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Sculpted by whom?

I never get it. I’m reading this terrific book called Touch by David Linden that explores the incredible microworld of the skin. And after detailing some exquisite biology, he says that ‘we have an array of many types of touch sensors in the skin, each a beautiful, specialized micromachine sculpted by evolution to extract different…

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Hark! The herald angles!

I’ve lost count of the number of times at Christmas that I’ve sung the mathematical version of the famous carol, ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’. Proof-reading is a notoriously difficult discipline, but inevitably the angels turn into angles, and the spell-check can’t spot the difference between a cute cherub and an acute angle. But what…

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A Book of Remembrance

What a comfort to know that God hears the groans of the saints when they see His laws voted against and trampled upon. And what a double consolation to know that He writes their names in His Book of Remembrance, not because He is in any danger of forgetting them, but because He ‘honours those…

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Picture perfect

I made sure when I planted my blueberry tree, that I planted the little plastic picture right beside it in the pot, so that the bush could see what it was meant to look like and what sort of big, luscious, plentiful fruit that it was meant to bear. (I just wish that the boys…

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The Guy with the Fist

Tough guy! William Farel. The Rocky of the Reformation. He’s the one on the Geneva Wall whom the sculptors decided to depict with a Bible in one hand and a clenched fist in the other. Says that respected church historian Philip Schaff: “Farel’s work was destructive rather than constructive. He could pull down, but not…

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The Cone of Silence

I always thought that the famous Cone of Silence was one of the goofy inventions devised by the creators of Get Smart. But having just finished a spy book on the Penkovsky case, (a Russian working for both the CIA and MI6 during the Cold War), I now realise that the American Embassy in Moscow…

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Stumbling in the light

John Newton (1725 – 1807) wrote many things, that many Christians have found pastorally helpful. He is certainly best remembered for his classic hymn Amazing Grace, and also for his long sermon series that employed the Biblical texts used in the composition of Handel’s Messiah. But his parish letters are also full of godly wisdom…

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Plato casts his vote

Imagine if you could start a city from scratch – not just its physical structures and engineering, but its social forms and paradigms . Many have tried and have created all sorts of utopic visions. Plato once tried it too. In his Laws, he articulated the creation of a new city on Crete called Magnesia….

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The Handmaid’s Prayer

I only liked one page of The Handmaid’s Tale. It certainly is a dystopic affair. The story is morbid. The characters are hard to warm to. The pages turn with sighs. But then upon one page, a shaft of light fell and brightened the story – at least for me. The handmaid, whose only task…

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Strawberry Fields

July is a good time in Sydney to work over the strawberry patch in preparation for a new season. A new season, that is, of feeding birds! Their timing is impeccable. If only I could make my strawberries ‘impeckable’, that would be a worthy achievement. Maybe all I’m doing is fulfilling Jesus’ Sermon on the…

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