God, the Obscure

End Notes

1 I also chalk up credit to a decade and a half of Sunday School classes, two years of weekly confirmation classes including learning several dozen catechism answers, and likely a thousand sermons (after Swedish had finally given way to English).

2 There is much twittering these days about “deconstruction” by, mostly, evangelical young people . What I have seen and heard are statements like “I’m holding on to Jesus,” with “I’m giving up on God” implied, essentially saying “I’m atheist clinging to Jesus.”

3 Notably, the area of the city where the 100 homes were to be built was Cato Manor, at one time a black community. Under apartheid laws, the area had been bulldozed and the residents displaced to a black township outside the city. The vacant space was intended for construction of white housing that had never happened. The 100 new houses would be almost exclusively for black families who worked alongside us as their new houses were erected.

4 Having passed through pervasive Covid-19 fears, particularly in its early months prior to any remedies and a rapidly increasing death toll, including close friends, I have a far more empathy for people living with the constant menace of HIV/Aids pressing in from all sectors of life. However, after nearly 40 years since the earliest detection of HIV/Aids,there is no vaccination/booster shot that will decrease or prevent infection. The most successful method of suppressing HIV/Aids deaths is consistent, perpetual treatment with one or more of several effective medications

5 Today, Ian is a successful commercial photographer in Cape Town. When Annette died on August 28, 2021, I wrote an announcement of her death and a tribute that I posted it on Facebook. Ian was the third person to comment on the post with a brief and beautiful memory of Annette from 2003.

6 .In fact, over $18 billion was spent in the first five years. More than $110 billion have been allocated during the 19 years since the law was passed. Anticipated 2022 expenditures will be $7.4 billion. On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2021, President Biden stated, “Since President Bush launched PEPFAR in 2003, we’ve saved more than 21 million lives. We’ve prevented millions of HIV infections. And we’ve helped at least 20 countries bring their HIV epidemics under control . . .” For much more information, see “PEPFAR 2022 Annual Report to Congress,” https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/PEPFAR2022.pdf

7 In America, the number was 500, the lowest CD4 count a healthy person should have. More recently treatment here begins as soon as the presence of the virus is diagnosed. The dangerous, rationing effect of 200 CD4 counts still remains in remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa and where government action has been lethargic or even hostile.

8 A teacher who befriended me at the high school where I had also been teaching confided in me when I asked about the tone and content of that sermon that much of it had been an impassioned plea for better care of children, including such words as “We are killing our children!” I couldn’t have agreed more, but my friend told me that several of the powerful leaders of the mission were scandalized by the implied criticism, and that the preacher had been relieved of her duties as high school chaplain. The last I heard of her was that she was studying in Texas.

2 thoughts on “God, the Obscure

  1. Jim, thank you for sharing this here and inviting your Facebook friends to read it. There is indeed too much to respond to in this forum. You have stirred in me the question of how do I defend God in the midst of so much tragedy, hatred, pain and death. The question is broad and it is also specific. You may know that Hope and I also had a son die. Peder was 23, filled with dreams and hope. I am grateful for you and for your thoughtful theology that does not contain easy answers but invites me into a deeper relationship with Jesus when I too, can’t fathom the ways of God. Blessings…..and thank you once again.


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