Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his missio
nary journey in Europe

The 'Maltese Pigeon' blog
(because I haven't seen any falcons)

Jon Kennedy blog index


Today's Scripture: . . . we do not want you to be ignorant of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself, Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.

St. Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 1:8-11,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the homiletical thought below. 

Today's diary - life in the Republic of Malta

The huge bell above (it is also seen in the new logo atop this page) is rung every noonday in Valletta as a memorial to the seige of Malta in World War II. A crown colony of Great Britain at the time, and the nearest neighbor to Mussolini-ruled Italy, Malta became a staging ground for some of the most ferocious encounters in the war.

To my surprise I was able to get a whole blog done yesterday in the shopping mall, which has inspired me to redouble my effort now that I've found a reliable place to work online. I'm experimenting with getting the "boilerplate" items in place the evening before. "Boilerplate" is an oldtime newspaper term for items the newspapers always had at hand to throw in a space that was leftover in a page, or to promote a cause dear to the heart of the publisher and/or editor. In this case, I can work ahead on such "boilerplate" as the "life-in" photo, the worldview meme, the chuckle and quote.

I've told several people that Malta is the closest I've ever been to the "Holy Land." It's literally true, in miles, but more important in my view than the physical distance is the similarity of this land to the "look and feel" of Israel and environs as seen in pictures. This is a desert land, with views out to the sea from high points at turns everywhere; the buildings appear to be made primarily from hewn sandstone; they have flat roofs like the ones in your Sunday school pictures of houses in Israel in your childhood.

But in addition to the "Holy Land" resonance, it also resounds with old Europe in ways I've never experienced for more than a few days at a time (well, with the exception of Belfast, which is not quite "old Europe"). Streets with names like "Main Street" (in translation) not 10 minutes' walk from from where I'm living, could be streets in Rome, or Paris, or Vienna, so narrow there's room for a sidewalk on only one side, and that sidewalk not wide enough for two people to pass without one having to step off the curb.

Every day I rejoice about coming here. It isn't all roses, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, with new discoveries around corners everywhere. «

A closer look
Links to news, features, and opinion pieces. See caveats, below.

A UK woman wishes she had aborted her now-47-year-old son with Downs

Your're a Christian and yet you sin? Here's an Orthodox way of dealing with that

A nurse who lost daughter to suicide responds to campaign for assisted suicide

When it comes to people in poverty, churches say it's not 'just money' «

Christian worldview - practicing nonjudgmentalism
(This department alternates with Writing stuff)

An important element of practicing the nonjudgmentalism that is an essential of Jesus' teaching, is learning the lesson in today's meme. But comparing our circumstance, our performance, our attainments whether material or internal/personal—even spiritual success, as we perceive it—are so utterly "human"—so "natural"—that learning to curb that tendency is one of the hardest lessons we are asked to learn. The social media are rife with memes that miss the point, some of which even defy the very idea of refraining from comparing ourselves with others.

Cut them loose, some of these say—after, of course, you have carefully judged them—"assessed" them and have concluded they're of no value in your life at this point or are a drag on your "speed" or your "style." Another tack on the same scenario is the "I cried about my lack of shoes until I met a person with no feet," adage. No—don't judge yourself based on the lack or the hardship of any other person, and certainly not based on what you have that they lack. Judge your neighbor only as an image-bearer of the Creator, an appropriate target for compassion, genuine fellow-feeling, and do whatever you can to alleviate his woe or raise her lot in life, and their outlooks on life. «

Today's video




Today's quotes

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

— Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865) «

Having God, fear nothing, but cast all of your care upon Him, and He will take care of you. Believe without doubting, and God will help you according to His mercy.

— St. Barsanuphius the Great «

— C.S. Lewis «

Homiletical thought: Paul has three important lessons in today's brief epistle passage. 1. When you are under a sentence of death or even if it just feels like that, it should drive us to the mercies and grace of God. 2. The God who has helped us in the past is the one who will help us now and for the future, whatever it holds. 3. Prayer helps. Your prayer for me helps me, mine for you helps you, and the prayers of the church bless the world. «

§     §     § Return to top

Caveats 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. «

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. «

Quotations usually have not been vetted (and thus may be falsely attributed). «

Videos used here are embedded from video websites (most frequently YouTube), and occasionally these are removed from the sites from which they were embedded, or permissions on those sites change, causing them to "disappear" from these pages. This is also likely to happen to links to articles outside this site. This is beyond the control or remedy of this blog. «

Comments: Please leave comments on my Facebook or Google+ page. «

§ I have now uploaded over 3,000 photos and videos, mostly from my recent 19-month visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), some photos of the family, and some new ones from Malta 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 Europe. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is Room 215B, Robert Mifsud Bonnici str, Lija, LJA 1405 Malta. Mobile, (Not yet available, please check later blogs for update).

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog entry


This blog is just
an attempt to communicate
between an American lay missionary in Europe, 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 Europe. 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

Other books by Jon

Author page
on Amazon


Search site

Enter a name or subject and press return.


© 2014 JRK