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)

Friday, December 31, 2010

No buses or trams after 9 tonight

A bit rough in a city where parking in town is extremely difficult and where people depend heavily on public transport. It will hit our Chinese group who have a New Year meal planned. It probably won't affect the church gathering this evening because the people who would normally come by public transport are the students (on holiday) and the Chinese (see above). Read about it here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Work on the building continued

aided by some visiting Brazilian students
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Work on the building continued

Laying a new floor, hacking plaster off a very damp wall and cleaning off a staircase with a grinding disk.

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Work on the building continued

removing parts of a floor.

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Work on the building continued

Putting up a partition

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Mark's Gospel, Max Maclean

Watch here.

Minuit Chrétien, gros cuivres de Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Some more photos of the work at the church

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The big stone wall is starting to look quite good

but will the electrics, the partitions, the drainage, the plumbing and so on be done in time for 15 January ?
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Monday, December 27, 2010

Boxing day

started with the journey to Blaye to preach. It's very cold here and on the way to the church there's a few underpasses where the sun don't shine. I felt the car slide a little but I don't think the family realised anything and we got there safe and sound to drop off the children before going on to Blaye. At Blaye I preached on the shepherds going to Bethlehem and we sang lots of Christmas songs. We were almost 20 people, which is a record for a Sunday morning that I've been there.

We got a message from the kids - could we go and eat with a family from the church, the kids wanted to spend time together, so we gladly went along and ate delicious fresh fish. There had been fewer folk in Cenon than in Blaye. Predictable what with all the folk that have travelled away for the holidays.

We got a message from some of the Chinese asking if there was an English service. We said yes, and so we met happily and thought of how God moved the heart of the Roman Emperor and sent people everywhere scuttling around so that the Saviour could be born at Bethlehem and we could be saved. So don't be afraid, rejoice.

The Chinese are very encouraged after about 70 people turned up for their Christmas Eve event. There have been around ten professions of faith this year so far. We plan to meet up soon to discuss how best to support the group, to encourage the converts and to integrate the group into the church / the churches.

Plagiarism, here's what I think

The Gospel Coalition appears to have finished its series on preachers and plagiarism. I said I'd tell you what I think. Here it comes.

Pish tush.

I'll explain. I think our dear, esteemed, illustrious and famous brothers are making a basic mistake. They confuse my Auntie Nellie with Delius Stein.

Delius Stein is a well-known author and television personality who publishes beautifully researched and wonderfully illustrated cookery books.

My Auntie Nellie is the busy mother of a hungry family.

Delius Stein and my Auntie Nellie met recently in the kitchen of our old neighbour, Annie Higginbotham. Annie was cooking her family's dinner and showed them her recipe for spicy fishcakes with pickled eggs. They hurriedly copied down the recipe.

Both went on to cook the same identical meal from the recipe they'd copied. Delius did it on television and published it in a cook book, unattributed. Auntie Nellie did it in her kitchen and fed it to her brood, unattributed.

Annie Higginbotham was outraged at Delius' plagiarism, but she was thrilled when Nellie told her how the  family had loved the meal

Pastors are not artists, producing beautifully crafted works of poetic charm. The Bible calls us shepherds (pastors means shepherds) and tells us to feed the flock. We're not Delius Stein. We're Auntie Nellie.

Preaching is sometimes defined as truth through personality. If this is true, then there's a sense in which plagiarism in preaching is almost impossible. Whatever I say is filtered through my personality. It'll come out in my vocabulary, with my mannerisms. That's the way it is.

I once tried to preach a Stuart Olyott-style "list sermon". It didn't work. It's not me. I deeply admire Geoff Thomas and John Piper, but I couldn't try and imitate them in preaching. It'd not be me. If I took a Piper sermon and preached it loads of stuff would change in the process.

A couple more things :

When I was a student the pastor of the church I belonged to preached a series on Jonah. I discovered that lots of different people were preaching series on Jonah. Shortly afterwards a Sinclair Ferguson book of messages on Jonah appeared. I suspect to this day that somewhere in some conference or other somebody preached a series of message on Jonah and a whole bunch of pastors got fired up to do the same - and that possibly those messages were strikingly similar. Is that a problem ? No.

I preached a series on Acts once and got hold of a book of sermons that I found extremely helpful, so helpful that some of my sermons were recognizably based on the chapters.of the book. Of course, I had to change the illustrations and the voice - the author was a very academic man who preached in a posh voice to a very academic congregation. Some things I wasn't convinced by. Some things were just not useful for my folk. But it was good stuff and I wanted to give it to my folk. I emailed the chappie to thank him for the book and to say how helpful it was. I confessed to plagiarism. He told me not to worry at all, saying that all pastors are plagiarists and that he was glad I found the book useful.

A series of messages by Ted Donnelly at the Aber Conference on Isaiah 53 became communion addresses, I think. I know I wanted to pass it on to the congregation somehow.

Friends are aware of the "Dale Ralph Davis Effect". When preparing a message on an Old Testament historical book, once you've read one of his commentaries you're convinced of the basic point and structure of the text. It's a real danger ! You'd have to be mad to preach his material as is, however. He loves illustrations from American Military History. That's him ! Also I think one can do more to get to Christ from those OT books. However, is it plagiarism if a preacher uses DRD's structure or headings, or even if he retells a story about General Sherman ? I don't think so. After all, DRD wrote the books because he wants to help people understand those passages, not because he is a literary giant with great works of art burning in his soul or to make a swift buck !   

Someone once told me that they'd found a particular message I'd given helpful and they were going to preach it to their folk. I was pleased, encouraged, flattered...

That isn't plagiarism. I'm not the poet laureate. I'm a cook trying to feed a hungry brood and glad of all the help I can get. And I'm glad to share anything useful with my fellows who are doing the same thing.

To quote John Piper (it's the title of one of his books), "Brothers, we are not professionals".

Now in publishing for profit or perhaps in conference addresses, a different ethic applies, of course !

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Blackberry Is Not Working! - The One Ronnie, Preview - BBC One

Christmas dinner chez nous what a comedown !

Our poor voisine is coming to us for Christmas dinner, roughing it a bit !

We do have a bottle of champagne (left over from a wedding in Britain in the summer - thanks Sian and Paul !) and a bottle of Lambrusco. We also have a rather dodgy young Cahors that we use for communion !

But also a nice chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, some cheeses, a chocolate log for pudding, we have some crisps and olives for apéro. It'll be fine !

We can probably watch the Queen if the BBC will allow us to.

And we have crackers.

Christmas Eve chez les voisins à la française

We were invited to eat next door so we went round at 19h30 and sat nibbling olives, cherry tomatoes, Pringles and tiny shrimps until the meal was ready, this apéro accompanied by champagne. Then foie gras on toasts with onion pickle and a very sweet and aged Sauterne. Then pintade (guinea fowl) stuffed with chestnuts and ceps accompanied by bread and a rather aged Graves. Then a brebis (sheep milk cheese) from the Pyrenees with a Basque-style spicy cherry conserve. Then for dessert Gwilym's birthday cake.

I was very sparing indeed with the wine because afterwards I had to scuttle to the church to get our slow cooker which the Chinese had borrowed for their Christmas Eve gathering.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas greetings

with our thanks for all your support in a thousand ways.
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Gwilym's birthday !

Sixteen today !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brazilian students helping on the building

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Jerry Bridges for today

If God has promised that all nations will be blessed and that "all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord" (Psalm 22:27), how should we respond? I maintain that our response should begin with prayer. We should boldly and persistently plead in prayer the promises of God.

Daniel, one of the Bible's great men, is our example. He lived during the Babylonian captivity of Judah. He understood, from reading Jeremiah 29:10, that the captivity would last seventy years. So he took God at his word and began to pray that he would fulfill his promise to restore the Jews to their home (Daniel 9:1-19). He pleaded the promise of God. This is what we should do in response to God's promises of the success of the Gospel. We should earnestly pray over such Scriptures as Genesis 22:18 and Psalm 22:27-28, asking God to fulfill his promises.

I'm dismayed at how little we Christians pray for the success of the Gospel among the nations. If we honestly examine our prayers, we find that we give the greatest priority to our own earthly needs. Perhaps we even pray about our own or our loved ones' spiritual needs. But how many are praying about the spread of the Gospel to the ends of the earth? How many are pleading the promises of God?

As a personal application of this challenge, I keep a small world map with my morning devotional material. I try to pray "around the world" over the course of a week, putting my finger on specific countries, especially those more resistant to Christianity, and asking God to bless them with a significant penetration of the Gospel, so his name will be glorified among them. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)

International prayer meeting !

We had a visit from a group of Brazilian students who are spending their summer holidays working in Spain and who were visiting Bordeaux on a recce for similar groups next year. It made for an interesting prayer meeting as the Brazilians spoke Portuguese and varying degrees of English. One lad was Argentinian so he spoke Spanish and Portuguese. One of our chaps is also Portuguese so he was in his element but other folk spoke only French.

It's frustrating that nobody has room to accommodate five students like this. I had to lead them to the nearest Etap low-cost hotel.

A friend in Provence is troubled by these critters

Read about them here.

Glenn Lucke on plagiarism

Read it here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A definition of plagiarize.

I read one in Chambers dictionary here.

and Sandy Willson on plagiarism


A happy Tuesday afternoon

Knocking plaster off a crumbling stone wall at the church, then sucking it in through my ventolin inhaler just before leaving. I must remember to blow before I suck.

Perman on Preaching and Plagiarism

Here's Matt Perman's view.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More on preachers and plagiarism

Tim Keller gives his view here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

James Markey: Theme and Variations on "Turkey in the Straw"

Radio Neige-folle

If you can't get out to the shops you can still hear incessant Christmas music - this time with that special Gallic twist, ici.

Que du bonheur !

Preachers and plagiarism

Don Carson gives his view here.

Share what you think if you like.

I'll tell you what I think later - the Gospel Coalition is talking to various people about this this week.

I bet I have a weird, eccentric view on this as well.

The big Christmas weekend

Christmas began on Saturday with the kids rehearsing for the "Fête de Noël". Gwilym and Catrin were taking part in various different things and so Saturday lunchtime saw us eating ham and cheese sandwiches and watching them practice.

We then proceeded to Anglade for the "Fête de Noël" there where we Daveys were making a musical contribution: singing in the streets and then helping the accompaniment in the little chapel. There followed a delicious collation. It was good to see a good number of visitors there, some simply through leaflets popped into mailboxes.

Sunday morning I preached on the shepherds going to Bethlehem, the sinful, hard, sad city and being transformed by finding purity, compassion and joy in the new-born Saviour. We sang lots of Christmas songs and concluded with the Lord's Supper "You can't begin to understand the crèche without the cross".

There followed a lunch together, largely pizzas, some home made and some shop-bought (like "duck and orange" and something else equally exotic). Struggling a little we got ready for the "Fête de Noël" where I was again bolstering the accompaniment. Did you know that in France there's a Christmas Song that goes to Llanfair, and that in Holland they have a Christmas Song that goes to the Ash Grove ? All went well and was followed by ... you guessed ... a collation. We delivered 1500 invitations around the area without any response yet.

For the English service all our folks come by tram and bus, so we cancelled because of the tram and bus strike, after waiting a while in case somebody arrived by car and surprised us !

Don't much feel like breakfast or lunch. Then this evening we have a Christmas meal with the Pessac Jazz Band, tomorrow a Christmas meal with some friends, Christmas Eve a Christmas meal with our neighbour (it sounds like the traditional French healthy option : lobster, salmon, etc...)... January will be porage morning, noon and night.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snow again

Well yesterday we woke up to a thin covering of snow - perhaps almost an inch. That's enough to paralyse our roads, however, and the buses and trams were already on strike anyway.

Not only that but the chidlren had been on a church kids sleepover and we were supposed to collect Catrin at 12, then Gwilym at 2.

Not only that but Samuel Stagiaire was due to be coming to our place at 2:30 so we could proceed to Blaye for 3:30 to sing in the streets before the Blaye Christmas service.

So Alan became a slightly concerned bunny - how would we be where we needed to be with snowy roads ? Some of the timing was a bit dodgy anyway...

Well we had a quick family confabulation and decided that we'd take some lunch with us when we collected Catrin, that we'd stay at the church and meet Sam Stage there and that we'd proceed from there to Anglade. A slight complcation ensued when Gwilym was needed till 3 instead of two, but we compromised on 2:30 and left for Anglade in reasonably good time to find the sun shining and the streets nice and dry.

We sang in the streets in Anglade but most people have double-glazing ( and those that don't will be phoning the companies on Monday ) so there was no sign of life as we sang, except from the happy dogs of Anglade.
But some new visitors were there anyway from invitations in mailboxes. It was a good time.

Jolly good ! All was fine !

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Singing in the streets in Anglade

Double-glazing has killed carol-singing.
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Christmas dinner is GOOD for you !

A good standard French Christmas dinner * is good for you, says this article.

* A good standard French Christmas dinner is, apparently:
Foie gras (Duck liver paté)
Smoked salmon
Lobster mayonnaise
Ice cream log

Our Christmas dinner is not quite up to standard, in case you were wondering !

Jolly good !

Trams and buses on strike all weekend. (It's the annual pay negotiations which almost always lead to a strike the weekend before Christmas.)

Snowfall overnight. It's pretty heavy, too. Miust be almost an inch out there.

Meanwhile this afternoon we're due out at Blaye for the Culte de Noël.

And the kids are at the church, which is 30 mins drive away, and we're due to get them at about 12.

It'll be fine ! It'll be fine !

Friday, December 17, 2010

La Définition de Chalcédoine 451

Suivant donc les saints Pères, nous enseignons tous unanimement que nous confessons un seul et même Fils, notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, le même parfait en divinité, et le même parfait en humanité, le même vraiment Dieu et vraiment homme (composé) d'une âme raisonnable et d'un corps, consubstantiel au Père selon la divinité et le même consubstantiel à nous selon l'humanité, en tout semblable à nous sauf le péché, avant les siècles engendré du Père selon la divinité, et aux derniers jours le même (engendré) pour nous et pour notre salut de la Vierge Marie, Mère de Dieu selon l'humanité, un seul même Christ, Fils du Seigneur, l'unique engendré, reconnu en deux natures, sans confusion, sans changement, sans division et sans séparation, la différence des deux natures n'étant nullement supprimée à cause de l'union, la propriété de l'une et l'autre nature étant bien plutôt sauvegardée et concourant à une seule personne et une seule hypostase, un Christ ne se fractionnant ni se divisant en deux personnes, mais en un seul et même Fils, unique engendré, Dieu Verbe, Seigneur Jésus-Christ, selon que depuis longtemps les prophètes l'ont enseigné de lui, que Jésus Christ lui-même nous l'a enseigné, et que le Symbole des pères nous l'a transmis.

The Definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D)

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

It is interesting that it is easier to define what the incarnation is not : "confusion, change, division, separation.." than what it is. What it is is not simple !

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Leaving the FAC premises

Simon cleans the windows and we all wax the wood floor.

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Sixty-Six Clouds (Word Cloud Bible)

These are very simple but I find them very beautiful.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A wintry afternoon in Bordeaux

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Setting up for the carol service.

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Well that was a full and fun weekend

It started on Saturday morning with chiselling plaster and plasterboard off the stone walls of the new premises. "Would you like some gloves, Alan ?" asked Mr Security in that "Put these on now, please !" tone of voice. Nice but determined. I was happy to comply.

At lunchtime I sneaked off and sneaked some pizza before scuttling off to the house to change into my serious clothes.

Two-thirty found us haring off to get the children and two-forty-five saw us stuck on the quays in the mother of all traffic jams.

Three-thirty rehearsal. Went pretty well. Four-thirty last minute fussing. Kids find new tasks to do.

Five-thirty start. A good crowd. Fewer than last year, I think ? Chatting with various folk afterwards. We left at just after eight, knowing that some would be leaving significantly later.

Sunday morning - a late start. We have no responsibilities this morning other than to provide bread and wine. Sam is preaching and leading. He starts the service. Few people are there. We spread out to make it look more. Some minutes in the stragglers (more than half the folk) arrive.

Home for lunch. Back for evening service - another new face (Hi Warner ! Welcome !) We sang Christmas songs and I preached about shepherds and Bethlehem and what they found there. Afterwards supper in the upper room. We left at about ten.

What counts most in God's kingdom ? The big crowd in the carol service ? The little group on Sunday morning and evening ? Who can say, though I have my own ideas...

"I've got this weird feeling that something's crawling up my leg",

said Patricia.

"I think you're right, let's see what it is," quoth I.

"It's me !" said Rich Lizard, who had sneaked under the duvet to warm himself up...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Victoria - O Magnum Mysterium

We're singing this as a sort of warm-up before the service.
Our alleluia sectuions are a bit more energetic !

The weekend ahead

Big band last night - after missing two weeks it was good to be back in the blast.

This morning church demolition, then pizzas for lunch together.

Kids to kidsclub. Me home to shower and change and stuff.

Then Carol Service this afternoon.

Then home this evening - we anticipate being tired but happy.

Michael Buble "Feeling Good" (HD 720p)

We have a new chart at the PJB and it's a corker.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jacques Loussier - Chorale No. 1

Wednesday was a conspiracy day

everything was conspiring to waste the day. Thursday was worse, though with shots of unpredictable providence and grace.

Last week I had to collect someone from Villenave. I popped into the supermarket there on the way and noticed that they had nice corduroy trousers. Nice but pricey. 30 euros for supermarket cords... Hmm... Anyway French trousers are just different. They don't do lengths and the cut ... well it's not Marks and Sparks... It's like shopping for trousers on Octar, the Octopus Planet... I left them there.

Yesterday, for reasons that I won't go into, I needed to find some black trousers that I can wear on Saturday afternoon. So I went to Villenave. They still had cords. They had black ones. I tried them on. They're OK.

Phew ! Amazing !

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"Shut up ! Just shut up !" (laughing)

It was in 1981 and the acceptance tester was testing my programme.

"Hmm... Could you do this, this, this and this, please?" 

Customer is always right. I spent the morning making the changes. After lunch...

"Hmm... No, it was better before."

So I spent the afternoon changing it back. A day's work to achieve nothing at all...

I learnt a lot that day. Firstly about version control. Keep the old version. You may need to change it back.

Secondly about work. Sometimes you work all day like a slave to achieve nothing at all.

Of course, ministry  is never like that, is it ?

Well I spent a good part of yesterday morning preparing for something that I later discovered we aren't going to do.

Still, never mind, surveys on campus next. I arrived in good time and awaited the happy band of colleagues. Ting ! A message ! Tram accident. We're stuck at the other end of the campus. Can you join us here ?

They had a hard time using a survey that wasn't so suitable for the campus they ended up on.

Meanwhile I waited and waited for a tram to join them, then gave up and walked off to the bus-stop to go home.

Thus it was that driving down the road later with my phone shouting "Ting ! Ting !" I yelled "JUST SHUT UP ! I'LL READ IT LATER !" ( laughing, honest... )

I reflected on the bus about how focused we are on what God does THROUGH us and on how focused he is on what he's doing IN us... And I apologised to Pat for my impatience earlier in the day...

Makes you think...

An article from World magazine here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Just imagine... (Jerry Bridges, from 'Respectable Sins')

The Scripture passage that has helped me most to deal with the sins of the tongue is Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." This is an application of Paul's "put off/put on" principle that he set forth in Ephesians 4:22-24. The principle is that we're to put off the sinful traits of the old self and, at the same time, give diligence to putting on the gracious traits of the new self created in Christ.

As we look at Ephesians 4:29, we see that we're not to let any corrupting talk come out of our mouths. Corrupting talk is not limited to profanity or obscene speech. It includes all the various types of negative speech—including lying, slander, critical speech (even when true), harsh words, insults, sarcasm, and ridicule. Note Paul's absolute prohibition: No corrupting talk. None whatsoever. This means no gossip, no sarcasm, no critical speech, no harsh words. All these sinful words that tend to tear down another person must be put out of our speech. Think about what the church of Jesus Christ would look like if we all sought to apply Paul's words.

John Fedchock New York Big Band - FLINTSTONED

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Today in view

I still need one 40cm bookshelf from Ikea. I couldn't get it yesterday because it was emptying down with rain so loading up is a nightmare. So I hope to get it this morning, and to continue sorting out books in the study.

This afternoon we converge on the FAC premises to move lots of the stuff out to be stored at the church.

This evening we have the great Thé O Show Café Théologique in town on the theme of human progress.

Banana porridge and rutabaga swede

Banana porridge works great. Slice the banana into the porridge before cooking and increase the cooking time in your nucrowave oven.

Rutabaga is kinda like swede but it doesn't go very yellow. Tastes OK in the cawl cennyn though.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Well that all worked OK !

First full day back in circulation :

Church at 9h30 because I am accompanying the songs. Not sure this'll work but you gotta give it a go. Quick run-through is OK, though by the end I am flagging...

Service 10h30 - 12h - all went OK. It's never as gruelling as the run-through.

Lunch together afterwards, delightful as ever. Discover that a good mousse au chocolat is best made at midnight.

Off to FAC for 16h30 prayer meeting. I can't usually go to this but this week I was in town ready ! Heard of another conversion among the Chinese group - third this year. 'It's just the start,' said Sen.

Sneak out of FAC at 17h30 to get back to church to open the door for the culte en anglais. A new face, an American student. Some regulars missing, some regulars back.

Home at 21h. Made it !

Banana porridge

Doesn't work. Not worth trying.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Patrick Gallois interpretent MOZART QUATUOR POUR FLUTE ET CORDES en RE M...

nothing like Mozart for sorting out those baffled moments...

Saturday, December 04, 2010

It's my own stupid fault

1) when the guy with the most scary cold I have ever seen sat next to me for the end of synod service last Saturday, I didn't move to sit elsewhere. No, but seriously ! He was sweating so much at one point I wondered if it was a heart attack. I won't be so restrained next time. Next time I'll move.

2) when it was obvious that I had a sore throat I tried to ignore it and hoped it would go away. It didn't. Next time I'll take it seriously.

3) when it developed into a streaming cold I just carried on regardless in the same old way that I usually do, even with Bouchra's rebuke 'On se soigne, hein ? On reste à la maison et on prend des vitamines...' ringing in my ears. Next time I'll be good, I promise.

Except I might just do the same things all over again...

Still this afternoon is the big afternoon when I get to leave the house for the first time since Wednesday morning. Yipppeee.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Photos of the Gironde in the snow

For them as like that sort of thing look here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's enough to stop the buses

and probably the trams, too.

Pat has gone out panic-buying

to our local Spar. They don't sell sliced bread, though!

Snow chaos hits Bordeaux

Gwilym is on the way home after getting half-way to school. The bus is stopping at la Médoquine and it's quite a walk from there, poor lad.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Nnnoooooooo !

Foie gras burgers ?

Christmas in Bordeaux

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ... et puis... ?

So last night was the café théo to discuss the motto of the Republic. Again we won the quiz, though with only 5/10 I am not sure it was a result to be proud of.

Part of the evening was to propose another word for the motto. Here's three of the suggestions that emerged :

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, solidarité. (That one is very French-minded)

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, obésité. (Apparently the idea is of sharing France's good food...)

Liberté, égalité, fraternité, éternité. (That's my favourite, though the thought of an everlasting République isn't very appealing...)

On my table we were a Chinese student, a French student,; two Irish folk and me. We talked about the paradox of la liberté chrétienne. Jésus s'est soumis, et par cela il a conquis. Et nous aussi, on se soumet et on ... conquit? con... after some discussion we decided on conquérit...

We were wrong. On se soumet et on conquiert. Oh the JOY of French. I LOVE it !

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Santi Novoa y Ramón López - Bolivar - E. Cook

It's only taken five years...

In our previous house in Villenave my office was in the garage. It was really cold ! I only had half the garage because half was full of boxes. So I bought some plastic shelves.

When we moved here I thought 'these plastic shelves are all well and good but my books are stacked two deep and I can never find anything. I need to get some proper Billy bookshelves.'

So this morning we made the pilgrimage to Ikea and bought some nice white Billy bookshelves and I now have Bible commentaries again and loads of useful books - and some not so useful ! And I can sort them out into categories and put the commentaries in order and everything !

Five-year review and personnal panel

Normal missionaries spend four years in their country of service and then one year on "home assignment" in their sending country (furlough). During that year "home" they attend some interviews designed to ensure that they are OK, coping with cross-cultural work, that family life is OK, that they are in an appropriate sphere of service, and that their support is sufficiently strong for them to return overseas.

Never let it be said that we are normal. Anyway, France is not that far from Britain and our kids are in French schools, not in UK-style ones. For us to return to Britain for a year would be a mess on all sorts of fronts, normally (though if we hit some kind of crisis then a year in Britain may be helpful.

Anyway we came to France in September 2005 so we have been due for our five-year review. We were scheduled to undergo this in July but the car broke down on the way to the interviews so we set it up to be done by Skype last weekend.

Thus it was that Patricia spent a happy hour talking with, I think, Doreen last week. I had a nice long conversation with Bryn on Sunday evening and then we had our Personnel Panel by Skype yesterday. I imagine it went OK. If not we will find out in due course !

Monday, November 29, 2010

It was quite funny, really...

Friday morning I said to a colleague, "so the question is, does Christian worship derive from the temple or the synagogue?"... "Beuh, from the temple, of course !" quoth he.

Friday afternoon, sneaking a quick read of "20 controversies that killed a church" : The pattern of New Testament worship is the synagogue. After God's people in the Old Testament returned from Babylon they no longer had the temple worship with its sacrifices. They gathered weekly in the synagogue to worship. Here they sang psalms, prayed, read the Scriptures and heard expositions of the Scriptures. The early church continued this pattern of worship..." (page 201)

I've been doing a bit of thinking about orders of service. This follows various things :

1) in my background I've been used to the simple British non-conformist "hymn sandwich" - feeling at liberty to modify this according to need - for example splitting the sermon into three parts ( one of my favourite things for carol services and the like )

2) generally my past has been part of the kind of churches that are on a quest for authentic simplicity. "This is us singing for you", rather than "this is our Sunday production"

3) at the same time sister churches in, for example, the USA have shared our heritage and convictions but expressed their worship with robed choirs, organ voluntaries, orchestras and so on. Oho...

4) in the church here in France we had a rather more ... elaborate order of service which allowed great freedom but still had a lot more structure and somewhat less scope for spontaneity

5) meanwhile the group of churches to which we belong has a liturgy book and many churches follow the pattern laid out. The pattern gives much freedom of choice of texts to use, but follows a basic pattern of "covenant renewal" - reading of God's law, confession of sin, announce of pardon, and so on...

Hence my reflection. This is where if I were a student I'd do an essay, or for a masters I'd do some reading up and present a thesis. However I am not... So here's the outline of what I'd think about if I were...

1) Origins of Christian worship and the Old Testament :
a. Temple worship and the Christians
b. The synagogue and the Christians
c. Covenant renewal assemblies in the Old Testament and the Christians

2) Development of Christian worship in the Church Fathers :

3) The Reformation and Christian worship :
a. Anglican and Lutheran solutions
b. Continental reformed churches
c. British non-conformity and reformed churches

4) Where does that leave us today ?

You'll notice that I don't mention the regulative or normative principles. There's a sense in which this question assumes the regulative principle but asks where in the Bible that principle sends us to find our instructions for worship.

OK folks. Please respond.

A) Christian worship is based on Temple or Synagogue or Neither ?
B) What book do you know of that deals with this question best ?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Personnel Panel

In the summer because of our car problems we didn't get to spend the week at the UFM Family Conference. This meant that we didn't get to have our 5-year review meetings.

They're scheduled for now. Pat has had her one-to-one interview with Doreen the other day.

Bryn is due to grill me this evening after the service.

Then tomorrow at 15:30 British time, 16:30 France time we should have our panel meeting by Skype.

We'd appreciate your prayers for these important meetings.