les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Austrian cellar case

"He's a monster !", people say.

Then one journalist says "I interviewed him and he didn't seem like a monster to me, just a frightened old man."

When people do outrageous and appalling things it is very tempting to proclaim them monsters, to demonise them, to announce that they are not "normal".

I think that perhaps when we do that we do it to reassure ourselves.

They are monsters. We are not like that and we could never be like that. Nothing would ever cause us to do something extreme and horrific because they are monsters and we are not.

In demonising them we make ourselves feel better and safe. When we demonise them, we "angelise" ourselves.

Then again we are reminded that in some societies incest is not regarded as undesirable or abnormal.

Of course this man isn't a demon any more than any of us is. He maintained his relationship with his wife, his neighbours who knew nothing of the secret of his cellar. But there was this hidden monstrous aspect to his life.

What would it take to make us take the first step towards something "monstrous" ? And if we took that step could we turn back ?

And what do we hide - not in our cellars but in our heart of hearts ? A thought life that can be "monstrous" ?

This isn't to argue that what he did should be seen as normal, left unpunished or not criticised.

But the Christian believes that he has been kept from monstrous sin not because he is better or not a monster but because God has kept him.

And as for other societies where incest is seen as normal ? Well yes. Just as slavery was once seen as normal and just as abortion at the moment is seen as normal.

By God's grace society is not as monstrous as it could be, but by God's grace we hope it will become less monstrous in years to come.

The parable of the pharisee and the tax-collector teaches us not to justify ourselves by critcising others. The only way to be justified is to confess our monstrous nature and ask God's forgiveness. "God have mercy on me, a sinner" (more lit. God be propitiated towards me, the sinner.)

It's been quiet on the blog

Yes, I know.

I've had a cold - complete with sinus pain. But I am much better this morning.

Meanwhile we had two nice days - Friday and Saturday. Sunday wasn't bad. But since then rain again.

My brother-in-law is staying with us at the moment and is very keen to strim and mow in the garden while the rest of us chop and cut. However rain has stopped play.

I said "See, it rains all the time, doesn't it ?"

"Yes", came the brief but accurate reply.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Everyone must be a theologian


Huw and Kath at St Emilion

My sister and brother-in-law came to stay and worked like slaves in the garden. ( Last time they came they cleaned the drains. )

On Monday we took them to St Emilion in the rain.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trams and buses

The 1st of May is a bank holiday, and an important one, so there will be no buses or trams that day. We had a confabulation with the students last night ( lots at the Bible Study and it seemed to go pretty well - parables from Matthew 13 ) and it looked like we'd be very few next Thursday so we'll close the centre for the day.

5th May onwards tram strikes are expected. That could be fun.

Once we went into town on the tram for something at the student centre and when it was time to get home and pick the kids up from school the trams had stopped running. We caught the last tram to Mérignac (which is not where we live) and had to get a friend to fetch the children.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The rain has stopped and the strimming has begun

together with the sneezing. Now where's my anti-histamines ?

A French newspaper explained that one must not ignore hay-fever symptoms because those who do could develop other, more severe allergies, perhaps even food intolerances.

Anyway because the grass is still very wet from the dew I have to pause the strimming so I can hunt for the pills in the meantime.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thanks, Tim, for the link to this advert

Discovery Channel: I Love the World

Bath - some more

Bath rooftops etc.

Sunday morning is a popular time to be out in your allotment - an area of ground rented by the council for you to use as a garden. Allotments are very prized in Britain.

Bath river and canal

What struck me ?

A couple of people asked me what struck me about Britain compared to France.

The constant whining of the press was very noticeable. The government is pilloried every day in the newspaper columns. I imagine someone must read this stuff but I can't imagine who. Well I can, but I imagine Colonel Blimp types, moustaches bristling, saying "eh what...". It would shrivel your soul like salt on a slug. Not only that but think of the effect of this culture of constant whining against authority on the church, the family, etc..

Another thing that was surprising was the low prices - for example one sign advertised two meals for £6.50 in some steakhouse or other. The supermarkets seemed cheap. Even fuel didn't seem as expensive as I thought it would be.

I paid about £1.10 per litre of unleaded. Here in France we pay about 1.25€ per litre of diesel. With current exchange rates ( about 1 € = 80 pence ) that isn't a massive difference, though you have to remember that diesel is taxed less than petrol in France and more than petrol in Britain, so the comparison is all wonky anyway. ( When we arrived just over two years ago diesel was about 90c/litre and the exchange rate 1 € = 65 pence. )

Eurozone inflation is at about 3.6%. The rising price of crude oil has pushed French prices up, as well as wheat and rice harvest failures, the severe Chinese winter, bio-fuel and all the rest of it.
All in all I would say that France is now probably as expensive as Britain, and possibly more expensive.

On the finance front I got a huge encouragement from talking with someone who is hoping to serve in Japan. I am constantly aware of how expensive mission in Europe is compared to developing countries. However, in Japan you have the huge housing and living costs AND the cost of educating your kids in a boarding school and so on. Enormous !

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bath Abbey

Bath doors

Bath Crescents

Bath is given to the consumption of the Cornish Pastie

Bath is ludicrously picturesque


My friends in Strathaven took me to see Peebles.

At Smithton-Culloden

I don't really like taking photos during services

On the road to Inverness

A beautiful journey.

In Edinburgh I met a

francophile cyber-friend in the Elephant House Cafe.

Now what's that place famous for ?

I liked the view.

The Banner of Truth Conference

There were other speakers, too.

Wheelock Heath Church

meets in a school in the morning and in the old chapel in the evening.

Bethany Books - for the best of books

A quiet moment in our bookshop in Shotton

Photos of Britain

This is a village near Whitby where I started my journey.