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.

Lord's Day February 23 2014

I was preaching in Aberystwyth, in Alfred Place Baptist Church, on Sunday. We went up as a family on Thursday and enjoyed being with various members of the family over the few days we were there. I was able to attend a men's breakfast in the church on the Saturday, which was good. The Sunday morning sermon was followed by a fellowship lunch and that was good too. I preached from 1 Thessalonians 1 and Esther 6. It is always difficult to decide what to preach when you go away but I felt these were a good pair until I looked at them again and felt their inadequacy but I preached as best I could and I think they were appreciated. Alfred Place was erected in the same year (1870) as our building and apart from Childs Hill being quite wide they would be very similar except that our pews have been replaced by chairs and I preach from the communion table rather than the pulpit. This makes for quite a different experience. The other feature in AP for me is that I know a lot of people there but not overly well. It was great to see 20 or 30 students in the morning lapping up the teaching. Some were fresh in from this weeks CU mission I understand. Tim Curnow kindly preached here for me. Geoff was in Gorseinon.

Rugby not so bad after all

So a fairly comfortable win for Wales over a pretty poor France 27-6. I don't think everything in the garden is lovely still but it all looks possible.

Paxman and Stan Cohen

The fourth and final programme on the Great War fronted by Jeremy Paxman sustained the interest to the end. Perhaps the most interesting section was the second where Paxman spoke to someone about  aplastic surgeon called Harry Gillies. They mentioned a man called Stan Cohen who you can read about here. They say he taught a Sunday School in Bromley. Children were curious but not horrified by his appearance. I wonder if he was a believer.

Novelists 37 Joseph Conrad

Joseph Conrad (Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski 1857 – 1924) Born in Russia and dying in England, Conrad was a Polish author who wrote in English. Granted British nationality in 1886, he always considered himself a Pole. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in English, though he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties (and always with a marked accent). He wrote stories and novels, often with a nautical setting, that depict trials of the human spirit in the midst of an indifferent universe. He was a master prose stylist who they say brought a distinctly non-English tragic sensibility into English literature. His modernist style influenced many. Films have been adapted from, or inspired by, his An Outcast of the Islands, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Duel, Victory, etc, etc. I have only read the novella Heart of darkness I must confess.

Llewyn Davis song

This is from the film and despite the odd sepia presentation it is hauntingly beautiful. Love the promoter's line at the end.

Yet another Sproul kindle freebie

If you look here you will see that you can currently get a free kindle version of R C Sproul on the Lord's prayer.

Dr Calhoun Church History Lectures

I have now listened to all 35 lectures from Dr David Calhoun on ancient and medieval church history given I the nineties at Covenant Theological Seminary. Each lecture is around 45 minutes in length and is a helpful introduction or refresher course in the main points of the history of the period from a Christian point of view. Church history is the subject rather than theology as such but there is some helpful stuff here all delivered in a warm and helpful way and well worth checking out. They are available on itunes u.


I was talking to someone about the American novel Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter the other day and so I selected it from the shelf and started to read it. It is not long and quite charming. The heroine is the orphaned daughter of a minister who plays a game based loosely on a biblical principle though more of the positive thinking variety. It's a charming and attractive story if a little saccharin in some ways. It first appeared in 1913 and several film adaptations have been made down the years.

Llewyn Davis

My oldest so Rhodri is around at the moment and last Saturday he asked me to come to the Odeon Cinema in Holloway Road to see Inside Llewyn Davis, which two of my other sons have seen and enjoyed. I'd seen it advertised and though it might be worth seeing. Somehow I'd not taken in that it was Coen brothers film. The last time I saw a Coen brothers film (Brother where art thou) I stumbled into it and was pleasantly surprised. The same thing has happened again. I don't like musicals or opera but the idea of a film with music in it really does appeal. This film has no real plot to speak of but provides a snapshot of that very interesting period in the early sixties when folk music was the next big thing in Greenwich Village, New York. The lead character is loosely based on one David Van Ronk (if there had been a real Welsh man I'd have ut him in my Welsh and proud series!). The character is a moral disaster area but plays and sings just fine, though not so well that he will be famous, it seems, unlike the famous person who appears at the end of the film. A film like this has to be described as whimsical and of appeal only to certain people (mostly blokes?). There is a lot of swearing.

Lord's Days 9 and 16 February 2014

I ended up not making an entry last week for some reason. Anyway we've been carrying on in Matthew 4 (the beginning of his ministry and the call of the first disciples) and Esther, which we have now finished. The final two sermons on Esther were on God's power to change things and the coming day of judgement. We had lunch together on the 9th and yesterday we had communion in the evening. The sermons this Sunday were very evangelistic and it was good to have people there for whom that was appropriate.

Times Top 20 Lyrics and Guitarists

I'm enjoying The Times pop school. It's totally subjective, of course, but the lyrics list reminded me of Carey by Joni Mitchell, which is a very good song, even though it is very personal and a little cryptic in places. (... a dulcimer, I think). Predictably the list of guitarists does not contain Jan Akkerman's name. Hank Marvin and Bert Weedon are there but then there's no Clapton or Townshend either and there are some pretty obscure names chosen almost at random too. But that's what journalism is all about, I guess.

10 one hit wonder novels

1. Black Beauty Anna Sewell
2. Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
3. Dr Zhivago Boris Pasternak
4. Catcher in the Rye J D Salinger
5. Gone with the wind Margaret Mitchell
6. The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath
7. Leopard Giuseppe di Lampedusa
8. The God of small things Arundhati Roy
9. Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Edgar Allan Poe

Times Top 20 Bands

The Times is doing a pop school this week starting today with the top twenty bands. They began with the Beatles and bravely left the Rolling Stones out (and Oasis). Glad to see T Rex there. Didn't expect Focus or Horslips but what about Creedence Clearwater Revival, Roxy Music, the Kinks, the Who?? Fleetwood Mac, Beach Boys, Slade was fair enough.

Rugby - not such a big deal

Despite impressions that may have been given by this blog in the past, we must reckon with the fact that rugby is not such a big deal. Perspective is so important.
PS I feared this humiliation was coming
PPS 23-6 it was, if you don't know.

Paxman spot on again

The second in the series on BBC1 on the Great War was very good once again. It included a section on the Battle of the Somme, which my paternal grandfather fought in as a conscript and survived. My wife's maternal grandfather was a conscientious objector and there was plenty on that too. The most moving moment was when Paxo read a letter from a Tynesider John Scollen to his family before battle. It went something like this:

My dear wife and children it is with regret I write ... last words of farewell to you, we are about to attack those awful Germans, if it is Gods holy will that I should fall I shall have done my duty to my King and Country and ... hope justly in the sight of God it is hard to part from you but keep good heart Dear Tina and do not grieve for me for God and his Blessed Mother will watch over you and my bonny little children and I have not the doubt but that my country will help you ... for the sake of one of its soldiers ... Well Dear Wife Tina ... you have been a good wife and mother to look after my canny bairns and I'm sure they will be a credit to both of us. Dearest Wife Christina accept this little souviner of France a cross made from a French bullet which I enclose to you. My Joe, Jack,Tina, and Aggie not forgetting my bonny little twins Nora and Hugh and my last flower baby whom I have only had the pleasure of seeing once since he came into the world God bless them ... Now my Dear Wife and children I have not anything more to say only to wish you all God's Holy Grace and Blessing so Good Bye ... and think of me in your prayers I know ... hard for you to recieve but God's will be done. From your faithful soldier husband and Father John Scollen

10 Longest reigning British monarchs

1 Victoria 20 June 1837-22 January 1901 63 years, 216 days ie 23,226 days
2 Elizabeth II 6 February 1952-Present61 years, 362 days ie 22,643 days
3 George III 25 October 1760-29 January 1820 59 years, 96 days ie 21,644 days
4 James VI of Scotland 24 July 1567-27 March 1625 57 years, 246 days ie 21,066 days
5 Henry III 18 October 1216-16 November 1272 56 years, 29 days ie 20,483 days
6 Edward III 25 January 1327-21 June 1377 50 years, 147 days ie 18,410 days
7 William I of Scotland 9 December 1165-4 December 1214 48 years, 360 days ie 17,892 days
8 Llywelyn of Gwynedd 1195-11 April 1240 45 years (approximately)
9 Elizabeth I 17 November 1558-24 March 1603 44 years, 127 days ie 16,198 days
10 David II of Scotland 7 June 1329-22 February 1371 41 years, 260 days ie 15,235 days

10 Longest Lived British Monarchs

1 Elizabeth I 21 April 1926-present 87 years, 288 days and rising ie 32,065 days
2 Victoria 24 May 1819-22 January 1901 81 years, 243 days ie 29,828 days
3 George III 4 June 1738-29 January 1820 81 years, 239 days ie 29,823 days
4 Edward VIII 23 June 1894-28 May 1972 77 years, 340 days ie 28,463 days
5 George II 10 November 1683-25 October 1760 76 years, 350 days ie 28,108 days
6 William IV 21 August 1765-20 June 1837 71 years, 303 days ie 26,235 days
7 George V 3 June 1865-20 January 1936 70 years, 231 days ie 25,797 days
8 Edward VII 9 November 1841-6 May 1910 68 years, 178 days ie 25,014 days
9 James II 24 October 1633-16 September 170167 years, 327 days ie 24,798 days
10 George IV 12 August 1762-26 June 1830 67 years, 318 days ie 24,789 days
(Inspired by a question on UC)

The American Indian

A friend in Cyprus recommended the book American Indian by the late R J Rushdoony recently on Goodreads and I was able to pick up a kindle version very cheaply (see here). It is a collection of 20 slightly overlapping essays on the subject from various times. if you grew up in the sixties like me, playing cowboy and Indians and watching old westerns on TV then you will already be interested in the subject. Rushdoony lays some myths to rest and writes sympathetically towards the native American and deprecatingly of most US government attempts to "solve the problem". Some of his assertions may sound controversial if you are not a aware of or sympathetic too the wider work of his Chalcedon Foundation. The essays are well written and a well thought out and will repay reading to any thinking Christian, whether the needs of native Americans are high on your agenda of interests or not. It would be good to hear that other Rushdoony materials currently hidden away in old magazines are being given similar treatment. The editorial work on this volume is of a high standard. PS If you're worried not a trace of theonomy or even post-millennialism in these pages.

Welsh and Proud 5 Jocelyn Hay

Jocelyn Hay


Jocelyn Hay c. 1927-2014

c 1927, Swansea, Wales
Died21 January 2014
OccupationJournalist and broadcasting campaigner
Known forFounder of the Voice of the Listener & Viewer

Lord's Day February 2 2014

We began this Lord's Day with communion. I then preached on the temptation of Christ from Matthew in the morning and Esther 7 in the evening. I remember a minister saying to me once that a pastor cannot expect to give his congregation slap up meals every Sunday. Sometimes it will be beans on toast. I felt like I had beans on toast sermons to serve yesterday. They preached better than I expected in preparation but I felt there was a bit of spark missing. We had a bumper turn out in the morning (mainly thanks to two groups of people turning up who we know but don't see so often) and a decent number in the evening. Still a few away, however. It was a big help to have my assistant take one of the readings in the morning and the prayer in the evening.

23:15 Shaky but safe start for Wales

Wales defeated a very strong Italy in the opening game of the Six Nations 23:15.
(Above - Cuthbertson scores Wales first try)
(And England lost to France!)