Friday, March 30, 2007

End of the super casino?

Three cheers for the Lords who have thrown out government plans for yet more gambling. I am also encouraged to hear a BBC radio report that Brown is not a casino fan, so with him expected to be Prime Minister this summer there is hope that the super casino may not happen. If so it will be a triumph for GB's Presbyterian heritage. I had thought of him as to the left of Blair so no improvement. But if his Christian heritage does influence some policies it will be a big improvement on our present PM who on things Christian is as they say, all mouth and no trousers. He talks about how Christian he is but his own voting record and that of his government are more in line with Alistair Campbell's infamous dictum, "We do not do God". This has been the most secularist and anti-Christian British government since the restoration of Charles II in 1660.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Zac by Worth

Worth is a village near the Kent coast by sandwich. We had a walk through fields which from their drainage look as if they are reclaimed land. Zac had not been feeling too good all weekend hence the less than smiling face for the camera.

Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church, Belfast

It is about 30 years since I visited Paisley's home church but the memory remains vivid.

First of all I had to resist a strong temptation to adorn its walls with the slogan 'No other pope here'. The I felt I had to secrete my RSV bible on my person as I entered as the noticeboard announced it was a Authorised Version only place.

My first surprise was all the images. All those martyrs' busts. I thought it was only papists had images.

The the hymnbook, definitely old fashioned evangelical or US fundamentalist, not really a reformed Presbyterian hymnal.

The Big Man was away. A colleague gave a reasonably competent exposition of a passage from Daniel until he alluded to the things God hates in Proverbs. The first is hands swift to shed blood.'I think we can spiritualize this', said the preacher.

To my dying day I shall regret that I heard this in silence. I am now older and perhaps wiser. I am certainly more confident and bold. What I should have done was to have stood up and interrupted the sermon shouting that of all the places in the world where you need to know God literally hates hands that shed blood, 1970s Northern Ireland was probably the prime location.

Yes I would have been thrown out but I would have been happy to be ejected if I had made one person think correctly.

Oil has mixed with water!

One is pleased for the peace of Northern Ireland that Paisley and Adams say they can co-operate in devolved government.One has an obligation to pray for those who rule. It will need this and more for this unlikely mix to work.

Oil can mix with water and form an emulsion. Milk is a perfect emulsion. But what happens when it sours? The emulsion cracks and the parts separate. How long for sweetness and light to continue at Stormont. I am not a betting man but .....

I hear that IRKP's Free Presbyterian Church is in turmoil over this. The Times quoted a friend and ministerial colleague of the Big Man who was very sad about it. He said Adams and his pious, daily mass attending mate McGuiness, had hands covered in blood and should be turning themselves in as murderers. How can Paisley continue as moderator for life of his Free Presbyterian Church?

BTW the concept of a moderator for life is more akin to episcopacy than reformed church order and the FPC's dual practice of infant baptism and dedication is again most un-presbyterian. When I visited Paisley's congregation I thought it owed more to his time with the American fundamentalists than to his time in the Reformed Presbyterian seminary.

Friday, March 23, 2007

My link to slavery

When we went to Vom Christian Hospital, Nigeria, in 1970 there was an old lady, Mama Tabitha, who was warden of the student midwives' hostel. She must have been in her seventies at least as she remembered being freed from Muslim slavery in 1900. This was one of the blessings of the British colonisation of Northern Nigeria. Slave markets were closed and slaves freed.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Love the sinner, hate the sin

If one publicly opposes homosexual acts one is inevitably accused of hating homosexuals. In response to such accusations elsewhere I give this long quote from an Anglican source which pretty well states my own position. One opposes acts not orientation.Quoptes are also from RCC sources. My catholicity is showing.

"What has the Christian church said?
Some .... might argue that something like 1998 Lambeth Resolution I.10 rules out the Church's support for anti-homosexual civil legislation a priori:

We commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons and we wish to assure them that they are loved by God and that all baptised, believing and faithful persons, regardless of sexual orientation, are full members of the Body of Christ.


...while rejecting homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture, [this Conference] calls on all our people to minister pastorally and sensitively to all irrespective of sexual orientation and to condemn irrational fear of homosexuals...

This resolution coheres with something like The Episcopal Church's 1976 General Convention resolution A069 that stated that

Homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral care of the Church.

It also can be said to fit with the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, for example that homosexual persons

must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided;[8]

and that with homosexual persons, as with others,

the intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.[9]

The Anglican Primates at Dromantine (2005) themselves said something in this vein, when they asserted that:

the victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.

But do convictions like this necessarily imply that homosexual activity or the promotion of gay sex ought to be protected by the civil law, and that churches should support such protective legislation? Obviously not. The Roman Catholic church's concurrent opposition to such legislation attests:

The proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.[10]"Human Rights, Homosexuality and the Anglican Communion: Reflections in Light of Nigeria
by Ephraim Radner and Andrew Goddard

Monday, March 19, 2007

The cellist

Katy's main hobby, her cello.

The new house name post

We had a new porch and I could not easily fix our house name on it so I found this "post" over 100 years old.

London can celebrate with the Irish but ....

What celebrations will our dear multicultural mayor be leading on St. George's Day? If previous years are any indication the answer is nil for multiculturalists are usually ashamed of one culture, their own.

Since posting I have found this so repent of my accusation.

"For the fourth year running the Mayor will celebrate St George’s Day with a series of free events in central London. In Trafalgar Square there will be a celebration of English humour, with classic English comedy on film including Monty Python and the Holy Grail being shown on a large screen.

The programme also includes the popular Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations at the Globe Theatre plus outdoor screenings of historic silent Shakespeare films, a festival for St George at Covent Garden, and parade at the Cenotaph."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Farewell for Syl and Janet Jacobs

Syl and Janet were among the origianal members of the Ealing International Presbyterian Church in late 1969. We had a farewell fot them as they go to live in the USA.

Syl with Hristo from Bulgaria, one of our newer church members.

Diedre Ducker knew the Jacobs form their days in Swiss L'Abri.

Syl still does magic tricks, a favorite with children.

Farewell cake. There were so many tributes it was like an early obituary for Syl.

Wembley Stadium opened to the public

We live just over the border of Brent into Ealing. Brent residents and business people were invited to this opening jamboree. I tipped off a friend resident in Brent so he could get tickets for his family.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Theatre in March

1. Much Ado About Nothing.

Ealing Questor's production of Much Ado is set in 20-30s America. It makes
for some very good dance scenes but the accents were thin and off
putting initially. Some people did not carry them well, some did not
seem to do them. They would have been better off leaving them alone.

I particularly liked the menacing villain Don John. With his side
kicks, Conrade and Borachio they were straight out of the Mafia.
Special credit too for the comics, Dogberry and Verges. Their three
constables whose heights seemed to be from five foot nothing to seven
foot were wonderful. At times I thought music masked diction and we
were in the front row. But overall a most enjoyable evening and the
beer in the interval at The Grapevine was superb. They well deserve
their CAMRA accolade.

2. Eugene Onegin - Riverside Opera at Richmond Theatre

Katy's choice this one. I an not anti-opers so long as it is sung in English. But the only Russian music I really like is the 1812 and that is because it celebrates a French defeat. Tchaikovsky has some decent tunes here, especially the dances. But for a plot based on the wrings of Puskin, Russia's greatest dramatist, it is very thin indeed. For me the stars were Lensky ans Triquet for best voices and Tatyana for beauty.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Prime Minister's Office responds

This is the official bland response to my petition to scrap the local tram plans.

In London, proposals for introducing most public transport schemes, including trams, are a matter for the Mayor. How schemes are funded is also for the Mayor to decide.

The West London Tram proposals were subject to extensive consultation in 2004 and 2005, allowing local residents to have their say on the scheme. Further consultation is being carried out this year on proposed modifications to the scheme design.

Before the scheme can go ahead, a Transport and Works Act Order application must be submitted. The Secretary of State for Transport will then determine whether a public inquiry is necessary. Following this, all the evidence will be considered and a decision made as to whether to grant powers for the scheme.

I did total 1461 signatures so am pleased.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Olympic folly

One of my big regrets is that a couple of years ago I did not contact the French Embassy and offer to organise the London supporters of the Paris Olympics. They might have paid me for the opportunity to pour Euros down the Olympic drain instead of my taxes. Do not get me wrong. I am not anti-sport. I sleep through a lot of sport on TV. No. I merely object to paying for other peoples' sweaty activities. If you want sport, you pay for it, like I do at Lords or The Oval.

I particularly object to paying towards the London Olympics. That I in West London have to pay extra local tax for a fortnight that will have as much benefit to me as to a fellow Briton in the Outer Hebrides is a gross injustice.

Now I read that BBC reports
The Olympics Minister added that Londoners will not be expected to contribute any more of their council tax — a total of £625 million — than they are already paying towards the cost of the Games and that transport fares would not be increased to meet the bill. But she said that the Mayor of London would contribute a further £300 million over the "lifetime of the Games."

I never knew Ken had such a stash of money. I know he gets a ridiculously big salary. But where does he get £300 million except out of our pockets? Can someone

I do have a grand scheme to recoup my losses. I want to let our house for the 2 Olympic weeks. But my dear wife forbids me to put it on ebay for a nice little earner. Any takers?

John Weeks, Bristol publican

weeks pic, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Thanks to Barb Drummond for this photo of his memorial in Bristol Cathedral.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gambling to be advertised, inheritances confiscated.

TV ads are to now be allowed for gambling other than the Morons' Tax. aka The National Lottery. Until now the government only allowed TV advertising for its own money making scheme. This governmental hypocrisy has now been overturned and the gambling industry moves out of that select group of advertisers led by political parties and tobacco companies still not allowed to flash their wares on our screens. According to the BBC 'Adverts must not show gamblers behaving in a way which is irresponsible or could lead to "financial, social or emotional harm". 'As IMO all gambling is irresponsible and brings financial and social harm, this should mean that no actual gambling is televised. Somehow I do not think that will be the case.

Gambling is the one vice I have heard defended by Bible believing Christians. One asked me the moral difference between going to Las Vegas on a fixed budget and going to Disneyland with the same. It was not the best of comparisons as I would not wish to visit either location. But that apart why do I oppose all gambling? Because its appeal is to selfish greed which God condemns. It is enrichment at the expense of another, a robbery by consent. The Bible gives three ways by which we may be lawfully enriched. They are gainful employment, lawful inheritance and receiving gifts. Incidentally I believe the government has no right to the second which it tries to steal by taxation. If you house is worth £250,000 you need finacial and legal advice to keep your inheritance intact for your heirs.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Church weekend at home

This weekend we had a church conference of special meetings but for logistical and economic reasons we had it at home, at the church in West Ealing.

Alasdair MacLeod of the Free Church of Scotland, St. Andrews, spoke three times on Christ our prophet, priest and king. Excellent challenging Bible talks given without a note in front of him.He also preaced on Sunday saying it was a new liberty to be in a church where the preacher did not need to wear a tie. Of course that is true in lots of churches but the others may reqire a clerical collar and we do not ask for that either.

Paul Meiners spoke about witnessing to those around us.

Bill Nikides spoke on becoming an international, interdependent denomination.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Chalk must work with cheese

So Paisley's DUP is the majority party in the N Ireland Assembly elections followed by Adam's Sinn Fein. They now have to work together to establish a devolved government. This is going to be most interesting. It is as if Westminster has said no matter what mixture you put in the tank you are going to have to get the engine running and drive the car forwards. Now they have mixed Unionist petrol with Republican diesel, how will the engine fire? History does afford a precedent for Protestant and Roman Catholics together in coalition government. Abraham Kuyper did it in The Netherlands just over 100 years ago. But they had a common enemy, the liberal secularists, to unite them in coalition and the none of the leaders were former terrorist commanders. I shall pray for IRKP to be as gracious as the grace he preaches. Personally I would find it hard to shake hands with the SF leadership. Too much blood on their hands for me.Yes I can and must forgive, but real forgiveness requires repentance for it to be sealed.

Life sentences for murder

Yesterday a judge said that life sentences for murder should be shorter. If not our jails would have lots of senile geriartric lifers.

Of course one might have thought judges were there to put people in jail rather than to get them back into the community ASAP. No-one seems to have suggested the obvious way of getting murderers out of jail quickly. Remove them in a coffin after execution.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Reform of the Lords

Oliver Cromwell abolished the House of Lords and the bishops. Egalitarian New Labour wants rid of an unelected House.They have voted for an elected upper chamber. ths will give the Commons problems as the upper chamber would be seen to have an increased influence. Elect it and why should the Prime Minister not run the governmentfrom that chamber? I ama firm believer in the principle that if it is not broken, why try to fix it. The traditional hereditary and appointed house has served us well as a check on the government. The only reason to change was a hatred of the hereditary principle. But we lie in a constitutional monarchy, The hereditart principle is part of our national life. It should have beenleft alone.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Zac is one year old

Zac usually sucks his thumb but sometimes tries a toe for a change. We has an Afghan feast to celebrate the day.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Germany to introduce “European history textbook”.

Annette Schavan, the German Education Minister, has set out plans to introduce a European Union history textbook to be taught in schools across Europe . The aim is to foster a “common cultural identity” across the EU. The idea is said to have the backing of both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU Commission. A spokesperson for the German education ministry said: “A common history book could contribute to a common European identity and knowledge about what is important for European culture and history". (Telegraph, 22 February)

The only time I am happily identified as European is when I am in Africa. There it means I am a white man. I own no common cultural identity with all the citizens of the E.U. except for a common humanity. That I also share with everyone on the planet and the only history book I need to teach this reality is the Bible.

My favorite European history book is "1066 and All That", totally anglocentric and too funny for any E.U.rophile. (N.B. a E.U.rophile loves the E.U.. OTOH I am a lover of Europe aka a Europhile.)

I'm a fan of our national anthem.

Some want to petition for an English anthem. Personally I am happy with God Save the Queen.

My reasons are two-fold. First I believe in praying for the powers that be and this lady has done an excellent job overall. Secondly, I love the verse no-one ever sings.

Lord grant that Marshall Wade
May by Thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King.
National Anthem, circa 1745, the verse everyone omits

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My most disliked politician - Red Ken

Not that I have ever watched her....

I have better taste and prefer bitter.

Books read in March 2007 (9)

1. Honouring the People of God: 4 (Collected Shorter Writings of J.I.Packer)by J.I. Packer

Packer is the best living theologian from the evangelical Anglican tradition. He is also a gifted writer, moving the reader's mind and heart. Here he honours Luther,Calvin, Baxter, Whitefield, Lloyd-Jones and Schaeffer with biographies. He also writes on the history and theology of Luther, Erasmus, Calvin, Cranmer, Baxter, sola scriptura, inerrancy, predestination, justification, Arminianism and 20th century British theology. Ordinary Christians will need some perseverance with some theological articles but the biographies are more accessible. Particularly moving are two gracious tributes to Lloyd-Jones. The two men parted company in the sixties yet Packer graciously calls him the greatest man he ever knew.

2. Eyebrows on Fire- Bristol and Abolition' Barb Drummond, available by mail order : send £4.50 to PO Box 2460. Bristol BS3 9WP See link on post title.

This booklet is unique being the only one with a picture of a namesake of mine, John Weeks. on the cover. Until the author informed me I did not know of this portrait and grave in Bristol cathedral. John was, as is written, an unusual man. I have not heard of any other publican in the forefront of anti-slavery campaigning. Now I cannot as yet claim any link to this Weeks other than the name but a man famed for his hospitality, a man who knew Burke, is a man after my own heart. Bristol, the author admits is well known as one of the three British ports which prospered from the infamous triangular trade. But here she recounts John and other Bristolians opposed to this iniquity. They aided Clarkson and helped in other ways, even, as in the case of John, on the stage.

3. Valley of Vision by A. Bennett
The late author was known to me as a lecturer at All Nations Christian College . His lectures were not memorable but his book is. This is at least my second time of reading it. I recommend it as a devotional guide for Christian prayer. Puritans were usually against set forms of prayer. The prayers here are more according to Puritan theology than to there practice. A young Christian may have to study to understand them. The language is thee and thou but this is an excellent collection of reformed, Calvinistic spirituality. In language, Bennett is not Cranmer but he has given us a great aid to devotion.

4. What They Didn't Say: A Book of Misquotations by Elizabeth Knowles

The author has a wide definition of misquotation. "Play it again,Sam" and Elementary my dear Watson " were never said but we are told how close they are to a less memorable source. Horatio never knew Yorick well. Burns has schemes that gang aft agley, not plans. Another sort of misquote improves upon the original making a more pithy saying. All sorts of misquotes are here save for what I take to be the commonest of all. It is the love of money, not money which is the root of all evil. Why leave that out from this helpful little reference work which could help end many an argument

5-8. Madame Petite, Mr Trouble, Mr Happy, Mr Cheerful - Roger Hargreaves

I have two grandchildren in Canterbury which is closer to France than to London. perhaps this explains how it was then when I picked up a book to read to my granddaughter I found it was in French. I ploughed on, understanding some from remnants of schoolboy french 45 years ago. I do not think Sahara understood it but she liked the next three volumes I read to her.

My memory is that her father was in his infancy, Mr Happy and his elder brother, Mr Chatterbox. I think Hargreaves had a brilliant idea, an idea better than much of his storytelling as the tales seem very thin at times. I am left wondering how Miss in English became Madame across the channel. Something cultural i do not know. I shall have to ask a native.

9. Have I Got Views For You - Boris Johnson

Boris is the living proof that the age of the English eccentric is not yet over. These days journalists become politicians and vice versa but no-one has done it with the eccentric humour of Boris. He is enough fun to make one reconsider voting Conservative. He writes with originality, good style and much humour. He is a one off.
The book is arranged topically going from politics to who are the British, Literary Heroes, foreign affairs, personal interviews, manners and morals etc. I found myself longing for the dates and sources to be put by each chapter for the book is not chronological. I think it would have been better arranged chronologically and not by category as the articles span 1995 to 2006.
Highlights are finding his daughter to be Belgian not British, his flight in the Americans' top fighter plane, his horror at the death of a stag together with his defence of hunting, his incompetence with a shotgun and the one piece of British journalism I have read in admiration of Dubya Bush. Boris is a man for clear blue water. If only Cameron was. He confirms to me one reason why I never passed on to the Conservatives approved candidates list. I had more than a whiff of Euroscepticism about me when interviewed in the same hotel as Boris.
I love his self deprecating humour. Why did he agree to go on the TV show from which he got his title? Honest Boris says, a thousand pounds, enough for a family holiday. Have we here that rara avis, an honest politician? He is certainly the only one who is such good fun.And to think all this for the grandson of a Turk.

An encouraging meeting

Today we had the first of our four annual presbytery meetings. Churches were from England, Azerbaijan and Romania. We also had workers from Belgium, Turkey, Korea and Italy. We heard about plans for support from American churches. We were visited by a young Englishman who having declined ordination in the Church of England is being supported by a church in New York to evangelise in London. There is real hope for the growth of Presbyterian churches.

Petitions to the Prime Minister

I have been signing quite a number as well as initiation my own on the proposed West London tram.

1. for St. George's flag to be flown over the Palace of Westminster on St. George's Day.

2. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to agree to the setting up of an English Parliament

3. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Show support that the English people be allowed to celebrate their patron saints day,St George's Day each 23rd of April with a Bank Holiday.We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Show support that the English people be allowed to celebrate their patron saints day,St George's Day each 23rd of April with a Bank Holiday.

4. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to continue the support for faith schools and to ensure that in all schools the teaching of traditional ‘faith’ views of origins is included alongside the more recent scientific ‘theories’ which many scientists ‘believe’

5. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Protect the teaching of creationism and other religious beliefs in all schools.

6. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Keep Home Schooling Legal.

7. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish plans to build a £100 million mega Mosque.

8. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Repeal the 1972 European Communities ACT and withdraw the UK from the EU.

9. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Defend the right of Christian Unions to control who may come into leadership of them.

10. We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to end Europe's unfair trade barriers against developing countries, and scrap the CAP.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Me a Marxist?

A Russian customer told me my beard reminded him of Karl Marx. I shall have to take steps to ensure it is as per Calvin or Knox as the only Marxist tendency I have is of the Groucho party. Especially the cigars. All credit to my customer for when I mentioned Calvin he did not express ignorance as did a previous commenter on my pride and joy. Look at the link. Not a bit like me.

IVF funding

Radio 4's Today programme has again highlighted the post code lottery of NHS IVF provision. But why was not the obvious source of funding for this raised? NHS prescriptions for contraceptives are free. If they bore the prescription charge I think it might well fund all the IVF needed. BTW when the pill was introduced in the sixties it was only on private prescription not the NHS. But the government wants to give priority to sex not birth it seems. As the good book says, those who hate me love death.