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