Sunday, 31 August 2008


Someone asked tonight if any hurricanes are named after men. This one certainly is. They are also sometimes blamed on God.

I'm praying hard for those living around the Gulf of Mexico. I would not want to be so arrogant as to pretend to know why such disasters happen if we are to believe, as I do, in a loving God. I have a faith that doesn't demand knowing all things. I cannot be certain of uncertainties.

If anyone thinks such storms are 'acts of God' let me reassure you that they aren't. I believe that the God of love revealed in the face of Christ is in all things but doesn't intend all things or plan them either. He did not create robots in a mechanical world and certainly did not intend such evil.

It may be of little comfort to some tonight and tomorrow around the Gulf of Mexico, but the Christian Gospel offers at such times the assurance of the presence of the Lord who suffered. I dare to believe tonight that he will hold many lovingly in the palm of his hand. I certainly pray so.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Most Hated Thing - Gardening

Over the past few hours I have done two of the things I hate most in life. I did some gardening and I did some of my tax returns. Yes, and let me make it clear, I really do prefer doing tax returns to gardening.

Aren't there tablets to help people who enjoy getting dirty, sweaty and tired in a garden? After all, tax returns have to be done, especially if you want a rebate. Come to think of it, I went to the dentist this week and he drilled my teeth. That's better than gardening.

But, I'd much rather watch Wales, Scarlets and Manchester United win. That's what Saturdays are really for.

P.S. - and for doing the sermon thing for Sundays! That's better than gardening as well.

Friday, 29 August 2008

What a Speaker!

Early this morning I watched the Obama speech. Hillary has more substance and detail in her speeches but this morning's effort was awesome. Gallup has him 8% in the lead. That won't last and the percentage needed to be good after a Convention.

Today, I booked my flight and I'm almost ready to go. I hope to tie up my accommodation next week. I'm really looking forward to a brilliant but busy break in San Francisco.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Anniversary - Martin Luther King

Thirty two years ago today I got married to my wife, Marie. I remembered last night that it was our anniversary and things worked out tonight for us both to have a nice meal together in the local pub. The food was brilliant.

Tonight, I also prayed for my friend Michael and his family. They are in Geneva celebrating a special anniversary. God be with you both.

Tonight, I'll stay up to mark another anniversary. It's the anniversary of the delivery of the greatest speech ever given by a man. The world will never forget Martin Luther King's "I have a dream". I certainly won't.

As much as I may admire Al Gore and Barack Obama - they aren't in that league. I will however, stay up to listen to both speaking during the last night of the Democratic Convention. Today, Gallup Tracking put Obama ahead by 6 points. So he should be after all the good coverage this week.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The American Thing

I'm slowly getting there with arranging my trip over to the US.

Some may well ask why a 'Brit' (especially a Welsh one) should be involved in US politics. I respect that Americans should decide the future of their own country. Others throughout the world are however entitled to have an opinion about Obama and McCain.

Beyond that, the individual with the most power to decide who wins the next UK general election remains an US citizen from Australia.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Don't Spoli a Good Thing - Team GB

I had a good bank holiday. It was a joy to preach at Trinity Church in Wrexham. Between the services I went to watch Hellboy II and that was fun in a childish sort of way.

Over the weekend I also got my Wales v Azerbaijan ticket for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Group 4 Qualifying Match. I was also thrilled that 'Team GB' did so well in the Olympics and I'd rather keep it that way.

Just what bit of 'no' do the arrogant and pig headed London Olympic bureaucrats who want to deprive Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland of their national football teams, in favour of a 'GB Team' not understand? The home non English football associations have made their views and the views of their fans clear. We don't want your' b.... GB Team'.

On top of everything else - if the Beckhams want to come back from the US to coach this undiluted expression of London Olympic arrogance at the expense of people and real football fans - I think there's even more reason for not having it. The Scots and the Welsh football fans, in particular, would really love being taken over by the Beckhams!

I'm sure they are lovely people - but they are not the world's leading Celtic icons. "Hands off the Welsh football team" - Just Get it!!!!!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Olympic Medal Tables

I looked this afternoon at Team GB's proud third place in the Olympics.

I thought I'd say never mind to the one single medal winner from Venezuela. Then, I thought - better not. She got the bronze for Taekwondo: Women's Under 49kg. I'll leave well alone I think.

Well done once again to "Dai Splash". I hear he's on the way to Gavin ans Stacey!!!!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Assembly Distinctives List - Help!!!

I fear that I may come back in another life as an Assembly shaped anorak.

All this week I have worked hard to refresh and edit a list on my web site of distinctive policies and developments that the Welsh Assembly has brought about since 1999. The list is quite extensive but I wonder if I have everything. I am also open to having some things edited out or corrected by those who know better. It's all got something to do with me being useful on the All Wales Convention chaired by Sir Emyr Jones Parry.

Basically, I'm looking for help from all other Assembly shaped anoraks. Just send me an email with some ideas. I reached a low point last night when I put search words in to Google and the first pages that came up were all mine already. That is really, really, really sad. I felt so lonely that I thought somebody was about to take me away.

P.S. David Davies was brilliant with the swimming thing in the Olympics today. Gold next time!

Sunday, 17 August 2008


It was really good to be back this morning in Dewi Sant Church in Cardiff. It was a joy to see some younger new faces around. Everyone teased me about things - and that's good.

I thought and prayed a lot tonight about David Fox who is still missing as I preached at his Church in Elfed Avenue, Penarth. It would be good to know where and how David is. They are all in my prayers.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Well Done Chris and Sei

This afternoon I gathered with the rest of the family to welcome my eldest son, Seimon, and his good friend Chris to the Senedd building. They had completed a cycle ride from the furthest northern point of Wales to Cardif Bay. They hope to raise £1,000 for Marie Curie. They both, quite rightly feel proud of their achievement.

Outside of the Senedd building I thought of something of a more public concern. Sadly, unemployment is on the increase in the UK and now stands at 5.4% but not so in Wales. Over the last quarter unemployment fell in Wales by 7,000 and now has a rate of 4.9%. All those anti devolutionists in 1979 and 1997 who said that an Assembly would herald "jobs for the boys" were absolutely right!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 9 August 2008


At the Eisteddfod it rained and rained and rained. The rain didn't bother me. But dropping bombs on Georgia did.

Yesterday, I placed my right hand on the Gorsedd sword of peace on entering an ancient ceremony. The sword is never fully drawn from its sheath. Today, I prayer for peace.

Friday, 8 August 2008


Today at 11.00a.m. in Cardiff I became a member of the Gorsedd of Bards. It meant a great deal to me and it was good to make so many new friends. As a Welsh speaking child in Trawsfynydd I knew that some people would become members of the Gorsedd. I just didn't think it would ever be me.
Many thanks to my good friend the Reverend Geraint Tudur for this photo.

I also enjoyed the open discussion session with Nick Bennett and Sir Emyr Jones Parry and the All Wales Convention. This process has a good feel to it.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


It is now Eisteddfod Thursday and I'm very tired. Being very tired has something to do with being out very late last night listening to Tepot Piws, Heather Jones, Tecwyn Ifan and the brilliant Brigyn. Actually, they were all brilliant.

Tepot Piws were also funny. I'll never look the same way at missionaries to Africa again after one very bad joke that I shouldn't have laughed at but did.

This morning, in the churches' tent, I encountered what appeared to me and a friend to be a nasty and very rude bigot. All my public work for refugees and asylum seekers has meant that I don't talk about every thing that I do in pubs and other social contexts. It's simply not worth the pain. Someone who thought he knew me, but definitely didn't, came across and said that I should be ashamed of myself for inviting all those foreigners into Wales. It was all said in Welsh.

Afterwards, I thought a great deal about what I should have said to him but didn't. Above all, I should have directed him towards our refugee tent on the Eisteddfod and those foreigners who will have spent a great deal of time not only learning Welsh but also being Welsh. Today, I wanted to understand the man who appeared to be a bigot and help him to see so many things.

I did my stint as a panel member for Cymru Fory and spoke personally about my passion for Welsh devolution but also about my statutory responsibilities as a member of Emyr Jones Parry's Convention. I have a reputation and a history concerning these issues but I have not made my mind up about so much to do with this Convention's work. I pity those who have always made their minds up before so much listening has to be done.

The highlight of the day was launching Cytun's partnership with RNIB Cymru to have sufficient funds to translate the Wesh Bible into Braille. Working with such friends has been a joy. I have learnt a great deal from some of these friends who are blind but who see so much. Thank God for them.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Thank You Welsh Christians

Earlier today, after the morning worship in the Eisteddfod Pavilion in Cardiff, the majority of the Christians who had applied for the free tickets faithfully returned their free tickets at the Eisteddfod box office. It was a real test for Christian honesty.

Some went out and purchased field tickets after the service just to make the point that they wanted to have free access to an act of worship. It meant a great deal to me that the good name of the Christian community mattered so much to so many.

Thanks also to the Eisteddfod staff for their invaluable support. Well done everyone. It is sometimes better just to trust people's better nature.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Pre Eisteddfod Day

My colleague Rhian did most of the really hard work today. I just did all that office stuff in the office and by 9.45pm wanted to put my head in a microwave and go ping. The Welsh word for a cooker is 'popdy'. A microwave is therefore a 'popdy-ping'. Tomorrow - it will be Eisteddfod all day.