Archive: February, 2011
Imagine it’s 1842 and in the thick dusk of an Edinburgh winter you’re walking across the Meadows. You take little notice of passers-by, but suddenly one approaches who commands instant attention. Dressed in tweeds and over-wrapped in a plaid, his tackety boots hit the road resolutely with every stride. An eccentric, perhaps even a poser, but not a man to be trifled with.Read more about 'Hugh Miller'...
The most fascinating thing about this book is that it is deadly boring. It took me two months to read its 197 pages, mainly because I kept putting it aside since, for sheer excitement, it couldn’t compete with Bavinck’s Prolegomena to Dogmatics or Kuyper’s Principles of Sacred Theology.
Yet if ever a book was designed with the single intention of being punchy, fast-paced and easily readable, this is it. Its allusions are straight from yesterdays’ headlines, it abounds with anecdotes and it is extravagant in self-disclosure. Here is someone with credentials a struggling minister might kill for: a regular broadcaster, a prolific author, a highly sought-after speaker, a builder of hospitals in India, a meeter of famous people; the sort of guy whom media flunkies take for a sports commentator, not a contributor to religious programmes.
One of the fascinating things about theology is that questions of form and questions of substance are often intertwined. This is certainly true of the doctrine of the trinity. The moment we address it we face the question of order: Do we treat it before or after the doctrine of the attributes?Read more about 'Thoughts on the Trinity'...
An Gaidheal Ur. "De tha sin, a ghraidh?" On the telly, Celtic and Liverpool. On the radio, Rangers and Strasbourg. We have come a long way.
In Stornoway, my mother lies dying: a seann Ghaidheal to the last. Her mother died when she was four; her stepmother when she was twelve. Her first child died, aged fifteen months; her second, aged twenty-eight. She cleared away all his photos and never looked at his likeness again. In childhood, she had potatoes and salt for dinner, and was belted at school for speaking Gaelic. Her father took the King's Shilling and served as a soldier in Egypt. In the Great War, he was a Seaman, RNR. "'M bidh muir a'cur ort?" he asked me once. "Bithidh," I said. "Bha sin a's na daoine," he said, "Bha mis aig an iasgach fad mo bheath's bha 'm muir a'cur orm a h-uile la." I remember it every time I board the ferry. A seann Ghaidheal, pulling nets, sea-sick, day after day, year after year, from Stornoway to Yarmouth and Scrabster to Lowestoft.