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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Bethany tries sake


But Grandad and Uncle Adrian had drunk it all.

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Bethany tries chopsticks

Hannah


Hannah, friendly as ever at the party, but this time she did not visit other tables as she has in the past.

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Debbie at 26 and a day


Debbie contemplates a new taste; mussells. She did not like it. Hannah looks on.

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Jonathan's 36th Birthday


Eating out at an oriental wok and grill for lunch. Eat as much as you like for £10.80 is good value.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Monday, November 06, 2006

November Profile


November Profile, originally uploaded by maigemu.

One month to Father Christmas!

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November Beard


November Beard, originally uploaded by maigemu.

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

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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 "Sídhe," 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.

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