Month: August 2006

Solitude

After a long day at work, I came home to spend the evening with just myself. I think this must be the first evening I’ve had to myself for a long time! It was nice to cook myself some fish and chips for supper, and then afterwards, pull out the violin and just play to myself. Sometimes I need time to myself to unwind and relax. I even spent a bit of time reading Schaeffer – The Great Evangelical Disaster, learning how to play Wei-qi (圍棋) and playing chess. I might just go and play the piano for a bit now.


Happy birthday Sam!

Started today at the church helping to set up the building for the holiday bible club this week. It’s always good for the church to be able to share the gospel with the children who live in the area as well as get to know them and their families whilst in a fun environment. It was good to see so many people there, all helping to inflate balloons, affix bunting, sort out materials amongst other things. Before we knew it, all was ready and it wasn’t even lunchtime!

Spent the rest of the Bank Holiday in central London to celebrate Sam’s birthday. We first had a ‘flight’ on the London Eye, which was interesting. Whilst it was a good view of London, allowing a vista spanning from Canary Wharf, through the City, out to Vauxhall and beyond, I must admit to feeling a little underwhelmed. At least I can say I’ve been on it now. 🙂

After a short trip to get some food, we trundled along to the Royal Albert Hall for a Prom concert with an all-Mozart programme. I must admit, of all the works of Mozart, I find his piano concertos entrancing. I would have been happy just to listen to piano concerto 24 on its own, so having the symphonies (34 and 38) and the opera excerpts was a bonus. This evening’s performances were superb, and as an added bonus, the birthday boy seemed to enjoy the perfomance as well, even if it isn’t his usual cup of tea.


a.m.: 2 Corinthians 5 p.m.: Joshua 13

What is our motivation in life? For the Christian, it is the love of Christ which compels us to serve him. After all, if God loved me so much that he’d take on human flesh, live a sinless life and die for sinners such as me, I have no other response, than to trust in my Messiah, to give my life to him.

The God who saves by his grace also enables, that I might serve him and glorify him. I die to self, and I am a new creation in Christ. My sins, not in part, but in their entirety, have been imputed to Christ, and Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to me that I appear without spot or blemish before God, and God’s righteous anger against sin burns against my Saviour.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Isaac Watts

This salvation is available to all who trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. For this salvation is open to all who live by faith.


Happy Birthday Alex and Deanna!

After a day spent wandering around Kingston searching for various household items, it was nice to meet up with some of the usual suspects, at Nandos in Slough, to celebrate the birthdays of Alex and Deanna, whose birthdays have recently passed. As is standard with Nandos, everyone had chicken, although I’m fairly sure some people should stay off the extra hot sauce. After the meal, we sauntered down to Windsor to wander and take in the warm summer evening.

A nice relaxing evening. 🙂


House of Flying Daggers

Also saw House of Flying Daggers on DVD when I got home, as I’d borrowed it off my sister and it had been sitting around unwatched for ages! After the previous DVD, this was a bit of a let down. Yes, the cinematography was astoundingly beautiful, the action sequences were breathtaking, but the story was a veiled love story, under the pretext of an adventure, with the usual twists and turns and even a rather silly ‘if I can’t have you, then nobody can’ within it. If the story was a little more compelling and possibly slightly more complex, the film would be so much better. More chill out than outstanding.


V is for Vendetta

Saw V is for Vendetta on DVD last night, with the usual suspects. I’d been wanting to see this in the cinema when it first came out, but events conspired to ensure that didn’t happen, so I was quite keen to see it on DVD when it was put forward as an option. (The original plan was to watch The Matrix, but a few weren’t keen on that idea, so another film by the Wachowski brothers seemed appropriate!)

The film is based on the comics by DC Comics and is set in a Britain in the not so distant future where a fascist totalitarian government now rules the land. The parallels to Nazi Germany are not very subtle, with the persecution of various minorities, even replacing the head of state with a Chancellor. Other more contemporary political thoughts arise, with the far-right politics of the USA – the hijacking of religion and the dumbing down of ideas and thought, also mixed in for good meaure.

The story itself keeps you interested and weaves along, being quite credible for a comic book, but then, who would think a democratic country could ever slide into totalitarianism? Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. Admittedly, it’s interesting to see how the day-to-day sights and sounds one is familiar with appear in the light of a very different world – the Houses of Parliament, the Old Bailey, the Tube….even the BT Tower! Slightly less credible is the idea of the lone crusader, V, battling against the system as only a comic book hero would – with guns and explosives, but then, that’s what Guy Fawkes tried.

The effects and action sequences are, as ever for the Wachowski brothers, stunning and well choreographed – with a tiny bit of over the top gore. It was different to hear well-loved classical music such as Tchaikovsky’s 1812 and Beethoven’s 5th, juxtaposed against various scenes, as well as slightly calmer jazz and blues, especially in comparison to the slightly more contemporary soundtracks of the previous films by the Wachowskis.

The film itself was well-acted, with plenty of iconic British actors throughout. Natalie Portman stood out slightly, but she’s a good actress (and possibly quite pretty as well), so that’s allowable. With the setting and the actors, as well as the script, the film had a very British feeling to it, which made it slightly more disturbing given the story!

A very good film which has a good deal of action, whilst providing plenty of thought provoking questions. Some of the political comment in the film is a little dubious, but then, the film cannot make us agree to it, only think about it. Well worth seeing.


People will always need plates…

Beattie: Anthony? Oh congratulations on your exam results.

Anthony: Grandma, I failed.

Beattie: You failed? What do you mean you failed?

Anthony: I mean I failed – Maths, English, Physics, Geography, German, Woodwork, Art – failed.

Beattie: You didn’t pass anything?

Anthony: Pottery, very useful.

Beattie: People will always need plates. Anything else?

Anthony: And sociology.

Beattie: An ‘ology’, he’s got an ‘ology’ and he says he’s failed. You’re a scientist…

… the brilliant boys. You know it’s the teachers who are wrong, you know they can’t mark, half of them can’t see.


Getting quicker

It doesn’t seem so long ago that everything I played on the violin had to be adagio. My teacher pointed out I’m actually able to play slightly quicker now, ok possibly not vivace or even allegro, but a moderato is an improvement. 🙂


Dah da dee dah dah de doe doe…

Went round Sarah’s this evening to watch Robin Hood on DVD. It’s been a while since I’d seen it, but as soon as it started, it all came flooding back – a great little Disney classic. OK, so the film has very tenuous links to any semblance of the real story of Robin Hood (if indeed, there is a true story), with the soundtrack placing various American rooted music forms in the heart of the story! Saying that, the film is great fun to watch, with very pleasing visuals, and a good evening of entertainment.


a.m.: Acts 2:42 p.m.: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Quite an appropriate sermon (from a visiting speaker) given the week I’ve just had. From the very beginning of the Christian church, the words of God were of prime importance. At the time they would’ve had the Old Testament, as well as the teachings of the apostles. Today, the apostles teaching is contained within the New Testament, and if we are to maintain a vibrant living church we need to study the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that we might know the word of God.

As well as the word of God, the early church devoted themselves to each other, caring for one another, sharing material possessions as each had need. This was the outward workings of the family of God, brothers and sisters in Christ. Today, whilst the culture might be slightly different, the principal is the same and we must seek to address the needs of all those in the church. (Note, needs, not whims)

They also ate together, both informally and formally. They had fellowship together over a meal, as well as remembering their Lord and Saviour through bread and wine. Today, we should continue to nurture relationships with both each other and our Lord through meals and holy communion.

Finally they prayed. As God’s people today, we need to constantly seek him in prayer. Only through all these things can a church be alive in Christ.


Walking where he walked

Another trip to Wales for a week! This time for the annual EMW Aberystwyth conference. As always, the conference didn’t seem to be long enough – come Friday I wanted to stay just a little longer, to hear more of the word of God being preached, to spend more time with other Christians and to spend time chilling out. However, the theme of the week was walking as Jesus walked, to live a life of service before God according to his word. Not only in times of ease, but at all times – even in the real world, so a return to reality is necessary, rather than living in an isolated haven. From bearing our cross, to fulfilling our office, to weeping, through to persevering to the end. The challenge now is to live the life I am called to live, through the Spirit who enables me. Am I going to be the man who looked in a mirror and forgot what he saw?


Possibly reassuring…

You have a 6% chance of going postal!

Congrats! You’re not going to shoot up a strip mall anytime soon. You’re so well-adjusted, it’s creepy.

How Likely Are You to Go Postal?
Create Your Own Quiz


Cars

Wandered along to the Vue cinema in Staines this afternoon to see Cars. I’ve enjoyed Pixar‘s finely crafted works so far, so my expectations were high. As has become traditional, there was a short film before the main feature which, as a budding violinist, I watched with glee – a little treat, I shall say no more.

As the main film started, it became apparent that the imagery was going to be stunning – as always. It’s hard to believe it’s all generated within the confines of silicon – from the basic lighting, through to the very convincing physical modelling. Even more astounding is the stories they come up with. Despite the fact this film is suitable for children, the stories are quite mature in their thinking – Pixar’s films always have an underlying morality to them. So both children and adults come out happy. Not sure the teenagers in the audience appreciate it though – possibly too old for the brightly coloured animation, possibly too young to appreciate the slightly meatier themes in the story and not enough teenage iconography to capture their imagination/consumerism. A thoroughly enjoyable film from my point of view though.


What doth every sin deserve?

Q: What doth every sin deserve?
A: Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.

Q: What doth God require of us, that we may escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?
A: To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, God requireth of us faith in Jesus Christ, repentance unto life, with the diligent use of all the outward means whereby Christ communicateth to us the benefits of redemption.

(Questions LXXXIV and LXXXV from the Westminster Shorter Catechism.)


The River King

Watched The River King this evening with some of the usual suspects. The cinematography and attention to detail was fantastic. It’s a shame the story wasn’t up to much. This level of film-making should be reserved for films which are true stories, and not merely the pure fictional concoction of a writer. A very long one and a half hours of film telling a story which is very simple. Worth watching? I don’t know.


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