Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
in Northern Ireland'
diary and Belfast blog
ENTRY 1564 | THURSDAY,
took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high
mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before
them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as
no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to
them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And
Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let
us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one
for Elijah." For he did not know what to say, for they were
exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice
came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved son; listen to him."
And suddenly, looking around they no longer saw any one with
them but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain
he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the
Son of man should have risen from the dead.
from today's Orthodox lectionary
See the homiletical thought below. «
diary - life in Northern Ireland
morning was so bright, sunny, and cloudless (well, that describes
the sky looking
only in one direction here, but I don't have eyes in the back of my
head despite some rumors you may have heard) that I decided it was
time for a road trip. An excursion.
the next destination on my list of places awaiting a closer look was
my Presbyterian friend calls the Bible Belt of Northern Ireland. I
hoped to find evidences of that on my visit, and maybe the photo above
is the first exhibit. Where else have I found a "Protestant Hall?"
Never, that I can recall. And there were teenagers giving away free
CDs, presumably of contemporary gospel music similar to that which
the band in the photo inset at right were playing in the town center
big churches were not nearly as prominent in the center of the city
(population over 50k) as in Magerafelt, the destination in my most
recent previous excursion. But the Wikipedia page on Ballymena (which
means "midland town," bally being Irish for town and mena
for middle, and it being close to the middle of County Antrim) says
that Ballymena's population breakdown is 72.2% Protestant background,
24.2% Roman Catholic background, and all the others "other."
It might not
be Grand Rapids or Colorado Springs, but I think there is something
to Ballymena's reputation. My only previous visit setting foot in
the town was for an address by Cambridge University mathematics professor
John Lennox, as part of the festivities surrounding the half-centennial
anniversary of C.S. Lewis's death last November. That event, in a
Presbyterian church, may have been the best attended religious events
I've seen in my 16 months here; the large church was full.
I hope to
share other photos from my excursion in days to come. «
to news, features, and opinion pieces. See Caveat,
Mouw, writing in First Things, compares evangelical colleges
seminaries to monastic orders, without the requirement of celibacy
Francis urges altar servers not to waste time on Internet, smartphones,
gives UCLA $194k to study skill-building for male sex workers in Peru
Lev Grossman in The Atlantic says that C.S. Lewis taught him
that stepping into magical realms transfigures earthly concerns
police charge teacher of intoxication on first day on the job
is suffering consequences of 'forcing religion on others'
article reports on an evangelical spiritual disciplines project
eye is on the minnow,' a look at biblical support for keeping species
(This department alternates with Writing
The meme above
might be a secularized version of the New Testament theme of being
fools for Christ (1 Corinthians 4:10) and "being considered crazy"
as part of the suffering and persecution the Lord told His disciples
they would be required to endure if they took up a cross to follow
Him. And "cultural conditioning" is just a modern way
of referring to "following the course of this world" as
described in Ephesians 2:3.
Are you a
fool for Christ and, if not, what are you not getting about being
His follower? How has this requirement not become part of your Christian
It is easier
for feeble straw to resist a mighty fire than for the nature of sin
to resist the power of love. We must cultivate this love in our souls,
that we may take our place with all the saints. For through their
love for their nieghbor, they were all pleasing to God.
Elizabeth the New Martyr «
comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ('man's
search for God'!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him?
We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found
thought: Today's Gospel passage is the complement to yesterday's
epistle passage, in which Peter recalled in his old age the
voice of the Father saying from the cloud, "This is my beloved
son; listen to him." The Transfiguration is a foretaste and
preview of the heavenly realm, where everything is transformed,
made dazzling by the energies of God. As Father Paul, my priest
here in Belfast, said in his Transfiguration homily, this
event is the center of the Gospel stories of the ministry
of Christ. «
on "A closer look"; links to articles on current issues—news,
features, and opinion that may signify how the cultural winds are
blowing. Note that most 'news reports' are not 'objective' and if
some are 'neutral' it's because the writers and editors are disinterested
(could care less about the topic). Neither are 'news reports,' in
general, highly accurate or unbiased; try to discern the bias of any
report's source; always read aware and at your own risk. «
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. «
leave comments on my Facebook
I have now uploaded over 3,000 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.
more and more spontaneous posts, follow me on,
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feedback is always welcome.
§ § §
for my mission to Northern Ireland. You
can read my background overview of this undertaking here.
My residence/postal address is The Loom, 227 Crumlin Road,
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile, international:
44 7455 980890; from within the UK, 07455 980890.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy
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