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.

10 Writers known by their double initial

1. A A Milne (Alan Alexander)
2. C S Lewis (Clive Staples)
3. G K Chesterton (Gilbert Keith)
4. H G Wells (Herbert George)
5. P G Wodehouse (Pelham Grenville)
6. T S Eliot (Thomas Stearns)
7. P L Travers (Pamela Lyndon)
8. P D James(Phyllis Doris)
9. V S Naipaul (Vidiadhar Surajprasad)
10. W H Auden (Wystan Hugh)

See more here

Childs Hill or Princes Risborough?

I spotted this Metro article here, which is interesting. Of course, I don't have 890k to spend anyway.

10 popular songs that feature violin

1. Coz I luv u Slade
2. Baba O'Riley The Who
3. Come on Eileen Dexy's Midnight Runners
4. Rather be Clean Bandit
5. Devil went down to Georgia Charlie Daniels Band
6. I am a man of constant sorrow Soggy Bottom Boys
7. Seven drunken nights The Dubliners
8. Sunday Bloody Sunday U2
9. Don't pass me The Beatles
10. Hocus Pocus Vanessa Mae

Lord's Day August 26 2018

I was really looking forward to being back in Childs hill on the Lord's Day and to some extent I was not disappointed. We still have several away on holiday and others were missing too. However, our morning numbers were swollen with visitors which helped. It was nice to have a family back who were with us some years ago (it was good to have Ian and family back for lunch - he was my assistant for one brief spell in the noughties) and members of another family that we know of if we do not know. I preached on Luke 15:1, 2 in the morning. This will probably begin a series on Luke 15. In the evening I preached on 1 Peter 4:3 a text that has been buzzing round my head a lot recently for some reason. We were few in the evening but not too bad.

My Boy's in Boise

At a fairly early hour this morning we heard from Boise, Idaho that my son has safely arrived and can now belatedly begin his year of studies in the State University. He left us 10 days ago, flying via Canada. When he arrived in Vancouver, however, he discovered that he had no US visa and so was delayed while that was sorted out. He slept in the airport the first night but then bumped into some he knew vaguely (I know) and she was able to provide a sofa. As it became clear that things were going to take time he was able to go and stay with relatives of mine on Vancouver Island. He did have to spend one or two nights in a hostel. It has cost time and money and been a pain but overall it hasn't been too bad and we are thankful to God.
It is always good to think through God's providences. There were plenty of negatives - not getting the visa right, the fact the Vancouver US Consulate closes on the third Wednesday of the month, the day he needed first needed it, etc. However, there were lots of positives too.

1. He has finally reached Boise and not too late having missed only induction and four days
2. It was good for him to depend on the Lord and that we and others were stirred up to pray for him
3. It is good that he came to no harm during all his time in the big city
4. What a providence that he should bump into my daughter-in-law's friend and be able spend time with her
5. It is good that he had time to do some sightseeing in Vancouver which would probably not have happened otherwise
6. Another providence was being able to stay with my aunt and uncle who were so very kind
7. Let's not forget what a wonderful thing the Internet is in enabling him to keep in touch with us
8. What a blessing the 'phone was. He had thought of not taking it as it is too expensive to use stateside but was able to whatsapp us whenever he was in wi-fi range
9. We were glad that he got to church on the Lord's Day morning at a Calvary Baptist Church in Chemainus. He did link up by phone with the son of a friend but he was further away which was a pity.
10. I am not sure whether going via Canada was for the best or not. His first crisis came in Gatwick when they made him get an esta for Canada. If he had been flying directly to America maybe they would not have let him leave the UK. That might have resulted in greater financial loss, not been any quicker and, of course, he would not have had the adventures he has had. The mystery of providence.
(I should add that in the pic my boy is still in Vancouver)

Midweek Meeting August 22 2018

There were just five of us last night for the midweek meeting. I took us to Acts 6:4 which has been on my mind recently and restated our commitment to ministry of the Word and prayer. It was a brief but good time of prayer that followed. It's good to be back.

Lord's Day August 19 2018

I was sat listening for once this past Lord's Day. I was in Alfred Place, Aberystwyth and it was the first time my father-in-law, Geoff Thomas, was preaching for the first time there sncehis retirement. It was vintage Geoff, looking at sections from Mark's Gospel. In the morning it was New wine needs new wine skins (Mark 2:18-22) and in the evening Jesus - Mightier than death (Mark 5:21-43). These days the morning service has a short prayer and praise session at 10.30 am with the main service at 11 am. In the evening they met at 5 pm. A good number were present including some still in town after the conference.

10 People who have been buried at sea

1. Neil Armstrong (1930–2012), cremated, ashes scattered into the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. Navy cruiser Philippine Sea
2. H. G. Wells (1866–1946), cremated and ashes scattered in the sea off England
3. Adolf Eichmann (1906–1962), following his execution in Israel, his body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea over the Mediterranean, in international waters. This was done because Israel did not want such a person buried in its soil, and also did not want a grave elsewhere that might have become a place of pilgrimage for other Nazis.
Also Osama bin Laden (1957–2011);[24] one U.S. official stated that "finding a country willing to accept the remains of the world's most wanted terrorist would have been difficult". It was also done to prevent his burial place from becoming a "terrorist shrine"
4. Janis Joplin (1943–1970), cremated at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, and ashes scattered into the Pacific Ocean
5. Richard Rodgers (1902–1979), cremated ashes scattered
6. Steve McQueen (1930–1980), cremated and ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean
7. Peter Lawford (1923–1984), actor, cremated and ashes originally buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery; they were later removed and scattered in the Pacific Ocean
8. Rock Hudson (1925–1985), cremated ashes scattered. Also Robert Mitchum (1917–1997), cremated ashes scattered.
9. Vincent Price (1911–1993),[20] ashes scattered off Point Dume in Malibu, California
10. Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008), cremated, and ashes scattered in New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf
(Also Sir Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980), ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean; Sir Gene Kelly (1912–1996), cremated ashes scattered and Robin Williams (1951–2014), cremated the day after his death, ashes scattered in San Francisco Bay)

Aber 2018 Friday

And another week has gone. Paul Mallard took us helpfully through the final session on Elijah. This pretty difficult material in some ways and he handled it well, although he probably ended up with too many anecdotes. Paul Levy gave the evening message, looking at Psalm 16 and speaking about death and life in Christ. We closed with the doxology a capella. It was a shame that it was only at that point we sung unaccompanied. Sermons available here and here.

Aber 2018 Thursday

Bit behind here but just to say we had an excellent morning again with Paul Mallard on Elijah (Carmel this time) and then in the evening we had a superlative sermon on Christ's power over disaster, disease, demons and death from Stuart Olyott. I guess simplicity and use of narrative was the aim and that was the case. It did my soul good and refreshed me. Incredibly, not everyone got on with it. The link for Paul is here and for Stuart it is here

Aber 2018 Wednesday

Another full day here in Aber. Paul Mallard gave his second address in the morning on Elijah in Zarephath (a straightforward no holds bar Calvinistic address) and Pete Campbell from Penrhyndeudraeth preached from 1 Corinthians on godly and worldly sorrow - great choice of subject and well illustrated. In the afternoon I attended a helpful seminar on the church in a changing world. Mark Barnes chaired and Stuart Olyott adn Dave Gobbett spoke very helpfully. (One snag with the seminar is that it was billed as being for church leaders and yet followed hard on the ministers' wives lunch). Links here and here.

Aber 2018 Second evening Mark Johnston

Good to hear (still virtually I'm afraid though I am now in Aber) Mark Johnston preaching from Hebrews 11. A blessing to hear. Nice to hear Reuben Saywell read and pray. Here.

Aber 2018 Morning 1 Paul Mallard

Great to hear Paul Mallard giving his first message in Aber on Elijah, on God's Word despised, declared and defended. Good stuff. It was especially good to hear him speking up for preaching. Even in the best circles that is often forgotten. (Not forgetting prayer, of course).

10 thoughts on conversion from John Bunyan

In The Acceptable Sacrifice or The Excellency of a Broken Heart: Showing the Nature, Signs, and Proper Effects of a Contrite Spirit John Bunyan summarises himself thus

And thus have I showed you the necessity of a broken heart.

1. Man is dead, and must be quickened
2. Man is a fool, and must be made wise
3. Man is proud, and must be humbled
4. Man is self-willed, and must be broken
5. Man is fearless, and must be made to consider
6. Man is a false believer, and must be rectified
7. Man is a lover of sin, and must be weaned from it
8. Man is wild, and must be tamed
9. Man disrelishes the things of God, and can take no savour in them, until his heart is broken

We can add
10. Man is bound for hell, and must be rescued

Aber 2018 First Evening Dave Gobbett

The EMW Aber Conference 2018 is now under way. I am not in Aber at present but I did listen to Dave Gobbett online preaching helpfully on "Faith that works" from James 2:14-26. The main meetings are all being streamed and can I think be accessed here on Youtube.

Lord's Day August 12 2018

I was at home again yesterday. The evening meeting must have been our smallest meeting this year, with only six people (seven by the end) present. (Amazingly, that included a lovely Muslim we have met recently). It was much better in the morning with nearly 30 there. If only we had less oncers. I had chosn well known hymns, which helped us, and I stuck to preaching texts. I had never taken John 3:3 before and was glad to be preaching it in the morning with several unbelievers present.The other text worked out well too. A couple frm church kindly invited me to lunch. Tha was lovely.

10 Nautical Terms from Riddle of the Sands

1. Davit - device for hoisting and lowering a boat
2. Taffrail - rail round the stern of a ship
3. Mizzen-mast - mast aft or next aft of the mainmast in a ship
4. Lee-boards - a lifting foil used by a sailboat, much like a centreboard, but located on the leeside
5. Bowsprit - spar that extends at bows of a ship
6. Jib - small triangular sail extending from the head of the foremast
7. Bumpkin - spar projecting from stern of ship
8. Schooner - a yacht with two masts of which the foremost is shorter than the mizzen (opposite of a ketch rig)
9. Yawl - ship’s small boat; sailboat carrying mainsail and one or more jibs
10. Ketch-rigged - this refers to how the sails are configured. A ketch is a two-masted sailing craft whose mainmast is taller than the mizzen mast. The name "ketch" is derived from "catch" or fishing boat

The Riddle of the Sands

I finished reading The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers the other day. I picked it up and put it down several times in recent years but have finally finished it. It is a spy story in the style of a John Buchan novel I suppose. Such books are easier to watch as films than to read. The book uses a large number of nautical terms and so I had to look up several terms. I read most of it ona  kindle, which comes into its own in that situation as it is a simple matter of highlighting the word and reading the dictionary definition. The yarn is a good one adn worthy of its reputation. I seemed unable to find a copy with maps, which is a helpful extra in trying to follow the plot.

Lord's Day, August 5 2018

I'm not usually present in the church for much of August but the way it's turned out this year I came home from Wales last Friday in order to preach. Being the first Sunday in the month we began with communion - only about eight of us. We got up to around 25 later but were back down to about eight come the evening service. I took texts I have looked at in the past - Luke 11:13 and John 4:24. It was encouraging to have a visitor in the morning who took a copy of Ultimate Questions and seemed to have been helped by the sermon. Someone we met at our recent Meal and Message returned in the evening and that was good too, as was the presence in the morning of three recent new attendees. Some missing, however - not just those away on holidays but others (I know one was working). By my calculations this Sunday marked my having been pastor at the church longer than any previous one (34 years, 9 months, 3 weeks).

Nice few days in Laugharne

Skrinkle Haven


Skrinkle Haven
We had our main family holiday this year in the West Wales town of Laugharne (hme an burial place of Dylan Thomas and as featured in a recent Welsh TV drama). A lovely few days that included trips to Tenby and Skrinkle Haven, it was  good time.

10 severed ears

1. Malchus, servant of the High Priest - in the first century his ear was cut off by Peter's sword as revealed in the Gospels. Thankfully, it was restored by Jesus.
2. Vincent van Gogh - he famoulsy cut off part of his own left ear in Arles in 1888
3. Robert Jenkins, a Welsh Sea Captain - his ear was cut off in 1731 by the Spanish, leading eventually to a war that was later named for his ear
4. Thomas Barrie - In 1538 he was pilloried and had his ears nailed to the pillory. They were then cut off at the end of the day. The punishment was for treason. He died of shock.
5. William Prynne - both ears removed in 1634 for seditious libel
6. Henry Burton - suffered in a  similar way to Prynne in 1637 (as did John Bastwick)
7. Evander Hollyfield - he had part of his ear bitten off in 1997 by Mike Tyson in a boxing match
8. John Paul Getty III - the wealthy heir was kidnapped in 1973 and his kidnappers removed one of his ears
9. Clive Mantle,  the actor - he had part of his ear bitten off by an attacker in 2014
10. Sean Fitzpatrick, All Blacks rugby captain - he lost a chunk of his cauliflower ear when  Springbok Johan Le Roux bit him in a 1994 incident that destroyed the South African's international rugby career.

10 or more statements about the cross by John Bunyan

I shall therefore show you, first, what was expected of God in the sacrifice in the type, and then show you how it was answered in the antitype. Secondly, I shall show you the manner of the offering of the type, and so answerable thereto to shew you the fitness of the sacrifice of the body of Christ, by way of answering some questions.
1. God did expect that sacrifice which he himself had appointed, and not another; to signify, that none would serve his turn but the body and soul of his appointed Christ, the mediator of the new covenant, John 1:29
2. This sacrifice must not be lame nor deformed; it must have no scar, spot, or blemish; to signify, that Jesus Christ was to be a complete sacrifice by covenant, I Pet 1: 29
3. This sacrifice was to be taken out of the flock or herd; to signify, that Jesus Christ was to come out of the race of mankind, according to the covenant, Heb. 10:5
But, secondly. As to the manner of it
1. The sacrifice, before it was offered, was to have the sins of the children of Israel confessed over it; to signify, that Jesus Christ must (Isa. 53:4-7, 1 Pet 2:24) bear the sins of all his children by covenant - As for thee, by the blood of thy covenant, in his own body on the tree Zech. 9:10-12
2. It must be had to the place appointed - namely, without the camp of Israel; to signify, that Jesns Christ must be led to Mount Calvary, Luke 23:33
3. The sacrifice was to be killed there; to signify, that Jesus Christ must and did suffer without the city of Jerusalem for our salvation.
4. The sacrifice must not only have its life taken away, but also some of its flesh burned upon the altar; to signify, that Jesus Christ was not only to die a natural death, but also that he should undergo the pains and torments of the damned in hell.
5. Sometimes there must be a living offering and a dead offering, as the goat that was killed, and the scape-goat, the dead bird and the living bird, (Lev. 14:3-6) to signify, that Jesus Christ must die, and come to life again.
6. The goat that was to die was to be the sin offering; that is, to be offered as the rest of the sin-offerings, to make an atonement as a type; and the other goat was to have all the sins of the children of Israel confessed over him, (Lev. 16:7-22) and then to be let go into the wilderness, never to be catched again; to signify, that Christ's death was to make satisfaction for sin, and his coming to life again was to bring in everlasting (Rom. 4:25) justification from the power, curse, and destroying nature of sin.
7. The scape-goat was to be carried by a fit man into the wilderness; to signify, that Jesus Christ should be both fit and able to carry our sins quite away from us, so as they should never be laid to our charge again. Here is grace.
8. The sacrifices under the law, commonly part of them must be eaten, (Exod.12:5-11) to signify, that they that are saved should spiritually feed on the body and blood of Jesus Christ, or else they have no life by him, John 6:51-53)
9. This sacrifice must be eaten with unleavened bread; to signify, that they which love their sins, that devilish leaven of wickedness, they do not feed upon Jesus Christ.
(10) Now, of what hath been spoken this is the sum, that there is a sacrifice under the new covenant, as there were sacrifices under the old; and that this sacrifice did every way answer that, or those; indeed, they did but suffer for sin in show, but he in reality; they as the shadow, but he as the substance.


In Waterstones the other day I noticed several of the longlisted Man Booker Prize novels. For the first time a graphic novel is included - the second by American Nick Drnaso. I bought a copy for one of my sons who into that medium and he has now read it and so have I. I have never read such a  thing before and have enjoyed the experience I guess. The fact one can read so quickly s an advantage in some ways but I find it difficult to see how it can compete with what is open to the more regular novel writer. The story looks at the area of crime, violence, secrecy and conspiracy theory in a fairly predictable but not a banal way. There is some swearing and blasphemy but unhelpful topic areas are avoided. One could reread it with profit and the simple but skilful graphic representation enhances the pleasure of a well executed book. Perhaps I'll read the first novel.

Welsh Nicknames

I picked up this book by Les Chamberlain in a giftshop and enjoyed reading it today. It is inevitably a fairly personal exploration of the topic with some rather amusing examples. It made me think of ones I have known. In school a boy called Gwilym became Billy Bee, a boy called Chris Davies CD and a boy called Gareth, Gakkers. Our headmaster (still in an academic gown in those days) was known as Boris (from Karloff I assume). Other teachers were Dakkers (from Dilwyn) Jesse (as in Jesse Matthews though her first name was not Jesse) U-ee (a Mr Cook who would begin saying you see and descend to U-ee as the lesson wore on).  A fellow student called Baranski was sometimes referred to as the sledded Polack (see MacBeth). For a short while when a student cowboy names were used - Rocky Rhydderch, Lofty Lloyd, Butch Baranski and Bryn Tin Tin (I was Bronco Burke). My wife told me they used to call a girl Cathy Crimplene and an old friend told me they called a teacher who said right a lot, Lefty.

The Lies of the Land

I saw this new book advertised in Private Eye and after reading a sample on ebook I bought the rest of it and enjoyed being reminded of the various lies, mainly in British politics, told by politicians. I was familiar with most of the examples given although there were things I'd missed and things I had failed to get completely clear on in the past. Macqueen's final word argue against the cynicism that this sort of book is likely to fuel and makes some suggestions for reform. I'm not so sure they would make that much difference. It is important to remember that most people are willing to lie in a tight corner and sometimes do. It is a reminder to pray for pur ploitical leaders. it is not easy to keep it straight. Nicely written, although the earlier chapters read better than later ones, probably due to the subject matter.

3 Dylans

My son Dylan next to a wooden bust of Dylan Thomas in Laugharne, wearing a Bob Dylan t-shirt

10 Sun words

1. Sunshine
2. Sunbeam
3. Sunglasses
4. Sunbathe
5. Sunburn
6. Sunspot
8. Sunflower
9. Sunroof
10. Sundial