Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Joy and beauty!

Just played the Prelude and Fugue in F# (#13) from Bach's 48 book 1 - in over 45 years of playing the piano I've never played this (F# is a tricky key) and they are gems.

How many more wonderful surpises of joy and beauty are there lying around in books?

Iraq - Polkinghorne - Life - Mutter on side of Angels

Late Aug is a bit 'dog days' - one of us should be in the office but not a vast amount to do. I've finished my piece for the Harvard Business Review - updated the Polkinghorne books page since I find that he has published one more and has another about to come out. There is also a book by a German Jesuit coming out about his theory of consonance.

Situation in Iraq depressing - the Sunni seem to be worried about federalism causing a break-up of the country (it hasn't with Switzerland!) so threatening Civil War which would lead to ... the break up of the country.

I'm pleased to see that Sophie Mutter is on the side of the angels in the pro-life debate. She says: "For me, Mozart’s 250th birthday (January 2006) starts nine months before he was born because he was conceived and his sprit was around. That’s why my celebration and my low bow to the great composer starts very early!"

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Charming lady - but one God

At church this evening we had a sermon from a charming and enthusiastic young lady (works in PR, married to Director of Music) emphasising (very well) that salvation is a gift from God - not something we earn. But she was pleased to have convinced her Islamic colleague that "we don't worship the same God". Surely the relevant text is John 4:22 - we worship the same God but the Islamic understanding is greatly defective becasue they don't appreciate the depth of God's love - that He gave his only-begotten Son (etc...)

I't a bit like people who thought that the sun went round the earth - they were referring to the same sun, they just didn't really understand what the sun was.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Back from wonderful holiday

Back from wonderful holiday at our family house in N Cornwall. We shipped our boat there and had a couple of days sailing before the rest of the family arrived. Then from Fri to Mon it was 'Silver Days' ie all but one of our descendants present (Son was working) and beautiful weather except for Sat which was already planned as a non-sailing day. On Mon we sailed 19 miles, round the headland and into the bay where our house is, Rose thought she saw some seals by the rocks where we had seen a colony 2 years ago. On Tues the wind dropped so we got out the Kayak and went to the rocks (2mi from the beach) that way - sure enough the seals were in the water, we saw at least 5. Then on Weds a final sailing day, in which Rose learned to helm from the Trapeze and we raced (and beat) a Dart 18 (which is supposedly a significantly faster boat).

Only down-side: almost no running so I'm back to 4h20 Predicted Marathon Time - ah well it'll come down.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

More wisdom from Sen - but in part

Going today to daughter's best friend's wedding - in Trinity where we and our son were married. Natasha was one of the most brilliant students of her year and I've got her a copy of The Argumentative Indian autographed by Sen to Natasha with best wishes for your wedding. (or words to that effect - it's wrapped now). I'm about 3/4s through my copy, on his essay The Reach of Reason which tries to defend enlightenment thinking about moral reasoning. He is, of course, very persuasive in arguing against the idea that tolerance and reason are uniquely Western values. "We may be left wondering why Gautama Buddah, or Laozi or Ashoka - or Gandi or Sun Yat-sen - was not really an Asian..[or] what could have led Maimonides ... to seek shelter in Emperor Saladin's Egypt" He also adds "in 1526, in an exchange of discourtesies between the kings of Congo and Portugal, it was the former not the latter who argued that slavery was intolerable"

Yet fundamentally the atheistic aspects of the Enlightenment throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's no good reasoning about moral judgements if you begin with the premise that there are no moral absolutes and it's all a matter of opinion. An idiotic letter to Saturday's FT stated baldly that "evil is what we dislike in other people" When such idiocies are regarded as acceptably obvious by the UK establishment there is little hope of effective moral reasoning - or indeed effective morality.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lots to catch up on - Book, Islamism etc..

Staying in S of France for a few days - as always this means frantic scramble to get off and therefore little time for anything like blogging. Have been sending out invitations for the launch colloquia for my book in November, and have also been asked to write something for the Harvard Business Review - I've done the first draft on holiday.

Lots of food for thought around the 2nd set of would-be suicide bombers in London - two excellent articles in The Spectator on The Myth of Moderate Islam and also by Mark Steyn on Wake Up Folks, It's War. A thought-provoking piece in Saturday's Times saying that the motif of UK-born 2nd generation Islamic terrorists has appeared in a number of novels in the last few years, so is hardly completely un-anticipated.