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Posts tagged ‘Oxford’

The Light of His Glory.

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

Recommended Reading
Psalm 73:16-17, 23-28 (,%2023-28&version=NKJV )

At a meeting of the Socratic Club in Oxford, England, in 1945, the Christian apologist C. S. Lewis said, “I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” In his biography of C. S. Lewis, Alister McGrath explains what Lewis meant: “We can look at the sun itself; or we can look instead at what it illuminates — thus enlarging our intellectual, moral, and aesthetic vision. We see the true, the good, and the beautiful more clearly by being given a lens that brings them into focus.”1

Listen to Today’s Radio Message ( )

The psalmist Asaph had a similar enlightening experience. He was confused and frustrated about the prosperity of evildoers in the world — “Until I went into the sanctuary of God;  then  I understood their end” (Psalm 73:17). When he went to the temple to worship God, suddenly he saw the answer — the answer was God! Somehow, when we “worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2), life looks different.

We worship God not only because He is God but because we see everything else more clearly in the light of His glory.

In the light of God, human vision clears.
James Philip

1Alister McGrath,  C. S. Lewis: A Life—Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet  (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2013), 277.

1 Corinthians 1-4

By David Jeremiah.

John Penry Pleaded for Welsh Soulwinners.

Dan Graves, MSL

John Penry Pleaded for Welsh SoulwinnersJohn Penry wept for Wales. In Elizabeth’s England, there were far too few pastors assigned to teach the Welsh, and of those, many were absentees from their flocks or little better than rogues. Penry wroteEquity of a Humble Supplication in Behalf of the Country of Wales that Some Order May Be Taken for the Preaching of the Gospel Among Those People. He complained that thousands in Wales had almost never heard of Christ. “O destitute and forlorn condition! Preaching itself in many parts is unknown. In some places a sermon is read once in three months.” He proposed a system of lay pastors supported in part with voluntary gifts from the people. His attack on the neglectful practices of the Church of England won Penry the undying enmity of John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury.Having become a Puritan separatist in his thinking, Penry could not accept a state-run system, because, as he phrased it, “The truth of Christ and ministry of Christ as it is his will be in bondage unto no antichristian power. If it be, it is antichrist’s truth and ministry.” Because of such outspoken views, and his stern warnings to the queen and her bishops, Penry had to flee at times. Eventually he would be hanged, making him a hero and martyr in Wales.

What sealed his doom was The Marprelate Tracts. These were satirical exposés larded with heavy-handed taunts at English bishops (“petty popes”), coarse talk (“Printed overseas, in Europe, within two furlongs of a bouncing priest”) and silly sneers (“Ha, ha, Dr. Copycat!”). Their theme can be summed up in the words of the first tract: “Leave you your wickedness and I’ll leave the revealing of your knaveries.” An example of the knavery was confiscation of stolen cloth by one bishop for his own use. “Well, one or two of the thieves were executed and at their deaths confessed that to be the cloth which the bishop had, but the dyers could not get their cloth, nor cannot unto this day…” Penry was thought to have a hand in preparing the popular pamphlets although he denied it. While it is true that they were printed on the same press as his books, the general consensus today is that he did not write them. They weren’t his style.

Captured, he was treated to a travesty of justice. Some strong words of warning against Elizabeth in his notebook were interpreted as treason. Archbishop Whitgift was the first to sign his death warrant. Penry was hauled off to be hanged on this day, May 29, 1593. A thin scattering of bystanders, none of them his friends, watched as the 34-year old departed this world at the end of a rope about four in the afternoon. He was not allowed to preach a final sermon.

He had, however, written a lengthy letter to his four daughters (Deliverance, Comfort, Safety and Sure Hope), none of whom was old enough to really understand yet what was going on; the eldest was four years, the youngest four months. In it he showed his deep affection for them: “Wherefore, again, my daughters, even my tenderly beloved daughters, regard not the world or anything that is therein…” He implored them to follow true faith: “And I, your father, now ready to give my life for the former testimony do charge you, as you shall answer in the day of the Lord, to embrace this my counsel given unto you in His name, and to bring up your posterity after you (if the Lord vouchsafe you any) in this same true faith and way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”


  1. “Great Non-Conformist Preachers of Wales.” V Wales. noncomformists.htm
  2. Marprelate Tracts. Modernised spelling and punctuation by J. D. Lewis. marprelate/Tract1m.htm
  3. Peel, Albert. The Notebook of John Penry, 1593. London: Offices of the Royal Historical Society, 1944.
  4. “Penry, John.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
  5. Pierce, William. John Penry; His life times and writings. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923.
  6. Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge, 1961; especially “The Marprelate Controversy,” pp. 164 – 166.
  7. Various internet and encyclopedia articles.

Last updated May, 2007.

Sufuyan Ojeifo’s Shroud Defence of David Mark By Kikiowo Ileowo.

By Kikiowo Ileowo

I read with pity, a poorly written piece by one Sufuyan Ojeifo on NewsDairyOnline ( and an edited version in the Nigerian Compass newspaper of Sunday 19th of May, 2013 where he attempted to defend his pay master, General David Mark.


The said article was a rejoinder to my widely published treatise on the Nigerian Senate titled David Mark’s Upper House of Indolence. It can be seen here

To start with, let me implore the private-university-propietor-cum-former-general to collect any money paid Ojeifo, because rather than justify the income earned, he has managed to validate my arguments.

Mr. Sufuyan refused to comment on issues with logical points, nor offer counter arguments with strong evidence to refute my publicly accepted postulations on the senate’s lackadaisical attitude towards issues of national discourse. He abandoned reason in a bid to hurriedly satisfy his benefactor – David Mark- who he claims to have been ‘covering’ since the subject got (s)elected into the upper legislature house. Ojeifo resorted to name calling and made nonsense of public discourse.

In opening his sentence, Ojeifo labored to take my name to the gutters with remarks like “I am not sure he ranks among the money men and women in Nigeria…” as if that has got a baring on the issues I raised in my piece. I would normally not join issues with such petty characters, but if we allow this kind of balderdash to continue, men who earn their daily bread by throwing mud for political office holders won’t look for respectable vocation to earn them a honest living.

Having drawn a wrong inference from my preferability of a single legislative house, the writer (though not worthy to be called one) illogically concluded that I was sponsored by Hon. Tambuwwal’s lower house of representative. He stated inter alia that “he was simply not smart enough to conceal the identity of his sponsor.” Bad news for his camp, I have no sponsor, save for my conscience and the dream of giving a better Nigeria to my children.

I am yet to meet Hon. Tambuwwal, neither are we related in anyway. In fact, we are not from the same geopolitical zone. Between, men of good conscience must rise up to defend a good cause and speak truth to power.

Considering the ‘bukum’ Ojeifo strewn together in both articles published so far, I owe the general public a duty to educate them against the likes of Ojeifo who is bent on spreading their ‘senatorial’ propaganda.

The writer stated in his rejoinder that “his mission was to unjustifiably INCITE the public against the institution of the senate by trying to establish a negative nexus between the funding of the senate and the alleged non-performance that reside only in his imagination.” One good question begging for answer is does Ojeifo knows what it means to ‘Incite the public’?

Incite according to the Oxford Dictonary means to encourage or stir up (violent or unlawful behavior), urge or persuade (someone) to act in a violent or unlawful way.

How did my article incite the public against the institution of the senate? Does it change the fact that at the end of Mr. Mark’s tenure as the senate president, a total of N2.4billion would have been spent to service him alone? Or does his paymaster believe this is still the military era where the law of sedition can be used to muzzle journalistic efforts? Apparently, the Benue senator presently wishes his dream of censoring the social media is very active.

By stating an as achievement, the fact that David Mark’s upper house has had less friction with the executive arm compared to his predecesors speaks volume of the mind of those who rule us.

Really, I think its folly replying such unreasonable piece.

Lastly, it behooves on political office holders to ’employ’ intelligent opinion writers… Ojeifo is below David Mark’s status.

Kikiowo Ileowo is a public commentator and the Editor of The Paradigm.

You can follow him on twitter via @ileowo4ever


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

C.S. Lewis – A Life: A Thorough Look at the Man, a Glimpse of His Imagination.

<i>C.S. Lewis - A Life:</i> A Thorough Look at the Man, a Glimpse of His Imagination

C. S. Lewis died 50 years ago, yet interest in his life and work continues. Allister McGrath’s C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet is the latest contribution to the numerous books about Lewis. McGrath provides a biography that attempts both to retell the story of Lewis’s life and to understand “his ideas and how they found expression in his writing” (xiii).


The book is divided into five major sections, arranged chronologically: Prelude, Oxford, Narnia, Cambridge, and Afterlife. Thus, the bulk of the book considers the life-story of C. S. Lewis, and the final chapter reflects upon his contemporary influence.

“Prelude” (chapters one through three, describing Lewis’s life from 1898 through 1918) features Lewis’ childhood in Ireland, his schooling in England after his mother’s death from cancer, and his war service. Though Lewis is not generally understood as an Irish writer, per se, this section suggests how his Irish origins influenced his imagination and later writing.

Next, “Oxford”  (chapters four through ten, 1919 – 1954) describes his relationships both inside and outside of the university, his conversion from atheism to faith, and his rise as a wartime apologist. It details not only Lewis’s academic career at Oxford, but also his difficult relationship with his father, his infamous relationship with Mrs. Moore, and his friendships with J. R. R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. Lewis was not well-accepted within the Oxford scholarly community, partly due to both hisChristian faith and his writing for a popular audience. During World War Two, he became a war-time Christian apologist, producing The Problem of Pain and a series of broadcast talks that would eventually be published as Mere Christianity. Chapter six provides a unique chronology for Lewis’s conversion to theism and eventually to Christianity, suggesting Lewis became a theist in 1930 rather than the traditionally assumed (and even remembered by Lewis) date of 1929. McGrath also puts Lewis’ conversion into a broader context of a religious renaissance in English literature during the 1920’s.  Lewis contributions during this time included both his own written work and encouraging the work of others. In particular, McGrath highlights Lewis’s role as a “midwife” for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Section three, “Narnia” (chapters eleven and twelve) pauses the biographical storytelling and focuses on the inspiration and themes of the seven books that compose the Chronicles of Narnia. McGrath cites Michael Ward’s (2008) Planet Narnia to consider how the seven medieval “planets” of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn correspond with the themes in the seven Narnian Chronicles. Other sources include Plato’s cave allegory, which McGrath relates to the relationship between the overworld and the underworld in The Silver Chair. During this section’s pause of Lewis’s biographical story, McGrath explains that one of the key themes of the Narnia stories is the importance of choosing to believe the right story. McGrath explains, “Lewis’sChronicles of Narnia are about finding a master story that makes sense of all other stories – and then embracing that story with delight because of its power to give meaning and value to life” (p. 280).

“Cambridge” (chapters thirteen and fourteen, 1954 – 1963) returns to the biographical story and describes two major developments: Lewis’s move from Oxford and his marriage to an American divorcee. In 1954, Lewis was offered a position as Cambridge University’s first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English. In his inaugural lecture, Lewis argued, “The Renaissance never happened,” redefining the time period as something made up of values approved by modern writers. Also during these years, Lewis married Joy Davidman, who encouraged him to write ‘Till We Have Faces. Lewis believed it to be his best work. Joy would inspire other written work, including A Grief Observed, written by Lewis as he struggled with the dark emotions and doubts unleashed after Joy’s death.

In “Afterlife,” (chapter fifteen, post-1963) McGrath provides helpful commentary on how Lewis’s influence continued after his death, impressing evangelicals and engaging modern audiences. Lewis became a prominent figure among American evangelicals who were captivated by his ability to engage culture. McGrath connects Lewis’s ability to engage modern culture with a post-modern preference for stories.


So what makes McGrath’s book different than the myriad of other Lewis biographies available? Certainly the basic storyline is the same, although McGrath does challenge the currently accepted date for Lewis’s conversion to theism and later to christianity.

Besides that original contribution, McGrath also uses significant primary and secondary sources, and he his status as a former professor at Oxford University suggests personal insights into Lewis’s own life at Oxford. Among other primary sources, McGrath relies on the now-published Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper. Other significant Lewis biographies, such as George Sayer’s Jack: A Life of C. S. Lewis, and Alan Jacobs’s The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis lacked this resource. Similarly, McGrath is able to take advantage of other recent and significant secondary sources, such as Planet Narnia. Finally, Christiansfascinated with Oxford University will find the combination of Oxford professors McGrath and Lewis hard to resist.

Readers who are interested in both C. S. Lewis and apologetics will also benefit from reading McGrath’s work. Though certainly sympathetic to Lewis, the author provides critical commentary for Lewis’s writing. In particular, he considers Lewis’s famous “trilemma” and how it comes up short, not taking seriously the modern critique that Jesus was simply wrong about his identity.  McGrath also uses William James’s discussion of religious experience in analyzing Lewis’s concept of “Joy.” Another common concern for Christian apologetics is the problem of evil and suffering. McGrath’s retelling of Lewis’s life makes clear that Lewis was no stranger to suffering himself. Additionally, though Lewis wrote about redemption, he deeply understood human fallenness. For example, in the complicated relationship between himself, his father, and Mrs. Moore, McGrath explains how Lewis “despised and deceived his father” (p. 118).

What McGrath does especially well is illustrate Lewis’ interest in the transcendent and how that interest guided his literary thinking. He quotes Lewis’s belief that “all that is not eternal is eternally out of date” (quoted from The Four Loves, p. 166). Lewis engagement with the Great Books shaped both Lewis and the work he produced. McGrath goes on to explain, “We must never forget that one possible outcome of engaging with great literature is not merely to write such works oneself, but to incorporate the wisdom, wit, and elegance of the past into forms that can engage the present” (p. 190).

The primary question for analyzing the success of McGrath’s work is to compare his finished product with his stated purpose of understanding Lewis’s life and the ideas he expressed in his writings. There is certainly a wealth of biographical information here, and it is based on the recent release of significant primary and secondary sources. However, readers may be disappointed if they are looking for a biography that focuses primarily on Lewis’s ideas over the details of his life. McGrath’s ambition to provide a context for Lewis’ ideas was admirable, but sorting out the difference between biographical facts and intellectual biography was difficult. Certainly what McGrath offers readers is interesting, but is all of it necessary to make his point? For example, McGrath provides additional commentary on Lewis’s relationships with Tolkien and Joy Davidman that does not necessarily help readers understand Lewis’ ideas or how he expressed them. Nevertheless, readers who are looking for a substantive discussion of Lewis’s life will want to add this volume to their home library.


C. S. Lewis – A Life demonstrates that even 50 years after his death, Lewis’s ideas and imagination continue to impact the world. For those who wish to know more about Lewis, there are a variety of resources available. The chief questions become what specifically someone wants to know, and howsomeone wants to know it. For example, C. S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia is an excellent video introduction that features an actor who portrays Lewis retelling his life. What makes this video effective is its extensive use of quotes or paraphrases from Lewis’s own writings. For those who prefer autobiography, Lewis’s own Surprised by Joy provides a sort of spiritual autobiography that was published in 1955. The omissions here will be significant, because it was published before Lewis marriage to Joy Davidman. Joy’s son, Douglas Gresham, has also written Jack’s Life: The Story of C. S. Lewis and Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis.

Of course, part of what makes Lewis so interesting is the group of men he associated with, known as the Inklings. This group included J. R. R. Tolkien and Charles Williams. Humphrey Carpenter’sInklings provides a helpful analysis of these three men. Christianity Today also has an Essentialsseries that features e-book introductions to both Lewis and Tolkien. For those who prefer academic analysis, The Mythopoeic Society produces a biannual journal, Mythlore, dedicated to the work of Lewis, Tolkien, and Williams.

One of Lewis’s greatest gifts is his ability to blend imagination and reason. Thankfully, Lewis is among a company of Christian authors with this gift. Those who wish to consider Lewis’s work alongside that of other Christian fantasy writers will want to read Rolland Hein’s Christian Mythmakers (which sadly appears to be out of print).

By Dr. Stanley J. Ward, Biblical Worldview Director, The Brook Hill School

Dr. Stanley J. Ward is the Director of Campus Life and Ministry at The Brook Hill School in Bullard, TX. He is also the author of Worldview Conversations: How to Share Your Faith and Keep Your Friends.

Publication date: May 8, 2013

I Suffer, Therefore I… ?.

Today’s Americans may be the worst prepared people in the history of the world for suffering. Are American Christians any better prepared than their non-Christian counterparts?

My professional counselor friends have often told me this is the area their clients are least equipped to deal with, irrespective of their religious affiliation.

At an international evangelical consultation on contextualizing the gospel this summer in Oxford, the Asian representatives agreed that one of the biggest theological differences between Asian and American Christianity was that Asians assumed suffering was a normal part of life, especially if you were a believer, whereas Americans were always trying to avoid it or end it. One Chinese theologian explained, “The typical Chinese Christian, when suffering, asks, “How may I acquit myself in a God-pleasing way as I suffer?” The typical American Christian asks, “How may I get rid of the suffering?”

When was the last time you heard a public list of Christian prayer requests that included prayers for people to be good witnesses in the midst of their suffering rather than for God to take away everything from terminal cancer to the common cold?

A graduate of Denver Seminary of only a few years ago had some prolonged conversations this summer with me from out of town. A “failed” church plant and the suicide of a family member left him barely believing if there was a God any longer and it certainly sounds as if he’s abandoned Christianity. Without denying the immense pain of his experience, I confess seeing an utter theological disconnect here. Imagine Paul saying after his horrific catalogs of sufferings in 2 Corinthians 46 and 11, “So I gave it all up.” Instead he describes Christ’s direct word of comfort on how God’s power is made perfect in weakness and his grace is sufficient for him (2 Cor. 12:9). Apparently, we failed our grad at the Seminary, as did his previous churches and parachurch ministries. Or else he blew us off. Most likely, it was some of each.

The so-called prosperity gospel (a.k.a. “health-wealth,” “name it and claim it,” etc.) only makes matters worse with its truncated, one-sided message that leaves countless people around the world believing that if a person just has enough faith God will heal them of whatever hurts they currently suffer. Yet, the death rate is still 100%. Sooner or later, there is something every one of us doesn’t recover from and it has nothing to do with the amount of our faith or obedience! Billy Graham has had Parkinson’s disease for several years. By some people’s theology, if anyone should live to 200, it would be he, but he won’t.

Second Timothy 3:12 declares explicitly that whoever would live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted. This is more than suffering; this is suffering for one’s faith. How many of us are persecuted for our faith and, if not, is it because nobody knows that we have any? There are enemies aplenty, even in the good old USA, even when we are as winsome and tactful as possible, who are ready to blast us for our Christian perspectives. Sadly, a number of them are in evangelical churches. Just check out the blogosphere for examples of both kinds! More out of curiosity than anything else, I replied as kindly and matter-of-factly to a King James Only supporter in the blogworld recently to correct what were almost entirely factual errors in a recent post, and he told me I was of the devil! At least the aggressive atheist bloggers don’t say that to me, since they don’t believe in God or the devil!

Jesus commands us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Luke 6:28). And both of those commands are clearly predicated on the assumption that we will experience hostility for our faith. Some of us are experiencing that as we share our political convictions, whether “red” or “blue,” this fall. And again, winsome as we may try to be in expressing those convictions, the attacks may just as likely come from inside the church as outside. The “culture wars” have made our country a pretty dysfunctional place in which to try to engage in convicted civility in public discourse. And they have made many churches, on both the right and the left, even more tragically, equally if not more dysfunctional.

When we suffer for our faith, let’s make sure it’s in spite of every best effort to follow 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 in being all things to all people, and not primarily because we are tactless, misinformed, or both. When we suffer in other ways, let’s turn back to Paul and let God remind us that when we are weak, then we are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). And let’s flee (and help others to flee) every hint of anything that calls itself the Christian gospel that denies these precious, central truths of the faith.

Is this easy? Of course, not. I can often be a real wimp when I experience chronic pain. Just ask my wife, who more closely resembles the great martyr-saints! But our sustenance always comes by turning toJesus, not away from him, and imitating his model of responding to suffering, drawing on his comfort, strength and grace.

By Craig Blomberg

Give Us Back Our Days: Gregory’s Calendar Reform.

Give Us Back Our Days: Gregory's Calendar ReformGive us back our eleven days!” protesters shouted. Bristol rioted. In a satirical painting, Hogarth shows a man getting drunk beside a poster demanding back the days.Because the Julian calendar (promulgated by Julius Caesar) made the year too long by several minutes, it experienced three full days of displacement every 400 years. In 1582 it was out of sequence with the equinoxes by ten days and with Caesar’s original dates by fourteen days. Several church councils had already discussed the problem but done nothing about it.

Gregory XIII was an energetic pope. Long active in church affairs and a patron of education, he was not one to let the matter continue indefinitely. He determined to correct the problem and on this day February 24, 1582,* acting on the recommendations of a special council, issued a bull requiring all Catholic countries to follow October 4 with October 15 that year. To illiterate people, it seemed as if real days were being stolen from them.

Although the papal commission, advised by Jesuit scientist Christopher Clavius, aided the Pope in making the reform, a similar plan had actually been propounded by Bishop Robert Grosseteste of England three hundred years earlier. This fact was not generally known, and resulted in an irony. The English, afraid of appearing to give too much deference to the Pope by adopting his calendar, rejected the Gregorian calendar and retained the Julian for another two centuries, oblivious to the fact it had been the proposal of their own native son Grosseteste. Britain and its American colonies adopted the new calendar only in 1752. By then, English calendars were eleven days off. Calendar reform even became an issue in political elections.

The Gregorian calendar was intended primarily for the benefit of the church which needed to plot the variable date of its most important feast, Easter (Paschal). At Easter Christ suffered for our sins and rose from the dead; and to this event Christians attribute all their hope of salvation. Nonetheless, the calendar reform affected the entire world. Although some nations, like China Japan and Russia did not adopt the reform until the twentieth century, all nations now use it for international business and for recording historical events.

*Some histories say the bull was issued February 13th.


  1. “Calendar” and “Gregory XIII.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
  2. Crombie, A. C. Grosseteste and Medieval Science. Oxford: Clarendon, 1953.
  3. Durant, Will and Ariel. The Age of Reason Begins. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1961; p. 595.
  4. Gerard, John. “Reform of the Calendar.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.
  5. “Grosseteste, Robert.” Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Edited by Charles Gillispie. New York: Scribner’s, 1970 – 1980.
  6. Various encyclopedia and internet articles such as

Last updated May, 2007.

Dan Graves, MSL

7 words that came about from people getting them wrong.

Pass the "pease" please.
Pass the “pease” please.

1. Pea
Originally the word was “pease,” and it was singular. (“The Scottish or tufted Pease… is a good white Pease fit to be eaten.”) The sound on the end was reanalyzed as a plural ‘s’ marker, and at the end of the 17th Century people started talking about one “pea.” The older form lives on in the nursery rhymePease-porridge hot, pease-porridge cold…”

2. Cherry
The same thing happened to “cherise” or “cheris,” which came from Old French “cherise” and was reanalyzed as a plural. So the singular “cherry” was born.

3. Apron
“Apron” also came into English from Old French and was originally “napron” (“With hir napron feir..She wypid sofft hir eyen.”) But “a napron” was misheard often enough as “an apron” that by the 1600s the “n” was dropped.

4. Umpire
Umpire lost its ‘n’ from the same sort of confusion. It came to English from the Middle French “nonper,” meaning “without peer; peerless” (“Maked I not a louedaye bytwene god and mankynde, and chese a mayde to be nompere, to put the quarel at ende?”) A nompere or an ompere? The n-less form won out.

5. Newt
The confusion about which word the ‘n’ belonged to could end up swinging the other way too. A newt was originally an “ewt” (“The carcases of snakes, ewts, and other serpents.”), but “an ewt” could easily be misheard as “a newt,” and in this case, the ‘n’ left the “an” and stuck to the the “newt.”

6. Nickname
The ‘n’ also traveled over from the “an” to stick to “nickname,” which was originally “ekename,” meaning “added name.”

7. Alligator
Alligator came to English from the Spanish explorers who first encountered “el lagarto” (lizard) in the New World. While the big lizards were for a time referred to as “lagartos,” the “el” accompanied often enough that it became an inseparable part of the English word.

All example quotes come from the Oxford English Dictionary.


By Arika Okrent

Atheist Richard Dawkins Loses Religion Debate to Former Anglican Head.

Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams
Former Archbishop of Cantebury Rowan Williams (right) and atheist scholar Richard Dawkins pose for a photograph outside Clarendon House at Oxford University, before their debate in the Sheldonian theatre in Oxford, central England, Feb 23 (Reuters/Andrew Winning)

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williamsdefeated prominent atheist professor Richard Dawkins Thursday night in a debate about religion.

A vote taken at the end of the debate at the University of Cambridge ruled that religion does, indeed, have a place in the 21st century.

Dawkins lost the debate by a vote of 324 to 136. About 800 people—mostly students—made up the audience at the Cambridge Union Society’s chambers, the U.K.’s independent newspaper reports.

“Religion has always been a matter of community-building, a matter of building relations of compassion, fellow feeling and, dare I say it, inclusion,” said Williams, who stepped down as the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion on Dec. 31. “The notion that religious commitment can be purely a private matter is one that runs against the grain of religious history.”

Williams, who started as Master of Cambridge University’s Magdalene College this year, noted that the respect for human life and equality is evident in all organized religion.

“The very concept of human rights has profound religious roots,” he said. “The convention of human rights would not be what it is were it not for the history of philosophical religious debate.”

Dawkins, a vice president of the British Humanist Association, described himself as a “cultural Anglican,” saying that if he were a cultural Muslim, he’d take issue with the faith’s “appalling attitude to women and various other moral points.”

The emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, told the audience his main concern was whether religion—which he called a “cop-out”—was true.

“It is a betrayal of the intellect, a betrayal of all that’s best about what makes us human,” Dawkins argued. “It’s a phony substitute for an explanation, which seems to answer the question until you examine it and realize that it does no such thing.

“It peddles false explanations where real explanations could have been offered, false explanations that get in the way of the enterprise of discovering real explanations,” he added.

Also participating in the debate were Tariq Ramadan, professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University; Andrew Copson, the chief executive of the British Humanist Association; and Centre for Social Cohesion founder Douglas Murray.

Williams and Dawkins also debated last February, at Oxford University. The former archbishop pressed Dawkins on the idea that humans are unlike any other creatures, in that they can reflect upon themselves and their own purpose.

The discussion also turned toward the question of why God allows suffering, which Williams said he did not have any easy answers about. Dawkins attacked religion for providing a “terrific illusion of design which fooled humanity into the 19th century.”


The Presidency in 2015.

President Goodluck JonathanPresident Goodluck Jonathan

One concept I tried to clarify in the run-up to the presidential election of 2011 was that of “re-election”. I argued then that President Goodluck Jonathan could not have been seeking re-election because he was only a vice-presidential candidate to the one elected president in 2007. One can only be deemed to be seeking re-election to a position one had been elected to in the first place. The clarification I was attempting to make may have become clearer now that the political future of President Jonathan has been enjoying some debate in academic and political circles (see, for instance, Chidi Amuta, “Jonathan and 2015”, This Day, April 3, 2012).

Amuta, in the useful article referred to above, opined that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as well as the cause of democracy would be strengthened if Jonathan were not denied the constitutional right to seek re-election in 2015. He was not saying that the Peoples Democratic Party  must present Jonathan as its flagbearer, even if his lacklustre performance had continued into the future. What Amuta seems to be anticipating, just like the rest of us, is the controversy the PDP “zoning” policy of alternating the Presidency between the North and the South could engender in the very near future. There would be those reminding Jonathan that his tenure had expired, not least because the argument once conjured in favour of his candidacy was that he was continuing with the mandate he jointly held with the late President Umaru  Yar’Adua. His supporters said the mandate was inseparable but would their argument still hold in 2015?

Of course, President Jonathan can seek re-election in 2015 – if dictates of selfish interest prevail. The fact that he had been sworn in twice would not have meant he had served a second term in office. One recalls the case of Lyndon B. Johnson whose ascension to the American Presidency compares with Jonathan’s route to office. Johnson had succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963, won an election of his own in 1964 and would have sought re-election in 1968 but for the fact that he had become very unpopular because of the negative outcome of America’s conflict in Vietnam. Not constitutionally barred, he took the decent route of withdrawing from seeking his party’s nomination.

Jonathan is not unaware of the possible crisis his wanting to continue in office beyond 2015 could generate. His declaration of an intention not to seek re-election in 2015 may not be unconnected with this. However, a promise made out of desperation or expediency may not always hold, not least because what we are talking about here is power and its alluring influences. The President had warned his ministers and aides against unguarded statements about 2015; however, he could be the very one encouraging them to sing his praises and sound public opinion in the not-too-distant future. The PDP is in for a major crisis but can the so-called opposition parties benefit from this? Amuta explored this question in his excellent article.

The opinion here is that the very reasons the PDP may run into crisis in 2015 also explains why the opposition parties might not be able to take advantage of their situation. The so-called “progressives” have a disappointing history as they have been unable to progress beyond the confines of ethnic boundaries. Regional sentiments have been the dominating influence in all of this. There are all sorts of progressives in the various regions. The regional element in our democracy must be addressed in an improved constitution if we are to have a national progressive party. Being myopically pre-occupied with a political arrangement that has worked elsewhere may not have helped the cause of our democracy.

I say it is futile to be preoccupied with political arrangements that have worked elsewhere because what we have not been able to photocopy are the cultural elements that sustain them in the host nations. In Britain, for instance, the institution of the Monarchy has provided stability to the parliamentary system of government which originated from that nation. What we celebrate in Nigeria is exactly what truly – republican America rejects – privileges arising from the circumstances of birth. It is clearly stated in their constitution that “no American citizen shall bear a title of nobility”. Here in Nigeria, politicians envy traditional rulers for the unsolicited respect they command, while the latter also envy the former for the money they are able to steal!

I should be suggesting to those with the powers to review or amend the national constitution that Rotational Presidency is most appropriate for Nigeria. Zoning the Presidency could be the most assured way of inducing competitive political parties and ideologies to traverse the various divides. In a society that is as divided as ours, it could also be the most assured way objectively, of fishing out our political leaders, based on merit rather than primordial affiliations. Zoning could be our own contribution to the principle of federalism which, more than anything else, emphasises equality and fairness in the relationship of participating units. Democracy itself should be about peace and stability in one’s own nation.

– Akinola, a political writer based in Oxford, UK, wrote in via



How to Turn Broken Dreams into New Beginnings.

Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Sheridan Voysey’s upcoming book, Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (Thomas Nelson, 2013).

Have you ever had a dream you hoped would come true break apart instead? From a dream of parenthood that’s dashed by infertility to a dream about a career that eludes you when you can’t get a job in your field, broken dreams are a fact of life in this fallen world.

Experiencing a broken dream in your life can make you feel as if your hope has died along with your dream. But broken dreams are more than just endings; they’re also opportunities for new beginnings. The sadness and anger you feel can give way to peace and joy – if you choose to trust God to help you move on from the death of your dream to experience a life that’s full of His resurrection power.

Here’s how you can turn broken dreams into new beginnings:

Switch from asking “why?” to asking “what?” when praying about what has happened. It won’t help you to ask God why a certain dream died; He usually doesn’t reveal the reasons why He allows suffering to enter our lives because the reasons are often beyond our ability to truly understand from our limited perspective. But it will help you to switch your focus to asking what you should do now that it has happened. You can expect God to answer that question by guiding you to the next steps that would be best for you to take.

Let Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection inspire you. The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate example of the truth that new beginnings come after the death of something. You can count on God to do something new in your life after one of your dreams dies, if you invite God to do so.

Say farewell to what has been. Say goodbye to your broken dream by accepting the reality that it won’t come true and letting go of what reminds you of it (for example, giving away baby clothes and equipment you’d been saving for a child, after you’ve stopped infertility treatments and adoption plans). Grieve for your dream that has died, and then consider what you hope God may resurrect in your relationship with Him as you move on and pursue healing.

Prepare yourself for change. Expect God to change you into someone who is more like Jesus through the healing process. Prepare yourself to engage with God’s work in your life by focusing less on doing (so you’re not distracted by being too busy with activities that don’t ultimately matter) and more on being (focusing on rest that renews your spirit and helps you notice how God is working in your life). Decide to make the most of the life you have by pursuing the adventures on which God leads you.

Place your trust in God. In the face of the hard reality that God didn’t answer your prayers the way you’d wanted, keep in mind that there are many complexities involved that determine how God answers prayers, and you can’t understand them all from your limited perspective. Understand that God may have withheld the answer you’d wanted in response to your prayers about your dream because, in doing so, God prevented something bad from happening that you didn’t realize would happen if He had granted your request. But God does promise in the Bible that He will work out everything for the good of those who love Him. Choose to that God will fulfill that promise in your life.

Be confident that your broken dream hasn’t broken your identity. The death of your dream may have changed your role, position, or status in life. But rest assured that nothing can change your identity as one of God’s beloved children. Know that you are significant and valuable to God, whether or not your dreams succeed. So don’t base your sense of self-worth on how well your dreams do or don’t work out. Instead, have confidence that your identity in Christ makes you a person of great worth, no matter what.

Invest in supportive friendships. Spend time with some friends you can trust to encourage you as you heal from the death of your dream and move forward in life. Openly and honestly share your thoughts and feelings with them, and ask them to pray for you. Do the same for them whenever they need your support.

Ask God to fulfill good purposes through your suffering. The suffering you’ve gone through isn’t in vain. God has promised that He has good purposes in mind for allowing any kind of suffering to enter people’s lives. If you trust God to work in every part of your life, He will fulfill those good purposes. Just as Jesus’ suffering brought about forgiveness and life to all people who place their trust in Him, your suffering will also produce good results if you trust God to use it according to His will.

Take the new risks you sense God leading you to take. Don’t be afraid to start pursuing new dreams. Pray that God will show you whether or not those dreams align with His will for your life. If you sense that that they do, and the Holy Spirit is urging you to take the risks necessary to fulfill those dreams, don’t hesitate to take the risks so you can move forward with those new dreams.

Look forward to new dreams coming true in your life. Just because you’ve had some dreams die doesn’t mean that you won’t have other dreams come true. Remember that God is a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children – so God does want to make some dreams come true for you. Keep trusting and expecting God to work in your life, making the right dreams come true at the right times and in the right ways.

Adapted from Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings, copyright 2012 by Sheridan Voysey. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tn.,

Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker, and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His books include the award-winning Unseen Footprints: Encountering the Divine Along the Journey of Life, and the three-volume series Open House: Sheridan Voysey in Conversation. He is married to Merryn, and lives and travels from Oxford, United Kingdom. Visit his website  

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a contributing writer and the editor of’s site on angels and miracles.Contact Whitney at: to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: December 11, 2012

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