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.

365 Albums 76-90



  1. The Crossing Big Country 1983 (1996 remaster)
  2. Electric Warrior T Rex 1971
  3. Live at Alexanders Jan Akkerman 1999
  4. Tubular Bells Mike Oldfield 1973
  5. Yr Hwntws Yr Hwntws 1982
  6. Passion Jan Akkerman 1999*
  7. Transparental Jan Akkerman & Kaz Lux 1980
  8. Under my skin Gabrielle 2018
  9. Abraxas Santana 1970
  10. Dylanesque Bryan Ferry 2007
  11. Camel Snow Goose 1975
  12. The Man Who Built America Horslips 1978
  13. O Brother where art thou? Soundtrack Various Artists 2000
  14. Hymns II Page CXVI 2010*
  15. Beggar Julia's Timetrip Ekseption 1970
(* Suitable for Sunday playing IMHO)

Blog of the week 4


TABERNAKEL

In 1974 Jan Akkerman released Tabernakel
And since 2011 that's what this blog has attempted to tackle
So if today you find this blog and are tempted to mock or cackle
I hope you desist and become a fan, even though it's all a bit ramshackle.


This blog is even more niche than any of the others. I began it in 2011. It can be found hereThere are over a hundred posts there at present. I like the album, which contains music from Elizabethan lute through to modern rock, and wanted to know all I could about it. Hence the blog.
Most popular post on the blog, not sure why, is one on Thomas Morley who wrote a pavane that Jan Akkerman plays on lute on the album. You can find it here.

10 Loci of Systematic Theology

  1. Prologomena
  2. Theology proper – The study of the character of God
  3. (Theological) anthropology – The study of the nature of humanity.
  4. Angelology – The study of angels
  5. Christology – The study of Christ
  6. Pneumatology – The study of the Holy Spirit
  7. Soteriology – The study of salvation
  8. Hamartiology – The study of sin
  9. Ecclesiology – The study of the church
  10. Eschatology – The study of the end times

Lord's Day March 29 2020


And so another Sunday of virtual meetings. As last week, we began with some singing, kindly organised by our church musicians. When that was over, we joined the broadcast service from Aberystwyth on Youtube, persuaded by our son Gwion now with us from university and the fact it was live. When that had finished we listened to the recorded audio our own church had provided online. I preached from Mark 7:1-23 on how washing your hands is never enough.
The afternoon soon whizzed by and at five we were in Aber to hear my son again. He spoke on the cherubim of Revelation 4 in the morning and in the evening from Leviticus 8 and Psalm 133 on Christian fellowship. At 6.30 pm we Childs Hillians gathered for evening worship. I preached from Psalm 91. No hymns, just the sermon. Nineteen listening in again. A long day then and not much movement from me. Perhaps we could get used to this.

Ugandan Coronavirus Alert

And another one!

Proclamation Trust EMA another goner.

10 Non-Welsh Welsh Names


Here are 10 common and less common names that I think of as Welsh but that are not Welsh in origin (Aled, Gareth, Hywel, etc). After each one I have given a rough figure of how many were born in Wales with that name between 1880 and 1990. The names tend to start off in England then spread to Wales where they dominate.
  1. Haydn, Hayden or Haydon (thousands)
  2. Byron (890 and more)
  3. Mansel (810)
  4. Denzil (474)
  5. Luther (384)
  6. Handel (267)
  7. John Elias (166)
  8. Calvin (71)
  9. Omri (22)
  10. Mozart (6)

Thomas Browne Religio Medici XLVIII

Came across this recently

How shall the dead arise, is no question of my Faith; to believe only possibilities, is not Faith, but meer Philosophy. Many things are true in Divinity, which are neither inducible by reason, nor confirmable by sense; and many things in Philosophy confirmable by sense, yet not inducible by reason. Thus it is impossible by any solid or demonstrative reasons to perswade a man to believe the conversion (turning) of the Needle to the North; though this be possible, and true, and easily credible, upon a single experiment unto the sense. I believe that our estranged and divided ashes shall unite again; that our separated dust, after so many Pilgrimages and transformations into the parts of Minerals, Plants, Animals, Elements, shall at the Voice of GOD return into their primitive shapes, and joyn again to make up their primary and predestinate forms. As at the Creation there was a separation of that confused mass into its species; so at the destruction thereof there shall be a separation into its distinct individuals. As at the Creation of the World, all the distinct species that we behold lay involved in one mass, till the fruitful Voice of GOD separated this united multitude into its several species; so at the last day, when those corrupted reliques shall be scattered in the Wilderness of forms, and seem to have forgot their proper habits, GOD by a powerful Voice shall command them back into their proper shapes, and call them out by their single individuals. Then shall appear the fertility of Adam, and the magick of that sperm that hath dilated into so many millions. I have often beheld as a miracle, that artificial resurrection and revivification of Mercury, how being mortified into a thousand shapes, it assumes again its own, and returns into its numerical (individual) self. Let us speak naturally and like Philosophers, the forms of alterable bodies in these sensible corruptions perish not; nor, as we imagine, wholly quit their mansions, but retire and contract themselves into their secret and unaccessible parts, where they may best protect themselves from the action of their Antagonist. A plant or vegetable consumed to ashes to a contemplative and school-Philosopher seems utterly destroyed, and the form to have taken his leave for ever; but to a sensible Artist the forms are not perished, but withdrawn into their incombustible part, where they lie secure from the action of that devouring element. This is made good by experience, which can from the Ashes of a Plant revive the plant, and from its cinders recall it into its stalk and leaves again. What the Art of man can do in these inferiour pieces, what blasphemy is it to affirm the finger of GOD cannot do in these more perfect and sensible structures! This is that mystical Philosophy, from whence no true Scholar becomes an Atheist, but from the visible effects of nature grows up a real Divine, and beholds not in a dream, as Ezekiel, but in an ocular and visible object, the types of his resurrection.

10 Characteristics of God's Decree


  1. Eternal
  2. Sovereign
  3. Infallible
  4. Immutable
  5. Unconditional
  6. Specific
  7. Comprehensive
  8. Mysterious
  9. Good and wise
  10. Christ-centred and God glorifying
 (I got these from the new Systematic Theology by Beeke and Smalley)

Midweek Meeting March 25 2020


So we had our first prayer meeting last night on Zoom. The good thing is that there were more people than usual (16 or 17? from about 10 places) and I think more people prayed. Interestingly they prayed a bit longer I think. We had chosen prayers first then more random, everyone else muting while the one person prayed. We are still learning to use the equipment we have. We discussed a Sunday School lesson for the coming weekend and I think  that will happen.

Yet another one bites the dust


This is the latest in a long line of things I won't be going to. They've held this one over until 2021.

Day off Week 13 2020


Yesterday started early as I headed off to Aberystwyth to collect my son from university. Following Mr Johnson's announcement, we thought it best to go get him. I called in on my other son and his family, of course, and spoke over the garden gate. Strange to see Aber so empty. The roads were not too busy and we were home in time for tea. After tea I watched University Challenge and The Liar then the news. Exhausted by day's end.

Lesser known Toplady Hymn


I came across this Toplady hymn recently. Good for our times and any times. Verse 4 stands out.

Thrice comfortable hope 
That calms my stormy breast; 
My Father's hand prepares the cup, 
And what he wills is best. 

2 My fearful heart he reads; 
Secures my soul from harms; 
While underneath his mercy spreads 
Its everlasting arms! 

3 His skill infallible, 
His providential grace, 
His power and truth that never fail, 
Shall order all my ways. 

4 The fictious power of chance 
And fortune I defy: 
My life's minutest circumstance 
Is subject to his eye.

5 O might I doubt no more, 
But in his pleasure rest; 
Whose wisdom, love, and truth, and power,
Engage to make me blest!

Blog of the Week 3


THE GREAT EJECTION 1662

Great preachers' names, we here recall,
Who faced the harshest storm.
So willingly they gave up all,
Refusing to conform.

Hounded from home, these men of prayer
Were driv'n from place to place.
Shepherds, they wandered here and there
Eager to preach God's grace.

They gave themselves to God aware
They walked knee deep in mud.
To serve they'd promised, foul or fair,
They'd wade waist deep in blood.


I began this blog in 2007 and it can be found here There are over two hundred posts there at present. The blog is the basis of the book on the Great Ejection 1662 that I advertise there. That came out in connection with the 450th anniversary in 2012. I quote J C Ryle in a  side panel
A more impolitic and disgraceful deed never disfigured the annals of a Protestant Church ... an injury to the cause of true religion in England, which will probably never be repaired ... We ought to know something about the subject, because it serves to throw immense light on the history of our unhappy religious divisions in this country.
Most popular post is a short one explaining what this is all about and headed Act of Uniformity 1662

Lord's Day March 22 2020


As with most of you, yesterday was a strange and unprecedented day. I didn't go out all day, I didn't trim my beard (sorted now) and I didn't wear a suit and tie. That was different for a start. Eleri enjoyed opening her Mother's Day cards. They included this one

At 10 am our church musicians arranged for us to sing together on zoom. I say sing together but as you know the deal means singing together is not an option so they played piano and sang with the rest of us muted but (hopefully singing along. They made good choices - Praise my soul the King of heaven including the rare spot on verse
Frail as summer's flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
God endures unchanging one,
Praise Him, praise Him, Praise Him, praise Him,
Praise the High Eternal One!
Also a version of Psalm 46 (my suggestion), one other from Christian Hymns and one not in there by John Ryland that includes the lines

Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids I cannot die:
Not a single shaft can hit
Till the God of love thinks fit.
Then at 11 (actually it was five past by the time we got round to it) we accessed the recording that I prepared on Friday. My teenage son found it hard to cope but it seemed to work well.
We then had an early lunch (rare thing on a Sunday and read the Bible together. I read some theology and listened to most of my son's service from Aberystwyth and to the Christian Instititute Update and Steve Nicholls' latest five minutes in church history. Later we had some visitors- we were very careful to keep our distance.
At out usual evening time we zoomed again. I preached a sermon from Psalm 46 and we had a good chat. There were nineteen of us - more than normal on a Sunday evening.
After that we did zoom with most of the family in Wales and that was good too. Not a bad day all told.

10 Things with regard to God's Word

  1. Read the Word
  2. Accept the Word
  3. Consider the Word
  4. Preach the Word
  5. Pray the Word
  6. Sing the Word
  7. Learn the Word
  8. Share the Word
  9. Live the Word
  10. Spread the Word

Strange Days


These are strange days. Just back from an empty chapel where I preached and prayed ready for Sunday. Just me and the engineer. I kept my coat on. Our current plan is to make a recording available to our regular congregation for Sunday on our website. The sermon is on Romans 1:16, 17, the hymns Our God our help, Jesus and shall it ever be and I'm not ashamed.

Ignaz Semmelweis

Google gives a deserved nod today to Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-65). Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician whose work demonstrated that hand-washing could drastically reduce the number of women dying after childbirth. This work took place in the 1840s, while he was Director of the maternity clinic at the Vienna General Hospital in Austria.

No Aber conferences or camps either

It gets worse

All EMW summer camps have been cancelled.
Both EMW summer conferences in Aberystwyth have been cancelled.

In both cases they are looking at the possibility of alternative arrangements. Strange days indeed.

Midweek Meeting March 18 2020


We did meet last night although I know most churches did not. Parliament is still meeting and that swayed me. Eight of us gathered around a large table. (The table was up from the night before and served to keep us further apart than our usual ring). I read Psalm 46 and said some things and then we prayed. We also had some church business to deal with at the end and that went well. We are in strange times.

Day off Week 12 2020

This week's day off was a rather common or garden affair. I just read and did some blogging and a little walking. Coffee shops seem best avoided at present. In the evening we had a meeting at the church about fund raising - not something we often do but we have project brewing. Strange times.

Lord's Day March 15 2020


As might be expected we were down a bit in numbers on Sunday but not drastically so. I decided to tackle the question of the moment head on. That sermon can be found in audio form here and in written form here. I was very encouraged to see one young man who came for the first time last week, back again. I also spoke briefly to the children about cornavirus and the gospel. Nice to have my grandchildren there. In the evening we had communion before the main service, which was again from the wonderful Song of Songs.

No Banner

As expected the Banner ministers conference has been called off. I presume this is true of the young people's conference too. Word Alive has gone as well and other things. Strange times.

Blog of the Week 2


THE SHORTER WRITINGS OF Dr D M LLOYD-JONES

Dr Lloyd-Jones, in God's Word skilled
Preached great sermons and great books wrote.
Volumes are with his writings filled
But here are briefer things to quote
Things he penned with which you'll be thrilled,
If you'll take time their gist to note

I began this blog in 2013 and it can be found here There are a little under a hundred posts there at present. I can't remember how my attention was drawn to the prefaces Lloyd-Jones wrote for various books but once I became aware of it as a topic I did all I could to trace each example and gave a paper at the Evangelical Library on the subject. Looking at the list of shorter writings in Iain Murray's biography I noticed there are also magazine articles and book reviews and I have tried to add these and one or two other things.
Most popular post Review of C S Lewis Screwtape Latters.

365 Albums 61-75


  1. Indelible Grace Side A Side B 2001 (Rerelease 2008)*
  2. Revolver The Beatles 1966
  3. Father of the Bride Vampire Weekend 2019
  4. Scribbled in chalk Karine Polwart 2006
  5. Diamond Life Sade 1984
  6. Pictures at an Exhibition Emerson Lake and Palmer 1971
  7. Fragile Yes 1972
  8. Feels Like Home Norah Jones 2004
  9. Solo Rick van der Linden 1981*
  10. How to save a life The Fray 2006
  11. The Home Concert 2008
  12. Hommage aan Rogier van Otterloo Jacobs, van Leer, van Dijk, Jacobs 1990
  13. Moving Waves Focus 1971
  14. Les Deux Amis Les Deux Amis Plays Focus 1985*
  15. Zooming into Focus Texel 2018
(* Suitable for Sunday playing IMHO)

10 Relevant Scriptures in the Present Crisis


Here are some Scriptures to help us in light of the Coronavirus crisis. Each of them has a valuable lesson. 

1. This crisis has something to say to us 
In Job 33:14 Elihu suggests that God speaks to us in different ways. He mentions dreams and suffering. More generally God does speak to us in his providences and so I think we should be seeking to learn from it. Of course, when seeking to read providence we need to be careful we do not misread it. We need to be guided by the sure word of Scripture. 

2. This crisis is not something new 
In Ecclesiastes 1:9 we are reminded that What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Yes, this virus is new in that it is a new strain of coronavirus but crises are, even global crises are not new. Things like this have happened before. Think of the “Spanish flu” of 1918-1919 that killed more people than World War I or one of the most extreme pandemics ever recorded, the Black Death (1347-51). 

3. This crisis reminds us of our ignorance 
Then do not forget Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. This verse is always true but this current crisis is a strong reminder of the fact. I am hoping to go to a conference soon but if the government bans such gatherings or if the organisers decide to call it off I won't be going. We were pleased to hear a while back that our son had won tickets to a film festival in New York in April but now the festival has been postponed and he won't be going. It is good for us to remember that we are in God's hands. 

4. This crisis reminds us that God is in control 
As another biblical proverb puts it (19:21) Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Why he has allowed this virus to arise we do not know. But we do know he has his own purposes in it. 

5. This crisis reminds us of the pestilences and economic trouble that marks the last days 
Then more acutely in Revelation 6 we read about the famous horsemen of the Apocalypse. Revelation can be a controversial book but the way to understand it is as a book describing how it is in the last days, the period John was in and that we are still in, between the first and second comings of Jesus. Revelation 6 describes four horses - one white, one red, one black, one pale. Forget about the first two for a moment and concentrate on the other two Taking them in reverse order 
The pale horse and rider are in 6:7, 8 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth. 
This is a reminder of how things like famine and plague will stalk the earth during this period. Famine and plague don't always lead to death but death and decay stalk this earth nevertheless and it comes in by many routes. Coronavirus is one of them. Our society has insulated itself as best it can from death and often refuses to discuss the subject but it continues to be a fact of life. Death and decay are everywhere as this present crisis reminds us. Like a rider on a pale horse death stalks us at every point of our lives and when it comes close we can be devastated. 
Then further back in 6:5, 6 we read When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "Two pounds of wheat for a day's wages, and six pounds of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" 
The scales remind us of how food was eked out in times of siege and famine. The prices quoted for wheat and barley have been estimated at something like eight or 16 times what they would normally have been. The reference to oil and wine has been paraphrased as “don't cheat on the oil and wine” or “don't overcharge” for it. Famine and drought and other factors can easily have economic repercussions and it is the poor who suffer, often Christians who can be pushed to the bottom of the heap in an unsympathetic world that has quite a different agenda. It is another reminder of the troubles that plague this world and that are nevertheless not out of control but all part of the sovereign purposes of Christ. 
Jesus himself also tells us in Luke 21:11, 12, speaking again I think of this period Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. There will be ... pestilences in various places he says. This virus should not surprise us. 

6. This crisis reminds us to love our neighbour 
Other Scriptures worth mentioning are those that call on us to love our neighbour as ourselves. It is surely our duty at this time to do all we can to make sure we do not pass on germs. Obviously we ought to be looking out for the elderly in particular at this time. 

7. This crisis reminds us of the importance of praying for those in power 
In 1 Timothy 2:1, 2 Paul says I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. It is especially difficult for those in power at times like this. Do pray for them as they make their decisions and act and react. 

8. This crisis is a time for faith and prayer not fear and worry 
Also those Scriptures that warn against worrying. It would be so easy to become fearful and to start worrying at such a time at this. Jesus says (Matthew 6:34) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Paul says (Philippians 4:6) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

9. This crisis reminds us that creation is groaning and we groan too longing for redemption 
In Romans 8:22, 23 Paul writes We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. When Paul writes of creation groaning he includes many things but among the groanings would be things like this virus. We too groan inwardly in the face of it for it makes us long for a day when this will all be over and God sons will be redeemed. 

10. This crisis reminds us that this present world is passing away 
Similarly in 1 Corinthians 7:26-31 Paul says Because of the present crisis, (I'm not sure if he means something specific to that time or to this whole period but he says) I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. 
Perhaps there are other Scriptures we could mention but that is enough to be going on with. 

Midweek Meeting March 11 2020


Eight of us met last night to carry on with the final part of 1 Timothy and to pray. The coronavirus was very much on our minds but we prayed about other things too. Our theme from 1 Timothy 4:11-16 was Further marks of a good minister of Christ, as above. I tried not using full notes again but it didn't go so well this time.

 

Day off Week 11 2020

I had to wait in for an hour or two for a man to fix our oven but when he arrived he did not have the spare parts so the visit was short one. Meanwhile I got on with reading (Hilary Mantel) walking (over 12,000 steps), having a coffee, listening to music, a little light blogging and so on. I also spent a while trying to sort out my large CD collection (over 400 in all I guess). I downloaded one I had not downloaded before to be my album of the day.

Bragg on the covenanters


I notice that tomorrow morning at 9 am on Radio 4 Melvyn Bragg has an In our time on the covenanters. Should be interesting. The "experts" are Roger Mason, Laura Stewart and Scott Spurlock.

Blog of the week 1


THOMAS ADAMS PURITAN SHAKESPEARE

A Calvinist lived name of Adams
He preached against all of the bad'uns.
With puns and with quips
That fell from his lips
He fed both the sheep and the lambs.


I began this blog in 2007 and it can be found here There are over a hundred posts there at present. I first came across Adams when my parent-in-law ave me the three volume works in the Tanski edition. When i later listened to a week of lectures from Professor William Barker I took opportunity to pursue my studies with an essay on Adams (found on the blog and elsewhere).
Most popular post Want of a nail.

10 Places not where you think


1. Hampstead School is not in Hampstead (it's in Cricklewood)
2. Charing Cross Hospital is not in Charing Cross (it's in Fulham)
3. St Marylebone Cemetery is not in Marylebone (it's in Finchley)
4. Clapham Junction is not in Clapham (it's in Battersea)
5. The Kansas City Chiefs are based in Missouri not Kansas. There are two Kansas cities and one is not in Kansas (it's in Missouri)
6. Cardiff airport is not in Cardiff (it's in the Vale of Glamorgan)
7. Munich West airport is not in Munich (it's in Memmingen)
8. Gibraltar Point is in Lincolnshire and Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is in Canada (neither are in Gibraltar)
9. The dead centre of Europe is not at Europos Park, Vilnius, Lithuania, as claimed but eight miles away from there, as the French scientists who calculated the spot had to admit to errors,
10.  The Greenwich Observatory Monument marking the Greenwich Meridian is in fact 102 metres (334 feet) out. Marked in 1851 the calculation was later called into question and GPS and modern instruments have now shown the real spot is in a  park to the east of the observatory.

Lord's Day March 8 2020


Our student preached in the morning and I in the evening, He looked at Psalm 96 and I looked at Song of Songs 4. He did well despite a cold and I think I did okay. In the morning a Filipina mother and daughter came again as well as our new Sri Lankan family and another member returned from overseas travel. In the evening we had a well attended tea together. It was nice to have our Italian /Brazilian friends back from placement in Hemel Hempstead. Later our recently baptised member brought two friends. They seemed to cope well with being plunged straight into Song of Songs 4. (We also had a complete collapse on the third hymn, so bad I had to chose an alternative). Hope we see them again. Still loads missing, however - three sick, three still overseas, others I know not why. No Iranians in a while now. I think some serious prayer  needs to go down in the next few days.

That game


As we were off to the cinema so I left off watching the game in the 75th minute with Wales 33-16 down. I was amazed to hear that before the end they scored 14 points and England had Genge yellow carded for offside and Tuilagi, who scored earlier, sent off (perhaps harshly) for a dangerous tackle. England were probably the better side but it was sad to see them resorting to dirty tactics (Farrell and Marler should have been shown yellow). We've lost by 10 pts then four then three. With Scotland having beaten France there is still something to play for in the final Welsh game (if it happens).

Three Films


To go with my three disparate books, three films seen recently.
1. Parasite. Went to see this with my film student son, down in London for a few days. I can't recommend it due to language and themes touched on but it was interesting to find out what the fuss has been about. (It won the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the first Korean film to ever do so). Based in Korea, it follows the fortunes of a poor family (the Kims) as they work themselves in with a wealthy family (the Parks) in the suburbs. It then takes a surprising turn but manages to stay convincing. Quite Hitchcockian, I understand, it had a beginning, a middle and an end and one can forgive a lot when that is so. Apparently the director likes to explore the theme of class differences. Scholar stones are a Korean thing and I didn't really follow that element of the film. BTW ramdon is a made up name for jjapaguri.
2. Aeronauts. On Friday night my wife and I watched this on Netflix. It is not at all accurate historically and I didn't find it very interesting to be honest but watched to the end.
3. Call of the wild. This is about a dog and my youngest son was keen to see this. We got there slightly late (due to the rugby) but I don't think we missed much. It was an enjoyable film, although I have mixed feelings about cgi which doesn't look realistic. I have tried to read Jack London's book and I am not sure how faithful this latest version is but it really is pretty far fetched from what I know of dogs. Anyway my son was pleased.

Three Books


These three books have nothing in common beyond the fact that I have read them recently.

1. The band played on by Steve Turner has sat on my shelf for some time. It is a beautiful hardback full of pictures that came out a few years ago on an anniversary of the Titanic disaster. (It must have been as far back as 2011, the centenary). Anyway it focuses on the band and is full of human interest. It is published by Thomas Nelson and is written by a Christian but does not stress that. Great read. I like Steve Turner's stuff.
2. A pocket guide to Climate Change. This little guide from Answers in Genesis written by various authors does not toe the accepted line, as you might expect but takes a creationist and moderate approach, accepting that the climate is changing but urging no panic. It's a complex subject but the writers are all scientists and it was good to get some scientific light on the subject. It is interesting to know that 31,487 American scientists,including 9,029 with PhDs, have signed a petition opposing the Kyoto agreement. It would seem that people don't decide on this issue simply by looking at the science.
3. The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse by Charlie Mackesy. This hardback is a work of art with writing rather than a book in the usual sense. It came into our house as a present from one son to another recently. There was great disappointment on the part of my dyslexic son that he had been given a book but once he sat down he had it read in no time. (It only took me 15 or 20 minutes I would guess - it is there to be savoured). One has mixed feelings about it. On its own terms it is lovely and kind but maybe God (the creator of all boys, moles, foxes and horses) is conspicuous by his absence and there is a certain starkness, even loneliness that stalks the book, despite its positivity. A little research reveals, however, that Charles Mackesy is an atheist turned evangelical so perhaps this is just overhang from his past rather than anything else or perhaps I am just far too harsh on people, always expecting too much.

10 marks of a truly good deed by Beddome


What we do must

1. not be to gratify our inclination
2. promote our own interest
3. or please either the good or the great, but
4. in obedience to the will of God. To be acceptable it must likewise be
5. universal (ie in every situation)
6. and persevering; (not just when we feel like it)
7. not from mercenary,
8. but grateful motives;
9. not for life, but from life;
10. not that God may love, but because he hath loved us.
(Benjamin Beddome, “Sermon V, John iii. 7,” in Twenty Short Discourses, Adapted to Village Worship, or, The Devotions of the Family/Published from the Manuscripts of B. Beddome London: Samuel Burton, 1824, 29.)

World Book Day 2020



World Book Day today apparently. I thought I'd celebrate by up[loading a pic of the latest book I have been involved in and download a sample to my kindle of Hilary Mantel's long awaited third volume in the series on Thomas Cromwell. Beats dressing up.

Midweek meeting March 4 2020

Our seminary student led last night directing and challenging us from Luke 11 on the matter of prayer. We then prayed, most of the nine present taking part, including my son home from uni for  a brief visit. Always a blessing to be in a prayer meeting.

Day off Week 10 2020


This week is proving to be a little more normal so we had a formal day off on Tuesday and did the usual things including getting a coffee, reading and watching TV. Reading matter included the latest Private Eye and a new printing of John Newton's diary for 1764, the year he became the incumbent in Olney, Buckinghamshire. Marylynn Rouse has done a stirling work of scholarship (a scholarship that is not too snooty to mention the Beatles and World War II in the footnotes) to produce this. Well worth getting (see here). TV intake included University Challenge online and (recorded) the first in the new series of Liar (which struggled a bit I thought).

More Thoughts on Religious Experience

It was good to be giving thought to Archibald Alexander's wonderful book once again on Monday. The Westminster Fellowship gathering was led by Stephen Clark a long time fan of the book. We were our usually circa twenty. Good time.

Lord's Day March 1 2020

Miles behind with this but we began with communion last Sunday morning and then I preached on the fifth commandment. We had a good attendance but, as is so often the case, there were loads missing - away, sick or who knows. It was great to have one lady there who has been away in Jamaica for several weeks. A gentleman just back from The Philippines was also there in the evening. After the morning service we sang happy birthday, as we so often do. The evening was a little different. I have a student from the seminary on placement so I gave him a opportunity to preach. Thankfully he can preach and we had an excellent message from the beginning of Isaiah 43. I took the trouble to fill in a sermon evaluation form and that has proved useful. (See here for the one I used).

365 Albums 46-60


  1. Beard of Stars Tyrannosaurus Rex 1970
  2. Bach for a New Age Thijs van Leer 1999*
  3. Renaissance of the Celtic Harp Alan Stivell 1972
  4. The Tain Horslips 1973
  5. The Chieftains 4 The Chieftains 1973
  6. Me Myself I Joan Armatrading 1980
  7. Guitar From the Heart Live in Raalte Thomas Blug Band 2005
  8. Tracy Chapman Tracy Chapman 1988
  9. In Another land Larry Norman 1976*
  10. Final Straw Snow Patrol 2003
  11. Six wives of Henry VIII Rick Wakeman 1973
  12. Blue on Blue Leigh Nash 2006
  13. Penguin Cafe Orchestra PCO 1981
  14. Shot of Love Bob Dylan 1981
  15. Hopes And Fears Keane 2004
(* Suitable for Sunday playing IMHO)