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Jon Kennedy's latest report from Northern Ireland

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland Coleraine and Mountsandel  Woods and Fort Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1307 | SEPTEMBER 7
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 7, 2013
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      Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
      his soj
      ourn in Northern Ireland'

      Coleraine and Mountsandel 
      Woods and Fort
      JONAL ENTRY 1307 | SEPTEMBER 7 2013

      . . . we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification.

      — from Paul's First Epistle to the
      Church in Corinth, chapter 2, from today's
      Orthodox lectionary readings
      See the homiletical thought below.

      Diary: Another Ulster adventure

      Thursday, September 5 — Got my blog (mostly yesterday's diary entry) online and sent to my list today, along with Jim Toth's latest blog.

      We went to Townsend/Charis Bible College to see two films about Noah and the Ark that were shown by Jack last night.

      Marda's company from Los Angeles arrived and they took off to tour the north coast this morning.

      Friday, September 6 11:30 a.m. — I'm on a train to Coleraine for today's adventure.

      I arrived in Coleraine around 12:50. At first I couldn't see the town center and began walking away from it. But realizing I was going in the wrong direction, I made a U-turn.

      In a couple of blocks I found a large pedestrian mall and looked for a place to get lunch. On the way, I found the St. Patrick's Church of Ireland and went inside to have a look. An organist was playing and I was able to record his rendition of St. Patrick's hymn, "Be Thou My Vision." I have started carrying with me my HTC Android phone to use for videos like this, as my new Samsung camera makes such large video files that they are hard (time consuming) to process or even put on YouTube. There was a very nice older man, Cecil, and yes even older than me, at the information table. We had a nice talk. I also got good photos (on my Samsung) of the church and the mall.


      This St. Patrick's of Coleraine, adjacent to the downtown mall.

      Coleraine is a nice town of 25,000 residents and boasts the highest property values in Northern Ireland. I spotted a tourism information office and got a map and a free booklet and asked about Mountsandel Fort, a mound dating from Norman days which I had read about online on the train up. Adjacent to it is the site of a dig that produced artifacts from Ireland's oldest prehistoric (stone-age) settlement ever found.


      Coleraine Town Hall is a landmark at the end of the pedestrian mall.

      Finding my way to the River Baan, by way of the Town Hall, which is historic and photogenic, I crossed the river and discovered on the opposite side an old Courthouse which is now a pub/restaurant, and which was advertising the best prices I'd seen today, so I went in there for lunch: roast of the day (chicken), mashed with gravy, broccoli, and carrots. All this plus a very good large capuccino for £4.70! Even a better price than in Cookstown.

      Though the weather app had been predicting a rainy day, there was still lots of sunshine (though the breezes were a bit nippy with just my wind breaker on) when I recrossed the river to make my way to Mountsandel Forest and the historic fort.



      A panorama view of the River Baan in Coleraine. Downtown
      is in the background. Google+ automatically stitches
      five photos together to create panoramas like this.

      The dot that the lady in the tourist office had put on my map to mark the fort proved to be incorrect, but I asked a man walking along and he kindly put me on the right path.


      Mountsandel Fort. The 'fort' is the dirt mound that rises
      50 feet or more from the river valley floor below.

      The walk in the woods was longer than expected, but the payoff was worth it: lots of good photos and videos of some very photogenic sights (check all of them out in the Coleraine set in my Flickr site). When I got back to the street, the sky was quite dark with rain clouds. I walked to the nearest bus stop (with no shelter) and waited, probably a half an hour, and sure enough it started to rain. I wrapped my cap in a plastic bag I've been carrying since the stores began charging (under an "environmental" law) for bags. My cap fared the rain well and kept my head dry; the rest of me got soaked. But after about ten minutes in the rain, the worst I've been caught out in, a bus came. It took me directly to the train/bus station, and I am now writing this on the train which is approaching my Belfast station, Yorkgate.

      § I have now uploaded over 1,000 photos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Though not individually labeled, most of these are now organized by sets. If you're interested, click here for the Flicker site.

      For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand. Google+ is much easier to understand, so most of the pictures I post are posted there.

      Feedback: You can comment on today's topic on the page linked here:


      Feedback is always welcome.

      Homiletical thought: Things look dark and are likely to get darker (remember Nero and Caligulua, the days of Noah and Sodom). But the Apostle assures us the rulers of this age and their wars against faith, morality, believers, and the Church will fade away and be forgotten when the faithful shine in Glory.

      §     §     §

      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.
       

      =======================================
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
      ========================================
    • Jon Kennedy
      Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland Rethinking the blog Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1310 | OCTOBER 30 2013 ...  
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 30, 2013
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        Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
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        ourn in Northern Ireland'
        Rethinking the blog
        JONAL ENTRY 1310 | OCTOBER 30 2013
        "Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others...."
        — From the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11,
        from today's Orthodox lectionary readings
        See the homiletical thought below.

        Weblog, weblog, whose got a weblog?

        "Blog" is shortened from "weblog," though it is probably used now more often to refer to the equivalent of what "newspaper columns" were in the days when newspapers were still widely read. (Who knows what's in newspapers these days? The liberal power elite? They seem to be the only part of the population most newspapers are published for now. I wonder if my home-city daily is an exception, and still widely read in south-central Pennsylvania?) But blogs now are thought of as short essays by writers with various interests and levels of writing competence.

        I am, as best I can tell, one of the earliest bloggers on the web, having begun writing in that form in the fall of 1998, while living in Los Angeles (http://www.nantyglo.com/newadds_1-98.htm), years before I ever saw the word "blog." That blog was my experiment at making the Internet interactive, and though it was no Facebook, it had a measure of success, too.
        Though those early posts were something of a "log," somewhat like Capt. Kirk's captain's log on the Starship Enterprise, and I could have accurately referred to them as weblogs, by the time I started referring to my one-time daily, later weekly, and more recently bi-weekly efforts as "my blog," they had evolved into short essays instead of collections of day-by-day observings. And I'm not sure why, because I think I've always preferred the collection-of-short-takes format to the longer reflective piece. That was my opinion even when I wrote the Journal's teen column, though as I recall it was difficult to achieve even then.

        It's probably part my philosophical bent of mind and part the human propensity to take an idea and run with it rather than to say something in twenty words or less and move on. But, on paying attention to my recent use of Facebook and Google plus, I realize the short form, the collection of random thoughts, is much more appropriate in those media, and if I gathered a day's collection of them together, then post that here and send it to my email list, I would have a new weblog in a new, yet closer to the original, form. That might easily work on Google plus, because you can edit your Google plus entries after they've been published, but not as much in Facebook. So one key may be to always think of posting on Google+ before posting on Facebook.

        Below are a few posts to Google+ that demonstrate how it might work. How would the following work as a blog post?


        Early sunset in Belfast on the first day of standard time, Sunday evening at the dock.
        The sign on the bus highlights the growing popularity of Halloween here. Though it probably originated among Irish in America, the trick and treat, costumes, parties etc. have only recently been accepted in Northern Ireland. But there's a weeklong Halloween carnival on the Titanic Quarter this year and a steady stream of participants were making their way toward it Sunday afternoon and evening, and many of them—both adults and kids—were in costume. I know of nothing comparable four days before Halloween in the states. The carnival is scheduled to run days after Halloween, too.

        A LATER POST


        Two photos from Nantyglo, Wales, the twinned town of my home town, Nanty Glo, Pa. Jamie Craig Nash posted these on another web page.

        A STILL LATER ONE


        A photo of my grand-daughter Evy, age 3, received in today's mail from her parents, and posted atop my computer screen. What a lovely young lady she has become!
        §     §     §
        So much for the first experiment. We'll see how far this takes us, remembering that most experiments fail or point in other directions.

        What do you think? Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page (the Wordpress "comments page" did not seem to work, so I am discontinuing it. I got not a single comment on it (but several by email) regarding my recent thoughts about the gay agenda, probably the most controversial subject I've taken up this year).

        § 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: Jesus here teaches that keeping the law in a literal sense, though part of what God's wants, cannot replace or excuse failing to keep the spirit of the law, which is done by helping the oppressed and needy in their plight, bearing and sharing our neighbors' burdens.
        §     §     §
        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.

         
        =======================================
        Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence
        ========================================
      • Jon Kennedy
        If the post cannot be read in your email, click here to read it online. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog 
        Message 3 of 11 , Nov 5, 2013
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          Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
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          ourn in Northern Ireland'

          My Google+ diary blog 
          for November 6
          JONAL ENTRY 1317 | NOVEMBER 6 2013

          "...when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

          — From St. Luke's Gospel, chapter 12, from
          today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
          See the homiletical thought below.
          Taking an idea and running with it

          Several memes that came into my social networks on Tuesday got a rise out of me and put me into a philosophical mindset.
          None of the memes or photos on this page
          are my own graphic creations.
          Thanks to Paul Ceria for sending this my way.

          Capitalism, rooted in greed and dependent on inherently false advertising (always trying to sell you products you don't need), is far from perfect, but much to be preferred over totalitarian socialism, which is based on a desire to control others—or worse, to control everybody—by promising things governments cannot deliver without turning into totalitarian police states. Neither was God-given or -mandated, but the latter is more clearly from the pit of hell than the former. Ignore capitalism's demands and you may be out of style and possibly shunned; ignore big government's expectations and you're likely to end up in jail or, as the "religious zealots" at Branch Davidian Ranch found out, dead. So: good lad, as far as it goes, your sign makes a valuable contribution to the social discourse.

          I am not absolutist about government's role (as the foregoing might imply), however. Some government programs, like social security, safety nets for the poor and unemployed, and a reasonable national health insurance plan (one not requiring a complete overhaul of our society, our economy, and our system of government as Obamacare is undertaking), can work in conjunction with capitalism without destroying the republic and individual liberty.

          Speaking of going to jail (or gaol, as they spell it here), the meme below struck me as having lots to think about, not the least of which is the question, "why has locking people up become one of our economy's biggest growth industries?"

          I copied this one from Nancy Derrick Engle's Facebook.

          The final meme that I reposted yesterday comments on a perennial knotty question, the tension between religion and politics or, as the left always insists on misstating it, church and state.

          Not sure who first brought this one my way.

          I want to add to the "because" clause above, "because human beings are whole creatures whose physical and spiritual needs cannot be separated without making them schizoid."

          A friend on my Facebook who professes atheism posted a paean to science, which reported that scientists have found a way to introduce a new breed of goat, and that news and her praise of science, when I blended it into all of the above, inspired this thought: "Yes, the wonderful people who brought us the Third Reich's crematoriums are wonderful creators." And after a little more reflection: "Under Hitler, the science establishment (also known as "progressivism") thought the solution was getting rid of the Jews. Under Obama, it's getting rid of the Christians." Of course I'm not against either science or progress, only against the adulation or worship of either and the proposition that because it's science it has the last word on everything. Atheists tend to make science their religion, the thing they believe in for their redemption, which is ludicrous.
          Then, wondering whether my reasons for comparing progressives of the 1930s with those in power in this decade might not resonate with some, I added this: "Do progressives care about 'gay marriage'? It can be argued that they see 'gay rights' as something they promote because the more liberated sexual minorities become, the more sexualized the society will get, and, in turn, the more marginalized Christians and their morality will become. In some quarters, progressives have pushed onto the books laws against speaking against sodomy as 'hate speech.' The more they can muzzle Christians, the freer the 'scientific' progressives will consider themselves to be and the freer they'll feel to conduct their experiments on society as a whole. First, illegalize Christianity by making laws Christians cannot obey if they want to continue acting as Christ told his faithful followers to act...."

          §     §     §

          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: The principal in today's passage is the same as the one in yesterday's passage: don't worry about your possessions, your wealth, or what you're going to wear; let God provide and rest in that assurance. He wants to provide; let Him. Likewise, don't worry about what to say, He will provide the words of your mouth. We Orthodox have a morning prayer which asks God to "put your words into my mouth." For a long time I thought this was a misstatement, thinking...shouldn't it be "put your words into my ear"? No, the liturgist had it right, and now I get it.

          §     §     §

          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 have difficulty reading this in your email, click here to read. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog 
          Message 4 of 11 , Nov 11, 2013
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            Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
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            My Google+ diary blog 
            for November 11
            JONAL ENTRY 1320 | NOVEMBER 11 2013

            We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
            Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believed, and so we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence.
            — From Paul's Second Epistle to the church in Corinth,
            chapter 4, from today's Orthodox lectionary
            readings
            . See the homiletical thought below.

            A respite in the countryside

            My weekend in the Ulster* countryside was very restorative, but despite my good intentions I was not able to keep to the daily blog schedule I had kept throughout the rest of last week. That was not as much because of how busy I was kept as the fact that my wireless provider had no coverage at the rural address six miles out of the nearest large town there, Banbridge. I couldn't even keep up with all the posts on Facebook and of course that's traumatic (yeah, right, LOL).

            My hosts for the weekend were Colin and Arlene Williamson. Colin is my age and a retired Church of Scotland pastor who returned to his historic family location to live in a new house they had built for that purpose. Some of his cousins continue to occupy a sizeable portion of the farm that his grandparents had, and he spent his first eight years in this baileywick. His father had also been a rural Presbyterian minister who transferred to a parish in Scotland at that time. The Church of Scotland, the "established" church in Scotland, is Presbyterian, but I've come to realize that even though American Presbyterianism is a direct descendant of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland and the latter is a direct descendant of the Church of Scotland, the three are no more like each other, beyond the particular that their church governance in each case is by Presbytery rather than being congregational or hierarchical, than they're like American Methodists (hierarchical) or Baptists (congregational). Colin is living evidence to this because he realized when he moved back to Northern Ireland that he would be more comfortable in the Orthodox Church and its worship than he would be in the Irish Presbyterian Church because the Orthodox worship is closer to the Scots established church than the Irish Presbyterian one is, at least in the points that matter most to him.


            Above left are Arlene and Colin Williamson, my hosts for the weekend in the County Down countryside. On the right, Colin is seen with his Sherpa guide for their trek into the Mountains of Mourne.

            Both Saturday and Sunday were exceptionally clear and sunny for Northern Ireland (Sunday, even, being stunningly brilliant from sunrise throughout the day). On Saturday we motored to County Down's east coast on the Irish Sea, stopping en route to hike (observers might have thought that in my case "stagger" would be a more apt term for it) around Silent Valley, a large park in the Mountains of Mourne adjacent to a large reservoir providing water for Belfast.

            Below are other photo highlights of our day. Go to the album on my Google+ pageand click "slideshow" atop the first photo to see these beautiful pictures at full-screen size.


            Up the foothill of the mountain in the distance, near Silent Valley, can be seen a stone wall, like the one in the foreground, that extends all the way to the top of the mountain (though in the reduced size of the photo, it's hardly visible in that more distant part of the ascent). The mortorless wall was built to keep sheep from trespassing beyond their own pastures.


            An artist's pallette range of fall colors at a duck pond in Silent Valley


            We had lunch at the scenic Harbour Inn in Annalong, a small town 
            between New Castle and Kilkeel, County Down


            This old water-powered corn mill was just across the inlet from Harbour Inn


            The monument above is in honor of Robert Ross, an Irish general in the British army given credit for burning down the White House in Washington during the War of 1812. A historical marker says Americans were so infuriated by this that they threatened to burn down Ross's home town, Rostrevor, where this monument, resembling a miniature of the Washington Monument, stands. Rostrevor is still intact.

            Today's Chuckle


            From a Facebook friend's post today - "Remember: Cold season is starting and cows seek heat on car hoods. Do not forget to tap on the hood to give the cow enough time to get off before you drive away!"

            Thought

            I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
            —C. S. Lewis

            *Ulster has two meanings. Traditionally (and as used in the Republic of Ireland), it is the northern province of Ireland, comprised of the nine northernmost counties. At thepartitition of Ireland in 1920-22, six of those Northern Ireland counties chose to stay in the United Kingdom, where "Ulster" refers to those six, mostly-Protestant counties.

            §     §     §
            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: Three major thoughts come from this short passage. It tells us we can and should add our suffering and pains to our Lord's suffering in the passion. It helps us understand that our death, which is always part of our living, is a dying to self or emptying self in order to live in and through Christ. The second paragraph suggests that believing, in the sense of setting aside our skepticism, precedes logical proof for our faith ("I believed, and so I spoke"; first, we taste the Lord, then we see that He is good, Psalm 34:8). Augustine applied this in his famous formula, "I believe in order to know," which other philosophers have reworked into other propositional formulas, the most famous of which, probably, is Descartes's "I think, therefore I am." Paul's more basic formula is the basis for the often heard advice to those wondering if there is a God and if Christ is His Son, our Savior, "pray that God will guide you to the truth," which has led many from doubt to belief.

            §     §     §

            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 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'
            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
            If you have a problem reading this in your email, please go to the web page, HERE. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 12, 2013
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              Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
              his soj
              ourn in Northern Ireland'

              My Google+ diary blog 
              for November 12



              JONAL ENTRY 1321 | NOVEMBER 12 2013

              ...he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work.

              As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God; for the rendering of this service not only supplies the wants of the saints but also overflows in many thanksgivings to God. Under the test of this service, you will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others; while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God in you.

              Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

              — From Paul's Second Epistle to the church in Corinth,
              chapter 9, from today's Orthodox lectionary
              readings
              . See the homiletical thought below.

              Better late than never

              I got behind yesterday, compared with the schedule of last week's daily blogs, and today fell even farther behind. The pace on the social networks seemed to be lagging this morning when I wanted to start this. And even though it was a brilliant sunny day here today (so rare that I feel guilty for not taking advantage of it to take a trip to get more photos and more travel reporting), I was feeling somewhat sluggish (slothful, the morning and evening prayers put it more truthfully). I also had to take care of some personal business (my old car back in California needs a new water pump, so I had to wire money to my daughter to pay for the part and repair work, so I'll have something to drive if and when I get to visit back there early next year). This evening I had to go to choir practice (don't ask...oh, okay, it's a cross-community Christmas choir I got drafted into joining). So I'm starting late, in the spirit of "better late than never," and will make this a short entry of leftovers, bits and pieces.


              The first bit is a picture I took while waiting for the bus after leaving my work at the Dock Cafe on Friday. It illustrates one of the reasons I've chosen not to drive here in the UK, beyond the obvious 'driving on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car.' Here is a four-lane avenue, two lanes in each direction, all of them marked as 'passing' (or as the signs here put it, 'overtaking') lanes.

              Another leftover is the following, copied from a social network post from LiberalLogic.


              Of course it would be specious to suggest that the murder rates of these cities are a result of Democrat rule or liberal philosophy. Knowing that Progressives have a technical (or "scientific") solution for everything, as I said on Facebook, the common link must be too much conservatism or too much
              influence by traditional values.

              Remember the picture below from last Tuesday's blog? I thought it was the same bush with the same berries I had seen a week or two earlier on a train excursion to Portrush. But there was a sequel to the story, which is in the caption.


              I asked my agronomist friend, Ethel White, what those miles after miles of red-berry bushes might be, to which she ventured, hawthorns. So, sure this was the same kind of red-berry bush, I identified it as a hawthorn and credited Ethel as my expert source. But when she saw the picture, she gasped and said it is not a hawthorn. Hawthorns are Ireland's most common hedgerow thorny bush, but this does not look to be particularly thorny, nor is it on a hedgerow (though it appears to be growing 'wild' on the banks of the river in Omagh). I looked in vain for a hawthorn I could snap and put here for comparison on my weekend in the countryside. And Ethel has followed up with: 'Carol at work says the plant in your photo is either Pyracantha or Cotoneaster. I tend to go with the former...either way it's a lovely photo.'

              The Wikipedia entry on both of the more recent guesses say that all three red-berry bushes are related, so maybe we were not all that off in any case.
              Finally, below is a photo taken after Sunday evening's service at the Townsend Presbyterian Church.


              On the left are Bob and Barbara Nesbitt, a visitor team from the missions agency that Ward and Marda Stothers are affiliated with. The Stothers are on the right, with their pastor, the Rev. Jack Lamb, in the middle.

              Thought

              As long as a wrongdoer is still alive, God is giving him chances to repent. We must always be patient and be helping by giving pointers to the right course. Life's two great purposes are repenting of our sins and loving our neighbors by helping. But we should never condone wrongdoing or injustice.

              §     §     §

              Please put 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: In the ancient church, fast periods were also times of increased alms-giving and supporting neighbors in need. The tragic catastrophe that struck the Philippines just days ago is an excellent place to give financial aid and pray for. Three days from now, advent, the 40-day fast getting us ready for the Nativity feast, begins, and the attention of the whole of Christendom is already turning to rituals and traditions of giving, as the streets become lit and stores are decked in festive ornaments. Sow bountifully so you can reap bountifully, both here and hereafter.

              §     §     §

              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 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'
              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 13 Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1322 | NOVEMBER 13 2013
              Message 6 of 11 , Nov 13, 2013
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                Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
                his soj
                ourn in Northern Ireland'

                My Google+ diary blog 
                for November 13

                JONAL ENTRY 1322 | NOVEMBER 13 2013
                The Lord said, "I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

                He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."

                — From John's Gospel, chapter 10:9-16,
                from today's Orthodox lectionary
                readings
                . See the homiletical thought below.
                The cultures of light and life and of darkness and death

                When I visited Belfast three years ago, it seemed that C.S. Lewis was appreciated less here, his birthplace and the land he considered "home" all his life (though he spent most of his time in England), than he is regarded in many places in America and elsewhere around the world. Now, a few days before the 50th anniversary of his death on November 22, 1963, the same day as President John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley, most famous as the author of Brave New World, died, that gap seems to have closed. Belfast is hosting a major C.S. Lewis Festival in the next two weeks to celebrate Lewis and remember that anniversary in lectures, films, art and photographic exhibitions, readings, and more.

                I put a link on my Google+ page to an inspiring talk on Lewis on Monday evening at the Hub in Queen's University by Belfast native and Oxford scholar Alister McGrath, which previewed the festival (click HERE for Prof. McGrath's talk). During the introductory remarks, the Church of Ireland chaplain at Queens, Barry Forde, announced that fliers publicizing the launch of a C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland would be distributed at the meeting's close. I joined my friend Jack Lamb, pastor of Townsend Presbyterian Church and leader of a campaign to get Belfast's international airport named in honor of Lewis, in handing out those fliers as he and I are the planners of that launch. I'm optimistic that the Society will come to fruition and that it, along with the festival, will help Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland remember Lewis in a manner that his global contributions to literature, scholarship, and religious apologetic deserves.

                Both Lewis's and Huxley's books made major contributions to the overall war between the culture of light and life and the culture of darkness and death, though Lewis tried to stay above the political battles of his time, and Huxley veered into advocating drug experimentation as a way to achieve spiritual euphoria, especially after his relocation from Great Britain to California. Both writers died before the culture of death legalized abortion and marriages based on sodomy, so it's anyone's guess how either of them might have revised their messages to fit today's agendas. As much as I try to emulate Lewis, I can't reconcile compromising with the tidalwave now inundating us through "Obamacare," its public funding and advocacy of abortion as birth control, and the current governments' campaign to destroy traditional sexual morality. That may come through a little in today's posts and reposts from the social nets.

                Comedian Jackie Mason spoke in an interview with radio host Tim Considine on Obama and the furor about his lies to the American people and the Congress while Obamacare was being debated:

                If a guy like this is not locked up just to protect himself, people would wonder why is he on the loose, why is this man free if he can carry on and doesn't seem to know the difference between right and wrong, between truth and false. He doesn't seem to know the difference that when you catch him, he acts like he never heard of it. When you tell him to fix him, he says it's already perfected and it's too late to do anything about it because it's going so brilliantly.
                Everybody says we're going down the drain and he says 'listen to this, we're doing better than ever.' Now when you see this, when you see a guy who is the only one enjoying himself when everybody else around him is in pain and suffering and passing away from human misery, you must figure 'this guy is nuts.'

                Impeachment is an ugly word. But like comedy, what's necessary is not always pretty. Does America have enough backbone left to take the necessary next step?

                Perhaps the best meme coming my way today was this one:


                It would have been even better if Bill Clinton had been added to it and he is shown saying, "I was impeached for lying to Congress about a sexual peccadillo," to which Obama could claim, "I told lies to Congress and the nation that caused millions to lose their medical insurance. As I've said elsewhere, I'm good at killing."

                Obama's sins against the American people do not mitigate Nixon's misdeeds, but RMN has long had his reward. It's time to treat the gander the way the country treated the goose and start impeachment now. Clinton was impeached for lying about a sexual moral lapse that (only?) indirectly hurt others. Obama's lies are costing many Americans access to life-extending treatments.... What are you waiting for, Congress?
                Next, Bill Clinton told an interviewer that Obama should not have misled the people and should take measures to make sure those who were told they can keep their heath insurance can do so, even if they've already received cancellation notices. Some commentators have interpreted Clinton's taking this position as paving the way for Democrat Senators and Representatives in Congress to start working to reverse some of the ACA's most despised effects, while bolstering the momentum to get Hillary Clinton elected the next President.

                In in closing, a change of pace. One of my favorite Orthodox bloggers, Father Stephen, posted a linkl to the following video on Facebook. Anglican bishop and scholar N. T. Wright presents an Orthodox understanding of hell and the last judgment that is not widely known in Catholic and Protestant teaching.


                Chuckle
                Though an acknowledged Democrat, Jay Leno has always made appropriate jabs at his own party when it fails to meet his Hollywood standards.

                Thought

                If you take your stand on the prevalent view, how long do you think it will prevail?...All you can say about my view is that it is old-fashioned; yours will soon be the same.
                — C.S. Lewis.

                §     §     §

                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: Do you hear the voice of the Good Shepherd? Have you committed to always listening for it?

                §     §     §

                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
                If you have problems reading the following in your email, click HERE for the web version. Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My
                Message 7 of 11 , Nov 14, 2013
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                  If you have problems reading the following in your email, click HERE for the web version.


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

                  My Google+ diary blog 
                  for November 14
                  JONAL ENTRY 1323 | NOVEMBER 14 2013
                  ...though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
                  — From Paul's first epistle to the church in Corinth, chapter 4,
                  from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                  See the homiletical thought below.
                  In defense of positive healthy debate

                  I got an email today which, though I don't know who sent it or even have a guess (there was a woman's first name—only—on the sender line, but the email address was not familiar), I've been somewhat expecting something like it, so I am setting aside most of my Google+ activity today to review the issues it raises. It said:

                  I have always wanted to travel to Ireland but knew I would never get the opportunity, so I have really enjoyed seeing your photos and reading about your adventures, but then lately you have been expressing your political views, which makes me wonder about your faith. I certainly believe you have your right to express your personal beliefs but I find it very strange that a religious person like you would be so mean spirited! From reading about your background in studying religion, I would think you would be more open to other people's views even though you don't agree with them but instead you mock the President of the USA. I would think that as a missionary to Northern Ireland you would be trying to teach people how to get along better. Your attitude in the political posts, says the opposite. It makes me wonder why you are even there as a missionary. There is so much hate and evil in this world today, I think that you should be preaching about people getting along and being nice to one another!

                  Getting along when their country was in dire danger and their values were being undermined is exactly what the Christians in Germany did, for the most part, when their Jewish neighbors were being herded into trains to Hitler's death camps. I have said this repeatedly and from several approaches. I have also established that by the lights of the Christian theology and philosophy in which I have been schooled (I will mention here as my mentors, besides the name of C.S. Lewis, the names Francis Schaeffer and Abraham Kuyper, for any willing to do a little research, eitherin the archives of this blog or the online histories),—by our lights abortion for anything short of saving the life (not the convenient single or swinging lifestyle) of the mother, is no less murder than failing to care for a born child would be. And I also presented evidence that the church has opposed abortion from the very first generations of its existence, from the time of the Apostles themselves. Mr. Obama not only supports abortion for political expediency (as many other politicians of both parties do) he goes so far as to make speeches praising abortion as a source of hope for young women like his own daughters, and lavishing praise on the major abortion-provider in the United States, Planned Parenthood, and calling it a worthy cause.
                  But I've got ahead of myself. This is what I said back to the writer:

                  I feel I have been very careful not to be mocking or unkind in my remarks, and have been very careful to keep a Christian spirit in my application of Christian political science to the situation. But I believe that the president's leading of a campaign to kill children through abortion, and his trying to make the public—including the Christian public—pay for those abortions, is not acceptable in a Christian worldview. Northern Ireland needs to hear that, too, and they also need to hear from people who support their opposition to abortion as one of the few countries in the world where abortion is not legal.

                  Thanks for your concern and for writing.

                  If anyone wants to discuss specific things I have said that they consider mocking or mean-spirited, I'd be glad to respond to particulars. Some of the supporting material I've used (like, as is apparent on its face, the spontaneous opinion of comedian Jackie Mason when he was interviewed on a national radio show) goes farther than I personally would because, as the correspondent implies, I do agree that men in ministry should be more guarded in their speech and even their opinions than lay people. But on this, I should probably have introduced Jackie Mason for any who do not know about him. He is an 82-year-old New York Jewish man who has always been outspoken in his opinions, but unlike all but a very few other Jewish celebrities, he has always been respected as a man who takes the religious practices and values of Judaism seriously, and is not reluctant to say so. I remember watching him doing standup comedy on the Sullivan Show when I was still a schoolboy.

                  Coupling his religious presentiments and his lifetime of living with knowledge of the horrors of the World War II holocaust, and undoubtedly personally acquainted with many victims of the concentration camps, I think his views on what's happening in Washington now are far more worth heeding than any typical man of the street. So though Mason's assessment of the current situation is barbed, and perhaps expressed a bit flippantly (and for comedic effect, which is what comedians do), I feel it's worth seriously considering. But I'm not saying, nor have I intended it to be taken as, infallible truth. He may be wrong....

                  I may also be wrong about the parallels with Hitler's rise (and hope and pray I am), but as I've said before, this is the word that I feel constrained to share. If I'm wrong, mea culpa; better to be wrong and have to repent than remain silent while our nation, and especially our religious liberty, are being destroyed, by design or by ineptitude. I was registered as a Democrat for most of my life, and though I have voted for Republicans since my 50s, I have never paid dues or campaign contributions to any member of any political party or partisan group, or campaigned personally for any since my youth. So technically, I don't think it's even fair to label the opinions recently expressed here as "political"; to me they are philosophical deductions about moral issues that every American, and especially Christians, should care deeply about and which I have worked on forming over most of my adult life. And I would be remiss if I fail to share them.

                  And in reply to your suggestion that I should be promoting "getting along" rather than stressing the moral goods of society in contrast to the moral lapses of governments (both in the United States and in the United Kingdom and, for that matter, France, in recent months), I will say only that the one sure way to guarantee that we will lose our freedom is to just smile and nod and not study the issues and form opinions which we then share to bless our neighbors. Democracy is based on honest expression of differing opinions, but of course democratic factions should never resort to violence. I am of the opinion that in Northern Ireland, Christians of Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and secular or non-Christian groups should get together often and freely, and work at how they can better relate to each other and mutually promote the commonwealth of their neighborhoods and province. I am not here, of course, to "interfere" or in any way lead any political group, but I participate in "cross-community" groups every week, where getting along is the aim, and we do get along famously, and I intend to keep doing so as long as I can get a visa to live here and do volunteer work here.

                  My main work as a "lay missionary" here (I am not now a clergy member) is teaching and facilitating the writing of articles, fiction, nonfiction, and other works, giving talks on C.S. Lewis and writing more generally, and helping with community websites, being a lay chaplain where needed, and waiting tables at the Dock Cafe. No one I meet in any of these capacities will ever be treated as unwelcome nor will they be taught or served with anything other than the same regard I give members of my own church or people who share my philosophical opinions on social issues.
                  Though I've left off the memes and short takes from Google+ today, I will share one headline that was posted on the social networks, which speaks directly to the issues addressed above (click the headline to go to the news report).


                  Well, one meme, but an inspirational one, posted by a friend on Google+, a devout Catholic with a quote by an author who is read yearly by millions of Orthodox:


                  Chuckle
                  For anyone unaware, The New Yorker is one of the most highly respected liberal magazines published in the United States, so this is indeed 'reluctant testimony' that there are problems in the Executive branch. The magazine cover depicts the President, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and a 'child nerd' imagined to be the consultant brought in, they hope, to repair the malfunctioning Obamacare website.

                  Thought

                  Nothing you have not given away will ever really be yours.
                  — C.S. Lewis.
                  §     §     §
                  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: This passage is traditionally considered the counter to Jesus' "call no man father" (Matthew 23:9). Did Paul not know that Jesus said this? Did he have a unique interpretation of it? Was he claiming a distinction for himself that no man deserves? Or was he doing the same thing most people do when they call their physical fathers "father," and honor anyone who has tried to nurture and teach us as a father would on Father's Day? For over a millenium and a half, the whole church has understood it in the latter way.

                  §     §     §

                  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 23 Jon Kennedy   JONAL ENTRY 1331 | NOVEMBER 23
                  Message 8 of 11 , Nov 23, 2013
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                    Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
                    his soj
                    ourn in Northern Ireland'

                    My Google+ diary blog 
                    for November 23
                    JONAL ENTRY 1331 | NOVEMBER 23 2013

                    I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

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

                    What were you doing fifty years ago today?

                    How ironic that on the anniversary of C.S. Lewis's death, I did not get a chance to blog, when every other follower of him was blogging about this historic day. Here's an excerpt from another blog that I found very moving and worth sharing. It gives firm evidence that Lewis was not the stuft shirt a lot of people think he was.

                    . . . my all-time favorite anecdote about C.S. Lewis . . . is found in Sheldon Vanauken's A Severe Mercy. During his time studying at Oxford, Vanauken became good friends with Lewis, and the two later enjoyed a lively and fascinating correspondence. This passage comes as Vanauken and his wife, Davy, prepare to leave Oxford and return to America:

                    On that last day I met C.S. Lewis at the Eastgate for lunch. We talked, I recall, about death or, rather, awakening after death. "Whatever it would be like, we thought, our response to it would be 'Why, of course! Of course it's like this. How else could it have possibly been.'" We both chuckled at that. I said it would be a sort of coming home, and he agreed.

                    Lewis said he hoped Davy and I would be coming back to England soon, for we mustn't get out of touch. "At all events," he said with a cheerful grin, "we'll certainly meet again, here—or there." Then it was time to go, and we drained our mugs. When we emerged on to the busy High with traffic streaming past, we shook hands, and he said: "I shan't say goodbye. We'll meet again."

                    Then he plunged into the traffic. I stood there watching him. When he reached the pavement on the other side, he turned round as though he knew somehow that I would still be standing there in front of the Eastgate. Then he raised his voice in a great roar that easily overcame the noise of the cars and buses. Heads turned and at least one car swerved. "Besides," he bellowed with a great grin, "Christians NEVER say goodbye!"

                    Requiescat in pace. 
                    Catherine Harmon, in Catholic World Report

                    Incidentally, I sometimes cite Vanauken's A Severe Mercy as one of my favorite books, certainly my favorite love story. I read it because the cover declared it contained letters from Lewis (to Vanauken and Davy) that had not previously been published. It is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, just south of "home," and Vanauken was a master story teller.

                    It was my great privilege last night to hear a talk by Cambridge graduate and Oxford professor John Lennox, who was one of C.S. Lewis's students in the final year of Lewis's teaching career, a few months before his death. The YouTube video linked below is to a similar talk Lennox gave at Harvard University. It's very inspiring and well worth hearing. Last night's talk was in a large Presbyterian Church in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, and the church was full.


                    I drove into Pittsburgh 50 years ago today

                    I find it fascinating that we love to discuss where we were when we heard the news that President Kennedy had been shot. I suspect it's a way of connecting or building intimacy...how did your experience dovetail with mine? Did it affect you about the way it did me?

                    Fifty years ago today I drove into Pittsburgh (two hours west of our little farm) for a class at the Cathedral of Learning (main building of the University of Pittsburgh, for anyone not familiar). On the way in I tuned in to KDKA on the radio, thinking it was the most reliable wireless source of news in those days. After having heard the news of the shooting the previous afternoon second-hand (Betty Nedrich greeted me with it when I got back to the Nanty Glo Journal office after a run after some news item), I didn't want to miss anything else new. But there was no important news, and the pop music I depended on in those days was also gone. KDKA played nothing but harpsichord dirges the whole time.

                    Of course my class had been cancelled. I had made the two-hour trip, at considerable expense on my finances at that time, but it didn't matter. Though I don't remember whether the weather was sunny or drizzly, everything "mental" was under a fog. How could this have happened in modern times, in 1963.

                    Next morning, Mom and I got back home after the service at Vintondale First Baptist to be greeted by Dad telling us that now the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had been gunned down while in police custody. Surely "modern times" had ended.


                    From left, Aldous Huxley, C.S. Lewis, and John F. Kennedy all died on November 22, 1963. Huxley is most famous as the author of Brave New World, a dystopian future sci-fi novel much discussed in that era, and as an early precursor of the LSD hippies of a few years later, as the most famous advocate for experimenting with 'mind altering' drugs.

                    Chuckle


                    Thought

                    To evade the Son of Man, to look the other way, to pretend you haven't noticed, to become suddenly absorbed in something on the other side of the street, to leave the receiver off the telephone because it might be He who was ringing up, to leave unopened certain letters in a strange handwriting because they might be from Him—this is a different matter. You may not be certain yet whether you ought to be a Christian; but you do know you ought to be a Man, not an ostrich, hiding its head in the sand.

                    — 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 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: It's about what our priorities should be. Our own salvation should concern us more than the gifts we receive to evangelize others, or even the mandate to do so. That's because the way of salvation is through dying to self. If we crucify our flesh, others will always be a priority, but we can't do the latter until first doing the first.

                    §     §     §

                    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 it online, click here  http://www.nantyglo.com/2013JK/nov27.htm Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland My Google+ diary blog
                    Message 9 of 11 , Nov 27, 2013
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                      To read it online, click here> http://www.nantyglo.com/2013JK/nov27.htm



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

                      My Google+ diary blog
                      JONAL ENTRY 1335 | WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27 2013

                      At that time, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to Him, "Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority." He answered them, "I also will ask you a question; now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from men?" And they discussed it with one another, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why did you not believe him?' But if we say, 'From men,' all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet." So they answered that they did not know whence it was. And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things."

                      — From the Gospel of Luke, 20:1-8,
                      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                      See the homiletical thought below.

                      A new Christmas song


                      Anton Glackin performed his Christmas song, "Thoughts of Christmas," for the senior lunch group at Townsend Presbyterian Church, Belfast, today. His single CD, backed with his rendition of "Amazing Grace," was offered at £3, proceeds going to help homeless people. He hopes to have the songs available online soon.

                      The animated gif is a few seconds of a video I shot of his performance. I learned how to trim such videos on my camera and upload them to Google+ today, and then I copied it from G+ for reuse here (it appears that Google+ has a built in "engine" that turns videos uploaded to it into animated gifts).
                      Speaking of Christmas music, the Christmas choir I'm in finished its rehearsals last evening, and it has two scheduled performances, the first at a Christmas Tree Festival at a church in North Belfast this Sunday, and the second at Carlisle Circus (a traffic circle where the building where we've been rehearsing is located). We will be singing a collection of traditional Christmas songs and carols, and one new one (new to me, anyway), "See Him Lying in a Bed of Straw," a carol with a cha-cha beat. I'll try to get an audio recording of our Sunday performance for uploading here.


                      Above is an Orthodox Advent icon: The angel appearing to St. Joseph the Betrothed in a dream, to assure him that Mary's babe (or blob of tissue, as some insist on calling sons of the Most High not yet born) is from God.

                      If you're not Orthodox, have you ever thought of your Christmas cards as icons? They are reminders of things you hold dear and want to experience jointly with others, whom you expect also feel that way about such things. As I understand them, that's the essence of what icons mean to us Orthodox Christians. When I was learning about Orthodoxy and the use of icons, realizing that I had been using icons for years, in the form of Christmas cards (as well as in the form of family photos and others), enabled me to grasp how and why icons help us in worship. If you can imagine a soldier in the front lines kissing the likeness of his (or her) sweetheart before trying to get to sleep, and think this is entirely human and appropriate, you're beginning to grasp it.

                      Today's best upload by a site I follow

                      Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. . . . Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or "modernizations." It is not "progressive" to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.

                      — Pope Francis, from his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. (Repost from Ignatius Press)

                      The unborn are not blobs of tissue but "the most defenseless and innocent among usin the view of the largest church. And so are they in virtually any of the other denominations still gaining following around the world (rather than losing ground year after year because of their watered down "gospel" that is more properly called bad news for modern mankind).

                      Today's political cartoon



                      I posted this as "my hope for change."

                      I do think some kind of national health insurance is inevitable, and living in the United Kingdom now, I know that such a program has been "working" here for well over a half-century. But I find it passing strange that when "they" were shoving "gay marriage" down our throats, there was an inviolable principle in play (they kept reminding anyone who'd listen): that no minority should be denied rights, not so much because they inherently "have" or deserve such a new-found "right," but because they have come to think of same-sex marriage as their "right" and to deny that is to consign them, that two or three percent of the country's population, to some inferior category.

                      But when 48 percent of the people vocally opposed Obamacare because of its affronts to traditional morality (free contraceptives and abortifacients to swingers and others not willing to act responsibly), its attack on dogmas of the Catholic Church, its single-payer totalitarianism, its death panels, its provision of exemptions from its coverage for the ruling elite but no one not on the good side of Obama, and other outrages . . . not only were they not given the consideration given any other "minority," they were held up for ridicule by the President of all the people and his elite lackies in both parties in the Senate and House (McCain and Boehner no less than Reed and Pelosi). Rather than working through a health care program that allthe people could say is a step in the right direction, they insisted on forcing on a huge minority—the nation's largest—something that the voters for the party out of power absolutely did not want and, if I know of whom I'm speaking, a "minority" that is not going to live with it if there is any way we can push it over the cliff into history's ash heap.

                      Chuckle


                      Thought

                      The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden—that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time. In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose. It says in the Bible that the whole universe was made for Christ and that everything is to be gathered together in Him.

                      — 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 easier to use, 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:

                      This replies to yesterday's speculation about how "democratic" the temple in Jerusalem must have been in Jesus' time. Not as democratic as I was guessing, it turns out, as here the rulers of the temple are questioning His authority to teach there, implying that the temple was not an open forum for anyone to use. But on the other hand, the rulers are seen to be deferring somewhat to public opinion; the public obviously wanted to hear what Jesus had to say, and the Jewish public was always on the lookout for a new prophet with a message from God. And like politicians in every generation, the rulers of the temple were loath to cross the trajectories of public opinion.

                      §     §     §

                      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

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                      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.

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                      Please click here to read online.  Jon Kennedy s Postcards from his sojourn in Northern Ireland   My Google+ diary and
                      Message 10 of 11 , Dec 15, 2013
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                        Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
                        his soj
                        ourn in Northern Ireland'

                         
                        My Google+ diary and Belfast blog

                        Jon Kennedy        
                        JONAL ENTRY 1353 | SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15 2013

                        Today's Scripture: TIMOTHY, my son, do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not in virtue of our works but in virtue of his own purpose and the grace which he gave us in Christ Jesus ages ago, and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

                        From St. Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapter 1,
                        from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
                        See the homiletical thought below.

                        Today's diary

                        I'm learning to hum the "eason." I haven't been able to find the word in any online dictionary so am not sure if I'm spelling it correctly, but it refers to a note hummed along with chanting in the Orthodox services. Our choir leader, Maximos Murray, asked me to try humming along to his chanting at the Saturday vespers. He said he would give me the note to hum, but it's very hard to hold a particular note when the voice next to yours is going up and down on the scale in the chants and hymns. But though I'm sure I wasn't very good at it, Maximos thought it was worth continuing at the Sunday liturgy, where he was joined by two other chanters.

                        Today's schedule was mostly a typical Sunday, with Divine Liturgy this morning and the Dock Walk this afternoon, though there was no Sunday evening service at Townsend Presbyterian tonight.

                        A snapshot of the real Jack Kerouac, left, and Lucien Carr, from 1944.
                        Brief movie review: Kill Your Darlings

                        That being the case, three of us went to see a movie about an incident in the life of Allen Ginsberg, the beat poet, Kill Your Darlings. As a one-time fan of Jack Kerouac, who also is a major character in this story, I was interested in seeing it. It was worth the time, but Kerouac does not have the wholesome younger image in it that he projects in On the Road. And I was surprised that he, Ginsberg, and William Burroughs were all a decade older than I had ever known before. They were all in Columbia University before the end of World War II, where I had the impression they were at college age a decade later, just before the "beat generation" (which they founded) became famous. At least this information helps solve a question that had nagged my thinking while reading the Kerouac books: why they preferred jazz music instead of rock (having mistakenly thought they were in their twenties during the first decade of rock and roll).

                        A close friend of Ginsberg (even the latter's first same-sex lover, the script claims), named Lucien Carr, kills an older longtime homosexual pursuer and erstwhile lover and appeals to Ginsberg to help him beat the rap. The crux of the plot is whether Ginsberg, played by Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter") will side with Carr or the prosecution. 
                                    
                        Though I won't give away more of the plot, I will say that the clever title of the movie comes from a principle one of Ginsberg's writing teachers at Columbia taught them, "kill your darlings," meaning get rid of your cliches and your pet phrasings in your writing.

                        Today's Christmas fare


                        I was finally able to get the whole height of the Christmas Tree in Belfast City Hall in a single photo, and, as it's late and Monday prayer meeting begins early, I'm going to use it to fill out the rest of today's post.

                        Chuckle
                        — Sent by the Kiwi, John Grant
                        Thought

                        Deep thoughts. 
                                    

                        Homiletical thought:

                        Again as in yesterday's Scripture, Paul reiterates the necessity of keeping the faith, not only in identifying with "Jesus" (whatever you might mean by that) but in preserving the essential content of His teaching: "Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us" (emphasis added).
                        §     §     §
                        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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