Thursday, May 16, 2013
Monday 10 June - Wednesday 12 June Bala Minister's Conference.
Tuesday 11 June Ebenezer Mold
Wednesday 12 June at Borras
Thursday 13 June at Rhuddlan
Sunday 16 June Pontardawe, Swansea, Llanelli. (I have vague misgivings about this... Can I do the miles in time?)
Tuesday 18 June Aberystwyth
Wednesday 19 June Shrewsbury
Thursday 20 June Clydach, Swansea
Sunday 23 June Swindon
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The UK Government in all its wisdom has decreed that missionaries are self-employed and must register in all the world to be taxed. Thus it was that I found myself in the entrails of a government website answering sundry questions that I do not understand ("Are you a share fisherman?" I hope that if I were I should know what one is, so I answered "No"...)
The upshot of all this frenetic activity should be lots of computing power to achieve nothing as we are tax resident in France anyway.
"and it all makes work for the working-man to do...."
Anyway, I have done me and now I will do Mrs Davey.
Antoine was president of the Union Nationale des Eglises Protestante Réformées Evangéliques de France and pastor at Aix-en-Provence before returning to his native Switzerland a few years ago.
C'est avec beaucoup de tristesse que nous vous annonçons que le corps de Marie a été retrouvé sans vie cette nuit. L'identification formelle est en cours. Une veillée de prière pour la famille Schluchter va être organisée ce soir à 18h30 au Temple de la rue de la Masse où Antoine a été pasteur avant de partir en Suisse. Nous vous informerons de la date de l'enterrement. Nous restons mobilisé dans la prière pour cette famille durement éprouvée. Face a de si terribles événements nous nous réfugions ensemble en Christ notre unique espérance "pour notre vie comme pour notre mort".
Saturday, May 11, 2013
They are written on the kitchen notice board.
Then Pat was ill in bed,
we had a church regional day,
the kids went away,
we had people round,
you know how it is.
We have done NONE of them. NOT ONE !
I laughed and suggested we leave the list on our notice board like the Ten Commandments in old churches - a testimony against us of the broken law.
Just as well we had no illusions to shatter !
Friday, May 10, 2013
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Segond 1910 : The daddy of them all. Has the status of the AV.
Français courant : Kinda like the Good News translation
Parole de Vie : This is a useful translation using a restricted vocabulary and simple French
Semeur : We really like this version because it is very clear and it solves every problem. That's why we didn't use it in the end...
Colombe 1975 : Lots of conservatives use this, especially RBs, but I didn't like the way it did Paul's sentences.
Genève 1979 : In the same vein as the Colombe, but I preferred it.
We settled on the Genève. There's myriad other versions, TOB, NBS, Darby etc. etc...
Then in Africa I read Acts 16 especially where the apostles were beaten. My colleague afterwards said, "That's a very odd translation..." It turns out that a particular word that was probably completely innocuous in 1979 has now acquired a rather unfortunate connotation.
I thought. Then I decided to try out the passage on a few folk to see what their reaction was. "Ah non, ça ne va plus..."
So I am in the process of changing to the Segond 21 - the new translation in the same family as the Genève.
Some things it does I really like. For example Acts 12:1 : En ce qui concerne les réalités spirituelles, je ne veux pas, frères et sœurs, que vous soyez dans l'ignorance.
I'd probably prefer "choses spirituelles", but I can live with réalités and at least they haven't bottled out and gone with dons.
Oh yes, and it's gender inclusive - probably in the same way as the new NIV.
Some things are a pity - we have lost Jesus' yoke (son joug).
Monday, May 06, 2013
Meanwhile the children have been on a young people's sleepover last weekend, then on Wednesday they go for a mini-camp linked with our churches' Ascension Day event down in the Lot et Garonne. Then next weekend they're invited on the Bordeaux Christian Union's weekend at Rochefort in the Charente-Maritime.
Meanwhile on Saturday evening after the wedding Pat and I sneaked out for an anniversary dinner at the Moroccan restaurant. We've always wanted to go there, but it's really expensive so we reserved it for a special occasion - like a 20th anniversary. We both had tajines - Pat had chicken with chick-peas and onions and I had lamb with prunes and almonds. Jolly nice.
Today has been restful. Just an elders' meeting in a café in Bordeaux, and a couple of walks through or round the park listening to the cuckoos. We watched a gruesome murder mystery on YouTube and I read a little and listened to funky American Christian radio (I wonder if those probiotic pills work...)
Up and at 'em tomorrow - Bible Study in Blaye !
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Them as reads our prayer letters or as reads this blog will be aware that we plan to take a sabbatical soon, and will also be aware of a certain dysfunction that has recently overtaken us. In discussing this with folks on the left and on the right (not politically, silly...) it has become clear that one must identify and distinguish various factors in dealing with such a dysfunction.
1) the dysfunction itself. In my case it was an inability to cope with certain topics of conversation - for example, one man said to another "we have a good team" and I went and hid in the toilet. Let us call this the breaking of the camel's back.
2) the stimulus that provoked the disproportionate response of hiding in the toilet. Here it was certain topics of conversation, but also certain tasks which became impossible to undertake. We may call this the agent déclencheur, or for short, the straw.
3) why the camel was suffering from lumbago already. In the camel analogy the implication is that the camel is carrying a load which is too great for the beast to support. I am sure that this is true in our case, though I am still reluctant to admit it, even to myself.
Another suggestion also needs to be considered - that a camel may be bearing a load that is within, or at the limit of his capacity, but that he has borne this load for too long and with no respite. On placing "the straw" the camel's back breaks.
Discussion with the aforementioned folks revealed that we have not been disciplined with regard to taking enough holidays and, I hesitate to confess this so openly, we have sometimes worked even while on holiday, preaching or speaking about the work here.
Not only this but who would have thought that there was wisdom in the old "fours years on the field, one year at home" pattern of missionary life ? Who, indeed, except generations of missionaries, missionary agencies and churches whose opinion we did not heed.
So after eight years in France we're going on furlough. We'll stay in France but we'll be doing something completely different.
We are looking for some study to do - I found something VERY APPEALING in the area of missiology and church planting... Pat has found something VERY APPEALING in the area of Sydney (by correspondence).
We are planning a survey of the Bordeaux Christian Scene.
We will reflect and consult and pray concerning our future - again something VERY APPEALING has already come to light.
Thank you for your prayers for a good recuperation.
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
But for a couple of weeks we've been thinking that perhaps it's time to make ourselves known to the expats, so we went to the Bordeaux-USA association meeting.
It meets every week on Thursday evening. It has a sizeable lending library of English books. It does a variety of activities : last night was a quiz and next week is a "Pot-Luck Supper". There were perhaps 25 folk there, about 1/3 French, 1/3 Americans and 1/3 Brits.
I vowed to keep my trap shut so nobody would know I am Welsh.
Here's some photos. The first is taken from the lending library windows, the others are of the hge ship, "The World" which is in Bordeaux at the moment.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
This is a really good book and I am a scoundrel. That's why the book gets "only" four stars.
Let me explain.
The subject of the book is John Newton. Seaman, slave trader, preacher, man of letters and hymn-writer, he's a wonderful subject to write about and John Crotts fulfils his task very well.
He gives us the mechanical aids we need - a time line, and a chronological account of Newton's life (and what a life !)
He gives us a taste of the man, of his loves, of his heart. And John Newton had a big heart that loved above all the grace of God in the gospel. We have a lot to learn from him and John Crotts helps us greatly in a small book.
He gives us an insight into John Newton's output of hymns and letters with analyses of some of the great classics, like 'Glorious things of theee are spoken' and 'How sweet the name of Jesus sounds' (as well as 'Amazing Grace', obviously) He gives us a thematic overview of John Newton's output of letters.
It's a really good book.
But the first phrase annoyed me so much that I almost put it down. 'The inspired sage wrote,'. I thought "Here we go !" and I was right. Later on we learn that Cowper and Newton 'sharpened one another in every way'. I know it's only a question of style, but it would baffle anyone who wasn't pretty well immersed in the Bible and fairly fluent in 'the language of Zion'. Later on reading that Betsy 'even divided his food' baffled me. Whatever does that mean ? I should think it's a Bible allusion, but I don't know which one and my concordance doesn't help.
So four stars. I know it's harsh. I know I am a scoundrel. I know I should be more charitable and big-hearted. I know it's an excellent book. But they're my stars and I'm giving four. (I think John Newton the pastor would laugh and John Newton the poet and writer would approve...)
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
But now the riverbank is a place of gardens, pleasant walks, sport, cafés, shops and
Without the key.
We followed on the 9am bus and we had just missed the tram connection (slow bus driver ?) when he phoned to say that he was waiting for us outside the church.
Normally the 9am bus gets us to the church before 10, but this time (see above) we didn't arrive till just after 10 when we were pleased to see a little queue outside the church waiting for it to open.
It brought several wonderful things :
1) He talked to us and listened to us about how we are.
2) He preached for the Chinese group and for the English Service.
3) He enabled us to take him on a bit of sightseeing !
So first here's some photos he took.
Friday, April 19, 2013
John has witnessed my meteoric rise to become President of the Music School, preached for the Chinese and will preach for the Anglophones tonight. He's also seen a bit of Bordeaux and has helped in thinking through a knotty problem that is before us at present. More of that anon.
And the weather is lovely. Bordeaux is smiling serenely on John's visit.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Parts of our local park are still waterlogged from the incessant heavy rains. Drainage ditches are full of nasty, stagnant water.
Meanwhile today the mercury hit 31°. I looked at one of the ditches. Nasty little insects were buzzing over the surface of the waters.
So I wasn't surprised just now to hear that tell tale sound, that high pitched whine, that mosquito buzz... watch out !
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Where Christophe was preaching. His first proper sermon. He'd asked me to take notes and give feedback. I know how off-putting it can be to have someone with a clipboard ready to tell you how many times you sniffed... Still I was really happy with all. His delivery was great. All was, as we say, RAS. (rien à signaler).
We were all pretty heavime implcated in the service - Pat doing PowerPoint, Gwilym accompaniment, me topping and tailing the service with notices and the Lord's supper as well as doing the order of service and preacher hand-holding.
There was a good crowd at church after our low numbers last week. And Sen, our friend in Beijing, is back for a few weeks finishing off his PhD. So good to see him !
We proceeded to Patrick's house where we ate a well-prepared barbecue. Patrick is king of the barbie. Afterwards we talked about the church, the future and stuff.
Then back to Pessca for the English service. Numbers are always low when the sun shines, but we had a new couple - Franco-Canadian - who seemed very much at home. After a supper of pizzas and puds together we hit the sack.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
My Saturday began with a mens' breakfast which was a happy time. My cake Belle Hélène fell apart, so I got some really nice baguettes in the shape of ears of wheat from our local baguetterie. Nobody else brought cake, so this time it was croissants, chocolatines and bread. And discussions about the book "L'homme dans le miroir" by Patrick Morley.
I scuttled home for lunch and then we planned to go to the Bordeaux-USA book sale. I had a chappie coming for marriage counselling at 3, so we planned to catch the 13:30 bus, I'd spend 1/2 hour at the book sale then be back in time for my appointment. However we dillied and dallied, and so did the bus, so instead Pat went alone to the booksale and I called at the local Dacia garage.
Dacia had promised us a free gift and a chance to win a new Sandero GPL. Well Renault once gave us jolly nice fountain pens so since the Dacia garage is about 150 yards from our house I called there on the way back from the bus stop. The free gift turned out to be a useful USB charger and winning the car is a dead cert according to the pretty salesgirl.
The marriage prep went well, though it did take an unexpected turn. I was pretty clear and honest with our couple and they are thinking and talking things through.
Then off to church for the Chinese service. I must STOP eating the Chinese food. Hayfever and hot peppers can have quite strong effects on the back of my throat. Anyway, a lot of fruit juice and a few tissues and we were off into Acts 4 - 5.
It was great to see some folk back after doing work experience elsewhere, some folk back for their second week and showing every sign of settling down. A good evening.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Not only that, but the weather has been ghastly with persistent, heavy rain, so I haven't taken many photos, not even with my phone.
I did come across this, however :
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I grew up in the Rhondda valley and was a child of the 1970s. The three-day-week. We lit oil lamps in the evening ! The winter of discontent. Jim Callaghan's "Crisis? What crisis?"
I lived in Cardiff during the 1980s. I remember vividly the shock and horror we felt at the murder of a miner by his colleagues because he was on the way to work. A concrete block dropped on his car.
I remember the poll tax riots. The British don't do demonstrations, let alone riots !
So I have very mixed feelings about Margaret Thatcher.
I remember reminding friends in South-East England that there were no conservative MPs in Wales in those days. "We didn't vote her in !" "Neither did we", came the reply. "Well somebody must have !"
On the positive side, she gave us one of our best ever conservative Welsh Secretaries of State - Peter Walker. It is said that she put him in Wales because they didn't get on, and he did very well !
I remember those few days when she went to that summit in Paris and the Conservative Party mounted its coup.
Britain following the Thatcher years did become very focused on money. It seems to me that there was a backlash afterwards so that now it's hard to encourage kids to settle down and think of the future.
However she was a conviction politician and a very brave one.
And a quotable one ! "Now is no time to go wobbly, George." is my favourite.
We probably needed her. Hard and nasty-tasting medicine.
I have heard from several sources that she was a committed Anglican and with evangelical tendencies.
( When Sarkozy was elected I wondered if he would be the French Thatcher, but he didn't have the bottle. )
It's been interesting to see American colleagues voicing their praise of her, and British people more divided. Some laud her, others "curse"...
I suppose I think she was a remarkable woman who shows very clearly that people are both wonderful and tragic.
Made in the image of God, fallen through the influence of Satan.
We are neither angels nor demons. None of us.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Beginning with Moses - Other Articles - Assumed Evangelicalism: Some Reflections En Route to Denying the Gospel
I have shared this article before, but it is as timely as ever.
Monday, April 08, 2013
I am the speaker this evening (the French say "orateur". Grand eh ?) at a Café Théo in Caudéran, on the theme "God, if you exist, prove it !"
Thus it was that on Thursday of last week, I think, I got a call asking me if I'd go in for the lunchtime news slot on Radio Chrétienne de France, Bordeaux, be the guest of the day and talk about the Café Théo.
It meant about a 7 minute interview, done live, and great fun. A bit hair-raising as you don't want to mess up your genders or your subjunctives on the radio, and it all goes quite fast ! Still...
It seemed to go OK. They took my photo for their website (broke the camera on their iPad, too !).
And I got a plug in for the Café Philo that FAC do with the students.
Then they asked if I'd be interested in doing any more radio work as my face is just right for radio.
I said yes, of course, that I found it great fun and that I used to do a bit for the BBC in Wales.
So we'll see !
Saturday, April 06, 2013
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing,
So send I you to toil for Me alone.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.
So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O'er wand'ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.
So send I you - to loneliness and longing,
With heart a-hungering for the loved and known;
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one,
So send I you - to know My love alone.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.
So send I you - to leave your life's ambitions,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long and love where men revile you,
So send I you - to lose your life in Mine.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.
So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho' it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.
As the Father hath sent Me, So send I you.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Yesterday was a beautiful day - rather cold in the morning but sunny and bright with a warm afternoon. I met up with a chap for coffee and afterwards we wandered through the city talking. On the tram on the way home I noticed a gang of people training at the Stalingrad tram stop.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
So far the evening of Sunday 16th is available, especially for any church in the Swansea area.
Morning and evening of Sunday 23rd are available.
Midweek all dates from 10 to 15 June and from 17 to 23 June EXCEPT12 June which is taken.
So Saturday was a day of prayer for the church. I was on duty at home in the morning and at church from 16h. It was great to find an old friend of the church there who I haven't seen for at least two years. The day went well, I think, and ended with the Chinese Easter Service where I had a new translator - my usual two were away - we celebrated the Lord's Supper together and there was a new couple present - Franco-Chinese, they have just moived down from the north and settled in one of the American baptist churches. Great couple. 1 Peter 3 v 18 did service, but this time in English translated into Mandarin.
Sunday's Easter services in Bordeaux and in Blaye had visiting preachers. At Cenon over 70 people crowded into our building, we had visiting friends as well as folk checking us out for the first time.
In the evening the English service was smaller than usual, but with a new person from the Philippines present for the first time. The message was from Matthew 28 verses 5 and 6.
A blessed and happy day, we were pretty tired by the end of it.
Monday than everyone got up late (except me) and the kids had schoolwork to do so there was no Easter Mondy outing.
Just as well as it's cold and damp here.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Well I say that, but because Easter Monday is a public holiday that means that the traffic on Good Friday evening is even worse than usual.
For this reason, and with memories of services scheduled for 6pm which started very late because half the folk were stuck in traffic jams, the Good Friday service was scheduled for 8pm till 9pm.
There was quite a good turn-out - I think the later time probably helped a lot ! - and we finished just a little after 9 to reflect the fact that we started just a little after 8.
Afterwards we scuttled out having missed the optimum 9:20 tram that connects with a nice bus that gets you home just about about an hour later. We hopped on the first tram that came, when ...
The tram had to wait for the firemen to come because someone had been taken ill on the tram.
Good distance vision enabled us to see the person taken ill. It looked to us like the kind of illness you get from excessive consumption of bottled liquids, but hey... ill is ill.
The pumpers came, they hauled the guy somewhat unceremoniously off the tram, confirming our diagnosis, and we continued on our way to see a No 4 bus leave the stop just as we arrived.
We had a 40 minute wait. I know !
So we popped into the Connemara for a quick coffee. There was an Irish jam session going on. When I work out how to I'll pop on the videos I took with my phone.
A while later the bus came, we hopped on, we got home to a waiting daughter. (Gwilym was here but not so actively waiting...)