Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Glossary Chapters 2-4 Burmese Days

1. Chokra Young man, boy "The invisible chokra who pulled the punkah rope outside was falling asleep in the glare."
2. Eheu! fugaces labuntur anni Alas! our fleeting years pass away (Latin) "Ah well, eheu fugaces! Those days are gone for ever, I am afraid."
3. Havildar British Indian Army rank equivalent to Sergeant, next above Naik (Indian)
4. Bo-kadaw A white man's wife (Burmese)
5. Machan  A safety platform in a tree used when hunting big animals such as tigers and leopards Indian)
6. Catlap Milk or weak tea, "only fit for the cat to lap" (English)
7. Dudh Milk? (Indian)
8. Talab Payment; wages? (Burmese?) "...wail something about his 'talab', which was eighteen rupees a month."
9. Civis Romanus sum I am a Roman citizen (Latin) "Good gracious, no one would believe anything against ME. Civis Romanus sum. I'm an Englishman - quite above suspicion."
10. Durwan A live-in doorkeeper (Indian)
(Also Pax Britannica The British Peace (Latin); Pukka Genuine; authentic (Indian) B.F. Bloody Fool? (English) "With the curious air of spite that some men can put into their tiniest action, he re-pinned the notice on the board and pencilled a tiny, neat 'B. F.' against Mr Macgregor's signature.")

Glossary Chapter 1 Burmese days

I'm currently reading George Orwell's Burmese Days. He uses quite a few unfamiliar terms. Here are a number from Chapter 1
1. Dak Bungalow - A traveller's rest-house (for a postal service)
2. Topi - A light-weight hat
3. Sahib European man spoken to or of by Indians
4. Burra Great, used as title of respect; e.g. Burra sahib: important official, manager, chief. (Indian)
5. Pwe Burmese dance (Burmese)
6. Punkah Large fan consisting suspended from the ceiling
7. Longyi/Longyi Coolie  Sheet of cloth worn around the waist/Unskilled labourer (Burmese)
8. Dah Large knife with curved blade?
9. Sepoy Private soldier of the Indian infantry
10. Mali Gardener
(Also Rickshaw Two-wheeled cart for one passenger; pulled by one person; Dacoit Armed robber)

10 Italian musical terms

1. Calando (getting softer, dying away)
2. Giocoso (playful, humorous)
3. Incalzando (getting quicker)
4. Legato (smoothly)
5. Ostinato (persistent)
6. Rallentando (gradually getting slower)
7. Rubato (with some freedom of time)
8. Sforzando (forced, accented)
9. Stringendo (gradually getting faster)
10. Volti subito (turn the page at once)

Another cassette

Another cassette I found is Volume 1 of a two volume collection of 28 classic rock numbers. I don't think I ever owned Volume 2. I bought it in a sale and Volume 2 was missing then.
Volume 2 contained T Rex/Ride a white swan, The Who/My generation, Peter Frampton/Show me the way. Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel/Make Me Smile, Canned Heat/Let's Work Together, Fleetwood Mac/Albatross – which I would have loved (the rest are okay - Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity/This Wheel's On Fire, Pink Floyd/Money, Dire Straits/Lady Writer, Lou Reed/ Walk On The Wild Side, Lynyrd Skynyrd/Freebird. Meatloaf/Dead Ringer For Love, Far Corporation/Stairway To Heaven, Deep Purple/Smoke On The Water).
If I remember rightly I bought the cassette for Free/My Brother Jake plus Derek And The Dominos/Layla, Thin Lizzy/Waiting For An Alibi, Status Quo/Caroline, Santana She's Not There, Electric Light Orchestra/Roll Over Beethoven, Jethro Tull/Living In The Past, Rod Stewart/Maggie May, Black Sabbath/Paranoid. I'm alsop happy enough with Mott The Hoople/All The Young Dudes, The Jimi Hendrix Experience/Voodoo Chile, Cream/Strange Brew , Rainbow/Since You Been Gone/Traffic/Paper Sun.
In some ways this is a broad range of rock and shows what good stuff was going down back in the late sixties and early seventies. I currently have on my ipod and listen to exactly half (ie 14) of these tracks.

Planxty After the break

I still have this box full of old cassette tapes, mostly classical, that needs sorting. (Remember cassettes anyone?). Among them is a copy of Irish group Planxty's fourth album from 1979 After the break. I have no idea when I bought it (obviously after 1979 and no doubt before 1990, probably in 1980 or 1981) but I remember playing it with enjoyment. It has been good to enjoy them again. There are eight tracks (two tracks recorded at the time were added to the CD). They are somewhere between Chieftains and Horslips I guess. I remember one of my sons enjoying the first album a while back and I have Follow me up to Carlow on my ipod. They are probably due a retro exploration some time soon.

Midweek Meeting Wednesday April 19 2017

We were a good number last Wednesday (14) as we tackled the next of the solas - Solo Christo (by Christ alone). What I did was to focus on three classic texts - Acts 4:12, 1 Timothy 2:5 and John 14:6. This is all basic stuff but at the heart of what we teach and believe. We had one or two questions at the end as we sometimes do. That was followed by a time of prayer with most people taking part, though certainly not all. I fear that prayer can become a bit of a Cinderella in our thinking at times. I need to put more emphasis on it I'm sure.

Lord's Day April 16 2017

Having been in the wedding we have stayed on in Crosshills or South Craven, thanks to the kindness of our son's future in-laws. We went to South Craven Evangelical morning and evening. We have known of this church for many, many years initially I think because of a medical student from the church who came to London to study. I would also get news from one of my deacons who often holidays in the area and the now former minister who I would see at the Banner Conference. It was a very small fellowship at one time and could not afford a full time pastor at one time.
Anyway this morning they met in a local school and were over a hundred, though many were visitors from the wedding. It was a a "family service" so a bit out of the ordinary, Beauty and the Beast was the theme. The evening was more conventional, back at the church for communion first and then the service, which was led by Martin Woodier, one of the current ministers, with the other  Paul Gamston preaching. He went through Exodus 23, the next reading in the daily reading scheme that people are being encouraged to follow. A good day.

Yorkshire Wedding

In Yorkshire again this weekend and again at a wedding. This time, it was Pieter de Jong, who grew up in Childs Hill, and Coralie Severs. My oldest son is Pieter's lifelong friend and he was best man. My niece is a good friend of Coralie's and was one of a host of bridesmaids. It was a great day.

46 years ago today

[Pics: I used to sit in the third pew on the right; the room where I was converted then just had bare floorboards; idyllic looking the 1836 building is now surrounded by a housing estate]
My parents were not Christians but they were moral people and they brought me up in line with the Ten Commandments, including the idea that Sunday is special and that I ought to go to Sunday School. I never got on with Sunday School as a child but I did start attending the Friday night meetings for young people and the Sunday evening service when I was 11 or 12. Then one night I was converted. It was April 16, 1971.
It was the early seventies so my hair would have been touching the panda collar of my Ben Sherman shirt. I would have worn flares and stack heel lace-ups and possibly a tank top knitted by my mum. It was a long time ago! After a sausage and chips meal, we sat and listened to the visiting speaker.
It was Spring time and I remember sneezing a lot with hay fever but I was still gripped. I don't recall very much about what the speaker actually said though I'm sure he urged us all to trust in the Lord Jesus. Afterwards he gave us something to read and the minister of the church urged me to look at John 3, which I probably did. I certainly prayed, confessing what a rotten sinner I was and asking that I might be born again. I don't remember church the day after next but certainly the matter was still on my mind when I headed for school the following Monday. I was determined to let others know that I was now trusting in Christ.
Not being from a Christian home this change was quite a dramatic one in some ways. Just over a year later I was baptised by immersion at the same chapel where I had been converted. From early on I felt called to be a preacher.
About 10 years on, after time away studying in Aberystwyth University and London Theological Seminary, I became a minister. I am still not what I would call a religious person, although I obviously pray and go to church. What I'm trusting in is not my religion but the grace of God in Jesus Christ my Saviour.

Show me the way 1976

1976 once again

I am thirsty

This is from my Published Articles blog
This is from my Spurgeon once spoke of what was bitter to Jesus being made sweet to his people. That is our aim as we consider the fifth and shortest of the seven sayings of the cross, that exclusive to John 19:28 … Jesus said ‘I am thirsty’.
The darkness over, following his cry of dereliction, we come to the final period of suffering. John begins Later, knowing now that all was completed and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled …. Always self-possessed, even in agony on the cross, Jesus realises that virtually all that was left to do was to say three more things then die (importantly, to die in broad daylight). He always kept in mind the need to fulfil Scripture. John normally makes a specific reference but here he is general.
The response follows. A soldier lifts a wine-vinegar soaked sponge to Jesus’s lips. The wine was either the soldiers’ or for victims. Some question if hyssop is strong enough to lift a wet sponge but Jesus was probably not far off the ground. The drink would give immediate relief but its astringent action would then tighten the throat muscles making things worse. 

Never forget that Jesus is a man, a real man. He did not speak for effect but really was thirsty. As he was hungry in the desert at the beginning of his ministry, now at the end he is thirsty. At other times, he was weak, tired, angry, sad. Hebrews 2:17,18 says he was made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

That Jesus was thirsty is no surprise when we think of all he had suffered since his arrest – trials, mocking, flogging, carrying the cross, crucifixion – all presumably with no drink When offered a drugged drink to dull the pain he rejected it wanting to remain alert. His sufferings were real. Lamentations 1:12, 13 predicts it … Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. … He made me desolate, faint all the day long. His sufferings were not only physical but mental and spiritual. We can speak of the ‘drought of his soul in the fierce heat of God’s wrath’. He bore God’s wrath in place of sinners on the cross and was, in a sense, in hell, longing for someone to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, because he was in agony (Luke 16:24).
The response increased his suffering. All creation was desperate to slake his thirst – every stream and river, every angel - but a wretched man with a wretched drink acted. Do we appreciate how much he suffered.

The phrase was not merely gasped. Relevant Scriptures include Psalms 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth …. 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 69:21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. We are best to see it, perhaps, in Westcott’s words, as a ‘perfect completion of the whole prophetic image’. Scripture was always in Jesus’s consciousness. Do we have the same reverence for the Word?

Remember Satan tempting Jesus to make bread in the desert? A similar temptation came now - not the sort we know much about. Jesus resists. He yields his will to the Father’s. Because he submitted, we are forgiven. Surely, we should submit too.

As suggested, we must look beyond physical thirst to heart desire. It was always there. He longed to see his work completed and know the fellowship of his people. An old writer says ‘He thirsts after our thirst’. Christ longs for you, believer, to reach out in faith to him. 

Jesus thirsted in our place, as our substitute. He thirsted so we no longer need to. His tongue was parched because of what sinners like us do with our tongues. Think what you have done with yours. He was punished for his people. 
John 4 presents Christ as the great soul-thirst quencher. There is a deep need and longing in every heart. It cannot be properly quenched by what this world offers. We need the water only Christ provides. It is said that when William Coulthard perished in the Australian desert in 1858 he had scratched the words ‘Lost, lost for want of water’ on his empty canteen. That is our position by nature. Yet we need not perish in the desert of this life if we go to the one who died in the place of sinners. Hear his words (John 7:37, 38) if anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me … streams of living water will flow from within him.

First published in Grace Magazine

Midweek Meeting April 12 2017

We were not so many on Wednesday as several are away at present. We were still nine, however, and we pressed on with the third of these solas grace alone. It is a wonderful theme. I chiefly focused on Ephesians 2:8-10, verses that are always good to go back to. People were keen to pray. I think all nine of us prayed at least once. There's no better place to be than with God's people.

Funeral for our oldest church member

On Wednesday we said goodbye to our longest serving member Ken Rawlings. Ken died at the end of March. He was 84 and joined the church, I believe, back in 1954, over sixty years ago. (The oldest members currently joined the church in the early eighties. The oldest member in years is 90). Ken was a bachelor, one of three sons (both of whom died before him) and the son of a local man and a Welsh mother. He had health problems all his life and latterly was under constant care at home. We will miss him. I preached on the text in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 ... make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. It was a small funeral. We sang Guide me O Thou great Jehovah and Stand up stand up at the chapel and Great is Thy faithfulness at the graveside.