I never knew this! #Hearingaids and dementia, depression, short term memory loss.

I have had my hearing tested and am waiting to be fitted with my first set of hearing aids.

I like gadgets so I am rather looking forward to them. As they are free on the NHS, as are all the batteries, check-ups, fittings, etc I decided to go that route rather than pay and go private. The audiologist said that even if I want to spend money on something more advanced later I would be well advised to start with NHS ones so that I would then know exactly what else I needed. Locally they provide good Phonak ones.

Once I discovered I needed hearing devices I started reading up them and came across this quote:

“Hearing loss, if not treated, can affect the brain. If the brain doesn’t receive the signal for a particular sound due to hearing loss it starts losing the ability to decode that sound. This has been linked to dementia, depression and short term memory loss.”

Wow, I hope I get mine soon!

Red and black 5sp Brompton folding bike lost/stolen in York UK

How sad. The Brompton bike I bought in 1993 has been lost/stolen. For those who will keep a look out in York this is the description.

  • Red main frame with black rear frame and black handlebar stem
  • fancy hand grips with
  • Frame number 2699
  • Vintage 5 speed SA gear with chain coming out of either side of rear hub. 2 SA trigger gear levers
  • Non standard titanium seat post
  • Brompton saddle

I think it was taken from the boot of my car in York, UK. I think I stupidly left the boot unlocked! It was complete with Abus folding lock – with the key!

If anyone has news you can email me at grahamDOThutchinsonATgmailDOTcom

Installing Tresorit on Ubuntu

tresorit_logoWuala the secure Swiss cloud service is closing. I am sorry about that. Who to move over to was the next question and I came to the conclusion that it was between Spideroak and Tresorit. If I wanted to stay with something in Europe it had to be Tresorit.

Secure? See what it says on Wikipedia: “Since April 10, 2013, Tresorit has hosted a hacking contest, offering $10,000 to anyone who can hack their data encryption methods to gain access to their servers. Tresorit maintains that the contest is hosted on a completely independent server separate from their users’ files. In 2013 the company increased the reward to $25,000, challenging top hackers from institutions like Harvard, Stanford or MIT. The current reward is $50,000.”

I downloaded the installer but couldn’t get it to install. Yes it needs a simple command put in the terminal but I made the elementary error of missing that command. I had to contact the customer support. If you want to install Tresorit on Ubuntu this is what you do.

Download the installer from here https://tresorit.com/download/linux

It will result in a file being downloaded to your machine called tresorit_installer.run. Make sure that file is in your Downloads folder.

Next step is to open a terminal and at the prompt you type “cd Downloads” then press the return key.

Next, copy and paste into the terminal this command:
chmod +x tresorit_installer.run

Press the return key then paste the next command in which is:

You press the return key and it should have been installed.

To access the program you look in the finder and you will see the app with the logo. At this point you can drag it into the launcher at the side of your desktop like you can with any other app.


Roads made of recycled plastic blocks. Is this the future?


The recycled plastic roads require less maintenance than asphalt because they can withstand temperatures ranging between -40C and 80C.

Conventional asphalt roads are prone to cracking and potholes in winter when water penetrates the surface before freezing. Living in York I see evidence of that!

VolkerWessels, the company behind these plastic roads, claims asphalt is responsible for 1.6m tons of CO2 emissions a year globally – 2% of all road transport emissions.

I wonder why is has taken so long for people to come up with this idea?

See the ETA for more.

A 1958 #preaching book by Coggan found in a clearance box

I bought a second hand book from a table outside a bookshop here in York. It is Donald Coggan’s book about the art of preaching, “Stewards of Grace”. As a preacher I was curious to see what I would find in it. I also wondered how out of date it might be.

2015-06-24 10.36.09

Coggan wrote this in 1958 and he said then that many were declaring that preaching was out of fashion. I found this very interesting as I have been hearing the same thing for all the 35 years I have been doing it.

It is only a few years ago that I was being told that a preacher should be very brief (5 mins?) and rely mainly on interactive stuff with a lot of visuals such as PowerPoint (though I prefer Prezi as PowerPoint is so 20th century). Just as those voices seemed to be getting louder, TED talks appeared on the scene with a format and style that looks to me very much like the old fashioned traditional preacher. Perhaps preaching was not as out of vogue as those within churches were thinking. Though I suppose poor preaching is always a chore to listen to.

Especially interesting to me from Coggan’s book was his claim that people just don’t think now. This is from page.

Further, the argument runs, this is a headline age. The majority of our people, for all the efforts of State education, do not think. They scan. It is beyond their powers to follow a sustained argument for, in so far as they read at all, they read little more than the captions in the illustrated daily and weekly periodicals, and, in so far as they listen in, they prefer the news headlines to a closely reasoned lecture. Indeed, it is true to say that many graduates of our Universities read little but the journal of their own particular profession. Modern man is bombarded, his ears by wireless and gramophone, his eyes by television, poster and headline. The result, paradoxically enough, is that he is fast losing the capacity to hear (in the sense of listen) or to see (in the sense of perceive). He is becoming the object of a fast moving series of visual and aural sensations. But the vast majority of these sensations make little lasting impression on him. They do not register. They pour off him, in the common phrase, like water off a duck’s back, leaving him much the same as before, only a little less capable of continued thought, of logical process, of reasoning. Of what effect will preaching be in an age of men so conditioned? Again, the motor-car has constituted itself a major enemy to preaching. The weekend habit” militates against that regular family Sunday worship which was one of the characteristics of Victorian and Edwardian England. Modern man, to use a phrase from the Prayer Book out of its context, never continueth in one stay. He is in a state of perpetual motion, though it must often be doubted whether he knows where he is going.

Great stuff. Were it not for the vocabulary it could be a comment about our own time. I wonder what he would have made of the “information highway” age.

#equalmarriage, the Christian and a Cuneiform tablet

As we know, the law in the USA has now been changed and same sex marriage is now legal there across all states. Some will tell us that all sorts of natural disasters are about to befall us all as a result. In the UK there were even some Christians that said the unusual floods we experienced here were God’s judgement on our nation. I didn’t agree.

But how should a Christian, who wants to be faithful to their Lord, deal with these changes? How should we be thinking?

One problem for the Christian is that the Old Covenant is sometimes confused with the New Covenant in church culture. In scripture the Old Covenant is seen as the story of God entering into a covenant relationship with a whole nation, not individuals. Laws were set out that would regulate the behaviour with one another within the nation, with outsiders and with their God. The whole nation was given a special place in relation to God and to their world.

Now, in the New Covenant, it is individuals that enter into a covenant with their God and not a nation. Those in the New Covenant are to live by certain standards which are to emerge from within, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, and from new testament teaching. The age of the New Covenant is one where individuals must find their way of living in relationship with God regardless of how society behaves around them. This world view was difficult to keep in mind for the British during the age of empire as empire was often seen as a new version of a people chosen by God. While British church culture has moved from that position it seems to me that the USA have lagged far behind, and so they now agonise over the changes to marriage law in a distinctly USA fashion. After all, in the USA, many citizens believe that their country and empire is special to God as Britain did during their empire.

Of course marriage, as we have known it in the West for many years, is very old. Some of those who have been pressing for a change in marriage have claimed that what we have is recent and only really emerged in the Middle Ages. This is not quite honest and I am not sure it has been a necessary claim for their argument. Yes the Christian church brought a particular character to marriage in this country as they evangelised the nation. But the Christian form of marriage the church brought was very old. It is found in early church practice and came from ancient Jewish practice centuries before that.

Long ago Nebuchadnezzar led the Babylonian invasion of Judah, the Jewish home land. The citizens were taken away to live in Babylon. Some years later the new empire of the Medo-Persians rose to pre-eminence which conquered the Babylonians in 539 BC and the new emperor, Cyrus the Great, decreed that the Jews could return to their homeland. But not all did return. The Judaeans had adjusted, settled and become Mesopotamian citizens. By the time Cyrus arrived there was an established Judaean town called Jahudu. It is from Jahudu that we have this Cuneiform tablet which is a Jewish marriage contract including individual Judaean names. It is dated to after the arrival of Cyrus the Great in 539 BC.


Jahudu Cuneiform marriage contract. Dated to after arrival of Cyrus the Great in 539 BC

So no, marriage as we have known it is not a recent invention.

But back to the original question, how should Christians respond to the changes? I think we need to be sure what we mean by Christian marriage as distinct from state marriage. Christians are not being prevented from entering into Christian marriage, and non Christians are being allowed to enter into marriages that represent their belief system.

However Christians may feel about the changes around them we must keep that distinction in mind, and the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.