Hello and good evening. I'm just off to bed, but am thoroughly thrilled by my new banner – above. Aren't you? Took me ages to find …
And, just to confound all those who disagreed with my last post about the world being alright really, read THIS.
Post-script: Early this morning, my parents' locality got hit with what looks like one of the freakiest storms Devon has ever seen – 6ft drifts of compacted hail?!! My sister Sarah rang me up at lunchtime in an incredibly happy mood because it was an emergency and she was in the thick of it – hosting families whose houses had flooded at the school she works at, and my aunt (the school cook) providing for everyone. Sarah was made for emergencies 🙂
If you'd like to see some of her photos, go HERE
I've just seen an old lady trip and fall in the street outside my window. I was about to jump up and run downstairs to help her but, within fifteen seconds, FIVE people were around her, appearing from nowhere on an empty sidestreet, doing all the right things.
Now they are all standing on the pavement, laughing and joking together, and now two of them are walking her on her way, arm-in-arm. Strangers becoming friends.
People aren't that bad, you know.
As you know, I am a pretty AMAZING author/creative writer. How did I get to be so good, you ask? Well, on this evidence, it seems that it's a gift I've just always had:
Please note: I had no problem (as a five year-old) spelling 'straight', but nevertheless my lines were wonky. I was ironic even then, it seems …
Didn't get round to talking about this when I saw it on Tuesday, but nevertheless …
After the initial shock of bile in the original Guardian article, I've been realising that (for us panoramic trinitarians, at least) this might just be the best thing that has happened for years and years. And now I'm wondering if I can explain why 🙂
Obviously, this has been done by people who are frustrated when those with an opposing view publicise themselves (which I presume means the Alpha Course, but others too). The problem for the atheists is that, with adverts (and surrounding hoo-har) like this, they are actually doing the Christians' job for them – saving Nicky Gumbel money. Why? Because the whole reason that Alpha exists is that, for decades, the Church has been absolutely powerless to instigate a national conversation on the existence of God, and now, that conversation is happening.
For example: At school a few weeks ago, I overheard two 13 year olds on their way to an RE lesson.
Boy 1: 'I like RE cos it gives me lots of things to say to Christians.'
Boy 2: 'Ah, but did the Big Bang create the world or did God create the Big Bang?'
When I was thirteen, we did not talk about God/belief/Aquinas' first cause theory at school – you probably didn't either. But these wee lads know it already, and not because the content of the curriculum has changed. I think that's quite mind-bending. My friend Paul was saying yesterday that 20 years ago, you couldn't force someone to have a conversation about whether or not God might exist, and now it's the non-believers who are initiating.
So, what I'm saying (I think), is that all this stuff is fascinating. I hate partisanship – having enemies for the sake of it – so I'm not 'against' atheists of any sort (I have quite a soft spot for them actually). But I do think that it's ironic that they are now unknowingly contributing to the work of the Church, even to the point of emulating poorly worded and designed Christian posters!
O House of David, put your trust in God.
Do not put your trust in idols;
In mindless treasures that cannot save you.
Do not let your eyes become fastened on man-made hopes,
Or on possessions to collect and be enslaved by.
For life is more than clothes, than food, than income;
Life is more than success, more than achievement;
It is more than what you know.
Life is more than you, O House of David,
So do not put your hope in yourself.
But look to God:
Offer Him your attention;
Open to Him your home.
Trust in Him, and know that He can be trusted.
Turn to Him, and see that He likes you,
Enjoys you, and believes in you.
The Lord of Heaven is pleased to call you His own;
Pleased to call you His home.
Praise the Lord.
[written during/about Rupert's sermon this morning]
I've been reading a wee bit of Fever Pitch - Nick Hornby's classic account of a life defined and ruined by football – and I've just got up to the point at which, in May 1988, Arsenal get beaten by Luton in the final of the League Cup. Now, that may not mean much to you, but it reminded me that, the following August, I went to Kenilworth Road to watch those mighty cup-winning Hatters.
My first ever football match, 20 years ago.
It was my next door neighbour (George) who took me – I think he'd been at Wembley for the final, too – and we stood just behind and to the left of one of the goals. Luton, the League Cup holders, were playing Wimbledon, the FA Cup holders, but my only real memories were of Luton's artificial pitch, and the fact that Wimbledon no longer had Dave Beasant (the only keeper, at that time, who had saved a penalty in an FA Cup final). I think it was a pretty rubbish match, and I've got a feeling that it was 0-0.
But it was TWENTY YEARS AGO. For heavens' sake! I am 27. Goodness me. How time passes. But then, football goes on for ever …
I don't know if you've come across these maps yet, but I think they might help us see the world better. They are from The Atlas Of The Real World (although I found these on the Telegraph website), in which all sorts of different things are portrayed, but here's three that took my fancy.
i. Wealth [ie. GDP, adjusted for local purchasing power] in 1AD
ii. Wealth in 1900AD
iii. Wealth in 2015