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

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Today's Scripture: . . . just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals, they are destroyed. Woe to the ungodly, for they walk in the way of Cain. . .

From St. Jude's first universal letter, chapter 1,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the homiletical thought below. 

Today's diary - life in Northern Ireland

My holidays (as they call vacations here in the UK and Ireland) in County Donegal Monday through yesterday were very relaxing and refreshing. I spent all of it on the Inishowen Peninsula, which is the first of several peninsulas that jut up into the North Atlantic once you cross the River Foyle in Derry (shown in the panorama above) and a few miles on across the international border (which you will miss if you blink at the wrong second). I took the train from Belfast to Derry with a couple of hours to spare before my bus was scheduled to leave to the Inishowen Peninsula a little after 5 p.m. Monday. Michael Tinne was waiting in his car (formerly "Marda's car") in the center of Culdaff. The map shows the entire Inishowen Peninsula, with Derry named as Londonderry, the only place name that's in bold text. Derry spans the River Foyle, though the map seems to indicate it as being only on the west side. Culdaff was not shown on the iPad map so I had to ask it to show it to me, and thus it is now indicated by a "pin."

Ireland being a rather small country (overall about the size of South Carolina), the maps are usually very large compared with US state maps, the distance from Derry to Culdaff only 25 miles. I'll continue the "coverage" of my trip in future posts. Meanwhile, there are two albums of photos from the trip on my Google+ page, here.

Last night Jack Lamb and I attended a movie, God is Not Dead, in the CitySide cinemas, on the recommendation of Steven Hagan, a young man who is in our C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland. We met him after the movie and compared notes, but in a word all of us tremendously liked the indie production about a college student debating his philosophy professor on the question of God's existence. Jack and I were chuffed (that's a Scottish word for something between "impressed" and "thrilled") that one of the student's strongest arguments was derived from Oxford maths professor John Lennox, whom Jack and I, along with the Stothers, had seen speaking in Ballymena last fall, as an adjunct of the C.S. Lewis Festival.

The weather has continued to be summery, with short sleeves outside now even worn by this California blow-in; about as good as it gets in Ireland. «

In the news
Links to articles on current issues—news 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.

Articles trace the rise of intolerance among American liberals, part 1

Video interviews physicians who pray with and for their patients

Blogger challenges claim likening N.T. Wright's view of 'gay marriage' to Nazis, Communists

Kevin DeYoung: five questions for Christians for believe the Bible supports 'gay marriage'

Chuck Todd on MSNBC claims new poll is a disaster to the President

Christian worldview
(This department alternates with Writing stuff)

Review of Titanic Tartans

I've just finished reading a book on a subject I never thought would catch my interest and found it more enjoyable and profitable than I could have imagined. Titanic Tartans by Clifford Smyth of Belfast tells the story of how he caught the vision of introducing "Titanic tartans," fabric patterns usually associated with Scotland and its people but in this case decidedly Irish and specifically Ulster in its application, and kilts made of the fabrics that were registered and manufactured to mark the centennial in 2012 of Belfast's most famous industrial achievement, the launching of the world's most famous oceanliner ever, the Titanic.

Released in 2009 in a 192-page quality paperback edition by Ambassador Publications of Belfast, the book has just been re-released in a Kindle edition, available here. The original edition had the subtitle, "An Ulster Scots cultural odyssey," which gives a clue to my finding the book highly enjoyable (history and especially cultural history being among my keen interests). The Kindle edition has the revised subtitle, "The story of the ship told in Tartan."

Key to the cultural history was the discovery in a peat bog in Londonderry County, Ulster, of a buried stash of clothing that included remains of a kilt made of a family tartan that was determined to date from the 1600s, refuting an earlier claim by a well-known historian that the kilt had been invented by Englishmen in 1727. Smyth proceeds to show that garments very like kilts, basically pleated wrap-around loin cloths, date to earliest times in recorded human history and are depicted in drawings and statues of warriors from ancient times. And like the find in a Londonderry field in 1956, tartan fabrics have been found on mummies of caucasian origin, unearthed in Wupu (Qizilchoqa), China, beginning in the 1980s. Smyth investigated (though failed to prove either way) claims that St. Andrew, one of the original twelve apostles, may have visited Scotland, and found that the earliest Irish populations may not have been descended from the Celts as widely believed, but Takharians.

Often at its best when it gets into the author's personal theories and attitudes on the quest, this book is recommended reading for anyone fascinated with history, or the history and styles of clothing, or ancient peoples and their development. «

Today's video

Maybe MickeyD's overseas commercials are more subtle, classier?




Today's quotes


The soul that has come to know God fully no longer desires anything else, nor does it attach itself to anything on the earth; and if you put before it a kingdom, it would not desire it, for the love of God gives such sweetness and joy to the soul that even the life of a king can no longer give it any sweetness.

— St. Silouan the Athonite «

All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

— C.S. Lewis «

Homiletical thought: Today is St. Jude's Day.

Those who interpret the sin of Sodom which caused its destruction in the book of Genesis as a failure of hospitality seem unable to rationalise ("interpret away") this passage from St. Jude's 25-verse epistle from the New Testament, for there can no ambiguity about how the Israel of the First Century and the first generation of Christians interpreted it, if you believe Jude. St. Jude simply takes for granted that there was no ambiguity about it: Sodomy was Sodomy, the indulgence of unnatural lusts. And as in the epistles of Paul and the other Apostles, sodomy was no more excusable than any other violation of God's law. But neither was it any more unforgivable for those who repented of it. «

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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 on, and Twitter (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

Feedback is always welcome.

§     §     §

Please pray 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


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

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This blog is just
an attempt to communicate
between an American lay missionary in Northern Ireland, his friends there, his friends in his home parish in Silicon Valley, California, and his friends in his native coalfields of Western Pennsylvania, and any others interested. When time for deeper reflection is lacking, this may consist mainly of reposts of things from online networks that seem to resonate with members of his circles.

The Nanty Glo Home Page, on which this blog resides, and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley, Pa., community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.

Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum department unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."

Jon Kennedy's recent book,
C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
s mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

C.S. Lewis Society of Northern Ireland

Blogs I follow:

Glory to God for All Things

Dock Cafe - Life in the Titanic Quarter

Sitting around the campfire with Jim

The Belfast Lord Mayor's blog

Other books by Jon

Author page
on Amazon

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