Thursday, 30 June 2016

The Collection: June

Good Morning!

        Welcome to the fifth edition of The Collection: a monthly gathering of a few of the best things I have found on the internet from the past month. From the month of June I have selected three things to share with you: a short and well thought through speech on the recent exit of Britain from the EU, a beautiful arrangement of Gustav Holst's 'Jupiter', and a piece of WWII history from today. I hope you enjoy them!

        A Speech on "Brexit" - David Hannan, as result of the referendum, lost his job as a member of the EU parliament.  After watching this speech, one can see why it was such a socially, economically, and politically important vote.

        "I Vow to Thee My Country" - A beautiful arrangement of 'Jupiter' from Gustav Holst's 'The Planets' first played for the funeral of that great statesman and leader, Sir Winston Churchill.  It is paired with some contemporary scenes from that time (You will see that when his casket was taken by boat along the River Thames to his burial ground, one of the most striking things was when all the cranes along the London Docks lowered their jibs in honour of him).

        The Royal Marine from Colwyn Bay - More than seventy years after one British Royal Marine was killed in action in Holland in WWII, he was finally properly buried with full military honours.  This is the story.

        See you next month!
        The Collector

Friday, 24 June 2016

Make Britain Great Again: Thoughts Upon the British Referendum

All opinions and thoughts are only those of the author, who quite possibly may be wrong on many of his speculations.  Feel free to comment below with your thoughts. In any of what has been said, the author means no offence to any of the readers.

        Well, the polls have been closed, the voters have voted; the counters have counted, and results have been announced. And Britain has voted, by an ever so slight majority percentage, to take their leave as a member of the European Union (EU).  In a purely economic and political sense, I, despite not being a British citizen, am convinced it is the right choice for Britain to leave the EU.  One of my friends in the UK, a Scottish young man completing his studies with a degree in law, has evidently put some careful thought into his choice:

        "Let's think about this. Even the doomsday scenarios Remainers are touting say it's going to be chaos for ten years. In ten years . . . I'll still be a fair few years from middle age, and my extended family's next generation may be starting school. So, worst case scenario as per Remain, I and the rest of the 'future' will spend most of our lives in an improving, globalized and free Britain. So, flip that. Where will the EU be in ten years? Or twenty? Decades more tied to the economic dead zone of the world. Decades more of Brussels making more and more laws applying to our                                                                                          lives however we vote.

        "I'm one of those George Osborne says has most to lose. Young, no property, just entering the job market. I love traveling and international culture. But what is ten years of economic uncertainty compared to what others has sacrificed for our freedom, our democracy? Nothing. And let's face it. Everyone who's giving us these doomsday scenarios have been wrong before (*cough Euro*). The way I see it, the world is the UK's oyster. We've got links to many great nations, like Australia, Canada, and India. And most importantly we'll be free from the imposition of laws by people who we cannot vote out of power."

        Frankly, I believe the EU is an outdated system.  Brought into being in 1958 as the EEC: European Economic Community, to combat the Red Empire - the Soviet Union - it is no longer necessary to have so many rules, regulations, and restrictions on free countries.  Back then there was no mass production and shipment of products around the world, there was no internet, let alone Amazon.  So it was a good idea and help for the time; however, all of that has now changed.  The rules meant to help free trade, and govern imports and exports have done their job.  These rules, I would contend, hamper and tie the hands of not a few countries who are part of the EU.  And the big thing which I see as a large problem would be the introduction of an EU military force.  Britain would be no more than a servant of a governing body.  She would have to relinquish her currency, her borders, and her judicial system.

        Thus, in order to grow and remain a free country, Britain has made the right choice in leaving a system which serves her no longer.  And I believe that Britain will grow stronger once again now that she is free from restrictions governing her trade.  As my friend mentioned above, Britain has links to Asian countries, South American countries, and also her Commonwealth countries.  She can now have better interests and control of her own imports and exports with other non-European nations.  For those who are saying that now Europe will trade less with Britain, Europe will not want to stop Britain from purchasing, for example, their automobiles, which bring them millions in profit every year.

        But no matter how strong Britain grows in her economic prosperity, she will never become truly great again, unless one thing happens. The fact is that Britain, like almost all of the Western world, has sadly forgotten the founding principles which gave her life to become one of the greatest nations in history.  She has forgotten God.  And until she remembers her Maker, she will never be fully 'Great' again.  Britain, I wish you the best in your endeavours toward freedom and democracy.  Please, remember the words of your Christian King, Alfred the Great, who brought law, stability, freedom, and prosperity during his excellent reign:

        "For in prosperity a man is often puffed up with pride, whereas tribulations chasten and humble him through suffering and sorrow. In the midst of prosperity the mind is elated, and in prosperity a man forgets himself; in hardship he is forced to reflect on himself, even though he be unwilling. In prosperity a man often destroys the good he has done; but amidst difficulties he often repairs what he long since did in the way of wickedness."

Written and Posted by William A Moore

All opinions and thoughts are only those of the author, who quite possibly may be wrong on many of his speculations.  Feel free to comment below with your thoughts. In any of what has been said, the author means no offence to any of the readers.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Fly Fest 2016: Flying in a Royal Canadian Air Force 'Chipmunk'

        On the weekend I had the opportunity to take a flight in one of my favourite aircraft - a deHavilland 'Chipmunk' of the RCAF, now owned and operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum(CWHM).

        Interestingly enough, as we were up in the air, my pilot and I heard over the radio from ATC(Air Traffic Control) about the CWHM Lysander making a forced landing in a field nearby after having engine troubles, and we flew towards the spot until a helicopter was sent out instead.  Everyone was alright, and the plane only sustained minor damage, particularly to its landing gear.  So my flight, though thankfully not having to ditch, still turned out to be quite an adventurous flight!

        Here is a short video I made using footage gathered whilst on the ground and in the air:

Written, Filmed, and Posted by William A Moore

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' - Part Two

This is Part Two of a short look at the novel, Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe.  
Click HERE to read Part One.

        . . . . Perhaps most importantly Crusoe starts to recognize that it may be these calamities are God’s way of punishing him for his sins of rebellion and foolishness. Crusoe “had not previously considered that all this was the hand of God’s judgement . . . ‘that God had appointed all this to befall me, that I was brought to this miserable circumstance by his direction, he having the sole power, not of me only, but of everything that happened in the world’.” Crusoe now comes to see the how the hand of God’s Providence has been disciplining and prodding, protecting and guiding him to see his utter helplessness and thereby, his great need for forgiveness and reconciliation from and with God[1]. Defoe writes thus about Crusoe’s change of heart:

        “I was earnestly begging God to give me repentance . . . I cried aloud, ‘Jesus, thou Son of David, Jesus, thou exalted Price and Saviour, give me repentance!’ Now my soul sought nothing from God but deliverance from the load of guilt that bore down all my comfort. As for my solitary life, it was nothing . . . for whenever men come to a true sense of things they will find deliverance from sin a much greater blessing than deliverance from affliction.”

Crusoe’s conscience awakened: he saw his need to turn away from sin and turn to the Saviour. He realized that nothing he did or could do would be able to save his soul. He might be able to survive on a deserted island, but it was God’s Providence which put him there in the first place.

        The change in Crusoe is one which is marked by a dependence upon God rather than self, and hope rather than despair. He renames his island the “Happy Desert” from its former name of the “Island of Despair.” And even when he comes across traces of cannibalistic natives who have come to his island, Crusoe, while sensibly taking such precautions as deemed necessary, is comforted by the protection of God and the hope of His blessing. His whole view of his world has changed: before, he was hopeless of ever getting off the island – but now he realises that the hand of Providence has placed him here for a reason, and he lives in recognition of that fact.

        It was mentioned earlier that Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe a few years before the Great Awakening of the 1730’s and ‘40’s in the American Colonies. At the speed whereby books made their way from Europe to the New World, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was beginning to be circulated in the Americas around the time of the Great Awakening. And there was a remarkable similarity between Robinson Crusoe and the culture in the Colonies at this time. People were living in relative security, with a burgeoning sense of independence leading to a forgetfulness of the power and providence of their Maker. However, there were threats of Indian and French conflict too, with many men joining the militia in preparation for war. At this same time godly men, such as George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, were preaching the Gospel up and down the Colonies, calling people to repent and trust in Christ.

        The result of this bold preaching of truth, and the call of the Gospel, was that many people were convicted of their sin and turned in repentance and faith to Christ – just like Crusoe.  In fact, the story of Robinson Crusoe cannot be understood apart from the workings of God. Except for the workings of Providence, Crusoe most probably would have died. And when he trusted in Christ to protect him and save not just his body, but also his soul, Crusoe experienced great comfort and joy. And in the same way, but for the preaching of men like George Whitefield, many men’s souls would have been lost in hell. When they turned to the Lord and believed, they then had life in his name.

        One cannot help but see the relationships between religion, faith, providence, and hope in Defoe’s novel. It should remind us to not place our hope in things on earth, our own strength, or anything else in this fading world. And we also ought to see the many similarities between the fictional story Robinson Crusoe and the real history of the Great Awakening. In both cases blessing from God followed belief in the truth of the Gospel. This should encourage us to turn from our fear of men, and self-serving ways, and believe fully in the truth of God’s Word, namely, that as we trust in him, he will protect and save us to the end.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

[1] Douglas Bond, Guns of Thunder, P&R Publishing (2007), P. 74-75
All other quotations from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, published by Penguin Books, 2001.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Daniel Defoe's 'Robinson Crusoe' - Part One

        Daniel Defoe, 1660 - 1731, was one of the earliest writers in the realm of fiction literature. In fact, he has been credited as one of the founders of the writing of modern novels. His book, Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, was the catalyst for many of the great novels and stories which are still read today. But no study of Robinson Crusoe is complete without a look at the theme of religion that is present throughout the book. It is referred to time and again by the author and his protagonist, and moreover, guides many of the twists and turns that occur. While Robinson Crusoe is a great and exciting adventure novel, it is also a purposeful and intriguing look at the place religion has in the heart and life of a man.

        The era of history in which Daniel Defoe was born and during which he wrote Robinson Crusoe was a period during which great religious upheavals and conflicts occurred. Defoe was born in the midst of the Killing Times in Scotland, when Royalist dragoons were hunting down non-conformist Presbyterians for seeking to meet and worship separately from the Church of England and its practices. But early in the 1700’s, when Robinson Crusoe was published, the tide of religion was seemingly at its ebb. However, as Robinson Crusoe was becoming more widely distributed and read in the 1730’s and 40’s, so also were the great revivals, both in England and America, and more commonly known as the Great Awakening, taking place. These were the times of Daniel Defoe and Robinson Crusoe.

        Perhaps unsurprisingly, the main character or protagonist in the novel is a man by the name of Robinson Crusoe, who after some adventures on the high seas, is shipwrecked on a deserted island somewhere in the Caribbean. Following the life of a shipwrecked mariner who lives in solitude on a single island may at first glance appear to be a boring storyline for a 200 plus page novel but as John Richetti, English Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, writes in his introduction to the 2001 Penguin Classics Edition of Robinson Crusoe:

                “The crucial narrative feature of Robinson Crusoe that makes it much more than a thrilling adventure, however, is the narrator’s retrospective and intensely thoughtful perspective on his life… …Looking back on his life, Crusoe will evoke an ambitious and aggressive younger individual but will tell his story from the perspective of a wiser and more mature man who has learned about the limitations on individual action and ambition and who has acquired the proper [recognition] of divine [and] providential arrangement in human affairs.[1]

In other words, the thing which takes Robinson Crusoe from being merely another adventure novel is his growth as a character throughout the story, and specifically the lessons he learns throughout his adventures.

        When we are first introduced to Crusoe, he is a headstrong, wild young fellow who runs away from home to satisfy cravings for adventure against the entreaties of his family, and disregards the prodding of Providence. We read on of “how unashamed he was to sin and how ashamed he had become to repent, how concerned he was with wealth and adventure… …how he was born to be his own destroyer with his fancies and ambitions, how those ambitions lead him on a slave-trading voyage, and how a violent storm arose, and, battered by treacherous seas, the ship ran aground, and how all seemed lost.[2]” Defoe emphasises the depravity of human nature in Crusoe – and thereby in all men – as he lives a life similar to that of John Newton before he was saved. Even when on the island, despite thanking God for the provision of food, and thereby acknowledging His presence, Crusoe still does not repent of his sin. Neither does he recognise his need for salvation, not just from past wrongdoing, but from himself. But very quickly certain things, and Crusoe’s heart, begin to change.

        Crusoe begins to realize that despite his fortitude and skills at surviving on the island, he is not in control of everything, and everything does not happen the way he expects it to. There is a large earthquake which terrifies him greatly, and “sunk my soul within me, for fear of being buried alive”. Yet, “All this while I had not the least serious religious thought, nothing but the common, ‘Lord have mercy upon me!’ and when [the earthquake] was over, that went away too.” Later on Crusoe falls seriously ill with a fever, and there is no one to help him. And at this point there comes a change in Crusoe’s heart.

End of Part One - Part Two will be published this day next week.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

[1] Richetti, John, Robinson Crusoe, Introduction, Penguin Books (2001), P. IX
[2] Bond, Douglas, Guns of Thunder, P&R Publishing (2007), P. 66.
All other quotations from Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, published by Penguin Books, 2001.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

The Collection: May

Good Morning!

        Welcome to the third edition of The Collection: a monthly gathering of some of the best things I have found on the internet from the past month. From the month of May I have selected four things to share with you: a very thoughtful and beautiful look at who we ought to be, an interesting look at why old books smell nice, an epic collection of modern Celtic music, and a piece of WWII history. I hope you enjoy them!

        Who I Am - "My goal is to ultimately define who I am in Christ. To be a light to others. To find all of my fulfillment in my God and point others to Him for answers."

        Why Old Books Smell Good - A scientific look at the reasons why certain books have their own peculiar smells - and how you can tell the difference.

        An Epic Celtic Music Collection - Most of this selection is really terrific music, either to listen to while reading a good book, or when hard at work on an awesome project.

        This Month in Military History - A fascinating story of a time when German soldiers fought side by side with American troops against Nazi SS fighters.  Click HERE for a longer version.

        See you next month!
        The Collector