Monday, March 26, 2012

Stones Surrounding Avebury

While visiting Stonehenge, we learned of a lesser known archaeological site in a nearby village called Avebury.  The stones that completely surround this village are placed inside a moat and a fairly tall embankment that also circles the town.  The stones come from the same area as those found at Stonehenge and from the same period.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Humorous sign

This sign at Bath was hilarious.  It's a quote from the first-century Roman historian Seneca.
I have this image of a guy doing a cannonball into the Roman baths.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Europe Photos

KJV 1611 edition in church where Shakespeare is buried
Church in Stratford-on-Avon where Shakespeare is buried
St. Anne's College at Oxford where Josh studies
Family standing by the river in Oxford where Josh rows competitively

Back in the Saddle

That title is a figurative one of course.  My family and I just spent an enjoyable 9 days abroad in England and Ireland, visiting our third son who is studying at Oxford this semester.  We thoroughly enjoyed the trip--relishing in the lengthy history of so many places.  There's nothing quite like a trip to Europe to put things in a bit of historical perspective.  While the earliest English settlers arrived in Jamestown, VA a little over 400 years ago, and the U.S. is not even 250 years old yet, we visited churches that have been standing for between 800 and 1000 years.  

We enjoyed visiting several sites in England including Oxford, Stratford-on-Avon where we took in the Shakespearean houses, ancient Bath, Stonehenge, and a lesser known but larger stone circle at Avesbury.  We also toured Windsor Castle with all of its pomp and circumstance.

In Ireland, we journeyed southward to Cork where we climbed the Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney stone to gain the gift of eloquence (we'll see how that works), enjoyed the scenery of the beautiful countryside, took in a concert of classical and Gaelic music in Galway, and enjoyed a couple of days in Dublin including attending the St. Patrick's Day parade in which the Notre Dame and Mizzou bands were marching.  

We arrived safely home with all of our luggage last night and will undoubtedly be coping with a bit of jet lag today after getting up at 5:00 a.m. yesterday in London.  All in all, it was a wonderful trip.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Struggling with the Devil or Struggling with God

I read a great article this morning on Ethics Daily by Chuck Queen that shares the story of a young man who goes to live for the summer in a monastery in the mountains of Greece.  There's a famous old monk there named Father Makarios and Nikos, the young man, engages the monk in the following conversation:

One day, Nikos asked Father Makarios, "Do you still wrestle with the devil?"

Father Makarios said, "No. I used to wrestle with the devil all the time. But now I have grown old and tired, and the devil has grown old and tired with me. So I leave him alone and he leaves me alone."

Nikos asked, "Then life is easy now?"

Father Makarios responded, "Oh, no. Life is much harder now. For now I wrestle with God."

Nikos exclaimed, "You wrestle with God and hope to win?"

"No," said Father Makarios, "I wrestle with God and hope to lose."

There's a real sense in which this struggle with God is one in which we all participate, hopefully with the same desire to lose.  The yielding of our lives completely to His will and greater purpose for us is something we battle daily to achieve.  That anguished struggle is echoed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 7 with his confession that the good he wants to do he finds himself not doing, and the evil that he wishes to avoid he finds himself committing.  The only hope for victory in this arena lies in the daily surrender of our will, our desires, our time, our energy, and our actions to the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  When we do so, we can say together with Paul, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14).