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Jon Kennedy's report from Northern Ireland

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Pascha, beautiful Pascha Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1287 | May 4 2013 ... Please click here to continue reading http://www.nantyglo.com/2013JK/may4.htm
    Message 1 of 10 , May 4, 2013
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      Pascha, beautiful Pascha

      JONAL ENTRY 1287 | May 4 2013
      . . . the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead. . ."
      — from Matthew 28,
      from today's Holy Saturday
      Orthodox lectionary readings
      Diary: It's Pascha, Orthodox "Easter," and this is the first Pascha since my conversion 19 years ago last Christmas that I have not only celebrated in my San Jose parish. . . 

      =======================================
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
      ========================================
    • Jon Kennedy
      Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland A different dock walk: tall ships in our harbor Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1291 | May 29
      Message 2 of 10 , May 29, 2013
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        Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
        his soj
        ourn in Northern Ireland'

        A different dock walk:
        tall ships in our harbor

        JONAL ENTRY 1291 | May 29 2013
        Now at Lystra there was a man sitting, who could not use his feet; he was a cripple from birth, who had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking; and Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he sprang up and walked.
        — from Acts 14, from today's
        Orthodox lectionary readings
        Diary: I am in considerable pain, having been revisited last week by arthritis (that's a self-diagnosis) in my left knee. . . .

        NEW Feedback: I have wanted for years to make it possible to get direct feedback from Home Page readers, and maybe we're on our way to a solution. The app I'm using for this is very obtuse (for example, when I posted the following, it told me "you have made two new posts," but why it thinks so I have no clue. But maybe I'll eventually master it. Meanwhile, check it out and let me know what you think, on the new feedback app or today's topics.


        =======================================
        Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
        ========================================
      • Jon Kennedy
        Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog  for November 4 Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1315 | NOVEMBER 4 2013 ...
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 3, 2013
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          Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
          his soj
          ourn in Northern Ireland'

          My Google+ diary blog 
          for November 4
          JONAL ENTRY 1315 | NOVEMBER 4 2013

          "...beware of all covetousness, for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions....I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing."

          — From St. Luke's Gospel, chapter 12, from
          today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
          See the homiletical thought below.

          A Titanic afternoon and a Nomadic evening

          Sunday was very busy, with almost no time to spend in front of a computer, so today's post will have to be a quick diary-recap without much to repurpose from Google+, and little to no philosophizing. At least I have 15 still photos that were automatically uploaded to Google+ from the day's events, so there should be no lack of material to fill the space. I have even more video clips from the day, but getting video ready to publish is too time consuming to let me get any of them to you by Monday's deadline.

          My colleagues, Marda and Ward Stothers, have been entertaining a guest, Jack from Portland, Oregon (not to be confused with Jack Lamb, who lives nearby here and we see regularly) for several days, and Marda had offered to take him to the Titanic Visitor Center to take the tour this afternoon. As they were getting to leave, she asked if I wanted to join them, and since I had recently decided that tour was something I have to do, I didn't have to think long about it: Yes. That's why I had a Titanic afternoon.


          The Titanic Visitor Center. The Titanic was manufactured and launched at this site; the Visitor Center is a five-story museum on top of a lobby area with the ticket center, a bistro, a cafe, and a gift shop on the ground floor.

          I hope to do a blog entry soon comparing Belfast and its Titanic and my home city, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and its famous flood, and their respective museums, as there are some obvious commonalities (how many places are best known for disasters associated with their names?). But for now, I will say only that I have never seen a better museum than this one.

          It has room after room of Belfast history presented in large-screen movies and stills projected on whole walls, a history that includes not only Belfast's glory days as the world's major shipbuilding center, but its political and social upheaval over the Irish war for independence from Great Britain almost a century ago, and its leadership in the manufacture of linen, rope (ship tow ropes), and tobacco products.
          It also has a ride through a simulated shipbuilding plant that takes you up and down four stories of the building during which you see recreations and film depictions of how the Titanic and its sister vessels were manufactured. A film theater within the museum has Imax-sized (but not so branded) short movie film tours of the Titanic as it sits on the bottom of the ocean today. Below the seating area of this theater, you walk on a glass floor under which you see the same kind of tour of the Titanic as it rests on the bottom of the sea.

          In another walk-in theater room, three screens, positioned at right angles to each other, give you a full three-dimension moving experience of moving around in the ship when it was at its peak. Another room has full-size recreations of a first-class, a third-class, and a child's stateroom on the Titanic. Authentic linens used on the luxury liner, along with dining impliments and other funishings, are also on display. Displays throughout the exhibition tell the stories of many of the passengers who either perished or were rescued in the Titanic sinking. And there's much more.


          This room in the Titanic Museum shows a full-scale lifeboat
          of the type that were on the Titanic.


          A corner of an upper floor of the Titanic Visitor Center affords a view of Belfast Harbar, with a P&O Line ferry boat at anchor.

          After the tour, the four of us joined other supporters of the Dock Church/Dock Cafe for the first Sunday evening service, ever, on board the Nomadic, a much smaller ship also manufactured in the Belfast docks and which is the last most authentic surviving historical link with the Titanic. The Nomadic had been made especially to ferry passengers of the Titanic from the dock in Cherbourg, France, out to the Titanic, which was too large to get all the way into the Cherbourg port. So at this evening service we were sitting where many of the passengers on the ill-fated Titanic had sat on their short hop from land to the mother ship.


          The Nomadic was fully restored for use as a living-history museum associated with the Titanic. It is seen above, in drydock adjacent to the Titanic Visitor Center. The Dock Church was invited to hold Sunday evening services there after closing times, which is now scheduled once monthly.

          The service there last evening was the first known church service ever held on the Belfast docks. It was attended by approximately 90 worshippers who represented Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Orthodox, Nazarine, Methodist, charismatic, and Church of Ireland (Anglican) congregations. The Church of Ireland commissioned the Dock Church as a cross-community ministry. There are approximately 1000 condominium residences on the dock and it serves thousands of college students and hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the Titanic Center every year.
          §     §     §
          Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page (the Wordpress "comments page" did not bring sufficient responses, so I have discontinued it).

          § I have now uploaded over 2,000 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
          For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand
          Google+ is much easier to use, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. 
          Feedback: You can comment on today's topic on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....
          Feedback is always welcome.

          Homiletical thought: I doubt that any other teaching of our Lord is more relevant to the development of godly attitudes and practices in life. This discipline teaches us to rely on God, and there is no important lesson to learn. Though many consider this passage almost a joke, as though no one can live this way, many throughout the history of the church have done so. Try it, and I think you'll start seeing the benefits of trusting in God rather than in your possessions (and in your "image") almost immediately.

          §     §     §

          Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

          related pages

          The Nanty Glo Home Page

          SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).

          Chuckle and Thought

          For the new blog approach to work, this update will have to be abandoned. Good jokes and thoughts, when found, will be incorporated into the running dialog instead of here in the sidebar, as available.

          The Nanty Glo Home Page and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
          Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum departments unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."



          Jon Kennedy's recent book, 
          C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
          smission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

          Search site

           
          Enter a name or subject and press return.
           
             
           
           
          =======================================
          Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
          ========================================
        • Jon Kennedy
          If you cannot read this in your email, please click HERE to see the online version. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 17, 2013
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            If you cannot read this in your email, please click HERE to see the online version.


            Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
            his soj
            ourn in Northern Ireland'

            My Google+ diary blog 
            for November 17
            JONAL ENTRY 1326 | NOVEMBER 17 2013
            . . . you know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.

            — From Paul's letter to the Galatians, chapter 2,
            from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
            See the homiletical thought below.

            Variety is the spice of life

            Sunday has been the most predictable day of the week for me here in Northern Ireland, as my morning worship (St. Ignatius Orthodox Church), afternoon cross-community activity (the Dock Cafe dock walk), and evening fellowship (Townsend Presbyterian) has usually taken me to the same places where we repeated familiar agendas week after week. Only the first remained true for today, because two months ago I let myself be drafted into a cross-community choir that is mainly organized to do Christmas singing appearances next month. And that choir did its first public appearance this evening and, preceding that, we rehearsed together for an hour in the venue of tonight's performance, Greater Shankill Methodist Church. The rehearsal hour began too early for us to meet our usual commitment to the Dock Cafe, and the Methodist evening service where we performed lasted too late for us to make our appearance at Townsend Presbyterian.

            Though I am not likely to volunteer for anything that doesn't involve writing, editing/webmastering, lay theology, or C.S. Lewis (the only subjects on which I feel I have enough expertise to be confident), I am susceptible to drafts if it seems someone wants or needs me. For a cross-community choir that encompasses more than 50 local congregations of various Protestant and Catholic denominations, this one was woefully under subscribed, as at most of our rehearsals there have never been more than 12 or 13 singers taking part. So, once I attended a rehearsal, I was loath to drop out, despite my dubious qualifications as a singer. I never was "co-ordinated," but after my stroke 13 years ago, I can hardly clap my hands in unison with others, but so long as the choir director (a real pro, by the way, who inspires us all to do better than we think we can) doesn't seem to notice, I'm there till at least Christmas. Tonight's gig at the Shankill Methodist church was a smashing success. None of our songs were Christmas ones, and three of them were in languages other than English.

            Leftovers for the rest

            I'll use a few leftovers to fill out the rest of today's space.


            I took this picture of classic vintage British cars on the 'slipway' where the Titanic oceanliner was built and launched in 1912 on the Belfast docks. This area is actually part of the Titanic Visitor Center, and the cars are there because they were carrying members of a wedding party to the Visitor Center for reasons I was not made privy to (perhaps they were there for a reception at one of the Titanic Center's dining venues, or for a photo shoot). Using classic cars like these seems to be a popular practice at weddings here. The carefully aligned 'telephone poles' in the background are located at the spots where similar posts, but three times the height of these, were situated to hold the oceanliner while it was being manufactured.

            The meme below came through the social nets again yesterday, and again it got me to thinking, which thoughts I've shared in the caption.


            I still can't see how this can be anything but totalitarian, dictatorial, inimical to everything the USA has always stood for. And having said that, how could saying so, even if it may seem mean to Barack Obama, who will never see it anyway (and this although the NSA is reading it right now) must be very kind to those who haven't seen it yet but need a wake-up. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Don't just tell me I'm mean, I've admitted that, show me how it's not dictatorial. And remember, I know Congress voted for this, it's 'the law' for now, but we all know, too, that Hitler was also democratically elected but that doesn't or didn't make him non-totalitarian or a non-dictator. Not to mention that many unjust laws have been passed, and sometimes eventually repealed, in our own history. So tell me how this law can not be unjust, when it gives free contraceptives to encourage free sex on one end of our generational spectrum and free death panels on the other, in addition to its provision for the murder of unborn children when their mothers regret their moment of abandon? And of course I realize the meme is not a direct quote, but it certainly captures the essence of what's happening right now (that is what memes are for).

            How can a man who has run his entire political career on the proposition that "choice" is sacrosanct but now tells us we have to buy something we (millions of Americans) don't want, or be fined for not paying for it and, presumably, be jailed for not paying the fines, well—is there any other way to say it?—how can such a man be labelled anything other than "dictatorial"?

            Finally, yesterday I linked a short homily by Pope Francis. Here's an extract of it as posted by Facebrook friend Ed Thompson:
            November 15 Pope Francis at Santa Marta: "Even when scolding us, God's hands never give us a slap but instead a caress. I could never imagine those hands giving us a slap, Never. Never."
            In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the reading from the Book of Wisdom that recalls how we are created from the soil by God's hands, "those hands which have never abandoned us."
            "God created man to be incorruptible," said the Pope, but the devil entered the world and those who belong to him know all about it. He went on: "We all have to undergo death but it's one thing to undergo this experience when belonging to the devil and it's another to undergo this experience when in the hands of God."
            "Our God, like a Father with his child, teaches us to walk, teaches us to walk along the path of life and salvation. It's God's hands who caress us in our moments of pain and who comforts us." God's hands, the Pope continued, "are hands that are wounded from love" and who heal us. "I could never imagine those hands giving us a slap, Never. Never. Even when he scolds us, he does it with a caress."
            The Pope ended his homily by urging those present to reflect on "God's hands who created us like a craftsman." They are wounded hands and they accompany us throughout life. Let us, he said, "entrust ourselves into God's hands like a child put its hand into the hand of its father. It's a safe hand."
            My comment: Good homily. Protestant friends may cringe at the citation of the Book of Wisdom. But as a Protestant I never knew that the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) was the commonly used Bible in Jesus' time. It was used by Him in the synagogues and temple, it has those "deuterocanonical" books in it, and some of them are actually quoted in the New Testament.
            And we Orthodox have no pope, but we do get along.

            Linked here is the web page related to the mentioned homily.

            Chuckle (but only if you have a sense of humor)


            Thought

            Anytime you feel jealous or envious, you are rejecting your own uniqueness. It's a criticism of God's plan for you.
            — Rick Warren

            §     §     §

            Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page (the Wordpress "comments page" did not bring sufficient responses, so I have discontinued it).

            § I have now uploaded over 2,000 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
            For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand
            Google+ is much easier to use, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. 
            Feedback: You can comment on today's topic on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....
            Feedback is always welcome.

            Homiletical thought: When I was a Protestant I had been given to think that the doctrine in today's passage is one known only to the churches descended from the 16th-century reformation, from Luther, Calvin, and (two centuries later) Wesley, the three great "patriarchs" of Protestantism. But as you see, justification by faith in Jesus Christ, rather than faith in works of the law, is a teaching also emphasized in the Orthodox yearly cycle of Bible reading and preaching. And though I've never been Catholic, I have read the Catechism (summary of all the doctrines of that church) published under John Paul II's imprimatur, and know that it is still taught there, too. Luther actually appended the word "only" to "by faith you are saved," and I think it's fair to say that almost all other Protestant denominations bought into this embellishment of St. Paul, to emphasize (critics would say "widen") the divide between Protestants and Catholics. And it's also fair to say that most Protestants scarcely considered what Orthodox thought about salvation because the geography between them and "Greece" was so wide they thought it not worth worrying about.

            The world has changed. Now everyone in very real ways lives in the same global neighborhood. Most educated Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox today consider the threat from secularism so great that it is worth fighting in the lecture halls and public debates, but doctrinal distinctions between their communions, all of which profess the tenets of the Nicene Creed, are not worth battling over. Praise be to God...not for the spectre of secularism, but for the greater sense of solidarity with our "separated brethren."

            §     §     §

            Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

            related pages

            The Nanty Glo Home Page

            SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).


            The Nanty Glo Home Page
             and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
             
            Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."



            Jon Kennedy's recent book, 
            C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
            mission to Belfast, Ireland. Clickhere to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

            Search site

             
            Enter a name or subject and press return.
             
               
             
             
            =======================================
            Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
            ========================================
          • Jon Kennedy
            Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog  for November 25 Jon Kennedy   ... The Nanty Glo Home Page Previous
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 25, 2013
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              Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
              his soj
              ourn in Northern Ireland'

              My Google+ diary blog 
              for November 25

              JONAL ENTRY 1333 | NOVEMBER 25 2013

              There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no better than a slave, though he is the owner of all the estate; but he is under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; when we were children, we were slaves to the elemental spirits of the universe. But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

              — From Paul's epistle to the Galatians, chapter 4,
              from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
              See the homiletical thought below.

              When autumn leaves blow in

              I feel I've gotten into the swing of doing my diary through Google+. Doing a bit now and a bit more later is easier than trying to do it all in one marathon sitting. On one hand, I'm looking for things to take photos of as I go through the day, looking for a chuckle here, a sociological point to make there, inspirations where ever they're found, and observations to share in bits and pieces. And once I've put it all on Google+, it's easier to stay up late to finish it than staying up late was and trying to think up things to write.

              But enough about me. What do you think of my revised approach to blogging? ;-)


              § I love autumn leaves. For years, I spent most of my mornings in my neighborhood Starbucks, working on my books and sipping their bold drip coffee (in the States, with Starbucks' prepaid card, refills are free). Not till I went out for coffee here with Jack Lamb did I try an espresso drink on my own, imitating him, and once I learned what a cappuccino is, there was no turning back (it's a double shot of espresso with a cup of steaming milk carefully folded in). A "real" (meaning properly made) cappuccino stays foamy all the way to the bottom of the cup. If the barista doesn't make the little leaf in the foam, s/he probably is not doing it right.

              Though it tastes creamy, there's no cream involved. In fact, people on this side of the pond never seem to use cream or half and half, only milk, in coffee. My doctor recommended some years back that I cut back on my caffeine intake to get my blood pressure down, which I did by going from regular coffee to "half-caf" (half decaf and have regular). But I have read that espresso, though stronger to the taste, is "naturally decaffeinated." So win/win.

              For some years I was a movie reviewer and have also written restaurant, book, live theater, and other kinds of reviews. Maybe now I'll become a coffee reviewer. On which point I should note that this, my cappuccino this morning, is by Cafe Wah's owner-barista, Stephen Conley.


              Moral equivalence

              The meme above, posted on the social nets today, speaks eloquently to the philosophical truth of the moral equivalence of babies in the womb and babies already delivered. What possible difference can any rationalization propose between the living baby in the womb and one on the delivery table or, for that matter, one celebrating his or her first birthday? All of the above are gifts of God; all of us were wondrously formed by Him (not some random coupling of impersonal sperm with impersonal zygote, no matter how much the parents may wish that).

              Lewisiana



              Above are the plaque in Belfast's Writers Square and the tourist marker for the Square just across the street from St. Anne's Cathedral, the landmark of downtown Belfast.


              St. Anne's Cathedral (Church of Ireland; stock photo) is creating a book of memorials and tributes to C.S. Lewis, which its promoters hope will be displayed on the centennial of his death, fifty years from now. I added my short testimonial to how Lewis has enhanced my life in the hand-written book today.

              Chuckle

              Thought

              We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When he said, "Be perfect," He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

              May I come back to what I said before? This is the whole of Christianity. There is nothing else. . . .

              — C.S. Lewis

              §     §     §

              Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

              § I have now uploaded over 2,000 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
              For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand
              Google+ is more automatic, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. 
              Feedback: Please comment on today's topic on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....
              Feedback is always welcome.

              Homiletical thought:

              The church has chosen this as an Advent passage, one of Paul's explanations of why Jesus came into the world, became a man so men could be remade into little Christ's (the original meaning of "Christian").

              If we are Abraham's spiritual sons and daughters, we are already circumcised in our hearts, so circumcision in the flesh would be superfluous, Paul is teaching. There is no longer a spiritual benefit from circumcision (whether there is a hygienic one, as many physicians believe, may be another matter). Baptism has replaced it as the initiation rite for believers who are "in" Abraham, "through" Christ. Though we may recognize a historical link between today's Israel and Old Testament Israel, even a continuity between modern Judaism and Abraham, Paul is saying that the church supersedes spiritual Israel. In Christ, we are the chosen ones.

              Our Orthodox hymn of baptism,

                    
              as many as have been 
                    baptized into Christ 
                    have put on Christ

              comes directly from the previous chapter of this same epistle.

              §     §     §

              Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

              related pages

              The Nanty Glo Home Page

              SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).


              The Nanty Glo Home Page
               and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
               
              Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."



              Jon Kennedy's recent book, 
              C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
              mission to Belfast, Ireland. Clickhere to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

              Search site

               
              Enter a name or subject and press return.
               
                 
               
               
              =======================================
              Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
              ========================================
            • Jon Kennedy
              To read this online, please click here. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog Jon Kennedy        
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 6, 2013
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                Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
                his soj
                ourn in Northern Ireland'

                My Google+ diary blog

                Jon Kennedy        
                JONAL ENTRY 1344 | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 2013
                Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."

                — From St. John's Gospel, chapter 10,
                from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                See the homiletical thought below.

                Remembering breakfast and forgetting lunch (duty)

                This, being the first Friday of the month, began with breakfast at the 174 Trust on Antrim Road with Jack Lamb, Marda Stothers, and the dozen or more other members of this cross-community group. We heard a talk about reforms (cutbacks) in the UK's welfare benefits by a representative of an Advice Center. It is surprising to me how similar the social issues are here and in the States, both in how they affect people and what solutions are being considered. Of course, both the United States and the United Kingdom are in bad economic times, with unemployment very high in both nations.

                Advice Centers are roughly analogous (I surmise) with the free financial consulting services now widely advertised in the states (sponsored, I think, in the U.S. by companies that have many creditors and stand to benefit from getting at least a bit more money coming in regularly from a large number of them), which specialize in helping people in debt work out a strategy for paying off their bills without (usually) having to declare bankruptcy. In this case, the advice includes helping people who may have very limited literacy skills realize the extent of their debt and what is expected of them, which they have not fully realized because they may have problems reading bills or understanding threatening letters from creditors. As usual, the 174 Trust meeting was informative and profitable. This is the organization that sponsors the Christmas choir that the Stothers and I have been members of for the past two months.

                Though I knew when I left the house that today was my volunteer lunchtime shift day at the Dock Cafe, by the time I'd finished my cappuccino at the Cafe Wah a few hours later, all recognition that this was still Friday had faded and I started meandering down the street for lunch at the Marketplace when, checking the time, I thought, "12:45 Friday. Friday! I'm supposed to be at the Dock Cafe; I'll be an hour late by the time I get there if I go directly," which I did. I made up the hour by staying until 3 instead of my normal 2 p.m. quitting time. I can now blame old age, but I've always suffered from some absent-mindedness.

                Late lunch back at the Marketplace


                So it was that I didn't have my lunch at the International Christmas Marketplace at City Hall until 3:30, and I got it from the German bratwurst house seen at the right in the gif above. I took this video turned into a gif animation from the plaza just across from the sidewalk while eating my late lunch. Click the gif if you'd like to see a larger video on Google+.

                I've noticed that bright sunshine is not always necessary to get good pictures in Belfast. This was taken in gloomy weather, but the gloom seems to enhance the Christmas decorations, which was what I was hoping for. The view is enhanced by the fact that I'm standing two steps up from the walkway to take the photo. The German bratwurst house here now has sauerkraut, something I've missed. I come from three Irish grandparents and one German one; sauerkraut is not found in any of the stores here (not even German-owned Lidl), so of course that's one of the things I miss the most...or did until this came to town.

                Today is St. Nicholas Day


                It seems meet and right that I give him his due, after all the fuss I made about Santa Claus. Many Orthodox churches, including my home church in California, hold their children's Christmas program on December 6 or the Sunday evening closest to it, with treats to all the children attending.
                The icon and the following hagiography is from the U.S. Greek Orthodox Archdiocese:

                This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, and reposed in 330. As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made a pilgrimage to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many. He returned to Myra, and was ordained bishop. He became known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be take n against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night, our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him, since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety.

                The Dismissal Hymn for holy hierarchs, The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock ... was written originally for Saint Nicholas. He is the patron of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular; he is one of the best known and best loved Saints of all time.

                Chuckle
                I checked this out on Snopes and it's for real!
                AMAZING SIMPLE HOME REMEDIES:
                1. AVOID CUTTING YOURSELF WHEN SLICING VEGETABLES BY GETTING SOMEONE ELSE TO HOLD THE VEGETABLES WHILE YOU CHOP.
                2. AVOID ARGUMENTS WITH FEMALES ABOUT LIFTING THE TOILET SEAT BY USING THE SINK.
                3. FOR HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SUFFERERS ~ SIMPLY CUT YOURSELF AND BLEED FOR A FEW MINUTES, THUS REDUCING THE PRESSURE ON YOUR VEINS. REMEMBER TO USE A TIMER.
                4. A MOUSE TRAP PLACED ON TOP OF YOUR ALARM CLOCK WILL PREVENT YOU FROM ROLLING OVER AND GOING BACK TO SLEEP AFTER YOU HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON.
                5. IF YOU HAVE A BAD COUGH, TAKE A LARGE DOSE OF LAXATIVES. THEN YOU'LL BE AFRAID TO COUGH.
                6. YOU NEED ONLY TWO TOOLS IN LIFE - WD-40 AND DUCT TAPE. IF IT DOESN'T MOVE AND SHOULD, USE THE WD-40. IF IT SHOULDN'T MOVE AND DOES, USE THE DUCT TAPE.
                7. IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
                DAILY THOUGHT: SOME PEOPLE ARE LIKE SLINKIES - NOT REALLY GOOD FOR ANYTHING BUT THEY BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE WHEN THEY BOUNCE DOWN THE STAIRS!
                — Sent by Zan
                Thought


                §     §     §

                Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

                § I have now uploaded over 2,600 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
                For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand
                Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there. 
                Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....
                Feedback is always welcome.

                Homiletical thought:

                This is one of many passages in which Jesus gives his followers no room to entertain the heresy of a universal concept of godhead. There is only one path to God, there's only one gate, and it is He. To understand the incarnation is to understand that God came into the world fully only once, and that was through Jesus Christ. Everyone else who claims to have an alternate way to an eternal reward is a thief and a robber, stealing the honor and glory that belongs to Jesus alone.

                §     §     §

                Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.
                 

                related pages

                The Nanty Glo Home Page

                SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).


                The Nanty Glo Home Page
                 and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
                 
                Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."



                Jon Kennedy's recent book, 
                C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
                mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click hereto download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

                Search site

                 
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              • Jon Kennedy
                 Please click here to read online Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland   My Google+ diary and
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 16, 2013
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                  Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
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                  ourn in Northern Ireland'

                   
                  My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

                  Jon Kennedy        
                  JONAL ENTRY 1354 | MONDAY, DECEMBER 16 2013

                  Today's Scripture: [Jesus said:] "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to Gehenna, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. For every one will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."

                  From the Gospel of St. Mark, chapter 9,
                  from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                  See the homiletical thought below.

                  Today's diary

                  Finally, the rush through the past four days came to a halt today and I got my cuppa cappu (cup of cappuccino, for future reference) at the Cafe Wah. Maybe Christmas really is over now, though I haven't done any shopping yet. I got a scare last night as I heard a rumor (which my investigation today disproved) that the international Christmas marketplace had closed last night. I had planned to do some of my shopping there.

                  Jack Lamb mentioned at the Loom prayer meeting this morning that BBC radio had reported that, despite a bomb scare at St. Anne's Cathedral last week, the dean of the cathedral began his annual "black Santa" fundraiser on the sidewalk in front of the cathedral today. So after my rounds of the cafe, the marketplace, and the mini-market, I went there to get the following photo and put my penny in the hat.


                  A press report says, "The Dean of Belfast's St Anne's Cathedral has begun a Black Santa charity sit-out near the site of Friday's bomb blast. The Rev John Mann is collecting money for Philippines typhoon disaster relief as well as local charities." Dean Mann is on the left, above. The charity effort, now in its 37th year, is called "the black Santa" because the participating Church of Ireland clergymen are robed in black vestments. The press report refers to a small bomb that was set off on the cathedral grounds last Friday. No one was injured in the explosion.

                  The office of Dean of the Cathedral in Anglicanism is the main administrative clergy post in the diocesan see. Or perhaps more plainly put, the bishop's "right hand man," or woman, as it well could be in the Anglican communion.

                  Today's Christmas fare


                           
                  Above, I finally was able to upload the video I took of the Hallelujah Chorus from the concert of Handel's Messiah that I attended on Friday evening.

                  Below, a Christmas meme from Facebook today.


                  Chuckle

                  — Sent by the Kiwi, John Grant

                  Today's thought

                  C.S. Lewis on the miracle of the virgin birth of Christ

                  . . . you will hear people say, "The early Christians believed that Christ was the son of a virgin, but we know that this is a scientific impossibility." Such people seem to have an idea that belief in miracles arose at a period when men were so ignorant of the cause of nature that they did not perceive a miracle to be contrary to it. A moment's thought shows this to be nonsense: and the story of the Virgin Birth is a particularly striking example. When St. Joseph discovered that his fiancee was going to have a baby, he not unnaturally decided to repudiate her. Why? Because he knew just as well as any modern gynaecologist that in the ordinary course of nature women do not have babies unless they have lain with men. No doubt the modern gynaecologist knows several things about birth and begetting which St. Joseph did not know. But those things do not concern the main point—that a virgin birth is contrary to the course of nature. And St. Joseph obviously knew that. In any sense in which it is true to say now, "The thing is scientifically impossible," he would have said the same: the thing always was, and was always known to be, impossible unless the regular processes of nature were, in this particular case, being over-ruled or supplemented by something from beyond nature. When St. Joseph finally accepted the view that his fiancee's pregnancy was due not to unchastity but to a miracle, he accepted the miracle as something contrary to the known order of nature . . . as evidence of supernatural power. . . . Nothing can seem extraordinary until you have discovered what is ordinary. Belief in miracles, far from depending on an ignorance of the laws of nature, is only possible in so far as those laws are known. . . .

                  . . . the grounds for belief and disbelief are the same today as they were two thousand—or ten thousand—years ago. If St. Joseph had lacked faith to trust God or humility to perceive the holiness of his spouse, he could have disbelieved in the miraculous origin of her Son as easily as any modern man; and any modern man who believes in God can accept the miracle as easily as St. Joseph did. . . .

                  — C.S. Lewis, Miracles
                  (New York: Touchstone, 1996), pp. 64-66
                  .
                  Homiletical thought: Again today's epistle reading emphasizes keeping the church's doctrine orthodox. And this Gospel reading rings similar changes by warning that misleading any believer, especially anyone young in his walk but not necessarily in chronological age, can be worthy of a millstone around the neck and being consigned to Gehenna fires.
                  Something to take very seriously: God's mercy and grace are liberally offered, but His requirement to keep the truth whole and pure is very conservative.
                  §     §     §
                  Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. 
                              
                  Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

                  § I have now uploaded over 2,600 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
                  For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand.
                  Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there.
                  Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....

                  Feedback is always welcome.
                   

                  §     §     §

                  Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.
                   

                  related pages

                  The Nanty Glo Home Page

                  SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).


                  The Nanty Glo Home Page
                  and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
                   
                  Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."



                  Jon Kennedy's recent book,
                  C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
                  s mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

                  Blogs I follow:
                   

                  Search site


                  Enter a name or subject and press return.
                   
                    
                  © 2013 JRK
                  =======================================
                  Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
                  ========================================
                • Jon Kennedy
                  Please click here to read online.  Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary and Belfast
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 17, 2013
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                    Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
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                    ourn in Northern Ireland'

                    My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

                    Jon Kennedy        

                    JONAL ENTRY 1355 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17 2013
                    Today's Scripture: And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfection of our faith.

                    From St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews, chapter 11,
                    from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                    See the homiletical thought below.
                    Today's diary

                    Still a week left before Christmas, and already I got my Christmas shopping started today, possibly my earliest ever. Checking to see if Amazon actually has gift cards (it does) and checking some stores on Royal Avenue and the shops in the international marketplace to get inspirations for my local giving counts, right? A start is a start, I always say.

                    Top: Edmund Pevensie is tempted by the White Witch with turkish delight in the movie of the first Chronicle of Narnia.

                    As the Loom's resident C.S. Lewis expert, I should know what turkish delight is, right? (That confection is a major player, as a representative of Satan, in the first installment of the Narnia Chronicles, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). Marda told me yesterday she had seen, in a visit to the Christmas marketplace in an earlier year, a shop that sold all varieties of turkish delight, so I went looking for it, so I could make sure. Just as I was snapping the representation above, the man on duty said, "no pictures, please." So I thanked him and left without the usual second-to-make-sure shot, proud of defending your right to know and the freedom of the press in the face of pointless bullying and possible elder abuse. I have to wonder what he was afraid of. Can you spot the secret hidden in this picture? Me neither. If it is that someone will guess his recipe, one could do much better to actually taste a candy rather than take its picture. Anyway, that's advertised as turkish delight, for anyone else who, like me, has wondered.

                    Today's Christmas fare


                    I haven't heard any news reports here in the United Kingdom about controversy over Christmas creches on public property like the City Hall Grounds. In fact, this one, a life-size 3-D sculpture in paper and paint, is actually inside Belfast City Hall. It was produced by children in St. Gerard's Educational Resource Center in Belfast, in the surreal-expressionist style of European (German-Swiss) artist Paul Klee (1879-1940).

                    Today's apolitical philosophical cartoon


                    Did some one say there are two kinds of people in the world?
                    If they're right, culture war is probably inevitable.

                    Reposted from a Facebook post

                    Chuckle


                    — Sent by the Kiwi, John Grant
                    Today's thought

                    Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about "His glory's diminution"? A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word "darkness" on the walls of his cell. But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God—though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to "put on Christ," to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.
                    — C.S. Lewis
                    Homiletical thought: During the two weeks before Christmas, Orthodox Christians remember the saints and martyrs of the Old Testament, who are described in both today's Gospel and epistle readings, beginning with Abel who was slain because he pleased God, by his brother, who displeased God. These are the forebears of our Lord. This theme underscores the topic of faithfulness to the Lord and His precepts, which has been our emphasis for the past week. The faith, God's truth, is a seamless continuum from Adam to our grandchildren, and must be passed on as such.

                    §     §     §
                    Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks. 
                                
                    Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

                    § I have now uploaded over 2,600 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.
                    For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand.
                    Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there.
                    Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@....

                    Feedback is always welcome.

                    §     §     §

                    Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.
                     

                    related pages

                    The Nanty Glo Home Page

                    SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTICES OF THESE BLOGS BY EMAIL (free).

                    The Nanty Glo Home Page
                    and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.
                     
                    Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."


                    Jon Kennedy's recent book,
                    C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
                    s mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.
                    Blogs I follow:
                     

                    Search site


                    Enter a name or subject and press return.
                     
                      
                    © 2013 JRK
                    =======================================
                    Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
                    ========================================
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