Piccy Post

Another piccy from last week’s trip to Islay for your edification:



This one at Port Askaig waiting for the CalMac ferry (in the background) to come and take us back to the mainland, a 2-hour trip. Look at that pond-like sea!

Piccy Post

Grace and Works

“I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Cor. 15:10, NKJV)

Quite striking the relationship between the provision of grace and the extent to which Paul labours. Grace is seen to be effective not in the giving of experiences, or of knowledge, but in willing, committed, work.

Grace and Works

Changes…

Right. Two things:

Firstly, change of decor. It’s not right yet but it will do for now.

Secondly, Jon has prodded me (ouch) to put on a list of blogs I read. So look right… ta-ra! There are some others, but these are the main ones.

Everybody happy?

Good.

Night, night.

Changes…

Family Note

Before I forget I need to mention this. Kate went back to school this morning after two and a bit weeks on holiday. It is noticeable how effective and valuable recreation is, and it shows in Kate. Towards the end of last term she was getting tired, grumpy and ‘floppy’. However, in the last few days she has been bright as a button. Lots of sleep, interesting things to do, time out with family and some friends all make a big difference.

Last Sunday afternoon she and I decided to go for a walk. Susan decided to stay at home. It was slightly drizzly, so I was surprised Kate wanted to come. But, we had great fun. There are some fields on a hill behind us. So we said ‘hello’ to some horses, played some silly guessing games, chatted about all sorts of things (friends, family, The Passion) as we tramped over the wet grass.

I’m increasingly impressed at Kate’s ability to think things through for herself on issues, especially faith and relationships. I enjoy listening to her opinions. But then she is growing up. This is her final term at primary school. Secondary next year – a new era!

I thank God for my family, who I love and enjoy so much. He is good.

Family Note

Quick, Grab The Nearest Book

“The great instance of that, perhaps, is the Apostle Paul – you remember how he puts it – ‘I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me’ – that is Paul’s way of saying that he does not understand himself any longer, he is surprised at himself, he looks at himself in amazement – Am I really this man, have I come to this, has this happened to me?”

from Old Testament Evangelistic Sermons by D.M. Lloyd-Jones (Banner of Truth 1995)

Instructions:

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 23.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.

(Via Semper Ubi Sub Ubi )

Quick, Grab The Nearest Book

Yerp

I have to confess to being rather pleased that Mr Blair is to call a referendum on the future European Constitution. For a long time I was strongly in favour of our involvement in the European project. But over the last few years I have become increasingly unsettled by the whole thing.

My big problem is to do with the lack of democracy. The whole structure is run by unelected officials who seem unaccountable to anyone. The hiatus of two or three years ago, where the whole commission resigned over corruption allegations, brought the position into sharp relief. Apparently nothing much has changed – only the faces. We elect Euro-MPs but they seem to have little power. No wonder so few people turn out (20-30%?) for the Euro-elections.

Therefore, to hand over more powers to the EU under a new constitution seems to be a bad idea without first dealing with the democracy deficit that exists. We need clear accountability to the people.

I have always been against referendums. It seems to me that it is often proposed as a device to sidestep parliament. We must recognise that our elected representatives are just that – representatives of the people. In electing them, we trust them to act on our behalf. If we don’t like what they do we get rid of them. Simple, huh?

However, Tony Benn made what I thought was a good point yesterday on morning TV news. (I don’t appreciate his very left-wing politics, but I respect him as an advocate of democracy for the British people.) He noted that MPs are also guardians of our (i.e. British) constitution. They have no right to change it, only defend it. To change it requires consent. Therefore a referendum is necessary. This to me is a compelling argument.

The flaw I can see, however, is that we have no written constitution in this country. We have constitution by tradition and precedent. It is obscure and unclear in many areas. So to defend it is rather like trying to hold water in a basket!

Anyway, I think a referendum is a ‘good thing’.

Yerp

Islay

(You can find it here.)

Yup. We had a great time. The family and I have been there several times now, but this was the first time at Easter. Some years ago we found a little house that we like so we have kept going back. It had never occurred to me before then how much difference the right place to stay can make to a holiday. It is more than simply a base from which to explore. Comfort counts! Perhaps this is just an age thing…

The journey was good (400 miles from the Midlands to the Mull of Kintyre via Glasgow to pick up Susan’s Mum) and the weather was reasonable: 2 days of rain, 2 of dry-but overcast, 2 of glorious sunshine.

We did a bit of walking and exploring the towns. They are very small in comparison to the mainland. The main industries are farming/crafting and the whisky industry. Islay is a famous for its peaty whisky. It has eight distilleries and a ninth coming soon. Bunnahabhain (pronounced boona-haavin, emphasis on the first and third syllables) is my favourite: peaty, yet a rich honey smoothness. Mmm.

On Easter Sunday, we went to the local Church of Scotland in Port Ellen. It was a communion Sunday so I think that is why it was pretty full, maybe 100 people. The hymns were great (good singing). Communion was well led.

Shame about the preaching. In the Easter sermon, the preacher denied the importance of the bodily resurrection of Christ. Rather the experience of the resurrected Christ is the most important thing. The influence of 20th century liberal writers was clear. There was a distinct note of the Christ-of-faith vs. the Jesus-of-history distinction made by these writers. As ever, truth is mixed with error. Experience is important, but history is vital. Otherwise there is no gospel, and we would be in no better position than buddists and others.

From experience this is par for the course in Islay. There is no gospel witness in the CoS. There is a small conservative Baptist church in Port Ellen, but it is very weak. Spiritually the picture is grim.

But overall, we had a good time. It all ended too soon. I had to be back home for Sunday, so we came home a day early.

Islay