Friday, September 26, 2014

Keep the RAF our of Iraq and Syria.

'Islamic State (IS) is a threat to the "streets of Britain" and the UK has a "duty" to confront it militarily, David Cameron has told Parliament.' I do not believe it. What evidence is there of planned attacks? Now their fighters coming back here is another matter. What can be done about them without infringing their precious (in)human rights? To me, Cameron's ISIS threat to Britain is like Blair's WMDs in Iraq.

From the Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ in Nigeria

(25/9/14)  250 more BH terrorists surrendered to the military in Borno and Yobe States. These figures may be exaggerations though.  It was reported that 300 BH surrendered to Cameroonian troops.  However BH in Gwoza are holding women as human shields against an attack by the army.  At the same time though BH continued on the rampage in Hawul LGA in South Borno last night.
The killing in ERCC area was actually more than 30, it was 43 people. At Fadan Karshi 11 people, Karshi Daji 30 people and Ung. Gayer 2 people. Sanga LGC is 80% of Christians are ERCC. And so, out of these numbers of people killed ERCC suffered more The wife of Rev. burned, yes is ERCC’s wife. The wife of Rev. Y (Rtd). Cars were burned in ERCC yard (  In Karshi Daji, amongst killed were the Rev. of ECWA Church and his wife. In Ungwan Gayen- ERCC Rev’s house who burned  Today a village after Assakio to Shedam was attacked by the Fulani – correct report has not been collected yet. We visited Wamba – F/Karshi, Assaakio and Obi Yesterday as to encouraged our members who are victims of these crisis. We thank God, for safety before today’s attack. We visited Ayu also, yesterday since we were at F/Karshi and Karshi Daji is a village behind Ayu, where 30 people were killed we were there to see the progress of the work and as well as to encourage them because of fear of these attack and killing. The work in Ayu has gone to 70-80% as at yesterday.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nigeria update

This morning the news was that as the Caliphate prevails over Bama LGA in Borno St. the Shari’a court gave it’s first judgement resulting in the amputation of an arm of two women accused of stealing.  Many have fled into Cameroon where the number of registered refugees is said to be  about 15,000 but another 10,000 are expected.  There are also many displaced people in other States all in desperate conditions.

The encouraging news though is that the army have attacked  and overcome a contingent of Boko Haram, killing 400 including their leader, and others surrendered their weapons.  Then on Tuesday BK terrorists fleeing in a truck were arrested by soldiers in Biu.  they were all Kanuri and Hausa speakers aged between 18 and 25.  They promised to lead the army to other BH camps and possibly the Chibok girls.  
People got excited over the weekend when rumours spread that some of the abducted Chibok girls had been released and were now held in the Maiduguri army barracks.  Later however the army said it was not the Chibok girls but girls were from other areas. 

However, yesterday the EYN Church at Shafa in Biu area of Borno was set on fire.  Built in 1965 it was said to be the largest church building in N Nigeria.  This followed shooting in the town when many were killed and houses burnt.  Over the weekend a market was attacked in the Monguno area of Borno, 9 were killed and 10 injured and much food was stolen.  In another place lorries were stopped, drivers killed and loads taken.  

On Tuesday the Fulani terrorists attacked Gidan Gambo a village of ethnic Eggon in the Mada Hills area.  Eye witnesses said 50 selected houses were attacked and 15 people killed.  Many fled.
Fadan Karshi in Kaduna State that was attacked last week and the surrounding villages are like ghost towns with only a few Muslim people there now.  The State Governor, a Muslim, visited the area where over 300 people have been killed.  Women staged a protest.
Similar attacks have been carried out by Fulani in villages around Okpoga South  and also in 20 villages around Gusau LGA

Latest from Nigeria

Things turned awful in the North. A Caliphate was set up in Gwoza. Many towns and villages were attacked again but most of the Christians had already gone but many Moslems were killed. Refugees really suffered, they ran from one place to another.Over 28000 have fled to Cameroon. Others went to Taraba State and some came to Jos. Yesterday we got reports that many more soldiers had been sent to the whole area.Some B/H have been caught  and some have surrended and are now helping the soldiers. There is a great effort to prevent B/H from taking Mubi and Maiduguri. It is not easy for the soldiers as B/H can attack in there thousands and so the soldiers are overpowered. The B/H are training many thousands. We need your prayers as they have said October could be a bloody month. They have attacked other States and are going further south. 

September 25: Solemn League & Covenant Ascribed (1643)

by davidtmyers
The Solemn League and Covenant
Solomon reminds us in Proverbs 22:1 that "a good name is to be more desired that great wealth." Our names are important because they are part of our identity. These posts go out to those whose convictions identify them as belonging to the name "Presbyterian."  As part of their name, there are various events which took place in the past which help identify us. They educate us, inspire us, and challenge us to live our own Christian lives more fully and completely. Our topic this day in Presbyterian history is one of those events, namely, the Solemn League and Covenant.
The Solemn League and Covenant was written by the Rev. Alexander Henderson, a minister in the Church of Scotland. That Church approved this document on August 17, 1643.  It then was received by both the Englishh Parliament and the Westminster Assembly on this day, September 25, 1643. Why was it important that the English Parliament approved it? The answer is that looming in the background was an English Civil War between King Charles I and the English Parliament. The Parliament realized that unless they had help from the Scottish church and nation, they would not be victorious in this war. So they signed it as well.
We reproduce it here, in a paraphrased edition, copied from the book "Our Covenant Heritage," written by T.E. Edwin Nisbet Moore (and used by permission).  With uplifted hand, the two nations pledged that they would endeavor:—
(1) . . . the preservation of the Reformed religion in the Church of England . . . [and} the reformation of religion in the kingdoms of England and Ireland . .  according to the Word of God and the example of the best Reformed churches: And shall endeavor to bring the churches of God in the three kingdoms, to the nearest conjunction and  uniformity of religion . . . .
(2) . . . the extirpation of popery, prelacy, . . . superstition, heresy, schism, Profanity, and whatsoever shall be found to be contrary to sound doctrine and the power of godliness . . .
(3) . . . [the] preservation and defense of the rights and privileges of the Parliaments, . . . the king's majesty's persons and authority, .  . . the true religions and liberties of the kingdoms. . .
(4) . . . this discovery of all such as have been, or shall be incendiaries, malignants, or evil instruments, by hindering the reformation of religion, dividing the king from his people, or one of the kingdoms from another, or making any fashion, or parties amongst the people contrary to this league and covenant . . .
(5) . . . [the conjoining] in a firm peace and union to all posterity . . .
(6) . . . [the assistance and defense of] all those that enter into this league and covenant . . . And [we] shall not suffer ourselves . . . to be divided and withdrawn from this blessed union. . .
And because these kingdoms are guilty of many sins, and provocations against God, and his Son Jesus Christ . . . we profess and declare before God, and the world, our unfeigned desires to be humbled for our sins . . . to amend our lives, and each to go before another in the example of a real reformation, that the Lord may turn away his wrath . . . . Most  humbly beseeching the Lord to strengthen us by His Holy Spirit . . . to the glory of God, the enlargement of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the peace and tranquility of the Christian kingdoms and commonwealths."
How this covenant was put into practice however was less than desirable. Rather than allowing the Christian citizens of the kingdom voluntarily to sign it, as had been done with previous covenants, they required the ministers to report anyone who either disapproved or would not swear to the covenantal words.  The late J.G. Vos points out that this compulsory requirement ended up debasing the covenant.  Many, like Charles II, signed it for reasons other than genuine acceptance. It should have been left to a voluntary response by the people.
Words to Live By:
Moses in Deuteronomy 5:29 writes, "Oh  that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me and keep all My commands always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!"  This is a worthy prayer to be prayed by all of God's people in any age.  It is to be prayed for our families, our church families, and the citizens of our nation. Will you pray it today, this week, this month, and this year?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Films seen in September 2014

1. Half of a Yellow Sun 

I read the book six years ago and my memory of it is therefore dimmed but I draw in part on my review of the book. As usual the film selects parts of the story and thereby leaves you in the dark about some events like the effects of seeing the brutality of the slaughter in Kano. One part done well was the use of black and white newsreel footage to tell the history of Nigeria at the time but in line with the Biafran bias, though we see Ojukwu and hear his Sandhurst accent, we never see Gowon present the federal side. This is a story by an Igbo author being a great apology for Biafra. The one thing I found incredible in the book, repeated in the film, was the assertion that some expatriates encouraged the killing of Igbos in the North. I had friends in the North who witnessed the murders. They were horrified and traumatised by the butchery and never recounted any expatriate approval let alone encouragement of genocide.
This is a powerful well told story. The life of well to do Nigerians and expatriates in the newly independent Nigeria is well related. But were Nigerian sixties women as free with sexual favours as the twins in this film? Overall the film came across as one more about personal relations with the was more of an incidental setting rather than central. The Biafrans were starving during the conflict. Everyone here looked well fed but as in Schindler's List, representing emaciation is not possible. Overall, too much sex and not enough of ordinary Nigerian life. The central characters are part of a privileged elite.

2.  The Railway Man

How is it that film makers can liase with the author of a story only to significantly alter it. First I saw this DVD. Then I read the book. The film was good but it denied the real story at the end. Drama taking precedence over truth? The film could not portray the extent of the real horror and torture experienced by Lomax. As in Schindler's List, you cannot find actors emaciated to the point of death. So the film spares the viewer the reality of the suffering. On the plus side it does give one the beauty of Nicole Kidman. She is a beautiful wife for Lomax. The story of his first marriage is omitted from the film.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Nigeria: Terror Attacks in Three States

Thursday, September 18, 2014 q

By Dan WoodingFounder of ASSIST Ministries

KANO, NIGERIA (ANS) -- Fifteen people were killed and 34 injured on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, when suspected members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram launched a suicide bomb and gunfire attack on the Federal College of Education (FCE) in the capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria.
A student in one of the bombed classrooms at Federal College of Education in Kano (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
“An infant and a lecturer were also killed by the attackers who struck around 1.53pm, arriving in a tinted Prado SUV,” said one media report. “Witnesses said two suicide bombers entered two separate lecture halls filled with hundreds of students and blew themselves up after firing automatic weapons."
According to other reports armed men fired shots as they approached a hall at the FCE’s new site at Gadon Kaya on Zaria Road at around 2pm as a lecture was underway. One detonated a suicide device while the other launched improvised explosive devices (IED), before opening fire on students who were attempting to escape.
“Police at a nearby checkpoint are reported to have responded promptly to the incident, shooting two assailants dead. Two AK-47s were recovered from the scene,” said a spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
In a statement delivered by a spokesperson, President Goodluck Jonathan commiserated with the people and residents of Kano and commended the Nigeria Police for their prompt action.
Later that evening, the CSW spokesperson went on to say, the Nigerian Army’s 7th Division scored a significant victory when it repelled a major attack by Boko Haram on Konduga Town in Borno State, reportedly killing 100s of the sect members.
Boko Haram fighters are causing havoc in Nigeria.
On Friday, September 12, 2014, the army had fought off an earlier attempt by a large Boko Haram contingent to seize Konduga Town for use as a forward base from which to launch a major attack on the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, causing the sect to suffer heavy losses in equipment and manpower, including the loss of an infamous emir.
Nevertheless, according to a recent statement by the Catholic Church of Nigeria, Boko Haram is currently in control of 25 north eastern towns, and an intensification in terrorist activities within the last month has caused massive displacement, creating “a huge humanitarian crisis.”
Moreover, the violence sect continues to abduct women and forcibly conscript young men. On Saturday, September 13, 2014, over 50 women, including married ones, were abducted from Gulak Town. Sect members also conducted indoctrination sessions, forcibly conscripting every able bodied youth when their audiences failed to volunteer to join them.
“Elsewhere, armed Fulani gunmen launched renewed attacks on three communities in Sanga Local Government Area (LGA), in the southern part of Kaduna State during the early hours of Wednesday, September 17, 2014,” said the CSW spokesperson. “Around 40 people are reported to have been killed and dozens more injured in the attacks on Fadan Karshi, Fadan Karshi Daji and Unguwan Ganye villages.
“Among the victims were retired clergyman Reverend Jacob Aku and his wife. According to local reports, prior to attacking the villages the gunmen had ambushed a military patrol van, killing one soldier and injuring four others. The attacks were the first in the area since June, when at least 123 villagers were murdered by Fulani gunmen.”
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost loved ones in the attacks in Kano and Kaduna States, and with the women abducted from Gulak Town, who we pray will soon be rescued or released.
“We warmly welcome news of military successes, but are deeply concerned by reports of mass displacement, and by the number of towns said to be under Boko Haram’s control. Clearly, as Nigeria continues its efforts to end the group’s campaign of terror, the nation will need international assistance in order to provide for its burgeoning number of internally displaced people adequately.
“In addition, the fact gunmen were able to overrun current security arrangements in the southern part Kaduna State and take more innocent lives serves as an indication that the military presence in that area must be reviewed and increased.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a UK-based Christian organization working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press Officer at Christian Solidarity Worldwide on +44 (0)20 8329 0045 / +44 (0) 78 2332 9663, or visit

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Still more trouble in Nigeria

These have been over a wide area - Borno State around Maiduguri and in the Biu area where in a group of villages the Chief was forced to show the BH terrorists which were Christian families, gave the people the option to convert to Islam or be killed, and then burnt the EYN (Brethren), Deeper Life and the ECWA churches; in Adamawa State towards Mubi and towards Gubio and Damaturu similar things, in Taraba State in the Wukari areas and in Plateau around Bokkos and Riyom.  Then yesterday the news came through that terrorists had attacked the Federal College of Education in Kano with bombs and shootings.  M

  The killings and burnings of churches, pastors' houses and Christian's houses goes on and on.  The army seem to be doing well in one area but then trouble breaks out in another.These have been over a wide area - Borno State around Maiduguri and in the Biu area where in a group of villages the Chief was forced to show the BH terrorists which were Christian families, gave the people the option to convert to Islam or be killed, and then burnt the EYN (Brethren), Deeper Life and the ECWA churches; in Adamawa State towards Mubi and towards Gubio and Damaturu similar things, in Taraba State in the Wukari areas and in Plateau around Bokkos and Riyom.  Then yesterday the news came through that terrorists had attacked the Federal College of Education in Kano with bombs and shootings.  Many students were killed.  Today the news is that 30 villagers and a soldier were killed at Fadan Karshi in Kaduna State with many houses burnt.  A pastor's wife was burnt to death.  In this group of villages 160 were killed in June.Because of the troubles, there are thousands of displaced people who desperately need support and somewhere to live.  Pray for the churches of the Central Belt to reach out to these people. 

Calling voters in Scotland

I have no vote but I am praying No. I do not want to have to regard Scotland as a foreign country. We have been partners for over 300 years. The Union is not broken so why try to fix it by shattering it?  I think Yes would be an economic disaster for all concerned and our country's defence weakened. The future should be a strong UK not a house divided, a couple of rooms in the EU. I love Scotland. Please vote for us to keep together and do not be deluded by empty promises of a socialist utopia. Salmond and Sturgeon are but a pair of slippery fishes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 20 Kyle to Perivale

We drove 610 miles home in 12 and a half hours. The first miles saw perfectly still lochs in morning sunshine, perfect reflections but we did not have time to stop and snap. After being southbound to Spean Bridge and misty in the Great Glen we headed east on the road to Perth. Our first 100 miles was 2 hours of twisty single caraige way but once we hit the A9 going south we started with some dual carriageway and after Perth it was so all the way. In the east No sings predominated. From Perth it was south west A80 and M80 to go south of Glasgow then A74 and M74 to Gretna. In England it was M6 to the south of Birmingham. After a stop at Preston for fuel we managed to go off the route at Charnock Richard services so had a little country detour back to the M6 and east of Birmingham. M42 south of B"ham took us to M43, M40 and home by 9.30pm.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 19 Harris, Skye, Kyle

We packed and cleaned and left for Tarbert in sunshine. This was perfect weather and did compensate for the dull day yesterday. After buying some lunch we drive to Hushinish which road has to be my favourite in the UK. One passes through pa castle grounds and beyond its gate are workers' cottages so I took photos to illustrate the omitted verse of 'All things bright and beautftiul'.
The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
At the end of the road were shepherds and dogs with sheep penned up. There is also at the road end what I call the loo with a view, the best situated public WC ever. Hebridean loos are well placed and clean. Later in the day I had a smile in Broadford, Skye where the Co-ops in-store loo door bore a notice saying,'Toilet out of order. Sorry for any inconvenience.' After Hushinish we still had time to drive to Scalpay, the island where we stayed 7 years ago in B&B. The ferry to Uig on Skye was a scenic voyage. It could only have been bettered if we had seen any marine life but the dolphins, whales and sharks were busy elsewhere. Driving over Skye to Kyle we one again enoyed perfect vistas of mountains, lochs and sea.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 18 Harris

It was slight rain as we drove south to Harris where the rain stopped but the day remained overcast so we were not to see the other part of the long island at its best. Driving down The Golden Road on the east coast we passed through many small settlements, by countless lochs and the inhospitable rocky terrain from which crofters displaced by the terrible Clearances had to scratch a living by planting lazy beds, little raised up plots fertilised by kelp and capable of producing a few potatoes, barley and oats. Ay the southern coast is Leverburgh. I was surprised that the road signs, invariably in Gaelic uppermost and English below did not mention the Gaelic name of the town. It bears only the name of Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers, Port Sunlight and owner of Lewis and Harris for a few unsucessfull years from 1918. It is as if St Petersburg was still Leningrad!. Driving up the west coast we stopped at one of the beautiful golden sandy beaches. The Harris beaches rank among the best in the world and all the better for seeing few visitors.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 17 Eye Peninsula and the road to Tolsta

I found free wifi in Tesco Car Park Stornoway so could briefly check my mail. Then we went to search for the Iolaire memorial on Holm Point where on New Years Day 1919 205 men perished within a few feet of land , They were men who had served in the Royal Navy and survived WWI only to drown at the entrance to Stornoway harbour. It was the worst peace time maritime disaster ever in British waters and devastated every community on Lewis. The rocks where the ship foundered are the Beasts of Holm. Only 79 men survived the wreck. From this tragic place we went to the lighthouse on the tip of the Eye Peninsula then ate our lunch at nearby Port nan Giuran looking across Broad Bay to Bac. We drove through Bac stopping at the memorial to the post WWI Land Raids, erected at the place where Lord Leverhume has offered the men of Lewis new houses and jobs in Stornoway only to be told they wanted the land that the government had promised them for new crofts. We followed the road to its end at Garry where the road ends at The Bridge to Nowhere, a great piece of engineering that Leverhume had built to take the road to Nis, the far north of the island. The road was never built beyond the bridge at Garry where in good sunshine we enjoyed a walk on the perfect beach with the tide coming in and seagulls in plenty. Then it was back to our holiday home. Driving here is a pleasure with so few vehicles on the roads.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 16 Shawbost and Stornoway Free Churches

In the morning we joined the Shawbost Free Church as invited. Our English service was in a very vcmfortable church hall while the Gaelic one was in the main church. We followed the usual Free Church custom of sitting to sing unaccompanied metric psalms the standing to pray. The Scottish 1850 Psalter was used so in Ps 22 we sang to be delivered from the horn of the unicorn, which in modern translation is a wild oxen. A visiting preacher gave a good word from Heb 1;1-3, especially good on, 'the joy set before him'. Our precentor was fine but one has to get used to letting him start each stanza on his own. If this was strange it was nothing compared to when we joined the Gaelic congregation for communion. Their precentor sings the whole first line then the people join in. It sounds to me like the singing of the Jews, and so it is. Someone else said it is like bagpipes but I would not be so unkind. I will settle for praise in a strange tongue. The church interior was impressive with three ministers on high about six foot up. Below them were two precentors on a raised platform, one precentor per language. The elders sat in a special pew around the pulpit with the deacons at the front sides. I fancy an elders' pew for IPC Ealing. After a Gaelic psalm finished the visiting minister began to fence the communion table. He did this in a three part address form Ps 27:5-6. It was most excellent, godly and moving talk, part before communion, part at the table and finally after communion. Very godly but I fear it had little to do with a proper exegesis of the text in its context.
The elders stood but we all sat for the minister's thanksgiving prayer. We remained seated as first the bread, cut white, was passed along each row followed swiftly by the cup which tasted to me like a decent port. Communion here is but twice a year and a solemn occasion. I forgot to say on being welcomed to the English service we were asked if we would be coming to the table and when we affirmed we were each given a Communion Token stamped, 'Shawbost Free Church 1890'. These had to be handed to an elder as we joined the Gaelic service. I wished I could have kept one as a reminder of Hebridean spirituality. After the service Alistair's uncle and aunt invited us to lunch. We even had a second lunch invitation from the wife of the minister. What a contrast to when over 25 years ago an American friend went to the very large Stornoway Free Church and no-one spoke to him after the service.uu
Lunch was excellent hospitality, rich lentil soup, ever so tender roast beef and Yorkshie pud followed by gateau with cream and ice cream. Conversation was stimulating with full and frank discussion on the forthcoming independence referendum.
We left in late afternoon to attend evening Free Church service in Stornoway. They have one way and pedestrian streets that fooled us two days running but on street parking is no problem. We had met the minister, Ivor Martin when he preached for us at IPC. The congregation was perhaps 200 to 300. More modern Psalms were also used as well as 1650 but here we stood to sing and sat to pray. Ivor's sermon on 2 Sam 6 was one of the best I have ever heard, on the presence of God, his holiness, joy in his presence and the danger of being a mere spectator of holy things. A great end to a memorable day.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 15 Lewis

We drove to Stornoway after breakfast to do a little grocery shopping amd look for the times of the Free Church services. After shopping at two charity shops we set off on food for the Free Church which we had not found by car. As we approached it we were greeted by a very helpful young man who turned out to be a deacon of the church. Alistair MacLeod invited us to join him tomorrow morning at the Shawbost Free Church Communion. He said a warm welcome was assured and we could expect lunch hospitality too. The latter would be welcome as places serving meals are in the main shut on Sundays in Lewis. After finding a third excellent charity shop, that of Bethesda Hospice, we headed for Arnol on the west coast of Lewis. First we lunched by the Black House museum. The house was built about 1870 and inhabited until 1973. Stone walls up to 8 feet thick, two walls with a turf filling, an original cavity wall, where the rain water from the thatched roof would run down the central cavity. No chimney, but a peat fire in the centre. The family lived in the main section, animals in the byre next to them. The museum was not open at lunchtime so we drove south to find the Siabost Free Church. To our amazement it had no notice board to identify it. We drove to the bay there and walked watching the tide coming in, blue seas again. Then at Carloway we enjoyed the Garenin museum of 9 croter's houses, the last abandoned in 1973, now restores as thatched dwellings. Their design was modified to have gable fireplaces and chimneys, nt so smokey for the crofters. Our last stop was to see the Callanish standing sones. Stonehenge eat your hear out. Callanish has the better location, coastal, there are more stones and you can walk among them. Estimated dates of these circles are from 3000 to 1500 BC. They have seen all of recorded human history.

Books read in September 2014

1. The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier  

Set in 1850s Ohio this is a beautifully told story of a young Quaker girl from Dorset experiencing a new life in a new country. At the centre of the story is her desire to help blacks escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad to Canada. A federal Fugitive Slave act means severe penalties for anyone in a free state like Ohio refusing to aid in the capture of runaways. Qakers who detest slavery are forced to chose between Christian charity and the law of the land. The ethical dilemma is well portrayed as are the newness of America, its flora, fauna, people and slave hunting. There is also much about family loyalty and the importance of quilts. The one thing I question is the likelihood of a young Quaker virgin lying in the corn with a man and so becoming pregnant.

2- Lewis in the Passing - Calum Ferguson

I was given this book when going to holiday in Lewis. A previous holiday in the Outer Hebrides showed me that this was a different world to mainland UK. This book shows how life in Lewis changed in the last century though the memories of Lewis people. Some chapters are in Gaelic and I cannot comment on those. What I learned about was the passing of the crofting life. Many of the contributors were born in black houses, traditional dwellings with no modern facilities, even no fireplace or chimney. The crops were barley, oats and potatoes. Fuel was peat which had to be cut and dried. Work was strictly divided between the sexes. Women had most of the hard manual work at home. Men were often fishermen or left home to be sailors. The basic diet was salted fish and potatoes. Tuberculosis was a killer. Many of the men describe wartime service. Most were sailors but no-one testifying rose to be an officer. The place of Gaelic was very important and life was very much a community affair. Most of the testimonies tell of strong church observance and Christian faith though for some it seems the gospel of salvation by grace alone has not overcome a works based religion. But there is no rigid sectarianism. All in all this is a moving account of a passing way of life. Read and learn. Note that these memories do not seem to be edited to check some of the facts e.g the number of survivors from HMS Hood is inflated. The one thing the book does lack is an index.

3.  The Soap Man -  Roger Hutchinson

Sometimes one reads fact which seem stranger than fiction. Such is the story of Lord Leverhulmes failed attempt to run Lewis and Harris the way he had built up the commercial empire now known as Unilever. Lever started life as the son of a Bolton grocer. He became through his benign capitalism, a multi millionaire. He was also a megalomaniac who did not believe in compromise. Before he owned Lewis he had been unsuccesfull in persuading Solomon Islanders and Congolese that a cash economy was better than traditional life. He had not learned from these lesson and thought he could develop Lewis, with a population of 30,000 into an industrial economy of 200,000 people. He failed because the fishing industry on which he based his plans went into post war decline. He was also frustrated by the crofters who did not want Lever's industry, they did not even want to be owner occupiers. They wanted to continue with their subsistence crofting economy and have more land made over for crofting. ever never understood this. He even called their traditional black houses  'dwellings not fit for kaffirs'. It is a story in line with Burns' stanza, 'The best laid plan of mice and men gang aft agley, and leave us naught but grief and pain for promised joy'. But I doubt if Lever ever read much Burns. I spotted one factual error. Sir George Goldie did not in 1897 name 500,000 square miles of Africa, Nigeris. Nigeria was formed in 1914 when the protectorates of southern and northern Nigeria were joined by Lagos colony as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.

4. The Stornoway Black Pudding Bible by Seumas MacInnes

On a recent visit to Scotland I was introduced to this delicacy and the recipe book. A life long black pudding eater, Stornoway's is softer and spicier than those south of the border or the French version. I look forward to using the recipes but fear I may have to use English ingredient. The recipes look great. Cannot wait to cook and sample.

5.  Stirrett of the Sudan by Douglas C. PERCY

Stirrett spent 47 years as a missionary in the north of Nigeria dying in Jos in 1948. This is the story of a giant of the faith, a pioneer devoted to spreading the gospel, among the Hausas says the book, but in fact among all peoples in northern Nigeria. He gave up all his wordily wealth being two pharmacies and property in Canada, given to the Sudan Interior Mission before they accept him for service. He even went to Nigeria at his own expense before acceptance by SIM. He was a man of great energy, love, prayer and a daily preacher of the gospel. I would like to find his book on medicine and his Hausa concordance and glossary. He was a major contributor to the first Hausa bible translation.

6. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax 

I saw the film first and was told the book was significantly different. It is far more harrowing and moving. I have never read such an horrific account of torture. It was so bad that Eric Lomax could not recall some of it himself but the Japanese interpreter reunited it in his retelling of his wartime work. This is a book about the long term effects of torture and the reality of forgiveness. True forgiveness comes on the basis of the offender's repentance and Lomax finds real evidence of a Japanese translator who was really repentant about his part in the terrible evils done by his compatriots in WW2.  One thing that saddened me was Lomax's describing Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh as a cult. It has a good reputation as a baptist church. Sadly Lomax's experience was of members there who did not live out the Christian message of love for others.

7. The Man Who Gave Away His Island: A Life of John Lorne Campbell of Canna by Ray Perman 

I read this after visiting Canna and reading two books about Lewis and how it had suffered under lairds who did not care for the welfare of their crofting tenants. Although coming from the Argyllshire aristocracy,  John Lorne Campbell was different. He was a shy man in person, but in print a campaigner for the ordinary crofting people and a Gaelic scholar. Against financial odds he bought and farmed Canna and approaching his end sought to secure the future of his beloved canna by gifting it to the ownership on the National Trust for Scotland. It was not an easy journey for him, nor an easy one for canna since his death. It is the sort of factual history that would not sound realistic as a fiction. He was a nationalist passionate about Gaelic culture and language which he and his American wife did much to record. A man who went against the flow to his great credit and for the good of the island culture.

8.  The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand

This is a most controversial book. It is academic and not an easy read but a most stimulating one. First there is a long chapter on what constitutes a nation. Then we learn why the author does not accept at face value the biblical account of the origin of the Jews. He accepts the higher critical view that the old testament was not written at the times and by the authors it claims like Moses. He also asserts that the archaeological evidence does not support the biblical accounts of the exodus, the conquest of canaan or the kingdoms of David and Solomon and of course the patriarchs are mere figures of myth, not history. In short his view of the bible is that of critical rationalism. There is no place for the Bible as divine revelation or history.
   Next Sand asserts that there was no expulsion of the Jews from their land after AD70. Jews had migrated of their own accord all round the Roman empire which is not in dispute, But controversially he says that the jews were a proselytising people so many converts were made, so many that you cannot say that jews today have one ethnicity. He also relates that there were Judaistic  convert kingdoms in southern Arabia and the Caucasus. As to the land of Judea, he believes that Jews remains there but most converted to Islam after the Muslim invasion because it was easier to convert than to be taxed. So he asserts that today's Palestinians are not really ethnicaly Arab, but are of the same stock as Jews. This is all part of his thesis that being Jewish cannot be defined ethically but religiously and culturally.
   The last part of the book deals with the State of Israel and the impossibility of it being a democracy when it defines itself as a Jewish state giving the right of return to anyone claiming to be a Jew, yet denying citizenship to non-jewish residents. His solution to the problem of Israel is a two nation state in Palestine. The solution is offered more in hope than expectation.

9. Vagabond by Gerald Seymour

Seymour is back on top form. I have read all his novels and this ranks with the best from this the top thriller writer. He has thankfully left his standard recent format of starting off with three or four seemingly unrelated scenarios than bringing them together in his climax.  This has a more united feel but he does have the annoying habit of changing scene and starting with personal pronouns so you have to workout who we are with now and where. I also found the first few pages confusing as to where we were and with whom. But these are minor criticisms. Here is a masterpiece in the murky world of counter terrorism, murders, touts and loyalties betrayed. Vagabond, the hero is a troubled man. Will his end be troubled too? I will not write the answer and so spoil enjoyment. How this plot will end is kept hidden right up to the end. It is only a little earlier we find out the real purpose of the operation for which Vagabond has been called back. Great writing and very moving concerning Dunkirk, Dieppe and D Day.

More texts from Nigeria

Main advances of BH have been into Adamawa State going beyond Madagali to Gulak and Bazza where the Catholic Church and Chiefs palace and houses were destroyed.  People took shelter in the secondary school but many fled.  Michika/Amjawa  were then attacked.  Captives have been rounded up, with Christians identified and then massacred.  The key larger town of Mubi was then under threat. Soldiers have fought back but generally been overwhelmed.  People are fearful of many more Muslims joining BH for their own security so increasing the threat of a religious war on a larger scale.

Over the weekend there has been a fight back with fighter jets bombing and foot soldiers engaging BH in street fighting around Michika. A curfew was imposed Saturday and Sunday.  Soldiers are trying to stop people fleeing out of Mubi and to restore order.  The army attacked and killed 50 insurgents at a secret camp not far from Maiduguri and one piece of artillery, 2 anti aircraft guns and an armoured car plus various ammunitions were found and destroyed.  One officer and two soldiers were seriously hurt.  

On Saturday though the village of Lamb Gyambar in Wase LGA in Plateau State was attacked with 6 people killed including one baby and many houses burnt  This is a region that has been at peace for some time.  A car bomb was discovered in Jos on Friday and it was said by the media that it was aimed at Muslims going to their mosque, but it was seen as an attempt to destabilise that part of town with non Muslims being charged of planting it.  Apparently there was no mosque nearby.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 14 Great Bernera

I rose to see the dawn over the loch by the house. The rising sun shone on the bridge. Outside was 55F but too good not to sit and read outside before breakfast. We spent the day exploring Great Bernera which we had visited seven years ago. From the house we can see the bridge to Great Bernera, constructed in 1951 and known as the Bridge Across the Atlantic. In the morning we were on the south east of the island and at Circebost found the workshop of a French wood worker who had the most amazing wooden toys and other clever artefacts all made from local woods or driftwood. We bought a lovely Celtic cross to adorn our wall when we return. We lunched at the house then explored the north and west of the island in beautiful sunshine. So we have pictures of tropical looking sea and beach at Bostadh which has the most beautifully situated cemetrey possible . Nearby an iron age settlement was uncovered by a big storm and a replica iron age hut has been constructed. All the roads are single track with passing places except for a few which do not have sign posted passing places.

Friday, September 12, 2014

IM - I R K Paisley

I am a five point Calvinist and all the points are sharp! -- Ian Paisley

There's no doubt about it, the Jesuits in England are flying a kite testing the temperature of the water. - I R K Paisley quoted in Christians in Ulster. E Gallagher p 22

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 13 Skye to Lewis

We left Kyle for Broadford and bought fuel and food then on to the north west of Skye in sunshine, seeing the tops of the Cuillins for the second time. We lunched  the sea at Lower Millovaig the journey to Portree to meet Wayne Pearce, until now a Facebook friend. He ministers for the ARP, the church that split from the Free Presbyterians when they disciplined the then lord chancellor, Lord Mackay, over his attendance at the funerals of two judges who were Roman Catholics. Wayne has congregations on Skye and Harris. When he commutes to the Harris church it is by Saturday ferry retuuning monday. We motored on to Uig for the 6pm ferry which was an hour late. There were few vehicles and passengers and the meal we enjoyed on board was good value.So we arrived at Tarbert, Harris around 8pm in the dusk. The afternoon had turned cloudy, then sunny, then rain. Next it was fine. Now Harris was wet. The drive to the west coast of Lews took about an hour, the final stretch needing extra care for the single track road in the dark. But we met no oncoming traffic and our sat nav found us the house in Crulabhig just short of the bridge to Great Bernera. Our house was left for us, keys in the door, lights and heating on. We had a choice of four bedrooms, no less and total silence outside with a few lights of other dwellings showing in the distance across the island.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 12 - Rum and Canna

This afternoon we were among 12 passengers on MV  Eilean a Cheo a fast boat from Elgol. Two passengers disembarked at Rum to be picked up on our return from Canna. Rum is the largest f the Small Isles, Canna the smallest. Our captain  stopped to show us Kilmory Bay where the royal family used to picnic on the beach before the Blair government took away the royal yacht. There we saw red deer and wild ponies. Further along the rock Rum coast we saw what our captain described as the ultimate warning against drink driving, the wreck of a French trawler, Jack Abry II which went aground on the west side of Rum on 31st January 2011. Her skipper was arrested on rescue. He was charged at Stornoway Sheriff Court with failing to maintain a proper lookout. He pleaded guilty and was fined £3,000. He had fallen asleep on watch. We had an hour and a half ashore at Canna and saw what may be a unique local shop. It runs on honesty. You write down what you buy and put your money in the box. We heard strange hooting noises and thought someone was messing about. But no. It was the seals we saw when leaving the harbour. One our way from Rum to Elgol porpoises were spotted but they do not show themselves as clearly as dolphins. As we approached harbour we saw the Cuillins free of cloud for the first time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Holiday in Scotland - Day 11 - Inverewe

Another cloudy but fine day. We drove about 75 miles north to visit these amazing gardens which have plants and flowers not to be expected at these latitudes ( north of Moscow). But the North Atlantic Drift warms the shore here. Pics as usual on Facebook. We returned on a single track with passing places road though the Torridon mountains but each peak was head in the clouds. Motoring here is full of the unexpected. An A class road may be what you expect in terms of width, wide enough for passing cars, but suddenly it may become single track with passing places. Back to Kyle we went to pretty Plockton for an excellent seafood dinner at the Plock

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Escalation in Borno

News  today 2/9 was that the army could not retake and hold Madagali town and the BH have now totally taken over and set up their own rulers.

Then on Saturday Bama army barracks was attached and the insurgents were repelled and 100 of them killed.  Then yesterday they returned in numbers and totally overwhelmed the army and took over the camp, then the town killing all except some women.  Their aim now seems to use Bama as a launching place to attack Maiduguri.  

Also today news came through that Wukari in Taraba State (that’s south of the River Benue and where in the early days of SUM the mission ran a Freed Slaves Home). Confirmation came through a little later to say the call to prayer came at 5.30am with gun shots so attracting many people but then insurgents in army uniforms shot down 3 non muslim youths leaving also many injured.  There was pandemonium in the town.  

So these things are going on right now - how we need to cry to God to stop these horrific evil events.  The army seem powerless but our trust is in God alone.

Andrew Melville’s Two-Kingdom Speech

by davidtmyers

The day is lost to church history. We know the month and the year of the Two Kingdom Speech of Andrew Melville. That month and year was September 1596. But the exact day is lost to us.  So this author is going to put it on September 2, this day in Presbyterian history, because it is too important not to consider it.
The elders of the General Assembly were meeting in Cupar, Fife, Scotland. Due to a breach of faith on the part of King James, the assembly had decided to sent a deputation to seek the resolution of their concerns. Heading that deputation was James Melville, who was chosen because of his courteous manner and the apparent favor he had with the king. Along side him, out of the spotlight, was his uncle, Reformation leader Andrew Melville.
Barely had James Melville begun speaking before the king cut him off and accused him of meeting in a seditious manner with other elders of the kirk, and bringing causeless fears before the people of Scotland. Andrew Melville stepped in, despite his nephew's attempt to keep him silent, by taking the king's robe by the sleeve, and saying that the king was "God's silly vassal."
"Sir," said Andrew Melville, "we will always humbly reverence your majesty in public; but since we have this occasion to be with your majesty in private, and since you are brought in extreme danger of your life and crown, and along with you the country and the Church of God are like to go to wreck, for not telling you the truth and giving your faithful counsel, we must discharge our duty, or else be traitors both to Christ and to you. Therefore, Sir, as divers times before I have told you, so now again I must tell you, there are two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James, the head of the commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the King of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, nor a lord, nor a head, but a member. Sir, those whom Christ has called and commanded to watch over his church, have power and authority from Him to govern his spiritual kingdom, both jointly and severally; the which no Christian king or prince should control and discharge, but fortify and assist; otherwise they are not faithful subjects of Christ and members of his Church. We will yield to you your place, and give you all due obedience; but again, I say, you are not the head of the Church; you cannot give us that eternal life which we seek for even in this world, and you cannot deprive us of it. Permit us then freely to meet in the name of Christ, and to attend to the interests of that Church of which you are the chief member. Sir, when you were in your swaddling clothes, Christ Jesus reigned freely in this land, in spite of all his enemies. His officers and ministers convened and assembled for the ruling and welfare of his Church, which was even for your welfare, defense and preservation, when these same enemies were seeking your destruction. Their assemblies since that time have continually have been terrible to these enemies, and most steadfast to you. And now, when there is more than extreme necessity for the continuance and discharge of that duty, will you (drawn to your own destruction by a most pernicious counsel) begin to hinder and dishearten Christ's servants and your most faithful subjects, quarreling them for their convening, and the care they have of their duty to Christ and you, when you should rather commend and countenance them, as the godly kings and emperors did? The wisdom of your counsel, which I call devilish, is this, that you must be served by all sorts of men, to come to your purpose and grandeur, Jew and Gentile, Papist and Protestant; and because the Protestants and ministers of Scotland are over strong, and control the king, they must be weakened and brought low by stirring up a party against them, and, the king being equal and indifferent, both should be fain to flee to him. But, Sir, if God's wisdom be the only true wisdom, this will prove mere and mad folly; His curse cannot but light upon it; in seeking both ye shall lose both; whereas in cleaving uprightly to God, His true servants would be your sure friends, and He would compel the rest counterfeitly and lyingly to give over themselves and serve you." (Melville's Dairy, pp. 245, 246, quoted in W.M. Hetherington, "History of the Church of Scotland" p. 105.
Words to Live By:Charles Hodge says in commentary on Romans 13:2  "we are to obey all that is in actual authority over us, whether their authority be legitimate or usurped, whether they are just or unjust. The actual reigning emperors were to be obeyed by the Roman Christians, whatever they might think as to his title to the scepter. But if he transcended his authority, and required them to worship idols, they were to obey God rather than man. This is the limitation to all human authority. Whenever obedience to man is inconsistent with obedience to God, then disobedience becomes a duty." (Commentary to the Epistle to the Romans, by Charles Hodge, p. 406)

Monday, September 01, 2014

The day I heard Paisley

It was 1973 or 74 and I was a missionary taking deputation meetings all over the UK. I was staying near Londonderry and Paisley had led a march in the city and was to address a meeting near Macherafelt above the city. Paisley started speaking and seemed to have a bit of a frog in his throat. Clearing his throat he said, 'Sorry about that. I must have picked up something nasty in the Bogside.' (The story need sot be told with proper Ulster emphasis on BOG ). A brilliant opening line.

Holiday in Scotland - Day 10 - Elgol

Fine weather for most of today but rather dull so we never saw the tops of the Cuillins. The road to Elgol is very busy for a single track with passing places. Our Misty Isle boat trip set of 11am returning by 2.30. It was a little choppy at times but our crewman kept us well amused and informed, even with the tale of the Soay mice which were transported to Edinburgh zoo while invading rats were exterminated from the island. Or as he put it, mice on vacation at tax payers expense. You will see from the pics on Facebook that there his a large colony of seals to see as well as cormorants. It is a 15 minute walk to the freshwater Loch Coruisk. However the way is more boggy Scotland rather than Bonnie Scotland. Rushing back my walking stick went in to an unexpected depth and I fell into a peaty puddle. The outflow from the loch had the stepping stones fairly well awash so we stayed on the near shore and did not get to see the misty topped Cuillins. Misty Isle does great hot chocolate on the return trip and I was helped to clean up too. An ancestor of Seamus our captain helped one Charles Edward Stuart escape from the island to Italy after his 1745 invasion. Skye was Jacobite country. 'Sail bonny boat..... over the sea to Skye.' We are now booked for a trip to Canna on Wednesday. Lots of birds to see including puffins. We did spot one skua today.



Pray for believers in Gwoza, Nigeria, a predominantly Christian town that was invaded and reportedly seized by militants of the Islamist group Boko Haram on 6 August. Residents were shot and slashed to death; eyewitnesses estimated that more than 100 people lost their lives. The assailants continued to loot and pillage the town.
Some of those who managed to escape sought refuge in the nearby Gwoza hills, where they were surviving on wild fruits and at risk of starvation. Some elderly and particularly vulnerable residents remained stranded in Gwoza town without food or water. Reports have emerged that Boko Haram has been enforcing sharia law in Gwoza since it seized the town.
The massacre was preceded by raids on villages near Gwoza, which is in Borno state, and the destruction of church buildings in the region. At least five churches were also set ablaze on 30 July in the Hawul Local Government Area of Borno.
The Gwoza hills have since 2009 been a safe haven for Boko Haram, which aims to establish an Islamist state in Northern Nigeria. Gwoza Local Government Area has been heavily targeted, with the Christian community bearing the brunt of the violence.
Pray for the grieving relatives and friends of those who were so brutally killed when the town was taken. Ask the Lord to protect and provide for Christians who fled from the violence, and petition Him to halt further attacks by Boko Haram on believers in Nigeria.