Friday, September 30, 2005

Many or Few saved

Something of a debate at supper last night with Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and me round the table. Part of the issue is whether "many" or "few" are saved. Clearly there are texts that point both ways, but I think it striking that Jesus's warnings about how narrow the road to life is are all before His death and resurrection. However "when I am lifted up I shall draw all men to me".

Of course in the end it should make very little difference to our actions whether "about 90%" or "about 10%" are saved: it is still a matter of infinite significance and does not at all reduce the urgency of proclaiming the Gospel. What we know from the Bible is, at least:

a. Everyone who (truly) believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
b. Not everyone who says to Jesus 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
c. God's love is for everyone and He wants each person to be saved. (eg "When I am lifted up")
d. Salvation is not compulsory - those who (finally) reject God have their free will.
e. All salvation is through Jesus ("I am the way... there is no-one who comes to the Father..")
f. Salvation is not restricted solely to those who consciously believe in Jesus ("Lord when did we.." "God is the salvation of all men, especially of those who believe")

Thursday, September 29, 2005

nobody knows anything!

To Society of Authors AGM last night - met old neighbour and the sister of a new friend who has written 3 novels and finally got a major agent and a 2-novel deal with a major publisher. I'm full of admiration for anyone who completes a book without a publisher and a dateline. Spoke to MD of major literary agency who confirms my impression that marketing business books is largely uncharted territory - as William Goldman said "nobody knows anything". Having a direct e-mail campaign in run up to my publication - started emailing yesterday am and got one yes by return - but need lots more!

Signs of hope remain in Iraq - coalition casualty rate down to lowest since March, barely half that of last month, and it seems that opposition to the new constitution is reducing.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Writing - so hard

Looks like publication definitiely 3rd Oct, the day after an extract from my book is published in a major national newspaper. Still liaising with publisher on brochure, press release, pricing - all most exciting but a bit time-consuming. Also trying to write up a long and fascinating dinner discussion held 2 weeks ago from my MS notes - v difficult and amazingly tiring. Why is writing so hard?! Reminiscent of Marathon running. (BTW I've decided not to do a Marathon this year - haven't done the miles. Hope for a 16-miler on Sun week though)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

HTB re-visited

Re-visited HTB for 1st time in years - my old college-mate from Cambridge is now Vicar(designate). Wonderfully inspiring talks from people who have been on Alpha and from an artist who had lived a druggy/.arts lifestyle and understood from the inside the image of Christianity as "what is it that you don't do?"

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Especially of those who believe

Today's reading was 1 Tim 4 - striking v10: "for this end we toil and strive, becasue we have set our hope on the living God, who is the saviour of all men, especially of those who believe" (malista mistwn) (c/f Gal 6:10) This is very much in line with the view that, all though all are saved by Christ, not all of these are explicitly "believers".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Love, Wrath and Mozart

Another hurricane - and the situation in Basra is alarming.

Nearer home, a major Sunday Newspaper seems to be about to publish an extract of my book - fingers crossed!

Interesting discussion with elder daughter on Tues about the balance of the Love of God and His Wrath. She is, of course quite right that they both exist, though I think that God's Wrath, like that of a loving parent, is a function of His love. Interestingly 'love' occurs about 6x more often than 'wrath' in the NT, and 18x more in the Gospels, but that's a lower ratio than I would have expected.

Wonderful Sophie Mutter played the Mozart Violin Sonatas Mon-Weds. I missed Tues 'cos of birthday, but she signed CDs and my Vol 1 of Sonatas.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Missed it - but birthday fun

Well the shortlist came out, not on it. Ah well, they were all international books - and the judges did meet in New York. However I did a decent run and it was our Daughter's birthday, and our elder daughter came back for a celebratory supper.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sail - book - the world - New Orleans

Last weekend of sailing our Catamarn this year. Sadly didn't have time to sort out the Gennaker and came last in both races. Well - good target for next year.

Book publication date may be brought forward to coincide with article/extract in major national newspaper. And we hear about the Awards shortlist on Tues - coincidentally my daughter's birthday.

It seems that Germany has funked reform and may be condemned to slide further into decline. But at least the coalition casualties continue to fall in Iraq.

Meanwhile, this from New Orleans:

"I don't know why they said people could come back and open their businesses," said Margaret Richmond, owner of an antiques shop on the edge of the city's upscale Garden District that was looted. "You can't reopen this. And even if you could, there are no customers here."

The Wal-Mart store in uptown New Orleans, built within the last year, survived the storm but was destroyed by looters. "They took everything — all the electronics, the food, the bikes," said John Stonaker, a Wal-Mart security officer. "The only thing left are the country-and-western CDs."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The synthesis rising

Tremendous sermon on prayer from a young ordinand called Ash Meaney who is studying at Wescott House. He is rooted in the HTB/Evangelical tradition but is now also absorbing Franciscan and eucharistic spirituality. With people like him coming through the poor old CofE is in much better shape than people imagine.

It seems that the same is true of New Orleans and I hope it is true in Iraq. Coalition deaths so far this month are down to under 1.4/day which is half last month's level, despite the launch of a major offensive.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Seasons change

Great that the New Orelans death toll seems much less than feared. Also Iraq coalition casualties are down so far to 1.3/day. My book is being printed and bound copies should be available at the end of next week - and we'll know if it's made the award shortlist on the 20th. Moving from sailing mode to running mode. Very much the start of a new academic year.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

returning to daily prayer

For various reasons I've been lax in my daily prayer discipline over the holidays. But an excellent sermon at church has encourged me to go back, and it is a real eye-opener. Using a set pattern of bible readings means that when the bible really speaks to you you really listen.

The v nice assocate vicar at our (new) church is becoming vicar of another church in the area, and we went to his farewell service: " a sad day for [our church]... but a great day for the kingdom" as our vicar put it.

Hope and pray that I can keep up the discipline.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Premonitions of war

Proms last night for a wonderful performance of Mahler 6 - composed in 1907 and full of premonitions of disaster (as well as much joy and wonderful wonderful music). The "75 years war" (1914-1989) was about to begin.

Today we have the chilling video from the deluded and evil Al-Queda acolyte who organised the 7/7 London bombings; also the stampede in Iraq and the appalling looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Gerald Barker calls the cheap attempts to link Katrina with non-signature of the Koyoto Protocol 'intellectual looting' and points out that there is no evidence of an increase in US hurricane frequency or severity in the last 100 years). Truly "every prospect pleases and only man is vile" applies in many places and situations.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Golden days in the Lakes - sadness in Now Orleans & Iraq

Back from the traditional family holday in the Lake District, where my in-laws invite all their descendants. So had a few golden days (before son had to go back Mon to work in hospital) and some silver days. My son and I did a high hill in 50-70mph winds so after that I had done my tough-guy and had leisurely walks, and a sailing afternoon giving a lesson to my elder grandson and then racing younger daughter - v light airs at the end so had to abandon and sail back standing up pushing booms out.

New Orleans looks awful (Angela Trilby on Thought for the Day pointed out that the hurricane images from space were indeed awe-fully beautiful) though it's interesting that it seems that the threshold for catastrophe bonds will not have been reached. Meanwhile the stampede at the Shi-ite pilgrimage in Iraq is depressing for so many reasons. At least the coalition casualties rate ended up under 3/day, making it only the 4th worst month this year.