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)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Notable anniversaries in 2013 (thanks to Evanglicals Now)

Christian anniversaries in 2013

Here are some encouragements and challenges from the past.
The monk Columba sailed from Ireland, with 12 companions, and after a perilous journey landed on the island of Iona in 563. He founded a monastery there to train young men for the evangelisation of the North Picts.
The Thirty-Nine Articles, defining the position of the Church of England, were sanctioned by Convocation in 1563. Historically, all clergy in the Church of England have been required to subscribe to them.
Daniel Rowland was born in 1713, and became one of the foremost leaders in the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist movement in the 18th century. For much of his life he served as curate first to his brother and then to his own son at Llangeitho, Cardiganshire, and was such a compelling preacher that thousands flocked to hear him on Communion Sundays.
The Spanish Gospel Mission was founded in 1913. An Englishman, Percy Buffard, had been a teacher of English in Spain, and, appalled by the general ignorance of the gospel which he found there, trained as a missionary and returned to work in Spain, with the support of some friends. The Mission, and Spanish Protestant Christians, suffered persecution and considerable hardship during the Spanish Civil War and Franco era.
Operation Mobilisation organised its first summer short-term mission teams in Europe and the Middle East in 1963, involving over 2,000 people.
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, started writing the City of God in 413, as a direct consequence of the sack of Rome in 410.
John Foxe’s Actes and Monuments, popularly known as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, was first published in 1563. Many homes possessed a copy, and the book profoundly affected Elizabethan England.
John A. Robinson’s Honest to God was published by SCM Press in 1963. Robinson, who was Bishop of Woolwich, spoke of God as ‘the ground of our being’ and questioned the validity of traditional credal statements, such as that Jesus Christ ‘came down from heaven’.
The Edict of Milan, issued by the Roman Emperors Constantine and Licinius in January 313, granted religious toleration in the Roman Empire, and persecution of Christians virtually ceased.
22 Carl Henry was born in New York City in 1913, the son of German immigrants to the USA. Converted in a newspaper office, when working as a journalist, he helped to establish Fuller Theological Seminary in 1947, and was the first editor of the magazine Christianity Today founded in 1956 to be a scholarly voice for evangelical Christianity.
19 The Scottish medical missionary and explorer David Livingstone was born in 1813 at Blantyre in Lanarkshire. In the quest for unevangelised peoples, he travelled more than 30,000 miles in the continent of Africa, discovering the Victoria Falls and Lake Nyasa, and exposing the Arab slave trade.
22 August Hermann Francke was born in 1663. A leader of German Pietists and both a professor at the University of Halle and a pastor in a nearby church, he founded a famous orphanage there, which was serving over 2,000 children by the time of his death.
7 William Grimshaw died in 1763, aged 54, at Haworth in Yorkshire, where he had been minister for 21 years. Converted after he had been ordained, he preached in plain language to huge crowds in his church, despite the remoteness of the area, and also throughout Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire.
9 W.W. Borden (Borden of Yale) died, aged 25, in 1913. Despite being heir to a huge family fortune, he resolved to be a missionary to the Muslims of Gansu province, N.W. China, but died in Egypt, where he was learning Arabic, of cerebral meningitis. A report of his death was carried by most of the American national newspapers, and his biography, written by Mrs. Howard Taylor, proved inspirational. His personal Bible was found to contain the hand-written phrases, ‘No reserves, no retreats, no regrets’.
5 Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, was born in 1813. In his highly introspective writing, he stressed the transcendence and otherness of God, was fiercely critical of organised religion and is remembered as referring to faith as a ‘leap in the dark’.
12 A.W. Tozer died in 1963. Largely self educated, he was a pastor in Chicago for over 30 years and had a world-wide ministry through his writings and as editor ofThe Alliance Witness. He stressed the overwhelming majesty of God and the priority of worship, and challenged the superficiality of many evangelical churches.
21 Robert Murray M’Cheyne was born in 1813. His seven-year ministry at St. Peter’s, Dundee, the quality of his spiritual life and his preaching profoundly influenced his generation and succeeding ones, despite the fact that he died at 29. He wrote the hymn, ‘When this passing world is done’.
25-26 The Baptist Union was founded in 1813 among Calvinistic Baptist churches. This was not intended to impose anything on individual independent congregations. Among its aims were to encourage support of the Indian mission of William Carey, to promote evangelism in England, to support the training of ministers and to relieve ‘aged and necessitous ministers’.
1 William Huntington, eccentric preacher and founder of a group of Calvinistic independent churches, died in 1813.
1 John Venn died at Clapham, aged 54, in 1813. As rector there, he had been closely identified with the activities of William Wilberforce, Zachary Macaulay and other members of the ‘Clapham Sect’ of political activists. He was involved in the founding and early running of the Church Missionary Society.
1 The first Wycliffe Bible Translators Summer Institute of Linguistics was held in 1963 at Pendell Camp, Merstham, Surrey.
13 Adoniram Judson arrived as a missionary in Rangoon, Burma, in 1813, his wife Ann having miscarried their first child on board ship. Although an expert linguist, it took him three years to learn the difficult Burmese language, and progress among the Buddhists was slow, but in 12 years 18 of them professed conversion and Adoniram had started translating the Bible into Burmese.
6 James Orr, Scottish theologian, died in 1913. Working in the heyday of theological liberalism, he wrote in defence of orthodox Christianity and was one of the contributors to the papers called The Fundamentals, which were issued 1909-15.
13 The Canadian W. Stanford Reid was born in 1913. His career as Presbyterian minister and professor of history at the universities of McGill and Guelph brought together church and academy. Like John Knox, whose biography he wrote, Reid was unapologetic in his defence of the gospel, and had a wide and effective influence, which continues today through the Stanford and Priscilla Reid Foundation which he and his wife established.
28 Martin Luther King led the ‘Great March on Washington’ in 1963, calling for civil and economic rights for African-Americans, and, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic ‘I have a dream’ speech on racial harmony. This was widely credited with helping to pass the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Voting Rights Act (1965).
22 C.S. Lewis, the Oxford don who described himself as ‘the most reluctant convert in all England’ and subsequently became a notable apologist for the Christian faith and author of the ‘Narnia’ books, died in 1963.
8 Granville Waldegrave, 3rd Lord Radstock, an evangelist and preacher, died in 1913. During the 1870s, he made several visits to Russia, when there was a ‘Great Awakening’, and he built the Eccleston Hall in Belgravia, London, to be a centre of Christian activity.
9 George Campbell Morgan, Bible teacher and preacher, was born in 1863. He was minister of Westminster Chapel, London, 1904-17 and 1933-45, and a prolific writer of Bible commentaries.
30 Frederic Monod, a notable French pastor in Paris, died in 1863. Profoundly influenced when he was a student in Geneva by the Scot Robert Haldane, he started the first Sunday School in Paris and founded the Union of Free Evangelical Churches of France in 1849.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I get to preach for three congregations this weekend !

For the Chinese this evening.
For the French tomorrow morning.
For the anglophones tomorrow evening.

Woohoo - here we go !

Looking for a Bible Reading Plan ?

The Bible Eater: A Plan for Feasting on Christ in 2013
Download here.

Here's how the Bible Eater works:

Old Testament: Read 2 to 3 chapters per day and take 4 days off per month. Read 1 to 3 designated one-sitting Old Testament books each quarter.
New Testament: Read 1 chapter per day and take 4 days off per month. One gospel is assigned to each quarter and Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice across the year.

Follow this rhythm and you will get through the entire Bible in one year.

So far, this doesn't sound a whole lot different than most other plans. So now I'll unpack some of its unique features.
Redemptive Historical Focus

Every chapter in the Bible is important since every word in the book is from God. But some chapters are more crucial for helping us understand the overall narrative of the Bible's salvation story. For example, the story of Joseph is an important demonstration of God's faithfulness to keep his promises, but God's covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12 is the very promise that forms the backdrop for Joseph's story and the rest the Old Testament as it prepares us for Christ. Or in the New Testament, for example, Paul's instructions to the Corinthian church concerning sexual immorality are crucial for a Christian sexual ethic, but Jesus' genealogy in Matthew 1 establishes the very identity of Jesus Christ as the Savior who bought our bodies with the price of his life.

By highlighting these chapters in red, the Bible Eater draws our attention to those chapters crucial to the story of Scripture. These chapters are like the frame of a house. Every part of the house is carefully placed, but these chapters hold the story together.

The Historical Redemptive highlights indicate promises, for example, of a prophet, priest, king, new exodus, or new creation to come. Others show the need for the promised Savior. New Testament highlights show the fulfillment of these expectations in Jesus Christ.

Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice, since these two books are especially helpful for seeing how the Bible's story unfolds and how the Old and New Testaments relate.

Quarterly Format
Plans that assign texts to each day have a number of advantages, including the needed reminder and help to be in the Scriptures each day. One disadvantage, at least in my experience, is that your reading can be more oriented to where you are on the calendar and less on where you are in the Bible, especially if you get behind. Getting behind, no doubt, is the reason many readers fall off the wagon, since catching up can feel overwhelming.

The Bible Eater assigns several books of the Bible to each quarter, allowing some flexibility with the pace without the discouragement that can come when your reading is a day or a few weeks behind schedule. This allows you to recalibrate several times during the year. If you get behind, get back on the wagon and catch up on your own time by the end of the quarter.

In addition, this quarterly format allows for one Gospel to be assigned to each quarter.

OT and NT Balance and One-Sitting Reads
The Old Testament is, by far, the longer side of the Bible. In my Bible the Old Testament takes up about 800 of the 1,050 total pages. There was a lot to prepare for in the coming of Christ! Given this, however, any plan for reading the Bible through in a year must grapple with the question of balance. Reading from Genesis to Revelation means the reader spends only a small part of the year in the New Testament. For that reason, most plans work through both testaments together, some of them working through the New Testament twice in order to balance the material. Many of these plans have two tracks in the Old Testament and two tracks in the New Testament. This has its advantages. But this can also mean splintered attention.

The Bible Eater works through both testaments together, going through the New Testament once, and with only one track in each side of the Bible. Normally that would mean reading as many as four chapters in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament on a given day. This is where "one-sitting reads" come in to play. By designating several Old Testament books to be read in a single sitting, and outside the daily reading rhythm, this keeps the Old Testament readings to two to three chapters per day.

In addition to thinning out the daily reading, one-sitting reads have another important advantage: they allow certain books to be read for the big picture. Multiple Old Testament books are pushing 40 chapters, or, in the case of Isaiah, almost 70 chapters. Reading these books several chapters at a time means that we inevitably lose the forest through the trees. By contrast, when we read books like Deuteronomy, Job, or Isaiah in one sitting, we're better able to grasp the overall message of the book and, hopefully, better discern how it leads us to Christ.

Enjoy the Meal
As you make plans to read the Bible in 2013, look forward with great expectancy to what God will do. His Word is living an active. It is busy. Whether you are excited to read the Bible already, or only committed in your mind, there are three great places in the Book of Psalms that will ready your affections: Psalm 1, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119. Camp out in any one of those psalms and pray for God to bless you, to rejoice your heart in him, and to conform you to the image of Christ in 2013.

You can download the plan here.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Administration ! Administration ! It's a nightmare !

I have a UK driving licence with a photocard.
It's not necessary now to exchange this for a French licence.
This is good for us because we are not permanent workers in France, we work for a UK organisation that could recall us to the UK.

However every five years you have to renew the photo on your driving licence.
No problem. The photo is already on my passport.
All I have to do is :

A) Log on to my UK Government User-id
B) Enter my passport number
C) Pay £20
D) Wait for my new licence to be delivered to UFM.

Easy-peasy !


A) I can't remember my password - or at least the password I SHOULD have used is invalid
B) The address on my driving licence is also invalid, even though the system printed it on my driving licence..

It might just be easier to swap it for a French licence...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gwilym's work experience

So the lad is going to work for four weeks in the Evangelical Movement of Wales bookshops, principally in Bryntirion, Bridgend. Some friends have offered accommodation a couple of miles away, though it is possible that WEST may have a room available. Next thing is to buy his airline and bus ticket Bordeaux - Gatwick - Bridgend.

Gwilym's eighteenth

So we pondered. A party ? So near Christmas ? What then ?

One of Gwilym's BIG ambitions in Borderaux has been to go somewhere for fish and chips. As this is NOT a cheap meal out in Bordeaux we have hummed and haed for years. So when I suggested that this could be the perfect occasion he jumped at the chance. So that's what we'll do. Probably on Friday.

Meanwhile on Christmas Eve, his eighteenth birthday, our ex-neighbour invited us for a Christmas meal, this time a fondue bourguignonne - chunks of beef that you cook at the table in a sizzling pot of oil. You eat them with bread and various sauces and I don't need to tell you how delicious it was, especially when mixed with the excitement of having extremely hot oil over a spirit stove in the middle of the table !

We were responsible for dessert, which was a raspberry meringue thing from the freezer centre. It said it would feed four to five people, but we were still eating it three days later.

A Quick Review of Christmas

Christmas activities began on 16 December with the first service at Blaye - a Christmas service - which went very well. We were encouraged by new folk attending and by support from folk from Cenon. A good start.

That evening was the English Service Christmas Meal and Message. We'd planned to hold this at the church but Mrs Davey's broken toe and back problem coupled with my bronchitis meant we moved it to our home. Again all went well and we squeezed in OK around the dining table lined up with the big white garden table. Sadly the message part of meal and message was not possible. Bronchitis oblige.

The following Friday was the French church Fête de Noël, which this time took the form of a follow-up evening for the Kids clubs that have been running in the church. The kids prepared various activities and it was good to see a number of parents and siblings at the church.

The following Sunday morning was the French church's last service before Christmas. I talked about the names Emmanuel - God with us - and Jesus - saving his people from their sins. The service was led by the youth and they did well.

Sunday evening was the last English Service before Christmas, but our numbers were down what with students voyaging. But it became a kind of carol service 'for us'.

Then on Christmas Day a varied group (sounds so much better than motley crew) met here for lunch and games. We got a leg of lamb from our local freezer centre, then discovered that they're much cheaper in Carrefour down the road. Oh well, you live and learn. I invited some folk who we'd only just met and was thrilled that they came along. Postprandial games ensued, but Pat and I were declining by this point so we lay on the sofas while the children played the role of host. We were able to watch the Queen together and I am sure everyone appreciated Her Majesty's contribution to the feast.

Yesterday we were not up to much, so the bulk of the family watched Doctor Who and Disney DVDs while I hunted down detective stories on Youtube. I had a meeting lined up with someone for the afternoon but low health meant I was unable to go. We rescheduled for Friday morning.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wake up !

OK, I have fought this long enough. I want to go to America and work in a church with a BIG BAND !

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The cherry on the cake of my crazy day

Oh yes, the bus and tram company emailed me today to say that my season ticket runs out on 31/10/2011 and please could I renew it before that date.

OK. It's like that, is it. Fine. If the world's against Alan, then Alan's against the world ! Look out !

One of THOSE days

I had to go to Cadillac for a church business meeting at 12:15 so I booked a car for 11:30.

Then this morning heard it had been brought forward an hour.
Almost changed the car booking (but forgot to click confirm)
Missed the bus to pick up the car
Wondered why the car wouldn't unlock, then realised I hadn"t confirmed the changed booking
Got the car
Got lost
Got flashed by a speed trap (I thought the limit WAS 70 ?)
Got left behind because I needed fuel
Got the car back late.

But the lunch was nice.

Joy to the world !

Monday, December 17, 2012

A little update on cars, clutches and autopartage

Well there we are : two Sundays and a mid-week expedition by Autocool so far, and so far so good.

The Bipper Teepee has covered 23k kilometres, it's almost new and it runs fine. We wouldn't buy one but it's fine for what we need. This Sunday it took us, the piano, sundry baggage and all to Blaye without any fuss whatsoever.

The Twingo was super for picking Catrin up from the theatre.

Meanwhile our Berlingo sits waiting for us to decide in January what we'll do : whether we'll just sell it and run on Autopartage or whether we'll attempt to exchange it for a little Yaris or something.

Whatever happens it means saying farewell to the Berlingo. It's been a great car. For years we had no problems whatsoever. Even now the engine starts fine and the car runs beautifully. It's easy to live with, has an enormous boot, is economical and comfortable. We'll miss it.

I have done a bit more research and there are various stories of people who have had repeated failures of the clutch thrust bearing on the HDi engines. Some on very low mileage cars. Citroën so far do not accept any responsability. It's a great pity.

Makes me think of how easily we can be talented, gifted, promising ... and yet flawed. One flaw, maybe not even a huge thing, can destroy all promise and shipwreck us.

So I went to see Pat's doctor with my chest

He's a very nice chap, but he does remind me of Louis de Funès - I am sure they must be related.

Anyway he listened to my breathing, listened to my cough, looked down my throat and then recommended :

1) inhalations of olbas oil or similar

2) a codeine based anti-tussive for when I have to talk and need to avoid coughing

3) that I consider seeing someone about sleep apnoea, because I have a very large tongue

4) that I have a colonoscopy perhaps every two or three years.

We discussed sleep apnoea first. Briefly. We discussed the prospect of a colonoscopy in more ... depth.

I said, "the thing is, Doctor, the human body has been designed with entrances and exits, and it is inadvisable to confuse them."

"yes, but with your family history".

I thought of my two sisters, both considerably my senior but neither having had a colonoscopy...

"Yes, seeing that your father died at 49."

"No ! 69, 69 !"

"Oh that's different then. You can just do the stool-test."

Christmas meal and message

Poor crocks, because of Pat's broken toe and my bronchitis we moved the English Service Meal and Message to our house.

We put two tables in a long line and managed to seat everyone comfortably.

In the end we had to forgo the talk - I was never going to project my voice enough. But we sang carols and so on.

First Service at Blaye

Well the first service seemed to go very well. We set it up with the apéro in the back room and the service in the big room. There is a strong echo, very forgiving for the musicians and a bit troublesome for readers and preacher.

Twenty-two people were there. A couple of folk I hoped would be there didn't come. All went very well.

Thanks for your prayers !

Twitter twinges

Twitter. For me it sums up the whole Internet discussion. What pros and cons !

Pros : quick communication of news. Headlines sent out swiftly. Photos. Link it with Facebook and you're sharing something quickly and easily.

Cons : strange tweets in your name advertising products you've never heard of. Ty to change your password - Byzantine complexity. And then there's all the tweets ! It's by far the biggest time-waster on the Internet !

So if you see strange updates from me advertising bizarre herbal products - it's not me, and I am working on sorting it out...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oh well, it'll prod me into action

I've been brewing up a nice little bronchitis and not wanting to face up to it.

Two reasons - one is that I do seem to get quite a few colds and stuff, the second is that this weekend is a big weekend.

We have the first service at Blaye tomorrow morning. This time yesterday I thought we'd no chance of being ready, but now the music is printed out, the hymn sheets are virtually done - just need printing and stapling - and I know what I'm saying for the message.

Then in the evening we have the Great English Service Christmas Meal and Message. We've just moved this to our house partly because of the bronchitis and partly because of Pat's broken toe !

Anyway, on Monday I'll go and see the medecine man and see what he says. Then I'll look after myself, I promise, well, at least until next Sunday !

Friday, December 14, 2012

The fuchsia Twingo

 A theatre trip ? STARTING at 9pm ? On a Thursday ? They know what time you have to get up for school on Friday ? And how will you get home ?

So it was that we reserved the fuchsia Twingo overnight to fetch Catrin from Bègles. To get the car I had to go to Mérignac Centre, hence the photos of Mérignac's rather exuberant Christmas lights.

The fuchsia Twingo was just fine for scuttling off to the theatre to get Catrin, but I was glad it was dark when I picked it up and dropped it off !

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A coming together

So there I was, happily hurtling into town on the tram for my 14h30 meet-up.

Then suddenly : honk, honk, honk ... honk, honk THUD...

Someone turning left in their black Peugeot 206 had neither seen nor heard the tram and had pulled into its path.

Nobody was hurt, but we all had to evacuate the tram through one emergency door and continue our journey by other means.

So I walked the rest of the way and got to my rendez-vous somewhat late, but invigorated by my brisk walk !

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme !

Sherlock Holmes and quiches

Last night we held a Sherlock Holmes and quiches evening  for the students and others.
It was a nice evening with nice quiches, though I struggled to sparkle and crawled off to my bed fairly early.

Monday, December 10, 2012


So 8:30 found me at the bus stop waiting for the 4 to Pessac. I'd booked the car from 9 and got to the parking place a few minutes before. I think you pay per 15 mins, and I needed the toilet, so I asked some friendly neighbourhood JWs where the nearest loo was and went off to find it while one of them scraped the ice off the windscreen of the car. (I told you they were friendly !) Then pick up the family, deposit the kids at Cenon and bustle off to Blaye.

You sit high in a Peugeot Beepee Tipper, and the ride is kind of bouncy; it bounced happily up the motorway to Blaye and we arrived bang on time. Most folk were late. The congregation is not numerous but it's courageous and in good heart, and all geared up for the start of services in the town centre next week.

Aftewards we bounced back to Cenon. I was keeping my eye on the fuel guage because the goal is to always leave the car at least 1/4 full of fuel. Meanwhile Pat scoured the interior of the car for the card with which to buy fuel if we needed to. In vain. But we didn't need to. I later discovered that it is lodged somewhere in the elctronic gizmo in the glovebox.

After the church pie social and the time of questions and discussion and the English Service we headed back home, I dropped off the family and got the car back to its parking place by about 8:30. 8:50 bus from Pessac and home about 9.

Autocool. So far, so cool !

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Thanks, Lord !!!

I have just realised that yesterday in the church council meeting we moved from planning our preaching rota monthly for the month to come, to planning it quarterly, for the quarter to come.

I didn't suggest it.
Nobody objected.
We just went ahead and did it together without remark.

Woohoo !

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The lights of Bordeaux

I'm in meetings all day again today. Wouldn't you rather be in Spain?


The other day I left the house to hop into town for an AGM, the AGM of the student outreach. While on the bus I checked my messages and found it had been postponed by an hour.

What to do ? I know ! The Desigual shop !

Near the 1970s Meriadeck Shopping Mall there's a new Desigual shop - I don't know if Desigual are popular in the UK, but in this area there's a few "local" designer brands that people like : "64", Adishatz and Desigual. "64" is, I think, a Basque label. Adishatz is Gascon and Desigual is Catalan, centred on Barcelona.

And you can tell !

Their clothes remind me of Kaffe Fassett's knitwear, but after a very strong coffee. Ladies's coats that are a RIOT of colour, pattern and typography. Men's tweed jackets made from every tweed you can imagine. Their bags are like a herbaceous border in full bloom. Gorgeous !

I can't imagine anyone ever wearing them - well perhaps the mens' shirts, which are really nice. I suppose some of the dresses and coats would be good for weddings. Most of it would be like wearing a Salvador Dali painting !

But in the grey of winter, when the eyes crave colour, it's great !

Saturday music

Friday, December 07, 2012

We were discussing the last Big Band concert

and my saxophonist friend's ears were ringing.

"Oh yes, and you have D. the lead trombone right behind you"

"Ouais. Comme un âne. Comme un âne." (Yes. Like a donkey. Like a donkey.)

Every time I think of "comme un âne, comme un âne" it just starts me giggling...

I was very concerned

That made three consecutive Wednesdays that my JW friend had not called. I know that last time I had been a little straight about all this "That figure is figurative, that number is literal" mularky, and I had said that to imagine that Jesus had the committee in Brooklyn in mind when he spoke of the faithful servant in Matthew 24 was trumpery moonshine but it wasn't the first time we'd been straight like that.

He had taken a booklet. Maybe that's why he didn't come back. Pat and I talked about it. "Well he's certainly had a chance to hear!" That was true.

Anyway I was SO relieved when they came round on Thursday afternoon. I wasn't in, but it was good they came.

Vous êtes Québecois ?

There's a first time for everything !
I was tempted to say yes, but I confessed to being Gallois.

That means I've had Swiss, Belgian and Quebecois now.

Still waiting for the jackpot : Vous êtes Congolais ?

Sympa, Autocool !

So some time in the wee hours the decision was taken:
we would join the Autocool Car Pool Club without further hesitation or delay.

Thus it was that this morning found me traipsing down from Mériadeck to the Autocool office near the quays (the tram had broken down) where I found a very nice lady who explained everything to me.

Because I already have a tram season ticket then

1) I don't have to pay 150€ to join, the joining fee is waived

2) the monthly fee is reduced from 10€ to 8€, but there's also 20% reduction on the tram ticket,
so it costs between 1€ and 2€ a month to belong

3) we can add Pat as another driver

4) a UK driving licence is fine, though those from certain states of the USA are not

5) fuel is included in the charge for using the car - you get fuel using a special card kept in the cars

6) you can even put learner drivers on to do their conduite accompagnée

7) you can also use the similar schemes in Paris, Strasbourg, Marseille, etc. etc.

I left the office thinking that this is a very good deal, clutching my new Autocool card.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


So this morning we had a meeting with the official from the town hall to arrange the use of the rooms in the centre of town for our monthly service there. Here's some photos of the building, the entrance hall and the smaller of the two rooms we can use.

The building is the former law courts. This would be a bit off-putting in the UK, I think, but in France life is very conflictual anyway so the law-courts are seen as a place where you settle conflicts. Fairly positive, really.

It's a super situation. There are two rooms we can use; one seats 30 and the other 60. You can park opposite. There's disabled access via the rear. There's no kitchen, but apart from that it's great. Nobody else uses the building on Sunday mornings and we can have it free of charge.

Pretty good, eh ?

Aftewards on the way back to Bordeaux I had an episode with the car. I had managed every roundabout from Blaye to the Bordeaux ring road in 4th gear and I thought things were looking good for an uneventful return trip. That was when I hit the traffic jam.

What do you have to do in traffic jams ? Change in and out of first gear. What upsets our clutch more than anything ? Changing in and out of first gear.

So I had three or four of those ominous clunks with the sickening lurch of the clutch pedal that inspires so much stress. I managed to get into the inside lane ready to pull into the hard shoulder if necessary. Then the traffic got moving again so I stayed in 2nd gear as long as I could, then 4th, then got to our junction and through the lights, breathing a sigh of relief as we got into the drive.

If it's me preaching on the 16th at Blaye it's important I get there, along with the other folk I'll be taking. Anyway after a trip like that it takes me a few hours to de-stress, to calm down. Hardly conducive to preaching, really, so I think it's time to join the car-share club.

Then I can do what's necessary on the car ready to sell it - change the front tyres and clean it up. If we find we can change the car we'll get moving on that. If we can't then I'll try and find the best way to sell it.

Unemployment in France

has hit 9.9%, with 24% of under-25s unemployed.

Some Christmas music

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Athanase, Père et héros de l'église

Au temps d'Athanase ( 296 - 373 ) il y avait de féroces disputes sur l'identité de Jésus. Le chrétien aujourd'hui comprend que la Bible enseigne que Jésus est le Fils de Dieu, à la fois complètement divine mais une personne distincte du Père. Mais Athanase a vu l'église divisée entre quatre partis :

Les "arianistes", comme les témoins de Jéhovah d'aujourd'hui, disaient que le Fils a été créé le premier, semi-divine mais pas Dieu lui-même.

Les 'origenistes" disaient que Jésus n'était pas créé, mais il n'était pas exactement comme Dieu, ayant une nature similaire mais différente.

Les "nicenistes" croyaient que Jésus est le Fils de Dieu, de la même nature (le mot grec est homoousios - la même substance) que Dieu le Père. Jésus est complètement Dieu, mais il n'est pas le Père.

Les "sabellianistes" ont dit que le Père et le Fils sont la même personne dans de différents rôles, de la même façon qu'aujourd'hui un seul homme peut être papa, comptable et sportif à de différents moments de sa semaine.

Athanase a été le héros des Nicenistes. Il disait continuellement que si le Christ n'était pas divin et immortel il ne pourrait pas donner la vie éternelle à son peuple et le faire participer à la vie divine. En plus, si Jésus n'était pas complètement humain il ne pourrait pas vivre et mourir pour sauver l'homme pécheur. Pour que Jésus sauve l'humanité il faut qu'il soit à la fois Dieu et homme.

La dispute a été forte et chaude. Athanase a été exilé et rappelé cinq fois. Huit ans après sa mort, au Conseil de Constantinople, l'affaire a été réglée une fois pour tous. Le conseil a proclamé que Jésus est de la même nature que le Père - homoousios - mais en même temps pour protéger l'église de l'erreur des sabellianistes (le modalisme) le conseil a proclamé que le Fils et le Père sont de différentes personnes (hupostases).

Intéressant ! Athanase, pendant son dernier exil, habitait dans le tombeau de son père.

Citation ! "Le Jésus que je connais comme rédempteur ne peut être moins que Dieu".

Merci au "Good Book Blog" pour ce petit rappel de la vie d'Athanase.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Makes you think...

Notes finished - ready to go
In the course of my sermon from 2 Timothy at Anglade I mentioned that the best translation of the word for "preach the word" is to announce like a herald. Un héraut.

Now the congregation at Anglade is pretty canny, so you can imagine my shock when they didn't know the word héraut. Well, one man dredged it up from the depths of his memory but for most of them it was a new word. Or at least they said it was.

I thought, 'after scouring the dictionary to ensure it is le héraut and not l'héraut, I needn't have bothered !

Then I thought, well it's pretty logical. If you don't have a king why have a herald.

There may be other consequences of the word's disappearance, too.