Monday, 30 May 2011

Support the demands for the GAGAing order

Private Eye has reported that there have been growing demands for the issue of a "Gagaing order" on the publicity-seeking celebrity known as Lady Gaga.  (Some people have complained that her music drives them gaga.)

This superstar injunction would attempt to shut the chanteuse up for a bit; perhaps it would make her disappear from feature articles and red top newspapers until further notice.  Is this too much to ask?

It is considered to be a matter of genuine concern and in the public interest.  The British public has a right to know a lot less about Lady Gaga and spared the sight of intimate photographs of her wearing weird clothes and sometimes hardly any clothes at all.  Vegetarians and butchers have complained about her outfits made out of meat.  One butcher objected to the outfits because they would have a bad taste. But to be fair they would become very attractive...... to flies.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

FC Barcelona triumph over Manchester United at Wembley this evening

FC Barcelona, the Catalan masters, were worthy winners when they beat Man. United at Wembley by three goals to one.  Barcelona were simply too good for the English Premiership Champions.  The standard of football was wonderful and it was great to see a brilliant side win the Champions League trophy with such aplomb.

Barcelona are the best team in Europe, perhaps the best club team in the world.  Some commentators and critics believe that they may be the best team of all time. They have players who are world class with exceptional ability.

Lionel Messi has been praised very highly and crowned as the best player in the world.  Xavi, the team captain, and Iniesta, his magnificent midfield partner, are ranked among the greatest players in world football.

Well done Barca.  Well done Pep Guardiola.  You have shown us the beauty of football.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Lord Hanningfield, you are guilty as charged!

Lord Hanningfield, who had claimed his innocence time and time again, was found guilty earlier today at Chelmsford Crown Court.  He was, evidently, not whiter than white but a liar and a cheat according to the evidence presented by the successful counsel for the prosecution.  His dark deeds have been exposed.

Lord Hanningfield is considering an appeal but the evidence against him seems to be clear.  He falsely claimed for bogus travelling expenses and other funds that he was not entitled to receive under strict government accounting regulations.  There was deliberate fraud.  He was found guilty on all six counts of false accounting.  Essex Police are now investigating his claims for expenses as leader of Essex County Council.

Paul White, Baron Hanningfield, is in disgrace.  He took tax-payers' money wrongly, so that makes him a robber baron.  He robbed from the poor tax-payer to enrich himself.  I have no doubt that he loved his dog and did a lot for charity.

Lord Hanningfield thought that his hard work and years of service entitled him to commit fraud.  He has trotted out the old excuse: "others were doing it."

Some wit has suggested that a ducking in Hanningfield Reservoir should be an appropriate part of his sentence if his appeal fails.

It is tragic that a hard working and highly motivated politician went astray; it seems he became entangled in a web of self deception which corrupted him.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Delectable Dedham Vale - pray day photographs

Last Saturday, when the weather was really beautiful, I spent the day out in Dedham Vale.  It was the day of the annual prayer walk, a pray day.

Psalm 85: 4-5

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they are ever praising You.

Blessed are those who strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

I took photographs, as is my custom.  I hope you like them.  It was a pleasure to be there on such a lovely day.

Dedham Vale is a delectable area of England.  I often reflect on John Bunyan's description of the country of Beulah, "whose air was very sweet and pleasant, the way lying directly through it, they solaced themselves there for a season. Yea, here they heard continually the singing of birds and saw every day the flowers appear in the earth, and heard the voice of the turtle in the land."

" Now as they walked in this land, they had more rejoicing than in parts more remote from the kingdom to which they were bound."

The Jos Crisis in Nigeria

Comments by a Christian friend should have a higher profile.  Please read these comments and then pray for the situation in Jos.

It is sad that wealthy Nigerian churches in the UK have not openly or perhaps quietly raised funds to assist the victims of the Jos crises. However, it will be good for the readers of this blog to understand some fundamental truths about the Jos crises. This is no more a civil/political unrest than the crises in the south-southern Niger-delta regions of Nigeria. The root of this problem is a political war between the original indigenes of the ‘plateau’ (Jos) and migrant core Northern Nigerians who are predominantly Moslems. These core northerners do speak out that the war in Jos is not between Christians and Moslems but a tribal dispute. It is well understood that Moslems in Nigerian would always seek such opportunity to turn to Christian institutions to unleash their anger. This is so because a typical Nigeria Muslim sees any provocation from a non Muslim to be an attack from a Christian. So without an effective control these go overboard in their demonstrations. Therefore at the surface, Nigerian Muslims were ‘killing Jos Christians’ but the reality is a fight between two tribes. It is unfortunate that some gullible church leaders have also seized the opportunity to seek donations from foreign churches falsely in order to divert the money to their private use. I would advise any foreign organisations willing to help the actual victims to go through international organisations with great reputations such as International Fellowship of Evangelical Christian (IFES) with HQ here in the UK. The Nigerian arm of this organisation is the Nigerian Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES) with HQ in this same Jos. NIFES is the second largest national member group in the IFES after the IVF of the USA. During those crises which I understand is continuing, NIFES locally called on all her graduates worldwide (yours sincerely inclusive) to donate money for ‘mercy outreach’ to those villages. They bought large amounts of food items, materials and money, and recruited students and available alumni to physically visit the villages and the people to do ministry amongst them. Foreign Churches and Organisations that might have given money to private local church leaders for this course might have as well enriched some ‘smart’ wolves who are not prepared to lift a single cry to God for those poor people. Ask before you act!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Verses for today and time such as this?

Matthew 10

27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Luke 8

17For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

The current privacy laws and gagging orders are unsustainable.  Fornicating footballers who play away from home causing marital mayhem and domestic discord, and who also cloak and dissemble, will be found out.

Thank God for the freedom of the press.  Woe to those who try to suppress the truth and peddle lies plus poisonous rumours.

Monday, 16 May 2011

CS Lewis' house in Risinghurst, near Oxford

On my way home from Oxford I decided to see the home of CS Lewis.  Having read many of his letters and books, I wondered where The Kilns was situated near Headington Quarry.  When I was at Regent's Park College, as a postgraduate student, I met a young lady who was a custodian of CS Lewis' house in Risinghurst.  I recall that she wished to undertake postgraduate studies in apologetics and CS Lewis' thought.

Today I telephoned the number on the gate and spoke to one of the current custodians, who is a member of the CS Lewis Foundation.  I asked permission to take some photographs, gave her my card and expressed a keen interest in the CSL Foundation.  It was a very pleasant May evening and here are the photographs.

John the Baptist: some theological reflections

John the Baptist, who died a martyr's death, lived a remarkable life.

Although he came from a well to do priestly family, he chose to follow the true path of discipleship, humility, obedience and spirituality.  He could have enjoyed the comfortable life among the priests and leaders.  We know that he had great influence for he had disciples, had the ear of the mighty Herod and the Pharisees, and he attracted many to his baptismal area at Bethany (John 1:28) and Aenon near Salem in the River Jordan, where the waters ran deep (John 3:23).  I would argue that he used "much water" to give his followers much more than a sprinkling!

Unlike certain high profile prosperity gospel preachers, John the Baptist did not wear expensive garments.  His diet was not haute cuisine.  He did not travel, as far as we know, in the most expensive means of transport available. He did not pull his punches when it came to speaking the truth, even if it meant offending those in authority and those who had secular and religious power over the people.  He did not seek financial prosperity by toadying and asking for enormous contributions for his ministry.  He even advised the soldiers to be content with their wages.  He did not offer them a plan for career development, financial prosperity plus wonderful relationships with people who had status, wealth and honour in high places/luxurious palaces.

John's path took him to prison and death.  Properity preachers often plan a path to get ahead in this life.  John the Baptist lost his!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Blogger Problems and Current Concerns

 A result of problems with Blogger, which made blogging impossible for a wee while, I lost some information and work in cyberspace.  Consequently comments from Catherine about Pastor Odulele, who is now in prison, appear to have been lost with my response/thanks for the comments.

I had thought about writing something on the desperation, discord and death on the streets of Damascus and throughout Syria.  Government gunmen evidently are on the streets, and there is the lawlessness by snipers and secret policemen.  So many protestors have been killed for raising their voices against an oppressive and evil regime. Journalists and media crews have been banned, so there is no freedom of the press or expression.  For some in Syria, life is and has been a living gehenna.

Last Monday I went to the Tate Modern just by the Millennium Bridge and south of the River Thames.  Just by the riverside entrance, on the left hand side, is an exhibition on the photographic work of Burke and Norfolk.  Impressive. Moving. Challenging.

The video by Simon Norfolk, which lasts 17 minutes, is full of excellent insights.  I would say that because I agree with his analysis of what he calls "the fourth Anglo-Afghan war".  Afghanistan now looks far worse than it did in the 1990s.  Tens of thousands of Afghans have been murdered, and billions of pounds and dollars have been wasted. Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan is now the size of a small American city.  The carbon footprint and logistical trail are indeed colossal.  One scene that Simon Norflok filmed reminded me of the rest and recreation part, with the Playboy Bunny Girls and entertainment arena on the army camp, in Apocalypse Now. Will the decadent display help the war effort, raise morale and gain the sympathy of the local population?  Military madness continues.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Annual Prayer Walk in the Constable Country

The Annual Prayer Walk in the Constable Country is, D.V., on the third Saturday in May. That's 21 May! We start at Dedham, where we meet by the War Memorial in Royal Square at 10.30 a.m. BST.  We usually visit the churches of Dedham, Langham, Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt. (All are dedicated to St. Mary.)  We pass the little (Datchet/Rural Ministries) chapel in Stratford St. Mary and the Congregational Church in East Bergholt, which is near John Constable's studio (in years gone by).  Constable was born nearby in 1776 and died in London in 1837.  (His wife died at the age of 41, after the birth of their seventh child.)

I am very interested in the life of John "Roaring Rogers", lecturer (not vicar as some scholars believe) of Dedham and puritan preacher.  He had an extraordinary ministry in the first half of the 17th century.  His grave is on the north side

of the Church of St Mary, Dedham, and there is a bust of him on the north side of the sanctuary. (Please see my blog of 26 March 2009 for further details.)  The church's muniment room has some of his works, which I hope to study some day.  I used to borrow John Rogers' Doctrine of Faith from the Evangelical Library near Baker Street and read his Commentary on the First Epistle of Peter in Dr Williams' Library in Bloomsbury.  These were 17th century books and very rare ones.  In 1918 the roles of lecturer and vicar were combined.  In John Rogers' day there was a clear distinction between the vicar and the lecturer. There is a board inside the church, by the north door, which records the vicars and lecturers of St. Mary's Church, Dedham.

This photograph, taken on 17 May 2011, of the list of vicars and lecturers was added to this blog on 19 May 2011.

It is hoped that we will end the prayer walk by the car park near the bridge and River Stour at around 5 p.m.

Psalm 84:5.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Another night out with Romford Street Pastors

Yesterday, after an enjoyable evening by the barbecue on a memorably warm day, I led devotions for Romford Street Pastors.  We started soon after 10 p.m. when five members of the team had gathered on premises belonging to St. Edward's Church. Sadly The Deeper Lounge was closed as a result of illness of the volunteer workers. (The DL is usually open on Fridays from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. It provides a safe environment for people in need of food, fellowship and hot beverages on Friday and Saturday nights.)

 My devotional talk was on the stilling of the storm according to Mark (4:35-41). In the passage we find the wonderful words of Jesus: Hush! Be still! (There are only two words in the original text: σιωπα πεφιμωσο.) These words were spoken when He rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea (stormy water on the lake).  Even today scientists and others do not fully comprehend the wind's movements, especially its future manifestations,  and certainly they are completely unable to control it.  Who is this then that even the wind and the sea obey Him?  Jesus brings peace and blessing in the storms of life.  We are not exempted from them.  We can face them with confidence for the Lord is our helper, and if He is for us then who is against us? Many in Romford seek peace and pleasure in drink, drugs and other recreational pursuits, but God has made us for Himself, so there is no rest, no peace until we find our rest and our peace in Him.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Osama Bin Laden is dead after a raid by US special forces

Thousands have been outside the White House in the early hours of this morning celebrating the momentous news.  US Special Forces had carried out a successful raid at a property in Northern Pakistan, less than 100 miles from Islamabad. It was near a military academy.  There were no US casualties.

President Barack Obama announced the news of Bin Laden's death on television in Washington yesterday evening.  Former US presidents have sent their congratulations to President Obama and the US armed forces.

Bin Laden and his son were killed, and the special forces took the body of the terrorist away.   Images of a dead OBL have been put on hold, but they are expected to surface on the internet. Fresh terrorist activity and various reprisals, in response to this momentous event, are now expected. The US State Department is issuing warnings and travel advice.

OSB will be regarded as a martyr by Al Qaeda and supporters.  We live in dangerous times.

1 Peter 5:8.


River Stour