Thursday, 18 December 2014


God did not become a human being so I could worry about the length of shepherd costumes or whether I've got enough matching tinsel :-)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Big letters, small letters

Apologies for the random font sizes that are now on the blog. I read this very interesting and useful article, which said you should make your online fonts bigger. And it does make a huge difference. So I've changed my default font size. The trouble is, a lot of the articles were not using 'default', but I had specifically set the size to 'normal'. Which gave the same result. But now that the default's bigger, those ones haven't changed.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How to make 12 swords in under 20 minutes

We were filming a scene for our nativity play yesterday - angels, to appear up in the 'sky' (i.e. on screen).

I wanted the angels to have swords, and previously I have used newspaper and tinfoil. But I really wanted something that would take less time to make, since it seems unreasonable to give a child a sword and then forbid him to use it, which means they would likely get destroyed beyond repair. Also, it was past my bedtime!

So this is what I did.
I used gold and silver card which I had bought for something else but it was really poor quality - however it was fine to be viewed from a distance.

For 12 swords:
  • 3 sheets A4 silver card (letter size would work too).
  • 2 sheets A4 gold card - brown or a colour would be good if it wasn't for angels.
  • 12 staples (glue would have been better).
What to do:
  1. Cut the silver sheets into 4 strips (for A4, mark at approx 5.25cm, 10.5cm, 15.75cm - accuracy's not that important)
  2. Cut the gold sheets in half long-ways (approx 10.5cm), then in thirds (approx 9.9cm and 19.8cm)
  3. Fold silver strips longways - easiest if you draw a heavy line with a ballpoint pen on the back where you want to fold. Cut off the point at an angle.
  4. Fold gold pieces in half. Cut out a sort of L-shape from the non-folded side. 
  5. Overlap hilt on blade an inch or so, and attach. I used a single staple on the fold so it didn't show - glue would have been better.
Top: the swords.
Middle: as worn for filming.
Bottom: The heavenly host engage in some post-filming combat practise.

By the way, the swords are really for display purposes only. They were not handed out until the camera was ready to roll, and after filming they probably lasted less than 5 minutes in action!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Natural Ingredients

Q: I have developed a rash/irritation - why if your product is natural?
A: Nad's is made from natural ingredients, therefore it is not usually the ingredients, which cause irritation
Because, as we know, natural things never cause skin irritation. Except for nettles. And rosehips. And poison ivy. And giant hogweed. And wild parsnip. And jellyfish. And... 

I remember reading another ad once:
And, because all our ingredients are natural, you can know it's completely safe.
Because everything natural is safe. Like arsenic. And toadstools. And undercooked kidney beans. Yew berries. Lupins. Deadly nightshade. Hemlock. Aconite. Belladonna. Poison-arrow frogs. Portuguese men-of-war. Cyanide. Mercury. Death...

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I wonder

I wonder if, milennia in the future, archaeologists will come across a layer in their excavations whose distinguishing characteristic is the large quantity of tiny brightly coloured rubber bands?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Japanese proverb 
I tend to err on the side of the first bit :-)

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Psalm 23 book

Look what a customer sent me!!!

They used my Psalm 23 PowerPoint in their service, and then printed this book out for the kids to take home after the service. Looks really professional.

It's fun seeing the text in Dutch. I'm glad I decided to use editable text on all the PowerPoints.


Look at the wee sheep on the back :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Boy angel costumes

It's that time of year again when we look out the tea towels and dressing gowns* and dress up little girls as fairy princesses angels.

But why the little girls? Despite all the costumes and cards, angels in the Bible are not fairies. Or Disney princesses. Or even gently inspirational people.

In the Bible, angels are men**. God's messengers and warriors. Sometimes they ride in chariots of fire. And they're definitely not twee & sissy. 

If we believe the account of Jesus' birth is true, not just a traditional seasonal story, should we not be portraying what the Bible actually says - and therefore have the angels acted by boys?

This, of course, causes a problem. I want the wee boys in my Sunday School class to think being an angel in the nativity is a privilege - not an insult! 

So you need to teach them what an angel is. Last year our Sunday School had just been learning about Elijah and Elisha and the chariots of fire, which was ideal, as I could really play up the 'some angels are God's warriors' thing even before we started talking about Christmas. Make sure they know the angels that appeared above Bethlehem were the heavenly army (that's what 'host' means.)

You also need to have a costume that your nativity angels can be proud to wear, so they (and their parents) don't feel they're playing a 'girl's part'. 

Here's our boy angel costumes from last year. They were very popular!

Gabriel and the angel that came to the shepherds.
  • Tunic - Large white man's T-shirt. 
  • Breastplate - metallic bubble wrap. I got the gold years ago. Silver is easier to get - it's sold as insulation! Better than cardboard as it will last for years and won't crease.
  • Gold/silver elastic for breastplate straps.
  • Flame (optional) cut from orange opalescent sticky plastic. 
  • Belt and headband - For the two main angels I used shiny flame-coloured dress fabric I couldn't resist! To avoid sewing, shiny ribbon works well too - I used gift wrap ribbon for the heavenly host.
  • Sword - main angels had swords from a £ shop - heavenly host had newspaper swords wrapped in foil. (edit - see here for another sword idea)
For speed (when dressing large numbers of hyper children in minimal time), tunic & breastplate are designed to be put on all at once: 

Beforehand, breastplate is safety-pinned to T-shirt, then gold elastic tied to pins and crossed at back. Elastic is pinned on shoulders and under arms. 

Then only the belt and headband need tied on separately, and the sword stuck in the belt. They were strictly instructed not to remove the swords during the play, with promises of being allowed to play with them afterwards :-) 

Boy angel extras, with view of crossed over elastic on back.

*Not if I can help it, but that's a whole other post on what first century people actually wore. 

** At least, when appearing in human form they appear as men whenever gender is specified. That's not to say there might not be female ones we don't know about (but we know Gabriel appears as a man). They may of course be genderless in reality - certainly they're asexual.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


A forum without avatars is like trying to socialise with a group of people wearing balaclavas and name badges.

Why would anyone even think this was a good idea?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Missing the point?

I wrote this a while back but never finished it:

In Sunday school we're doing a series about kings and prophets. The series includes the stories of King Joash and King Josiah. As told in the lesson book, the stories are very similar:
  • Becomes king at age 7 (Joash) / age 8 (Josiah).
  • When he grows up, renovates the temple (Joash) / renovates the temple and finds God's law (Josiah).
  • Basically, he's an all-round good guy who follows God and does what he says.
The aims given for the first lesson are that adults can help you to know God (like Joash's uncle did).
The aims for the second are that you can seek God when you are young, and he can change your life.

Despite many differences, the basic plots of the stories are soooo similar that they could easily be confused, and really end up rather boring.

But there are two things missed out of Joash's story - and adding them would make a huge difference.

First - Joash lived the first 7 years of his life in hiding because the evil queen (his gran) wanted to kill him. That's too exciting to miss out!

And second - after his uncle died, Joash completely turned his back on God, abandoned the temple, worshipped idols and had his cousin killed when he pointed out he was doing wrong. Maybe not such a good guy after all? 

And when you include that bit, the aim of the lesson changes, too. Not just that the children need adults to teach them to follow God (although that's true). But that that isn't enough

Joash followed God when he had the influence of a godly father figure. But you get the impression his faith depended on his uncle. And that's not what we want for the children. 

All of the kids in my class have Christian families. They come to Sunday School and church, and we try to make it a positive experience where they can learn about God and what Jesus has done.  We sing great songs that get the Bible firmly in their heads. That's great. But that isn't enough.

As I never stop telling them - it's not what your mum and dad believe that matters - it's what you believe. It doesn't matter if your mum or dad love God - do you love God? 

And, however well we teach the children, only God can do that bit.

Friday, 24 October 2014

“Jesus wept.”

"Why is Jesus weeping? The context of the verse is that Jesus just learned that his old friend Lazarus has died. In just a few more verses, Jesus is going to raise him from the dead, and yet there are still tears to be had. Death is bad, and even when Jesus is going to resurrect Lazarus physical death is still a bad thing."

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The design of independence (or not)

Today Scotland was voting on whether we should be independent from the UK.

One thing I have found interesting about this debate is the design aspect - of course!
The comments below are totally politically objective - they're about design and nothing to do with how I voted :-)

'Yes' is an easy message to design for - the word is inherently positive; you just need to say it with no frills. Here's their logo:


The other side had a definite disadvantage from that point of view - 'no' is an inherently negative word (of course, if the question had been 'should Scotland remain in the UK?' it would have been the other side dealing with this problem). The slogan they started with (and have kept for some things) was 'Better Together'.
Positive, but hardly competes for snappiness with a large 3-letter word. Not ideal for window stickers, and also, importantly, doesn't explicitly tell people what to vote.

So, they changed their logo and slogan to this one:

no thanks.png
I really like this solution: The addition of the word 'thanks' makes it polite and friendly. The cross shows you that you've to vote 'no', and, when reversed out of blue, it looks like a Scottish flag:
Not sure if that was deliberate, as they often don't reverse it, or use other colours. But I think it's a good way to emphasise that voting against independence is not being unpatriotic.

And on that note, here's another one I liked:

It parodies the 'Yes' logo, and it is both Scottish and, importantly in this debate, working class.

Alea jacta est

I have cast my vote.

Some random thoughts:
  • I really wish there was an 'I don't know' box. Because, really, I don't. Therefore, I would prefer to vote 'I don't know', and that we would only have independence if a majority actually voted yes.
  • I hope, whichever way it goes, there is a very clear majority. Scary if it was just one vote out and therefore the result was my fault.
  • In the end, I voted based on 'which would I regret most not doing?'
  • If the result is 'no', I'll be relieved; if it's 'yes' I'll be excited. And have some fairly negative feelings with both results as well.
  • There has been so much scaremongering on both sides, and accusations of lying on both sides, it's hard to have any clear idea of what independence would actually mean.
  • It's not about the SNP and the Tories. If we have independence, in the long term we could have any kind of government including conservative. Therefore all the SNP's socialist utopia ideas will only last until the next general election - which is either good or bad depending on your views :-)
  • There is no morally/spiritually 'right' way to vote, but there are morally/spiritually good reasons for voting each way, morally/spiritually bad reasons for voting each way, and morally/spiritually neutral reasons for voting each way.
  • I found the Independence Debate at Harper Memorial church very helpful. Although it did confuse me more about which way I wanted to vote, it also allayed some of my fears on both sides. Nice to see politicians being nice to each other, actually answering questions (!) and referring to each other as brothers.
  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4v6-7
  • "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8v28  Which is not to say everything will work out in a way that seems good at the time...
  • Will Scotland get to keep unmarked stamps? Because it was a Scot who invented them.

Computer-generated 'art'?

"I believe that the human brain has the best scripts possible and no computer can recreate the same. It can look the same, it can imitate it pretty well but it will never have a "Soul" to it. a script can’t know that a tiny white dot in the eye is a reflection that gives emotion to the whole work."
Mordy Levi
Click here to see his beautiful hand-generated Low-Poly* illustrations of sealife. And also some portraits and pictures showing how he did it here.

*i.e. made only of flat-colour triangles - as few as possible.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cute little robot

I was needing a new USB hub.
I couldn't resist this one.

Do you think Wall•E and Eve are his parents? Seems to have a mix of their genes.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Jesus, hope of the nations

Today at church there were people from:
Scotland, Iran, England, Northern Ireland, Wales, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Argentina, Spain, Azerbaijan...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Dear spammers

  • I do not want Ray Ban sunglasses.
  • I am not looking for a girlfriend (and I am not a man).
  • I am not extremely overweight.
  • I do not want a carpet with my logo - I work from home.
  • I do not want to gamble at Ruby Palace casino, no matter how many fictitious friends ask me to.
Thank you.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Jairus's daughter's outfit

I recently published a PowerPoint presentation about Jairus's daughter.

It was a wee bit tricky designing her outfit. You want the colours and design of the scene to in some way reflect the mood of the illustration, or, at least, not clash wildly with it. This will, of course, include the clothes worn by the characters

Fine - except if the same outfit has to be used in two consecutive pictures, one showing her dead (which would be best complemented with dull-ish colours, and a cool palette) and one showing her alive (as vibrant as possible)!

Here was my solution:

The purple top works fine with the sad picture. However,  when you combine it with the orange skirt, it's certainly bright - not to say garish! (But I think a 12-year-old can get away with it.)

I also gave her straightish hair because it could either lie limply or swirl about a bit.

I got her outfit from the wall-paintings in the synagogue at Duro Europos in Syria. (They're a slightly later period, but some clothes are certainly the same as 1st century, and it's better than nothing.)

Saturday, 2 August 2014

An advantage of a 'post-christian' society

From an SU leaflet about holiday clubs:
Clearly there’s less knowledge, because fewer children are in Sunday school. So they start a bit further back – you can’t assume as much. But there’s no less curiosity – and if anything I think there’s more thoughtfulness in their response. They are more honest about what they do and don’t believe.

Steve Hutchinson

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Goliath (life size!)

Last week my church did a Holiday Club about the life of David, and they wanted a life-size Goliath for the children to see - and get their pictures taken with.

Here's how we did it (sorry the pictures are a bit pale):

Plan First I drew Goliath on A4 paper and added a grid of squares on the computer - each square to be 6 inches when scaled up. I also added some faint lines half-way across the squares to help when copying.

(You can get the template free if you buy the David & Goliath PowerPoint from Lamp Bible Pictures - OR buy just the template here -

Grid I drew a grid of 6-inch squares on the wall in pink chalk. 

I needed a tall step-ladder and even then I was worried I'd not be able to reach - 10 1/2 foot (top of spear) is higher than you think! And I'm not tall. But I managed to reach - just.

We situated him at the bottom of the stairs as it's the only suitable place with a high enough ceiling.

Pencil I copied each square from the paper to the wall. This picture was as high as I could reach without the ladder.

The pencils finished. It was hard to get the lines smooth when drawing this big.

Inking I used black acrylic paint and a flat brush about 8mm wide. I think I used another pointy brush for the finer lines (details on armour etc). Interestingly, it was easier to get smooth lines with the paint than the pencil - for which I was glad. 

And then I had to wash the chalk off the wall - I used a furry dusting thing with a long handle I found in the cleaning cupboard.

From chalk lines to this point took 2 hours, and my work was done.

Colour Finally, the talented Jenny Hamill did the colours (acrylic also) - and here's the finished result.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Language quote

"Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.

I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.

If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.

This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction."
- K. David Harrison, The Last Speakers

Guddle, guddle

Toil and trouble.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Free Audiobooks

This site gives you two free audiobooks a week over the summer!

This Week’s Audiobooks:
Available to download free June 12 – June 18

By Elizabeth Wein

Read by Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell
Published by Bolinda Audio
Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong….


By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, & Elizabeth Sherrill
Read by Bernadette Dunne
Published by christianaudio
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the 20h century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps.

Thank you to Bolinda Audio and christianaudio for generously providing this week’s titles.

Available for a Limited Time: 
Remember — grab these titles before they are gone! Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, they are yours to keep.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Budget groceries - nice design!

I've recently started shopping at Morrisons.

I really like the design of their budget range.
They've kept the cost down by only using one colour (mostly), but made that a feature.  

According to a statement by the design company "Our identity for M Savers moves away from the cheap, cookie-cutter, corporate approach adopted by other supermarket value ranges. Individual hand drawn illustrations and typography used across 650 products dramatises the care and attention paid by Morrisons to their value offering. The result is charming, optimistic and makes you smile." and "hand crafted illustrations that inject humanity and heart"

Certainly works for me!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Helpful customers

I just got an email from a customer because my website wasn't working.

So I looked into it, and discovered that, for some unknown reason, the e-commerce function had been deactivated. Fortunately, it was literally just a click of a button and it was sorted.

But what if she hadn't told me? How long until I would have discovered? How many sales would I have lost? Or potential customers, who might never have returned?

I'm very grateful!

So, if you find a problem on a website, find the contact details and tell them.

Uncle Gavin

Gavin Stewart Knox
23rd July 1946 - 20th April 2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


Went to see Noah last night.

If you are looking for a faithful retelling of the biblical account, this is not it. It’s a sort of biblically inspired fantasy with loads of stuff added and changed. Fortunately I was aware of this beforehand, and therefore went determined to enjoy it (or not) for what it was. But I admit my expectations were rather negative.

However, after seeing it  I’d say I was generally positive, with a few major negatives and some minor ones.

Some of my thoughts, listed as pros, cons (and just odd). 


PRO: Epic. This was not a twee Sunday School story

PRO: The world is not a ‘bible times’ world, but has industry and technology.

PRO: Costumes were not stereotypical ‘bible costumes’. 

CON: Costumes were stereotypical dreich dystopian costumes. I felt they started off quite good, but seemed to get dreicher and dystopianer. I like colour – I’m sure they would have invented such things as dye and decent sewing. Also, they were in the ark for ages – could they not have made it a bit more home-like? They can’t have had much else to do. Unless they were too traumatised to bother, of course.

PRO: Bits quoted (more or less) from the Bible.

PRO: God was real, and he created a perfect world. Creation was epic (if the order was a bit muddled). 

ODD: Adam & Eve were glowing and bald before the Fall!

PRO: The Fruit was not an apple. The Tree had two trunks - an interesting design decision, which I assume was because it was the tree of the knowlege of both good and evil - wish I'd thought of that!

PRO: Adam & Eve – and then humanity in general  - messed it up, and God’s judgement was just.

PRO: The silhouette montage showing Cain killing Abel and then flicking through wars and killings throughout history up to the present day.


PRO: “The earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and was full of violence” – absolutely.

CON: But a little less chaotic in places could have been good – more sophisticated, ‘respectable’ sins could have been included too. And maybe not so unrelievedly obviously negative either - the fallen world of Genesis also has pastoral nomads and flute players. Sin can be subtle.

PRO: Unlike the popular Sunday School version, Noah does not beg people to come into the ark. Some people have criticised the film for this, but it's not in the Bible! In fact, in the film he fights them to keep them off, which seems a bit wrong at first. But they're not people casting themselves on God's mercy and begging to be saved - they're people trying to grab salvation for themselves. 

CON: There was at least one bit (can’t remember what, now) that I felt was a bit too disturbing for a 12A. 

CON: While God speaking to Noah in dreams/visions was good, as was some ambiguity, in real life God didn’t leave so much to Noah’s interpretation (with nearly tragic consequences). God seemed a bit too remote.

ODD: There w ere these big gnarled stone creatures, which were pretty cool.

I particularly appreciated the character design in that there was one main one that was recognisable and also managed to look like a sympathetic character – not easy! But... 

CON: ...they were supposed to be fallen angels, and they seem to have been chucked out of heaven because they had wanted to help humanity after the Fall, which made them partially good guys, and gave a negative view of God.

ODD: They were eventually pardoned by God – is this even possible? The Bible doesn’t categorically say, but, thinking it over – if humans can ultimately only be pardoned by God sacrificing himself, what basis could he pardon angels on? 

CON: God’s mercy on humans was not quite so clear – the ultimate choice of whether humanity survived was described by one character as a choice that God gave Noah (although God seems to have approved of his choice). Whereas, in reality God himself chose to let us survive despite what he knew it would cost him.

PRO: Miracles were real. God provides what is needed (even unexpectedly after people have given up.) 

ODD: Trees to make the ark miraculously grew  – why? Maybe they felt they needed to show God at work in the world before the flood? But then, they avoided having God speaking clearly. Hmmm...

PRO: The ark was an interesting design. Also, it was BIG. It did not have giraffes’ heads poking out the top

PRO: The animals weren’t that clear, but gave a general impression of being a bit prehistoric. I liked the bits where they came to the ark.


PRO: The flood was BIG – we see a view from space of the entire earth covered in swirling cyclones. The water was not just a rainstorm, but there were the ‘fountains of the great deep’ spouting up, and walls of water, and general dramatic mayhem. 


PRO: The flood and destruction was a terrible and horrific thing. Noah and his family really struggled with it – something I had not thought of before.

PRO: Tubal Cain was an interesting character – he  sometimes seems almost sympathetic – but then his arrogance toward God keeps coming out.

PRO: Ham was an interesting character, muddled with different messages about what it means to be a man (he thinks it means to have a wife, his father says it means to fulfil his responsibilities, and Tubal Cain says he is now a man when he kills). 

PRO: Noah was not some kind of plaster saint. He realised that there is evil in all humanity, including himself, not just the ‘bad guys’ who were wiped out.

CON: This leads him to become obsessed with the idea that God wants to wipe out all humanity and therefore he must kill Shem’s baby. For the latter part of the film (too long) this is the major plot point, and Noah seems to stop being a good guy altogether for some time. 

ODD: He thinks he should kill the baby if it is a girl who could become a mother. But obviously after the flood Shem & his wife could have more children he didn’t know about. So why not kill Shem’s wife instead?

CON: Every single human being was white – how could they be, if Noah’s family were supposed to be the ancestors of everyone that came after? 

ODD: The skin the Serpent sloughed before tempting Eve is kept by Noah’s family and they wrap it round their arm like the strap of a tefillin when giving a blessing. I’m not sure why.

PRO: Whatever Noah’s faults, he almost never wavers from doing what God wants however hard. (The only time he does waver it’s just as well, because it was only what he thought God wanted.)

PRO: Lots of little Biblically accurate bits, like Methuselah dying in the year of the flood (in this case, in the flood).

PRO: Ditto for Noah & his family being vegetarian. Interestingly, the other people aren’t, which I suppose is possible.

PRO: Ditto for Tubal Cain being a metal worker.

PRO: Ditto for Noah getting drunk, lying naked and being covered by a rug by Shem & Japheth who are hiding their faces while Ham looks on – wasn’t expecting that one! 

PRO: It did end on a rainbow. I was sure they couldn’t miss that out! (a rather odd rainbow, but one that clearly came from God) 

There’s a danger in being biblically accurate that we focus on the details and miss the big picture. (Also there is the danger of being smugly self-congratulatory and nitpicking). While this film made no attempt to stick to many of the details, it was fairly good at getting the big picture. So, overall: 

PRO: It was big. It was dramatic. It was not twee.

CON: Adding stuff is fine in a fantasy like this, but you could have been just as interesting without so much actual contradiction of the original. 
PRO: God as the creator who judges the world justly for the mess we’ve made came over clearly.
CON: God as someone who speaks clearly and who absolutely wanted to have mercy on humanity did not.


It made me go back and read all of Genesis 1-9. Hopefully it will also send people who don’t know the story (beyond cute animals in a tiny boat) to the Bible to read it. 

Gave me a few ideas for my illustrations – haven’t published my Noah PowerPoint yet, as it needs a little more work. [edit: I have now - it's here] I might make my ark more interesting, for example. As far as the drama is concerned, my style, and the fact that I need to keep things U or PG, obviously has some limitations. (Although small children can be quite gruesome – I asked the kids in Sunday School to draw the animals in the ark, and at least one added people drowning outside! But not all children are the same, and you need to be careful.) But I think I could get away with some tiny figures trying to flee the flood.

Saturday, 12 April 2014


If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself.
(Attributed to Einstein*)
Of course, another option is that you are just no good at explaining things to six-year-olds. But, it's a good point nonetheless.

*but not really by him, according to Wikiquote

Thursday, 3 April 2014

My Lighthouse

I've been hearing this around lately. It's so cheerful (and true). 

Edit - I have now managed to embed the player - the problem was my inability to read... :-)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Bible bullet points

The Bible really needs bullet points. Of course, they weren't in the original, but neither were such modern refinements as paragraphs, or speech marks, or vowels (in Hebrew), or even spaces between words (I think). But part of translation is expressing what is said in the format used in the language being translated into. And in modern English, when you want to get a list over clearly, you use bullet points.

I've just been typing out this verse for the church diary - doesn't it work so much better with bullets?
...what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:
  • that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
  • that he was buried,
  • that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
  • and that he appeared...

I've often thought the same of Ephesians 1. Apparently in Greek it's one sentence - but you can't have a sentence that long in English! Some Bibles even split it into paragraphs, which makes it more digestible, but even more obscures the fact that it all links back to the 'for' in v4. But you can have a huge long sentence like that in English if you bullet it:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For:
  • He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
    In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will –  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
  • In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
  • With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
  • In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
I think this kind of thing would make the Bible much more accessible to people. Not by changing it, but by actually getting closer to the original.