Monday, January 30, 2006

Longing home.

Some years ago after a church service I had a conversation with an elderly woman who said:

“The last time I saw you, you were about this tall...” She lifted her hands to about waist high and smiled. “Time really does go fast. You know.. it seems to go faster and faster.”

My answer surprised both of us: “That means we will be home faster!”

With that one sentence our conservation had change from small talk to something that was at the heart of our Christian experience. She looked earnestly at me and said: “I long so much for home!”

I have often thought of that short conversation. I believe it reveals what Adventism should be all about. For me the essence of Adventism is not the belief that Jesus will come back soon, but the longing to see Jesus and his kingdom.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”- Revalation 21:1-4 - New International Version

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Naming of Parts

One of my favourite poems is Henry Reeds "Naming of Parts" which can be read (and heard) here, but I must warn you that the poem contains indirect refences to sex!

"Naming of Parts" is spot on in its description of the mind-numbing experience that is military instruction. Anyone who has ever been in the military will recognise the scene of the instructor going through a piece of equipment, speaking as if he was reading straight from the manual. I remember in the Navy having a class on ships, planes and helicopter recognition. In this class a petty officer showed us slides of ships and aeroplanes, and made comments like: "This is a Spruance-class Destroyer, notice that it is larger than a Frigate." When he came to helicopters he excused his lack of knowledge of them, then showed us several pictures of different helicopters, commenting on every picture: "This is a helicopter!"

I also like the way Reed compares the parts of the rifle to the flowers and bees in the neighbouring gardens. By doing this Reed, I think, is telling us that something is completely wrong with the scene. Here is a company of young men, its spring time and they should be out making love to young woman, just like the bees are fumbling the flowers, and not having "What to do after firing" or "Naming of Parts." As the poem puts it: "... the point of balance, Which in our case we have not got."

Many fellow Christians will probably have issues with the sexual references in is poem, but that is exactly the point. What really should makes us uncomfortable about the poem is not the sexual imagery, but the fact that young men are being trained for war!

Paul - I don't get him.

There is an interesting article about the Apostle Paul in today's Independent.

I'm not a big fan of the Apostle Paul of mainly two reasons: 1) Most churches base their theology on Paul's writings without understanding it, and 2) I don't understand Paul's writings. I don't think that I am intelligent enough to understand Paul and this is the reason I didn't carry on and do the MA when I was studying theology.

Anyway, there is a good book on Paul by NT Wright, the anglican Bishop of Durham: "What Saint Paul Really Said", which should be compulsive reading for anyone attempting to read Paul. NT Wright is also quoted in the Independents article, which can be read here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Steelers in the Super Bowl

In his song "Der er noget i luften" Danish song writer Wilhelm Gregersen tells of how the feeling of Christmas reminds him of past Christmas' at home with his mother. Many people will similarly tell you that certain things, such as new cut grass, homemade marmalade or going fishing, will bring back memories of childhood.

The nostalgic remembrance of childhood is how I feel today. The Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday qualified to play in this years Super Bowl, just as they did every year (or so it seemed) when I was a child! My liking of the Steelers came from my best friend Donny, with whom I spent most of the day playing some sort of sport.

I don't yet know how or where I'm going to watch the game. Win or loose, it probably won't be the same as when I was a child. The Steelers aren't playing the Dallas Cowboys and I don't have Donny to throw footballs to (while pretending to be Ben Roethlisberger)!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Thoughts in the middle of the night.

It is 1.52 in the morning, I've been listening to the online radio broadcast of the Pittsburgh Penguins - New York Rangers (the Rangers are leading 1-0). I can't sleep. My mind keeps thinking about next weeks examinations, for which I'm not prepared. What was I thinking applying to do a law degree?

When you can't sleep everything seems very bleak!

I just put down my laptop and reached for my new daily devotional book. The reading for the 18th of January quotes Isaiah 41. In verses 9-10 God is saying to Israel:
"You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off"; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. - New Revised Standard Version
I need to be reminded of God's promises to his people!

It is now 2:55.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My official Non-denial denial.

This is the official launch of my Blog. I've had it up and running for over a week now, in which I've tried to experiment and figure out how to use

I did what for me is some serious brainstorming to come up with a name for my blog. The top five on my list were: 'Barbarians at the Gate', 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', 'inter alia', 'Castles in the Sky' and 'The Peanut Gallery'. Unfortunately all of them are in use by other bloggers.

Non-denial denial, which happily just came to my mind today, is a term made popular by Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their book 'All the Presidents Men". A non-denial denial is statement that seems to be a denial, but which is actually ambiguous and not really a denial.

I have chosen not to write in my preferred language of Danish, because I am now studying in England and need to practice my English writing skills. I hope my Danish friends interested in my blog will forgive me.

Finally, I apologize for acting like a first year law student by using the term 'obiter dicta', which means 'things said by the way'. In law, obiter dicta is used to describe statements by judges that are not essential for the decision in the case before them.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Britain Day for the United Kingdom.

Apparently Gordon Brown (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) is so fascinated by American patriotism that he wants Britain to have what he calls "Renewed Patriotism", (for a brilliant comment on Gordon Browns Fabian Society speech see Tristan Hunts comment in The Observer here.)

Brown wishes to introduce a "Britain Day" on the otherwise festive Remembrance Day (11 November), and to make Britons see the Union Jack the as a symbol of British values.

I say, why stop with a national day? Here is my list of how to make Britain feel more like America when it comes to nationalism:

- Make a Declaration of Independence (Eurosceptics would love it). Preferably on Guy Fawkes day (5 November), thus avoiding two fireworks nights right after each other.

- Adopt a series of meaningless official mottos. My suggestions are: errare humanun est and God is with us!

- Place the Union Jack in all classrooms and churches.

- Make children who are to young to understand what they are doing pledge allegiance to the Union Jack. The pledge should be something like this:

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and to the Empire for which it no longer stands, four nations: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in the European Union, with Asbo's and surveillance cameras watching all."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Good news concerning AUC.

Americans often lovingly refer to the university they attended as their Alma Matter (meaning "nourishing mother"). Although I am a graduate of Andrews University and University of Wales, Lampeter, I consider Atlantic Union College (AUC), which I attended in 1990/91, as my Alma Matter.

AUC is a small liberal arts college with less than 700 students and has unfortunately been struggling financially for many years. In 2001 the New England association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) had actually voted to terminate AUC's accreditation, although this decision was never implemented.

In 2003 Dr. George Babcock was appointed as president of AUC in an attempt to save the college. In his installment speech Babcock expressed his optimism concerning AUC's financial and academic future, but also emphasized that AUC's main purpose was to be a place where students would meet Jesus. I was moved when I read Babcock's words and I wish that all Adventist educational institutions considered facilitating encounters with God as their main purpose.

The good news is that NEASC in November removed AUC's probationary status. The December 22, 2005 issue of Adventist Review had AUC's turnarounds as its cover story, the article can be read here. It is good to hear that goods things are happining at AUC and that the college is living up to its motto: Fiat Lux.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Respectable Britain!

It seems evident to me, as foreigner in Britain, that there are two conflicting stories often repeated by the British news media. One can fit under the heading of "The UK is Best Country in the World", and the other under "British Society is Breaking Down".

I suspect that these two types of narrative are present in all western countries, but in the UK they seem to dominate much of the public discourse. The first narrative makes Britain very hostile to anything foreign (especially anything continental European). The second makes the government (whether Conservative or Labour) introduce ever more legislation that restricts individual freedom and increases police powers. The significant examples of this are the Public Order Act 1986, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

The latest initiative by the government to address the perceived social problems is the "respect agenda" being launched today. Included in this package is 'on the spot fines', which Tony Blair accepts reverses the burden of proof onto the accused (see Another measure is the creation of powers to evict people from homes (owned or rented) for up to 3 months for "persistent and serious nuisance" (see

What is going on in Britain? The country already has more surveillance cameras and a larger prison population than any other country in Europe. Does it really need further extension of police powers?

I wish politicians and journalists would construct a more realistic narrative of Britain, than the ones that pander to the prejudices of its audience.

The New York Mets Uniform

A few thoughts concerning the Mets uniform, inspired by Paul Lukas' Uniwatch column on page 2 of

The Mets should never have added black to their uniform colours. This has ruined the Mets uniform and given them a very bad look. Espeicially the black and blue road cap is really ugly. Not only does black and blue not compliment each other, but the red and blue NY lettering is also hardly visiable on a black background and looks purplish.

Unfortunately the Mets have had the very bad habit of wearing this cap more often than their very stylish blue ones, even at home games. According to internet sources (Uniwatch and the reason for this sad state of affairs is that the equipment manager thinks the blue cap clashes with the Mets' black dugout jacket. The blue caps are therefore only worn on warm summer days, when the players do not wear jackets in the dugout.

I agree completely with the equipment manager that black and blue clashes on a baseball uniform, which is why the black and blue cap shouldn't be worn at all.

The Mets have one of the all time great baseball uniforms in their traditional blue and orange. This colour combination is unique in baseball and is a great tribute to New Yorks two previous National League teams, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.

It is therefore time for the Mets to abandon black as a uniform colour.