Looking back


What to say? In which I provide a run-down of my exciting life over the last few weeks, including books, climbing, and music.

It has been weeks now since I have had anything to put together about what I have been up to, but I may as well record my activities before I forget. In addition to the usual list of books, I have perhaps even managed to do a few things which could be called interesting.

The first thing to chronicle unfortunately is the bouts of sheer inactivity, long stretches of sloth and indolence. In case you think I am enjoying being harsh on myself, I strongly regret my isolation and as always the most pressing problem in the holidays is keeping going with a discipline of useful bible reading, thorough prayer, and not dumping my mind in filthy sloppiness. There have been weeks when I have studied theology hard to give myself something to do, and stuffed my brain with deep Reformation knowledge, but hidden myself from glorying in Christ. I have lots of problems (no news there), and it seems self-indulgent to confess ‘ordinary’ sins when nothing serious happened: sexual lusts fuelled by no external stain; melancholy and introspection that does not keep me from working; greater pride that results in no greater show; or laziness that does not keep me from remembering God daily. Why should I complain loudly of my short-fallings as if I of all people am better than to give in to ordinary sins? For all my reluctance to talk or write about myself, I will yet express this reservation: this summer, better than any before, is still more than usually unsatisfactory. May I live out the theology God has given me: only because Christ purifies it is it worthy as an offering, so was not wasted, and only because he is at work in me will I advance.

More pleasantly, I have actually done a number of rather fun things. Since last posting, I scribbled some short essays which I have most uncharacteristically lost on a memory stick. With nothing to show, I can still say I have enjoyed my writing. I have kept up to mark as well with literature, with a clutch of Shakespeare plays and some novels, including [Silas Marner by George Eliot] and more Conrad. Silas Marner was particularly challenging to me, because I find its third-Renaissance rationalism very beguiling. The most overtly religious of Eliot’s novels, it has a lot of very subtle insinuations that make me uncomfortable, and some very un-subtle jibes at evangelicalism (qua res, not Evangelicalism the movement). Still, like all her books I recommed the very effective character painting.

Before boring my one or two readers with my theology reading, ought perhaps to be a little more humane. Since leaving a couple of weeks ago a productive (and tri-nuptial) time in Cambridge, I have been hanging around at home doing more bits of reading, DIY, coding, and so on. Two things though stand out as being rather fun.

Firstly, it has been shockingly a twelvemonth since I last went properly climbing. How this quite happened given the number of trips to Wales and the Lakes escapes me, but my disgracefully soft fingers finally got a taste of sandstone last weekend. I had a great time out at Swanage on an area new to me, the Cattle Troughs cliff and did a few fun Severe climbs. I was very pleased given my long year of inactivity to lead up a VS, Old Lag’s Corner with kudos to my dad for managing it too. Words are crude, but I got moved with characteristic slowness before equivocating for a long time at the crux. I explored a couple of moves to the right, but didn’t like it, and then committed to a direct line up the bulges. The guide claims 5a for the direct route, 4c for the rightwards one. Wherever my route-finding took me, I am thoroughly pleased with myself for handling it with no wobblies when so out of practice.

The second fun little moment was last weekend when I got invited to go to Venice, expenses paid, to sing in a concert of Gabrielli music. Clearly my fame is spreading. Unfortunately, networking possibilities aside, it seems just a little too crazy for me to take a week out in September and make a net loss for what turns out to be a five-minute slot in a single concert. On the other hand, I am propelled more towards the early music scene by the thought that there is life in it beyond Cambridge.

My final spot of news is that after letting the matter drop for a while, I have finally put together my Firefox patches and have got at least some of them in. Firefox 4 is without doubt the best browser currently available.

As promised, I will finish with the highlights of my theology. Despite having gone through periods of the holidays reading a book every other day, I have still not read half of what I wanted to. The best though include[The Trellis and the Vine (Tony Payne and Colin Marshall)], Book 1 of [Calvin's Institutes], [The Providence of God (Paul Helm)], [Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism (George Marsden)] and some tracts by [Jonathan Edwards].