Monday, December 27, 2010

My Top 5 Tina Turner songs

Nutbush City Limits
River Deep Mountain High
We Dont Need Another Hero
What's Love Got To Do With It
The Best

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Top 5 Christmas songs

Driving Home For Christmas
Merry Xmas Everybody
Last Christmas
Fairytale of New York
Angels From The Realms of Glory

Special mention for O Come, O Come, Immanuel... not a real Christmas song but always a winner at this time of year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 21

The following connections...

Barbara Streisand has been married twice. Her first husband was actor Elliott Gould. Her second husband is actor James Brolin, whom she married on July 1, 1998. While they have no children together, Brolin has two children from his first marriage, including Josh Brolin, another top actor.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Find The Minister In You

The opening paragraph to my proposed new book.

“Life as a Presbyterian pastor can be hard. Pressures come from all sides. There is no end to the responsibility. It can feel like being a manager in any ordinary organization. And you even have to pretend that you actually believe in infant baptism. But deep down inside another you longs to be released. Somewhere your real identity is hidden. You want to be a minister. But you can't find that person. One thing is needful. You need to release the real you in you … If that is your current mindset this book is for you.”

I need to find a publisher. I need to write the book. I suppose I would also need to be a Presbyterian pastor, too. But, I'm beginning to realise that writing has got nothing very much to do with reality. So maybe, just maybe, one day I'll finally make it into print... David Shedden. Author.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Top 5 Pulp songs

Live Bed Show
I Spy
Something Changed
Do You Remember The First Time?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 20

The 1900 Galveston storm is to date the deadliest natural disaster in United States history.

Monday, December 06, 2010

My Top 5 John Shuttleworth songs

I Can’t Go Back To Savoury Now
Two Margarines
Betty Turpin
Incident On The Snake Pass
Mutiny Over The Bounty

Friday, December 03, 2010

...only at the cross...

"The love of God is seen in its fullness only at the cross of Jesus Christ. The intimations of God's love in creation and providence are somewhat ambiguous. There are earthquakes as well as beautiful sunsets, cancer and other forms of sickness as well as health. Only at the cross does God show his love fully and without ambiguity.

For that reason it is difficult to find a verse in the New Testament that speaks about God's love without also speaking in the same verse or in the immediate context about God's gift of his Son on Calvary."

p332, Foundations of the Christian Faith by James Montgomery Boice. IVP 1986

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 19

The Walker Brothers. Not real brothers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Top 5 Joni Mitchell songs

Big Yellow Taxi
Little Green
A Case Of You

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 18

I knew that a damp squib was not a damp squid.

But I didn't know that a squib is an explosive device.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Top 5 Status Quo songs

Rock ‘N’ Roll
Down Down
Marguerita Time
Pictures of Matchstick Men

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Peter Hitchens writes,

“Wars – which can only ever be won by ruthless violence – are seldom fought for good reasons, even if such reasons are invented for them afterward. Civilized countries become less civilized when they go to war. And they hardly ever have good outcomes. In fact, I think it safe to say that the two great victorious wars of the twentieth century did more damage to Christianity in my own country than any other single force." The Rage Against God, 79-80

HT: Russell and Duenes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 17

I did not know about John Cowperthwaite. He was Financial Secretary of Hong Kong in the 1960s, widely credited with creating the conditions for the subsequent economic success of Hong Kong. They make bronze busts of this guy to sell to rich people in China.

This fascinating Channel 4 documentary tells the story.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Top 5 Elton John songs

Bennie And The Jets
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
I’m Still Standing
I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Any Human Heart

Based on one of the few novels I remember reading with enjoyment, Any Human Heart begins on Channel 4 next Sunday. I hope the drama entices me to read the book again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 16

Claudia Winkleman is the daughter of Eve Pollard. I don't think there is any connection to Su Pollard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another blog

Very good friends bought me an edition of Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. Two or three friends are joining me in an effort to read through all 14 volumes over the next two years. The blog is really just a log of our progress.

Thing being, despite my problems with some of Barth's formulations, it's awesome stuff. The depth and scale of the work is superb... and, of course, the way Barth engages with other Christian thinkers down the centuries brilliant.

I can sometimes work out the references to other works. Barth famously quoted lots and lots of material in the original languages.

Like this from Calvin... Omnis recta cognito Dei ab obedientia nascitur... all right knowledge of God is born of obedience.

Which Barth takes to mean you can't do theology without presupposing Christian faith. I think he means the content of Christian faith rather than any experience of Christian faith... but, as is often the case with Barth, I'm just not sure.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Think about your beliefs.

Read this article.

Are any beliefs worth having safe? Can you hold any belief without influencing your children?

Monday, November 08, 2010

My Top 5 Pet Shop Boys songs

Being Boring
What Have I Done To Deserve This

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 15

In the 1950s only Elvis sold more records in the U.S. than Pat Boone. Pat Boone is still recording. He is a Tea Party sympathizer.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

To teach is to gain

Saint Augustine wrote On Christian Teaching at roughly the same time as he wrote his astonishing literary land(re)mark(able) Confessions. You can find an online Confessions reading group, here.

On Christian Teaching was written to help people interpret the Bible. It also helps readers communicate clearly to others. As such the work provides an outline of Christian theology with stuff on ethical problems, early sign theory and advice on content.

If you’ve ever worried about whether Harry Potter is suitable material for children, On Christian Teaching might help you think about the content of your homeschooling syllabus. (“So, boys and girls, which pagan shall we study this week?”) Augustine allowed for and defended the use of classical secular works. But he turned the focus of Christian education towards the Bible.

Encouragement for all teachers is found in the opening paragraphs. The basic lesson appears to be that, when we hope in God for the completion of the work, Christian teachers find an abundance of provision.

“For all the things which do not give out when given away are not properly possessed when they are possessed but not given away… [God] will give to those who have: this means that for those who make generous use of what they have received he will supplement and increase what he has given… the material which God has already supplied to me for starting this work will be multiplied, through his own provision, when discussion begins. So in this act of service, I will not only experience no shortage of material, but in fact enjoy an astonishing abundance of it.”

P8, On Christian Teaching Oxford World’s Classics.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I still love Matt Frei

Because of posts like this.

And did anyone see his BBC TV prog on Berlin?

Monday, November 01, 2010

My Top 5 Stevie Wonder songs

They Wont Go When I Go
My Cherie Amour
Sir Duke
You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

Friday, October 29, 2010

Religion universal

"The universality of religion on this planet is not due to men and women being seekers after God... Rather it is because they will not have God, yet need something to take God's place."

p33, Foundations of the Christian Faith by James Montgomery Boice. IVP 1986

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Things I didn't know: No 14

The last player to move directly between Liverpool FC and Man Utd was Phil Chisnall in 1964. Stories today suggest Pepe Reina - who is only 28! - is a Man Utd January transfer target.


Monday, October 25, 2010

My Top 5 Abba songs

The Name Of The Game
Knowing Me, Knowing You
The Winner Takes It All
Lay All Your Love On Me

Friday, October 22, 2010

Christian anarchy

"Worldly power is beguiling and attractive and in each generation its temptations need to be faced and resisted anew. The temptation is to seek power ostensibly in order to do good things. Yet the fallenness of the powers needs to be taken into account. Those who seek to bend the powers to their will eventually find themselves being bent. In this sense, Christians are 'anarchists'; they are suspicious of worldly power and do not believe that God's redeeming purposes are achieved by seeking to control the system of domination and use it for supposedly good ends. The goodness of the ends becomes lost in the manner of their achievement. In keeping with Jesus' mission, the church as church is to remain detached from partisan power struggles and to concern itself with truth rather than propaganda."

p241, Free Church, Free State by Nigel D. Wright. Paternoster Press 2005

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Guess who's back?

Shedy's back.

Here's the quote I wanted to share so badly that I couldn't resist re-starting the original Shed blog:

"We live in the shadow of the structural distortions in the post-apostolic Church and the subsequent abandonment of such structures in the Reformation. The Reformation led to a healthy reformation of theology but an unwitting, tragic deformation of structure in the biblical model of the Church. In the iconoclasm of the Reformation, the dismantling of monasticism destroyed more than a system, it destroyed the only extant channelling mechanism for initiating and promoting mission. Whatever our misgivings about the monastic system, we must still recognize that for 1,500 years monasticism in its various forms was virtually the only initiator for mission advance."

p154, The Church Is Bigger Than You Think by Patrick Johnstone. Christian Focus Publications 1998 (2005 reprint edition)

Reflections on this and other reading will follow. But, oh my! How much has the blog world changed in three years?