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