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The Church in the Furnace
The Church in the Furnace
by Frederick Brodie Macnutt
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Evidence that in times of ease, we fall into the same traps., 18 Nov. 2014
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Oh how the Church of England in 2014 would do well to read the reflections of the 'citizen chaplains' of the First World War. Plunged into the midst of thousands of men (and a few women) who were experiencing life as they had hitherto been incapable of even imagining, they found their faith and understanding of God challenged... and yet, far from the picture often portrayed by today's secularists who pay too much attention to their own kind... public school educated Graves and Sassoon... not only did their faith survive, but they actually found it transformed, as gold, in the refining fire of suffering. Seventeen of them, writing in 1917, i.e. whilst the war was still grinding on, ponder their experiences and examine the Church in the light of them. Time and again, this results in a series of critiques that ring uncomfortably true 97 years later.
Frederick Macnutt writes “Mr H.G. Wells tells us that ‘the Church has not the courage of its creeds’: and he is right, because we either handle them so timidly that we are easily despoiled of them, or care for them so little that we give them away to every new demand of the modern mind.”
Tom Pym bewails the fact that so many of the soldiers who had been raised as baptised Christians, are massively ignorant of the Christian Gospel and wonders what the church in the nation has been playing at. "The opportunity of association with the Englishman, the man in the street, 'Jones' - or what you will - which the war has afforded to army chaplains have revealed to those who did not know it before an absence of religious education, not merely deficiencies in its method."
Most striking of all though is that after the war, so many of these chaplains worked tirelessly to address theses shortfalls, and in at least one case, Studdert Kennedy, literally worked himself to death.
By way of an aside, full marks to our trans-Atlantic brethren who made this book available. Bibliobazaar appear to scan into some device such classics as they deem too important to allow to disappear, and then republish them in their original typeface - all very atmospheric! May I strongly recommend another of their efforts, "The Hardest Part" by Studdert Kennedy. In it, he reflects on the nature of God during the 1917 offensive that began with the mining of the Messines Ridge.


Saviour's Song
Saviour's Song
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars listen to this bloke, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Saviour's Song (MP3 Download)
A Scot with a gravelly voice with which is perfect for delivering his deep lyrics. Due to the unpredictable nature of the British music industry (and Scotland is still with us), carefully packaged pretty faces that can sing (with the aid of digital acrobatics) do well because we are told they are top notch, but Phil, with his scarred face and scarred life, remain largely overlooked. Get a life music listeners. This bloke is seriously talented.


Genesis: The Bibluffer's Guide (book 1 of an optimistic 66-part collection) (Bibluffers Guide 1)
Genesis: The Bibluffer's Guide (book 1 of an optimistic 66-part collection) (Bibluffers Guide 1)
by Paul Kerensa
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious Biscuit, 16 April 2014
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Several years ago whilst working as a school chaplain, I found myself becoming increasingly concerned that the pupils I was responsible for simply didn't get it. Ifyou asked them about Genesis, Phil Collins might just get a mention (on one occasion Peter Gabriel's name actually came up but only on that solitary occasion) but neither Gerhard von Rad, Rudolf Bultmann nor Gordon Wenham were even on the radar. Carefully prepared chapel expositions of Joseph's tryste with the wife of Potiphar fell on deaf ears and even a rampant session dealing with Lot's conjugal relations with his daughters failed to strike a chord. Close to despair, I found myself reading a back issue of TJOVSOTS (The Journal Of Very Serious Old Testament Studies) where I encountered an article entitled "Self-administered Circumcision in Pre-exilic Judah" by an OT theologian I'd never heard of... a certain Kerensa P. I was captivated and straight away invited him to come and deliver a lecture to the pupils. He chose his subject, Genesis, and such was my trust in him based solely on this article that I forced all 600 pupils to attend the lecture. Such was the outstanding quality of his material and arresting style of his delivery that even though it was 10.30 on a Sunday morning following a 6th form dance the night before, he grabbed their attention from the start and confidently held it right to the very end of what turned out to be an extraordinarily stimulating 70 minute lecture. The world needed to hear what he had to say so I implored him to write a commentary on Genesis and half a decade later, I was delighted to discover that he had at last done so. I purchased it and have barely managed to concentrate on anything else since it dropped though my letterbox. With my Hebrew interlinear in my left hand and Kerensa's Bibluffer's commentary in my right, I have wallowed in his exegesis, delighted at his insight, and lapped up his titbits of nuanced application. This work is a veritable tour de force and my hunch is that all those OT theologians out there who are working on their commentaries will throw their half-completed manuscripts into the recycler for without too much doubt, this could quite probably be possible the ultimate (or perhaps penultimate) work on Genesis. When I die, I'm going to request that a copy of Kerensa's Genesis is placed with me in my coffin so that when I pass through the pearly gates, I will be able to share its contents with Abraham who might at last understand what God was getting at all those years ago.


De'Longhi EMK6 Moka Maker, 6 Cup
De'Longhi EMK6 Moka Maker, 6 Cup

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a little cracker, 20 Feb. 2013
Top notch item. This little beaut has been making my morning for the past two years and in all that time, all I've had to replace is the rubber seal in the base of the top half. Admittedly, the plastic top half is now stained but this is only to be expected after at least 750 mugs of the rich dark stuff which still hits the mark. I've had no problems with the top cracking and up to when I changed the seal, I had to tighten it pretty forcefully. No reservations in recommending this as a far cheaper alternative to an all singing all dancing espresso machine and its minimalist appearance is way more mellow to boot.


The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality, and Foreign Language Learning
The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality, and Foreign Language Learning
by David Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars a must for all foreign language teachers, 20 Oct. 2012
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Frankly guys, it doesn't matter whether you share the Christian faith of the authors, this is a book that challenges the reasons for teaching our children the languages of others. Crammed full of telling examples, it asks why it is that the way we teach languages assumes that what our children need most is the wherewithal to be be first rate consumers in foreign lands. Whilst the vocabulary of the commercial encounter predominates, the vocab of reconciliation is strangely absent. Even Dawkins in his tome, 'the Selfish Gene', stressed that if we want to experience life in a civilised society, we will have to teach our children to resist the self-centred imperative of the selfish gene, and given that selfishness is what makes capitalism function, this fresh approach to teaching foreign languages is not just different, one might argue it is long overdue.
One example to highlight... the ability to speak the language of the stranger enables one to be a good host but just as importantly, it enables the individual to be a good guest. The teacher in the classroom is the host to the pupils, but the pupils must also recognise the fact that as guests, they themselves bring something to the classroom encounter. It is in the encounter that progress is forged and this book will encourage all teachers, not just language ones, to reflect on why they do what they do and perhaps thereby to become better teachers.


Ibrahim Maalouf - Diagnostic
Ibrahim Maalouf - Diagnostic
Price: £15.90

4.0 out of 5 stars great stuff, 20 Oct. 2012
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I heard about this bloke from Lebanon with a four valve trumpet and thought 'this sounds interesting'... and it turned out to be more than interesting. His old man apparently wouldn't let him loose on the four valve version till he was pretty competent on the normal three valve item, and this reminded me of a lad I once met on camp who was fab at jazz piano. His dad was a professional jazz pianist but had refused to teach his lad how to play jazz until he had got to grade 6 classical. Anyway, enough of the personal reminisce, what you want to know is why this album is good. It's different, genuinely so... I had never encountered a similar style before... but more importantly, it was a good listen. As the first track drifted into the second, I was completely drawn in and loving every second, not least because I wasn't sure where the music was headed but somehow sensed that it would be good... and it was. Not all the tracks are equally captivating but hey, here is a fantastic musician doing things his way, and "Beirut", the so called bonus track at the end is pretty much worth the whole price of the album.


Howard Goodall / Enchanted Voices (Classic FM)
Howard Goodall / Enchanted Voices (Classic FM)
Price: £13.25

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sublime, 13 Sept. 2012
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I purchased this MP3 download because I felt in need of some more working-late-into-the-night-music to relieve the pressure on Rachmaninov's Vespers and Brian Eno's Music for Airports. It works remarkably effectively... and even in the morning as well! No seriously, I was intrigued by Goodall setting the Beattitudes to music, not least because it made one wonder why it had been so rarely done before. It was also a pleasant reminder that the Truth still inspires the very best of musicians for this is an original, mellow and, yes even beautiful, work. Soprano voices only is an interesting option and doubtless caused one reviewer to remark that all the pieces sound alike. Hmm - in a sense, I can see what he's getting at, but I absolutely disagree because whilst not wanting in any way to sound condescending, there is so much happening in these pieces precisely because Goodall decided to restrict himself to sopranos. Yes, it works brilliantly as music to work to, but it also rewards he who would sit down with a glass of chilled Orvietto Classico, shut his eyes, and let the music do its business.
My only aside is to comment on his decision to add four Beattitudes to the original list. A wry smile plays on my lips as I contemplate Goodall deciding to supplement Jesus' teaching that has stood the test of time and inspired billions of Christians down the millennia. Did our Lord accidentally leave some stuff out? Is this a kind of 21st Century intellectual arrogance that just has to have its say? On the other hand, since it meant that we got an extra four pieces of music, I can forgive his presumption and get on with enjoying his work which I for one, notwithstanding what I've just written, dare to believe is infused, whether wittingly or not, with a divine essence.


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