Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It's one thing to look back of course, but it's good to look forward at the same time. That way you avoid getting trapped in the past. Recently my attention was drawn to the lovely beaches and seascapes of North Carolina, and I must admit that I hope to be able to visit at some point in the future to discover the delights 'skin-to-sand' so to speak. Anyway, to conclude this morning's blog, here's a few pictures of great beaches that I would welcome as future memories!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
One of the lessons in life that I learned from A. G. Street was that we never own the land. We are merely privileged to be the custodians of it for a while, charged with caring for it and improving it. Farmers vary in the way that they carry out this duty of care. Some discharge it so well that the land rewards them handsomely, whilst others stand guilty of neglect. Many today, with the financial constraints on their hiring of the necessary labour, fall in between, not by choice but by circumstance. Whatever the position there is one constant and eternal truth, and that is that they will never own that for which they are responsible, yet they must do all that they can to ensure its perpetual fertility.
It's rather like everything else that we think we own. We don't really! We might own the use of something for a while, even for the duration of our lifetimes, however long or short that may be, but when God deems that our life-span is over we have to give up our ownership, however firmly we've gripped onto it.
A few years ago I was helping a friend --- a retired antique dealer --- to move into her new home. One afternoon whilst I was fixing some shelves up in the hall and she was taking another helper back to their home, I heard a tremendous crashing sound. I rushed to the lounge, not knowing what to expect, but everything was okay. It was when I opened the door to the passageway that led to the bedrooms that I discovered the cause of the noise. A whole wall of shelving that had been badly put up by a previous 'helper' had collapsed and the contents of the very full shelves lay strewn across the floor. It was TOTAL DEVASTATION! On close inspection it was easy to see what had happened for the screws that had been used to fix the brackets to the wall were only half the length needed, and the weight of everything had done its worst.
Lying there in the hall, amongst the general melee of books, was the remains of a 16th Century glass bottle, some Victorian china and a few other antique remnants. I was HORRIFIED! How would my friend react when she returned home? How could I break the news to her in the gentlest way?
I soon found out, for it was not too long before she returned home. When I took her through to see what had happened do you know what she said? I'll certainly never forget it, for it taught such a valuable lesson. She simply said, "Oh well, I've enjoyed having those things for a while, but I guess that their time with me was over". Then she went to make a cup of tea!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Saved for Glory 184.108.40.206.
Tune: All to Jesus
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Christ is all in all to me;
I will tell the wondrous story,
How He came to set us free.
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved by Christ alone!
Saved for glory by the Saviour,
Saved by Christ alone!
He came down to bring us freedom,
From man’s own self-righteous law;
Came to grant us free salvation,
Tell it out from door to door.
Christ, the one Son of the Father,
God incarnate came to earth;
When you claim through Him redemption,
Through God’s Spirit get rebirth.
You can claim this glorious blessing,
You receive the bounty free;
You can sing the Saviour’s story,
Tell it out aloud like me.
Tell the world you’re saved for glory,
That in heav’n one day we’ll meet;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
We will worship at their feet.
© Colin Gordon-Farleigh
Thursday, January 24, 2008
- Misty September mornings. I think that walking across a field when the grass is wet with dew, the mist is rising as the day wakes up, alone with your thoughts, is absolutely magical.
- Paintings by a fabulous artist called Geoffrey Key. He is part of the Northern School, hailing from Manchester, and I have several of his paintings. One of my favourites is called Setting Sun, and it's the picture at the top of this Blog. I love the rich colours!
- I love my vocation! I cannot think of any other work that would give me so much pleasure. Pretty well everything that I am involved in is to do with the ministry that I've been called to, whether it's the work that I do with my church and denomination, my hymn-writing or The Voice magazine.
- When I want to retreat and get closer to God, nothing can beat walking in the Welsh mountains for me. Some people might think that you would be lonely, but I find that you are enveloped by the surroundings in a most indescribable and wonderful way. Before moving to my present home I lived in a tiny hamlet situated on the edge of a mountain range, and it was a wonderful place to be.
- What could be better than waking up in the morning next to the person you love! I love looking across at Gill as she slowly comes alive in the morning.
- There's an expression that 'Sad movies always make me cry'. Well that may be so, but, adapting the saying a little, 'Old movies always make me smile'. I guess it's another of those things where familiarity is comfortable, but I still get as much pleasure from watching re-runs of favourite movies as I did when I first saw them.
- The sound of children laughing is one of the best tonics that you can get. If you're feeling a little down, just walk past a school playground at a break-time and hear the sounds of the children playing. You don't need to see them even, just hear them, in order to lift your spirits. I guess that it's the sound of people being happy!
- Talking about laughing, I can think of no better way to make you feel better all over than to have a really good laugh, you know, one of those laughs that has tears rolling down your face! I laugh at the simplest situations. I love some of the situations in TV programmes like Only Fools and Horses. Every time that I see the episode with the chandeliers, where The guys are waiting below a chandelier to catch it in a blanket when it's knocked out from the room above, only to discover too late that they are waiting under the wrong one, my sides ache from the laughter.
- The pleasure that we get from our little dog, Sam, is priceless. He understands a wide vocabulary, which means that you have to be careful about using certain words or expressions in his hearing. I love the way that he seems to be fast asleep and yet you only have to say the word'DO' in a certain questioning tone for him to be bouncing around your feet, expectantly waiting to see his lead materialise from the ether, no matter what time of day it is.
- Last on this list, but by no means least, is the pleasure that I get from writing my blog. I try to maintain your interest, dear reader, with a variety of subjects approached from different angles. I guess that the fact that you give a little of your precious time to share my journey means that I'm successful to some degree!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Leonard Sweet, in his Soul Cafe newsletter, included this list of "Top 10 Liars' Lies":
- We'll stay only five minutes.
- This will be a short meeting.
- I'll respect you in the morning.
- The check is in the mail.
- I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you.
- This hurts me more than it hurts you.
- Your money will be cheerfully refunded.
- We service what we sell.
- Your table will be ready in just a minute.
- I'll start exercising (dieting, forgiving … ) tomorrow.
— Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sometimes words have to be eaten. Other times, they turn out to have teeth that bite. From an unscientific sampling of a few contributing editors, Leadership offers here the most frequent phrases in ministry that become preludes to a fast farewell.
1. I think I've earned the right to say this.
2. Thank you for the unanimous vote of confidence.
3. We'll incorporate a seeker sensitive approach into our present worship service.
4. In ancient Israel, the people danced before the Lord.
5. Recently, I've been reading about the importance of publicly confessing your own sins, so today …
6. I'll show the church secretary who's boss around here!
7. I'm sure I can trust you to keep this confidential.
8. Then there are no hard feelings, right?
9. I'm sure Mrs. Jones will agree that she's been our organist long enough.
10. They need to realize this kitchen belongs to everyone.
— Ken Westphall, Leadership, Vol. 14, no. 2.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tuesday’s votes in the House of Lords
On Tuesday 15th January the House of Lords voted against on a ban on the creation of animal-human hybrids for research purposes. A proposed ban on embryo selection for ‘saviour siblings’ was also lost. Further issues, including the child’s need for a father and abortion, are due to be debated and voted upon in the Lords on Monday 21st January. Then the amended Bill will have its 3rd Reading before being sent to the Commons for further debate.
If the Bill is not amended in the Commons it will become law that embryonic stem cell researchers will be allowed to mix animal sperm with human eggs or human sperm with animal eggs, in order to create a hybrid embryo. This embryo can be experimented upon and then must be destroyed within 14 days. The UK is alone amongst Western democracies in allowing such research to take place. This legislation, which holds many other worrying provisions besides hybrids, is attacking the very core of who we are as a society, what we value as human beings, how we view the unique dignity of humanity and the lengths we are prepared to go to in perverting nature for our own selfish and often misguided desires.
If the nation is still capable of being shocked, then this Bill – if its contents were more widely known and understood – would certainly do just that. It is the church’s responsibility to speak up for God’s intention for His creation, and in the absence of a wider understanding of the Bill it falls to the church to speak on behalf the nation, to act as lookouts in the watch tower warning of the approaching dangers. Please continue to pray and tell your friends about this Bill, and read on to find out what further action can be taken...
To read the debate in full, use the link below
Animal Human Hybrid Embryo vote
Lord Alton’s proposed amendment to the Bill that would have banned the creation of animal-human hybrid embryos was defeated in the House of Lords last night by 96 to 268. These hybrid embryos are now referred to in the Bill as ‘human admixed embryos’ due to a Government amendment.
Several peers spoke in favour of a ban, arguing that such research was both unnecessary and crossed an ethical boundary.
Lord Alton stated “As Parliament is dazzled with misleading claims about therapies and cures, there have been none anywhere in the world... If we permit the creation of these predominantly human interspecies embryos and full hybrids, we will be crossing an important ethical line—crossing human and animal. But for what? For the sake of a technology that we know will not be the future.”
Lord Tebbit argued “Once we get into the business of creating entities which are halfway, or somewhere along that spectrum, between animal and human, we have a deep ethical dilemma... I am also worried about the attitude of the scientific community which, while it is always willing to accept that there should be limits placed on it on ethical grounds, always seems to assume that the limits should be somewhere just beyond what is scientifically possible and what it wants to do and those limits keep moving.”
“The matters we are discussing are more of ethics than of technology. Because it is scientifically possible to do something does not mean it should be done. Because it might bring great benefit to particular people does not mean that it should be done. If we accept arguments of that kind, we are essentially accepting the argument that the end justifies the means.”
To view the part of the debate covering hybrid embryos, click below and scroll down to Column 1202, Lord Alton
To see how each Peer voted, click below and scroll down to Division Number 1
BBC news: ‘Embryos challenge fails in Lords’http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7190530.stm
Embryo selection for ‘saviour sibling’ vote
Lady O’Cathain’s amendment to ban embryo selection for saviour siblings was sadly also defeated by a vote of 62 to 180. This practice involves destroying healthy embryos because they do not match the tissue type of an existing sick child in the family, and implanting a matching embryo (if there is one) in order to create a child who can provide healthy spare part tissue for the existing child.
In moving her amendment Lady O’Cathain stated: “First, there is the question of potential harms to the parties involved, most obviously the harm inflicted by the destruction of unsuitable embryos. Secondly, at the very centre of our ethical thought—both religious and secular, deriving from philosophy as well as tradition—lies the principle that one may not degrade an individual human life by treating it as an instrument for the benefit of others rather than as something to be regarded and respected in its own right. If we deviate from that principle, we have no fixed grounds on which to stand in resistance to other claims to create and manipulate human life for various beneficial ends.”
“The designed child, for the duration of its life, will be witness to the intention of the designers and will always be vulnerable, both physically and psychologically, to further demands on its body. To manufacture a person in this way is to offend against the respect that is due to the integrity of that person, no matter how compelling the goal of trying to cure. I am therefore convinced that the right decision has to be total opposition to the deliberate creation of children as tissue donors for others.”
Lord Patten argued that “Children are children and not organ banks”, and Lord Winston warned “There is a real risk that children might be used, and therefore abused, with this technology, so we must consider this very carefully.”
To view the part of the debate covering ‘saviour siblings’, click below and scroll down to Column 1267, Baroness O’Cathain
To see how each Peer voted, click below and scroll down to Division Number 2
Monday, 21st Jan: votes on fathers and abortion
The House of Lords will continue to debate the Bill on Monday 21st January, when they will be voting on the 'need for a father' in IVF treatment and an amendment on abortion for disability. Lady Masham, who is disabled herself, laid the abortion amendment.
Currently the law permits abortion up to the point of birth if a child is diagnosed as disabled. This has been the point of some controversy in the past, as it has allowed the late abortion of foetuses for such minor conditions as a cleft palate (Joanna Jepson case). It is also argued by many disability rights groups that the law is discriminatory and eugenicist. Lady Masham’s amendment proposes that abortion on the grounds of disability be repealed and therefore brought into line with the rest of the abortion law. The deadline for all amendments to the Bill is tomorrow and currently Lady Masham's amendment is the only abortion amendment that has been laid in the House of Lords.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Monday, January 14, 2008
And here's a shot from those distant days!
Then there's been quite a few Plays that I've enjoyed performing in over the years!
Hope you enjoyed the show dear reader!
Sunday, January 13, 2008
- I love the way that animals show their love towards you, often asking nothing in return.
- I love the warm feeling of knowing that someone special loves me.
- I love that feeling you get when you love someone else, and you want to make the world a better place for them.
- I love knowing that God loves me. Although He asks for nothing in return, what a blessing you get when you give your life to Him!
- I love to share God's love with other people, knowing that each time I talk about Jesus to someone I'm doing just that.
Things I LOVE!
- I love settling down with a good book.
- I love the challenge of creating a garden from scratch.
- I love doing a really 'busy' 1000 piece jigsaw.
- I love spending time with God.
- I love my work, especially when I know that I've helped to change a life.
- I love the company of our little dog, Sam, and our cats, Smokey and Felix.
- I love exploring new places of interest, especially old buildings, Art Galleries, and the like.
- I love the feeling I get when I hear a new song of mine sung for the first time.
- I LOVE my wife Gill in more ways and for more reasons than I could ever count!
- I love a really good 'Family' movie, especially if there is a lot of comedy in it.
Things I don't love!
- I hate to see cruelty of any sort, especially towards children and animals.
- I hate any form of bullying, whether it's physical or mental.
- I hate to see people wasting their lives away 'cos they're too lazy to make the effort to change things!
- I hate it when something that I've said or done causes someone unhappiness, even though I never meant it to.
- I hate to see the land being raped for greedy profit, such as the stripping of the Rain Forests.
What about YOU, dear reader? What do you love MOST or LEAST? Why not leave a comment and let me know.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Yet, wonderful though the computer is, it still needs a human being to operate it, and so it can be used for good or evil. It's capacity is mammoth, yet not so great as the human brain, if only we knew how to use our brains fully. Thinking about this turns my thoughts to our Maker. How wonderfully made we are! Isn't God great!
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I had a go and donated four bowls of rice in a few minutes, but I have to confess that I certainly didn't get every answer correct. There were several words that I'd never heard of previously, some of which I was able to work out correctly, but others which got a great big X! Still, dear reader, it's good fun and only takes a few moments to do a little good for others as well as stretching your mind a little, so why not take a vivit to the site and have a go today.
Monday, January 7, 2008
Greg and I have written a lot of songs together, including loads of worship songs, many of which are now available on CD. Our first CD of ROMANTIC SONGS is due out very soon, and the CD (which I blogged about a while back) of the Russian Ensemble, LYRA, is now in the final stages of being mastered.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Thinking of this made me recall that great little piece on the value of time, so in case you've either never heard it or have, but have forgotten it, here it is.