonging and national pride - unity in diversity.

Between 1961 and 1994 the RSA motto was Unity is Strength.
Let us strive for unity in our diversity.

Someone responded to my message: 
Before 1994 it was apartheid and segregation. 

I replied: 
Yes, it was. 
I love the way that I understood it to be - allowing the 'Bantu' to be themselves without having to compete with the very different ways of the 'European' people, so that they could progress in the way that was least competitive to themselves. As I understand it, that policy, created by believers in Calvinism, was based on love and compassion rather than on hatred. I do not deny that the implementation of the policy was not without fault or imperfection.
During the time of separate development, referred to by many as Apartheid, the 'Bantu' people had what Thabo Mdange KaTshiwo apparently claims to have been among the highest quality health care, hospitals, schools, literacy, standard of living, and so many things as compared to many countries in Africa and of 'Third World Countries'. These advantages were paid for by the taxpayers who were a small percentage of the population of South Africa (as is almost certainly the case in just about every nation in the world) and most of those taxpayers would have been the despised and hated 'Europeans' that were running that system that was referred to as apartheid and segregation. 🤔 
There were injustices then. Is it fair to say that there are no injustices in South Africa now? Are there not injustices in just about every country, in 2023? 

As I recall, the present governing ANC (African National Congress) party had the slogan on their election posters 'A better country for all'. Is it a better country for all in 2023? If so, then that would be progress. Have we really progressed? Yes, we are better in some ways. But can we honestly say that even the least of us now has a better state of well-being in 2023 than the 'disadvantaged black people' had just before 1994?

I pray earnestly that our diverse people will unite, that the government will stress that every citizen has equal rights as stated in the Bill of Rights in our constitution, but more importantly, the Founding Provisions state that every citizen is 'equally subject to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship' for ensuring those equal rights. That means that the lowest and the highest should be working together for the rights of every citizen rather than just demanding that 'the government' provide them with the rights that they deserve or demand. Each citizen should work to the extent that she or he is able to earn enough to be contributing meaningfully to the taxes that will fund those equal rights. Each citizen should be wise in exercising their democratic right - and responsibility - to vote for a party that will actually deliver on meaningful promises.
I look forward to us really having a better country for all. In my understanding, there are injustices in our present government. I was told to not look equally at job applications when preparing to interview applicants for jobs at SANBI (South African National Biodiversity Institute). I was instructed to not treat all races and genders as equal, but to deliberately exclude certain applicants, even if they were most appropriately qualified for the position being advertised. Is that really better than pre 1994, 30 years after declaring that every citizen has equal rights? 🤔

I love South Africa. I don't think that all is perfect now. I know that all was not perfect then. I am trying earnestly to love every other child of God, striving for the best strength possible that is all the better for our diversity if we will be one.
Unity is Strength. Unity in Diversity will give greater Strength.
May we have that greater strength, I pray in the name of our gracious Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, amen.

Note: It is difficult to fact check Thabo Mdange KaTshiwo on the 'EVIL APARTHEID OF THE BOERS', but you can look at this Facebook post and this Wordpress article and decide for yourself what is fact and what is fiction. 

I hope that my thoughts are the fruits of a disciple of Jesus Christ and not of a follower of Satan. I honestly try to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. I hope that each reader of this blog post will strive to be part of the solution and not part of the problem!

19 March 2023

Some thoughts on the parable of the sower

 As a botanist with lots of experience in ecology and things like invasive species, competition, assessing potential impacts of climate change, and so many things that relate to what is presented in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4: and Luke 13:6-9, I really enjoyed this commentary by Jared Halverson. It is nearly two hours of watching or listening, but worth the thoughts that it provides - the seeds that are sown on my heart as I read the parables of the Saviour and listen to insights that others have as they share seeds that are sown in their hearts...

Thank you to those who share their talents as they receive personal revelation during their prayerful and thoughtful study of the scriptures.

Stage 10 loadshedding and 137 km from home!

On Saturday 25 February 2023 Sally and I had a wonderful day out. We had gone to Danger Point lighthouse to see where the HMS Birkenhead is memorialised. I was going as a tour guide so that I could familiarise myself with this special tour destination in the Overberg Region of the Western Cape. Sally was with me for the fun and pleasure of being there since she had done a lot of research into the Birkenhead for her interest in writing of youth.

We were in the middle of nowhere, 137 km from home, on a road the to the southeast of Caledon, with which we were not familiar. We were looking at the transformed landscapes of FRs 11 Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld that is not statutorily conserved, about 1% is conserved in private areas, and only about 13.9% remaining in its natural state. I took photos of the agricultural fields that had totally transformed almost everything that we could see around us. 

The FRs 11 Western Rûens Shale Renosterveld that is totally transformed at this site where I took this photo.

Then something happened that stretched Sally's coping capacity. 

I noticed that my phone battery was nearly dead! I was aware that I needed to get Sally home since we had been out for more than 7 hours and we knew that we had some distance to go to reach home. I turned off my phone and we drove off. Without my phone, we could not see how much time it would take to get home. 

Sally tried to use her phone, but Google Maps was not working. I was driving and could not check what the problem was. We were in our personal state of Stage 10 loadshedding! No power! No navigation! Eina!

Well, as I think about it now, we had solutions available, but my mind was occupied by driving and so I was not able to sort out the problem. This got me thinking about what, to us out there, was a really difficult situation. I had turned off my phone in order to not make it impossible to use my phone should it become critical to do so. Could we risk using it and then having no power should a dire emergency arise?

As it happened, we discovered later that we had solutions readily on hand.
  • There was a power bank in the car that I had been given on an educational tour of Robben Island. 
  • We had power cables that could have been used to charge the phone in the car. 
  • I discovered that Sally's data had run out and that was why her Google Maps was not working, an easy thing for me to sort out with my phone, even with her phone. 
But at the time we were more conscious of the potential problems that were threatening us than the solutions that we had available. This can so often be the case in life. 

🤔 Or am I the only person in the entire world that ever faces a problem and has important and pressing things that make it difficult to mull over all of the possible solutions that are right there, waiting in the wings to just come to our rescue if we will simply call them onto our busy stage? 🤔

Well, perhaps this is somewhat in line with the sinking of HMS Birkenhead. Solutions were found for problems.
  • 'Women and children first' was a solution for who should escape first from the sinking ship. This practice became known as the Birkenhead Drill. It had been used in the preceding century, but became notable in HMS Birkenhead and later in RMS Titanic.
  • A lighthouse was built to prevent future tragedies at Danger Point where submerged rocks hundreds of metres from the shore caused the Birkenhead to sink.
May we focus on problems in life rather than on becoming blinded to readily available solutions because we fixate on the problems in our lives, as real and obvious as they might be. Our creator built us with intelligence that we need to use to be fruitful, multiply, replenish, subdue and have dominion on the Earth and not be stymied by life's challenges that are part of the opposition that we need in all things