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.

Reconstructing the Pooh Community

Some may enjoy this fun with a point piece by Richard Bauckham here as pointed out by Justin Taylor on his blog.

Westminster Conference 2011

This is a reminder that the Westminster Conference is on next week in London. See the website here.

2011 - Freedom, Courage and the Truth

The Westminster Conference meets for two days annually and comprises six speakers presenting papers examining the history, doctrine and practice of people, events and churches associated with the Puritans including their forebears and successors. The perspective is that of reformed Biblical Christianity of the orthodox historic kind, in which such themes as the Gospel of Grace and God’s sovereign purpose are derived from Scripture and lived-out in human lives.The 2011 conference will be held on Tuesday 6th & Wednesday 7th December 2010, with the theme of: “Freedom, Courage and the Truth”. The following papers will be presented:

Christian Liberty and the Westminster Assembly (Robert Letham)

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) contains a ground-breaking declaration of Christian liberty. What forces thrust this to the forefront of its agenda? On what basis did the Assembly set it? How did it work out in practice? How does it relate to the gospel? Robert Letham’s address will seek answers to these questions, as well as considering what lessons can be learned for our own day.

The Covenanting Experience (Knox Hyndman)

Within a few years of taking the throne Charles II began subjecting the Scots to a 28 eight year period of persecution and terror. During this period it has been estimated that the authorities “killed, impoverished or banished” over eighteen thousand people. However, the response to this cruelty was not uniform and this address will consider the different reactions in the church and the subsequent effect on its life and witness.

Obadiah Holmes: Pioneer of Religious Freedom (Stephen Rees)

Obadiah Holmes left Lancashire in 1638, crossing the Atlantic in search of purity of worship and clear gospel preaching. In New England he found saving faith but also came to Baptist convictions and found himself at odds with church leaders and magistrates alike. He discovered that there were limits to the religious liberty permitted by the Puritan establishment. Holmes’ stand for freedom of conscience had greater consequences than anyone could have predicted.

The Broad Road from Orthodoxy to Heresy (Robert Strivens)

Anti-trinitarian views gained considerable ground in Old Dissent during the first half of the 18th century. By the second half of that century significant numbers of congregations had lapsed into heresy. Why did this happen? What attempts were made to turn back the tide and why were they largely unsuccessful? What lessons are there for us in this story, faced as we are today with increasingly strong attacks on central evangelical doctrines?

Puritanism: Where did it all go wrong? (Lewis Allen)

Why, after they had made such strides in the churches and in national life, was there such a disintegration of Puritan principles? And what accounts for the doctrinal descent into Unitarianism in the first quarter of the 17th Century? This paper will give an overview of the period after 1662, considering the “downgrade” of Puritan ideals during this time and giving salutary lessons for our day.

John Eliot: “Apostle to the Indians” (Hugh Collier)

This remarkable man was one of the first to take the gospel to the Indians of North America. He learned their Algonquian language, and, as it had no written text, devised one. He then translated the whole bible into their tongue. He preached to them, cared for them and was loved by them. This was all on top of a 58 year pastorate! There is much for us to learn from this servant of God.

New Location The new conference location for 2011 is Regent Hall (The Salvation Army) 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ.

In Writing No 119


St Andrew's Day Julie Fowlis

Pray for Uganda

Engaging new book on the Doctor

I was very pleased to see this book appear and despite being a slow reader I have already read it. As the book suggests, it is when some years have passed since their death that such great men as Lloyd-Jones undoubtedly was can begin to be assessed. My problem has always been first over what exactly Lloyd-Jones did believe and teach and then whether it was biblical. Tied in with that is the difficulty of disagreeing with such a persuasive man and a sense at times that he was not easy to disagree with. The collection of essays in this book really helped with that and with a few other things too.
There are 11 essays altogether plus an intro, all by evangelical academics. Being mostly of a younger generation and mostly non-separatists the writers (apart from the present and former LTS principals really) cannot at all be thought of as Lloyd-Jones men. Inevitably there is some variation in the quality of the essays although they are all clear and competent and I found the intro and the essays on revival, the charismatic movement and his view of history the most informative and helpful. The book is well footnoted and quite rigorous and although some may want to quibble with conclusions the subject matter looks pretty unassailable. Also very good is the one on Anglican session which for perhaps the first time mentions the many Anglicans who left their denomination in response to Lloyd-Jones's calls. Perhaps the least satisfying essay is the one on fundamentalism.
The book is pretty thorough, though I was surprised to see nothing about the beginnings of the Banner or his falling out with John Murray over the sort of unity Reformed people should aim for. The book is a must for anyone interested in the history of evangelicalism over the last 50 years.

TTRMOMG 06 Trick Biscuit

Lincoln biscuits remind me of my Nana Pidge, my dad's mother, partly because she would serve them but chiefly because in a drawer in her kitchen there was a trick one. It looked like a Lincoln biscuit from one side but then you turned it over and there was a mirror on the other side. I don't think I ever genuinely caught anyone out with it but the very idea thrilled me.

A Book on Boys

This review was in ET this month. I could only give it two stars I'm afraid.
Slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails: Helping boys connect with God – IVP- Gary Brady
Slugs and snails and puppy dogs' tails
Carolyn Edwards
192 pages, Paperback, £8.99
ISBN: 9781844745234 (Published: 15/04/2011)

As a father of five boys and someone who is very involved in work with children and young people I was not surprised to be asked to review this book and indeed warmed to the task. However, I did not find the book easy to get into because of its ethos and methodology and the fact that, though the book is otherwise well written, we are 40 pages in before the main dish is served (Part 1 being given over to introductory matters). I can only give it a mild commendation.
Mrs Edwards is very well read and clearly highly competent in her field. She is senior lecturer in Children and Family Work at the Centre for Youth Ministry, Oxford. She also loves children. Her book grows out of an investigation into the spiritual expressions and preferences of boys ages 5-11 in three settings – an Anglican Junior church, a Scripture Union club and an RE class.
The main problem with it for me was its rather sociological approach and its lack of scriptural and theological grounding. When for example, on page 98, she wonders aloud if children's laughter has something to do with what Jesus meant when he said we need to be like children to enter the kingdom one is concerned. A few pages later she is naively commending the visual approach of the eastern orthodox churches. On page 81 she commends more rugged and manly pictures of Jesus without ever raising the question of whether we should be making pictures of Jesus at all.
Having said all this, there are plenty of good things to be had from this book. If you go through it finding the paragraphs beginning with with a large stylised “?!” you will find plenty of practical suggestions regarding working with boys in the areas of relationship and conversation, play and touch, story telling, pain and loss, humour, creativity, silence and prayer, good deeds, healthy risk and multimedia technology. There are also potentially useful “Things to think about” at the end of each of the ten main chapters of the book.
Gary Brady Childs hill

Latimer - Preaching Prelate

It was great to be at the Evangelical Library once again for a lunch time lecture. About 15 of us gathered on this occasion to hear Jeremy Walker speak on the preaching of Bishop adn martyr Hugh Latimer. Latimer's works, mostly sermons are preserved in two volumes available here and here. Generosuly quoting from these Jeremy gave us an encoruiaging and in some ways challenging description of the preaching, which he characterised as
1. Vivid and lively (not just illustrations but jokes too sometimes)
2. Popular in the best sense
3. Direct (plain language with vernacular paraphrasing and searching applications)
4. Polemical (especialy against false religion and injustice)
5. Pastorally thorough as well as thoroughly pastoral
The whole paper will appear on the Library website soon.
Thanks Jeremy! Good stuff!

Aslam Masih

Barnabas Fund report
Aslam Masih, a 30-year-old Christian man imprisoned on a false charge of blasphemy in Pakistan, died on 9 September. He had fallen ill with various diseases, and was denied proper medical care. He was kept in solitary confinement without access to a toilet, water or electricity. He was receiving basic treatment in the prison hospital but required more specialised care; however, the prison authorities initially refused to allow him to go to a regular hospital in case he was assassinated. Aslam had been in prison in Lahore since his arrest in February 2010, having been falsely accused under Pakistan’s harsh “blasphemy law”. His family did not visit him during his time in prison, probably for fear of reprisals, and were not even there to collect his body. Pray for all Christians unjustly imprisoned for blasphemy in Pakistan.

More serious than that

My interest in football is only a mild one. Over the weekend the news of the suicide of Gary Speed lead the news, however, and it is clearly a tragedy from every perspective. Seeing footage of him on Football Focus less than 24 hours before his death was mystifying - there was not a hint of anything wrong. Perhaps more will come out, perhaps not. Utter tragedy and a reminder to football fans of the bigger issues - life, death, eternity and God.
With that story let me couple this much more positive one about Gary Parkinson as found on the Christian Institute website.
A former footballer with ‘locked-in syndrome’ has landed a job as a talent scout – using just the blinking of his eyes to communicate.
Research published earlier this year found that a majority of locked-in patients are happy and do not want to die.
The study, which was published online by the British Medical Journal Open, undermined calls by pro-euthanasia groups to change the laws so that such people can be ‘put out of their misery’.


Gary Parkinson, who played for Middlesbrough in the 80s and 90s, had a stroke last year. While he is aware of what is going on around him, he cannot move or speak.
Now the 43-year-old is again working for his former team, with manager Tony Mowbray commenting that the club will be there for him long after the headlines disappear.
Deborah, Gary’s wife, described how the scouting set-up works: “A DVD comes down to us, with a sheet of paper. There is a description of the player, his name, his age, his position and the clubs he has played for.”


She then counts slowly from one to four. When she gets to the number he thinks the player should get, with four being the highest, he raises his eyelids.
Mr Parkinson, a father of three, was working at Blackpool Football Club when he had the stroke.
Deborah said: “Gary still loves his football, knows all about youth football from his time as the youth team coach at Blackpool, and you can see he picks up when he is doing it.”


Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray commented on the appointment, saying: “We were determined to give Gary a role where he could feel involved. Not only that, I genuinely value his opinions about the game.
“We let him have a look at some of the players who come to our attention and it gives Gary something to concentrate on.
“Long after he ceases to be headline news, we will still be there for him”.


Dr Carol Cooper commented on Mr Parkinson’s condition in the Sun newspaper, saying: “Locked-in syndrome is a neurological condition where a victim is aware of what goes on and their thinking is completely normal — but they can’t communicate with the outside world.”
She added: “It is so incredibly frustrating for the victim and extremely hard to diagnose.
“The danger is that people assume they are brain dead. But that is not the case. It is just that victims can’t move anything – but they can feel and they can think.”

TTRMOMG 05 Daz soldiers

These cowboys and Indians were given away free with Daz in the sixties and my Nana, my dad's mother, used to collect them for me. Cowboys were done in red plastic, Indians in brown. My, I had some fun with them.

New Ultimate Questions App Delayed

EP have had problems with the new UQ app. Watch this space.

The Don again - on worship

Read this by Don Carson on 1 Chronicles 15 yesterday

Here is a profound lesson. At one level, doubtless God approves childlike praise and enthusiastic zeal. But he expects those with authority among his people to know what his Word says and obey it. No amount of enthusiasm and zeal can ever hope to make up for this lack. Zeal that is heading in the wrong direction never reaches the goal. It must either be redirected in the direction staked out in God’s Word, or however enthusiastic, it is still wrong-headed and misdirected. There is no substitute for faith working itself out in informed obedience.

Money Saving Tip

Do you like banoffee pie? You can buy the caramel ready made in a tin but to save money you can boil a can of sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan. Only don't let the saucepan run dry will you?

30 Great poems

Today's Times features a pull out with thirty poems everyone should know. Good choices on the whole.
1. We’ll Go No More A-Roving by Lord Byron So, we’ll go no more a-roving
2. I Hear America Singing by Walt Whitman I hear America singing, the varied carols
3. Poor Old Lady by Anon Poor old lady, she swallowed a fly...
4. Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone...
5. Crossing The Bar by Alfred, Lord Tennyson Sunset and evening star...
6. The Song of Mr Toad by Kenneth Grahame The world has held great Heroes...
7. If by Rudyard Kipling If you can keep your head when all about you...
8. Remember by Christina Rossetti Remember me when I am gone away...
9. Daffodils by William Wordsworth I wandered lonely as a cloud...
10. The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to...
11. Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge In Xanadu did Kubla Khan...
12. Invictus by W.E. Henley Out of the night that covers me...
13. How Soon Hath Time by John Milton How soon hath Time, the subtle thief...
14. The Arrow and the Song by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I shot an arrow into...
15. Answer to a Child’s Question by Samuel Taylor Coleridge Do you ask what...
16. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day...
17. The Soldier by Rupert Brooke If I should die, think only this of me...
18. To Autumn by John Keats Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
19. Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen Bent double, like old beggars...
20. A Red, Red Rose by Robert Burns O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
21. Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley I met a traveller from an antique land...
22. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W B Yeats Had I the heavens’...
23. The Tyger by William Blake Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, In the forest of the night
24. Death Be Not Proud by John Donne Death be not proud, though some have...
25. Hope is the Thing with Feathers by Emily Dickinson Hope is the thing with...
26. Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves...
27. How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning How do I love thee? Let me...
28. Love and Friendship by Emily Brontë Love is like the wild rose-briar...
29. Jerusalem by William Blake And did those feet in ancient time...
30. The Elephant by Hilaire Belloc When people call this beast to mind

Pray for Thailand

TTRMOMG 04 Pigeons

My father's mother (Bampie I called him. My nana always referred to him as Yer Gransha - both good South Walianisms [the first a childish way of saying grampie, the second a form of Grandsire]), like many urban working class men of the period, kept racing pigeons. He had built a sort of pigeon loft that dominated the garden. I remember the smell of pigeon feathers and excrement and the sound of grain being thrown onto the wooden platform and the clicking noise my Bampie would make to coax the pigeons back in. Bampie would soemtimes win races and was quite knowledgeable. My dad's brother, still living at home, also kept pigeons at one point. I'm always positive about pigeons, therefore, nuisance as they are here in London.

Pray for Switzerland

Richie Havens Here Comes The Sun

You may like this. Unconventional Richie Havens doing a George Harrison number in 1971.

Black Sabbath Reunite

BBC News informs me that the heavy metal band Black Sabbath are reforming. Lost on me I'm afraid. Never a fan (apart from Paranoid, of course). I do love the story of their guitarist Tony Iommi, however, here in his own words:

Although my handicap has received quite a bit of press over the years, a lot of people are very surprised when they find out that I'm missing two fingertips from my fretboard (right) hand. (I'm a lefty.) After all, that is a fairly serious affliction for a guitarist. Specifically, I lost the tips of my middle and ring fingers in an accident I had at work - they got caught in a piece of machinery. Ironically, the day the accident happened was my last day at that job before turning professional musician, as I was all set to go to Germany on tour with a band. The timing couldn't have been worse - not that there's ever a good time to cut off the ends of two of your fingers!
As you can imagine, it was an awful experience and I went through a terrible period of depression because I was convinced that my guitar playing days were over for good. I went to dozens of different doctors and hospitals and they all said, "Forget it. You're not going to be able to play guitar again."
While I was down in the dumps though, a friend of mine, who happened to be my foreman at work, brought me a record of [world-renowned Gypsy jazz guitarist] Django Reinhardt who, at the time, I'd never heard of before. My friend said, "Listen to this guy play," and I went, "No way! Listening to someone play the guitar is the very last thing I want to do right now!" But he kept insisting and he ended up playing the record for me. I told him I thought it was really good and then he said, "You know, the guy's only playing with two fingers on his fretboard hand because of an injury he sustained in a terrible fire." I was totally knocked back by this revelation and was so impressed by what I had just heard that I suddenly became inspired to start trying to play again.
I tried playing right-handed for a while but that didn't work out for me so I bandaged my two damaged fingers together and started playing lefty again using just my first (index) and little fingers. I then decided to go a step further by trying to bring my two injured fingers back into the game. What I did was this: I melted down a "Fairy Liquid" [an English dishwashing detergent] bottle, made a couple of blobs of the plastic and then sat there with a hot soldering iron and melted holes in them so they'd fit on the tips of my injured fingers, kind of like thimbles.
When I got the caps to fit comfortably, I ended up with these big balls on the ends of my fingers, so I then proceeded to file them down with sandpaper until they were approximately the size of normal fingertips.
It took me quite a while to get them exactly right because they couldn't be too heavy or thick but had to be strong enough so they didn't hurt the ends of my fingers when I used them. When I had sculpted my "thimbles" to the right size and tested them I realized that the ends weren't gripping the strings so I cut up a piece of leather and fixed pieces to the ends of them. I then spent ages rubbing the leather pads so they would get shiny and absorb some oils and would help me grip the strings better. I filed down the edges so they wouldn't catch on anything and it worked!
Once I had done this it took me quite a while to get used to bending and shaking strings with those two fingers because I obviously couldn't feel anything. It was difficult to even know where my fingers were and where they were going. It was just a matter of practicing and persevering with it, using my ears to compensate for my lost tactile sense.
In the years since my story was publicized more than a few musicians who have had similar afflictions have told me that my "never say die" attitude has inspired them to keep going. However bad something may seem at first, you've got to try to overcome it because sometimes the "impossible" is possible. It was really depressing at first, but after hearing Django, I just wouldn't accept defeat. I was sure there had to be a way around my problem.

Pottery Gollies

If you were wondering (no - okay) what these pottery gollies looked like this will give you an idea.

TTRMOMG 03 Golly collecting

I can't tell you how much pleaseure this illustration gives me; it's like an artefact from another world. I', sure you could get these bags from various retailers in the sxities but when I was a child I only knew one or two places. These included Curtesses the shop where my father's mother went. What you would do is to stick "gollies" on these paper bags. The gollies were to be found inserted behind the label on Robertson's jams and marmalades. When you had collected ten you were able to send for a golly gift - a badge or pottery figure. In the end we had a whole band of gollies and they are still about somewhere. When my oldest son was young I used to get the gollies to perform. Must locate them again.

New Lloyd-Jones Book

Alerted to this by that reading machine the Exiled Preacher. He got it from here.
(Neither mention that this is the fruit of a conference some while ago)

2 Minutes of Focus Fun

I was hoping to see Focus this time round but didn't manage it. Here's a tiny bit of what I missed.

Top 10 Times not to give a book

This is from Abebooks and is by Beth Carswell

10. You don’t know them well enough. Period.
When I went through a painful period of loss, a well-meaning acquaintance gave me a book that had helped her through a hard time. It was Chicken Soup for the Soul. Anyone who knows me knows this just made me cry harder.
Rule of thumb: if you don’t really know someone, you can’t know their taste, so even a book you adored may be inappropriate. Much of this list boils down to “You don’t know them well enough”, actually, but there are some specific scenarios to watch for.

9. You don’t know them well enough romantically.
A friend had been dating a fellow for two months when his birthday arose. Birthdays early into relationships are tricky – the balance of personal and thoughtful versus too intimate or expensive is a delicate one. She chose to give him a copy – HER copy, in fact – of her favourite love story, Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins. It’s a romance between a morbid young man obsessed with dying (he attends strangers’ funerals and fakes his own death) and a vibrant, exuberant 79-year old woman living to the fullest. My friend found it beautiful, meaningful and romantic.
Her paramour, when asked how he’d enjoyed the book, shrugged uncomfortably. He had found it “kind of creepy and gross” and not finished it.
My friend loved that book so well that she was taken aback by his response, and given pause. I’m not saying it was Harold and Maude’s fault that they fizzled out shortly afterward, but you never know. Perhaps a book given romantically can actually be a good litmus test, when used judiciously.

8. You don’t know them well enough politically.
Better to err on the side of caution, mixing politics and pleasure. Politics is often something not discussed much among casual friends, and it can be difficult to gauge a person’s beliefs. Don’t assume. Otherwise, you may find them staring at you in horror when they unwrap Back from the Brink by Alistair Darling, or conversely, A Journey by Tony Blair.

7. They’re a huge book nerd, and have read everything. Twice.
Some people consume books like the rest of us consume oxygen. They manage to read while sleeping, driving, giving birth, ice skating, cooking. Voracious does not begin to describe it. These are the people to whom it is VERY DANGEROUS to give books. Always keep the receipt, and try not to take it personally when four out of five books given result in an apologetic face and an “I’ve read this, I’m sorry… it was really good, though!”
Better to just give them a gift certificate.

6. While you wish they did, they just don’t like books.
Remember when you were a teenager, and wore whatever your era’s version of terrible fashion was (mine: ripped jeans, oversized flannel shirts, rainbow hair, combat boots), and your parents would give you clothes, smiling pleadingly, hoping you might actually consider wearing a nice blazer and decent skirt? Yeah. That doesn’t work. Similarly, if someone limits their reading to Cosmopolitan or WWE Smackdown, giving them books to try to make a reader of them won’t go over well. They’ll be unimpressed at best, insulted at worst, and the book will end up in the closet – next to the blazer and skirt.

5. While you wish they did, they just don’t like the books you like.
How can they read submarine action, bosom-heaving bodice rippers and stories of moody vampires, when there are better books? So we decide, out of the kindness of our hearts, to intervene and correct their taste. But it’s probably less a matter of exposure than one of opinion. We all think our own taste is best (it’s our taste, after all), but people like what they like, and more power to ‘em. I don’t care if you’re reading for entertainment, education or escapism – just keep reading! It’s a better bet to give them something they’ll actually like, rather than trying to convert them.

4. They’re a gadget person.
Even if you know their tastes, and they’ve been a reader all their life, it’s no guarantee. How into gadgetry and devices are they? E-readers are now common enough that some people get all their books in file form, and might not know how to handle a real book anymore. But if you’re lucky, they might pronounce it ‘vintage’ or ‘retro’, and read it for irony’s sake. Perhaps while listening to music on vinyl.

3. They’ve become a minimalist.
Some people go through phases where they feel like “all my stuff owns ME!” and try to get rid of stuff. At this point in their lives, they’re probably using library cards (or again, electronic reading devices) to keep possessions to a minimum. Still, I suppose there’s no reason not to give them a book – once they read it, they might give it back!

2. They’re in college.
While your student may love reading more than food, sleep and water combined, giving a book as a gift to someone with a full course load can be a cruelty. You’re reminding them they won’t have time to read anything but textbooks, notes and dissertations for long, dark months and even years. Better to just give them a fist full of cash or some food more nutritious than noodles. Although perhaps it’s kind to remind them the world can be a beautiful place where reading is a choice. The book could sit on their shelf like a beacon of hope, boosting their spirits to make that final push to the end.

1. You haven’t researched the book properly.
You know that Great-Aunt Geraldine loves gardening and home décor, so you hastily buy her Flowers in the Attic. Or your nephew takes an interest in the Beat Generation, so you thoughtfully pick him up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Ooh…so close. Gifts can sometimes be needed quickly, and books are such highly personal items that ensuring you know the book properly is important. Otherwise, Great-Aunt Geraldine might never stop screaming.
... And if you’ve read the above list, and feel safe that none of the scenarios apply, by all means proceed. The list is largely tongue-in-cheek anyway, and books often make the best gifts of all, if chosen with love and wisdom. And for every book I’ve gifted that tanked like a lead balloon, I’ve given at least 10 that have been met with pleasure, delight, and genuine excitement. Not a bad way to stay on someone’s Christmas card list.

Mike Oldfield William Tell

I'm quite an Mike Oldfield fan, I'd not seen this before. What fun!

Last of the summer wine

The BBC has announced a new series ...

Excuse my irreverence. No, this is from the cover of the new Banner of Truth mag from November, featuring the retirement of Ulsterman Ted Donnelly, pictured here with Eric Alldritt and Iain Murray.

Francysk Skaryna

Outside the Library in Minsk there is a atatue of someone I had never heard of. His claim to fame is that he translated the Bible into Belarussian. He was more of an Erasmus than a Luther I understand. More here.

Minsk National Library again

Outside the library in Minsk they highlight 1 Timothy 3:18 (sorry 3:17) in various languages. Interesting choice. 


I am currently in Vienna International Airport, very nice and with free wifi (unlike Heathrow). I spotted these smoking kiosks, something I'd not seen before - somewhere to go if you're desperate for a fag.

Minsk National Library of Belarus

This is one of the last things I got to see before leaving Minsk today. The building was opened in 2006. As you all know, the main feature is called a rhombicuboctahedron shape. You can read more here. Sadly we did not have time to go up to the observation platform for a panoramic view of Minsk, which is an impressive city with wide main boulevards and attractive buildings from various periods.

Selling Christian Books in Belarus

I write from Minsk in Belarus, where I have been for the the last couple of days helping out with an Evangelical Press book promotion conference. A small conference was arranged at a very nice centre for about 40 pastors and others from Belarus and beyond. Myself and Roger Fay spoke as well as some of the Russian pastors. Roger spoke on David Brainerd whose biography by John Thornbury is now out in Russian and I spoke on the Solomonic books of Song of Songs, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I have commentaries on two of these books. It would be nice to add a third and it would be good too to see the ones that exist translated.
It was a great privilege to be in a country I had never visited before and to get to meet some of the Russian brothers (as well as our EP friends). Speaking through a translator is not easy but Aleksander who helped both Roger and I was very good.  I also took part in the discussion session they had on ministerial training one night.
I tried to brush up on the Cyrillic alphabet before I came but I am rather poor at it. Singing the hymns was not really possible for this reason and the hymn sining was so good. At least it gave me a little insight into how it must be for dyslexics.
They have a fair number of books in Russian and sales were pretty good apparently. There are plans for more. They can be powerful tools. It's been a great trip.

Pray for Spain

Wren building survives fire?

Started reading an article in The I today by Christina Patterson, reflecting on happenings at St Paul's. Early on she refers to the Cathedral as "one fo the few buikdings to survive the Great Fire". I stopped reading. She should know better and if not someone should have picked it up