Monday, October 29, 2007

Which member of the royal family was being blackmailed?

The royal blackmail story is going to run and run. British journalists already know who it was because it was read out in court. They can't report it, but eventually foreign media will.

Circumstances suggest that it was a man so here are a list of all the male members of the Royal Family. Make of it what you will!

Direct Members of the Royal Family (all of whom have been ruled out according to BBC sources)

  • HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
  • HRH The Prince of Wales
  • HRH Prince William of Wales
  • HRH Prince Henry of Wales
  • HRH The Duke of York
  • HRH The Earl of Wessex
  • HRH The Duke of Gloucester
  • HRH The Duke of Kent
  • HRH Prince Michael of Kent

Relations or spouses of members of the British Royal Family, some of whom barely consider themselves to be royal:

  • Peter Phillips (The Princess Royal's son) (also ruled out in the BBC report)
  • Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence (The Princess Royal's 2nd husband)
  • Viscount Linley (The Queen's nephew, son of the late Princess Margaret)
  • Earl of Ulster (The Duke of Gloucester's son and daughter-in-law) and their son
  • Mr Gary Lewis (The Duke of Gloucester's daughters husband)
  • Earl of St Andrews (The Duke of Kent's son)
  • The Lord Nicholas Windsor(The Duke of Kent's younger son)
  • The Lord Frederick Windsor(Prince Michael of Kent's son)
  • James Ogilvy (Princess Alexandra's son)

And now the really obscure royals known as "collaterals" mainly descendants of the younger children of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, and King George V plus all their children and grandchildren if they happen to be female:

  • The Earl of Harewood (grandson of King George V through his daughter Mary, Princess Royal), his second wife, and his children, and grandchildren, as well as the children and grandchildren of his now deceased brother, Gerald Lascelles.
  • The Duke of Fife (female-line great-grandson of King Edward VII) and his children and grandchildren
  • The Lady Saltoun (widow of Alexander Ramsay of Mar, a female-line grandson of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third son of Queen Victoria), and her children and grandchildren
  • The Marquess of Milford Haven (grandson of George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven, and great-grandson of H.G.D.H.
  • The Countess Mountbatten of Burma (elder daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, youngest son of H.G.D.H. Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, and her family

Another interesting issue is that the person had crested stationery in a private residence in London which would rule out some of the above.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why the discover channel documentary Conspiracy Test: The RFK Assassination adds nothing to the investigation.

There are two problems with the presentation of this apparent evidence of a second gunman:
  1. The audio engineers did not differentiate between the sound balloons being popped (which was happening in the pantry at the same time) and the sound of gunshots. Both would give spikes in a spectrographic readout, yet they counted all the noteable spikes as gunshots.
  2. The audio engineers quickly discounted a ricochet because the end of the room is too far away to produce a ricochet sound as quickly as it is heard on the tape. However, the bullet could have ricocheted off any of the metal surfaces anywhere in the pantry, not just off the far wall. The police even identified a ricochet mark on the ceiling.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Over Egging the Pudding - The Increasing Intellectual Demands of Contemporary Christianity

When I first became a Christian in the 1980's it was a fairly simple proposition:

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved."

But since then Christianity has become more complex.
First it was "you need to be pentecostal to be a proper Christian" then "you need to be a creationist to be bona fide" then "you need to be into the Toronto blessing to be genuine" then "you need to be a premillenialist and believe in biblical prophecy that the second coming will be soon" and more recently "you need to accept that God has a special purpose for Israel".

What happened to the simple gospel?

Everything has become far too complicated and much too difficult for most people to accept.
This might be one reason why the Church is struggling.

For many people, including myself, It has become a little bit like swallowing a gnat while straining on a camel.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Walking away from church.

Well I have finally decided to stop going to church after just over a year in the same church, not having been committed to any church for a few years.
There were two things which made me make the decision:

1. Having been on holiday and then unwell I had not been at church for a few weeks so I did not know that there was going to be an induction for the new minister. Nobody told me and after it had happened and other people had told me about it I asked the church secretary who said it was my own fault for not being at church to hear about it.

2. Last week the new minister preached a message that the church is mainly about new people not existing members and that this was where our future lay. That was afair enough point, but I had a few issues (one of them being about corporate fasting) and someone suggested I speak to him about it after the service. He refused to engage with my questions and said I just had to accept by faith that what he was saying was correct. I then asked him how fasting could work as a lever to persuade God. He replied that fasting showed God that you were serious about what you were asking him for, to which I replied "well surely God would know that as he knows whats in your heart, and is that not the same argument used by some christians for self flagellation?". He then said he had to go and speak to a new person who had come along and just left me and my friend standing there. Maybe I am just too forthright.

The thing that surprises me most is how other people in the church can think that this sort of behaviour is proper.When I trained for the ministry I was taught that the way to deal with difficult questions was to buy time by arranging to see the person later or to be honest and say you needed some time to go away and think about it. he just walked away.

I felt quite hurt with the dismissive way it was dealt with and the comments from other people since, that the newly saved are more important. That may or may not be true, but I felt deeply hurt that I was being expected to agree to things without there being any reasonable explanation for them and without any attempt to convince me - just accept and do it.

My doubts and my drifting away are probably more difficult to deal with than a new fresh person so in some ways its understandable from a purely marketing point of view, but stopping the significant churn in church members should be getting addressed as well IMO.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A couple of problems with young earth creationism

Here are a couple of very obvious problems that people who promote young earth creationism can't deal with:

  1. The earth must be older than 6000 years because 6000 years is not long enough to contain all of the known human history. 6000 years ago was the middle stone age.
    People had existed for a lot longer than that and we have cave paintings and other archaeology to prove it. Young earth creationists actually believe that civilisation has developed in only 4500 years (the period since the flood). This does not match up with known history.

  2. If the dinosaurs were wiped out by a world wide flood and humans and dinosaurs coexisted why are there no fossilised people, just fossilised dinosaurs? Why are there no fossilised mammals in the same strata as the dinosaurs? The answer is that the different types of animal lived at different times. Dinosaurs came first, then mammals and then man, long after the dinosaurs were fossilised.

  3. We know that 90% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. They could not all have coexisted in a stable ecosystem therefore they did not exist at the same time, therefore one must have followed from another.