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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Monday, August 20 2001

A postcard from Belfast

Belfast, Ireland, has struck fear in my timid heart for at least 35 years, when I turned down a tentative offer to work here for a Christian newspaper—a militant Protestant paper—in the tinderbox where clashes between Catholic and Protestant factions have flared for as long as I can remember. Though a professed "soldier for Christ" I was never militant for Protestantism, at least not if that meant inciting or even condoning violence, nor have I ever held ill-will to my many Catholic friends and relatives, so I politely declined the offer to apply to become editor of the Belfast paper despite my longing from youth to visit the Emerald Isle many years before I was eventually able to do so. And this is my first visit to the North where all the troubles have been centered since the larger, southern portion of the Isle won its independence from Great Britain in, I believe, 1939, after 700 years of oppressive control.

We're not here for work on any problems or even to analyze Ireland's problems, but only as a tourists wanting to see places like the cathedrals of St. Patrick in Armagh, the Giant's Causeway on the North Sea, and find out what Belfast and Derry (formerly Londonderry) are like firsthand. We arrived in Belfast at about 9 p.m. Sunday evening (this being written a little after 12 a.m. Monday, local time), and thus far are greatly and positively impressed.

Belfast is a modern city compared with any other one we've toured since getting to the UK a week ago. It's about the same age of many American cities, having risen up in the Industrial Revolution and kept pace with industrial technology ever since. Mike noticed the contrast immediately, and likes it. We're also impressed by some other factors...not the least being our tremendous good fortune in making all the connections from Iona, the remote island in the Hebrides off the Highlands of Scotland, driving from there over hill, dale, and a ferry ride, to Glasgow, Scotland, on to Stranraer, and by a much longer ferry ride on a much larger ferry from that Scottish port to Belfast. With no advanced bookings, we arrived just in time to get a spot for our car on the ferry, arrived just at night fell, and drove no more than 20 minutes before finding, with no map to follow and no address to look for, a guest house with a twin room that's the best we've had yet in our travels and at one of the best prices.

Then we went out on the street, on foot, to look for a restaurant still open, and found one catering mostly to the University community near the guest house, and had the best meal we've had on the trip, as well. Now if we can only find an adequate Internet access place Monday morning to get this to you...and if you received it Monday we must have...our welcome to Norhtern Ireland will be complete.

More good news: we also solved the problem of Mike's missing camera cable and are able to send photos again...but since we had to send this longer postcard as well as (presumably) David Caldwell's belated Sunday post today, I'm holding off sending the next one. Remind me to tell you about Iona...but the good reports are piling up faster than I can process them all!

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Things I wish I'd known before going out into the real world

Some people are working backstage, some are playing in the orchestra, some are on-stage singing, some are in the audience as critics, some are there to applaud. Know who and where you are.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Next step in evolution

People often ask when the next step in evolution, the step to something beyond man, will happen. But on the Christian view, it has happened already. In Christ, a new kind of man appeared; and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us.

—C. S. Lewis

Sent by Carole Levinson Stuart

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