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Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his soj
ourn in Northern Ireland'

My Google+ diary and Belfast blog


Jon Kennedy        

JONAL ENTRY 1366 | TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31 2013

Today's Scripture: . . . all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.

From St. Paul's second letter to Timothy, chapters 3 & 4,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the homiletical thought below.

Today's diary

At this writing, 2013 is going out in glory...as sunny a day as we ever see in Belfast. Though this is "rainy season" in California, New Year's Day almost always seems to be mild and sunny there. My brother said this was nature's way of conspiring to lure new migrants into the state from places eastern; they'd see the Rose Parade on TV and think that if California is that lovely why weren't they living there.

I haven't ascertained whether UK televiewers have ever seen the Rose Parade, so for the record, it's a huge New Year's parade broadcast from the main street of Pasadena (one of LA's oldest suburbs). It features elaborate floats (motorized parade displays) all covered with the petals of roses and other flowers and grasses.

But the point is, you have proof before your eyes above that Belfast is just as sunny and lovely, so why not consider moving? California considers itself overpopulated while Northern Ireland still regrets that it has never regained the level of population it had before the potato famine.

Today's Christmas fare

The seventh day of Christmas. The painting depicted above is "Twelfth Night," a tribute to Shakespeare's play of the same name. G. K. Chesterton had some thoughts very much like many I have shared in this forum over the years: Christmas should begin, not end, on December 25, and though it is now mostly forgotten, this was true for several centuries. Dale Ahlquist, one of the best and most underappreciated contemporary authors, the champion of Chesterton without peer, writes:

Says Chesterton: “Modern men have a vague feeling that when they have come to the feast, they have come to the finish. By modern commercial customs, the preparations for it have been so very long and the practice of it seems so very short. This is, of course, in sharp contrast to the older traditional customs, in the days when it was a sacred festival for a simpler people. Then the preparation took the form of the more austere season of Advent and the fast of Christmas Eve. But when men passed on to the feast of Christmas it went on for a long time after the feast of Christmas Day. It always went on for a continuous holiday of rejoicing for at least twelve days.” It ended, he points out, in a wild culmination that was famously commemorated by a writer most of us have heard of: William Shakespeare. He wrote a play called Twelfth Night. And while most of us have heard of the play, most have forgotten the meaning of Twelfth Night. It is the twelfth day of Christmas. The last of a dozen days of great celebration, that begins with the birth of Christ and ends with the visit of the Wise Men.

Read the whole article in Crisis here. I agree with everything in it except this: "awful 'holiday' music that blares out of the loudspeakers in every public place during the month of December." As anyone who's been with me here on previous Christmases knows, I consider Christmas music the most joyous of the year.

Chuckle

Here's a bonus chuckle for New Year's Eve. It made me laugh out loud, so I had to share it, from a post on Twitter (yes, I Tweet). Evolutionists should be impressed at the progress made in three short years.

Today's quotes

One way to define humility is doing what God wants as opposed to doing what I want. Pride is doing what I want instead of what God commands. To be humble means to consider God before myself. This takes courage and love. The result is the power to live as God commands. As Jesus said. “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

— Jay Younts, by way of Kirk Cameron

My nomination for silly quote of the year is the following, with my adaptation of the meme for posting on my Fb and G+ pages:

Of course Christians cannot condemn Barbara or anyone else; that's the prerogative of God in the person of the true Messiah alone. But if democracy has any hope of working, it is necessary for public figures to be criticized on their silliness and blasphemies.

Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.

— C.S. Lewis

Homiletical thought: The perfect commentary on the passage above is the words of Jesus in the Gospel reading for today: "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?" It's also instructive that the church juxtaposed these two passages from two chapters from Paul's second letter to Timothy for today's reading, to emphasize that knowing the Scriptures is fundamental to being able to preach and teach the word of God.

The democratic principles of the enlightenment produced denominations of professing Christians who believe that each individual's interpretation of any passage of the word is as good as any other's. Over against this, the apostolic church has always taught that only the tradition can be called on as a valid and reliable interpretation of any passage. Innovation in doctrine is to be suspected and if seen as new, rejected. This is why Orthodoxy does not accept Roman Catholic doctrines like purgatory and the immaculate conception of the Theotokos or Protestant ones like chiliasm; none of these are found in the tradition of the apostles.


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Unless specified otherwise, none of the message memes used in this blog are the creation or property of the author, but are reposted here from the social networks.

Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page.

§ I have now uploaded over 2,700 photos and videos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by sets. Click here for the Flicker site.

For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand (click on either icon to go to the site).
Google+ works more automatically, so most of the pictures I post (excluding Flickr) are posted there.
Feedback: Please comment on anything in today's blog on the Facebook and Google+ pages linked above, and of course via email to jrk@nantyglo.com.

Feedback is always welcome.

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Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

 

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