Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. 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.

When I was 5

We're helping our oldest grandson celebrate his fifth birthday.
I remember what I had when I was five in 1964 - a Triang two wheel scooter.

Midweek Meeting July 17 2019

We did something unusual for us last night  - we combined our church members meeting and midweek meeting.  There are snags with doing that and we have avoided doing it before now. Anyway seven of met to kook at Psalm 134 and then to pray. This was followed by the members meeting. We still managed to finish by 9.35 so pretty good. Psalm 134 is a great psalm. We had not looked at it before.

That controversial St Augustine quote

A quote from St Augustine has apparently been labelled hate speech by Facebook. The offending line appears to be "men are hopeless". The quote is part of Augustine's exposition of Psalm 51. On the psalm he writes
I acknowledge my transgression, says David. If I admit my fault, then you will pardon it. Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon.
But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticise, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.
This was not the way that David showed us how to pray and make amends to God, when he said: I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. David did not concentrate on others’ sins; he turned his thoughts on himself. He did not merely stroke the surface, but he plunged inside and went deep down within himself. So he did not spare himself, and therefore was not impudent in asking to be spared.
Do you want God to be appeased? Learn what you are to do that God may be pleased with you. Consider the psalm again: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. Are you then to be without sacrifice? Are you to offer nothing? Will you please God without an offering?
Consider what you read in the same psalm: If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it; in burnt offerings you will take no delight. But continue to listen, and say with David: A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart.
Cast aside your former offerings, for now you have found out what you are to offer. In the days of your fathers you would have made offerings of cattle – these were the sacrifices. If you wanted sacrifice, I would indeed have given it. These then, Lord, you do not want, and yet you do want sacrifice.
You will take no delight in burnt offerings, David says. If you will not take delight in burnt offerings, will you remain without sacrifice? Not at all. A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God does not despise a contrite and humble heart.
You now have the offering you are to make. No need to examine the herd, no need to outfit ships and travel to the most remote provinces in search of incense. Search within your heart for what is pleasing to God. Your heart must be crushed. Are you afraid that it might perish so? You have the reply: Create a clean heart in me, O God. For a clean heart to be created, the unclean one must be crushed.
We should be displeased with ourselves when we commit sin, for sin is displeasing to God. Sinful though we are, let us at least be like God in this, that we are displeased at what displeases him. In some measure then you will be in harmony with God’s will, because you find displeasing in yourself what is abhorrent to your Creator.

10 Beatles songs featuring handclaps

1. Eight days a week
2. I wanna hold your hand
3. Hold me tight
4. I saw her standing there
5. All yiiu need is love
6. I'm looking through you
7. It's all too much
8. I'll get you
9. Here comes the sun
10. All together now

Lord's Day in Bradford on Avon

I was preaching last Lord's Day in Bradford on Avon. It was a full day as they begin with Sunday School where I gave my paper on John Cennick (this time entitled The Apostle of Wiltshire). I preached on Ephesians 2:8-10 and Isaiah 42:8. It was good to be there. We know quite a few there to some extent including the previous pastor Robert Oliver and his wife Rachel. We also know the present pastor, Robert Strivens. He an his wife were with us 10 years before moving there. It is an ageing congregation but faithful and prayerful. One oddity is that we had lunch with Eleri's sister and family. With several others they no longer belong to Bradford but worship in a new church in nearby Hilperton (where I have also preached in the past). Not all the issues that led to this state of affairs have been fully resolved or seem likely to be, sadly. It was good to be there, nevertheless. The sermons are currently on the church website. Reuben Saywell was preaching here.

10 White Horses Observable in the South of England

  1. Uffington White Horse Oxfordshire 1000 BC
  2. Westbury White Horse Wiltshire 1778
  3. Cherhill White Horse Wiltshire 1780
  4. Marlborough White Horse Wiltshire 1804
  5. Osmington White Horse Dorset 1808
  6. Alton Barnes White Horse Wiltshire 1812
  7. Hackpen White Horse Wiltshire 1838
  8. Broad Town White Horse Wiltshire 1864
  9. Pewsey White Horse Wiltshire 1937
  10. Devizes White Horse Wiltshire 1999

East Tytherington

Maud Heath's causeway, Wilts

E Tytherington Moravian Church

Maud Heath Monument

Maud Heath Monument on the causeway
We were in Wiltshire last weekend and so on the Saturday I took opportunity to visit East Tytherington near Chippenham. I knew about the place through my studies of John Cennick. He put the headquarters of the Moravian church there. The current buildings are 18th century ut later than Cennick's time. The other thing in the area is a causeway financed in Mediaeval times by one Maud Heath. We saw the causeway itself and two monuments to her.
On the smaller monument from 16 it says
"To the memory of the worthy Maud Heath of Langly Burrell Widow who in the year of Grace 1474 for the good of travellers did in Charity bestow in Lands and houses about Eight pounds a year for ever to be laid out on the Highways and Causey leading from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift. This piller was set up by the feoffees in 1698. Injure me not."
On the larger monument from 1838, which overlooks the Chippenham flats, it says

'Thou who dost pause on this aerial height
Where Maud Heath's Pathway winds in shade and light
Christian wayfarer in a world of strife
Be still and consider the Path of Life.

It is sundial and there other inscriptions on three sides. On the side of the dia, facing the rising sun, the passenger is called on, generally, to remember the fleetness of the passing moment - Tempus volat (time flies). On the side fronting the meridian sun is the inscription to remind us Dum tempus habemus, Operemur bonum (while we have the time let us do good). The inscription fronting the setting sun, addressed to the evening traveller, is redibo tu nunquam (you will never return).
As Latn declined English words were added thus on the three sides

Haste, traveller, the sun is sinking now - He shall return again - but never thou.
Life steals away. This hour. oh man, is lent to thee. Patient to work the work of him who sent thee.
Oh early passenger, look up - be wise. And think how, night and day, time onward flies.

In the other direction one can see a white horse in the hillside (Cherhill?).

More on our current weird world

This time see this Spiked article here on the student kicked out of university because he expressed the view that homsosexuality is wrong.

Midweek Meeting July 10 2019

So last Wednesday we looked at the final two verses of James. There's quite a lot in there and we spent some time on it before we came to our time of prayer. It has been good to gothrough James once again, such a searchig and practical book.

Our weird transgender world

There is a report in the Telegraph about the ongoing tribunal of Dr David Mackereth. I have met Dr Mackereth. What a mess we are in when peple like that are being dismissed from their jobs. See here. This is an opportunity to highlight this video on Youtube.

Day off Week 28 2019

This week is a bit different and so I took Monday off, the traditional ministers' day off. I took opportunity to head down to Benjamin Franklin's House near Charing Cross. Like most of these places, there is not that much to see and you have to use your imagination. However, it was in this very parlour that Franklin entertained American ambassadors, on these very stairs he carried his dumb bells and before these very windows he would parade naked to dry himself after his bath. They also have a glass armonica, his invention, the very one used for the Harry Potter music. The man who showed us round, American, was quite knowledgeable but not pushy. Sadly, it was only me and a couple from Texas present. After that I kept up the American theme and had a burger in a Five Guys round the corner. A seventies theme was playing out on the music system so after listening to Thin Lizzy we had the whole of Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven (the subject of our tract last Saturday). That was nice. Through the day I read most of Penelope Fitzgerald's masterful The Gate of Angels. I also managed my 10,000 steps for once. Watched some TV in the evening.

10 Benjamin Franklin Inventions

1. The lightning rod
2. Bifocals
3. The glass armonica
4. The Franklin stove
5. The library stepstool, a chair whose seat could be lifted and folded down to make a short ladder.
(Also a mechanical arm for reaching books on high shelves)
6. The rocking chair
7. The writing chair
8. The odometer
9. A pulley system that enabled him to lock and unlock his bedroom door from his bed
10. The flexible urinary catheter.

Lord's Day July 7 2019

We began as we do each month with communion. we were not a great number at that point, although it picked up a little. Lots away, mainly due to sickness. We took two texts again - 1 John 4:16 and the love of God and Ephesians 2:18 and prayer. I found it easier with the second than the first for some reason. We were a decent number in the evening (I think we have persuaded some oncers to be twicers [in fact thricers]). It was a bit different as Sajida Iqbal who came to us for the first time last year was around and she spoke again about the amazing work in Pakistan that is being done through education. I found what she had to say very stimulating. More about Noor Ministries on their Facebook page here.

A busy week

I've struggled a little this week partly possibly due to a busy week. (Eleri was the busy one rather than me to be truthful. She works two days a week adn spent one day in Macclesfield at the new Go Teach offices). I gave the paper on Proverbs on Monday to about 17 of us, all eager to hear and to ask questions. Good time. In the evening we went to see Toy Story 4 which was good (nice to see a reference to conscience in there, even if only as the pretext for a joke). It is great that there are still one or two films we can all see together.
I've reported on Tuesday, my day off. Wednesday I was out with the other ministers walking across Hampstead Heath. About six of us were present. Good times. Rest of the day went on preparing and then leading the Midweek meeting.
We should have had an officers meeting on Thursday evening but that God postponed. Otherwise the main thing has been preparing for the Lord's Day. I've also started reading Penelope Fitzgerald's The gate of angels (a kind birthday gift from friends). (I had intended writing a post called a month of celebration marking the way my May 22 birthday tumbled into June with a lovely barbecue organised by friends for me and another church member. I was given books, ties and other gifts)
This morning (Saturday) we were out giving tracts in Golders Green. There were five of us. That was good to do again. Otherwise the busyness has just been with visitors - two sons and their wives at different times going to different weddings and two friends with each couple. In the first case the friend is relation from America. She, her friend and Gwion (our son) have travelled to France for the world cup. We are hoping for three extra at church tomorrow then.