Monday, November 30, 2009

A Presbyterian in Wales, 1739

In a fascinating passage in The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales (Vol. 1), we read of the following interchange between a parish clergyman in Llanymawddwy and Lewis Rees (Dissenting minister of Llanbrynmair), the year being 1739:

'Where are you from?' asked the clergyman.

'I am from Llanbryn-mair, sir,' answered Lewis Rees, mildly.

'What brought you to Llanbryn-mair?

'The Dissenting congregation was without a minister. At their request I came to them, firstly on probation, and both sides being satisfied, I was appointed pastor over them.'

'How,' said his reverence, 'can you, being a Presbyterian, expect to be tolerated in this country? Go to Scotland. That is the Presbyterians' country.'

'I hope, sir,' said Mr Rees, 'that you act from a higher principle in religion than a regard to the custom of the country in which you happen to live; else, if you were to change your country you would change your religion: if you were to go to Scotland you would turn Presbyterian; if to Italy, a Roman Catholic.'

Thankfully, Dissenting Mr Rees was one of the spiritual forerunners of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, and the vicar was proved wrong!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

World Toilet Day

Each minute of the day, on average,
  • three children aged 5 or under die because of illness caused by dirty water or inadequate sanitation.

Tearfund is working to tackle this problem in the name of Jesus. And today is World Toilet Day.

(In a fascinating coincidence, today is also World Philosophy Day).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Surprised by Hope

Two quotes from Tom Wright's Surprised by Hope. And why not?

On 1 Peter 1: 4 ( obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you), Wright writes:

If I say to a friend 'I've kept some beer in the fridge for you', that doesn't mean that he has to get into the fridge in order to drink the beer, 164.

And this one on the resurrection life...

Why will we be given new bodies? According to the early Christians, the purpose of this new body will be to rule wisely over God's new world. Forget those images about lounging around playing harps. There will be work to do and we shall relish doing it, 173.