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.

Midweek Meeting December 23 2020 etc

Snow 2010

Seems a long time ago but we had a midweek meeting just over a week ago. We had thought about cancelling as many of us would be busy getting ready for guests but then Mr Johnson made his announcement and it was back on. I decided we should have only a prayer meeting, in case anyone was busy. When you only have prayer it is often better than with a Bible Study too as time is easier to manage and whereas if time is tight people console themselves with the thought that there was no time to pray they feel under more pressure when it's just prayer to lead and often do so. Once again we had a good time of prayer then. it was hard to get a word in.

We also had a meeting on Christmas Day. We only had 12 in the chapel as there were no visitors hardly, although a woman who comes once a year visiting her mother was there and it was good to see her again and our fiend who has been attending regularly of late (he did ask a question during the sermon but it was a help not a distraction). There were about 16 on zoom too. I preached from Matthew 1:25. I only preached for 17 minutes and the whole thing was only about 45 minutes.

Song of The Year

It came out in 1982 but a good contender for song of the year must be this one.

John Wesley on the Radio

I enjoyed listening yesterday to a recent edition of Melvyn Bragg's In our time on Radio 4. It was on  John Wesley and Methodism and can be accessed here. The approach is pretty secular but it spotlights some interesting and important matters.

10 Christmas Songs Written by Jewish Writers

  1. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree Johnny Marks (also Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Run Rudolph Run)
  2. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Edward Pola and George Wyle (born Sidney Edward Pollacsek and Bernard Weissman)
  3. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Sammy Cahn (born Cohen) and Jule Styne (born Julius Kerwin Stein)
  4. Santa Baby Joan Javits and Philip Springer
  5. Silver Bells Jay Livingston (born Jacob Harold Levison) and Ray Evans
  6. Winter Wonderland Richard B Smith and Felix Bernard (born Bernhardt)
  7. White Christmas Irving Berlin (born Israel Baline)
  8. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) Mel Torme
  9. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin
  10. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie
(also Do you hear what I hear? by Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne and Getting ready for Christmas Day Paul Simon. At a stretch Do they know it's Christmas? Midge Ure and Bob Geldof who had a Jewish grandfather).

Happy Birthday Jan Akkerman

Jan Akkerman is 74 today.

Kia-ora "Too orangey for crows"

Not sure why but this old ad came to mind recently

365 Albums 346-355

  1. Appelsientje Kerstconcert Dick Bakker & The London Symphony Orchestra 1991
  2. Angels and Men Kate Rusby 2017 
  3. Advent to Christmas Page CXVI 2013* 
  4. Sweet Bells Kate Rusby 2008
  5. Holly Head Kate Rusby 2019 
  6. Joy to the world Thijs van Leer & Family 1996 
  7. The Frost is all over Kate Rusby 2015 
  8. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh & The Carnival Band 2001 
  9. Three Ships Jon Anderson
  10. I got the Blues for Christmas Peter Green & The Men in Blue 1997#
(# Not the Peter Green, some other bloke)

Christmas in Riyadh

People buy Christmas hats from a shop selling various items for Christmas celebrations, after the government eased restrictions on the sale of Christmas ornaments and decorations, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 9, 2020. (REUTERS)

Not sure if I'm happy about this or not. Mostly happy. More here.

Christmas Strikes Back

One of my sons made this. You might enjoy it.

Lord's Day December 21 2020

We got to the real heart of the Christmas story yesterday with sermons on Luke 2:1-7 and Luke 2:8-20. In the morning we were in the chapel and with a fair turn out (except for our Nigerian friends for some unknown reason). The man I think I have referred to as a local character in the past was there once again, sat in the front row with his ginormous lockdown beard. For the first time ever he sat through the whole sermon. I tend to feel that f you can get them to listen you're part way there. We will see. It was just zoom in the evening. We had a good time again.

Midweek Meeting Wednesday December 16 2020

On Zoom as ever for a good time of prayer and a short message from Acts 20:35. People appreciated the brevity, I think. We were about 18 so a little down in numbers.

Westminster Conference Online 2020

We were able to have a mini Westminster Conference earlier in the month and the papers and discussion are now available on YouTube.

Day Off Week 51 2020

Tuesday was the last day in Tier 2 so I took opportunity to get a coffee at our local Costa and read the paper in the morning. As reported earlier I read John Piper's Innkeeper and a few more stories from the Big Book of Christmas Mysteries. Also did some blogging and eighteenth century work. In the evening we watched another episode of The Crown. These are self-contained and well-constructed pieces that are a little loose with the truth but good drama. Nice day on the whole.

10 Subjects for Meditation from Swinnock

Writing about meditation in The Christian man's calling George Swinnock says

There is abundant matter for our meditation; as 
  1. the Nature or Attributes of God,
  2. the States (of Christ - original glory, humiliation, exaltation)
  3. and Offices of Christ, (prophet, priest and king)
  4. the three-fold state of man, (more often thought of as the fourfold state - primitive integrity, entire depravation, begun recovery and consummate happiness or misery)
  5. the four last things, (death, judgement, heaven, hell)
  6. the vanity of the creature,
  7. the sinfulness of sin,
  8. and the love and fullness of the blessed Saviour,
  9. the Divine Word
  10. and Works;
out of these we may choose sometimes one thing, sometimes another to be the particular subject of our thoughts,

Lord's Day December 13 2020

Way behind as ever but last Last Lord's Day we carried on through Luke 1, looking at Luke 1:39-56 am (GLORIFY GOD WHO LIFTS UP THE HUMBLE AND BRINGS DOWN THE PROUD) and then at the rest of the chapter pm (PRAISE GOD FOR COMING TO REDEEM IN MERCY AND SAVE) - chiefly then the Magnificat and the Benedictus. In the morning we were in person in the chapel and in the evening at home on zoom. We had a decent turn out in the morning but there could have been more. A Ghanaian family came for the first time. We hope we see more of them. We used the EMW's Christmas hymns but, of course, could not sing.

10 Places in England with an X in

  1. Halifax
  2. Oxford
  3. Felixstowe
  4. Exeter
  5. Uttoxeter
  6. Wroxeter
  7. Axminster
  8. Brixham
  9. Buxton
  10. Oxted
(There's Wrexham too in Wales and Saxmundham, etc)

From My Christmas Blog 2

There are one or two thi8ngs about this publication that I am a little unhappy about but if you want a good little book that will give you a good angle on the Christmas story do get this book and read it or try here on YouTube to bear John Piper reading it aloud.

From My Christmas Blog 1

Here is a nice selection of detective fiction for Christmas time. The last volume (Christmas in the snow) fails as it is not really Christmassy or snowy enough all through. See here.

In Writing 136 now available from The Library

It features the annual lecture and other things. Get it from the Library.


365 Albums 330-345

  1. Hymns - Lullabies Page CXVI 2012*
  2. And Winter came Enya 2008
  3. Drive the cold winter away Horslips 1985
  4. Christmas Variations Rick Wakeman 2000*
  5. The Jethro Tull Christmas Album Jethro Tull 2003
  6. Music per la Notte de Natale Thijs v Leer, Louis van Dijk, Rogier van Otterloo 1976*
  7. We Three kings The Roches 1990
  8. Chris Squire's Swiss Choir Chris Squire 2007
  9. The Christmas Album Keith Emerson 1999
  10. December The Moody Blues 2003
  11. The Dawn of Grace Sixpence None the Richer 2008
  12. While Mortals Sleep Kate Rusby 2011
  13. Kerst met Thijs van Leer en Elly Ameling in de Grote Kerk Te Monickendam Thijs v Leer & Elly Ameling 1979* 
  14. Carols & Capers Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band 1991
  15. A Tapestry of Carols Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band 1986

Midweek Meeting December 9 2020

We were on zoom last Wednesday as usual. We must have been around 20 altogether, a lot higher than we might have been if we were in the building. Even then there were several missing. We looked at Matthew 1:21 and a good length prayer time followed with lots of people taking part. I wish more had prayed. We had a members meeting the next night so I did not want to lengthen things unduly.

Day Off Week 50

There has been a little gap as we were in Cardiff one week helping our son and family to move house - I was in charge of putting books on shelves and it was nice to round up a few of my strays (!). Then the next week we went to Aber to be with our oldest son and his family as it would have been on that week that the baby girl they were expecting, Angharad, would probably have been born. This week it was the more usual being at home and reading and what not. I enjoyed reading some of the shirt stories on one of my Christmas books that I have on kindle, a book of short stories. I also spent a little time in the eighteenth century working on different projects. In the evening we watched an episode of the Crown.

Systematic Theology 2

I saw my esteemed father-in-law recently and he had a nice Christmas present for me - Volume 2 of the new Systematic Theology by Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley. There was one for him and one for me, as you can see. I have only read the first 800 pages of Volume 1 so I need to get going. Volume 3 looms. It is brilliant - from the very paper itis printed on to the questions posed at the end of each chapter.

Seasonal Prog Rock

10 People with reduplicated names

  1. Bev Bevan, English drummer with The Move, ELO
  2. Magnus Magnusson, Icelandic journalist and TV presenter
  3. Kris Kristofferson, American country singer and composer
  4. Boutros Boutros Ghali, Egyptian former UN head
  5. M(arj)o(rie) Mowlam, English politician
  6. Jo(seph) Johnson, English politician and brother of the PM
  7. William Williams, Welsh hymn writer and preacher
  8. Jerome K Jerome, English novelist
  9. Ford Maddox Ford, English novelist
  10. Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer

Lord's Day December 6 2020

So it was back to the chapel again last Lord's Day morning. We began with communion. Only eight of us. We welcomed a new member with the right elbow of fellowship. I wish we could have been more. Unable to persuade people that we should sing, we had two recordings of carols from YouTube. That was okay although the second hymn had different words to what was in our books. There were other technical difficulties I was told. In the evening it was just zoom. I carried on with Luke 1 at both services, verses 5-25 then verses 26-38. It's great to look at these verses again.

Midweek Meeting December 2 2020

We were on zoom last Wednesday again and looking at 1 Chronicles 15. We also meet for prayer which we are getting used to. One of our best pray-ers was not there but others stepped up to the mark. Prayers were slightly longer than usual I thought. Good time.

Mozart's Requiem ENO

If you have an hour to spare check BBC Iplayer and the ENO performance of Mozart's Requiem. Well worth a listen. Skip to 7:38 if you only want the music. Link here.

Lord's Day November 29 2020

Hopefully for the last time, it was all zoom last Lord's Day. I went to the chapel in the morning to broadcast We looked at the final chapter of 2 Corinthians - Chapter 13. By taking the whole chapter I ended up with a bit of a ragbag and was a little dissatisfied with the result. In the evening I broadcast from home. We looked at the opening verses of Luke's Gospel. I plan to work my way through Luke's Gospel for a second time over the coming months (and more probably). We had a good attendance and there is a good loving spirit in these difficult times. I am still conscious, however, of some few missing out.

365 Albums 316-330

  1. Life in Slow Motion David Gray 2005
  2. Thief Soundtrack Tangerine Dream 1981
  3. Heaven's Open Mike Oldfield 1991
  4. I'm in the Mood Live Recorded Selections 2002/2003 Jan Akkerman 2003
  5. Sorcerer Soundtrack Tangerine Dream 1977
  6. Charisma Joachim Kuhn 1977
  7. L'Apocalypse Des Animaux Vangelis 1973
  8. Parallel Lines Blondie 1978
  9. The City Vangelis 1990
  10. Whirlwind Spin 1977
  11. Forcefield III To Oz and Back 1989
  12. Wild Connections Jack Lancaster & Rick van der Linden 2007
  13. Gabrielle Gabrielle 1996
  14. QE2 Mike Oldfield 1980
  15. Incantations Mike Oldfield 1978

Midweek Meeting November 25 2020

On zoom again last Wednesday for another chapter of 1 Chronicles - Chapter 14. We then nearly got sidetracked on the matter of the vaccine and what to make of it as we gathered up matters for prayer but got going in prayer in due time and a good time it was.

Westminster Conference 2020


You may be aware that the Westminster Conference this year has not been possible but there is a short online version next week. The two sessions will be

Tuesday 1st December 2020

DAVID MCKAY ~ Pastor of Shaftesbury Square RPC, Belfast
Luther stands astride the history of the Reformation like a colossus. We all know, or think we know, his famous, “Here I stand …” But what governed his life and bound his heart? Who or what directed Luther’s steps? In some respects, he could be seen as a flamboyant rebel with a stiff neck. In others, he appears a humble subject with a bent knee. We need to see him in a milieu in which authority was very differently understood in comparison to our own day, and to learn how he wrestled with and submitted to authority, whether God’s or man’s.

LEONARD O DE CHIRICO ~ Pastor of Breccia di Roma
If you read much Protestant and Reformed theology from the 16th and 17th centuries, especially of a more polemical kind, you are likely to come up against the name of Robert Bellarmine (1542–1621). Who was this man, and why was he such a significant interlocutor with the Reformers and their successors? Leonardo De Chirico will introduce the man, survey his works and his thought, and help us to understand how and why he became one of the most prominent and even respected opponents of the Protestant Reformation.

The conference will be on more than one platform. The Youtube link is

Westminster Conference 2020 on YouTube 

Westminster Conference 2020 on Facebook

So, God willing, the conference will run from 2pm until 5pm on Tuesday 1st December 2020. Two of our original speakers will be joining us to deliver two papers, followed by a round table discussion.

At 2pm, David McKay, pastor of Shaftesbury Square RPC, Belfast, will speak on Luther and Authority. After a short break, at 3.15pm Leonardo De Chirico, pastor of Breccia di Roma, will address us on Bellarmine against the Reformers. Immediately following this paper, our two speakers will participate 
in a moderated round table discussion. We expect to conclude by about 5pm.
Anyone is welcome to join us. We hope that this may be an opportunity for many who do not normally attend the conference in person to get a taste of the theology and history which we love to study and from which we delight to learn. Some eighty have registered so far.

As we are not holding a full conference this year, there will be no printed publication for 2020

Pilgrim Brother Seth Lakeman [Narrator Paul McGann]

For Thanksgiving tomorrow

Book on the Mayflower Pilgrims arrives


These arrived at my door today. See more here.

Lord's Day November 22 2020

Another zoom Sunday then. In the chapel in the morning preaching on the second half of 2 Corinthians 12. Not an easy passage but I think I had hold of it. I hope so. Only one more to go now like that. In the evening it was zoom again, but from home - Joshua 18, once again not easy but there was plenty to chew on. Rather alliterative today for some reason. Good to see everybody, even though not in the flesh.

Wales Georgia - A win's a win

Louis Rees-Sammit scores the first of two tries

Avid readers of this blog will perhaps have noted an absence of reference to Rugby Football for some time. The chief reason for this is an abysmal losing streak for Wales of six games, under new manager Wayne Pivac. This is their worst such run in seven years (yes, even under Gatland we lost eight on the trot at one point). Anyway last Saturday an experimental side (that included Ian Botham's grandson) beat Georgia 18-0 to halt the slide. It wasn't pretty but a win's a win as they say. England next, so we'll see. Meanwhile the soccer team has qualified for the Euro finals which is very good news. (Haven't bumped into Gareth Bale now he's back in London).

Midweek Meeting November 2020

On zoom again, of course. We reached 1 Chronicles 13 this week. (Having worked through the previous 12 chapters we were in a better position perhaps to understand and appreciate what the writer had to say  next. I'm trying to put the material on my Preached Sermons Blogs as preaching through this book is something we all need help with).Very straightforward narrative - the story of David's first attempt to bring the ark to Jerusalem. It was possible to make a number of worthwhile points. We also had a good attendance and another good prayer meeting, where the men kicked us off well and then the women really took up the baton. One or two less familiar voices, which is always great.

Day Off Week 47

To be frank, I'm not coping with this lockdown very well. Couldn't settle to anything really today. I did do some work on my Tabernakel blog and my Beddome blog but I struggled rather. Also read the paper. Ended up watching some reruns of Would I lie to you and then sat in front off the TV all evening.

Sending out an SOS
Sending out an SOS
Sending out an SOS
Sending out an SOS
Sending out an SOS
Sending out an SOS

10 Famous People With Interchangeable first and last names

  1. Michelle Gayle actress
  2. Loretta Lynn singer
  3. Daryl Hannah actress
  4. Grace Kelly actress
  5. Nina Simone singer
  6. Jack Nicholas actor
  7. Michael Jordan sportsman
  8. Lewis Hamilton racing driver
  9. Charles Darwin scientist
  10. Harrison Ford actor

Lord's Day November 15 2020

It's easy to get behind in these days of lockdown. I don't remember being so far behind in ages. Anyway, ages ago last Lord's Day we had our second Sunday of the new regime - both zoomed services - in the morning in the chapel and in the evening back here at home. I preached again from 2 Corinthians am, on 12:1-10 and again from Joshua, Chapters 16 and 17 pm. It's not ideal but we are doing what we can.

Midweek Meeting November 11 2020

We carried on with 1 Chronicles this week - Chapter 12. Good prayer meeting too. Plenty of people there. We tried the break out groups again after. (Sorry to be late with this once again).

Day Off Week 46 2020

It's limited what you can so on a lockdown so it was the old faithful - reading - this time round. I was at a funeral in Wales the day before so I was tired (more on that later). I'd picked up a Private Eye on the way home so I could read that. I also dipped into the review pages of last Saturday's Times - something I rarely find time to do. I also pulled one of those unread books off the shelf and enjoyed a modernised version of Beowulf. I must admit that despite studying Beowulf in university I'm quite vague on it so I was glad I read this abridged version by Julian Glover.

365 Albums 301-315

  1. Under the Iron Sea Keane 2006
  2. Bingo Ekseption 1974
  3. Bonaparte's Retreat (Chieftain's 6) The Chieftains 1976
  4. October U2 1981
  5. Phaedra Tangerine Dream 1974
  6. Dark Sky Island (deluxe) Enya 2015
  7. Roll Back Horslips 2004
  8. Logos Live Tangerine Dream 1979
  9. Focus at the BBC Focus 1976
  10. America America 1972
  11. Creedence Clearwater Revival Creedence Clearwater Revival 1968
  12. Live at Trading Boundaries Thijs van Leer 2015
  13. Mindmirror Ekseption 1975
  14. Swung Vol 2 Swung 2014
  15. Look Away Doc & Merle Watson 1978

Lord's Day November 8 2020

So yet another permutation this last Lord's Day. In the morning I went to the chapel and preached on Zoom. The only other person present was the pianist who kindly played a hymn at the beginning and at the end. I had the camera further away this time but that made the audio more echoey. My very slow brain thought that I should be muted so I could sing but if that had happened we wouldn't have heard the music either! I preached on the second half of 2 Corinthians 16. We did break out groups afterwards which we have tended not to do as numbers are small. I think that went okay. In the evening it was our regular zoom on Joshua 15.

Midweek Meeting November 4 2020

Looks like a missed a report on the meeting for October 28. Not sure why I got so busy. Anyway it was a zoom meeting as was our most recent meeting. This time we looked at 1 Chronicles 11 and the time before Chapter 10 (the death of Saul). We're into easier parts now. We had a good prayer time both times too, especially last time. Nice to have a friend form Spain with us. (Some things are better on zoom).

10 Songs that feature a different vocalist to usual

This list was prompted by a question on University Challenge recently

  1. The Kinks, "Death of a Clown" (1967) Dave Davies not brother Ray
  2. Canned Heat, "Going Up the Country" (1968) Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson not Bob "The Bear" Hite
  3. Marshall Tucker Band, "Can't You See" (1973) Toy Caldwell not Doug Gray
  4. The Eagles, "Take It to the Limit" (1975) Bassist Randy Meisner not Glenn Frey
  5. Blue Oyster Cult, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" (1976) Buck Dharma not Eric Bloom
  6. Police, "On Any Other Day" (1979) Stewart Copeland not Sting
  7. ABBA Does your mother know? (1979) Björn Ulvaeus not Agnetha Fältskog or Anni-Frid Lyngstad
  8. Toto, "Africa" (1983) David Paich not Bobby Kimball or Steve Lukather
  9. U2 "Numb" (1993) The Edge not Bono
  10. Oasis, "Don't Look Back in Anger" (1996) Noel Gallagher not brother Liam
(There are lots of Queen contenders but no obvious one. I toyed with including Ringo Starr singing With a little help from my friends. May be Happy Nightmare on the first Focus album where Martiin Dresden sings could be added but that's pretty obscure)

Day Off Week 45 2020


Having made a big dent on the big Unexpected History book by Wills and Daybell last week I sent for the other four smaller books they have and on Tuesday I read the one on The Tudors and most of the one on The Vikings. I thought I'd start with the one on the Tudors as that is probably the period of English history I know best. I enjoyed it. As for the Vikings I'm 20% or so Scandinavian and I have been enjoying a lot of Scandi TV recently so I thought that was the next best choice. I was slightly disappointed with this although its reliance on the sagas is very enlightening. I feel I got more from Silk Roads when I read it. Anyway, a nice day all told.

Lord's Day November 1 2020

Bit behind with this but we had last Sunday morning what we won't really be having for the next four Sundays - communion followed by a service in the chapel. In the evening we zoomed so that was as has been and will be. We were not many for communion but it was good to be together again. Hopefully we will be able to sit down together again on December 2. I felt the preaching am (from 2 Cor 11:1-15) went much better than last week. The passage was just as difficult but I was fortified by not wanting to flop again and a quote I came across from Kanye West (of all people). He has just discovered expository preaching (something I have been doing here for over thirty years). He describes it like this

... it's like one-to-one by the Word. I like all different kind of preachers but there are some type of preachers they get up, they have the bible in their hand, and they close the Bible and they just talk for two hours.
And some do have anointing, but expository preachers go line for line, and for me it’s like I come from entertainment. I got so much sauce, I don’t need no sauce on the word. I need the word to be solid food that I can understand exactly what God was saying to me ....

In the evening we were in Joshua 14 where we were looking at Caleb, a model of faith. A good Lord's Day to fortify us for the tough days ahead.

10 Reasons to give thanks at the present time

No-one is happy about the present lockdown in England but it is important to give thanks. Here are 10 reasons to be thankful.

1. Give thanks God is still on his throne. His purposes may be obscure but it is his will that prevails
2. Give thanks that we had communion last Sunday. We are thankful for the timing
3. Give thanks that we also had a baptism the other week. We were glad again for the timing
4. Give thanks for the 20 weeks or more we have been able to meet on a Sunday morning since June
5. Give thanks that this new lock down is set to be only for four Sundays
6. Give thanks that whether the government has made the right decision or not their motives are good
7. Give thanks for this opportunity to show our submission to the powers that be
8. Give thanks for the opportunity to identify with fellow believers in Wales, France, etc
9. Give thanks that we can still make use of zoom to meet
10. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess 5:18)

Bobby, Nobby, JJ and Randi

One thing I like to try and do each day is to read the obituaries in The Times. Most often they are people I have never heard of or only know vaguely of. Even these can be interesting. I read a short while ago of a Gwilym Roberts (not that one) - outstanding civil engineer who helped design football stadiums after Hillsborough and gave Baghdad a modern sewerage system - including how when working on Cairo's sewerage system a problem arose with holes in the concrete, which he discovered was caused because workers would spit their date pips from lunch time into the cement mixer.
Anyway recently there have been at least four names I recognised well - two sportsmen, a comedian and a conjuror and sceptic.
1. Nobby Stiles was a member of the World Cup winning England side in 1966 and the Manchester United side that beat Benfica in the European Cup in 1968 (United were my dad's team). With his dentures out, his shin pads off and his no-nonsense tackles, he was a character, very much of his age. Not many of the '66 team left now.
2. J J Williams was one of a galaxy of Welsh rugby stars that made the Welsh rugby team in the seventies almost invincible. Four triple crowns and two grandslams in thirty games is seismic.
3. Bobby Ball with Tommy Cannon was part of one of those northern double acts that were so popular at one time. (Bobby died of covid like Sid Large, a similar kind of comedian). My parents saw Cannon and Ball more than once and were fans. I remember seeing them in panto in Cardiff in 2002. Most interesting in the case of Bobby Ball is that he appears to have become a genuine Christian at some point. I do not know the details (newspapers are quite ignorant about these things generally and simply refer to finding religion and so on).
4. James Randi is the name you are likely to be least familiar with but I saw a documentary on him a few years back and so was very familiar with him. He was a conjuror and sceptic in the Houdini mould. Interestingly he was set on his way at the age of 15 when in church. Some charlatan tried to pull a fast one, claiming a hotline to God and Randi saw right through it. He later exposed Peter Popoff and Uri Geller among others. I love sceptics like this, they are real allies, but sadly they tend not to know where to stop and I have no reason to suppose Randi believed in the supernatural at all - until now, of course.

Day Off Week 44 2020

I spent most of today reading. I was given the above book the other Christmas by one of my sons. I started reading with enthusiasm but put it down, as so often happens. Anyway taking it up again on Tuesday I've really enjoyed reading more of it. It takes a random approach to history moving on from subject to subject psychologically rather than chronologically. The book has arisen out of an ongoing podcast series, worth checking out. It's quite a big book (over 400 pages) so although I read a big chunk there's still a way to go. In also watched a bit of TV.

Where is God in a coronavirus world?

I meant to mention before this little book by John Lennox, which may still be useful to pass on. I am not familiar with John Lennox's writings but I am aware of his faithful witness in the world of academia. This little book simply deals with the problem of natural evil but with special reference to the corona virus, It includes some interesting info. I'd not realised, for example, that most viruses are good things. Some of the phraseology I would not use but it' fine on the whole. It is a small book worth reading, worth passing on.

Pastors Coping With Criticism


Like proverbial London buses, first no books then two at once. I refer to the subject of the criticism of pastors. Until these recent two I am not aware of any. It was Mostyn Roberts book that I came across first. I then noticed that Joel Beeke had written with Nick Thompson on the same subject so I got that on kindle. Both books have their strengths and weaknesses. Mostyn's book is very brief and focuses tightly on the matter in hand, giving sage and biblical advice. The Beeke book is longer and aims wider and so can be more diffuse and is sometimes guilty of stating the obvious. It is helpful to have such items to help us through this important subject. Both books are warmly commended.

The Art of the Forger

It's a strange thing with books, how they can hang around a long time before they are read. The Art of the Forger by Chris Wright was first published in 1985 (a staggering 35 years ago). I'm not sure when I bought my copy but a long time ago. Anyway the other day for some reason I plucked it off the shelf and read it. It's not a long read and has lots of illustrations. It's chiefly about a painting called The Fortune Teller. Wright takes us through the story if how he eventually came to believe it is not by De la Tour the renaissance artist but is a fake from the early twentieth century. He believes it is an example of several from the same hand. With a walk on part for Anthony Blunt the whole story is fascinating and raises as many questions as it answers. Art history is a strange world open to abuse and sometimes rather murky.

365 Albums 286-300

  1. Crises Mike Oldfield 1983
  2. Five Miles Out Mike Oldfield 1980
  3. Tyger Tangerine Dream 1987
  4. 10000 Clowns Jan Akkerman 1997
  5. Short Stories Tall Tales Horslips 1980
  6. Horslips and the Ulster Orchestra Live at the Waterfront Belfast 2011
  7. Geluckig is het land Thijs van Leer, Louis van Dijk & Rogier van Otterloo 1980
  8. Rubycon Tangerine Dream 1975
  9. Le Parc Tangerine Dream 1985
  10. Amarantine Enya 2005
  11. The Belfast Gigs Horslips 1980
  12. Pergamon (Quichotte) Tangerine Dream 1980
  13. Canyon Dreams Tangerine Dream 1991
  14. Earth Moving Mike Oldfield 1989
  15. Sunshower Joachim Kühn Band 1978

A Dutch Ten

In English several phrases contain the word Dutch. These phrases are not always obvious in meaning.
  1. Dutch treat/go Dutch - an outing, meal, or other special occasion at which each participant pays for their share of the expenses/To pay one's own expenses on a date or outing. (Dutch treat can also be used for a marijuana strain).
  2. In Dutch - In disfavour or trouble
  3. Dutch auction - A type of auction in which the price on an item is lowered until it gets a bid. The first bid made is the winning bid and results in a sale, assuming the price is above the reserve price.
  4. Dutch courage - Strength or confidence gained from drinking alcohol
  5. Dutch uncle - An informal term for a person who issues frank, harsh or severe comments and criticism to educate, encourage or admonish someone (opposite to avuncular)
  6. Dutch barn  - In the UK a barn that has a roof, but no walls. (the term is used differently in the USA and differently again in Canada)
  7. Dutch cap - A woman's lace cap with triangular flaps on each side, worn as part of Dutch traditional dress (but also used for a type of contraceptive)
  8. Double Dutch - Language that is impossible to understand; gibberish (in the USA used for a skipping game that uses two ropes)
  9. Dutch angle - Also known as Dutch tilt, canted angle or oblique angle, this is a type of camera shot which involves setting the camera at an angle on its roll axis so that the shot is composed with vertical lines at an angle to the side of the frame
  10. Dutch barge - a traditional flat-bottomed shoal-draught barge, originally used to carry cargo in the shallow Zuyder Zee and the waterways of Netherlands.
{Also note Dutch braid, Dutch toast, Dutch hoe, Dutch elm disease, Dutch pan or oven (a cast iron casserole) and Dutch disease (the apparent causal relationship between the increase in the economic development of a specific sector and a decline in other sectors.)}
As Jan Akkerman might say Thank you very Dutch.