Thursday, August 30, 2012

Resolution for September...

Start blogging again. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Yorkshire ready to declare independence as medal tally rises?

...meanwhile, in an alternative* reality...

Is Yorkshire ready to declare independence as medal tally rises?

Our Northern correspondent Alicia Gilberthorpe Ainsley-Arkwright interviewed brothers Alf and Bert Greenlea after their recent triathlon triumph, where Alf gained gold and Bert, despite being given a one-hour time penalty after he mounted his bike two centimetres before the line, gained a bronze model.  Alicia began by asking about that penalty.

Alicia: So, Bert, you had to wait an hour because you’d mounted your bike early.

Bert: Ay, that’s right. It’s in t’rules.

Alicia: And that meant you came in a couple of seconds behind the silver medallist.  Do you think that’s fair?

Bert and Alf: Oh, ay.

Alicia: You do?

Bert: Ay.  It’s in t’rules, tha' sees.  Wouldn’t wanna cheat tha’ knows!  (Guffaws from both brothers at the idea.)

Alicia: But it was an hour penalty and you were only two centimetres early – isn’t that right? Just two centimetres?

Bert: Nay, lass, nay.  It were nearly an inch.  Rules are rules, tha’ knows.

Alicia: Will you be lodging an appeal?

Bert and Alf: No.

Alicia: You wouldn’t consider it?

Bert: No.

Alicia: Why not?

(At this point, Bert looks puzzled and glances at his older brother Alf, who decides to explain.)

Alf: It's alright, Bert.  'Appen t'lass is from dahn South.  Well, tha’ sees, (he begins) Bert got on his bike too early.  Tha' shouldn’t ‘a’ done that, tha’ knows Bert?

Bert: Nay, Alf, I know.  I dunno warra’ wa’ thinkin’ o’.’  'Ah tell thee, ah'm that ashamed.  That's not 'ow us Mam brought us up, is it?  To cheat?

Alf: Well, never mind.  Them kind men in t’office decided not to disqualify thee.  So tha’s gorra bronze medal.  (Bert smiles a winning, sheepish smile and looks up at Alicia.)

Bert: Rules are rules, tha’ knows!.

Alicia: How did you take up the sport?

Bert:  Ah, well, by accident really.  Our Mam were ill and we ‘ad to go get ‘er prescription.  It ‘ad been raining a bit…

Alf: Quite a lot, really. 

 Bert: Ay, well enough for t'street to be flooded, and we had to swim down to t'cross-roads.  

Alf: And when we got dahn there, well, t'road were blocked and we had to run ovver t'hill to go in t'back way.  

Bert: That only left us a little way away, tha' sees; and we were able to borra bikes.  

Alicia: And when you did get 'ome - home - eventually, you'd actually beaten world-record times, is that right?  

Alf:  I don't know abaht that.  We'd a' been quicker, but Bert stopped to chat up Mabel, daft 'apporth.  

Alicia: Mabel?  

Bert: Me wife.  

Alicia: You stopped to talk to your wife?  

Bert: Ay, well, she weren't me wife then, like.  I wa' just sweet on 'er.  

Alicia: And since then you've done all your training in the same Yorkshire streets, I understand?  

Alf: Ay, that's right. 

Alicia: Why didn't you go off to Miami or California like some of the other athletes?  

Alf: Well, tha' sees, it's me Mam again.  She like us to be 'ome in time for tea.  Miami and California - they're a long way away.  

Bert: 'Undreds o' miles, I think.  

Alicia: No, I know you couldn't have come home each day.  But you could have moved out there.  

Bert:   What, tha’ means live ovver there?  Warra’d I wanna do that for?  I wa' born in Yorkshire, me.  

  Alf: Ay, me too.  Though we did go to Manchester once.  Do you remember, Bert?  

Bert:  Ay, I do.  It were enough that, once.  Do you want to see us medals?

* Not, please note, an alternate reality.  That would be - confusing.

Where are they from again?

The Brownlee brothers, Alastair and Jonathan, made history yesterday by becoming the first brothers in a century to stand side-by-side on the winners' podium.  Alastair had won gold medal in the gruelling triathlon, and his younger brother Jonny, despite being penalised 15 seconds for 'getting on his bike too early', had won bronze.  For Jonny, the effort of trying to make up those 15 seconds meant that he collapsed in the treatment room after the race, and the medal ceremony had to be delayed an hour.

A remarkable achievement for two brothers.  Where are they from again?  Oh, yes:

Yorkshire.  And did they blub on the podium?

No, sir.  They did not.

Preaching on Youtube

To my enormous surprise, I found myself on youtube, preaching at the Grace Baptist Assembly last year.  The video is here.

Or, here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympic Fever

No-one is more surprised than I that I've actually found these Olympic Games interesting.  I'm not a sporty type; my athletic figure is merely a natural gift.  Against my will, almost, I was massively impressed by the opening ceremony (and surprised; I'd always thought James Bond was fictional).  And I, too, gentle reader, was caught up in the euphoria on Super Saturday.

But I do have one grouse.  It's those men (and it is men) who blubber into the microphone when they haven't won.  'I've let everyone down.  I've let my Mum down (sob).  I've let my Dad down (sob).  My neighbour's budgie has given me such support.  I've spent months living in a tent in Arctic conditions (silly fool - ed.) and my whole life is pointless.  Blubber, blubber, sob.'

Hmm: here's a tip for those who are 'inspired by these games' that are 'inspiring a generation'.  If you can't face the possibility of not winning - don't compete. 

And guys - in general - stop blubbing.  Win or lose, you're men.  Quit yourselves like men, eh?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Reason to Believe

A significant song in my history...

Friday, August 03, 2012

John Owen - Beau Brummel Puritan?

Arguing that before we can recognise the Puritans we must wipe off from their faces some of the mud that has been thrown at them, Reeves* says:

For one thing, they did not even look like what we think of as the stereotypical Puritan.  We imagine that, amidst all the gaudy puffed sleeves and bodices of the Elizabethan period, and the jolly ruffs and doublets of the laughing Cavaliers, the Puritans just wore black - and scowled.  That is how their portraits show them, for that was their Sunday best (and sitting for portraits was a formal thing).  But on other days they might wear all the colours of the rainbow.  John Owen, probably the greatest Puritan theologian, would walk through Oxford 'hair powdered, cambric band with large costly band strings, velvet jacket, breeches set round at knees with ribbons pointed, and Spanish leather boots with cambric tops.'


Contrary to popular impression, the Puritan was no ascetic.  If he continually warned against the vanity of the creatures as misused by fallen man, he never praised hair shirts or dry crusts.  he liked good food, good drink and homely comforts; and while he laughed at mosquitoes, he found it a real hardship to drink water when the beer ran out.

* Mike Reeves, The Unquenchable Flame, page 145-6

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Lloyd-Jones on Evolution

One of the saddest things in modern evangelicalism is the way many preachers with no scientific training assume evolution must be true, because science says so, and then indulge in contortions to fit Genesis into it. Yet it isn't just Genesis: the whole gospel falls (it really does) if evolution is true.  The fact that there are many fine gospel men who manage, somehow, to hold them in watertight compartments doesn't affect that reality.
Here is Lloyd-Jones, who was scientifically trained, making the point:
But today people subtract from the gospel, do they not?  They say, 'We can no longer believe the early chapters of Genesis; science proves that they're not true.'  Actually, it does not, of course.
'But,' people say, 'evolution disproves Genesis.'But what is evolution?  It is just a theory.  It has never been proved and it never will be.  But why am I concerned about this?  It is because the gospel is a unit, a whole, and if you reject any part of it you will be in trouble with all the rest.
It is all very well to say, 'I think man has evolved out of the animals but I am still a Christian, I still believe in the doctrine of salvation.'  But how can you?  What do men and women need to be saved from? Why do they need to be saved?  Have they ever been perfect?  Has there been a Fall or not?  How many people fell if there was a Fall?  No, the whole of the gospel hangs together.
(Authentic Christianity, Vol. 3, page 35)