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 July 29 2018

Technically we were still in July yesterday but we re really inthe August period when numbers can be rather low. They certainly were yesterday with only around 25 there in the morning and 15 (not bad for us really) in the evening. The two new people came once again in the morning and there were three visitors from Paris. In the morning I preached another text - Jude 20, 21. That is a great text and it was good to be emphasising the love of God. The evening was a little different in that we had Sajida Iqbal with us talking about the work of Noor Ministries which is an evangelical work in Pakistan mainly focused at present on education. It is wonderful to realise what a wonderful work is going on there at the heart of this Muslim country. We hve rarely had someone speak in a worship service and although this was fine I felt a little squeezed come the sermon but that was probably my fault. I spoke on holy ambition from Matthew.

10 Names in Welsh for English Counties

1. Ebrauc/Efrog (York)
2. Henffordd (Hereford)
3. Rhydychen (literally, "oxen ford" Oxford)
4. Dyfnaint (Devon)
5. Cernyw (Cornwall)
6. Gwlad-yr-haf ("land of summer" Somerset)
7. Caer (Cheshire)
8. Caerwrangon (Worcester)
9. Caerloyw (Gloucester)
10. Caergrawnt (Cambridge, from Grantchester)

10 Names in Welsh for English Towns

1. Llundain (London)
2. Caer or Caerlleon (Chester)
3. Llwydlo (Ludlow)
4. Rhosan-ar-Wy (Rosson Wye))
5. Caerwynt (Winchester)
6. Yr Amwythig (Shrewsbury. It means "the fort in scrubland")
7. Croesoswallt (ie "Oswald's cross" Oswestry means "Oswald's tree" which could be referring to a cross)
8. Bryste (Bristol)
9. Lerpwl (Liverpool)
10. Llanllieni (Leominster)
(One erroneous "translation" is Rhydwely for Bedford, which is really Beda's ford)

10 Places on the island of Ireland also found in Wales

1. Larne, County Antrim; Laugharne, Carmarthenshire (Latharna, Talacharn)
2. Bangor, County Down; Bangor, Gwynedd and on Dee
3. Derry the city in Ulster; Deri the village near Caerphilly
4. Kerry the County; Kerry, Powys
5. Crumlin, Belfast, Crumlin, Dublin, etc; Crumlin, the village near Caerphilly (Cromghlinn, Crymlyn)
6. Holywell, near Swords, Dublin; Holywell, Flintshire
7. Newcastle, small places in Tipperary, Wicklow, etc; Newcastle Emlyn and two others

8. Newbridge, two places in Kildare and Galway; three places, including one on the Usk and one on the Wye
9. Newport, County Mayo; Newport, South Wales and Pembrokeshire
10. Newtown, loads everywhere in Ireland and a few in Ulster; Newtown, Powys.
(New Inn would be a similar example to these last)

Midweek Meeting July 25 2018

A number of us gathered again this week. We looked at the opening three verses of Genesis 19 and the figure of Lot, flawed but a righteous man and an example to us, especially of hospitableness. I hadn't intended to be but I was a little long and so we started to pray late and so one or two didn't pray who perhaps could have. Lots of things near and far to pray for as ever. Members meeting next.

10 Traditional Circus Acts

1. Clowns
2. High wire acrobats
3. Lion tamer (also other animal acts like performng seals)
4. Contortionist
5. Knife thrower
6. Juggler
7. Trapeze artists
8. Fire eater and sword swallower
9. Strong man
10. Escapologist and shallow diver

Day Off Week 30

Knowing I was planning to report back helped me be organised today I guess. It was a good day except for a rather low walking rate again. (It's too hot to be out much). I enjoyed lots of good music today among other things.
Some time ago I started reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse but had put it down unfinished. Anyway I managed to pick up again and enjoyed completing it both because I'm glad to have read a classic (I've not read anything else by Woolf) and because I enjoyed it (although it was an effort to psyche myself up to that level of language). I also read the last chapter of a book on Julia Pastrana translated from Norwegian  that I also started some time ago (it was the Jerry Bergman book on The Darwin Effect that reminded me I had it). The book came out in 2004 and Julia's body is still in Norway when it finishes but I read that she was eventually buried back in Mexico where she was born.
Earlier in the day I bought a new kitchen tap. The plumber came later in the day and did us a good couple of jobs. In the evening we were out in West London at my esteemed father-in-law's with his new wife (52 days he told us) and a nice group of others with different connections. A really lovely evening of food and conversation in good company.

Incredibles 2

The family got to see Incredibles 2 in the cinema recently (to be strictly accurate, Eleri went to see Mama Mia 2 - a mere 10 years behind the first not 16 like our one - while we three boys went to see Incredibles). The film was always we have come to expect from Pixar and followed on from the first film without etting the side down. Part of the focus is on the baby Jack Jack. I thought the idea that gifted kids are born with multiple skills but have to learn how to use them was nicely explored, the house husband/woman at work thing is perhaps a little passe but done nicely enough, I guess. The film is apparently littered with in-jokes. Sorry to see a slight worsening in allowable language. The sight of a hnad gun may be controversial.
The setting is the sixties when I discovered my superheroes and I think that is where they belong. Multiple films that seek to update things cut no ice with me. It is apparently the longest computer-animated feature film to date (nearly two hours) but did not seem long. (The short beforehand Bao was well up to standard). 

Killed by my debt

Alerted to it existence by an article in The Times we watched the BBC 3 drama Kielled by my debt the other night. It was a disturbing drama based on real events. A the story unfolded it had all the marks of a tragedy as it trudged on to the seemingly inevitable denouement. There are many problems in society today that this story highlights including zero hours contracts, easy credit, money hungry local councils, inhumane bailiffs, low views of the worth of hman life, th failure of Christians to connect, etc. If you ever wonder why aspects of socialism are always popular with some, you need only to watch this.

The Heatwave

This picture of Hampstead Heath appeared in The Times today

Lord's Day July 22 2018

I had an anonymous phone call before church. Someone wanted me to pray for a relative on heroin. I also had an email I noticed asking when the church was open. These are unusual but remind us that there are needy and to some extent willing people out there. Attendances at both services were quite good. The heat is demanding on preacher and congregation alike. I tried to keep it short. We looked at Hebrews 9:24-26 in the morning and the next bit in Matthew 20 (17-19) in the evening. We had a lovely gathering back here of several members and friends. Something distracting was on my mind through part of the day. I'm not sure if that made me a little flat. It was encouraging to see young people (new graduates) there. I hope they can stick with us.

Christian Institute

Last night we had a presentation from the good people at Christian Institute. Rhys Curnow (whose family we know) and Ian Hamil spoke. There is no particularly burning issue at the moment but it was good to get an update on things. There were some questions at the end and lots of literature for us to take. I do have one or two reservations about CI but they do a wonderful work all told and it is good hear from them regularly. It was also gratifying to see 30 or 40 present for the meeting. The first twenty or so were our own members and people from the Kensit Evangelical Church who had kindly transferred their midweek meeting to Childs Hill. Then there were various others from churches near and far including our nearest BU church. It was nice to have RHys over for tea beforehand with Eleri's dad and his wife.

Midweek Meeting Wednesday July 18 2018

We were only six on Wednesday but we had a decnet time of prayer preceded by a message from Gensis 18 on Abraham interceding for Sodom. Generally it is unwise to talk about prayer before people are about to pray but one man was quite exercised in prayer and to some extent prayed, I thought, in the sort of way Abraham might have.

Quotation about the British

In the Gimson book I read recently I came across this description of the attitude of most British people given in a  book on Queen Victoria by the historian Cecil Woodham-Smith (who turns out to be a woman born in Tenby and writing in the seventies).

British belief in the superiority of the British nation knew no bounds. It was an article of faith that one Englishman could beat six Frenchmen, more than six of any other foreign nation, and it was an almost religious conviction that the British possessed a sense of justice and fair play to be found nowhere else. An Englishman stood up for the weak, faced disaster without losing his head, kept his word and never kicked a man when he was down.

My grandfather was a Victorian and even in the seventies when I grew up this attitude was sometimes in the air. it is not hoow people think today.

10 Devilish words for despots beginning with D

1. Despotic
2. Dictatorial
3. Draconian
4. Drastic
5. Dreadful
6. Dominating
7. Domineering
8. Dogmatic
9. Driving
10. Demanding

The White Book, Kings and Queens and Fortunate Son

I saw The White Book the other day and was immediately attracted. I'd never heard of Han Kang but I like that whole eastern minimalist thing and snow (which features in the book, of course). Now one part of me feels I have been had. When you pay £9 for a book called the white book and you realise that half of it is white because there is no writing on many pages, you have to be suspicious. Along with the poorly executed black and white photographs there is plenty to complain about. On the other hand I did enjoy the series of prose poems that focus on things white and tell the minimalist story of a girl from Korea whose older sister and brother died when her mother miscarried and who travels to the west. It made me want to read more.

Having read Andrew Gimson's book on prime ministers I was attracted to his one on kings and queens too. I feel I ought to know such things. I am well up on about half the monarchs in this book but there were plenty of gaps in my knowledge and it was good to fill them in. It's a good book.
I have also recently read the biography of John Fogerty Fortunate son. I have two albums of the best songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival and am aware of some of Fogerty's subsequent material and most of the book was news to me. It was more than I really wanted ot know about the man really but it is(ghost) written very well. Fogerty is an admitted perfectionist and control freak and an obsessive. He speaks frankly about his alcohol abuse and other faults. He was clearly badly treated by Saul Zaentz with whom he signed a contract as a young man. He has not a good word to say for his drummer and bass player. He is slightly superstitious and also turns out to be a pantheist. When I read a book like this I tend to feel - so your life has been a bit of a mess too, I wish you knew what I knew.

A day off for reading, etc

I kept my usual day off this week, a Tuesday. Monday was tough for some reason, a typical minister's Monday. I was glad to have a proper day out, therefore. My main thing today was reading. I finished three books - a book on British Kings and Queens which I have been reading for a while, the biography of John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival on kindle and a novel by the Korean writer Han Kang The white book. I'll write more about them another time. I didn't do much walking (I failed to do 10000 steps) just sat and drank coffee. Practically, I also arranged a plumber to come and do a job for us and started measuring for some blinds I need to buy. I did a little blogging too and in the evening Eleri and I watched a TV drama for an hour.

10 things about Sir Alf Ramsey

With football in the news I have recently read Leo McKinstry's biography of Sir Alf Ramsey. The biography is not without faults but gives you a good idea of the man, I would guess. There are some differences of opinion, eg on whether he was withour a sense of humour or very dry. He certainly was not without humour. Here are ten things I learned about him

1. He is the only manager to take England to a World Cup final and to win the World Cup
2. He is the only manager to take a side (Ipswich) and win the top division the year they came up.
3. He was an essentially shy man
4. He was a man obsessed with football
5. He was a man who saw that it is teams that win football matches not individuals
6. He is one of only 15 football knights
7. He ws a man who generally did not swear but who could use some very ripe language at times
8. He was an Englishman who hated the Scots
9. He did not have a very good relatioship with the press
10. he was the first England manager to select the team himself, something he insisted on

10 Telewords

1. Telescope
2. Telegraph
3. Telegram
4. Telephone
5. Television
6. Telephoto lens
7. Teleprinter
8. Teleport
9. Teleconference
10. Telephotometer

Lord's Day July 15 2018

Great to be back in Childs Hill. We had (for us) large congregations am and pm with noticeable contingents of Nigerians and Filipinos in the morning as we were joined by visitors old and new. I preached another of the great texts in the morning - Ezekiel 36:26, 27. I'm amazed to think I've not tackled this as a text before now. So full of gospel. In the evening we started in Matthew 20 and the parable of the workers in the vineyard. That could have been done better perhaps. The heat did not make it easy for any of us. The evening meeting was preceded by communion where we looked again at Isaiah 53.

A day off in Aberystwyth

The old day off fell on a Satruday last week. It was my grandson Gwilym's fourth birthday party so we left London nice and early, drove without stopping and spent the day in Aber before heading home at the end of it, getting back here a little after midnight. My wonderful wife did all the driving. She likes to dive but still that was a stirling effort. The party itself was great with all five boys and wives there as well as people from Sibyl's family, local friends and people from the church. It is normally a fancy dress affair (this year's theme being Super Mario Brothers) but as it was optional no-ine dressed up except me. It's an interesting thing to know about yourself that you can be the only one there in fancy dress adn not be bothered. (One woman I'd not met before did wonder why I was dressed that way but did not like to ask). After most people were gone the family headed down to Tan-y Bwlch and despite the lack of swimming costumes most cooled off in the sea.

Midweek Meeting July 11 2018

Ten of us gathered last night for the midweek meeting. We had a little bit more from Genesis 18 and Abraham's friendship with God and then discussed topics before praying. Some churches shifted their meeting night I understand but we're not football fanatics here and I'm not sure it's a good idea anyway. As Gareth Southgate would say some things are more important than football. At least English fans will have less of a struggle on Sunday. (FYI I did with the first half. If only it had stayed like that). 

The Benedict Option

There was a quite a buzz about Rod Dreher's Benedict Option a year or so ago and on Monday our little group that gathers at the Pastors Academy in North London from time to time met to discuss it. As you might expect there was some antipathy to a book by a former Catholic Orthodox fellow who is basically advoccating that we learn from a Mediaeval monk. We tried to see past that and found many things in the book of interest. What struck me about the book was that it really contains nothing new. People have been speaking about it being a post-Christian situation at least since Schaeffer and the suggested answers - more community living, Christian education (not even the classical education idea is new), greater commitment, etc are also not new. If you have not read it you are not missing much but if this paragraph gets you curious it is worth getting a cheap copy or a paperback or borrowing one.

Next time
Calvin's Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) Oxford Studies in Historical Theology by Scott M Manetsch.

Lord's Day July 8 2018

I was down in Portsmouth last Lord's Day preaching for the folk at Grace Baptist Church, Copnor Road. (I was last there in 2009). A former member, someone who came to us as a student, is a member there and he looked after me for the afternoon. I know one or two other members of the congregation a little bit also. We were about 30 in the morning and something less in the evening. I preached on Ephesians 2:8-10 in the morning and Romans 8:28 in the evening. It was blessing to be there. More on the church here (the sermons are currently there also).
Alexander was preaching here for me and I think they got on well with several visitors.

Meal and Message with Mike Mellor

We had an encouraging evening last night. Mike Mellor came up from Bournemouth an gave his testimony and encouraged us all to faith in Christ. We were about twenty altogether, so not a large number, but about a quarter of us were people either new to us or near as. One lady comes often to events, another from time to time but the others (a Muslim, a Catholic, an Anglican, someone with vvarious trooubles who wandered in) were al fresh to us. SOme had simply read the leaflet and decided to come! How heartening. So not an achievemnet as such but a great opportunity. We pray something may come of it. The food, etc, as ever, was exceellent. Our members, especially the women, work really hard. If you don't know Mike's testimony you can get the flavour here (with Roger Carswell).

Midweek Meeting July 4 2018

We carried on with the next bit in Genesis 18 on Wednesday evening. This time it was on the God who knows where sin lurks and who sternly opposes it. Great themes. A couple from Slovakia turned up out of the blue and it was good to meet them and hear of their Brethren assembly in the north of the country. They travel regularly to London. Mikhael prayed in English as did all the regulars present. We were praying in particular for our evangelisitc meeting due the next night as well as plenty of other things.

Another two good days at the Met Tab Days 2 and 3 2018

I managed to get most of the rest of the Met Tab School of Theology. Ibrahim Ag Mohamed gave a matching message to his one on Ephesians on the first day with something on Philippians. I missed Dr Masters on the Wednesday evening as I was at our own midweek meeting. He closed the conference with something on Leviticus to match his earlier message on Psalms. Once again we were reminded that Classical music is kosher but Rock is unclean.
Dr Kurt Wise gave a further four power point presentations on the young earth, creation and the flood adn its aftermath. These wer excellent presentations - popular but erudite and full of good things. I am an instinctive young earther but I had not really heard a proper presentation before but this was quite dynamic. I thought that the argument that if we take Genesis 5 and 11 as complete genealogies we not only learn the age of the earth but gain a rationale for inscipturation at the point it comes quite persuasive.
Scott Aniol gave both his second and third papers to Christian cultural engagement. The first was a word study but the second was an excellent presentation of the two kingdoms view.
Nick Needham is always worth hearing. This time on the Synod of Dort he wassurefooted and wise as ever. The first paper covering the history was the more demanding.
All the message were videoed and will no doubt will appear on the website in due time. (The Wednesday evening message is already up). I guess around 300 adn more were there in the day time sessions adn more in the evenings. A worhtwhile conference. Good to see lots of old friends.

Good day at the Met Tab 2018 Day 1

It was great to hear Kurt Wise at the Met Tab last night as he gave a PowerPoint presentation covering six areas where the Creationist view makes more sense than the Evolutionary one - things such as the anthropic principle, beauty, the origin of life, etc. Very encouraging.
We also had an excellent paper from Scott Aniol of South Western Baptist Seminary clarifying Isaac Watts and his Trinitarianism. That was helpful and good lessons were drawn - the difficulty of drawing doctrinal boundaries, the importance of historical creeds and the vital place of hymns in determining people's theology.
Ibrahim Ag Mohamed and Dr Masters himself also spoke helpfully on benefiting from Ephesians and Psalms. I was sorry to miss the pastor from Colombia speaking about the work there.

A slightly different day off

My day off was slightly different this week as I took a different day to my usual one. The bonus here was that I got to have lunch with my wife, always a joy. (We're back on salads after a short respite). I began with a long walk to Highgate (no dog this time) followed by a coffee and puzzles but first I made sure I had breakfast and devotions (learning from last week). Later I worked on this book I'm trying to write, did some reading, a little blogging and watched most of the Brazil Mexico game.
In the evening we were scheduled for door to door work. It was gratifying to find we were six all told in the end (and one is going out another night). By this stage we are mostly leafleting. We do hope people will come to our meeting on Thursday evening.
Now, of course, you could say, is it a day off if you are working for the church in part of it? There are constant little issues like this for the minister. Given that everyone else was doing what they were doing on their own time I don't see it is a problem just because it fell on my day off. The church does not support me on an hours worked basis but in a way that means I do not have to do other work. On the same basis I was happy to do a few emails and take some phone calls.
I watched the dramatic end of the Belgium Japan game and did some ordering on Amazon for something I have planned then headed for bed.

Sloop John B live at Capitol Studios 2016

Lord's Day July 1 2018

A new month so we started with communion. I read Isaiah 53. In the morning I preached from the text John 15:26 (part of my hundred texts project again) on the Holy Spirit and in the evening when we were down to about ten of us, on the final verses of Matthew 19
By the end of the day I was quite discouraged. I know from the photo last week there were 39 of us. It also tells me that 13 of those were not there this week (if I add the ten or so not there last week that is some 23 gone astray). Having said that three last week were visiting and one has now left us for South Africa. Seven of those missing were away in Sri Lanka, Turkey and Bedford. Further, another three of the ten were back plus at least two visitors. Someone also shared with me an seemingly intractable situation they are in which is sad too.
I've been here before. The only answer is to humble yourself, repent and press on. No-one ever suggsted it would be easy.

10 Drummers who led bands

  1. Dave Clark (Dave Clark Five)
  2. Jon Hiseman (Colosseum, etc)*
  3. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac)
  4. Stewart Copeland (The Police)
  5. Buddy Rich
  6. Gene Krupa
  7. Jack Parnell
  8. Eric Delaney
  9. Art Blakey
  10. Chick Webb
* This list was prompted by the recent death of Jon Hiseman