Jon Kennedy's Postcards from
his missionary tour in Europe

The blog from Northern Ireland—a
roundup of every-day important
things I may have learned in life and
things I have found on the Internet

Jon Kennedy blog index


Today's Scripture: He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But he who is careless of his ways will die. He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given. Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction. A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. What is desired in a man is kindness, And a poor man is better than a liar. The fear of the Lord leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again. Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.

Proverbs, chapters 19:16-25,
from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
See the Bible study notes below.

Additional reading for today: Isaiah 48:17-49:4; Genesis 27:1-41 «

Today's diary - life in Northern Ireland - the last blog

The life-in photo for the final blog before I go off on my furlough gives an example of how American culture, especially pop culture, is reflected in the United Kingdom and Ireland. "Fonzie's," complete with images of "the Fonz," just opened a couple of blocks from where I'm living (though it may have been closed for refurbishing). It's an ice cream and soda shop, which harkens back to the late 1940s and '50s, in the United States (but those years are remembered here as the final years of the war-caused rationing years, marked by shortages in all food and luxury items). As the best of English television (like Downton Abbey, Foyle's War, Life on Mars) is well known to American television viewers, so is much of American television's fare seen here. And as rock and roll is as big here as it has been in the United States, the pop culture associated with it, including Happy Days, is very much liked. One of my personal epiphanies here has been walking into a shop and hearing, with some pleasure of recognition, some American hit record, only to realize the artist is Elton John or Engelbert Humperdinck, true-blue Birts, not American at all.

Speaking of pop music, on Saturday night Jack Lamb took me to a musical evening at the Ulster Hall, featuring the Belfast Operatic Company's show, "West End to Broadway," a collection of songs from shows ranging from Evita to Mama Mia. It was very impressive, inspiring in a get-up-and-dance way (though I resisted the temptation), and finally delivered me from humming the songs learned for our choir concert last month.

On Friday, Jack and I visited our Donegal friend and colleague in the CS Lewis "industry," Bill Stainsby, and were wowed by all the progress Bill has made on his house and grounds on Inch Island, which he is turning into a C.S. Lewis Center for Ireland. He is hoping to have it open for visitors this summer, and is encouraging me to start thinking of joining him there as Writer in Residence (which I am very much looking forward to).

Sunday was a mild, mostly sunny spring day in Belfast. My friends at St. Ignatius gave me a very warm send-off, with hopes all around of seeing each other in November, and in the evening Trevor Buchanan and Richard Bowron toasted my departure at our nearby favorite restaurant, the Beijing buffet. Today is my packing day, with a break in the mddle for one last lunch at the Lampost with Jack.

I hope to resume blogging again around June 1. Meanwhile, follow me on Facebook for reposts, headlines recommendations, and occasional thoughts:  «

Headlines - an Orthodox Christian news aggregator
Click to access articles on news, features, research and opinion pieces. See caveats, below.

Some say the number of refugees Obama is planning to import is staggering

The Orthodox Church is said to be standing in the way of the New World Order

The Bible joins the top 10 most challenged (as in 'censored') books list in USA

EPA 'leadership' in destroying coal industry is hurting families throughout America

A relatively small group of companies is described as a 'network that runs the world'

'Snowflake' meltdown leads university to bans use of chalk on campus sidewalks

Forbes writer challenges 'seven most dangerous myths about $15 minimum wage'

Sharon Stone canceled movie shoot in Mississippi over its religion rights stand

Man dressed as a woman arrested in Virginia women's toilet for peeping, filming

CBN News: 'love hotels' popping up in China signal shift in sexual attitudes there

Christian worldview - make America great again
(This department alternates with Writing stuff)

An Orthodox Facebook friend, a theological blogger with a sizeable following, asked a few weeks back, what does Donald Trump mean by calling on people to elect him to make America great again. In what sense was America once great, and in what greatness does he want it to be returned? They are good questions, because I have seen no instance in which Trump has defined America's former greatness, what caused it to lose its greatness, and what it would mean to see it become great again. It's almost like he is saying just electing him would make America great again, but there is almost no evidence put forward to support that claim. If "he" is to become America's greatness, I am not convinced this is even close to my definition of how America may have once been great and how it can regain that former greatness.

I do believe America has lost much of its former greatness, especially in the past seven years, for reasons laid out in the video below by Dennis Prager. Though I've never been an "America first," "my country right or wrong" type of person, I have nevertheless believed, like Prager, that America has always been an exceptional country and its influence throughout the world has been mostly for the good. I have met many people here in my three years of living in Europe who share that opinion, which I have come by without having to ask for it.

Prager's point that the left sees America as a bad place in need of transformation and conservatives see it as a good place worth preserving, is valid. And in the meme above, by Milan Kundera, his point that a people can be liquidated by erasing their memory, also rings true. But in our case, no one had to burn the history books, because all that was needed was to hire nothing but "America-bad" history professors at the uniformly leftist major universities, and a new generation would fall for their line and believe facile propaganda without even looking for truthful history. Some even fall for "the new culture" just because it's new and they didn't quite like the old. «

Today's video




Today's quotes


Love hunger and thirst for the sake of Christ. Insofar as you pacify your body, so much will you do to make your soul virtuous. God, who rewards thoughts, words, and deeds, will give good in return for even a small thing which you gladly suffer for His sake.

— Gennadius of Constantinople  «

Those who believe in nothing are very, very jealous and angry at those who believe in something.

— Dennis Prager «

Bible study notes: In a year like this one, it's hard to read a passage like today's selection from Proverbs without thinking of political candidates making their cases to the voters, and wondering which verse best matches which candidate. The truth is that every proverb matches us all, though some of them fit some of us better than they fit others.

A word with God: God of heaven and earth, give us insight into your word and your words as they teach us your precepts. Help us to understand what we read, and live accordingly. Through Christ our Lord with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God in three persons, Amen. «

§     §     § Return to top

Every-day important things; A word from God; a word with God; taking stock of our place now; catching up on world and social concerns ("headlines"); an inward reflection (worldview); something to get you out; something to laugh about; some thoughts to sharpen your thinking.

Caveats on "headlines"; links to articles on current issues—news, features, research 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, being aware that knowledge can be dangerous and a little knowledge even moreso. «

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 (usually 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 and webmaster. «

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

§ I have now uploaded over 5,000 photos and videos from my tours in Northern Ireland, Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Republic of Ireland, Romania and Serbia, 2013-15, and also including several hundred photos and videos from my summer in Pennsylvania in 2012, some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Most of these are now organized by albums. Click here for the Flicker site.

For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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. My permanent/postal address is 632 North 20th Street, San Jose, CA 95112; my Belfast telephone number is 07479 651992; from outside the United Kingdom, dial 00447479 651992.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog entry

INDEX 2016

INDEX of blogs February 4 2015 - January 29 2016


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, his parish in his adopted home base of Belfast, UK, 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


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