Category Archives: Religion and Philosophy
This is where I give voice to my views about the meaning of life. If you are someone who doesn’t think someone should share their views on God, salvation, etc, then you’ll most likely be dreadfully offended by looking in this category – enjoy!
Greetings gentle readers after a long lapse in posting.
I was recently contacted in e-mail by a Christian polyglot some of my readers will know personally from Gatherings, Brother Fiel Sahir, who wrote:
Hi David! I did some googling but maybe I messed up and I haven’t found where you’ve discussed this, but have you further developed the GLM for scripture memorization? I know for a fact that you were goldlisting sentences when I met you, but what I recall was you used those sentences to help you remember a focus word rather than the sentence itself. Just something interesting, because a friend of mine has encouraged me to begin memorizing scripture. A spiritual discipline that is definitely underated and under practiced in my opinion, first and foremost by myself. Anyways, I look forward to your response, but a blogpost would be more beneficial to the world, so I await that as well! Thanks David. I hope to see you around soon!
In response to this, I wrote the following:
Dear Br. Fiel,
Anything which is to be learned to the Long Term Memory can best be learned using GLM. My suggestion would be to select a passage which you would like to be able to repeat verbatim, at any time later in you life, and place it into the headlist with let us say no more than five words per line.
- The Lord is my shepherd
- I shall not want. He
- Maketh me to lie down in
- Green pastures, he leadeth me
- Beside the quiet waters. He
- Restoreth my soul…
When you have left this two weeks as with any other GoldList project, if it is a passage you already substantially knew, but are trying to get word perfect I would try to write it on D1 position as accurately as possible, but in pencil, covering the original over on the left side. Here you can write maybe seven words at a time. Then note any mistakes you made, in the little words, bits missed out altogether, punctuation, if that’s something you want to get right too, verse numbers (which I didn’t include in the example, but if you ant to be able to remember them, then pay attention to that) and highlight those errors with a red pen or highlighter. Your 25 lines will now anyway be 17 lines just by dint of writing 7 words instead of 5 at D1.
Obviously that’s not a strategy that can continue indefinitely, so at D2 you will take a slightly different approach. You will probably not try to write out the whole from memory at D2, but instead write out the parts where you had had a problem before. The bits where you had no problem, just write the first letter of each word. Write tightly, allowing as many words per line as is comfortable.
Remember you are leaving at least two weeks again between D1 and D2, and the same when you turn D2 to D3, but here you can simply leave out and not even write the first letter of words if you know that you remember confidently the whole sentence. In order to remember the flow of idea in a longer passage, consider writing the first and last words in each clause, and maybe with abbreviations.
- The Lord..want, he maketh..gpast,he leadeth beside tqw. Restoreth.
That may well be where you are by D3 or D4, with 6 lines now looking like a single line.
And you can carry on that way. So, please let me know how you get on. And since you asked for a blogpost, I will base one on your query and my answer. Can I use your name and text?
To which Fiel responded that I could. And thanks to his query and willingness to let me share, we have here something which I hope will encourage many of you to try a project of GLM for long term memorization of a holy text.
Even if you are not Bible believing, you can probably try it on the Qur’aan or on some poetry you want to rote learn for life. I recommend Scripture though. It is what David said needed to be “hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”, and if this tool can help towards the hiding of Divine words in the heart, I don’t know what higher thing can be said of the GoldList Method.
I recently expanded my earlier metrical version of the Genesis account of Babel to include some further points on the history of language from that point onwards and beyond the veil of Eternity. Hope you enjoy this and find it edifying.
The earth had once one speech o’erall. One tongue men used, to tell
From th’East to Shinar’s plain they came and settled there, to dwell.
Among themselves did they conspire “Bricks let us make,” said they
“To building stones them throughly burn and slime for morter lay.”
“Go to,” said they, “a city great, a tow’r to reach the sky,
We shall construct unto ourselves, our name to magnify
Lest scattered far abroad we be the whole earth’s face around”
They built the walls from bricks they’d baked and slime from lime they’d found.
The Lord looked down at Adam’s kin and saw their undertaking
He knew that left alone this would become mankind’s unmaking
Although still in his infancy, not yet a million souls
Mankind was learning things with which he’d score fatal own goals
Adamic language and long life allowed the human mind
To know and build technologies while immature and blind
The Lord said “See, this people is by language unified
Now can no thing their power restrain their will to realise”
“Now let Us unto them descend, their language to confound
That each the other’s speech and tongue no more may understand.”
And so the LORD did scatter them all o’er the earth from thence.
Their city no more could they build. Its name is Babel hence:
That there the LORD in mighty pow’r the earth’s speech did confound,
And He from thence did scatter them the whole earth’s face around.
For here the Lord unto each soul his single language giving
Ensured that man’s wish was to be with but close kindred living
And so each man his nearest took and from the crowd did flee
They lived alone until they spoke one tongue per family
The mother taught the babies hers, the father also learned it
The elder siblings got to add some features if they earned it
And families at length combined by dint of need to wed
So tribal languages emerged as Babel’s tongues went dead
And tribe fought tribe, and strong tribes grew, their tribal tongue promoting:
The structure ever simpler, the word-stock ever growing
And as they filled the earth and crossed each hill and vale and river,
Some tribes grew great and in due course their languages did sever
Through ice and fire and flood and marsh men walked and faced all dangers
To use all space this world allowed and grow to outnumber angels
And language families emerged that had one time been one
But once again they could no more grasp one another’s tongue.
One tribe, the seed of Abraham, in whom all would be blest
Got history and prophesy to cherish for the rest.
But man since Babel always sought to get back there again
To build the city, raise the tower and make himself a name.
To make the countries all one state and into Unions bind
And place a ruler over all, as blind will lead the blind
Each man who tasted power’s rush soon hatched the grand ambition
To subjugate all men to himself as slaves to his volition.
But rulership of this world here is but for its Creator.
It is reserved for God the Christ and He shall take it later.
For only Christ makes all things good: he’ll teach us what was missing
And speak to us in tongues of men, while angels throng to listen.
And when the Resurrection comes and all things be made new,
That ancient tongue shall sound again, the one that Adam knew.
The lives of men became too short to learn that perfect tongue
But it will be a joy to learn for the forever-young.
And so when we are healed in heart, bodies and minds restored
Again we’ll learn that language giv’n to Adam by the Lord.
This is the tenth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’s this one – number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
10. “O BLEST AND ONLY POTENTATE”
(Words and music, Uncle Davey, Cambridge, 1986. Tune name “Alexandra”.) In fact this is the only one of the hymns where I prefer my own tune, Alexandra, which is an 8888 metre tune.
At the moment I don’t have a version of the tune Alexandra to upload.
My suggested chord progression, if the melody starts on E, is C, C, d, e, C / C, G, e, F, G7 / d, d, e, F, G7 / d, F, d, F, C, (G7).
The hymn was written as a one-off, at a different time, rather later than the others, after it seemed that I had stopped writing hymns. I did not even keep it over the years in the same book with the others. Nevertheless, it must be evident that it is much of a muchness with the other hymns written by me, possibly the best of them from a poetic viewpoint, with much theology. Probably if someone felt they could take only one hymn from my collection and add it to a hymn book for use in churches, I suppose I would most rather that this one were chosen, especially as it has its own tune, with number six as possibly second choice.
As befits a closing hymn, this one is based on a New Testament doxology, in this case a pauline doxology for Timothy, that tells us among many other verses that Christ is God. If you have been looking at all the hymns from the beginning of the collection to this, the end, thank you for your patience in bearing with me. I consider it a tremendous priviledge to have a readership, and am always delighted with any feedback, either by mail or on the comments section. Another project I have in mind for the future is a page linking to my most favorite hymns of all time.
God bless, and please enjoy the articles and other parts of my site.
O blest and only Potentate,
Thou King of Kings and Lord of Lords
I look unto Thy mercies great
And I am lost, am lost for words.
Thou didst in kindness set Thy love
Upon this wicked soul of mine
E’en or Thou camest from above
E’en or the sun, the sun did shine.
Thou hast in anguish lovéd me
When beat the sun upon Thy brow
When nailéd to the accurséd tree
For me at Calvary wast Thou.
T’was then all bleeding on the rood
That Thou didst mine atonement make
Thou didst eclipse the wrath of God
In dying, dying for my sake.
Although Thou righteous art alway
And glorious in Thine holiness
Yet didst Thou take my plague away
And clothe me, clothe me in Thy dress.
Christ, Thou hast scanned mine inmost thought
Yea, known mine every grief and care
And Thou hast intercession wrought
And holy, spotless made my prayer.
Shall I not say; Thou art my King?
My Lord and God I shall adore
Thy name proclaim, thy glories sing
Henceforth, till death, and evermore.
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6 vv 13-16)
First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com
This is the ninth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the right hand side bar.
9. “THE EARTH HAD ONCE ONE SPEECH O’ERALL”
(Words Uncle Davey, Hemel Hempstead, 31st December 1984. Music Charles Collignon (1725-1785) Tune name “University”.) The tune is often sung to Scottish Psalms arranged in common metre. The Scottish Church made many arrangements of scripture in common metre, which is the 188.8.131.52 metre we see here, because they believed in keeping all worship as close to the bible as possible, and what better than to actually sing the Bible, and hence there is a whole book of metrical Psalms for use by Presbyterians and it has various other portions of the Word of God other than the Psalms also in metre.
This was my attempt at putting into common metre a particular favorite passage of mine, namely the explanation in Genesis 11 verses 1-9 of where languages appeared. (There is more discussion of this matter in my article “On the Origin of Speeches” on this site, if you have any doubt in your mind about the absolute literal reliability of the scriptures with regard to the Babel event). Note also the ‘us’ of ‘Let Us go down’. The triune God was involved in the confounding of the Adamic Language, and Christ himself, the second Adam and the Living Word, was involved in providing the very words of all the post Adamic living languages!
Collignon is a little known figure, this tune being the only one of his which is generally used. It is named one assumes for Cambridge University, where he lived and taught, and where I also lived and learned, but two centuries later, worshipping the same Jesus, who had not changed a bit over that time.
First published 27th June 2004, Go back to list of hymns, Go back to home page or Go to Bulletin Board
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
The earth had once one speech o’erall
One tongue men used, to tell
From th’east to Shinar’s plain they came
And settled there to dwell
Among themselves did they conspire
“Bricks let us make,” said they
“To building stones them throughly burn
And slime for morter lay.”
“Go to,” said they, “a city great,
A tow’r to reach the sky,
We shall construct unto ourselves
Our name to glorify
Lest scattered far abroad we be
The whole earth’s face upon”
The LORD then from on high beheld
Their tow’r and city strong.
The LORD said “See, this people is
By language unified
Now can no thing their power restrain
Their will to realise”
“Now let Us unto them descend
Their language to confound
That each the other’s speech and tongue
No more may understand.”
And so the LORD did scatter them
All o’er the earth from thence.
Their city no more could they build.
It’s name is Babel hence:
That there the LORD in mighty pow’r
The earth’s speech did confound,
And He from thence did scatter them
The whole earth’s face around.
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11 v 1-9)
My answer to a question on Quora “Is there any defensible reason to believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?”
God has made a world in which in some places you might see ten thousand penguins on a beach but the right mother hears the voice of its own chick and the chick recognises its own mother. When you have read the Bible and heard in it the voice of God to your heart, then this is a stronger case for inspiration than worrying about how to understand this verse if it seems to contradict that verse, etc etc. The way that God speaks to YOU in the prayerful reading of the Bible, this is God’s word to you. In order to get a balanced view it is a good idea to read the whole Bible, which creates a complete and internally congruous view of the development of the idea of salvation, from the law given to one nation, via prophets, judges, then kings, and the continual failure of people to keep a law that reflected the holiness of God, if only at times symbolically, through to an actual physical incursion of the Creator into His own creation, becoming one of us, and then sacrificing Himself to pay the ransome for our sins, enable an exit route from sin into atonement, resurrection and eternal life. This is the message that the Bible has and it is not the message of any other book other than books based on it.
If this be the meaning of life – and I find no better meaning anywhere on Earth in anything else, and all other explanations of what this life is for do not ring true to me – then the place this is revealed is in Scripture and I believe and defend that the Bible is therefore the inspired word of God, authorative, and containing sufficient for me to know so that I can believe the essentials needed to believe in order to find myself covered by the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ.
This came to me on the plane the other day. It is not really a sonnet as they are supposed to be iambic pentameter, and this is iambic quadrameter, but a verse is a verse for better or worse. See if you like it.
To sing a new song to the Lord
And yet include there no strange fire
To take up psaltery and lyre
And sing according to His Word
How can the song be new, and yet
Stay in the range that God commands?
Right ways to praise and worship’s bounds,
These God within His Word has set.
The Gospel is the song that’s new
New from the cross and empty tomb
This song is new yet ancient too
Planned ere a child had breached a womb.
We are the children planned to be
God’s own, a people He set free.
It’s Easter Sunday, and so I gave my family the traditional Easter greeting, “Christ is risen!” Instead of responding with the traditional “He is risen indeed”, Sophie absent-mindedly responded “You too”.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that this faux pas was actually more appropriate than maybe even the traditional answer, which confirms that the second person also believes, but gives no fresh information.
Now it is, after all, because Christ was born in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died on behalf of sinners paying their price and then resurrecting on the third day that we ourselves have the hope of following Him. He is the first-fruits of the Resurrection, the body that dwells in eternity which God had in mind for humans, for His people, all along, can only be acquired this way, by faith and by our death in faith (or ascribed faith in the case of those who did not have the ability to accept the Gospel and would not have rejected it) in Jesus Christ.
Where He goes in this new body, remembered this morning, we go so that we will be where He is. And it is also written that “when we see Him, we shall be like Him”. We will already be in resurrection bodies when our eyes behold him coming to the earth. For those still living it will be as the twinkling of an eye, not two nights and a day in a stone tomb where no-one had yet been laid, as in the case of our Saviour.
It doesn’t matter what has happened to your atoms in the meantime. Maybe your organs, with or without your consent, have gone to save lives or have simply been fed to circus cats. They will be back in full force, perfectly healthy, in a body free from disease or imperfections capable of inhabiting eternity, capable of disregarding the very laws of physics that have constrained your life, senses and even most of your imagination until the time of your changing. If you were cremated and your ashes scattered to the winds and waves, or if you were carefully buried and your body consumed by worms, the worms by ducks and the ducks by various Yorkshiremen, it still doesn’t matter to God. Your resurrection body is part of the New Creation. The atoms He has in Mind for You are still exactly there, in the Mind of God, just as the current style atoms for Adam were prior to the Six-Day Creation. Your body will be returned to you recognisable and yet unrecognisable, as was Jesus when He appeared to them that knew Him best.
This is promised to those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation. He is risen, indeed. Will it be you, too?