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Author Archives: Jon Garvey
I’m not a follower of royal news, certainly not when it involves Mickey Mouse accusations of family racism, and even more when our constitutionally constrained king chooses to speak at COP28, discarding the advice he received for the last such bash, that it would be political to attend, and therefore contradictory to his role to represent the whole British people and avoid politics.
How God works in the world is often regarded (and is indeed) a deep philosophical question. But it actually matters in real life, which is why the Bible says a lot about it. Because it doesn’t do so in a systematic analytical way, but through narrative, poetry, historiography and so on, its importance is often missed by those academics who like systematics.
A story in the Daily Mail today caught my attention. Essentially the piece is in the genre “human interest hit job on religious cult,” the cult in this case being “Bigoted Fundamentalist Christianity.” But I noticed it because the strapline included “Guildford County School for Girls,” in my hometown, so I wondered if the youth club that changed her life for the worse might be the one I went to.
Outside observers like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Andy Ngo (now based in London) point out the perfect storm of violence and cultural disaster now brewing across Europe, not least in England. This has been brought into focus, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, by the crude antisemitism evident in the response in Britain to the current Middle East war, combined with the (to say the least) easy ride given to Hamas amongst our British intelligentsia. One concerning thing, to me, is how these attitudes are shared even by many in the sceptical community.
I had higher than usual expectations whilst I was awaiting my free review copy of this 2022 book by Prof. Oisín MacAmadáin (Expert), not least because the author’s Dublin agent turns out to be related to me by a marriage in Queen Elizabeth I’s time. How unlikely is that? (Well, not that unlikely, since 20 generations ago both of us have 1 million ancestors, around the total population of Ireland at that time, though the fact that both ancestors were Archbishops of Armagh might change the odds a little). Still, that human connection with the author certainly warmed me to the book in advance.
One of our guys at church has just come off the sound team, and after a break of a decade is getting back into playing flute for our church band. “As I get deeper into practising,” he said, “I’m finding that a lot of the new songs aren’t written for worship, but performance.”
James Tour, as many of you will know, is a noted chemist who wears his Christian faith on his sleeve, unashamedly engaging in apologetics alongside his groundbreaking research, particularly that involving nano-particles.
This one is just a “nature diary” piece, so don’t expect any geopolitical insights – or even conclusions about nature, come to that. Most years we find a wasp-nest somewhere on our two and a half acre spread, but this year it was hornets.
Back in 2015 I wrote about Jorge Luis Borge’s fantastical “Infinite Library.” Read my post to see how Borges envisaged it, and why it proved useless to imaginary readers free to browse its galleries, but unable to gain any wisdom from it. I guess the nearest real-world equivalents are legal-deposit libraries like the Cambridge University Library, housing every book published in Britain since 1662.
I was walking Charlie the dog, and idly wondering about a common Evangelical saying I’d recently heard again somewhere, which runs: “If I’d been the only sinner in the world, Jesus would still have died for me.“