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.

Fields of study

Good question on University Challenge the other night. The answers concerned
Notre-Dame du Pré (in France, was it)
Las Vegas (in the USA)
The Prado (in Madrid)
The point being that each refers to the world field or meadow. Perhaps you could have other questions referring to things like
The Champs Elysees
Hippo Campo


The holidays are pretty much under way for us by now. Today (a day of glorious sunshine) it was a three way split. The middle boys are away at the CCIW camp with their cousin and other church children in Tywyn, West Wales. See more here.

Eleri and the two youngest headed off to Legoland in Windsor, where they had a fine time, although the Viking thing is not finished yet. More on Legoland here.

As for Rhodri and I, we headed down to St Paul's and then across the millennium bridge to Shakespeare's Globe. (See here). We listened to an interesting and informative guide talking about how it was in the days of the bard and then had a look around at the small exhibition there. We must go and see something some time. Groundlings can get in for a fiver. (One tiny quibble, they often speak about the way the Puritans got rid of drama but downplay the fact they were against bull baiting, etc, too. I'm sure the Puritans could be presented in a way more palatable to people today with a little sympathy).
After a pizza lunch we headed back over the river stopping off at Cheapo Cheapo Records in Soho where we picked up a few bargains (Feeder, Elvis C, Moby, Ocean Colour Scene and Tommy Emmanuel CDs) see here before catching a Number 13 home.

Who was Albert Ellis?

In 1982 a poll of psychologists carried out by the American Psychology Association voted on who was the most-influential psychologist of the 20th century. Freud you may be surprised to know came in only in third place. Those in the know will not be surprised to learn that first place went to Carl Rogers. But who was second? It was the recently-deceased American Albert Ellis, a man I'd never heard of, although I am aware of the cognitive therapy movement that he was largely responsible for. It is a reminder of the huge influence certain men have in this world and yet about whom we know so little. For The Times obituary see here.

Bloggy Special 15

The Mysterious Blog People (due 12007) will be the first international touring exhibition to showcase the wealth of precious objects deposited in the blogs of northwestern Europe over the course of 10,000 years, and to explore the reasons why these riches - and even human bodies - were placed in these perilous environments.

7.1 Wisdom exemplified

Previous Chapter
We begin with the wonderful story found in 1 Kings 3:16-28. It happens in Israel, among the people of God. However, the two main characters are prostitutes. For some reason they have ignored God’s law regarding the sanctity of marriage and, with men who were also willing to ignore the law, had committed sinful acts. One upshot of this is that both become pregnant. Their prostitution is thus put to an end, at least for a time, and they decide to live together, just these two, in the same house, where both have their babies within three days of each other.
Shortly after the happy arrivals, one woman makes the mistake of rolling onto her baby during the night and suffocating it. Whether she was drunk or not we do not know. Aghast at her tragic loss she decides to sneak over to the other bed and exchange babies – her dead one for the still living one. When the other mother wakes the next day she goes to feed what she assumes is her baby only to see that it is dead. On closer inspection she realises that this is not her baby after all. Finding that the living one, her own baby, is with the other woman, she quickly guesses what has happened and they fall into a fierce dispute.
Because no-one else was in the house and the woman who now has the live baby is determined to go on in her lies they are at loggerheads. What can they do? In those days you could go to the elders at the city gate. Perhaps they tried that but got nowhere and so decided to go higher up the judicial ladder. The Supreme Court of the day was the Royal Court, the court of the king himself. We do not know how far from Jerusalem they were or how long they had to wait before they could see the king but eventually they are able to stand before him. In a remarkable example of most profound wisdom Solomon solves their wrangle once and for all – at a stroke, or rather with the mere threat of a stroke.
The story is what we call an epitomising one. It sums up the wisdom of Solomon. It is a carefully chosen example to give you some idea of the depths of his wisdom. We still do this today. Sometimes one telling incident can sum up a person’s character for you. So for example there are many such stories of the great 19th Century preacher C H Spurgeon. You have to be careful, of course, as some are apocryphal. I like the stories of how he dealt with people who claimed to be sinless – rousing them to anger adn so showing their lack of perfection. I also like the story of a madman who came into the vestry at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. He shut the door and declared that he had come to cut Spurgeon's throat. "I would not do that," said Spurgeon. "See what a mess it would make on the carpet.""Oh, I never thought of that!" said the man and was quietly led out of the room!
We are still at the beginning of Solomon’s reign over Israel. He is about 20 or 21, still young and inexperienced. He has been given this almost overwhelming commission to lead the people of God as their king and to build a temple to the glory of Almighty God according to the God-given plans provided by his father.
We have looked at the first part of 1 Kings 3 and how God granted him wisdom. Here we consider the last part of the chapter and the epitomising story of how that wisdom manifested itself. In light of this incident, we want to ask three questions.

Why do we need wisdom?
This is one thing we can explore here. Wisdom, of course, is not the same as knowledge. Wisdom is applying knowledge. It is a little like the difference between learning and teaching, between science and technology – the appliance of science. It is like the difference between a recipe and cooking a cake, an instruction pamphlet from IKEA and the completed kitchen, a sermon and the actual preaching, hearing a sermon and doing it. So why do we need wisdom?
1. Because of our ignorance
The reason this case came before Solomon is because no-one knew exactly what had happened. The one woman who saw what happened was not telling the truth. The woman disputing her claim had worked out the story but she had not actually seen it happen. None of us are God. He alone knows and sees all things. There are many, many things that we have not seen and that we do not know. Because we are so ignorant we need something more than knowledge. We need wisdom. Indeed, one of the first steps to it is to realise how ignorant we are. One of Solomon’s Proverbs (26:12) says ‘Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.’ See also 1 Cor 8:2 ‘The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.’
2. Because of conflicting opinions
There are some people who think they can be wise simply by seeking the opinions of others. Proverbs 19:20 does say ‘Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.’ However, simply listening to the opinions of others is not enough. The writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg is an example of a man who seems to work on this erroneous principle. If you ever listen to his programmes you will notice how his procedure with a subject is to bring in the recognised experts and from them to try and gather the evidence to gain an informed understanding. It seems to be the obvious way forward.
He would get nowhere with these two women, however. He would have them on his programme; he would interview them. He would probe them a bit and maybe he would be more sympathetic to one or the other. It would make an interesting programme, perhaps. The problem, however, would not be solved. Canvassing opinion is all very good but it will not make you wise. This is the dilemma (as Solomon puts it in verse 23) ‘This one says, My son is alive and your son is dead, while that one says, No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’
Many things are like that. This one says, ‘The Bible is true and trustworthy’; that one says, ‘No! It is not’. This one says, ‘There is a God’; that one says, ‘No! There is no God’. This one says, ‘Jesus is just a man’; that one says, ‘No! He is God come in the flesh.’ Obviously arguments need to be probed but sometimes it is very difficult to be sure who is right. We are not and cannot be omniscient.

Bio10c Boreham on Spurgeon

In his Life of Spurgeon, Dr Fullerton devotes a good deal of his space to an enquiry as to the sources of Mr S’s commanding authority. It is an elusive and difficult question. It is admitted that there is scarcely one respect in which Mr S’s power were really transcendent. He had a fine voice; but others had finer ones. He was eloquent; but others were no less so. He used to say that his success was due, not to his preaching of the gospel, but to the gospel that he preached. Obviously, however, this is beside the mark; for he himself would not have been so uncharitable as to deny that others preached the same gospel and yet met with no corresponding success. The truth probably is that, although he attained to super-excellence at no point, he was really great at many.
And behind this extraordinary combination of remarkable, though not transcendent, powers, was a deadly earnestness, a consuming passion, that made second-rate qualities sublime. The most revealing paragraph in Dr Fullerton’s book occurs towards the end. It is a quotation from Mr S himself. ‘Leaving home early in the morning’, he says, ‘I went to the vestry and sat there all day long, seeing those who had been brought to Christ by my preaching of the Word. Their stories were so absorbing to me that the hours fled without my noticing how fast they were going. I may have seen some thirty or more persons during the day, one after the other, and I was so delighted with the tales of divine mercy they had to tell me, and the wonders of grace God had wrought in them, that I did not know anything about the passage of time. At seven o’clock we had our prayer meeting. I went in and prayed with the brethren. And, after that, came the church meeting. A little before ten I felt faint, and I began to wonder at what hour I had eaten my dinner, and I then for the first time remembered that I had not tasted any! I never thought of it. I never even felt hungry; God had made me so glad!’
Mr S lived that he might save men. He thought of nothing else. From his first sermon at Waterbeach to his last at Mentone, the conversion of sinners was the dream of all his days. That master-passion glorified the whole man and threw a grandeur about the common details of every day. He would cheerfully have thrown away his soul to save the souls of others.
I was in London on the day of his burial. Indeed, I stood beside the grave at Norwood and saw the casket, surmounted by the palm-fronds that had accompanied it from Mentone, reverently lowered. Before hearing the final benediction pronounced by a future Archbishop of Canterbury (then Bishop of Rochester), I listened to the most perfect tribute that, on any such occasion, I have ever heard. For brevity, beauty, dignity and pathos, I have often thought that the exquisite apostrophe addressed by Archibald G Brown to the dead preacher deserves to rank with the historic utterance of Abraham Lincoln on the field of Gettysburg. On my mind, at any rate, it created an impression that has deepened rather than faded with the years.
On that unforgettable day the great city stood still. The black crowds stretching for miles and miles testified to the reverence and affection in which everybody held him. They were taking farewell of a great man, good as gold and honest as the day, who had left the world immensely better than he found it.

Bio 10b Boreham on Spurgeon

Dr Fullerton says that in matters of taste, he developed wonderfully as time went on. ‘He mixed with the highest as their equal, put the lowliest delightfully at their ease, said the right word at the right moment, took infinite pains to remember people’s names and faces, and was generosity itself, both in thought and action.’
One of these days some able and penetrating historian will undertake to analyse the subtle and permeating influence of Spurgeon and to view his life and work in its true historic perspective. When that volume appears, its readers will be impressed by the way in which the rugged personality of Mr S stands out boldly against a striking, dramatic and picturesque background. For, during the latter half of the nineteenth century, English history took a surprising turn; the nation was made all over again. Its politics, its literature, its science, its commerce, its art, and, above all, its faith were recast and refashioned; whilst the position of Great Britain among the world powers assumed an entirely new character and importance.
In this renaissance Mr S played a conspicuous part, and he did it in two ways. He did it by creating a popular atmosphere for evangelism. This was his supreme triumph. In his famous Memoirs, Grenville graphically describes Mr S - whose physique struck him as singularly reminiscent of Macaulay’s - preaching, at an ordinary service, to nine thousand people. It impressed him, as it impressed all thoughtful observers, as an arresting and epoch-making phenomenon. It forced the evangelical pulpit into the glare of public attention.
The world was compelled to sit up and take notice. It made thinkable and possible the work of all those ministers and evangelists who have since captured the attention of the populace. And it is only when we attempt to estimate the spiritual, ethical and civic value of the impact of Mr S’s flaming intensity upon each individual unit in the surging crowds that flocked every Sunday with wistful faces to hear him that we realize how vitally he contributed to the new order that sprang into being in his time.
Nor was this all. Mr S had a second string to his bow. A great age produces great men, and, by the very men that it produces, is made still greater. The annals of the Victorian era glitter, like a starry sky, with brilliant and illustrious names. There were giants in those days. But among those Homeric figures there was scarcely one upon whom Mr S did not exercise a profound and formative influence. He magnetized and sometimes electrified them. They went to hear him: they sought his counsel, and they struggled to keep the movements that they directed in harmony with the atmosphere that he generated.
The most skillful of analytical historians must find it beyond their wit to account, in precise terms, for Mr S’s authority over the minds of the men who dominated his period. But the most cursory review of the history of the nineteenth century must convince any man that his sway was stupendous. A kingmaker occupies a more exalted eminence than a king. And, in that age of crisis and of transformation, there were many kingly spirits who gratefully confessed that, but for Mr S’s ministry, in public and in private, their own contribution to the nation's astonishing development would have been negligible.

Bio 10a Boreham on Spurgeon

I was at a committee meeting for Grace Publications recently. See here for more on GPT. My friend Tim Curnow said he's noticed references to F W Boreham here - see here - and kindly gave me copy of Boreham's 1951 collection Arrows of desire that he had spotted. Thanks Tim! I haven't had a good look at it yet but I noticed an article called So this is Spurgeon! which I thought worth reproducing. This is part 1. (Two more parts to follow). Boreham was the last student to be interviewed by Spurgeon himself for his college.

I often heard Spurgeon. On each occasion it was an ordinary Sunday morning service; on each occasion I had to stand in an apparently endless queue waiting for the doors to open; and on each occasion I found myself, on gaining admission, an insignificant unit in the crowd of five or six thousand people who packed the vast auditorium to capacity. And this sort of thing went on, summer and winter, year in and year out, for a generation.
The service was never advertised. Why should it be? Mr S’s trouble was to keep people away. He was everlastingly imploring his own members to absent themselves in order to make room for the strangers who desired to hear him. He had no organ and no choir. The singing was led by a precentor with a tuning fork.
Those who went to hear Spurgeon - and in those days everybody, from kings to crossing-sweepers, went at some time or other - bore away with them an indelible impression: they vowed that, if possible, they would go again; they talked of the strange and striking experience for years afterwards; but not one of them was ever able to explain, in so many words, what it was about the service, the singing or the preacher, that produced upon his mind so extraordinary an effect.
Few men have achieved such world-wide and enduring fame with such slender natural advantages. He had nothing in the way of a magnetic presence. When he made his way from the vestry to the pulpit, it seemed incredible that so very commonplace a figure could hold those thousands spellbound. His infirmity often compelled him to keep his seat whilst preaching; and, on each of the occasions on which I heard him, he leaned heavily with both hands on the pulpit rail.
Some people thought him positively repulsive. George Eliot did. Mrs Florence Barclay, of The Rosary, was also shocked at first. ‘He reminded me’, she makes one of her characters say, ‘of a grotesque gorilla and I often dreaded the moment when he should rise up, face us and announce a text. It seemed to me that there ought to be bars between, and that we should want to throw nuts and oranges. But when he rose to preach, his face was transfigured. Goodness and inspiration shone from it, making it the face of an angel!’
A princely presence is undoubtedly a great asset to a public speaker; but it has the disadvantage that it may excite inflated anticipations that his subsequent utterance may fail to fulfil. Mr S’s crude appearance, on the contrary, led his hearers to expect a torrent of mediocrity; and his powerful and persuasive eloquence, when they heard it, gathered to itself the value of a sensational surprise.
It was often said, too, that Mr S was not quite a gentleman; and Dr W Y Fullerton, his biographer, admits that, judged by conventional standards, the charge can be sustained. It was certainly true in the early days, and nobody told him so more plainly than his wife. Even in their courting days, she had good reason to be scandalised. On one occasion, for example, he took her to a service at which he was to preach. A crowd was struggling for admission to the building. Mr S calmly walked off to the vestry, leaving his poor little lady-love to battle with the crowd as best she could. Instead of making the attempt, she hurried home in high dudgeon and poured her tale of woe into her indignant mother’s ear.
After the service, the young preacher anxiously sought his lost sweetheart, and it was not until he had heard from her mother’s lips exactly what that lady thought of him that the task of reconciliation could begin. But it is difficult to see how any man - and exceedingly difficult to see how such a man - could breathe the atmosphere that Mr S breathed during the years of his amazing ministry without being incalculably sweetened and enriched and refined in the process.

Last Week

It's only now that I'm catching up with myself and last week's activities. I made another dash to Newport last Thursday to see my dad who was in hospital. He's out now and making a good recovery from his operation. (The pic was taken earlier this year).

The night before my friend Ani Ekpo from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, was with us. I had the privilege of speaking at a ministers' conference organised by Ani just under three years ago. It was good to have fellowship again. Ani has a fine Reformed Baptist congregation and having organised pastors' fellowships and conferences in recent years he has now launched out with a Seminary for pastors. Some 16 men are training with lectures on several evenings a week. What a man of vision he is. We also talked about the setting up of an Evangelical Library in PH.

Remember this?

Someone sent me this - I can't remember who - my father-in-law? The great thing about this is that if you really identify you can listen to it over and over again and never get bored. The artist is Tom Rush and the song is written by one Steven Walters.

Visayan Warty Pig

I don't know how far any of you get down my side bar. I do encourage you to explore if you have time. If you do you will find various interesting things including 'Animal of the day'. I'm not an animal lover but I do like trivia. Today it's the turn of the Visayan Warty Pig I notice. Do excuse the odd phrase or two in these write ups. Today I read that 'The Visayan Warty pig may have been discovered just recently, but from all indications, they have been around for a very long time.' Yes, since creation I guess.
FYO there are four in Chester Zoo, the only ones in the UK.

Favourite Puns 24

The Milibands - Ed, David, Steve and Glenn

Harry Potter Update

So by now Dylan's finished the book and Eleri is on Page 250 (the fastest selling one in history - 2M in 2 dasy was it?). The whole family excpt the two yoinger one have been to see the film -too disturbing for them. Rhodri's appetite for HP is no what it was and I never had any - the books or the films. As for their dangers (as AD raised in a comment) I don't think there are too many dangers for those raised in a Christian home though the possibility of someone being switched on to the occult is at least possible. Isn't Philip Pullman the real bogeyman? In generl my appraoch is to encourage a critical approach, Why do I like this? What's good about it? What's bad?

Sound mixer extraordinaire

I caught this fellow on TV last night. There were five novelty acts and his was the only decent one. Wacky but fun. He's called Duane Flatmo.

Harry Potter etc

Everyone's back after a nightmare 12 hour return journey from Llangrannog (the idea to go through Newbury was not a good one). Dylan (the only one of our boys to have read them all so far) got the new Harry Potter this morning and is about 150 pages in. For the last one we all went out at midnight and got pre-ordered copies. I must confess I turned straight to the final page. My lips are sealed.

Van Leer on Radio 4

I'm listening to Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 at the moment (the repeat) and Kirsty Young is talking to the animator Oliver Postgate (Bagpuss, Noggin the nog, clangers). His seventh choice, just played, is the beautiful Introspection 2 by Thijs Van Leer. I've never heard a Van Leer track on the radio before. About time. Let's hear more. See here.

Weekly Proverb 19

Stay don't stray 27:8 Like a bird that strays from its (her) nest is a man who strays from his home Picture: a bird that leaves its nest and does not find its way back and so is in danger.
Some say this is a verse about banishment and its ill effects. Others see it as a warning against leaving home or abandoning your post. It condemns the quitter, the runaway, the wanderer, the rolling stone, the drifter, the rootless man. Again and again such a life is celebrated in literature and popular culture. Think of W H Davies’s ‘Supertramp’ for example. The contemporary Portuguese Canadian singer Nelly Furtado has an interesting song using the very image used here.
"I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away, I don’t know where my soul is … where my home is."
The picture of a bird flying is very attractive but here it expresses a young woman’s inability to settle down in a relationship, though her partner is clearly wants it. ‘You’re faith in me brings me to tears’ she sings. Such attitudes abound in a society where young people fly the nest before they are ready to set up their own in a proper manner. Many are tempted to think that getting away from home is the answer to their problems – the teenager who argues with his parents, the young man looking for adventure, the spouse who has fallen out with their other half. Here, however, it is given the thumbs down. The truth is that such a supposed solution to a man’s problems will seldom work.
The wider application relates to the unlikelihood of achieving much in any area if we do not settle to the task, if we are not at home with it. Stickability is an important virtue. That applies to anything from finishing a task at your desk or workbench or finishing a book (reading or writing) to fathering a godly family, pastoring a church, governing a country. Spurgeon says ‘The unrest of that man’s mind, and the instability of his conduct who is constantly making a change of his position and purpose, augurs no success for any of his adventures.’

BoT John Newton

I've just received my electronic version of the August/September edition of the Banner of Truth Mag. It is a John Newton Memorial edition. I quote
"This special issue of the Banner of Truth magazine marks the anniversary of the death of John Newton, 21 December 1807. Newton remains one of the foremost evangelical authors. Along with Whitefield, he prepared the way for the evangelical catholicity that so strengthened worldwide gospel outreach in the nineteenth century. While all he wrote is simple, strong and clear, his works – especially his Letters and hymns – are of outstanding help. J. C. Ryle names his Letters (Cardiphonia) as one of the six books that helped him most after his conversion. ‘For myself,’ wrote Alexander Whyte, ‘I keep John Newton on my selectest shelf of spiritual books: by far the best kind of books in the whole world of books.’ In Spurgeon’s opinion, ‘In few writers are Christian doctrine, experience and practice more happily balanced.’ Further copies of this special issue can be ordered from offices of the Banner of Truth. Bulk orders are available at the following rates:
10–49 copies – £3/$6 each 50–99 copies – £2.50/$5 each 100 copies or more – £2/$4 each
UK office: Telephone: 0131 (+44 131) 337 7310 e-mail:
US office: Telephone: (717) 249 5747
John Newton: ‘A Wonder to Myself’
Iain H. Murray
Newton Commemoration, 2007
Barbara Cross
Last Conversations with John Newton (From 1809)
‘With Ev’ry Fleeting Breath’: John Newton and the Olney Hymns
Michael A. G. Haykin
William Wilberforce on John Newton
Reading Newton’s Writings
Thomas E. Martin
Short Extracts from Newton’s Writings
Memories of Newton
William Jay
John Newton of Olney (Times 1893)

‘In few writers are Christian doctrine, experience and practice more happily balanced than in John Newton, and few write with more simplicity, piety and force. ’ C. H. SPURGEON
‘True religion exists in various degrees. Nehemiah not only feared God, but feared God above many . . . I deem Mr Newton the most perfect instance of the spirit and temper of Christianity I ever knew. ’ WILLIAM JAY
‘What a strange life! A man who left school at the age of 10; press-ganged at 18; delivered from his own slavery when he was about 24; slow in understanding his new faith; failing at first in his efforts to preach; then, at the age of 39, becoming the curate of an obscure town; yet, ultimately, dying a much-loved teacher of the whole Christian world!’ IAIN H. MURRAY

Caffe Nero

I enjoy coffee especially in coffee shops. My favourite is Caffè Nero (Italian for 'black coffee' - how I like it). I prefer it over Starbucks (with its too thick mugs) and Costa (the name says it all). CN makes out it's Italian but in fact Caffè Nero Group Plc is a British chain established only 10 years ago (1997). It currently runs around 300 shops nationwide including one near here in Golders Green.
They have a reward scheme for customers. Each time a 'home-made' product is purchased, the customer's loyaltycard is stamped. Once a card has nine stamps, the bearer is entitled to a free 'home-made' drink (of any size note!)
Along with traditional espresso based drinks (I like Americano - watered down espresso) Caffè Nero stores also sell frappé latte (an iced latte) fruit booster (an iced fruit drink) and Hot Chocolate Milano, an extra sweet and thick hot chocolate drink. In summer 2006 they relaunched their iced drink range, the feature product being a range of premium milkshakes called Frappe-Milkshakes. The chain also has its own line of soup dishes (Real Soup). Though it does not use Fairtrade labelling and it is not Fair trade Certified, the chain claims it does trade fair and purchases its coffee at premium prices for a better deal with the producers.
There should be a grave accent over the "e" in Caffè Nero, but it is sometimes erroneously written with an acute one, or with no accent at all.
The square "O" in the logo can sometimes be mistaken for a "D", giving the impression that the company is called "Caffè Nerd". A spoof website has popped up to accommodate this misconception - here
The official website is - here
Commercial success
Starting in London, the chain has expanded to over 290 branches throughout Britain. It is planning to expand to 450 over the next six years, and is also looking to take the brand abroad. As a result of the chain's rapid expansion, Caffè Nero has been named the twentieth fastest growing company in Europe in the 2004 Europe's 500. The chain continues to expand its product range, including a range of premium coffee based drinks.

Newport Chartists

One of Newport's few claims to fame is its focus for John Frost and the Chartist riots of 1834. In John Frost Square this (1968??) mural can be found. Apparenty the mural is under some sort of threat. The people involved came down the valleys and would have marched through the place where I was brought up stopping at the Greenhouse Inn, Llantarnam, for sustenance (where a rare bit of (1719) Welsh has survived above the door - cwrw da a seidr i chwi [good ale & cider 4U]). Wesley preached outside the church next door one time. (BTW Newport is, as ever, a building site with major redevelopments going on. For some reason it's always like that).

Newport Transporter Bridge

One feature of Newport is its transporter bridge. Only 12 such structures were ever built and the only other one in the UK now is in Middlesborough. Read more here and especially here.

Newport Footbridge

This video (slightly long at 4:19) is a time lapse sequence on the the building of the Newport footbridge.

South Wales once more

For the third week running I've been to South Wales, as my father is still in hospital, recovering from a gall bladder op. Eleri and 4 of the boys were going that way anyway and I was able to get a cheap bus back. So to my very hospitable sister-in-law's house in Cardiff first. The kids have never seen so much of Uncle Gary - poor things. For breakfast Tomos likes his weetabix with milk (llaeth cf Fr lait) and honey (mel cf Fr miel) so I took opportunity to speak to mention Y wlad yr addewid (Promised Land) and how it's described - Gwlad llaeth a mel (dim llaeth a mel a weetabix, wrth gwrs).
We arrived Monday night. The Llangrannog crew left early next morning. I headed into town through the rain a little later. I spent half the morning in Cardiff, reading and praying and wandering then went to Newport by train (more expensive than bus but twice as quick). I'd not realised that in both places train announcements are in Welsh first then English. I don't know how long they've done that. I was a student in Cardiff Uni one year (PGCE) so I know the place a little. Newport I know better. I was born there and it's my parents' home town.
In Cardiff there was some nostalgia - the hop smell from Brains brewery, the castle, arcades, etc. There was more in Newport which I know better (transporter bridge, market, etc). Both are more multi-cultural than I remember them. I met a Tamil in MacDonalds. 'Are you a Christian?' I said (trying to witness in a subtle way). 'No, Hindu' he said. I said, there are a lot of Baptists in Tamil Nadhu. He said he was brought up in Dubai. 'Oh' I said 'not many Christians there'. We try. I met a Nigerian woman and her 3 year old (Ini) on the bus. New to Newport she was still trying to find a church. Though critical of African/Nigerian churches she seemed determined to go to one even if it means travelling to Cardiff. I spoke about the importance of seriousness and daily Bible reading.
Both cities are pretty homogenised as regards retail outlets though it was nice to see in Newport that places like Wildings, Henry Cordy, Maskreys, C Marks (electrical goods) are still there. I noticed that both cities have joke shops. Is that standard or does it tell me something?
Newport has a new footbridge (May 2006) over the Usk near the bus station. I heard a man saying how they brought the world's biggest crane on 14 "artics" (articulated lorries) to put the supports in place. Hearing local accents again was a joy. That word "artic" (is it local?) I like in particular. Two or three uncles were lorry drivers and they'd refer to their wagons and artics. Nobody explained to me so I got the idea that an artic was a refrigerated lorry (arctic?)!!
I also enjoyed going into Newport market. It's been spruced up but is still the same basic structure. When I got the bus to the Royal Gwent hospital it took us via St Woolos hospital, which is where I was born (no blue plaque yet), which was nice.
I enjoyed just wandering around the cities. In Cardiff I just looked at shops, including the EMW Christian Bookshop, Wyndham Arcade. I wanted to buy something but the only book that took my fancy (Tom Nettles on Baptist history) was a little expensive. In Newport I bought 2 coffee table books for the boys (Natural Wonders of the world and 501 Must Reads) and a biography of Burt Bacharach for 49p. I used a book token on a biography of W H Davies in the Merlin Bookshop. I got into conversation with a man there about Gareth Pearson. He thought he was a copycat of some other guitarist. Opinions.
In Newport I spent an hour in the museum, which was quite interesting - Roman stuff then the Chartists and more recent history. The only evidence for Christianity in the first period is a "chai rho" scratched on the bottom of a jar. How it was spotted even amazes me. As for more recent times there was a display of Boys Brigade stuff and similar. Not much else to say, sadly. I had a chat with the attendant after about various things. The Queen's visit to Newport came up and he showed me a picture at the station. He said it was 1962. I've just checked - it was October 26, 1962. She came to open the Spencer Steel Works. I remember it well. I held a little plastic union jack to wave. She wore green. I didn't notice Prince Philip. I was born May 22, 1959 so was only 3 yrs 5 mths, which surprises me. It's one of my earliest memories - not that I've thought of it in years. I think it's the combination of anticipation plus the disappointment that she wore no crown.
Anyway, my dad seemed well. We read the Bible again and I prayed. My dad was at his most sympathetic to my faith but still holds out against turning to Christ. I then walked to the bus station to wait for the coach. They were pumping out Pachelbel and Vivaldi on a loop, which was a little odd. The bus had started in Cardiff so was chock full. I took the only available seat next to a woman with a book on Jinns in her hand. We soon fell into conversation and chatted more or less non-stop Newport to Golders Green. A BBC Wales journalist, she was a keen but ecumenically minded Muslim. I learned a lot and hopefully said something worthwhile. It was interesting that when (as politely as I could) I explained what we think of their prophet, it became apparent she'd not realised that her calling Jesus a prophet and a great man is equally offensive to us.

Can't make it up (again)

Exeter University 2008 - top: The Welsh society;
middle: the cheerleading society;
bottom: CU meeting (under Mr Shaw's radical new proposals)
Some of you will remember or still be following the case of Exeter Uni CU. Apparently Mark Shaw QC, the independent adjudicator appointed by Exeter University, to look into the case has now presented his adjudication. He strongly criticises the constitution of Exeter CU because it restricts membership to Christians, despite the fact its meetings were open to everyone – of all faiths and none. He holds it discriminatory that the CU should be run by Christians and held that the guild policies in forcing the CU to be led by members open to other faiths was "laudable". Most bizarrely, in paragraph 92 (4) of his adjudication, he even goes on to suggest that on the Exeter University campus, the
'Welsh Society should be open to Scottish members; the wine society open to teetotal members, the choral society should be open to non-singing members, and the cheerleading society should be open to male members ...' Yeah, right.


As mentioned, it's the end of term and most of my boys have headed off with Eleri to the urdd Centre in Llangrannog, West Wales (Welsh concentration camp I often call it). See here for more. Last week the two youngest "graduated" which was about dressing up and making a speech (they'll be back in the same school next year). Sadly, I missed it but it looked good fun.

Bloggy man 36

Clever ad

I found this over on Alan Davey's blog. You'll probably need to watch twice to get it.


We're getting to the end of term here and so I've just been to see my eldest in the school production of Lionel Bart's Oliver (a life-long love of his) set in the seventies. He played the rather nasty Bill Sykes. A triumph! They were all pretty good, especially Nancy and Fagin.

Farewell Service

On Saturday I courageously went south of the river to be at Summers Town Mission Evangelical Church in Tooting for a farewell service for Ravaka and Liz Rajo and their children Anna and Jonathan. The family do not actually return to Madagascar until September but this was a good time to hold such a meeting especially as veteran medical missionary to Madagascar, Dr David Mann, was able to preach (from Acts 13 and 14). David works at the Good News Hospital in Mandritsara. The meeting was chaired by the pastor Peter Bines. Summerstown is Liz's sending church. During language training she met Ravaka and for the last five years have been based here while Ravaka pursued theological studies. On their return Ravaka will become pastor of the church in Antsirabe with duties also in the nearby Baptist Seminary. It has been our privilege at Childs Hill to have them under our wing and we are going to greatly miss them on their return. Ravaka gave a presentation regarding the work both at Summerstown and then on Sunday evening at Childs Hill.

Bloggy man 34

Akkerman Pearson

So I was off to South Wales yet again this week. My dad's still in hospital so I was glad of the opportunity to visit him in Newport. I then headed for Cardiff where my sister-in-law was kindly providing a bed for the night again. My main reason for being down was the concert in The Point, Cardiff Bay. As mentioned I had a double reason for being there. The support for Jan Akkerman was an 18 year old who is not only from Cwmbran but son to old friends from my schooldays. (His grandfather is/was a deacon in my home church). Gareth has been professional for just under a year and is really quite competent. I really enjoyed his set including (would you believe) an egregious Jackson 5 number and the very attractive Beauty of Discipline. Great title. It was nice to meet Gareth and catch up with his dad. Jan was very friendly as ever. It was nice to meet two "Akkernuts" - Leigh and Lloyd, who I know through the website, gladly helping out on the road. (There's always someone more keen than yourself).
I've not seen Jan Akkerman do a full acoustic set. He did about 8 or 9 pieces, none over long and mostly medleys. It was very enjoyable. He started with "No wonder", "CS" and Suite 1 from 'Passion' which understandably was the main source for his material. A lovely Focus medley followed (Focus 4, I think, Sylvia, Anonymus I spotted). We also had Djangology (dedicated to some gypsy kids he's got to know recently), Firenze/Virgin Mary and an acoustic Hocus Pocus. For an encore we had Dowland's Britannia (loved that) with Gateway to Europe and Tranquiliser. Great night - and not too late to get the bus back across Cardiff.

Short Poem 27

The last verse of this poem is famous - more famous than its author, the Cavalier poet Richard Lovelace (1618-1657). More here and here.

To Althea from prison by Richard Lovelace
When Love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair,
And fetter'd to her eye,
The gods, that wanton in the air,
Know no such liberty.
When flowing cups run swiftly round
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes, that tipple in the deep,
Know no such liberty.

When (like committed linnets) I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my king;
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.
Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

Search Engines

Search engines are fascinating things. I think I'm right in saying that
You won't find this sentence anywhere else on the internet
Try it and see, eh? Let me know.

Jan Akkerman Gareth Pearson

I noticed a while back that Jan Akkerman was planning a very brief solo tour this week appearing with a young man from my home town (Cwmbran) called Gareth Pearson. I've managed to arrange to get down to Cardiff to see them Thursday and as the date has come nearer my curiosity has grown and I've started to dig regarding a hunch I had from the beginning - that this 18 year old might be the son of Graham Pearson a fellow I knew chiefly because we were in the same class at school. Graham was into Leo Kottke and Rev Gary Davis and all sorts of other people we'd never heard of and played chiefly rag time guitar but was rather shy about it although I saw him perform at a social in our church once (I think Gareth has too according to my sister). Anyway Graham's just contacted me following a reference I made to all this in the Jan Akkerman Guestbook. There are good things to be said about the internet. Here's a snatch of Gareth in his bedroom:

Hymn of the Week 11

We sang this hymn here on Sunday morning. It is by Ambrose of Milan (c337-397). More on him here and here.

O Jesus, Lord of heavenly grace,
[or, O Jesu, Lord of light and grace]
Thou Brightness of Thy Father’s face,
Thou Fountain of eternal light,
Whose beams disperse the shades of night.

Come, holy Sun of heavenly love,
Shower down Thy radiance from above,
And to our inward hearts convey
The Holy Spirit’s cloudless ray.

So we the Father’s help will claim,
And sing the Father’s glorious Name,
And His almighty grace implore
That we may stand, to fall no more.

May He our actions deign to bless,
And loose the bonds of wickedness;
From sudden falls our feet defend,
And bring us to a prosperous end.

May faith, deep rooted in the soul,
Subdue our flesh, our minds control;
May guile depart, and discord cease,
And all within be joy and peace.

So let us gladly pass the day;
Our thoughts be pure as morning ray;
And faithful love our noonday light;
And hope our sunset, calm and bright.

O Christ, with each returning morn
Thine image to our hearts is borne:
O may we ever clearly see
Our Saviour and our God in Thee.

Down to South Wales

Down to South Wales for part of the weekend. The weather was just turning so the sunshine added to it all. We headed off to my sister-in-law and family in Cardiff first and had a lovely time with them. We also visited my wife's cousin and family (where it's half in Welsh and I struggle to keep up) and I was able to visit my dad who'd been taken into hospital with gall stones the day before. He looked quite well by then but morphine is wonderful thing.
The main purpose of our visit was to be in Hill Park Evangelical Baptist Church, Haverford West, for the ordination and induction as evangelist of Ian Middlemist who, after 2 years at LTS was my assistant for seven months last year and this. The fairly elderly church is pastored by Gareth Edwards. They recently sold their original premises that had been used as Sunday School rooms and are using the proceeds mainly to finance Ian for two years. That shows vision.
I preached from Acts 26 and Paul's commission - a good place to turn I felt, though not one I've heard preached from in that context before. See it here. There were about 60 present - church members, local ministers, family, friends, etc. There was a nice tea to follow nearby. I did preach in Hill Park one summer about 5 years ago. I'd forgotten that I had a broken leg at the time - but they all remembered, of course, and were glad to see I'd recovered! Going back to Wales is always slightly strange for me. It's like you know it all (what they haven't changed) yet you don't belong in it. I tend to feel like that anyway so when there's real reason to do so its even stranger.
I'm planning to be back in Cardiff again this week - to see Jan Akkerman who is performing solo and is supported by a young man from Cwmbran (Gareth Pearson) who it turns out is the son of a fellow I was in school with.

Met Tab School of Theology

I got myself down to the Metropolitan Tabernacle this week for some of the Summer School of Theology as I usually do. I managed less than half the sessions (7 out of 18 or 20) this time round and heard most of the main speakers only once so I can’t give a proper assessment of the conference. It did strike me, however, that the speaking roster was rather top heavy age wise. I also thought the theme of the working church has been well explored over the years. As with the EMA which always falls the week before, there are things I like (Reformed, Baptist, straight, good ethnic and cultural spread) and don’t like (the sometimes negative tone, singing the same song at the end and they don’t stock my books either!). Like all conferences there is development (but not too much). Perhaps Dr Masters is more relaxed and more willing to indulge in a little humour than in past.
Anyway, this year I caught Robert Reymond twice. Dr Masters was effusive in his introduction and clearly Dr Reymond is a gifted and able theologian. His manner of reading his papers more or less word for word and his almost pedantic repetition of certain phrases does not help the listener, however. His first two papers were on Christ’s example, his final paper on Paul’s example. He made 10 useful points there.
American James Grier, a Tab favourite, is always worth hearing and his closing address on the new heavens and the new earth was fine. I also heard Dr Masters himself on Goals for Office Bearers and Members but this seemed very similar to other messages in the past. Sometimes it is difficult to know the targets for his attacks too. Who are the Reformed men who are going to liberal colleges for degrees?
I missed Roland Burrows and Vernon Higham. Jack Seaton’s opener on God’s Sovereignty and the Church’s Work and Chris Buss on Nehemiah with his nice old illustrations were okay. I really enjoyed Nigel Lacey’s second message, however, on Hindrances to the Concept of the Working Church. Despite the negative title this was a really winsome and challenging message. He spoke firstly of the need for thorough Bible teaching, with unction, realism (no attempts to lump over past glories), leadership, gospel preaching, care over other commitments and certainty about calling. Then about how members can be discouraged, sinful, lacking in faith and vision, tacitly believing that the work is to be done by the few; divisive and pre-occupied with other things.

Short Poem 26

It is sometimes suggested that the parson was a Lollard. Sounds like.

The Canterbury Tales povre persoun of a toun by Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400)
A good man was ther of religioun,
And was a povre PERSOUN OF A TOUN,
But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
Benynge he was, and wonder diligent,
And in adversitee ful pacient,
And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
Unto his povre parisshens aboute
Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
Out of the gosple he tho wordes caughte,
And this figure he added eek therto,
That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
He sette nat his benefice to hyre
And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
And ran to Londoun unto Seinte Poules
To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
Or with a bretherhed to been witholde;
But dwelt at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
And though he hooly were and vertuous,
He was to synful men nat despitous,
Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
But in his techyng discreet and benygne;
To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
But it were any persone obstinat,
What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
A bettre preest I trowe, that nowher noon ys.
He waited after no pompe and reverence,
Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
But Cristes loore, and Hise apostles twelve
He taughte, but first he folwed it hymselve.

Weekly Proverb 18

Not a contadiction but a way to respond 26:4, 5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself comm Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes comm
Here is a classic case of what appears to be a contradiction. However, it is hardly to be believed that the writer did not notice it! Rather these adjacent proverbs bring out both the limitations of any given proverb and the dilemma we face when reasoning with the unreasonable. Sometimes it is better to veer towards the Scylla of simply saying nothing. At other times it is better, indeed necessary, to head toward the Charybdis of reasoning with such people. Part of wisdom is the skilful application of the right method at the right time. On one hand, we want to avoid becoming fools ourselves by answering foolish questions. A Jewish proverb says that when a wise man argues with a fool then two fools are arguing. On the other, sometimes the fool has to be taken on at his own game or he will never see his error. For example, when the so-called Jehovah’s Witness knocks at your door do you spend time speaking to them or not? Pray for wisdom. If we see something blasphemous on television or in the newspaper, should we always respond? How should we deal with people who appear to be wasting our time? Open-air workers are always wrestling with the problem of how to deal with hecklers. Like the Lord Jesus we must avoid using the fool’s methods and repaying insult with insult (see 1 Pet 2:23, 3:9) and we must sometimes answer their foolish questions and accusations with great wisdom (see Matt 12, 15, 21, 22).

Marcus Loane Biographer

When I was at the Banner Conference in Leicester in the Spring I picked up a copy of their reprint of Archbishop Marcus L Loane's They were Pilgrims. It contains four biographies of short-lived missionaries. I knew about Brainerd, Hugh Martyn and M'Cheyne before but Ion Keith-Falconer (1856-1887), the amazing Arabist who became a missionary in Aden on the Gulf, was new to me.
Last week at the EMA I noticed that Christian Focus have republished Loane's Oxford and the Evangelical Succession (1951) and Cambridge and the Evangelical Succession (1952). The first looks at Whitefield, Newton, Thomas Scott, Richard Cecil (1748-1810) and Daniel Wilson (1778-1885) who became Bishop of Calcutta. The latter two are just names to me and so I'm finding their stories very interesting. The second book looks at Grimshaw, Berridge, Venn and Simeon.
Somewhere I'm sure I have Masters of the English Reformation - Yes, there it is, an ex-library copy in hardback from 1955. It looks at Bilney, Tyndale, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer.
Born in 1911, Loane is a good writer and the biographical sketches (about 40 pages each?) are a good length. I notice he also has books on Bunyan, Baxter, Rutherford and Alexander Henderson (Makers of Religious Freedom in the Seventeenth Century also known as Makers of Puritan History) Robert Barnes, John Bradford, John Frith and John Rogers (Pioneers of the Reformation in England), Martyn, Zinzendorf and J B Lightfoot (Three faithful servants), Archbishop Mowll, H C G Moule and J C Ryle, etc. This is quite apart from his many other books.

Lennon McCartney

This week (July 6) sees the 50th anniversary of the day that Paul McCartney met John Lennon. It was at a church, of course. This Radio 4 programme is an interesting one on it. As for the Christian input the two knew see Steve Turner's very interesting book The Gospel according to the Beatles. Also see here. I also note that there is a book here. It's amazing how popular culture can produce such an item, documenting as the book does a rather minor event in terms of world history. Fascinating nevertheless.

Airborne Calvinist Warning

From Tom in the Box, of course.

10 words beginning with 'K'

1. Kamikaze - A. Japanese pilot trained in WWII to make a suicidal crash attack, especially upon a ship. B. An airplane loaded with explosives to be piloted in a suicide attack. 3. Slang An extremely reckless person who seems to court death. (Japanese, divine wind (from the legendary name of a typhoon that in 1281 saved Japan by destroying the Mongol navy).
2. Kanji - A. A Japanese system of writing based on borrowed or modified Chinese characters.
B. A character used in this system of writing.
3. Kanzu - A long, usually white garment worn by men in Africa (Swahili).
4. Kapok - A silky fibre obtained from the fruit of the silk-cotton tree and used for insulation and as padding in pillows, mattresses and life preservers (Malay).
5. Kitsch - A. Sentimentality or vulgar, often pretentious, bad taste, especially in the arts. B. An example or examples of kitsch.
6. Knobkerrie -A short club with one knobbed end, used as a weapon by warriors of certain South African peoples (from Dutch).
7. Kohl - A cosmetic preparation, such as powdered antimony sulfide, used especially in the Middle East to darken the rims of the eyelids.
8. Koto - A Japanese musical instrument similar to a zither, having usually 13, but sometimes as few as 1 or as many as 17, silk strings stretched over an oblong box.
9. Krummhorn - A wind instrument of the Renaissance with a curving tube and a double reed.
10. Kymograph - An instrument for recording variations in pressure, as of the blood, or in tension, as of a muscle, by means of a pen or stylus that marks a rotating drum.

More on EMA

See here for a good intro.

Check this too

Another interview here of someone moving in the right circles. Thanks Guy and Alan. Cymru am byth.

Scientists catching up

See here for news that will surprise no-one with good theology.

10 words beginning with 'Q'

A random list of 10 words beginning with Q

1. Quadriga - A two-wheeled chariot drawn by four horses abreast.
2. Quadrille - A. A square dance of French origin composed of five sections and performed by four couples or Music for this dance in 6/8 and 2/4 time. B. A card game popular during the 18th century, played by four people with a deck of 40 cards.
3. Quadroon - A person having one-quarter Black ancestry.
4. Quaff - To drink heartily.
5. Quale - A property, such as whiteness, considered independently from things having the property.
6. Quango - An organisation or agency that is financed by a government but that acts independently of it. (Qua(si) n(on-)g(overnmental) o(rganisation)).
7. Quark - A. Any of a group of six elementary particles having electric charges of a magnitude one-third or two-thirds that of the electron, regarded as constituents of all hadrons.* B. A soft creamy acid-cured cheese of central Europe made from whole milk.
8. Quena -A recorderlike Andean flute having a notched mouthpiece.
9. Quidnunc - A nosy person; a busybody (Latin What now?).
10. Quondam - That once was; former.

*Word History: "Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn't got much of a bark/And sure any he has it's all beside the mark." This passage from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, part of a scurrilous 13-line poem directed against King Mark, the cuckolded husband in the Tristan legend, has left its mark on modern physics. The poem and the accompanying prose are packed with names of birds and words suggestive of birds, and the poem is a squawk against the king that suggests the cawing of a crow. The word quark comes from the standard English verb quark, meaning "to caw, croak," and also from the dialectal verb quawk, meaning "to caw, screech like a bird."
It is easy to see why Joyce chose the word, but why should it have become the name for a group of hypothetical subatomic particles proposed as the fundamental units of matter? Murray Gell-Mann, the physicist who proposed this name for these particles, said in a private letter of June 27, 1978, to the editor of the OED that he had been influenced by Joyce's words: "The allusion to three quarks seemed perfect" (originally there were only three subatomic quarks). Gell-Mann, however, wanted to pronounce the word with (ô) not (ä), as Joyce seemed to indicate by rhyming words in the vicinity such as Mark. Gell-Mann got around that "by supposing that one ingredient of the line 'Three quarks for Muster Mark' was a cry of 'Three quarts for Mister . . . ' heard in H.C. Earwicker's pub," a plausible suggestion given the complex punning in Joyce's novel. It seems appropriate that this perplexing and humorous novel should have supplied the term for particles that come in six "flavours" and three "colours."

Short Poems 25

Dr William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) was an American poet. Red Wheel barrow is his most anthologised. Both poems are examples of imagism. More on WCW here.

Red Wheel Barrow by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

This is just to say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Hymn of the Week 10

We sang this hymn from the Strassbourg Psalter of 1545 yesterday. It's a great hymn. It was written in French and translated in the 19th Century by an American lady called Elizabeth Smith (1817-1877). It's a great hymn and is often attributed to Calvin himself. Someone has commented 'One of the primary reasons for not attributing it to Calvin is that the hymn is not found in any of the later psalters. Plus, the basis of the hymn does not come from any Psalm text. But, regardless of the hymn writer, it is a solid hymn that has much to say to today's culture.'
The tune is Toulon.

I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Saviour of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day.

Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Sustain us by Thy faith and by Thy power,
And give us strength in every trying hour.

Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
O grant to us the grace we find in Thee,
That we may dwell in perfect unity.

Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Lord, give us peace, and make us calm and sure,
That in Thy strength we evermore endure.


We had an interesting after church update on work amongst Asians in West London last night from our friends Robin and Muno Asgher. He also spoke a little about Hinduism and mentioned the swastika as one of Hinduism's symbols. Thanks to the Nazi party most people have forgotten the history of this symbol. As a boy I remember that my grandfather had a swastika on his watch fob (he always wore a waistcoat with his watch in a pocket). My instinct was to think it was German war memorabilia but in fact it was the symbol of his regiment in the Great War. That might seem strange but what about this 1921 quote from Robert Baden-Powell?

" ... as you know from the account of the Swastika Thanks Badge which I have given to you in Scouting for Boys, the symbol was used in almost every part of the world in ancient days and therefore has various meanings given to it.
"Anyway, what ever the origin was, the Swastika now stands for the badge of fellowship among Scouts all over the world, and when anyone has done a kindness to a Scout it is their privilege to present him or her with this token of their gratitude, which makes him a sort of member of the Brotherhood, and entitles him to the help of any other Scout at any time and at any place.
"I want specially to remind Scouts to keep their eyes open and never fail to spot anyone wearing this badge. It is their duty then to go up to such a person, make the scout sign, and ask if they can be of service to the wearer."

See this fascinating page here. Also see a good article here.