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.

Schaeffer Biography

It is a while since I read anything by or about Francis Schaeffer and it has been good to read the book about his life by Colin Duriez recently (the IVP book appeared last year). Our CU in Aberystwyth showed the film series How should we then live? I found his books enormously helpful and stimulating as an undergaduate. By the time I became a pastor I felt I could see a little beyond Schaeffer and so moved on, perhaps unwisely.
Well written biographies are always interesting. You get the background as well as what you knew already and there's always some surprise or other (eg his premillennialism or the threat to throw him out of Switzerland) or something you'd missed (eg the apparently haphazard way things developed, his enormous popularity). Often there are things chiefly only of interest to you personally. I'd not seen in print before that he was dyslexic (like one of my sons) or that he was treated at the Royal Free at one point (near where we live). I also noticed that Welshamn Geraint Fielder edited his first IVP book.
Duriez is well placed to do the job being a real fan who met and corresponded with the great man but with some perspective and a number of other interests. This results in a good balance of objectivity and insider info (much like the lectures from Dr Edgar this week). The warts are all there but so is a portrait of a godly man seeking to serve the Lord in his own time. No doubt what he wrote will continue to be a help to many in the years to come, however the main challenge of this book is to live the authentic life in Christ that all believers, well known or not, are called to live.


After the lectures yesterday I headed off to central London where I had agreed to watch a preview of a new film about Charles Darwin called Creation. I have agreed to review it for Evangelical Times but to be brief, for all its undoubtedly fine cinematographic traits, this is quite powerful propaganda suggesting Darwin was a flawed hero who nevertheless simply sought the truth regardless of consequences. Religion, on the other hand, is often cruel, likely to be weak and afraid , but if it will trust to science all will be well.
After the film I met up with Eleri and we walked down Oxford Street together. We walked over to All Souls, Langham Place, where we spotted a Pizza Express and had a meal together. That's how we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.

Van Til Schaeffer Concluded

So we have completed our studies on Van Til and Schaeffer with Dr Edgar and very good it has been. We began on the second day with Van Til's Why I believe in God. We discussed common grace and the gospel then looked at Schaeffer's life, as we had looked at Van Til's on the first day. We also looked at Schaeffer's diagrams and so on. On day 3 we looked at point of contact in Romans 1, stressed both in Van Til and Schaeffer. Barth taught that there is no POC until the gospel itself comes in (probably a reaction to liberalism where every man has a spark of goodness). For Van Til and Schaeffer there is something in man that is a point of contact – his sense of God. In many ways natural/general revelation parallels supernatural/special revelation. The whole matter of method in Van Til was also considered.
Towards the end we got on to Schaeffer on absolute limits and the problem of evil in both Van Til and Schaeffer. On the final day we looked at church and state in Van Til and Schaeffer including theonomy/reconstructionism (and the federal vision) and the moral majority.

Huxley's motives

I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption…. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. ... For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever
Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means, p. 270, 273, 1946, cited in Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias

No neutral ground

I was in the car with Rhodri on Sunday evening and we were listening to Bob Dylan's Precious Angel. The lyrics of the first part seem to fit well with some of the things we are looking at here in the classes on apologetics.

Precious angel, under the sun,
How was I to know you'd be the one
To show me I was blinded, to show me I was gone
How weak was the foundation I was standing upon?

Now there's spiritual warfare and flesh and blood breaking down.
Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain't no neutral ground.
The enemy is subtle, how be it we are so deceived
When the truth's in our hearts and we still don't believe?

Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Ya know I just couldn't make it by myself.
I'm a little too blind to see.

My so-called friends have fallen under a spell.
They look me squarely in the eye and they say, "All is well."
Can they imagine the darkness that will fall from on high
When men will beg God to kill them and they won't be able to die?

Darwin's mind

We have not mentioned Darwin for a while. I was pointed to this interesting passage in his autobiography recently. You can guess what I think was probably going on, although there can be different interpretations. From what I have read Darwin did seem to slowly but surely close down his openness to God.

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me, and I like all if moderately good, and if they do not end unhappily - against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come into the first class unless it contains some person whom one can thoroughly love, and if a pretty woman all
the better.
This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for
grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

I did not know the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.

Apparently during the Holocaust in France, in a tiny mountain Huguenot village 350 miles from Paris called Le Chambon-sur-lignon, 5,000 Jews, mostly children, found shelter with 5,000 Christians, almost the entire population of the village.

Defying the French government which was collaborating with the Nazis, the villagers of Le Chambon hid Jews in their homes for years. They provided the refugees with forged identification, provided education for the children, ration cards, and sent them to safety in Switzerland.

The Chambonnaise were descendants of the Huguenots, the first Protestants in Catholic France. Having endured persecution in France they were able to understand the plight of the Jews.

Under the leadership of a young French pastor, Andre Trocme, the people of Le Chambon felt it their duty to help people in need, never considering their actions heroic or dangerous. ...

More here

Yellow Train

Over the summer I took time to have a go at painting a picture. I was in Aber but I used a photo of a very London scene.

The future's orange

It's nice to see the newly refurbished LTS. The orange corridor floor is a bit of a surprise but then the place does belong to a strongly Protestant group.

Calvin Soap

My parents kindly brought us a gift back from their recent trip to Geneva. Cleanliness is next to godliness they say.

Van Til Schaeffer Studies

It was good yesterday to be at the John Owen Centre for the first of five days of study on the apologists Cornelius Van Til (see here) and Francis Schaeffer. The lecturer is Bill Edgar from Westminster (accompanied by his wife Barbara – sat mostly quiet in the corner knitting). We are in the newly refurbished Kensit Library (or whatever it will be in future. There are 8 students present (3 for credit, 5 of us auditing).
We began surprisingly with Schleiermacher (the father of liberalism), a giant figure who set the tone for 19C apologetics. Apologetics (rationalistic, anthropological, humanistic) became an academic discipline through his influence.
In 1799 he wrote The Essence of Christianity. His aim was to win over “cultured despisers” of Christianity. He tried to show Christianity is the best observable religion. He ended up re-inventing the Christian faith. His central argument was that there are feelings in all of us – a need for something transcendent. The Christian God is the one most worthy of this. He redefined the elements of Christianity. Sin is not transgression but selfishness, Jesus is just the best example, etc. He was uncomfortable with the Trinity.
By the time you came to Ritschl, etc, such redefinition is common. The trend can be identified as horizontalisation. It was not wholly anti-supernatural but it was horizontal. (He also mentioned the social gospel especially in USA 20C).
There was a general feeling of optimism by the beginning of the 20C. It was felt that “free examination” would be enough to lead people to maturity and social improvement. This was all unravelled by WWI and various revolutions.
Eventually Barthianism came to the fore. Barth emphasised the transcendence of God not the horizontal approach of Schleiermacher and his successors. He had no room for apologetics or for natural revelation (he famously disagreed with Brunner over this). He said God is his own apologist, his own point of contact. Some evangelicals thought in the same way. Eg Spurgeon's anti-apologetics remarks (just let the lion out). Lloyd-Jones too sometimes.
Dr Edgar then named three alternative approaches
1. Liberalism or neo-liberalism. Paul Tillich, etc. (Method of correlation – gospel fits needs). He recommended studying culture to identify these needs (Munch's Scream – where we are at). Basic problem alienation not sin. Return to the ground of being gives power to be. Quite unchristian by the end.
2. The mainly British movement led by C S Lewis and including other inklings. The myth come true.
3. Movement begun in the 19C and that crystallised in Kuyper, Orr, Hengstenberg and that is usually called presuppositionalist.
These are not the only strands. Evidentialist and classical apologetics has continued to grow stronger over the years. Eg the ID movement. Cf the way the resurrection is dealt with by J N D Anderson, etc. Also theistic proofs (cf Aquinas based on Aristotle, cosmological arguments). W C Lane, J P Moreland, R C Sproul, etc.
The good news today is that there is a lot of interest in apologetics again. The bad news is the confusion over ways of doing it and the need for clarity.
We then looked at the background and life of Cornelius Van Til including the dispute with Gordon Clark and Van Til's advocacy of analogical knowledge.
A stimulating day.

Hymn of the week 36

I enjoyed singing this (to me unfamiliar) Toplady hymn yesterday. See here.

From whence this fear and unbelief?
Hath not the Father put to grief
His spotless Son for me?
And will the righteous Judge of men,
Condemn me for that debt of sin,
Which, Lord, was charged on Thee?

Complete atonement Thou hast made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whate'er Thy people owed:
Nor can His wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Thy righteousness,
And sprinkled with Thy blood.

If Thou hast my discharge procured,
And freely in my room endured
The whole of wrath divine:
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my wounded Surety's hand,
And then again at mine.

Turn then, My soul, unto thy rest;
The merits of thy great High Priest
Have bought thy liberty:
Trust in His effective blood,
Nor fear thy banishment from God,
Since Jesus died for thee.

Right on Don

I read this from Don Carson this morning (For the love of God reading)
The most important factor in the life and service of David is that the Spirit of the Lord comes upon him “in power” (16:13). This is the regular experience of those prophets, priests, kings, and a few other leaders, who were given special roles under the terms of the old covenant. However difficult it is to be discerning in such matters, one cannot say too often or too loudly that what the church needs are leaders with unction—a word favored by the Puritans. It simply means “anointing,” i. e. an anointing by the Spirit. Is that too much to ask, in an age when under the terms of the new covenant all of the covenant people of God receive the Spirit poured out at Pentecost?

Kenneth Copeland & Co

Kenneth Copeland and his associates have been in Golders Green recently, at the former Hippodrome, where the El Shaddai church now meets. Large crowds have been queuing to hear them. A report gives some idea of it all here. Kenneth Copeland and his kind are a menace I fear.

Find a little wood

Another piece of music not to like! This is a demo of a nice song I was listening to recently.

Moving Waves

Continuing a current obsession

Visiting Dad 10

I'm a bit behind with my blogging as I settle back into life here in London. We began our journey back last Tuesday, travelling first to Cardiff where we stayed the night with Eleri's sister Fflur and the family. It was very sunny and Glyn did a nice barbecue for us all.
The next day we spent with Eleri's other sister, Catrin, in Trowbridge. She and Ian also looked after us well in the garden - where the boys helped Ian dig up his potatoes and played with a slow worm. We also went down to Bradford to the canal and then played in the park.
While we were with Fflur we went to see my dad in Panteg hospital. He was none too good and slept most of the time. I think we caught him on a bad day but at present they say his main problem is clinical depression. With no appetite he is not eating - another cause for concern. It is difficult to know what to do at this distance.

Yn Y Gogledd

Last Sunday I was preaching at Capel Y Fron, Penrhyndeudraeth near Porthmadog in North Wales, as I did this time last year. It was a pleasant trip up and down from Aberystwyth. I went on my own this time. Quite a few members were away but there were several holidaymakers present, some with large families. I preached on the Lost Sons from Luke 15. It was a fresh sermon inspired not by hearing Jonathan Thomas at the conference but further back. I also prepared a fresh sermon for the evening on Proverbs 24:15, 16. We also had communion in the evening.
The first people out in the morning were an elderly couple who had listened very appreciatively. They turned out to be Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
from Luton. There was also a family from the Met Tab I've met before and a family from Sheffield (he originally from London, a man I'd met before).
I went to the Perrins for lunch. Retired minister Mike has not been good for some months. He doesn't seem to be coping too well with ill health. Both were very concerned about swine flu, especially as they have a vulnerable friend and some people don't seem to be too careful. Mike is always interesting, however, and it was fascinating to hear him describing researches into his family history that have revealed not only
Huguenot roots but the actual Jean Perrin who came from France to Kent in the 17th Century. He also has a copy of a book belonging to Thomas Perrin a builder and clearly a Christian. He also mentioned an ancestor baptised by Spurgeon in the 19th Century! He has prepared articles for Grace Magazine - keep an eye out. He and Elaine recently dressed up and did a Huguenot evening featuring readings and music (Mike plays the recorder). He has also been busy with his coin collection afresh. I hope Mike felt encouraged by the fellowship - I certainly did.

Carnival is over

Yes, it's the Seekers again. The song The Carnival is over is in my mind as we used the tune (Stenka Razin) to sing a hymn last week. A man we know had a moan later as it always reminds him of the original Russian song where a woman is murdered by drowning (Volga, Volga, Mother Volga make this lovely girl a grave). He felt little better about using Beethoven's Ninth as we did. I don't know how he got on when we used the Dambusters March the next morning. It is a difficult subject.

Le Clochard (Bread)

Here's another Focus track with images. Jan Akkerman is on guitar with accompaniment from Thijs Van Leer. Le Clochard (Bread) is the second track on the first side of the second album, known best as Moving Waves. The pictures were found here.

Aber 09 5

Joel Beeke's final message was aimed especially at young people and was on contagious and consistent integrity from Daniel 1. It was one of the best of the messages I thought. He spoke of Daniel's resolution (1:8) trial (1:14) and perseverance (1:21) making several good points regarding what integrity is, how to face temptation, the need not to be Babylonised and witness (you are the Bible they read).
He said that worldliness is the opposite of the Reformed idea of living in coram deo. It is turning your back on God and living without him. It is practical atheism. It is to put profit, pleasure and position first. Worldliness is interested in going forward rather than upward, in the outward rather than the inward.
What a privilege it has been to sit under this godly man's ministry this week. He has now left for Korea where he is speaking at a large ministers conference in Seoul.
In the evening Andrew Davies gave a fine evangelistic address from Romans 10 speaking of the voice of law, of faith (in conviction, confession and the comfort of justification and regeneration) and the Word itself, which urges us to go to Christ. He passed on that statement from J C Ryle that says of Daniel Rowland "He used also often to say, that a self-righteous legal spirit in man was like his shirt, a garment which he puts on first, and puts off last."
So very quickly, it seems, another conference is over for another year. It was good to have fellowship back here with our friends Keith and Janice Hoare and with Owen Milton and his wife Dilys. Lovely meeting so many but no chance to talk to most.

Aber 2010

Our chairman Gareth Edwards announced this morning that the speakers next year will be, God willing, Dale Ralph Davies and Gareth Williams (Bala), (Heresy Huntin') Martin Downes, Bill James and Stuart Olyott. Looks good.

Aber 09 4

So today we had Joel Beeke's third message in the morning. This time he took us to Jacob at Peniel (Genesis 32) and spoke of contagious blessing, looking at perseverance in prayer, penitence, power and price. This is not an easy passage but this was a helpful call to look to God at all times.
In the afternoon although it was sunny I joined a hundred others to hear Gwyn Davies on the 1859 revival. Gwyn gives unique lectures that find their strength in his thorough knowledge, understated passion and gentle humour.
He began with a reference to Thomas Charles Edwards and then spoke of the origins of the revival with Humphrey Jones and Dafydd Morgan. He then pointed out that although they are often seen as the main figures there was really another revival alongside their activity as hundreds of prayer meetings took place across the land and people were saved. Other features were a sense of God's presence (a newspaper spoke of "triumphant solemnity" at an association meeting in Llangeitho) and new spiritual vitality, as in the case of Dafydd Morgan who was on fire in the years of revival.
The revival led to old things such as
1. Abundant conversions of all sorts including the worst types.
2. New chapels built and old ones extended.
3. Society was transformed including political change that brought down the Tories, closed the pubs on Sundays and eventually saw the disestablishment of the Church of England. He gave an anecdote of when Queen Victoria came to Bethesda in North Wales and the slate quarrymen used their day off to hold prayer meetings rather than to see her.
All revivals are mixed and this one was particularly marred we were told by new things such as
1. Finneyism. Finney's ideas were employed first by the Wesleyan Jones who had worked in America and then by Morgan too. People were brought into membership too quickly and that diluted the church spiritually.
2. Gorfoleddu or rejoicing, which sometimes was taken to extremes. There was too much smoke with the fire.
3. Sadly Humphrey Jones claimed the gift of prophecy and predicted the coming of the Holy Spirit at a specific time. When nothing happened he had something of a breakdown.
Lessons were drawn from
1. The example of clear preaching from the heart by Morgan and Jones, despite their faults
2. The general example of zeal
3. The danger of Finneyism
I was in again tonight so missed Peter Baker who spoke of the need for prayer, compassion and to be forgiven.

Aberystwyth 1823

As familar as I am with Aberystwyth I had never noticed this interesting plaque until it was pointed out to me this week. It says

Aber 09 3

Yesterday (Wednesday) I only heard Joel Beeke's second address as I was babysitting in the evening, when Richard Bewes spoke for a second time. People seemed to think he did less well this time, although many appreciated the three point structure. I also missed Ian Parry on Lloyd-Jones the evangelist where he spoke very well on a teacher who taught, a witness who testified, a doctor who diagnosed and an advocate who pleaded, among other things. We were visiting the missionary exhibition here instead and visiting the AP Christian bookshop. Joel Beeke spoke this time on blind Bartimaeus from Mark 10 and Luke 18:43, highlighting his needing, finding and following/glorifying Christ and the effect this had on others. It was quite evangelistic early on and very challenging to Christians from then on. We were all quite moved when he shared how his son had written an essay for school on him and said that despite his faults the son doesn't know a man who loves Jesus Christ more. This was said not to boast but in amazement. It is a paradox that the holier we become the less aware we are of it.
Joel came back to the manse in the evening and it was good to share fellowship with him informally as he talked about the seminary, his new hearing aids, books, selling books to Timothy Keller, his doctor who loves Rob Bell, etc. He plans to do Jacob at Peniel next.

Aber 09 2

Joel Beeke is the main speaker this year. His theme is Contagious Christian Living and he began Tuesday morning with an intro talking about the need to be a Christian, to make use of the means of grace and to have an evangelistic heart. He took Jephthah's daughter as his first example - the contagion being expressed in the tradition of remembering her in Israel (see Judges). Perplexingly, Joel went against the view of Matthew Henry and Dale Ralph Davies, etc, that Jephthah actually killed his daughter. Anyway his points about the difficult call to submission and the wonderful exercise of it in the case of the daughter still stand more or less. He called powerfully for us in every situation to acknowledge, justify, approve, cling to and honour the Lord.
In the afternoon Dr Beeke also gave a seminar on Calvin. I missed the beginning where he defended Calvin against charge of being doctrinally unevangelistic. By the time I had arrived he had moved on to Calvin's practical evangelistic efforts in the congregation, throughout Geneva, into Europe especially France and even as far as Brazil, though this latter mission proved unsuccessful. Perhaps Calvin was not as active in world mission as one might have hoped but he was very busy with many things, the need at home being his priority. There were also many government restrictions. However, he sought God's glory and was compelled by his belief in election to seek to win souls.
He closed with a call to humble passion, holy patience, heartfelt prayer and happy perseverance in evangelism. We must stay on task; we must see that discouragement is often followed by revival; we must rely on God; we must take heart.
The Tuesday evening speaker was Richard Bewes, former rector at All Souls. Some how I've never heard him before. A short interview from chairman Stuart Olyott established the roots of this pucker Englishman with the Andrew Neil comb over (grandfather converted under Moody, parents missionaries in Kenya, the books, etc). He seemed a strange choice for this conference to me but he gave what I thought was a fine talk on penal substitution. He used words like redemption, wrath, propitiation, etc, which were good to hear. It was all on the blood. I thought some of his illustrations and his explanation of eating Christ's flesh was excellent. Lots of people I spoke to, however, found it difficult to follow (because they wanted to take notes I guess). Anyway he's on again Wednesday night.

52 JC No 28

Calvin on world evangelism (comment on Genesis 17:23)
Today, when God wishes his gospel to be preached in the whole world, so that the world may be restored from death to life, he seems to ask for the impossible. We see how greatly we are resisted everywhere and with how many and what potent machinations Satan works against us, so that all roads are blocked by the princes themselves. Yet each man must perform his duty without yielding to any impediment. At the end our effort and our labours shall not fail; they shall receive the success which does not yet appear.

Aber 09 1

So here we are in Aber for the conference. The tradition is that we go to hear Geoff on the Sunday. The services normally at AP are held in Bethel diagonally opposite. There are also services in Baker Street nearby. The preachers there this year were Jeremy Bailey (Aberavon) and Paul Gamston (Newport). Everyone spills out of the two buildings around the same time and stewards have to keep the road clear for passing cars. It's always great to see familiar faces and lots of others.

This year Geoff looked on Sunday morning at The Deity of Christ and why you must believe it. He showed it very thoroughly from Christ's words, actions, life and those who knew him best. The call was to confess him as such.

Then in the evening it was The death of Christ and why you need it. He spoke about the cross of Christ and - 1. Its origin in the love of God 2. The fact it should never have happened (not to such a one) 3. Its necessity because of our sin 4. The fact its necessity is highlighted everywhere in the Bible. Towards the close he quoted these helpful words

"A crossless Christ my Saviour could not be.
A Christless cross, no refuge were for me.
But, O, Christ crucified, I rest in Thee."

Years back, the tradition began of adding a third message on Monday mornings. It usually falls to me introduce the sermon with the Bible reading and prayer, which I did again this year. The subject was The discipleship of Christ and why you must receive it. Geoff was keen to differentiate conversion from discipleship again. After a while he got on to his main point which was self-denial, properly understood. It was very helpful and full of lovely anecdotes.

Then tonight in the first meeting in the Great Hall Jonathan Thomas (Ammanford) spoke on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Excellent exegesis and good application. I'd not heard Jonathan before and so was pleased to see he was relaxed, evangelistic and more.

Visiting Dad 09

We headed for Wales today and came first to Newport to see my dad. He was much brighter today for the first time in a week and may be that is a good sign. He was asleep when Eleri and I arrived but woke and was glad to see us and not surprised as I'd said we would be coming last week. We trooped the four boys in with us and my dad was pleased to see them. We read a bit more from Mark and I prayed. We weren't there so long.
We went on to Cwmbran to see my sister and her children. It was nice to see them. William was in and out. He's just decided to leave the Croesy team to pray for Llany. Gail took a dim view of that being a good Croesy girl.

Geoff Award

I meant to include this before. This is the plaque that the Calvin Quincentenary committee very kindly gave my father-in-law Geoff Thomas in Geneva last month to mark his long years as a Reformed pastor.

Book Buys July

Rather quiet on the book buying front this month in some ways. Almost no Christian books bought but two events piled up my supply of secular books.
First, The Times were giving away Penguin paperbacks free in certain places. By this means I picked up the following

1. Green (Adventure)
The 39 Steps by John Buchan
Treasure Island by R L Stevenson
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
(I missed Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne)
I've read the first two but not the second two. It would be nice to get round to them.

2. Pink (Romance)
The Lady with the Little Dog and other stories by Chekov
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Sons and Lovers by D H Lawrence
(I missed Madame Bovary by Faubert)
I don't think I've read any of these.

Then, second, I was on Oxford Street and they had a closing down sale in Borders (no surprise there, they never seemed to know quite what they were doing). For £1 each I got
Hans Christian Andersen/Jack Zipes
Will in the World: How Shakespeare became Shakepseare/Stephen Greenblatt
Text and Experience: Toward a Cultural Exegesis of the Bible/Ed Smith-Christopher

I also got in July for £1 each biographies of George Elliot and Chrisopher Wren in the very interesting people series from OUP (I have one on Ruskin already). The other buy was the very interesting

RnR04 I hear you knocking

This was nearly the first a single I ever bought back in the seventies. I bought something else instead in the end. It is again a strange choice in some ways as this is a fifties blues song only later done in the rock and roll style in the seventies. (This live version doesn't quite do what the single does but gives the idea. The studio version included a litany of fifties stars - Fats Domino! (who covered the song) Smiley Lewis! (him too) Chuck Berry! Huey Smith!) Oh yeah, Dave Edmunds it is - and he's Welsh.

Elspeth of Nottingham

This is the Tudor style Elspeth of Nottingham from the album Focus 3. Enjoy.

Visiting Dad 08

My dad had to go into hospital in the week and so yesterday I was back off down to South Wales once again. I went by car this time, which has its advantages and disadvantages. I left here at 9.30 am and had a straightforward run. I linked up with Gail in Cwmbran for a nice chat and a bit of light lunch in the Marks Spencer cafe. (She has come home from the Carey Conference alone). That was a bonus.
I then headed down to the Royal Gwent to see my dad. He'd move wards and when I finally located his ward I didn't recognise him as he was lying down flat with glasses on (which he never wears normally). He was doing better yesterday than he had on previous days but they really don't know what is wrong and that has to be disturbing. My dad felt more pessimistic about things than he ever has before.
Being in hospital it was easier to read the Bible again - so we had a bit more of Mark's Gospel and I prayed (a bit better than usual we both agreed). Then it was back in the car again.
I listened to the news all day - Bobby Robson soon became lead story (the Welsh radio stations managed to find Welsh people to speak about him, even a Welsh speaker). He was praised by all as a gentleman. The pronunciation of Asberger's syndrom changed I noticed over the day (from a soft to a hard G).
I had a break from the radio with an old tape I found of my (rather scrathced) vinyl versions of Aliens and Man who built America by Horslips. Those later albums are not as good as the early one but have their own charm and keep interest up.
It was good to be back home to Eleri. it's been quiet this week with only two boys at home. We watched the film Rendition.