Showing posts from December, 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, appall

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 Abra


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 ! However 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...

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 ab

Saturday morning music


Listen ! Can you hear them ?


Hopes and fears


Wake up !

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

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 !


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 re

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 t

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...

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 !

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 !

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 !

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.


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 whic

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 !

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

Saturday music


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


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 goo

Unemployment in France

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

Some Christmas music


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&#

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.