Among eminent Victorians, few were more widely known, or greatly appreciated, than C.H. Spurgeon—a pre–eminent philanthropist, college founder, and patron of orphanages—and the pastor of London’s great Metropolitan Tabernacle.
Throughout my childhood, from ages 5 to 18, I dreaded the day that my parents received my annual school report card. I think my mother has kept some of these dull but disappointing publications on the off chance that her oldest daughter blindsides the family with a moment of brilliance. She may then wave these foolscap pieces of paper in the faces of various educational professionals and say – So there! But she won’t as she is far too gracious for that…
During the 1980s my family did some mammoth car journeys. My parents seemed to think nothing of attaching a caravan to the back of their Citroen estate and heading off to a tiny little village in the South of France, or a soaking wet caravan site on the banks of the Rhine. The car was one of those unusual vehicles you don’t see anymore, as they’ve been replaced by minivans.
The fall of man altered every atom of creation. From manhood to motherhood to matrimony, nothing is as it should be. Some after–effects of the fall are mere annoyances, like the fear of spiders, or indigestion, or having to wear uncomfortable clothing. But most by–products of the fall take the breath from your lungs, wrench your heart from your chest, and are counted in tears. Childhood mental illness is one of those by–products.
The great nineteenth–century preacher Charles Spurgeon described the Song of Solomon as the Most Holy Place. He compared the historical books of the Bible to the outer courts of the temple, and the Gospels, Epistles, and Psalms to the Holy Place: the place that only the priests could enter. His point was that, to a greater and lesser extent, all these books bring us near to God. But the Song of Songs is ‘the Most Holy Place’, the inner sanctum, a holy of holies. It ‘occupies a sacred enclosure …
‘And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: “The words of the first and the last who died and came to life. I know your tribulation and your poverty… do not fear what you are about to suffer…be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life… the one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death”’ Revelation 2:8–11 (ESV).
Do you know someone living with dementia? Most of us will be able to answer yes to this; more people are being diagnosed each day and it is a disease which affects over 850,000 people.
This means that dementia is not only about the person living with the disease – its impact is far more wide–reaching. Memorable Loss is a story of friendship, and how an Alzheimer diagnosis challenged, changed and deepened my friendship with Kathleen.
The Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:2, says he longs to be clothed with his heavenly dwelling. Do you? Do I? Can we really say with Paul, in the verses that follow, “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.”
For many, merely the name of Jonathan Edwards called up images of gloom and doom, of Puritan austerity, of judgment and intolerance. His most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, is likely responsible for this errant picture of him.