Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pakistani minister: Christian woman should be freed

It seems like the earlier report I posted was not accurate.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A Christian Pakistani woman sentenced to death for blasphemy is innocent and should be released, Pakistan's minister for minority affairs told CNN.
According to a CNN story written by Reza Sayah, “Shahbaz Bhatti reached his conclusion after a three-day investigation into allegations that Asia Bibi defiled the name of the Prophet Mohammed during an argument last year with Muslim fellow field workers.”
Bhatti said he personally submitted his finding to President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday and recommended that Bibi be freed.
“This case was filed on the basis of religious and personal enmity,” Bhatti said.
Despite the minister's recommendation, it is still not clear if or when Bibi will be pardoned by the president.
Zardari asked Bhatti to propose names for a committee of scholars and experts who would recommend reforms “to effectively prevent the misuse of the blasphemy law for personal and political reasons.”
“On Wednesday, a presidential spokesman and spokeswoman told CNN that Zardari will pardon Bibi only if necessary and after the legal process has taken its course,” said the CNN story.
“Bibi has appealed her conviction and death sentence, a process that could take months.
“Bhatti said he has advised Bibi's lawyer to file a petition for the court to rule on her appeal as soon as possible. He also said the president has called on authorities to provide added security for Bibi while she is in prison and when she's released.”
Bibi's husband told CNN his family received death threats soon after his wife's case made headlines.
ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Friday, November 26, 2010 By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Telling it like it really is.

Asked about the Islamist terrorists’ 'perversion of the religion of Islam', Lt Col Allen West replied:

Let me say this. I don’t care about being popular – whatever. The first thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to study and understand who you’re up against. And you must realise that this is not a religion that you’re fighting against: you’re fighting against a theo-political belief system and construct; you’re fighting against something that has been doing this thing since AD 622 – since the seventh century, 1388 years. You want to dig up Charles Martel and ask him why he was fighting the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732; you want to ask the Venetian fleet at Lepanto why they were fighting a Muslim fleet in 1571; you want to ask the Christian – I mean the Germanic and Austrian knights why they were fighting at the Gates of Vienna in 1683; you want to ask people why they fought at Constantinople and why today it’s called Istanbul because they lost that fight in 1453. You need to get into the Qur’an: you need to understand their precepts; you need to read the Sira; you need to read the Hadith, and then you can really understand that this is not a perversion: they are doing exactly what this book says.

I want to close by saying this. And I think we have said this all through this morning so far. Until you get principled leadership in the United States of America that is willing to say that, we will continue to chase our tail because we will never clearly define who this enemy is, and then understand their goals and objectives which is on any jihadist website, and then come up with the right and proper goals and objectives to not only secure our Republic, but to secure Western civilisation.- Lt Col Allen West, Republican Congressman from Florida

Christian woman facing death for blasphemy is freed

ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at: -- E-mail:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Asia Bibi pardoned by Pakistani president and now in hiding

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
ITTANWALAI, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- The ASSIST News Service (ANS) -- -- has just received the good news that Asia Bibe, a Christian mother of four who was sentenced to death on November 8, 2010, for alleged blasphemy, has now been freed.

Asia, who had already spent the last year and a half in prison, was set free today (Monday, November 22, 2010), after being pardoned by Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari.

According to a source in Pakistan, "She has gone now into hiding over fears for her safety."

The Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) told ANS that it “welcomes the release of Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan."

Bibe was found guilty of blasphemy despite there being no evidence that she committed the crime and her repeated denial of the charges laid against her.

She was accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad by Muslim field workers following a dispute over their different faiths. When she was asked to bring a cup of water, the women refused to drink from it, saying that it had been touched by a Christian and was therefore “unclean.”

She was arrested in June 2009 in her home village of Ittanwalai, west of the Punjab provincial capital of Lahore, and prosecuted under Section 295 B and C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries a mandatory death penalty.

The case has made international headlines and thrown the spotlight on Pakistan’s unjust blasphemy laws.

CLAAS, which provides free legal assistance to Pakistani Christians, says that is delighted by the decision to release Asia and hopes that it brings the country one step closer to repealing the blasphemy laws.

Nasir Saeed, Coordinator of CLAAS in the UK, told ANS: “This is the only acceptable outcome to what has been a travesty of justice from the outset. Asia Bibi should never have been charged with blasphemy, let alone found guilty and sentenced to death.

“The ordeal faced by her and her family is unimaginable to most people outside of Pakistan who are largely unaware of the abuse and discrimination faced by the tiny Christian minority there.

“The blasphemy laws smack in the face of democracy and human rights and only reinforce the notion that Christians and other religious minorities in the country are somehow inferior and less human.

“We are relieved and overjoyed at Asia Bibi’s release but so long as the blasphemy laws remain in place there is no telling when another innocent Christian will face being executed because of something they said.”

This law is a disgrace in its use and abuse to harrass Christians. How can you blaspheme a mere man?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Afghan convert tortured and abused in jail

Barnabas Fund is calling for Western governments to intervene on behalf of an Afghan convert from Islam to Christianity who has been tortured and abused in prison because of his faith.

Said Musa (45), a father of six, was arrested in late May as part of a crackdown against Afghan converts to Christianity and was due to stand trial this week. Observers say he is likely to be charged with apostasy from Islam – a crime that is punished by death under Islamic law. Some leading political figures in Afghanistan called earlier this year for the execution of converts. (Read Afghan Christians Plead for Help as they are Exposed and Threatened with Execution – 18 June 2010)

In a heart-rending handwritten letter, which he passed to a Western supporter who visited him in jail last month, Said appealed for help and prayers from his brothers and sisters around the world.

He wrote:
"To the international church of world and to the President Brother Barak Obama President of the United States and to the head of ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan!

"My name is Said Musa 45 years old. I have been working since 15 years as a Physiotherapist in I-C-R-C (International Committee of the Red Cross) orthopaedic centre in Kabul, Afghanistan. About four and a half months before by security force of Afghanistan I (was) captured, due to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world. One person (____) he is spy of (____) [a] leader in Afghanistan. He told about me (to) the Government's officials, 'He's believer, He's head of church in (____)'. He showed my house to the security force. Since that time I am in jail. The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head, mocked me ‘He's Jesus Christ', spat on me, nobody let me for sleep night and day. Every person spat on me and beat me. Also the prosecutor wrote something wrong against me. He told from himself something wrong against me on my file.

"He is stimulating every day the prisoners against me, ‘He is also in jail due to spy for Iran country', to reveal the church in Kabul. I'm in a very and very bad condition in the jail.

"I agree with long imprisonment about my faith even for long life. Because I'm the sinnest person in the world. Because sometimes they treated for died I refuse my faith due to died. Sometimes I tolerate the persecution but immediately I acknowledge my sin before Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Don't refuse me before your holy angels and before your Father.' Because I am very very weak and sinful man.

"Nobody could accept my defender before the court. If I say I am a Christian man he immediately spat on me and abuse me and mock me! I am alone between 400 handlers of terrible values in the jail like a sheep. Please, please, for the sake of Lord Jesus Christ help me. Please send a person who should supervise my document and my file, what I said in it. My prosecutor has told something wrong to the judge because he asked for money but I refused his request. Please, please you should transfer me from this jail to a jail that supervises the believers. I also agree with died on cross of my pride. I also agree with the sacrifice of my life in public, I will tell the faith in Lord Jesus Christ son of God and other believers will take courage and be strong in their faith. Hundred percent I am stable to my word. I have family of seven - one wife, three daughters and three sons. My big son [is] about eight years old. One of my daughters can't speak, she has some mental problems.

"This is a request from me to all over the world, people please help me. I could not have any person to help. For the sake of Lord Jesus Christ please pray and immediately help me and rescue me from this jail. Otherwise, they will kill me, because I know they're very very very cruel and hard hearted!

"Your destitute brother in the world.

"Please my English writing is not enough good. If I did some mistake please forgive me! From Kabul Provincial jail."

Said was arrested following a television broadcast in Afghanistan on 27 May of a baptismal service, which led to a frenzied anti-Christian response including public demonstrations and government threats. Said, who has previously had a leg amputated, was one of around 25 believers subsequently detained. At least one other Christian may also remain in jail, possibly many more.

Barnabas Fund calls on Western governments to put pressure on the Afghan authorities to release Said and uphold the country's commitment to freedom of religion.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

The West can no longer turn a blind eye while the Afghan regime that it fought to put in place imprisons and tortures ordinary Christians and is calling for them to be killed simply because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Please write to your elected representative and ask them to raise this as a matter of urgency with the relevant government department (for UK readers please ask your MP to raise it with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office).

Please Pray

That the Afghan government will come under increasing international pressure to release Said and uphold the right to religious freedom throughout the country.
That the Lord will strengthen and uphold Said who, despite his ordeal, is determined to proclaim his faith in Jesus.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy

Ministry leader says Pakistan has "crossed a line" in sentencing a Christian woman to death for blasphemy.

by Brian HuttPosted: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 6:46 (GMT)

A mother of two has become the first Christian woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Asia Bibi, a field labourer in her thirties, was handed the sentence by a court of sessions in Punjab province on Sunday evening.

She was found guilty of committing blasphemy against her fellow farm workers in the village of Ittanwali during a heated discussion about religion in June last year.

Some of the women workers had reportedly been pressuring Bibi to renounce her Christian faith and accept Islam. During the discussion, Bibi responded by speaking of how Jesus had died on the cross for the sins of mankind and asking the Muslim women what Muhammad had done for them.

The Muslim women took offence and began to beat Bibi and she was locked in a room by some men. According to partners of Release International, a mob reportedly formed and “violently abused” her and her children.

The charity, which supports persecuted Christians, said that blasphemy charges had been brought against Bibi because of pressure from local Muslim leaders.

Release International’s chief executive, Andy Dipper, expressed his shock at Sunday’s ruling.

“Pakistan has crossed a line in passing the death sentence on a woman for blasphemy,” he said.

In addition to the death sentence, Bibi has also been fined more than £700 – equivalent to two and a half years’ wages for an unskilled worker.

Release’s partners in Pakistan say the sentence is a crushing blow for Bibi, who had been hoping to be acquitted and return to her husband and children.

“Although Asia has great courage, her dreams of release have vanished now. Please pray for her encouragement, strength and protection.”

They are planning to visit Bibi in prison as soon as possible.

Release has launched a petition against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. It fears that the passing of the death sentence against Bibi could set a harmful precedent in other blasphemy cases.

Another Christian woman, Martha Bibi – no relation to Asia Bibi – is on trial in Lahore for blasphemy. She was accused of committing blasphemy after a dispute with builders in Kasur who reportedly refused to return equipment belonging to her.

Mr Dipper said Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were “wide open to abuse” and that Christians and other minorities were often accused of committing blasphemy by Muslims as a “vengeful way of settling scores”.

He warned: “In effect Asia has been sentenced to death for sharing her Christian faith. In previous cases, the death sentence has not been carried out. But this could well mean a life sentence for Asia in appalling conditions on death row.”

Release’s online petition can be found at:

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Election having once pitched upon a man, it will find him out and call him home, wherever he be. It called Zaccheus out of accursed Jericho; Abraham out of idolatrous Ur of the Chaldees; Nicodemus and Paul, from the College of the Pharisees, Christ's sworn enemies; Dionysius and Damaris, out of superstitious Athens. In whatsoever dunghills God's elect are hid, election will find them out and bring them home. -JOHN ARROWSMITH (1602-1659) one of the Westminster divines

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Elaine N. Aron-

While it is wise to accept what we cannot change about ourselves, it is also good to remember that we are never too old to replace discouragement with bit and pieces of confidence and hope. -Elaine N. Aron _The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You_

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Response to The Bush Memoirs

Predictably when this was referenced on Facebook I got flak from my friends. I expected no less. But there was one supportive post with this quote,

"The Sermon on the Mount is the last word in Christian ethics. Everyone repsects the Quakers. Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their responsibilities of guiding States." - Winston Churchill

Winston was right. A distinction is to be made between Christian personal ethics, turning the other cheek, and those of the state which bears the sword.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Bush Memoirs

No I have not read them and do not expect that I will. As expected, not well received by our liberal media. Horror of horrors, he claims water boarding was not wrong and saved lives. So far I have only heard one source in favour of his stance, The Sun.

So here is a first for me. I applaud the Murdoch rag. I do not want to stand on the moral high ground with all the rest and deplore harsh treatment of suspected terrorists. Desperate diseases require desperate remedies. The man who said that died after torture. We celebrated his failure last week.

Bush had been vilified all the time by our media. I believe he is an upright Christian man who did his job with a lot more moral integrity than the man in office before him. But then, Slick Willy did not set that bar high at all.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Thomas Arnold 1795-1842 -

First, religious and moral principles; secondly, gentlemanly conduct; thirdly, intellectual ability.
Thomas Arnold 1795-1842

The distinction between Christianity and all other systems of religion consists largely in this, that in these others men are found seeking after God, while Christianity is God seeking after men. THOMAS ARNOLD

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) -

One thing only has been lent to youth and age in common -- discontent.- Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) Poet. Son of Thomas, headmaster of Rugby

We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides; —
But tasks, in hours of insight willed,
Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) Morality (1852), st. 1.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The changing world (3) Catton School 1952-56

It was NOVEMBER 13, 2007 when I blogged my last memoir.'The changing world (2) Skipton on Swale'. I ended that with my name carved on the bridge together with that of my teenage love. Visiting there last month I was saddened to see the bridge closed for renovations which will mean the loss of my lovelorn inscription.

My schooling started age 5 in Topcliffe, the old school in the centre of the village. All I remember of it is we had slates when I started. But within a year we moved to Skipton and i was at Catton School.

I saw it last month, now a private house. But in 1952 the children between the ages of 5 and 15 from the villages of Skipton and Catton were all there in two classes. The only escape was to pass the 11 plus exam. When I was there until 1956 I knew only two locals who had gone to Thirsk Grammar School. You started in the infants class then went up to the older one. I cannot remember at what age I moved up but i was a precocious child who suffered some bullying for being perceived as teacher's pet. Well I was Miss Mather's star pupil.

What I remember from her are a few poems. She taught me Daffodils by both Wordsworth and Herrick. From Westminster Bridge, and Going Downhill on a Bicycle. She got me through the 11 plus at the age of nine, a year earlier than normal so I had a year in hand all the way through senior school at Thirsk.

At Catton I was introduced to politics. There was a general election and everyone supported the local Conservative M P, Robin Turton. His Thirsk and Malton constituency was one of the safest Tory seats and he eventually became Father of the House of Commons, Local children chanted,

Vote for Turton.
Don't go for a burton.
Vote for Mytton
And get bitten.

Being the natural reactionary and finding my father to be Labour I suggested we put up the village's only labour poster. dad had more discretion than political valour. Being chapel, Methodist, when the majority were Church, Anglican,, one was used to being different. We went to Sunday School in the morning and chapel in the evening. The only times we has afternoon services were Sunday School Anniversary and Harvest festival. The latter was followed by Monday evening service, harvest supper and auction sale of the harvest produce which had decorated the chapel. Fir the Sunday School Anniversary we pupils were seated on a special platform over the Communion Table. One had to learn a recitation. my first, back at Topcliffe in 1950, age four was,

Jesus died for all the children
All the children in the world.
Red and yellow,
Black and white,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus died for all the children
All the children in the world.

That 11 plus exam was in two parts, the first local, the second in Thirsk. I recall being somewhat tearful with the strain of the second part.

Age 8 in 1954 we had a new family member, my brother Geoffrey. My father had graduated from an Autocycle to BSA Bantam 125 on which I could ride pillion.

I remember Bonfire Night with local bonfire and fireworks of our own in the garden. Boys threw penny bangers and we liked the jumping jacks too, now all gone. November 4th was Mischief Night when we knocked on doors and ran away. We also tied garden gates together. But letting off fireworks except on November 5th was not acceptable.

Christams and New year mornings children would rise early and go round the village luckybirding. We sand and begged.

Lukybird, luckybird,
Cluck cluck cluck.
If you don't get up
You'll have no luck'
A hole in your sicking
Hole in your shoe,
Please will you spare us a copper or two.
Lukybird, luckybird,
God bless you.

Before I left Catton I had already earned some money too. Autumn term half term week was Spud Bashing week. Even under 10 one worked potato picking on local farms for a few shillings. Being allowed to bring up the tractor along the row was a treat. But the old horse was more efficient. You only had to call for the horse to bring up the cart into which one tipped the skip of spuds.

There were several old RAF sites around the village and the old war time bomber aerodrome. We plated around them as children. Most have gone now but there still stands the old RAF cinema building. There in June 1953 I won third prize in the Coronation day fancy dress competition. I was an old sea dog, a pirate with pyjama bottoms for trousers, mainly sun tan lotion to darken my torso, and a goose wing for a cutlass. it was a cold wet day. The next weak we saw the Coronation on film at a Thirsk cinema.

Cinema visits were a rarity. The only films i was taken to were religious ones, Quo Vadis and The Robe. Entertainment was dad's valve radio. It had MW, LW and SW. Of course it was all BBC except for the adventure of Radio Luxembourg. Favorites were have a Go with Wilfred Pickles, Mabel at the table and Harry Hudson on the piano. There was Life With The Lyons and also Dan Dare. Sundays were radio free

Eberhard and Emmy Arnold -

You have perhaps waited for years to be freed from some need. For a long, long time you have looked out from the darkness in search of the light, and have had a difficult problem in life that you have not been able to solve in spite of great efforts. And then, when the time was fulfilled and God's hour had come, did not a solution, light, and deliverance come quite unexpectedly, perhaps quite differently than you thought?- Eberhard Arnold, (1883 – 1935) German writer, philosopher, and theologian, "When the Time Was Fulfilled"

It dawns on me more and more how trivial and short our lifespan is. It is like smoke; it is like a flower, it is like grass, it is like a butterfly&emdash;for it passes so quickly, flying away. Nobody, no one can bring back wasted years. One wishes that one would have always lived with Eternity in mind. - Emmy von Hollander Arnold (1884-1990)

Husband and wife founded the Bruderhof community.

Friday, November 05, 2010

NIGERIA – Women and children killed in brutal night raid on Plateau village

Four children and two women were killed when gunmen launched a night-time assault on a Christian village in Plateau State, according to Release partners.

Stefanos Foundation reports that gunmen raided Ranwianku at about 11pm on October 25, shooting at villagers and attacking them with machetes, despite the presence of an army barracks little more than a mile away. Homes were set alight and cattle killed.

One man, Umaru Hole, lost his wife and three children in the attack. The other victims were an elderly woman and a young boy who was brutally attacked with a machete.

Stefanos Foundation will be providing emergency relief and trauma counselling for survivors of the raid with financial support from Release. Ranwianku is 18 miles from the state capital, Jos.

Most eyewitnesses interviewed by Stefanos Foundation said that the gunmen were speaking the Fulani language. Fulani Muslims have been blamed for previous attacks on Christian communities in and around Jos this year. The villagers are all ethnic Irigwe Christians.

Villagers said that all ethnic Fulani people had left the village over the past decade, since tensions had flared between Muslims and Christians in Plateau, although some continued to graze their cattle near Ranwianku.

The funeral for the six victims of the attack was attended by several clergy, a senior military commander and community leaders, many of whom urged villagers not to seek revenge. The military chief assured villagers of his commitment to 'bring lasting peace to the state'.

(Source: Stefanos Foundation)

• Ask God to pour out His love and comfort over the village of Ranwianku – and particularly on the three families who lost loved ones in the raid.
• Pray that Plateau officials, including the military, will remain true to their word and do more to bring lasting peace and protection for vulnerable Christian communities.

Release International, PO Box 54, Orpington, BR5 9RT, UK

Ernst Moritz Arndt -

He who fights against tyrants is holy, and he who tames the arrogant serves the Lord.-- Ernst Moritz Arndt ( 1769 – 1860) German author

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Books read in November 2010

1. The Life of John Milton: A Critical Biography by Barbara K. Lewalski

This is not an easy to read book. It is a detailed, very scholarly work. it is more than a biography for Milton lived at the most turbulent period of English history and held important office under The Commonwealth. So we learn a lot of English history too as well as having commentary on Milton's poetry and prose.
This is the life of one of England's most illustrious sons. Fluent in eight languages, he went blind in his early forties. He never saw his second or third wife and wrote a notorious book on divorce when estranged temporarily from his first wife. The main apologist in print for regicide and republic it was amazing that he survived the Restoration alive. He had friends in high places and an international scholarly reputation in his favour. Defender of liberty and unorthodox in his Christianity he remains the man to give the lie to the stereotype of a joyless Puritan age where the arts were not valued.

2. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk

The memoirs of a noted journalist who has covered most of the conflicts in the Muslim world for several decades are exceedingly long and detailed. In fact they are an endurance test which I failed in the end. Unremitting brutality, folly and torture need in my opinion a shorter presentation before this reader is wearied too much by it all. He starts in headline fashion relating his interviews with Osama Bin Laden then his coverage of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Then we have the Iranian revolution and the war with Iraq. Most interesting for me were his personal family history of his father and then his account of the Armenian genocide and the continuing failure of the West to make Turkey admit to its atrocities.

3. A Journey by Tony Blair

I have read the autobiographies of the two previous prime ministers but with their policies I had sympathy. Reading Blair I am dealing with a man whose politics are not mine. In fact I find him arrogant in his dismissal of those who disagree with him over things he merely takes for granted like the EU, removal of hereditary peers and civil partnerships. However, the fascination of the book is the insiders view of life at the top of the greasy pole and the anecdotes concerning the mighty.

Blair comes across as very human. I assume his account is honest. He describes his apprehension at taking his only ever government post, prime minister. He confesses apprehension. He says he had not been favorite to be Labour leader. Brown, who lost out, is the chancellor he could not replace, but the man who coveted the premiership and who would move from Blair's New Labour path.

One is surprised at some whom Blair liked as men, Paisley and Bush. He defends the latter as a man of intelligence and integrity. He was though not the skilled political operator like Clinton. Clinton in common with Labour colleagues caught up in sexual scandals is sympathetically excused. According to Blair politicians enjoy extra-marital sex as a relaxation form the job. For Tony, that relaxation was holidays overseas.

Blair's most positive achievement in his career seems to be the Good Friday Agreement. How it was achieved is detailed and fascinating, as are the accounts of Diana's death, 9/11 and 7/7. Policy wise there are it seems no regrets, certainly not over Iraq. He does though wish he had not wasted so much time over fox hunting which he now seems to view with relative sympathy.

Blair is a man who knows and feels responsibility, especially that of sending people into combat. He has a sense of humour and tells some good stories These anecdotes make the book entertaining and not a mere political bore.

Blair does not wear his professedly Christian heart on his sleeve. There are few references to any faith motivation, his faith being as liberal as his politics.

What will history's verdict be? For me he is an able leader who made Labour electable. He brought us peace in Ireland and war overseas. I can admire the man and dislike his policies.

4. Leading from the Front: An autobiography by General Sir Richard Dannatt

I read this book because I was impressed by the author's Christian testimony in the press. It is here in the book but I think muted in a typical traditional Anglican way. So I was rather disappointed that there was not more about how his faith influenced his life.

The general got to the top army post and was only denied charge of all the armed forces because of his outspoken standing up for the interests of his troops in a way the Labour government did not appreciate. One admires his courage on behalf of his troops and also his courage under fire in Northern Ireland.

If one is not into the technicalities of the army large parts of the book are hard going but Dannatt comes across as a first rate soldier and family man.

5. A farm in Perivale by Eva Farley

This book is more than the title may lead you to believe. It is a history of Perivale and Ealing from the earliest times as well as the account of the author's family life in the farm at the foot of Horsenden Hill. Most interesting is how a farming village was in the 1930s transformed into a London suburb. The photos are of poor quality but it is a fascinating book for anyone interested in the locality.

Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609) -

After the reading of Scripture, which I strenuously inculcate, and more than any other ... I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read ...For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers -- so much that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all. - Jacobus Arminius (October 10, 1560–October 19, 1609), the Latinized name of the Dutch theologian Jakob Hermanszoon served from 1603 as professor in theology at the University of Leiden.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dick Armey (1940- ) -

If I were in the President's place (Clinton) I would not get a chance to resign. I would be lying in a pool of my own blood, hearing Mrs. Armey standing over me saying, "How do I reload this damn thing?" -Congressman Dick Armey

You cannot get ahead while you are getting even.- Dick Armey

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tourism takes over

Enjoying a two week holiday in the north of England I am led to muse on how much the tourist trade has altered towns and villages. First we went to Skipton to see the statue of my hero. Fred Trueman. The town seemed to have a large number of tourist shops and a gross overdose of Halloween. I loathe this American commercial festival with its occult symbolism. I even had to endure BBC TV telling me all about modern witches and druids and what a wonderful pro-feminist religion it is.

But back to Yorkshire. If I give Skipton a 6/10 tourist influence, then Grassington is 9/10, redeemed from the ultimate mark only by one being able to enjoy a pint of Black Sheep Rigwelter strong bitter. A rigwelted sheep is stuck on its back and will die unless helped upright. Grassington is totally dominated by tourism. It has changed the village from the traditional place one would come to see.

My home town of Thirsk, at 4/10 is going that way too. Traditional newsagents and toy shops, Fox's and Dodsworth's are no more. Following the Herriot label one pub has become the Darrowby Arms and we have the spectacle of Rosie and Jim's Junk Shop. Richmond is 2/10 and seems to have escaped the trend.

Keswick is 10/10 tourist but Kendal I put at only 2/10. It gets top marks as a shopping centre and for informing the visitor of its history. Kendal is different for so much is old yards off a main street. We are staying 46 steps up above one such yard. At least that saved us from the pestilential trick or treaters. One shortcoming is the failure to identify churches on the street maps displayed.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Two countries where it is not safe to be Christian

Reports from Barnabas Fund.

A case of blasphemy has been registered in Pakistan against a Christian family. Yousaf Masih and his wife, their son-in-law Zahid and two other men have been included in the charge.
Yousaf, his wife and his daughter are illiterate and very poor and were living in a rented house. When they moved in, the toilet room had no roof, so a relative gave them a sheet of plastic to use. In early July, a group of Muslim neighbours noticed that the plastic sheet had words from the Qu’ran written on it. A dispute ensued between Yousaf’s relative and their neighbours, and a mob gathered near the Christians’ house, demanding their immediate arrest for “disgracing verses of the Qu’ran”. The family fled from their home, fearing violence.
Pray for Yousaf Masih and his family, especially those who have been arrested. Pray that the Lord will grant them His protection. Pray too that the case against them will be dropped. The punishment specified in the Pakistan Penal Code for defiling, damaging or desecrating the Quran is life imprisonment.

Pray for Christians in Pakistan, who suffer so much under the “blasphemy laws”. Pray that there will be a change in the attitudes of the authorities so that these laws will no longer be used to settle scores against Christians.

A Christian convert in Iran has died from injuries received when he was badly beaten by a relative. Middle East Concern has reported that the beating occurred because the relative disapproved of the man’s decision to leave Islam and follow Christ.
There have also been a number of reports of Christians being detained in Iran and one story of good news for a Christian released from prison in October.
In July 2010, a group of 15 Christians were arrested in Mashhad while on their way to spend time with fellow believers. Most of the group were released after a week, but according to Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN) three Christians remain in detention, charged with apostasy. It has been reported that families of those detained have been told they “must persuade their loved ones to renounce their Christian faith and embrace Islam once again”.
A church leader in Ahvaz remains in detention following a raid on his home in late July; his condition is unknown. His wife and 6-year-old daughter were also arrested but were released after several hours of interrogation. A group of nine Christians were arrested in September and charged with carrying out evangelism in Hamedan, as reported by Iranian state television.
Tina, the wife of an Iranian pastor, was arrested on 8 June and sentenced to life in prison in August, but following an appeal she was released on 11 October. Her husband, Yousef, was arrested on 12 October and he was still in detention at the time of writing.
Pray for the bereaved family of the Christian who died as a result of his injuries. Pray that his wife and children will know the peace and comfort of the Lord. Pray too for the relative who carried out the beating, that he will come to know Christ.

Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are still in prison, that they will know the presence of Jesus.

Praise the Lord for Tina’s release, but please pray for her husband, that any charge against him will be dropped and the family will be reunited.

Pray that Christians in Iran will not be intimidated by the harassment and arrests and that they will continue to stand firm in their faith.