The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Midweek Meeting February 19 2020

We were seven last night. We carried on in 1 Timothy 4 looking at four marks of a Christian minister. Everyone prayed, some a little longer than usual I felt. It was good to be there once again.

Day off Week 8 2020

Because it is half term this week we had a more obvious sort of day off on Tuesday. Eleri and I headed down to Dulwich  and after a leisurely stroll through the village we went to the art gallery and enjoyed looking at the pictures. The Rembrandt girl struck me most this time though the Linley sisters by Reynolds is always striking. On the way back we passed an actor (most recently Edward Heath and Lord Astor). Eleri recognised him best but even she had to look his name up (Michael Maloney). On that subject, we heard from our son in Aberystwyth how he had bumped into Taron Egerton in a coffee shop. Celebrities abound if you have eyes to see. Back home there was a little time for reading and TV too.

Lord's Day February 16 2020

A bit behind here but we did have an encouraging Sunday last time. Even though it was a half term Sunday and many members of the congregation are abroad at present we had decent numbers both services (although the evening communion was down to five). I preached on the third commandment, a rather forgotten one, am and again from Song of Songs pm. We appreciated having members around in the afternoon.

Preview Lord's Day February 16 2020

365 Albums 31-45

  1. Inside Llewyn Davies Soundtrack 2013
  2. Joshua Tree U2 1987
  3. Cuilidh Julie Fowlis 2007
  4. 6 6 6 Aphrodite's Child 1972
  5. Sing Lustily and with Good Courage Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band 1990
  6. Epsilon in Malaysian Pale Edgar Froese 1975
  7. Trace Trace 1974
  8. Tales from the Book of Time Catherine Lambert and the Lore Liege Ensemble 2003
  9. The Chirping Crickets The Crickets 1957
  10. Hamburger Concerto Focus 1974
  11. Dona Nobis Pacem Pedal Point 1983
  12. Guitars Philip Catherine 1975
  13. Regatta de Blanc The Police 1979
  14. Long Player Late Bloomer Ron Sexsmith 2010
  15. The Unfortunate Cup of Tea Horslips 1975

Midweek Meeting February 12 2020

We were only seven on Wednesday night but it was good to look at the beginning of 1 Timothy 4 and to pray. Still not using notes, which is good (I think).

"Day off" Week 7 2020

As noted in the past the luxury of a proper day off is not always possible and this has been one of those weeks. I have had to stagger things. So I went to the cinema on Monday evening (and saw A beautiful day in the neighbourhood - more on that later) and also watched a good lot of TV the next evening. The bulk of Tuesday was spent (mostly) in the waiting room of a suite of law courts as a member of the church was involved in a hearing there. I was in the court room at one point but only briefly. I enjoyed fellowship with a fellow minister, a member of the church and relatives of the church member who had to be in the hearing. I also got a little reading done (Steve Turner on The Titanic).

Lord's Day February 9 2020

The storm was not too bad our end but it certainly kept some away. In one case a tree had fallen on the rail line. With seven away overseas and two away within the UK we did look a  little sparse but there were two visitors in the morning and some rare birds too. In the evening we were 18 and half of these were Asian (more than Africans and Europeans combined, although I confess one family of qight made a big impact!). In the morning we looked at the second commandment and in the evening at the next bit of Song of Songs and that went very well at last. We had tea at 5 pm and spent  ashort time in prayer for one of our members who has a big day coming up tomorrow. How blessed we are even in these difficult days.

Preview Meeting February 9 2020

We haven't had one of these in a while

Midweek Meeting February 5 2020

I think we were eight at the latet Wednesday night meeting. We looked at the klast three verses of 1 Timothy and I again took no manuscript, although I did have to refer to a scrap of paper reminding of the different ways people take the poem at the very end of the chapter. We began by sining Vernon Higham's Great is the gospel. We had a lively time of prayer following the Bible study and most people prayed. We finished in good time.

Day Off Week 5 2020

The latest day off was quite typical in that I spent time reading in the day adn watching TV at night but I also spent some time on a historical paper I am preparing as I felt a bit behind and a lot of time on the 'phione. I am a little but phonophobic but I talked to two of my sons and two friends at some length and I was glad to have done so.

Wonderful moment. Wonderful Internet.

Ministers Fraternals

Ministers fraternals are a great thing especially for ministers in independent churches. I go to two very different fraternals more or less once a month. It is a pity they fall in the same three days but there we are. I have mentioned both here before now First there's the Westminster Fellowship which is an all day affair (10.30am-3 pm with a short break for lunch plus time to travel there and back). Last Monday we had a speaker, which we often do. Robert Strivens addressed us on what to sing and gave us some useful historical and biblical material to chew over. He was keen to point out that the modern way of thinking is not just about using modern hymns but about a certain understanding of worship too. About 20 of us gathered and we had a good session. There are one or two psalm singers among us which slowed down proceedings but they have to think about these subjects too as you still have to decide which psam version to use and which tune. (PS we use New Christian Hymns in book form and are accompanied by a piano). Then today I joined nine other men at Hampstead Heath station to walk over the Heath and get a coffee before heading down to Gospel oak, talking all the way. This is a much looser way of doing things but means I get my 10,000 steps in, get to know some of my fellow ministers (better than I would at Westminster although this time I shared a bus ride with two different ones coming and out, which was good).

Liar, Lunatic or Lord

I was in a charity shop the other day and I saw a 2014 pocket edition of C S Lewis's 1950 work The Lion the witch and the wardrobe (see here) and bought it to go in my coat pocket. They say that reading good stuff more than once is a good idea. Having read about 50 pages I am struck by how many things I have missed in the past. I was particulalry struck by the way that when the children go to the professor to ask whether they should believe Lucy's story about Narnia we have this.

“Logic!" said the Professor half to himself. "Why don't they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is mad, or she is
telling the truth. You know she doesn't tell lies and it is obvious that she is not mad. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth.”
This is classic Lewisian apologetics using the trilemma, if you know what you are looking at. In his book C S Lewis - The work of Christ revealed P H Brazier has a diagram based on the text

The whole section before all the children enter Narnia is interesting on the matter of witness, as well as other matters.