Not so much ‘spotted’ as ‘unmissable,’ right next door to our office and in the view of everyone who enters the department.


age of consent update

Just to update the situation on the ‘Scottish age of consent non-consultation‘, even though it’s not particularly up to date – last week the Times reported that the Scottish parliament has rejected the recommendation that the age of consent should be lowered (to as young as 13 if the child’s partner was 15).

If you remember, the consultation exercise on this particular recommendation was remarkably low-key, but I heard second-hand from someone who phoned up on the day that the consultation officially closed, and was told that the government had received several hundred responses in the extremely short period of time between the publicising of the consultation and the closing date. I was impressed.

As I wrote in my hurried email response, “At a time when the public is increasingly concerned at the sexualised nature of a great deal of the popular media, and the pressures which this places teenagers and young people under, I find it very disturbing that the Scottish government may be about to undermine the legislative protection which is currently afforded to children and teenagers in our communities.” Thankfully, the concerned public in this case made their voice known and, equally a matter of thankfulness, Holyrood has this time acted in accordance with these concerns.

all lawful endeavours

The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill. It requires “all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life and the life of others;” it forbids “the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour, unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.”

The House of Commons has decided that hybrid embryo research and ‘saviour siblings’ are to be legal in case it helps to save lives. But their decision is not lawful. It is utterly inconsistent with the moral law to treat human beings as if they were animals, and to treat human beings as if they were commodities to be created and destroyed and stripped down for parts which may or may not be useful to others. Licensing scientists to go ahead with these kinds of activities is far from a lawful means of preserving life: rather it tends to the unjust taking away of the lives of our little neighbours, children whose only fault is that they aren’t born yet.

The House of Commons has also tonight failed to take the chance to save the lives of 3000 babies a year, by failing to reduce the time limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. Not that there’s any difference in principle between ending someone’s life at one point in time rather than at another slightly later one, but their disregard for human life at one of its most vulnerable stages of development is grossly culpable. Dan 9:4-10.

NB, of course I shouldn’t be writing this. I should be editing Chapter 1 or else trying to sleep off the effects of the truly disgusting cup of coffee I got from the library this afternoon. This is just gut reaction and I must not find time to say anything else about it! Not for the next couple of weeks anyway.

says mr colquhoun

This excerpt from the first chapter of John Colquhoun’s little book on Repentance is related ever so slightly tangentially to some of the comments on this post.

A true sense of sin is an affecting sight and feeling especially of the exceeding sinfulness or malignity of sin. It is a sense not only of our evil doings but of the evil of our doings; not only of our sin but of the exceeding sinfulness of our sin; and not merely of things which are in themselves sinful, but of the iniquity even of our holy things. The true penitent has a deep and affecting sense of the evil that cleaves even to his best performances. Of all evils, he concludes that sin is the greatest; and of all sinners, he often thinks that he himself is the chief. He sees and feels that the innumerable evils which compass him about are the weightiest of burdens, the heaviest of debts, the foulest of stains, and the worst of enemies.
He has a true sense of the evil of sin in reference to himself, and of the evil of it with respect to God. He sees that it is the very opposite of the infinitely holy and amiable nature of God in Christ. The true penitent loves God supremely, and therefore his sins are a heavy burden to him. He loathes himself because he has walked contrary to the holy Lord God, and thereby insulted, reproached, and provoked him. He sees also that sin is contrary to that law of God which is holy, and just, and good. Discerning the perfect equity and purity of God’s law, the penitent sees the great evil of every transgression of it.
He sees the sinfulness of sin likewise with respect to Jesus Christ. He has an affecting discovery of it as the procuring cause of the unparalleled sufferings of his Redeemer. The doleful anguish and excruciating death of the Lamb of God are comments on the evil and demerit of sin which the penitent reads with deep attention. The dying agonies and groans of that Saviour who loved him and gave himself for him rend his heart, and afford him the most affecting view of the evil of sin. Hence, he has such a true sense of the sinfulness of his sin, as is an abiding source of evangelical repentance.

(John Colquhoun, Repentance. First published 1826, BOT reprint 1965, p17.)

[Edit: rough IPA for his surname: [kə ˈhun]]

grace in exodus

“When God shows mercy to the miserable sinner, he does it without respect to any merit in him. He does it freely, ‘without money and without price.’ It is a pure act of grace on the part of God. ‘By grace ye are saved.’ If he were to deal with us according to our own deserving, we would never be saved. But we are saved because he is gracious. The doctrine of salvation by grace was early taught. God himself was the revealer of it, and was the first preacher of it, and he commanded his prophets, apostles, and ministering servants to the end of time to preach it. It is the only doctrine that can meet our case as sinful, unworthy, and lost in ourselves, the only doctrine that can give hope to the poor sinner struggling under a sense of sin and misery, and needing to be saved. God is graciously disposed to save sinners, and he made a provision of grace in the eternal covenant to save such as we are.”

So said Donald Macfarlane in a sermon on Exodus 34: 4-7, the account of what Jehovah said when he wanted Moses to know him and his character: “The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness in truth…

[I’m only going to be at the computer sporadically from now until the start of next week. Just in case it matters.]

Donald Macfarlane, Sermons on the love of God and cognate themes. (Sermon VI, God’s Name Proclaimed.) FPP.

aid for burma

An email update from Barnabas Fund says that they’re still able to get aid into Burma, via Christian contacts who they were already in touch with.

Barnabas Fund’s aid for Christian victims of the Burma cyclone is being channelled through Christian organisations and churches on the ground in Burma, to which we have access. It is NOT going through the Burmese government.
We have already sent a first grant and we would like to assure supporters that our partners are based in Burma and do not need to get visas to enter the country. They are already there.
Please do continue to give. There will be a great need for many months as we move from emergency relief to reconstruction and the rebuilding of the homes and lives of the Christian community.

As you likely already know, in non-Western contexts, indigenous Christians are often among the most deprived/despised groups in a country, and natural disasters can leave them with absolutely nothing and no source of help. Barnabas Fund is a nondenominational charity which mainly helps needy Christians in contexts of persecution and/or destitution. Donations for Burma can be made via a secure server on this page here.

fairly quiet on the politics front

I’ve been having a wee smattering of referrals from the Scottish Roundup (‘Reporting from Scotland’s Soapbox’).

I hope nobody’s too disappointed to arrive in the search for Scottish political commentary, only to find me doing little more than writing round the clock and singing to mice.

Other stuff that may possibly be of interest (generated manually, not automatically, and with occasional dubiety as to their politicality (and/or Scottishness)):

* Fraudulence still unproven

* Privacy in Scotland

* Shetland terror horror shock

* Scottish age of consent non-consultation

* Extraordinary apology

* We need to care

got company

I’m just sitting at my desk, right here in the office, working on a paragraph, trying not to fret too much about the fact that two little mice are hiding behind a bookcase on the other side of the room. They converged on it within minutes of each other, from out of the kitchen and along the skirting board of different walls.

I can’t go home yet, it’s only 8 o’clock!

And what might they get up to if there was nobody at all here to stamp on the floor and sing along noisily to internet radio?

as the wise man said

Ohhhh, the sheer unending grinding, aching, draining, wearing, grinding pain of writing a thesis.

Truly, my friends, of making many revisions there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

(Ecclesiastes 12: 12, postgrad paraphrase).

Meanwhile, some unconnected stuff:

* a moral dilemma over the Lisbon treaty. Is it possible to pledge to buy an Irish friend a pint of Guinness and a £5 bet if Ireland votes no to the treaty, without condoning gambling?

* the first part of this post is the clearest thing I’ve ever seen on Helm’s Deep

* old news, but the Catholic Teuchtar highlights a report of how the decision to hold a highland show over the weekend discriminates against people who want to keep Sunday special.