About Me

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Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Francesca Battistelli & Logan Martin in concert

Two very different Christian artists but who are both favorites of mine were at Mountain Christian Fellowship in Medford last night (11/21).

Logan Martin from Salem has the songs, the voice and the stage presence to keep an audience captivated for as long as he chooses.

His amazing voice which swoops and caresses by turn reminds me of a cross between Phil Wickham and the late great Jeff Buckley. Logan is one of those rare artists who sound just as good with only a guitar for accompaniment as they do with a band.

His humor, his engaging way with an audience and his heart as he shared about the Mocha Club cannot help but draw you in, and he deservedly received a standing ovation as he left the stage.

Francesca Battistelli, on the other hand, is a developing talent who really is learning as she goes. On her side is her powerhouse of a voice, along with a fantastic major label debut in "My Paper Heart".

The voice was there in spadeloads last night, but we saw a different side to Francesca than some might have expected.

Any fears that the major label connection might seek to water down her sharing her faith were totally blown away as Francesca shared not just stripped-down acoustic versions of songs from "My Paper Heart", but also an inspired selection of worship songs including Starfield's "Hallelujah", Tim Hughes' "Happy Day" and a heartfelt "How Great Thou Art".

While Francesca is, as I say, still learning her business, learning the art of stagecraft, and would never claim to be the greatest guitar player in the world, what did come over clearly was the sheer authenticity of the girl, her willingness to share her heart, and her joy in serving her God.

That, no-one can take away from her, and my prayer is that she will continue to develop as an artist, continue to minister from whatever platform God chooses to give her, and that her light will burn on for many years to come.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An open letter to President George W Bush

I reproduce below, with their permission, an open letter to the outgoing President from a Republican and a Democrat. It crystallizes far more eloquently than I could, how much we owe to the Commander In Chief, and highlights the measure of grace with which he and John McCain accepted defeat, which sharply contrasts with the poor grace with which the liberal left hailed their victory.

"By Perry Atkinson and Bob Just
© 2008
Dear President Bush

As you near the time of your presidential farewell, we want to take this moment to thank you for all you have done for this country. We also want you to know that you are in our prayers not only for the remainder of your term of office, but also for what we hope will be a many wonderful years ahead for you and Mrs. Bush. We know you will both continue to serve the country you love, and we thank you for that in advance.

As you prepare your farewell address, and reflect on the last eight years, we would like to thank you specifically for several things, beginning with your bold leadership in the War on Terror.

Many have now forgotten, but we remember the shock and confusion that descended on this country, not only due to the sudden and terrible loss of innocent American lives, but because none of us understood this new kind of war, or how to fight it, or what catastrophic dangers might lay ahead.

You galvanized the nation not only with stirring and true words before Congress but because you backed those words with decisive action, sending an immediate message to our enemies that while America's free and open society remained vulnerable to attack, the United States had the power and the will to deliver a devastating counterattack.

Totalitarian bullies have always respected power, and we thank you for not shrinking from your duty to use the power given to you in trust by the American people. Coupled with your aggressive leadership in securing the homeland, the actions you took abroad have led to many years of safety, which no American could have predicted on that fateful September morning over seven years ago.

You warned us many times that this asymmetric, terrorist form of total war could go on for years – and yes, we know that despite your success, our enemies will one day find the moment they seek to deliver the next blow. Nevertheless, a standard of presidential action has been set: No accommodation for terrorists or, ultimately, for the nations that support and encourage them.

Many have forgotten, but we remember that millions upon millions of human beings were liberated during your presidency, freed from a tyranny full of horrors few of us can even imagine. You waged war not only against terrorism, but also for a higher ground – for freedom. In this, you gave the world a choice. For truly, as you said, all people, no matter what their race or religion, are created with a longing for liberty.

Americans died in these foreign lands that others might live – and live free. Let this continued sacrifice of life and limb always remind us of the true nature of the American heart. Thank you for knowing and appreciating that true heart, and for always honoring our troops who so perfectly represent the best of who we are as a people.

Most importantly, we thank you also for honoring God, not only as you rallied this country in time of war, but as you called us to our better selves by honoring the sanctity of life – for what is liberty without that? Thank you for reminding us that life, including that of unborn children, must be protected and nourished in a just society. Thank you too for defending marriage and family and through them, for protecting our children and our national future. Your leadership in these areas will not be forgotten.

Finally, as Christians, we are grateful for how you represented Christ in office, often under temptation to mirror the mean-spiritedness of current politics.

Your continual civility under great pressure, and sometimes in the face of genuine hatred from fellow citizens, has set a good example for us all – and especially for those who will occupy that office in the future. For these things especially, you will be remembered and greatly missed.


Perry Atkinson - Republican
Robert Just - Democrat"

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's Brave New World

The chilling new world to be presided over by Barack Obama was never better illustrated than in the hate-covered faces of Gay Rights Proposition 8 protestors in Florida, as they intimidated and bullied Phyllis Burgess, an elderly lady and supporter of Prop 8, who was trying in a totally peaceful and reasonable way to make her point to the protesters (something which, when I last checked, was a perfectly reasonable and legal thing to do under the American Constitution).

These mindless thugs did everything they could to prevent Phyllis from giving tv interviews (again, something she has a perfect right to do), and eventually succeeded in drowning her out and intimidating her to the extent that she was forced to give up.

Had this not been broadcast live on CBS in Florida, one shudders to think of the fate that might have befallen this elderly lady, but sadly it only goes to show that although the people of California, and a number of other states voted entirely democratically, and by a fairly significant margin, to uphold marriage as between a man and a woman, because it did not fit in with what they wanted, these louts decided to go on a spree of destruction, mindless vandalism and personal intimidation.

Very grown up.

If these people really think that they are going to wring an ounce of sympathy for themselves as a result of their actions, they are even stupider than they make themselves appear.

And to make matters worse, the local news anchor had the gall to comment at the end of the report: "There's a lot of anger and a lot of hate, obviously, on both sides". Clearly a laughable commentary on what had just transpired, but probably a good indication of how scared the media is of angering the gay lobby in our modern world.

Unfortunately, the President-elect is on their side, so I hate to think what we could be facing up to, especially as this is one issue where the will of a huge number of people who showed their feelings in a democratic vote is in direct opposition to the President-to-be.

If that isn't frightening, I don't know what is.

My only hope is that while we still have the freedom to speak out for what we believe is right, as set out in the Constitution, we will make the most of it, and people just like Phyllis Burgess will be able to protest and make their point in peace.

Just imagine the outcry if gay rights protestors had been treated the way Phyllis Burgess was.

We'd never hear the last of it

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Redistribution of wealth in practice...not so much fun, huh?

"Today on my way to the Waffle House for breakfast I passed a homeless
guy with a sign that read 'Vote Obama, I need the money.'

I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on an 'Obama 08' pin; again I
laughed as she had given away her political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to her that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept.

She stood there in disbelief while I told her that I was going to redistribute her tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside.

The server angrily stormed from my sight. I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I'd decided he could use the money more.

The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waitress was very angry that I gave away the money she did earn even though the actual recipient apparently needed the money more.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application."