Showing posts from May, 2012

A sense of story

The Olympic torch relay which began its journey around the UK this week hasn’t been without its controversy. But what has captured my attention, and then my imagination, is the sense of story.Among the torch bearers are celebrities and sporting heroes, but the majority are ordinary people who have been noticed because of something out-of-the-ordinary. There was 16-year old Ben Fox from Swindon, who only has one leg and wants to win an Olympic gold in wheelchair basketball in 2016. Then there was Hayley Mowbray, 26, from Cheltenham, who teaches at a school for young people with severe behavioural problems. She has been recognised as having an exceptional ability to inspire others and provide hope when all seems hopeless. Twenty-eight-year old Mark Ormrod lost an arm and both his legs when he stood on a landmine in Afghanistan. He was told he would never walk again, yet two years ago he completed a 3,500 mile charity run across the US. And Louis Gill, at the age of 15, cycled 300 miles …

Moving on

Perhaps I am fond
  of another eyes
A sweeter taste
   has entered my mouth.
Richness flow from
   speech poured forth,
Gently smiles 
   my listening mind.
Like the butterfly
   butterflies around
My body bodies
   like a dance.
Sleep to dream
   another dream
Wake to live
   another sunrise stream.


Jancis the Moth murderer

Good Nature, I’m sorry for your loss
Give ear unto my words
And if you find it melancholy short
It will apprise, and Alas!

Good Moths of every sort
Good birds of every kind
Hear the name of her who killed
Kinta, your dear beloved moth.

Before her name revealed to hate 
Her heart I’m sure was an icy cake.
No remorse, none I saw 
Not even a rueful awe.

Poor Kinta flew into a plaster-grey church
To pray and pry the saint’s good deed
To carry back the incense for thee
To fill your houses with smiling May.

This Errand was poor Kinta’s Last
Jancis* unseen suddenly clapped her hands
Kinta flew coldly down
Jancis could not even lend a frown.

“Alas! A creature of the worst Kind
Jancis must know our grievous loss.
Wrapped forever in his quiet grave
“Poor Kinta is gone, oh, what difference it is to us.”


*Jancis is a very lovley kind girl - this was all for the sake of the poem. 

Miscellanies 44 - A usual Sweetness

I feel an unusual happiness, a divine sweetness in my soul - or I should say I feel a usual happiness which has been made unusual by my running away from God. Instead of lingering and showering myself under the overflow of his love and grace for me, I runaway, becoming an absentee, a fugitive of his love and grace but now I am present, present under the divine yoke of Christ which is forever easy and light. I feel life in its absolute richness. O, what colours now colour the greyness of my life which once sat beneath the black horizon. But now I run on its horizontal wings breathing in the warm wind of grace. O for more of this usual sweetness, O for more of this divine errand that bids me to wake up the violet and water the lilies - Call me my Lord, call me at sunrise, for my feet are primed, my eyes awaits the timely visual of my beautiful Lord, my ears are impatient to hear that soft, majestic, heavenly voice. O speak my Lord and do not delay. 


Is this all there is?

This week has been Dying Awareness Week, a campaign supported, to get people talking and thinking more about death.

Linda Woodhead has commented in theGuardian that “the churches’ hold over birth, marriage and death has weakened dramatically”. Funerals are difficult for everyone, but young people can find them particularly disconcerting. I was standing at the graveside as the coffin of a 21-year-old whose life had been cut short by a particularly vigorous cancer, was lowered. Very quietly, almost under her breath, one of her friends whispered “Is this it? Is this all there is?”

There is nothing like death for focusing the mind on the purpose of life. This is when Christian hope needs to be strongly articulated, not weakened. It is a hope in which we think of time and eternity as largely continuous and, more importantly, as being related to one another as dimensions of reality, both given by God for our existence.

This is not all there is, this material world we see around us.  Indeed, it…

Defending Jesus Podcast - The historical Jesus

Ken and Adam discuss the Historical Jesus on their latest podcast. Adam talks about his debate with a Muslim on this topic. Have a listen.


Miscellanies 43: Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?

Is it nothing to you all, all you who pass by? Look and see if there was any sorrow like his sorrow. Look at him. They call him the man of Sorrows, what a name for the Son of God who came eating and drinking. Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? That this man of sorrows bearing shame and scoffing rude is standing in your place. Look! It is all for your pardon. Will your souls not look back to see the burden he bears for thee as he hangs on that cursed tree? Will you not believe and rejoice, will you not mourn that it was your sins which caused the heavenly Father to inflict his wrath on his precious Son on the day of his fierce anger? Is it nothing to you all, all you who pass by that Jesus Christ, lifted up to die should not have your gaze? Oh ruined sinners it was all for you to reclaim- If you pass by this road and never look to gaze on his sacrifice, it shall never suffice for you. Stand like a penitent and confess your sins. Pause and linger, linger long enough until his bl…

Miscellanies 42: If you want to live like Jesus, you must live

If you want to walk with God, why of course you must walk. If you want to live like Jesus, why, of course, you must live. Jesus was baptized, be baptized. This was a command he gave his disciples to do for new followers. Jesus submitted to his father, submit to him too. Jesus ate with sinners and tax collectors, you must eat with them too. Jesus prayed often you must pray too. Jesus preached the gospel you must preach it too. Jesus carried his cross you must carry yours too. Jesus never sinned you must do your best to flee temptation. Jesus ate with the hypocrites you must eat with them too. Jesus restored the outcasts to the community (the lame, beggar, prostitute, addicts, etc) you must restore them too. I am not saying you have to do everything Jesus did after-all he is the unique Son of God and the only man able to accomplish redemption; but in his life he has shown us the most excellent way, he has given us an example to follow which the Holy Spirit makes possible, and as a churc…

Book review: Come, Sit, Stay

Are you carrying heavy burdens, torn up inside, exhausted and numb, all at the same time? Is there a situation you have prayed over thousands of times and nothing seems to happen? If so, rest your mind on the promise of Jesus in Matthew 11:28, ‘come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’. The authour of this timely devotional Ellen Vaughn does exactly this, she rested and welcomed the invitation of Jesus. She describes her experience in these words when she heeded the invitation of Jesus:

As I walked, I actually focused on Jesus’ invitation. I took it apart word by word, chewing on it, meditating on it. I walked on, looking out over God’s good ocean, and that old verse from Mathew 11 became real in a new way. I saw a glimpse of Jesus; I heard his invitation to come. I could almost see his arms open wide. I felt his grace. This wasn’t about me being “good enough” to come; it was all about his love. A kaleidoscope of color and meaning swirled from his words…

Willful blindness

‘Willful blindness’ is a legal term, referring to someone who has intentionally chosen to be unaware of the facts. The term featured prominently in the Enron scandal and the banking crises where the CEOs had surrounded themselves with likeminded people, thus shielding them from awkward questions and critical views. Last week, the term emerged again in the media scandal when the culture committee accused Rupert Murdoch of willful blindness.

In her column, entrepreneur and CEO Margaret Heffernan wrote, ”… it is the responsibility of the powerful to ensure that they surround themselves with independent thinkers and critical allies who have the freedom and moral courage to tell them the truth. When leaders choose not to do so, they embrace blindness and the moral darkness that goes with it”.

In her book Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril she describes how small acts of avoidance build up towards big disasters such as the recent Gulf oil spill and multi-billion dollar …

Miscellanies 41 - There is absolute Power in the Name of Jesus

There is absolute power, an unmitigated irrepressible power in the name of Jesus that breaks every chain, heals every disease, comforts every repenting sinner and brings all the elect of God safely home. No circumstances or earthly, spiritual power, can stand against this un-quenching power. Even that beloved friend, that pampered baby, freewill, has no power over the irrepressible power of Christ. In the end his love will crush your will, which will bring each saint at last to say, thank you Lord Jesus for finding me when I never knew I was lost. Thank you my altogether lovely saviour, the chief among ten thousands for unleashing your chariot of grace to stop the red sea from consuming me. 

I am willing my lovely Saviour to expose myself to difficulties and dangers, my life to hazard and to lay it down if the edification of the church so require and for the glory of your name. My heart, never faint, never sigh in the midst of danger and despair, his power, yea, that dangerous power of…

I've left my country blues behind

I don’t care How you feel  I've left my country blues behind for the happiness of the city shores - Where I’ll sing  of the polluted sunshine  And dance to the drum of the markets. 

Book review: Fools rush in where monkeys fear to tread

Humour has been lost on most protestant writers but not on Carl Trueman. Fools Rush In is a collection of writings by Trueman, not united by any internal theme beyond being reflections. Trueman’s reflections are insightful and satirical. 

Rodney Trotter who wrote the preface for this book sums up the audience likely to enjoy this book: 

A custard in the face is the funniest thing one man has ever seen; to another, it is a degrading act of physical assault. This book is, I suspect, designed to be enjoyed by the former, and to offend the latter.

I enjoyed, laughed out loud and pondered Trueman’s points. I felt at home, comfortable, entertained, as well as reflect on the seriousness of the irony of modern day evangelical and reformed church culture.

Here are some quotes from Fools Rush In. (I am aware of the dangers of  reading quotes out of context)

When prayers become the equivalent “Yo, how you doing?!” then something has gone awry… how many of us sit in judgment of the sermon, grading it …

Book review: Solid Ground

Over the past decade or so, some within evangelicalism have begun to question the uniqueness of the Bible. Those who question the uniqueness and inerrancy of the bible have suggested that we ought to treat the bible as a book (special) but not as the unique book that perfectly illumines all things. God’s overall authority is brought into question; his glory is diminished as Scripture is not all God-breathed. The essays featured in this book explore that glory by unfolding the richness and perfections of the triune God. Contributions to this book includes well-known figures such as R.C Sproul, J.I Packer and Mark Dever. A thorough convicting defence is presented for the church to return to its central, long-standing, and vital conviction that the bible is the Word of God, and so without error in its original autographs, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

Mark Dever writing about the importance of the Word in the Church especially the centrality of preaching states “I know …

The awfulness of sexual sin

Paul says in Ephesians 5:1 "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among the saints."
Survey your heart my dear saints and how many times this week as sexual immorality been named among you? Survey your hearts again and how many times this week as sexual immorality been found in your heart, when you are alone, or with whom you commit your secret sexual immorality? How many times as it been found?
Paul denounces this sin as to be so awful, so unholy, so crippling to the people of God that it ought not to be named among them. That is, it is not to be found with them, they are not to carry it to the church or to the meetings (the gathering of the saints) because it is not proper for the people of God to possess such an awful, unholy sin.
But how many of us are found with such wretchedness? How many of us constantly defile the body of Christ and the temple of the Holy Spirit? Our culture and society have no such notio…

A prayer for my soul - Do I fear

O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear.
In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known.
In wrath remember mercy.
God came to earth from heaven. You became nothing. You lived as a man
You ate as a man, you suffered as a man and you died as a man. 
You came for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your elect. 
You crushed the head of the wicked and dismantled the rulers and authorities of this world.
You trampled sin, you buried death and unloosed life. 
Your death brought me life - but my Lord I fear.
I have not lived according to my new life, my flesh fails me.
I am haunted by my past, tomorrow I know I will fail.
Revive me in the midst of my fears O LORD
In the midst of my fears make your power known. 
That I may praise you with joy once again
That I may sing your praise in the assembly of the righteous.


Rich lists and ill manors

I’ve worked it out and I’m the 513,219,541th richest person in the world. The fact that I fall into the top 10 per cent of wealthiest people around our globe is more shocking to me than the affluence revealed in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List.
Lakshmi Mittal and his family top the roll for the eighth year in a row. They are now worth a staggering £12.7 billion. The combined wealth of the 1,000 richest coming in at £414 billion is up five per cent on last year. In these days of austerity, with many struggling financially, and the lowest-paid seeing their comparatively miniscule salaries drop in real terms, the rich are still getting richer. It is the gulf between rich and poor that is most disturbing; your average dinner lady earns £7 an hour.
Despite my own status among the world’s wealthiest, am I a touch jealous? Probably. A little. What I could do in Topshop with just a few grand. What about a Caribbean holiday to escape this rain, a car, a Pashley bicycle, my own house...I could…

Poor Jugger Bee

To what purpose she disturbed the bee Which made the bee buzz her ears Reclining her to slap her cheeks  Producing a sound that made the sunflower screech And drew the birds to sing a burial song. To what purpose; she made her speech Hiding her tears beneath the trees To say - ‘Poor bee, I only wished to see You suck and persuade you to pollinate  My plant.’ Jugger bee is what he was known A famed clown in this district and above One time, he led an unusual march For the proper burial of fallen leaves in town.  Poor Jugger bee, sigh many adoring Ants and Moths Cried, many alluring flies and bugs For a dear poor friend, our Jugger bee is gone; Mourned for many days and once each year A remembrance for Jugger Bee is enacted by the butterflies song.