Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hanging

An Englishman who was wrecked on a strange shore andwandering along the coast . . . came to a gallowswith a victim hanging on it, and fell down on hisknees and thanked God that he at last beheld a signof civilization. --James A. Garfield (1831-1881) (House of Representatives speech, June 15, 1870)

There's nothing like a hanging in the morning to clear a man's
thoughts. Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in
a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.-- Samuel Johnson,
"The Life of Samuel Johnson" (1791)

Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well,
what of it? The first one is at least disposed of. - H. L. Mencken

When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
--The Bible, Proverbs 11:10 NIV

Baghdad Ballet

Click on the title and find it on that blog. I could not upload it to mine but find it very good.

Etymology for bloggers

"The term "blog" is derived from "Web log." "Blog" can also beused as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog...The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz,who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase "we blog"in the sidebar of his blog "Peterme.com" in April or May of 1999.This was quickly adopted as both a noun and verb ("to blog,"meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog")."From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

The British government does not speak for me

"I welcome the fact that Saddam Hussein has been tried by an Iraqi court for at least some of the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people. He has now been held to account.
"The British government does not support the use of the death penalty, in Iraq or anywhere else. We advocate an end to the death penalty worldwide, regardless of the individual or the crime.
"We have made our position very clear to the Iraqi authorities, but we respect their decision as that of a sovereign nation."

So says our foreign secretary, speaking for British government not the British people who have always when polled shown a large majority in favour of the death penalty for murder.

The world is a better place for the death of a tyrant. Pray for the peace of Iraq.

Incidentally, repudiation of the death penalty is a condition of E.U. membership. Another reason for us to exit the E.U..

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blair the Dhimmi

Blair on Islam: Standard-Bearer of Tolerance
From the desk of The Brussels Journal on Wed, 2006-12-27 08:43
A quote from Tony Blair in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007
To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.
Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.


Blair is no expert on Islam but he presumably has advisers who are and who know this is not true. Blair is being a dhimmi politician seeking Muslim votes and support for his war on terror.

My mailing group

I have for several years run a group that mails daily quotations. Click on the link or go to the bottom of the blog to subscribe.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A top reviewer

Most of the books I read I review on Amazon.co.uk. Follow the link, show you like my reviews and help me get from a top 1000 reviewer to a top 100.

For what we are about to receive.




If a man is sad enough to wear a Leeds United shirt on a day they lost yet again to that old source of humiliation, Sunderland, he can be consoled by caviar and champers.

A very expensive teat-time

Iranian Beluga caviar is problably the world's most expensive food. I looked it up on the net and this tin can cost over £400. Adrian was given it by his boss and brought it for tea with the traditional accompaniaments shown here. These are champagne and vodka, nor cucumber and sausage rolls.

In the park on Boxing Day

Two very enthusiatic swingers powered by Uncle Adrian. Note the footwear.


Boots are going off!


Hannah about to slide.



This motor bike is not a smooth ride!

Boxing Day 2006

Going cold turkey! Boxing Day lunch with Adrian, and Rachel who is getting on for 6 months pregnant now.
Betyhany's favorite present is her doll which does many things and can be rather noisy.

Bethany and Hannah watch Auntie Rachel unwrap a present.





Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Hannah on Boxing day 2006


Hannah on Boxing day 2006, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Hannah is a poser. Here she is dressing up while still in her pyjamas.

Enjoyment in toil

My first calling was to pharmacy. I find it boring, lacking intellectual stimulation and controlled by a statist, paternalistic, bureaucratic establishment.So I need to find enjoyment in this toil. At 60 I probably do not have too long to do this but I have no big pension fund and not toiling is not good for mental health. I have had two other callings. First there is teaching the faith and pastoral care. My refusal to conform to British academic assesment of theology ruled me out of academic work, my cyclothymic personality led to self-disqualification from the second. Finally I enjoyed politics but I failed to get beyond the local borough into national politics and even locally I lost at my third election then fell out with my former party. Pharmacy has fed the family but I have little respect for the profession. It is not only a conspiracy against the laity but also against newcomers . Like all of life it is now inundated with petty regulation and paperwork.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Tea Time


chrstmas06 020, originally uploaded by maigemu.

After the groaning board that was Christmas lunch, now it is tea with crackers.

Fancy Dress


chrstmas06 019, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Hannah is a fairy, Bethany Snow White but Bethany's main interest was in her new doll.

Books read in Decenmber 2006 (7)

1. The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss

Delightful to read to one's granddaughters.

2. Oh,The Places You'll Go - Dr. Seuss

Teaches children that life has ups and downs so perseverance is needed.

3. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. - Dr. Seuss

The rhymes and potential for teaching reading skills to children make these books a delight. But on Christmas afternoon a surfeit of feasting meant I fell asleep while reading this aloud to Bethany.

4. The Footsteps of God: Christian Biographies by John Legg

Simply the best book on church history I have read if one considers the needs of the ordinary Christian. From the early martyrs through to Spurgeon, John Legg writes biographies that inform the mind and move the heart. I cannot recommend this book too highly. It is full of great quotes from great men and women. Finally the truths taught from history are applied to today. I have heard the author preach many times. He is an excellent expositor. here he proves an excellent writer, biographer and historian.

5. Goldilocks and the Three Bears First Reader

Great with your granddaughter when Grandma has also provided finger puppets for all four characters.


6. Scrambled Eggs Super - Dr. Seuss

This is a higher lever of reading than the above books by Seuss. Great fun even when I was tired enough to be falling asleep reading it before the girls' bedtime.

7. Tiny's Big Wish

Tiny is a baby elephant who wants to be big like mother and all the other elephants. I think the messge of the book for the child reader is that they too will be grown up one day.

Father Christmas

Calling for helpers with distribution?


One year of beard growth.


Once a year, on this day, I assert my patriarchal right to an indoor post-prandial smoke. Thank you Gary, for a good Honduran grand corona.

"A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." Rudyard Kipling, The Betrothed.

Christmas Pudding

I was supposed to snap the main dinner course but what with carving the turkey and pouring the wine, I forgot.

Christmas Service I.P.C. Ealing

Coming in to worship on Christmas morning.


Weeks family on the left.


Katy is pianist.


Bethany and Hannah are not paying attention to the childrens' talk.



Coming out.

Christmas Day Morning 2006

Hannah and Bethany by the tree, full of anticipation.


Father Christmas is ready to begin distribution.


We cannot get into these parcels quickly enough.



Saturday, December 23, 2006

Celebrating


Celebrating, originally uploaded by maigemu.

We were invited to join the Littles to celebrate Adrian and Rachel exchanging contracts on a new home.
A great Indian feast.

Can you trust the Grauniad?

"More people in Britain think religion causes harm than believe it does good, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that an overwhelming majority see religion as a cause of division and tension - greatly outnumbering the smaller majority who also believe that it can be a force for good." - so says the liberal newspaper. But can you trust journalists who cannot even use the words majority and minority correctly? If one is to take their polling seriously one needs to know what questions were asked. We are not told. Asking about generic religion is a generalisation too far. The Guardian may not know there is such diversity as to render generalisation worthless.

This evening I saw the hard copy. Still no complete list of questions. We did though have a typically Guardian leader with secularism the chosen solution for our problems. This is simply unconstitutional in our country and contradicted by a later editorial praising the West Yorkshire town of Saltaire. Saltaire is not what it is because of Hockney, but because of Titus Salt, a Congregationalist philanthropic mill owner. No secularism there but some Christian paternalism.

The disappearing rat traps

I believe today I have found the explanation as to why I have lost three rat traps from the garden. I saw a fox running from next door's garden A fox is big enough to take a rat in a trap, hence my losses. We are plagued by rats and foxes can be a nuisance too. Oher people have complained about them digging in their gardens. Prior to this my only complaint was the noise of their mating. Bring back hunting say I. Kill the vermin!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A ranked bogger?

I am surprised to find myself number 109 in technoranki's British blogs? How did I do it? What happened to Adrian Warnock?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Abortion and Its Afterbirth!

This is a personal testimony about one of our sons. We had five sons, all wonderful people. As I approach my twilight years, I become increasingly grateful for them and their contributions to life. They have been more than a joy to us, they have become our inspiration, as well. Unfortunately our oldest opted to check out of life at the tender age of 19, but even from this tragedy lilies grew on the rod of sorrow.
This is about our youngest son. When I became pregnant with this child my doctor, who was a personal friend as well, was very concerned. He was so sure I would not make it through the pregnancy because of complications when our fourth son was born (the surgeon told me a few days after our fourth son’s birth, “We almost lost mother and baby”). My doctor told me (this was before Roe v. Wade) that I could have what he called a therapeutic abortion, it was legal, and it was a “choice” that I could make without permanent damage to my conscience.
Well, I made my “choice” and chose to have the baby. This baby is now 40 years old, an awesome presence and delight. He is a son, husband and father, and I can’t imagine him not being a part of our lives. His wife, who we love just as much as we love our son, is a wonderful lady, and they have given us three grandchildren who have given our sunset years more happiness than we could have imagined. I suppose my point is this: faith that God can see us through the tough times definitely pays. This young man and his family are so fine! Had I chosen to delete this blob from my life (which is what the prevailing notion is about that “thing” in mommy’s tummy), just think what we would have missed!
Given today’s climate of staying in the comfort zone, I admit that if I had to make the choice today, I might choose to take the easy way out, and I’m ashamed to admit it. But oh! how grateful I am that God gave me the faith to carry this baby, and to grant me the PRIVILEGE of being his mother! Perhaps that is what we have forgotten: that to be a mother is to be a part of God’s creative act. And it is indeed a privilege!- By Patricia Nordman

Loyal subject

An American friend asks, have you seen The Queen with Helen Mirren? I replied,

I am afraid I am too much of a royalist to want to watch it. I have no time for leftist or republican critiques of our monarchy nor for the Dianaolaters. I am sorry two boys lost their mother but other than that I cannot mourn her as a great loss to the nation. I pray that if William is to marry soon, may he find a bride from a stable loving family, not one damaged by divorce as was Diana's. She will need to be strong marrying into a family where the previous generation had 3 divorces out of 4 marriages, the generation before that. one out of two.I do not see republicanism as a threat to our monarchy. The treat is divorce because without stable marriages how can you have a royal FAMILY?

Afraid in Ipswich

A friend asked me for words of comfort for someone afraid to go out alone in Ipswich after the five recent murders. This is my response.

I was in Bradford at the time of the Ripper when women were afraid to go out and men too. (The men did not want to be stopped by police.) I was in N Ireland at the worst time of the troubles. I have been in London and Kabul when there were bombings. Why was I not afraid?It is not because I am not a worrier. I have often been anxious but not about sudden death.

I believe a firm trust in the providence of God is what keeps me from worry in these circumstances. Life is not a risk free enterprise but neither is it one of mere chance where we may seemingly without reason be subject to evil forces. I trust in the love of God for me shown in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe this is God's world. He is in control and he will protect me. If on the other hand I have to go through difficult experiences, this too is in God's hands and His grace will uphold me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Back to the Puritans

Thanks to Katy's cousin David who has researched her mother's family, I now have 931 people on the family tree, fourteen generations back to 164o. But the Puritan link I should really like to establish is to John Weeks, ejected for the Church of England in 1662 and Bristol's first Presbyterian minister.

Friday, December 15, 2006

An urban myth?

In 1805 the Royal Navy inflicted a devastating defeat on the French fleet off the western coast of Spain. Realizing that the English were near unbeatable at sea the French attempted to defeat the Navy on land. To this end French saboteurs released flocks of particularly nasty carnivorous bats into Chatham and Woolwich dockyards eastwards of London. The idea being that this pteropine terror would startle dockyard workers causing them to fall into the dock and drown, so demoralizing others and slowing down activity. The bats were sourced from caves in central France later totally destroyed in a little recorded earth tremor together with the bats(seismology was still in its infancy), - so giving rise to the warning "Bat" when they were seen flying at dusk(the exact naval phrase was never written down, probably impolite). The attempt failed because the dock cats were as tenacious as their human counterparts and would not give up their staple diet of mice to the bats (rats were too large for the bats). So the bats moved out, surviving in the countryside in barns and such, almost becoming extinct. Salvation came for them with in the mid 19th century with the building of - railway tunnels. These artificial caves were ideal for the bats, save for the occasional lungful of smoke. As railway building progressed the bats moved closer to London. Initially, they were no problem on the Undergound(1863), as although the running track was in tunnel, the stations were open to the air, eg Bayswater, so bats flying into the stations ahead of the trains could escape upwards. Problems started with the construction of the "tube" railways from 1890. Tunnels were cleaner because of electric haulage, the mice population exploded, but single track, the trains were a close fit within the tunnel, and stations were also totally enclosed, albeit in a larger diameter tunnel. Fortunately for the bats, the tunnel walls were made of recessed iron panels so the bats could safely roost at the side of the tube outside the loading gauge. This enabled the bats to grow to some considerable size before being struck by a train. Two aspects of survival came into play - 1 bats roosting in the approach to the station tunnel had somewhere to escape to, whereas those as the exit could not outfly the train and were probably killed. - 2 where a tunnel was curved it also had to be laterally widened to accommodate the overhang of the train. This widening was was usually more than necessary and so gave the bats a little more space in which to live, so migration to these tunnel positions occurred, and also where mice are abundant eg Bank station. Coincidentally, curved approached tunnels are usually followed by curved station tunnels and therefore curved platforms.Though rarely seen, the bats have proved impossible to exterminate, possibly due to virtually unlimited supplies of mice(reportedly 500,000 in central London), in turn living on food dropped by passengers.Maybe in an attempt to slow down colonization of the Underground no EMU passenger stock has ever been built with horizontal handrails which would allow bats to hitch a ride, especially to a depot. (Imagine the chaos!). The exact origin of the bats was unknown until a french naturalist in London in the late 1890's - the war with France had finished by then(GB 1 - FR 0) - suggested they seemed to have many similarities with a recently extincted species of bat from the Central Massif of France. On examination of the evidence available it was decided that they were the same species which had lived in caves there. These caves were identified as "Les Grottes du Gappe". Now the bats had a name - Gappes, even if it was french. As the bats could be disturbed by the noise of an incoming train at these stations, flying into the station tunnel and startling passengers, maybe causing them to fall onto the track, many people have, due to no apparent reason other than bats - hence the presence of the "suicide pit", the audible warning "Mind the Gap(pes)" is sounded and repeated as the train nears the platform until just prior to departure. Prior to the audible warning the exhortation was written on the platforms in the anglicized form "Mind the Gap" to be similar to "Mind the Step". Since these precautions were taken the bats have adapted again and have found they can fly alongside the train if they keep out of gauge (train-surfing?). This has given rise to another message -"Mind the Gap(pes) between the train and the platform".On hearing either of these warnings passengers should look carefully around them, and if they have long hair tuck it away as a precaution, and step cautiously to or from the platform or train.Of course, "Mind the DO(O)RS" has a completely different origin.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stop the Tram!

It has come to my notice that our esteemed PM's website allows petitions. So I have submitted this one which awaits their approval.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop any more money being wasted on the plan for a West London Tram.

My explanation is Ken Livingstone is determined to force a tram down the narrow, congested Uxbridge Road despite a public consultation rejecting this folly. All three councils on the route now oppose the plan. It is time that this waste of public money be stopped. Millions of pounds have already been wasted.

Sign up at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/West-LondonTram/

Bethany is six!


The real business - presents!






Blowing out the candles on the hedgehog birthday cake. Despite appearances it was not road kill!








Opening cards with Grandma while Hannah looks on.


Hannah


Of my four grandchildren, Hannah has the real Weeks look about her. She also has the mischievous character.
Having finished her dinner she looked at me and gave a passable imitation of me snoring. It was her way of asking me to make some funny noises. Her way, because so far she is quite inarticulate as was sister Bethany at this age.

Great was the fall thereof


There was a huge cedar tree next to our church. We thought it was under a council protection order until the men with the chainsaw arrived.

This shows the scale of the tree which we estimate at about 130 years old.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Under the influence.

So Bishop Tom says he will not resign. No surprise there. Principled actions are not the forte of the liberal left.

I have to say if I was so drunk as not to remember what I had done the night before I would consider myself unfit to hold church office. If discovered I might face the wrath of the Statutory Committee of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. They hold to the notion that if you get drunk outside of a pharmacy you might get drunk in one.

Butler is the sort of liberal the C of E does not need. When he was in Willesden he supported the pro-homosexual policies of the local Ealing Council. He told a clergyman in Southall not to make a fuss when his housing project for those discharged from mental hospital failed to get Council backing. The Christian trust concerned would not employ practising homosexuals so there was no Council funding. With Butler suppressing the voice of the clergyman, he was told by a leading local Anglican vicar that he has abused his episcopal authority. Canterbury came to the same conclusion when Butler recently refused to ordain two evangelicals.

I think Butler should be on his bike .....assuming he is sober enough to ride. I am not against drinking. I am hoping for refreshment from Scotland this Christmas. But I am for self discipline and church discipline. Butler and the Church of England appear to lack both.

I still hate the banks

Following on from my previous post, I had completed all the forms for a new bank when my bank dropped the charges. It took them a lot longer to reply than to send out the charge letter. They said the charge was raised correctly but on this occasion it would be waived. However in future such charges will stand. Fine. If it happens again I will be off as stated.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Safe sex?

I think Blair in a recent speech told church leaders they should promote condoms. Sadly none of them seem to have had the nouse to reply that the government too have responsibilities and should like them promote chastity and fidelity. Safe sex with condoms is a misuse of language and logic.,

A pro-life argument?

Gordon Brown has said child benefit will in future be paid before a child is born. The BBC reports that "Every mother will get additional child benefit in the last months of pregnancy from April 2009". So the unborn child really is a child and should therefore be protected in the womb, not aborted, especially when viable.

Another note from an increased tax. Putting up tax on air travellers will do absolutely nothing for the environment. Green taxes make me see red. They are merely another excuse for the Chancellor to put his greedy fingers ever deeper into my pocket.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Since I went beta

I have been having problems uploading photos. Flickr is not doing it and when I tried email all I got was this below, an old sig.

Graham J Weeks M.R.Pharm.S.
http://www.christiansquoting.org.uk
10201 quotes 654 topics 2452 authors indexed 903 links
http://www.ipc-ealing.co.uk/ Our church
http://groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/Christiansquoting Daily quotes
http://christianquoter.blogspot.com/ My blog
email - gweeks@btinternet.com
---------------------------------------------------------
Sans Dieu --- rien. - Admiral Dalencourt
---------------------------------------------------------

Well it does at least give a bit of up to date self promotion.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I hate banks

My bank is charging £25 and more promised because a direct debit came earlier this month than before and I had one more day before a cheque cleared into the account. I regard such iniquitous charging as a reason to move to another bank. Yes I know they are all as bad. Bt to run a business in a way that in no way puts the customer first is a disgrace. They know I have funds in another account, but would they tell me I needed to tranfer funds? No they want to take my money and keep it. Banks are the pits. The only reason cheques take days to clear is because it is in the bank's interest and too many MPs are bank directors.

It's secularist who are to blame, not Muslims.

A campaign to save the traditions of Christmas from the interference of politically Council leaders were told: 'There seems to be a secularising agenda which fails to understand the concerns of religious communities.
'The approach of some is to exclude mention of any specific religious event or celebration in order to avoid offending anyone. The usual result of such a policy ends up offending most of the population.'
The letter added: 'Any repetition of public bodies and local authorities renaming Christmas, so as not to offend other faith communities, will tend, as in the past, to backfire badly on the Muslim community in particular.
'Sadly we have seen it is they who get the blame - and for something they are not saying.'
The warning from the Council came as public organisations appeared to be redoubling efforts to obliterate Christmas from the calendar or at least remove any Christian element from the celebrations.
The Royal Mail this year has removed any Christian references from its Christmas stamps. Notorious local authority attempts to stamp out Christmas include Birmingham's 1998 decision to name its seasonal celebrations 'Winterval' and Luton's 2001 attempt to change Christmas into a Harry Potter festival by renaming its festive lights 'Luminos'.
The letter from the Forum to town halls comes at a time of deepening anger over attempts by powerful organisations to ban any public reference to Christianity. ........
The letter to councils from the Forum said: 'We are conscious that all in public life wish to be similarly inclusive, but some seem to believe, for instance, that talk about Christmas is offensive to those of other faith communities.
'This is something which we have looked at together on the national Christian Muslim Forum and all of us, both Muslims and Christians, wish that people in public positions would take correct town halls was launched by an influential coalition of Christian and Muslim leaders yesterday.
Leaders of the two faiths warned that attempts to suppress Christmas bring a backlash and Muslims get the blame.
And they said that while Christmas causes no offence to minority faiths, banning it offends almost everybody. .......
The angry rebuke came from the Christian Muslim Forum, a body set up earlier this year with the blessing of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Tony Blair.
The body sent a letter to town halls in the name of Anglican Bishop of Bolton David Gillett and senior Islamic cleric and Government adviser Dr Ataullah Siddiqui. It pleaded for an end to the suppression of Christmas and the restoration of its Christian meaning.
another look at how they deal with religious festivals.'
The two leaders added: 'It is important for the 77 per cent who claim affiliation to one faith or another that these festivals should be seen and recognised, rather than banished from the public sphere.' Daily Mail 1 Dec 2006

Universities without wisdom

At Exeter the Christian Union had the usual privileges suspended, including funding and free access to university rooms. The students’ guild took the view that the Christian Union’s core beliefs were “too exclusive”. At Edinburgh the Bible was banned from halls of residence after protests from the students’ union, and the Christian Union has been banned from teaching a course about sex and relationships following complaints that it promoted homophobia. At Heriot-Watt the Christian Union has been told it cannot join the university students’ union because its core beliefs discriminate against non-Christians and those of other faiths.
This terrible stupidity and hypocrisy leave one almost speechless. It is bad enough that university students are anxious to censor others and deny them access to proper debate. That is to undermine the very nature of a university, a place where people can think and discuss the unthinkable.
What is worse is that the repression of Christian groups is the height of hypocrisy. For the most unacceptable of what many Christian students believe is pretty much what many Muslims believe, only Muslims go much further. There are plenty of Muslim students, not least among the activists that so alarm the government that it is asking university authorities to spy on them, who believe not just that homosexuality is an abomination but also that women and infidels are inferior. Yet can anyone imagine that any student association would suspend a Muslim group for its homophobia, exclusivity, discrimination against women and infidels.
...........
Last week the Church of England’s secretary general stated without any of the usual emollient Anglican waffle that Prince Charles’s wish for a multi-faith coronation was unacceptable. John Sentamu, the charismatic Archbishop of York, made an impassioned protest against such things earlier this month. He accused the BBC of bias against Christianity while favouring Muslims out of fear of terrorism. And he accused this society more broadly of disliking its own culture. “This country disbelieves in itself in an amazing way,” he said, and he has lamented the destruction of Britain’s Christian heritage by the wilfulness of the chattering classes.
He is right, of course; when you throw the baby Jesus out with the bath water, you lose the cultural water along with the baby to some extent. Sentamu stands for Christian and post-Christian values in the face of competition from other cultures. So too does another Anglican bishop, the eloquent Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester. Both have the credibility of people who are not white natives and both have known hardship and repression.
White native Anglicans are often less impressive; our own Archbishop of Canterbury gives out mixed and muddled messages. If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? Fortunately there are others who are prepared to the battle — the repressed young Christian students, the Ugandan Sentamu, the Asian Nazir-Ali of Muslim antecedents. They understand conviction; they understand what we face.
They are a bizarre army to come to the defence of what’s best about faithless, post-Christian Britain; it has taken this strange collection to convince me that disestablishment of the Anglican church would be a disaster for this country; paradoxically, it would bring down the last best defence here against the evils of religion. We are lucky that there is new life in these Christian soldiers. -
The Sunday Times,November 19, 2006' Hallelujah, they're standing up for Jesus, Minette Marrin

A one sided view of conversion

While Muslims in the West make efforts to convert people to their faith, traditional Islamic countries have laws which prevent anyone trying to convert Muslims out of their faith. In Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, conversion of Muslims from their faith can lead to jail sentences.
In Algeria on March 15, the parliament introduced a bill which prevents anyone from apostasising from Islam to another faith. The bill was passed into law, and allows imprisonment of from two to five years and a fine of from $6,000 to $12,000 (US) for anyone "urging or forcing or tempting, to convert a Muslim to another religion."
Morocco has a similar law, which states that "anyone who employs incitements to shake the faith of a Muslim or to convert him to another religion" can be given a fine, and imprisoned for a maximum of six months.
Today, according to the Washington Post, Moroccan authorities state that a 64-year old German tourist has been jailed for six months and fined 500 dirhams ($60). The German man, Sadek Noshi Yassa, who is of Egyptian extraction, was sentenced on Tuesday evening at a court in Agadir on the southwestern coast.
The conviction came after news that some Christians had launched a secret campaign to convert thousands of Muslims to Christianity.
In neighboring Algeria, the March anti-conversion law had been introduced following an increase in Christian conversions in al-Qabayel in the east of Algeria. Before its independence in 1962, Algeria had hundreds of thousands of Christians, with 110 priests and 170 monks. Now less than 11,000 Christians live there.
In other news from Morocco, an imam was arrested on Monday in the northern city of Tetouan, accused of recruiting young men to become suicide bombers in Iraq, states Associated Press. The imam, named as Abdelilah, led prayers at a mosque in Mezouak, a slum on the outskirts of Tetouan city.
The interior ministry in Morocco has claimed on Monday that authorities have arrested 317 suspected Islamic radicals since August this year.
- Adrian Morgan, Spero News

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Worship style

I took the test at http://common.northpoint.org/sacredpathway.html

I scored as below so believe I am quite a lot more balanced than I thought.

Naturalist: Naturalists Draw near to God through nature.6
Sensate: Sensates draw near to God through the senses.12
Traditionalist: Traditionalists draw near to God through ritual and symbol.16
Ascetics: Ascetics draw near to God through solitude and simplicity.13
Activists: Activists draw near to God through bringing about social change.16
Caregiver: Caregivers draw near to God through caring for and serving others.9
Enthusiast: Enthusiasts draw near to God through celebration and mystery.16
Contemplative: Contemplatives draw near to God through personal adoration and heartfelt devotion.16
Intellectual: Intellectuals draw near to God through their minds.21

I am pleased not be a naturalist or too sensate and glad I use my mind. The traditionalist analysis is flawed as I like liturgy not ritual and symbols. You all know I am not ascetic but I am a care giver. My low score there is because I do not equate caring with drawing near to God in worship. It is service though. Enthusiast, definitely and I think I scored on contemplative because after about forty years of intermittent failure I am now more disciplined in personal devotions.

Do try the test and let me know how you do.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Subsidising the Scots ... and Welsh

A quote from The Scotsman, 26 November 2006
Almost two-thirds of English voters want full independence for Scotland, a dramatic new poll revealed […]. It finds that 59% of English voters want Scotland to go it alone, while independence is backed by 52% of Scots.

This is the result of devolution, a Scottish parliament that gives the Scots perks the English do not enjoy. The Scots are not taxed for these. The English pay for them. For example, university tuition without fees and residential care homes for the elderly for which we pay in England.Then there is the scandal that MPs representing Scottish constituencies vote on matters like health which are legislation for England and Wales but not for Scotland where their own parliament is in control. It is an inequitable mess and by and large no-one in England wants to put it right. But I for one am tired of subsidising another nation. Actually two. The Welsh are to be exempted from prescription charges. Guess who is paying?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Harvester, Northolt

Our friends from northern California, the Roes, treated us to dinner out when thet stayed with us. Note the bear they brought me.

Family Courts

This morning's Today programme on BBC Radio 4 had a judge and a Muslim woman discussing whether we should have religious family courts with official legal status. The judge said that the Jewish Beth Din worked well so he saw no objection. I am amazed that we had on the programme a judge ignorant of the inequity of Shari'a. The Muslim did not want it but was never really asked why. The fact is that the testimony of a Muslim woman, like the testimony of a non-Muslim man, is not worth the testimony of a Muslim man according to Islamic law. This fundamental inequity is the reason that the introduction of Shari'a should be opposed here and everywhere in the world. Pakistan's jails contain thousands of hopeless women imprisoned because of the evil inequity of Shari'a. It must be opposed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire

O Wilberforce! thou man of black renown,
Whose merit none enough can sing or say,
Thou hast struck one immense Colossus down,
Thou moral Washington of Africa!
But there 's another little thing, I own,
Which you should perpetrate some summer's day,
And set the other halt of earth to rights;You have freed the blacks--
now pray shut up the whites.
Lord Byron, _Don Juan_, canto xiv

The other people who should shut up are those calling on Western states to compensate the descendants of slaves for the inhuman treatment they suffered.

But I must own to the shame of my own countrymen, that I was first kidnapped and betrayed by my own complexion, who were the first cause of my exile and slavery; but if there were no buyers there would be no sellers. - Ottobah Cugoano,, Thoughts, Sentiments an the Evil, Wicked Traffic of the Slavery, Commerce of the Human Species, London, 1787.

This is what the campaigners ignore. It was a TRADE. Contrary to what was portrayed in Roots, blacks were very rarely captured by whites. They were bought having been already enslaved by other blacks.

Domestic slavery was common in Africa and well before European slave buyers arrived, there was trading in humans. Black slaves were captured or bought by Arabs and exported across the Saharan desert to the Mediterranean and Near East.In 1492, the Spaniard Christopher Columbus discovered for Europe a 'New World'. The find proved disastrous not only for the 'discovered' people but also for Africans. It marked the beginning of a triangular trade between Africa, Europe and the New World. European slave ships, mainly British and French, took people from Africa to the New World. They were initially taken to the West Indies to supplement local Indians decimated by the Spanish Conquistadors. The slave trade grew from a trickle to a flood, particularly from the seventeenth century onwards.Portugal's monopoly in the obnoxious trade was broken in the sixteenth century when England followed by France and other European nations entered the trade. The English led in the business of transporting young Africans from their homeland to work in mines and till lands in the Americas.Most slaves were sold by Africans. Estimates of the total human loss to Africa over the four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade range from 30 million to 200 million. At the initial stage of the trade parties of Europeans captured Africans in raids on communities in the coastal areas. But this soon gave way to buying slaves from African rulers and traders. The vast majority of slaves taken out of Africa were sold by African rulers, traders and a military aristocracy who all grew wealthy from the business. Most slaves were acquired through wars or by kidnapping. - Tunde Obadina, Slave trade: a root of contemporary African Crisis

If slavery is not distinctly Western, what is? The movement to end slavery! Abolition is an exclusively Western institution. The historian J.M. Roberts writes, "No civilization once dependent on slavery has ever been able to eradicate it, except the Western." [...]Never in the history of the world, outside of the West, has a group of people eligible to be slave owners mobilized against the institution of slavery. This distinctive Western attitude is reflected by Abraham Lincoln: "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master." --Dinesh D'Souza, _What's So Great About America_, 2002

This is what is to be celebrated, the people who stopped the odious trade, Clarkson, Wilberforce et al.

Let us not listen to the bleating voices of political correctness, the victim culture.

If they want compensation, let it start at home. Try asking the Swiss for the money they have, stashed away by corrupt African politicians. There is no constructive mileage in condemning the British who stopped the trade. Condemnation should be of present day slavery, largely in Islamic Africa and the slavery that is bonded labour in India.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Family Tree

One of my three score birthday presents was genealogy software. It has taken me six months to put about 300 plus names from nine generations onto computer. Now at last I am connected for the next six moths, free of charge to an ancestry site so hope to learn more. No great shocks so far. We have been given neither wealth nor poverty, neither riches nor the workhouse. We have at least five generations of preachers and one bastard. The Weeks were blacksmiths from the Bristol area. My mother's family were from the borders in Northumberland, farm workers and domestic servants. See the tree at http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/w/e/e/Graham-J-Weeks/
I have been encouraged by contact with my wife's cousin who has done detailed research on their family in Cheshire and by finding a link to the family of the brother of my paternal great great grandmother in Bristol, though as of yet we have no means of contacting the living relatives. It has also been fun to find Days to whom Weeks are linked.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Saddam and the death penalty

The silliest liberal argument yet in opposition to the execution was put by a woman from Amnesty on BBC Radio 4 when she said execution deprived us of justice as there were more charges to be faced. Obviously this woman had never used Occam's Razor which states that if one line of argument is sufficient to prove a case, you need no more reasoning.

The case is proved. It is justice that demand Saddam must die, contra to Ann Widdicome on Question Time last week. The only non-liberal on the panel, she advocated execution on the grounds of deterrence. IMO this is the wrong reason, an unproven pragmatic one. I believe God has given governments the power of the sword so they are His agents to administer justice. The murderer should die. If the world had been left to the liberals after WWII, some Nazis would now be a geriatric cases in German hospitals.

In a radio poll it seems that over 80% of the British public are out of tune with our ruling liberal establishment. Sense is commoner in the hoi poloi than in the elite. Let him die soon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Books read in November 2006 (2)

1. The Political Animal: An Anatomy by Jeremy Paxman

What makes for a politician? According to Paxo it is ambition, drive and liking to hear your own voice. To get to the top he unearths the surprising statistic that you most likely will have lost a parent, especially a father, when young. Paxman writes well in an entertaining fashion so he is a pleasure to read. He charts how one becomes an MP and the duties involved. It is not a family friendly life. Conformity is required, enforced by the whips. If one conforms one may rise to ministerial office and the ministerial life is surveyed all the way up to prime minister. Life beyond office or parliament is also examined. The treatment is both sympathetic and critical. Corruption is shown to be rare. What Paxo omits is the commoner, more hum drum life in local politics. Councillors are too dull beasts for the top journalist. Yet many who become MPs follow the local government route, even those from political dynasties like the Benn family.
I have experience of Paxo's subject. When a councillor I failed to get past the selection weekend and onto the Conservative's approved list of candidates. On reflection and reading Paxo I conclude I lacked ambition. It is the sine qua non, that and self confidence. I am not strong there too when it comes to new ventures. Nor am I a conformist. I am not sorry the Conservatives turned me down. Now I have returned the compliment. They are a New Labour tribute band

2. Simply Christian by Tom Wright

The publishers think this is the most thrilling attempt to re-express the heart of the Christian faith since C S Lewis. I am not so sure. There is much to commend in this book. This Bishop of Durham is thankfully a long way from his predecessor but one, Jenkins, the liberal mocker of biblical Christianity. Wright will be regarded as evangelical . But though he here attempts to reach non-Christians with the gospel by starting where he thinks they are longing for justice, relationships, and beauty I wonder how many non-Christians would take the time and make the effort to read this book. I think it is well written. it is not hard to read and grasp. he has a freshness of approach and some excellent illustrations. But it is a long wat removed from a simple presentation of the ABC of the gospel.
If I understand Wright's new perspective on Paul correctly, Wright has moved from a forensic understanding of justification to one of being included in the covenant community. This seems to be worked out in this book for the emphasis is more on being part of the covenant community, the church, than on sin borne by Christ in our place and God pronouncing us the recipients of Christ's righteousness.
The index gives us some idea of what Wright does not talk about. Sin gets three mentions starting 7/8 of the way through the book. To be fair, the index has missed at least two earlier uses but the fact remains, Wright is not dealing with man's rebellion against God. Where is grace? No-where except under means of grace. There is nothing on wrath, judgment or hell. So I ask is this not a watered down presentation of part of the Christian message to make it more palatable?
I would also take exception to his teaching on the Lord's Supper as it really plays down the differences between Rome and the Protestant churches. One might on the basis of this book aks if the bishop really believes what the 39 Articles of his church say, especially on the mass. Rome seems to have no blasphemous fables any more. He also divorces the sacrament from proclaiming the word of Scripture.
So, in conclusion, there is much that is very good indeed in this book. It is a great voice against Enlightenment rationalism and individualistic Christianity. But it has some omissions which make me sad. I think Wright is moving away from historic reformed Christianity, but he remains much better on the faith than your average bishop.


In over a year of reading, this has been my least read month. There are several reasons.
1. In winter I cannot sit outside and read while having a pipe in the garden
2. At least two lunchtimes in each week I have not been reading but visiting a housebound customer who lives on his own and has had multipe sclerosis for many years.
3.The other lunchtimes I have usually been sleepy. Katy tells me to go to the Quack and say I have sleep apnoea. I reply that is hearsay evidence only.
4. Evenings I have been researching the family genealogy. Over 500 in the family tree now.
5. I am working through a 700 plus page history.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Beware - a Terrible disease

This was on our local town forum.

Beware - a Terrible disease that can be prevented on November 7th, 2006, and 2008 The Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning about a new virulent strain of Sexually Transmitted Disease. The disease is contracted through dangerous and high-risk behaviour. The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim and pronounced "gonna re-elect him." Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed the 4 years prior. Naturalists and epidemiologists are amazed at how this destructive disease originated only a few years ago from a Bush found in Texas.

So I replied,

It has been widespread in London for years and came from a Livingstone not a Bush.


Red Ken is my No. 1 political hate object.

Things I want to do

The post below relates to my aims which can be found at the end of the blog below.

According to the Shorter Catechism, this is the chief end of man. It is why we are here folks!

Monday, November 06, 2006

November Profile


November Profile, originally uploaded by maigemu.

One month to Father Christmas!

November Beard


November Beard, originally uploaded by maigemu.

November beard taken with my new camera.
I trimmed the sides last month.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Pulling the plug on Halloween

This week on Halloween we disconnected our door-bell and extinguished as many lights as possible. As far as we are concerned we will not participate in anything to do with this festival. Why not? We are told it is just harmless fun with children dressing up and getting treats. It would appear that we are kill joys for we beg to differ and seriously consider what is behind Halloween.

This is from the Wikipedia enty on the origins of Halloween.

"According to what can be reconstructed of the beliefs of the ancient Celts, the bright half of the year ended around November 1 or on a Moon-phase near that date, or at the time of first frost. The day is referred to in modern Gaelic as Samhain ("Sow-in" or alternatively "Sa-ven", meaning: End of the Summer). After the adoption of the Roman calendar with its fixed months, the date began to be celebrated independently of the Moon's phases.

As October 31st is the last day of the bright half of the year, the next day also meant the beginning of Winter, which the Celts often associated with human death, and with the slaughter of livestock to provide meat for the coming Winter. The Celts also believed that on October 31, the boundary separating the dead from the living became blurred. There is a rich and unusual myth system at work here; the spirit world, the residence of the "SĂ­dhe," as well as of the dead, was accessible through burial mounds. These mounds opened at two times during the year, Samhain and Beltane, making the beginning and end of Summer highly spiritually resonant."

So the origins of the festival are pagan. It is to do with the occult, contact with the spirits of the dead. This is why as a Christian I reject Halloween.

The normal response to the above objection will admit the truth of the allegation but say that participants believe in no such thing. It is just harmless fun. Participants do not really believe there is any such thing as contact with another world.

My response is two-fold. Firstly participants may regard the whole thing as a myth like Father Christmas, but I take the occult seriously and believe that it is no joking matter. Satan and his fallen angels, the evil spirits are no myth. You mess with them at your peril? Have you seen The Exorcist? The benevolent captain Howdy, contacted through the ouija board, turns out to be The Devil himself.

My second response is I believe even more important. If you devalue Halloween by saying it has no real significance, then you can do the same for the Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter. The first is reduced to the festival of the red faced fat man, eating and drinking too much and giving and receiving presents. The second is merely bunnies and chocolate. Christ has disappeared. So I refuse to celebrate Halloween because I take Christmas seriously.

Finally, I object to trick and treat as a demand for money with menaces, especially when done by stranger teenagers, perhaps not even bothering to dress for the event

I believe this is a festival that has been promoted by venal commercial interests. It is not healthy and should be shunned.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Books read in October 2006 (17)

1. The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success by Rodney Stark

That modern science, capitalism and the freedoms of pluralist representative democracy arose under Western Christianity is beyond dispute. What is debated is why this should be and what did other cultures contribute along the way. How much is based on the inheritances from Judaism, Islam and classical Greek and Roman cultures. Stark makes a good case that it was a rationalism open to new discoveries in a world made by a sovereign God that led to reasoned progress. If a God who reveals himself as reasonable has created a reasonable world, man made in his image can work to discover how the world works.
When it comes to capitalism the author rejects Weber's famous link with Calvinism. This is where I suspect the Roman Catholic bias but I am not qualified as an historian to be certain of my criticism. Not to deal with Calvin on usury seems a serious ommision. Stark gives no reason for the dissapearance of the prohibition other than Catholics ignoring it. Stark cites medieval Italian cities as the birthplace of modern representative democracy but for a whole country he should have told us more about this side of the English Channel. He does though credit it us with better progress in commerce because of the absence of despotic government. Reviews on Amazon.com are sometimes critical because the writers are not in love with capitalism as is Stark. This is certainly a book to stimulate thought and debate.

2. The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk

I read this book while visiting Kabul. It taught me a lot of history I never learned at school. I never realised that Russia was a continual threat to British India and that the former USSR borders included many recent additions to Russian territory gained in the century before communism. I never knew that the Islamic republics, formerly Soviet ones, had been states which has ruthlessly enslaved Christian Russians.

This is a well written, gripping read. Only a person with a strong anti-im-imperialist bias could failed to be thrilled by the exploits of some young British men who spied for India, or of the Indians who travelled in disguise to map out unknown territories. No Christian could fail to be thrilled reading the story of Connolly who facing death or conversion to Islam, refused to renounce his faith and was beheaded in Bokhara.

Afghanistan is a major theme of the book. The British might conquer Kabul but they could not keep the country. To read of the one survivor out of a 16.000 strong force retreating from the first Afghan war is to read of one of Britain's worst defeats. But there ate stirring deeds winning VCs too.

This is history at its best. It shows people often do not learn from it.

3. The Chamber - John Grisham

Back in the deep South, Grisham is at his best. In fact this may be my favorite legal thriller. I believe he is a good writer when he can get a person who favours capital punishment (me) to sympathise with a man who is justly on death row. I am sure Grisham is against the death penalty as cruel and unusual. Though I believe it is the years on death row, not the execution that is cruel and unusual, Grisham makes his case very well and right to the end you are not quite sure what will happen.
Moral complexities are explored when the defense team uses very questionable methods to save their client. Grisham's Christian faith comes through in the very upright prison chaplain who leads the murderer in his repentance and to a hope in eternal life. It is a great portayal of a repentant racist killer and a lawyer who has real cause to fight for his client. This book also shows how evil really messes up different generations of a family.



4. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham

This is the first Grisham where the setting moves from the South to high affairs in Washington DC. I prefer the Southern settings but this is a good chase thriller though at times it seems a bit far fetched in the heroine's ability to escape assassins.. Why would she not run to the FBI earlier? But as usual with Grisham it is a good read though this time I do not see him making any serious points except perhaps it is hard to trust people at the top. I only gave four stars because he has written better books.

5. The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

Grisham often writes about the mendacity of lawyers who will do all they can to earn as much as possible, usually over-billing their clients. But here we have lawyers who have a conscience. The life of one greedy lawyer is changed for ever by contact with a deranged homeless man. He becomes a lawyer for the poor losing his wealth, his wife and almost his career. My one criticism would be that his ending is so nice as to be rather incredible. Nevertheless, you have to love the abilities of a great storyteller.

6, Dubai (Lonely Planet) by Lara Dunston

Good but as with all travel guides you need the latest edition and this one is a bit dated. Dubai is changing so fast you must keep up to date.I also prefer smaller size guides that will fit the pocket. Lonely Planet is a bit too large to carry especially when the temperature is ove 100 F. But if you plan to go you must do the Big Bus Tour. It is the best introduction to the city.

7. Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Anyone who has asked, "Is Christmas worth it?" or been horrified by its materialism and excessive spending will love this book. Anyone who thinks it would be easy to get away from it all will here be warned. Skipping Christmas is not easy. The Kranks attempt is an hilarious disaster with a wonderful twist and a delightful ending. Just the book to give before the festivities. I have now read the complete works of grisham in two months. It has been a real pleasure to find a Christian writer of such talent.

8. Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications
by D.A. Carson

Don Carson has written an excellent critique of post-modernism and its appearance as the Emerging Church. He writes as a theologian giving a critique which may be hard going for the average Christian but one which well repays the effort in reading. I believe this is a generous, fair yet devastating critique. He shows the strengths and weaknesses of the Emerging Church in reading contemporary culture and its commendable desire to reach post-modern people. I believe Carson gives us an excellent critique of post-modernism and shows why the Emerging Church has gone more down a route of syncretism with post-modernism The books of McClaren and Chalke are well critiqued in their departure from biblical orthodoxy. The conclusion is the Emerging Church should be handled with great caution. It is a departure from evangelical Christianity. If you are drawn to Emerging Church you must read Carson's critique. It is also a book which gives an excellent critique of post-modernism in general. Carson believes it is a spent force academically but it seems to me to be an increasing one in popular culture.

9. The Indypedia part 1 - Edited by Richrd Askwith

I picked up this freebie which someone had purchased with their Indepenent newspaper and then discarded. It does indeed give facts and figures of modern life but some, like homosexuals are 6% of the UK population, one has reason to question. Christianity has no mention save under C of E which is a smaller section than Islam. Too much on celebreties and the EU but nevertheless fun to browse. Can anyone lend me a copy of part 2?

10.- 17 Childrens books read to my granddaughters

Bedtime Rhymes
Playtime Rhymes
Funtime Rhymes
The Trouble with Jack - Shirley Hughes
An Evening at Alfies - Shirley Hughes
Mog the forgetful cat - Judith Kerr
Bible Friends: Who Says That?
Tell the Time with Postman Pat - Alison Green

Once they get you reading they do not want to stop!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Destination Kabul


Destination Kabul, originally uploaded by maigemu.

This is where we stayed with our friends. The strret is wide and unpaved.
If you click on this or any of the photos of our visit, you will be taken to the Flikr url where there are more photos and comments on our eleven days in Afghanistan.

City of Hills


City of Hills, originally uploaded by maigemu.


Kabul is surrounded by hills and has one in the middle of the city too. On this hill you can see the line of an ancient defensive wall.

Tourist Resort


Tourist Resort, originally uploaded by maigemu.

This reservoir is being developed as a resort. Down the valley is the country's only golf course where greens are brown.

Village School


Village School, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Three classes have tents from U.N.I.C.E.F., one is in the sun.

Tented classroom


Tented classroom, originally uploaded by maigemu.

No desks but thisphysically handicapped boy shows us he is integrated into mainstream school.