Do not adjust your set, normal transmission is resuming

December 8th, 2018

Those readers who subscribe to this blog may have noticed that about 3 weeks ago all the comments disappeared, and I haven’t posted in that time. And you may have received a strange email about an odd post. The three are related.

Three weeks ago the WordPress database was corrupted, I don’t know how. Fortunately I had almost up-to-date backups, and the corruption was just in the field which linked comments to particular posts. So no comments were lost, but they couldn’t appear.

It took a lot of sweat, a steep learning curve and a little panic, but I now understand databases much better and I have restored all but a few comments. I also appreciate the importance of backup, and have learned how to do mine better from now on. It is now (hopefully) business as usual again.

So thanks for your patience (if you noticed any of this).

Questions and doubts, so why do I still believe?

January 19th, 2017

Blogging and commenting on other blogs exposes me to many different viewpoints. And it makes me think ….

Some questions I’ve heard before, thought about, and know what I think. Other questions require thought, research and more thought. But all the time I’m considering, reviewing, pondering.

I’ve also “met” many people, each one on the journey of life, but heading in so many different directions. They make me think and ponder too. How can people come to such widely different conclusions about life, truth and God?

Some people grow up in a christian family, or choose to follow Jesus, and continue with that belief right through life. But others walk away from their previous belief for various reasons. So why am I in the former group rather than the latter? After all, it’s not as if I don’t have doubts and questions.

It makes me think ….

Continue reading →

Atheists, agnostics and theists

August 7th, 2016

Definitions of words can be boring stuff, but sometimes they are important. Sometimes people get quite excited, perhaps even angry, over them.

The words atheist and agnostic have been examples of this in recent years.

Continue reading →

Converting an HTML site to WordPress

July 28th, 2016

This page in brief

For years I had a self-coded HTML website with a blog attached. Late last year I made the decision to make it entirely built on WordPress, which necessitated converting about a hundred HTML pages to WordPress pages, and solving quite a few problems along the way.

I am not a professional coder. I am moderately proficient in HTML and CSS, and have a rudimentary understanding of PHP (the language WordPress is written in) and WordPress. If you are setting up a WordPress site, or converting to a WordPress site, and have similar skills (or lack of them), these notes may help you.

But readers who aren’t interested in the mechanics of WordPress may gracefully bow out now!

Contents

  1. Why change?
  2. Decide on your aims
  3. Choosing a theme
  4. Image sizes
  5. Adding widget areas
  6. Context sensitive sidebars
  7. Home page layout
  8. Changing from HTML to WordPress
  9. Plugins
  10. Menus and menu descriptions
  11. Custom fields
  12. Links to related pages and posts
  13. Subscribe to blog and to comments
  14. Footer text
  15. Customise post info
  16. Previous and next post links
  17. Site lighthouse icon

Continue reading →

The what and why of belief in Jesus

June 21st, 2016

It is good, every now and again, to reflect on what we believe and why, and to review if there is any reason to change our minds. I think it is good, too, for a blog author to remind their readers of what the blog is all about.

So here’s my summary – what I believe, why I believe it, and why I have this website. I hope you find it helpful.

Continue reading →

We cannot be kind to each other here for even an hour?

June 12th, 2016

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, in his poem Maud wrote:

Ah yet, we cannot be kind to each other here for an hour;
We whisper, and hint, and chuckle, and grin at a brother’s shame;
However we brave it out, we men are a little breed.

Most of us, upon reading that, would probably smile ruefully and agree. If we’re honest with ourselves, we might even reflect on times when that has been us, and hope we can do better in the future. And yet, on the internet or behind the wheel of a car, somehow we so often show Tennyson got it right.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett has some suggestions for those of us who discuss and sometimes argue on the internet.

Continue reading →

Time for a change

January 11th, 2016

Lighthouse

Expect some changes in this website soon.

I want to update the design, mostly to make it better suited for viewing on mobiles (more than a third of my visits now) and to make it more stable and easier for me to manage.

There’ll be disruption for quite a while as I gradually update and move pages around. Everything will still be here, but sometimes some things may be hard to find.

Please accept my apologies for the disruption. I hope it’s worth the trouble. I am happy to be advised of any faulty links, or anything else for that matter.

Thanks.

Picture: Eilean Musdile lighthouse, between the Scottish island of Mull and the mainland, and used as in the new design of this website. Photo by unkleE.

I remember when the world was very different

November 17th, 2015

The world in 1945

I’m not sure if I was a normal boy, but I always loved maps. So one of my favourite books was the Oxford University World Atlas. I loved it because of the diversity of its maps – it even included details on the solar system (I loved astronomy too!) and the exploration of Australia by Europeans (the unexplored parts of the country were shown black, as if the first Australians weren’t even there). As you can see, I still have it, much the worse for wear – sort of like me and the world it portrays! 🙂

I was born in 1945, right at the end of the Pacific war in which my dad fought. The atlas was from about the same period – it doesn’t show Israel as a separate country (which occurred in 1948). And it shows, as you can see in the above world map, the British Empire, on which the sun never set, proudly marked red.

The might and grandeur of the Empire was a wonderful fact of life in those days – we even celebrated Empire Day with a half day school holiday in May, and fireworks in the evening.

They were innocent days. But they didn’t last.

Continue reading →