Trying to write in the wonderfully balmy sun of Pembrokeshire this week has been a struggle! But I’m not complaining. it’s been a joy to be down here, heatwave and all. But I’m particularly thankful to have got out for half a day yesterday to visit Skomer Island at last (been coming to Dale for years, but this was a first). So here is some jollity from the delightful puffins of Skomer. What fun they are… Read more
While studying and writing talks for our All Souls week away next month, I’ve been getting up out of my chair every 5-10 minutes taking photos of exactly the same view. All day. Slightly bonkers you might think – and some will wonder how I get anything done. Well, fair question I suppose. But actually I’ve got the sort of will-o’-the-wisp mind that constantly needs interaction with different things. So bizarre as it may seem, I work best when juggling different things. Read more
At last night’s ASLP prayer gathering, I did a little slot on the General Election. It seems to me that there are number of areas that should concern a responsible vote (by no means an exhaustive list and in no particular order):
- Justice and fairness
- Responsible borrowing and responsible prosperity
- Punishment of evil and wrong-doing
- Protecting the vulnerable
- Combating hatred and extremism
- Good stewardship of all God’s provisions
- Trustworthiness and integrity of candidates
A verse that should certainly underpin Christian civic duty which should inform how we vote (even if the verse’s original readers never had the privilege), beautifully summing up what it means (in Peter’s words) to be servants of God:
Show proper respect to everyone:
- LOVE the brotherhood of believers
- FEAR God
- HONOUR the king.
Various people have coming up with election guides and the like (one or two I’ve nicked from The Simple Pastor) – but for what it’s worth, here is a little summary to help guide how to follow these principles in your vote.
- Some questions with which to evaluate policies: don’t ask ‘what’s in it for me’, ask ‘what’s in it for others?’ – from the Jubilee Centre.
- Why bother? – a Catholic resource for this election
- Make the Cross Count – I’ve mentioned this before, but Care has produced an excellent and helpful resource
- The Simple Pastor has produced a good summary handout here based on Krish Kandiah’s book Just Politics
- BBC has loads of great stuff
- Poll trackers
- if you fancy yourself as a Peter Snow/Jeremy Vine figure, you too can play with swingometers and poll seat predictors
- set up a link to your own constituency (by postcode) – in the same place you can find all the marginal and battleground constituencies. We’re in Cities of London and Westminster (an established and very safe Tory seat) as it happens.
- The Power of your Vote – work out how powerful your vote is in your constituency (based on marginality, size and boundary changes). A few friends have played around with this – it’s quite fun though actually I’m not 100% convinced. If you check out the power of those in the most marginal of seats (acc to the BBC site above), it comes up with some pretty odd answers. Still, it might help you if you want to vote tactically. Mine is worth only 0.092 compared to the no 1 slot held by Arfon at 1.308!!
- Christians and Candidates 2010 – news of various hustings that churches and Christian groups are holding in the next few weeks. It also includes a brief summary of individual MPs’ voting records on a number of a red flag issues (though some will question why some issues and not others are included).
- The Public Whip – if you want a more thorough listing of voting records and other parliamentary stats, this is a really useful site.
- Vote for policies not for personalities – find out who you really should be voting for.
- Soul Politics – some very sensible and insightful stuff here…
Well, we’re back – and my brain is positively bulging with potential posts. I can sense the excitement you’re feeling from here.
Anyway, before getting onto some more worthy stuff, I’ve been photographically struck by a wide range of natural wonders this summer. And so reproduce a few here for your viewing pleasure.
West Dale Beach, Pembrokeshire
St Didier, Provence
Ancient Caves, Le Thon, Provence
To put this all into perspective, each stalactite takes 100 years to grow just 1 cm.
And of course, last but not least…
The U2 gig at Wembley
Ok, not natural as such, but certainly (thanks to Willie Williams incredible light show) lots of abstracts… A breathtaking experience…
- Carson on the New Perspective(s) on Paul – have been listening to these 3 from RTS on iTunesU. REALLY helpful. If you’ve not discovered RTS’ stuff there’s a lot of treasure to sift through.
- Some naughty sacred treasure (if that’s possible) – the most anti-essential Christian books. (HT – The Simple Pastor)
- In case you missed it, here is Ally Gordon’s compelling picture for the The Factory, in Wimbledon.
- Is Food the New Sex? – interesting article from Washington Post (HT – Paul Carter)
- We’ve forgotten how to face death – brilliant piece by Johann Hari in the Independent (HT – Nancy Heeb)
- Obama’s prayer partners/pastors – interesting article in New York Times. (HT – Ben Witherington) Interesting to read there that George W Bush never joined a Washington church in the 8 years of his presidency.
- Now this is a GREAT idea – every mayor should be weighed at the start and end of his/her reign (see right). Weight gain is deemed to be the result of tax-payer’s expense! (HT Futility Closet)
- Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch bears a secret message inscribed by his watch repairer!
- Welsh toast cutter – for Welsh people who like toast… and Wales.
- Why Facebook is for Old Fogies! Intriguing Time article! (HT Raquel Medina Megolla)
- Wiki has a wonderful compilation of modern misconceptions. As you look down the list, I bet you fell into a few traps.
- Lethologica is the inability to remember a word – can you remember these? Answers here.
And finally, there’s this:
- Telecoms in the 90s; Check out this retro (if rather slow-moving) joy – esp. note the narrator’s rather crazed gaze into the camera, and the completely wooden acting. Roll on the 90s…! (HT John Naughton)