Is it Black and White?
Did you know that when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, there was a Welsh king named Pridain who ruled Britain? (the Welsh entered Britain from other parts of the world). What this proves is that like all other nationalities, the people who became known as ‘Welsh’ were derived directly from Noah’s descendants, following the dispersal caused by the confusion at Babel. It means that the Welsh nation were Semitic people who travelled from the Middle East in a very short time. This is probably why some experts link the Welsh to ancient Italians. (The Welsh language is also very similar to Breton).
The original name for Britain at that time was P’rit’sh, itself derived from Ynys Pridain (the Isle of Pridain), when the land of Britain was run by the Welsh king... you can see the similarity between Pridain and Britain.
The time period comes from historical records dating to between 1789 to 480 BC (the Egyptian slavery to roughly when the Israelites returned from Babylonian exile). If we take the earliest time, it was when Britain was not yet separated from the rest of Europe by the English Channel. Historians think that the story of the Trojan fable came from this Welsh name, Prydain.
This king devised a raft of laws for the people of what became Britain. So, this was possibly contemporaneous with the laws of Hammurabi and Ten Commandments, etc. Before this overhauling of the laws, there were songs, sung from memory by sages/bards (or Gwyddoniaid in Welsh). There were three levels of Bard, and the highest level looked down upon the ones who wrote their history down! Thus, memory was the highest skill, with verbal history honoured and perfected. Amazing, eh? (Source: Brut Y Tywysogion, translated from the Welsh as The Chronicles of the Princes of Wales, published 1857 AD).
It is amazing because when we read scripture we tend to concentrate only on what happened to Israel, forgetting that there really was the ‘rest of the world’, where great empires rose and fell. In this case, a Welsh king who ruled all of the island later called Britain... the Ynys P’rit’sh - Island of Britain/Pridain)... even before Egypt became a dynasty. Much later the unified Britain was broken into many smaller kingdoms.
Every year the top bards collected in one place to recite their historical accounts, and the best won a prize. (In our day the annual Eisteddfod mimics these Bardic meetings). These were called the “voice conventions”, and semblances of these still occurred in the Middle Ages. (in this way, national history was documented each year by the bards).
The three levels of ‘voice’ were the Bards, the Druids, and the Ovates (the writers). Caesar, when in Britain, remarked on the amazing memories of the Druids – he thought that the Druids concentrated on memory so that upcoming Druids did not easily forget by relying only on writing. In other words, this memory and voice was the same as ancient Hebrew cultivation of perfect memory, though they also wrote history down. The first event recorded by the Bards was the arrival of their own people, the Cymry (Welsh people) in Britain. (They later took to the mountains of the West in a place later known as Wales). Thus, it seems the Welsh were the first occupants of Britain. Did they travel from Italy? Some even suggest they came from India. Ultimately, they came from the dispersal at Babel.
The Bards, who relied only on memory were much revered, because they remembered word for word all the known history of the time. They thought it was a way to reinforce history in the minds of the people, by hearing it recited rather than having it in a book that could be discarded or set aside. Note how children recite their tables, or recite new words and spelling. There is much in the method when we consider modern times and the learning of scripture.
Did you realise... that these original inhabitants of Britain find their true origin in post-Flood post-Babel people? This means they are, like ALL people in the world, related to the family of Noah, who were related to Adam and Eve? Which means we are ALL related! It is also a fact that everybody on the planet is the same colour, melanin, but that some have more and some less of it in their bodies, hence brown, black, white, yellow etc. So, race is a false concept! Literally, we are all the same under the skin! This is why the violent antics of BLM (Black Lives Matter) are so wrong and ignorant, as they pretend to reverse the wrong attitudes of the past (I say ‘pretend’ because it is not their true reason to riot – they use race to implant Marxism).
Black people now think they are superior to white. This came from the concept of evolution – Darwin’s ideas led many to believe that white people were superior because they were farther along the evolutionary chain, whereas black people were less advanced in evolution. All because Darwin thought we came from apes and colour reflected this!!
We are ALL related to each other and the same colour underneath it all... everything depends on the amount of melanin in our bodies. Nothing to do with being more evolved! And history proves that our political and moral stances today are well below what is acceptable. It is fact that the ancients were just as clever and intelligent as people are today – if not moreso.
Bunyan and Neuroses
I have mentioned Bunyan’s attitude to depression and anxiety (also see PSY-19). His words in the last chapter of Pilgrim’s Progress (before the appendices) are, to me, very moving as he describes the way faithful believers crossed the River of Death, to be greeted on the other side by the Lord’s people.
When he came to relating the speech made by Mr Despondency and his daughter, who copied him – it is typically how most neurotics begin their downward spiral, Bunyan shows that even in those far off days, neuroses were not acceptable as a way of life. It is only modern ‘experts’ who make neuroses seem legitimate.
Mr Despondency got the message from God that he was about to die and cross the River, and he said to his companions: “You know how my daughter and I have acted and how difficult and problematic we have been for all of you. My will and my daughter’s are that our depression and mindless fears would not be passed on to anyone when we leave, for I know that after my death these evils will offer themselves to others.”
Mr Despondency then adds that their behaviour (depression and anxiety) was a remnant that stayed with them for life, spoiling their own lives and the lives of those around them. He said that the depression and fears they left behind would “walk about like ghosts seeking to (affect others with their sin)... don’t let them do it. Instead, shut the doors on them”!
Thus, Bunyan gives the truth about those with neuroses – they are crippling conditions brought on by inviting them into our lives. When we do, the effects on everyone around us are bad, making life a misery, especially for spouses and close family. It is very clear from his words that neuroses are brought on by inviting them into our lives... just as I have taught for five decades. In the story, once Mr Despondency started to cross the River of Death, only then did he see for the first time, the error of his ways, and said “Farewell night! Welcome day!” And his loved daughter crossed with him, singing happily. A holy change from misery!
I urge all who suffer neuroses of any kind – kick them out the door! Don’t let them rule your life any longer! Don’t wait until you reach death’s door to hand over your life, in gladness and truth, to God. Those with neuroses do not see the sun shining above them, nor do their thoughts encourage them with praise and joy. Instead, like Mr Despondency and his daughter, they will remain in the dark shadows of life.
You might be saved, but your salvation demands that you cast off all evil thoughts that neuroses always bring, otherwise your entire life is a mirage, and a rejection of what God promises. And that brings His Name into disrepute. Listen to Bunyan if you won’t listen to me. But, above all, listen to the Holy Spirit, Who is always within to help. If you don’t, it shows one thing – that your feelings come before God’s commands, and the darkness brought by sin is more powerful to you than the light and sun given to believers. Don’t settle for what is far less... embrace it happily and don’t allow your sinful neuroses to bring God into disrepute.
I just watched part of a programme on Picasso (again, as I was having my breakfast). As some of you know I once was a full-time artist. Way back in 1969 I was an artist with a wealthy patron, working in a small English village. My wife and I lived at the top of an old vicarage, in the roof (yes, many artists lived in garrets).
Anyway, I wandered into an art exhibition and started chatting to a fellow artist while a newspaper reporter took our photo. I listened to the ‘critics’ and audience around us and I had to keep myself from laughing out loud – especially as my patron was next to me. Oh how pompous these people were! Some tried at times to lead me into quite esoteric and philosophical discussions about art, and tried to offer their views as critics.
As I often said at the time, I just painted or sculpted whatever I wished to depict. I enjoyed the process of starting with nothing and ending with a work of art. All the critical analysis was, to me, a farce. I worked at art simply because I liked to create (well, sub-create). I loved the way I would be completely absorbed when I made my painting or other work. I wasn’t working out a philosophy or some idealistic abstract thought. It was just me enjoying making something!
I find critics to be full of self and bluff. They think they have all the answers. And when a clutch of critics get together they can make or break artists, by making a fashion of them. This is how new ‘movements’ arise! When these major figures collude, artists rise or fall, some accepted and some rejected, all on the basis of a self-righteous man or woman who thinks they know why an artist did his or her work, as they spout their own ideas. It is all meaningless nonsense.
I produced whatever I enjoyed. There were no secret formulae, and no deep sounding concepts. I simply enjoyed what I was doing, and I inwardly mourned for years when I had to leave it all behind, to ‘earn a crust’ for my family. I am still trying my best to clear out my study of all the books. I no longer need them in the world of computers and the internet. I buy a few books along the way, but I want to clear the space, so I can at last bring my easel down from the shed and again start to produce art.
For me it is not just doing what I enjoy. It is an acceptance and use of something given to me as a gift by God. Not to use it is not good. And, it might help to take my mind off the grief I feel about my wife’s condition.
So, when you hear those high-talking critics on TV, forget it. Most have never produced a work of art in their lives, yet they have the temerity to ‘explain’ to the world what an artist has done. In reality, artists work because they love what they do... like some enjoy stroking a cat, eating at a restaurant, or watching football! There is very little more to it. (However, some artists only do what will shock, knowing they might then get a Turner prize out of their foolishness).
In his apology (That is, his explanation for why he wrote his Pilgrim’s Progress), Bunyan said “... when it comes to spiritual food, some love the meat, some love to pick the bone, and some hope for a tale that might seem less rigid and which would not require them to change in any way.”
“...think about dark clouds. They bring rain while bright days do not. The point is that dark days or bright, if the rain falls, the earth yields crops. We give praise to God for both the clouds and the sunshine and treasure the fruit brought about by both... they work together and we should not complain about either. This fruit is welcomed by one who is hungry, while one without an appetite spits it out and makes the blessing null.”
Sadly, one who once studied with us on Sundays for a long time, complained to another member that “I don’t know why I attend – all he talks about is doom and gloom.” Yet, as Bunyan says,
“The Holy Scriptures have metaphorical aspects and is not often amusing or entertaining. It is full of dark figures and allegories, and yet it illuminates with a luster and radiance that dispels human gloom.”
What some think is unremitting gloom and doom, I find fascinatingly truthful and good for the soul! That is because I wish to drink it in, while the critic only wants to hear nice things and spits out what seems bitter, thus getting rid of what gives strength and what is vital to his growth. Bunyan’s work is marvellous, filled with angles and discussions that delight anyone whose spirit looks for sustenance, but which are avoided by those who do not want to change. Oh well....
A Pastoral Conundrum
Every so often I give an insight into what a pastor is and what he does. If you want to be liked by everyone, don’t bother to be a pastor! Even when people say nothing to your face, they harbour ill thoughts in their hearts. Yes, I’m talking about fellow believers. They may not wish to talk openly to a pastor. Or, they disagree with your counsel but say nothing (which is annoying). Or, they prefer their own ‘version’ of things and pretend to agree but don’t. There can be many responses, and some are sinful.
Get it straight – as a pastor your role is not to make sure everyone loves you (which leads many pastors to hide truth or not speak it). Your role is to take care of those in the local church of which he is a member. Really, every member should look after every other member... but, it rarely happens. So, it is down to you, if you have been truly called to your task by God and gifted accordingly.
Whether or not others recognise your role or task for what it really is (because they have their own agenda), is not relevant... because you must still perform your tasks as God demands.
Inevitably, at times, some will be upset by what you say or do. On a number of occasions (I haven’t kept a list) people seek counsel, but when it is given, they take off in a huff. Often, this is about one single point of difference. So, even if the pastor has given a lifetime of good service, if he steps on the toes of some, only once, he will be taken off their Christmas card list! (I don’t practice Christmas anyway).
A pastor need not wait to be invited into a situation. There are times when God expects him to deal with something he can see for himself and which can affect others. This is when he MUST speak to those involved, firmly and with biblical accuracy. This is never personal, but it is expected of him by the Lord, so he must act or speak. Again, this might be the one occasion when he must step on toes. He may not wish to, but his role demands it. For his efforts, this will lead to members not talking to him, or being angry, though he does not reciprocate their anger or ill will.
I can assure readers who think they are called to pastorship, or who are already pastors, that the pastor is often between a rock and a hard place! He will invariably upset somebody at some time. And some will make a big deal of honest criticism, thinking it is a personal insult! But, the true pastor, called by God and gifted for the role, will know his approach has been honest and true, even if some are dishonest about their intentions or life, keeping sins hidden. If such folks lie or mislead, well, it is a problem for their own consciences, not mine. I can only act according to what I see and hear. If I am wrong because of something hidden, it is not my fault, but umbrage can be taken anyway!
So, pastoral friends – don’t be deluded... even if all your congregation are saved by grace, they can still fall to their own sins and poor reactions to sound biblical counsel. So can the pastor. To become angry with biblical counsel is not the answer, but it happens now and then anyway.
Pastors who think their task is easy do not have the same office as me!! While individual members think all they do is talk with another person, the pastor has the unenviable task of caring for ALL members at the same time, and this can become very tricky indeed. Someone at sometime will not like what he says and does. The pastor who is upset by this to the point of failing to do his duty is really not acting well. I must speak when God shows me the occasion, or when I see an open sin. I cannot turn a blind eye, even if at times I wait to see how the person develops as a Christian. At other times I MUST speak quickly, to try to avoid a wider problem.
So, think of the pastor and pray for him. Being angry is not the answer to disliking something he has said or done. His responsibilities are far greater than yours, and his whole life is geared towards helping all members to live righteously. To do this he will at times step on toes!
Some pastors are taught in Bible college not to make waves, or to be non-directive. They will field questions and discussions so that they do not give a fixed response. In this way they can avoid civil unrest amongst members. But, friends, if you are pastors, this is unacceptable. Your role is not a mind game or a theatre stage. Your task is to be honest and sometimes blunt. The aim is NOT to be smooth before members, but to be God’s implement, applying His word to everything without compromise or favour.
Sounds too stark and without reward? Then maybe you are not really called to be a pastor. And members, too, should remember that of all members the pastor is rarely prayed for or helped in his work. As I have said to our own church – members only see one man, but the pastor sees all of them. And so his work will at times upset some. The genuine pastor will carry on regardless. He can himself become very upset when a member has taken umbrage, but it is part of his role to just get on with it! Still desire to be a pastor??