Saturday, 12 December 2015

No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII

The following **  is from the Good Reads Web page.

 Before you scroll down, note that I read the book (on loan from the Sarasota County Library).   It is a remarkable tale of courage, awful suffering, and the loyalty of a dog (Judy) who began her life as a mascot on a British Gunboat on the Yangtze River, survived the invasion and destruction of Singapore, trekked with her human pals through the Sumatran Jungle; lived with them in a hellish Japanese Camp, and found a friend in an R.A.F. prisoner - one Frank Williams.

The book I borrowed is now back at he Fruitville (Sarasota) Library.  Do read it, either by borrowing it from your local Library, or purchasing it.

It will move your heart to tears regarding "man's inhumanity to man".

It will love your heart to respect and admiration for Judy, a wise, intelligent, brave and faithful  English Pointer.

If you love dogs and hate war this is the book for you.

Judy and Frank Willo


No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII

The extraordinary tale of survival and friendship between a man and a dog in war

Flight technician Frank Williams and Judy, a purebred pointer, met in the most unlikely of places: a World War II internment camp in the Pacific. Judy was a fiercely loyal dog, with a keen sense for who was friend and who was foe, and the pair's relationship deepened throughout their captivity. When the prisoners suffered beatings, Judy would repeatedly risk her life to intervene. She survived bombings and other near-death experiences and became a beacon not only for Frank but for all the men, who saw in her survival a flicker of hope for their own.

Judy's devotion to those she was interned with was matched by their love for her, which helped keep the men and their dog alive despite the ever-present threat of death by disease or the rifles of the guards. At one point, deep in despair and starvation, Frank contemplated killing himself and the dog to prevent either from watching the other die. But both were rescued, and Judy spent the rest of her life with Frank. She became the war's only official canine POW, and after she died at age fourteen, Frank couldn't bring himself to ever have another dog. Their story--of an unbreakable bond forged in the worst circumstances--is one of the great undiscovered sagas of World War II

Friday, 11 December 2015

Thanks be to God for these Evangelical Christians at Wheaton College, IL

Via the Washington Post.
Editor’s note: This letter was first published in the Wheaton Record. The Post is republishing the letter with permission from the authors — student leaders at the evangelical college Wheaton College, based in the suburbs of Chicago. 
An Open Letter to Leaders in the Evangelical Community,
Liberty University’s Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. made public statements on Dec. 4 urging students to protect the campus against possible terrorist threats. In his remarks, he called for students to arm themselves so that they could “end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,” exhorting the students to “teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.”
While these sorts of remarks epitomize the ever-growing fear and hostility directed toward Muslims, we as evangelical Christians hold that Christ calls us not to react with religious oppression or violence — instead, we have the responsibility to live out fearless love in order to pursue unity.
We therefore reject the ideology espoused by Chancellor Falwell in his recent remarks to the Liberty student body, and we invite you to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters who share our human dignity.

The danger of divisive ideology: When fear leads to religious discrimination
The scriptures invoke a call to fearless love. As 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” In our country and in the evangelical community, fear has become a driving motivator which has led to stigmatization, acts of aggression, and a push for public policy that targets and alienates the Muslim population.
Falwell specifically ostracized those of the Islamic faith through making generalized statements about “those Muslims” with rhetoric that implicitly accused them of enmity and terrorism. Despite his later clarifications — which were only offered after media backlash — a higher standard is expected of leaders in our country and our community, particularly among Christians in leadership.
Therefore, such comments detract from the witness of the gospel and the call to love our neighbors and pursue unity
The call to pursue unity: Our responsibility as Christian leadersAs Christian leaders representing the name of Jesus Christ in our world, we have an opportunity and responsibility to guard our words and to protect the pillars of unity and love of neighbor which the gospels command us to pursue. Therefore, we desire to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, supporting the shared principles of justice, well-being and compassion.
Because we believe that perfect love drives out fear, we hope for a world in which religious communities object to discrimination, combat religious animosity, and stand for justice.  
Even when our neighbors are violent, we are called to love as Christ did, to the point of death, for Matthew 5:43 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
We also exhort leaders in evangelical communities to be representatives for religious and social change. We firmly stand against the deprecatory comments made against Muslims at Liberty University in the past week, and yet we hope that this instance can bring to light the pressing need for awareness and a regenerated attitude of love.
Right now, there are two roads that we as evangelical Christians can take. The first is that which prioritizes our own comfort and security, following the reactionary attitudes that stem from divisive fear. This leads to anger and hatred of our neighbor, and to the societal exclusion of those who are not exactly like us. The second road is the one where we actively reject the postures of discrimination and exclusion.
Going down this path, we instead follow the voice of Jesus, calling us to love our neighbor and to pursue peace toward those hostile to us or our faith, and to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Student leaders of Wheaton College

Thursday, 10 December 2015

When I die - DO NOT plan "A Celebration of Life"

Of course I do not know when I will die.

Even though I am in apparent good health it could be next week (I hope not, 'cause I still have a lot of living to live)

Or (perish the thought) it could be twenty years hence.

I do not worry about dying.  After all, once I have died I will be dead:- "Can't do nothing about that!"

But "whenever" it happens please bear this in mind  (if you are still around!)

DO NOT I repeat DO NOT plan some vacuous and sentimental "Celebration of my Life".

I am simply not that important.  I am not a celebrity.

I have tried to do some good in my life, at this I have often failed.

I have sometimes been mean, deceitful, and evil.

In the great and vast scheme of things my tenure on this planet has been incredibly insignificant!  But it has been good for me.

DO plan a simple prayer service in some sacred place, at which God's mercy and grace will be exalted; and at which my imperfect soul will be committed to that mercy and grace.

NO EULOGIES PLEASE  -  I do not wish my burial prayers to be sullied by lies!  Just read and proclaim the Gospel if you please,


For those who like to "read between the lines" I repeat that I am in apparent good health ( and enjoying this precious gift of life to the full!)


With thanks for the following which I read on Facebook via my friend Noel B

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

"There were giants in those days". Meeting a 94 years old member of "The Greatest Generation"

On the anniversary of D-Day in 1994 we, at St. Stephen's Parish in Pittsfield, MA, honoured those who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces in WWII.

We spoke well of them at the 10:00 Eucharist, and then had a lunch, hosted by the Youth Group.  We set out tables for four, at which sat two WWII vets with  spouses  and two youth group members.

There were maybe eight or ten Veterans of World War II,  at least three of them who were recipients of the Purple Heart.

In September 1994 my youngest brother Martyn and I (together with Martyn's wife Wendy and their daughter Laura) took our Mum to Normandy, there to visit the grave of her youngest brother Albert who was killed in that conflict.

We stood in silence at Uncle Albert's grave in the Commonwealth Graves Commission Cemetery in Bayeux,  France.

Our step-father Len was with us.   We took him to Arrromanches, where as an eighteen year old he had had landed some time after D-Day.

On the anniversary of D-Day in 2004 we honoured members of  "The Greatest Generation" at St. James's in Cambridge.  By then the ranks were diminished.

One of them, Ken Holmes, had been a member of an African-American Regiment which fought with great distinction in Italy.



TODAY (9th December 2015) I met a 94 year old member of  "The Greatest Generation".    His name is Sigvard (Sig) Johnson.

Siggie is from Finland.

In 1939 he was a purser on on a Finnish/American line ship which docked in New York City.  He had read "the signs of the times"  (i,e, N-zi expansionism)  so he jumped ship in New York.

Without papers  (yes he was an illegal immigrant) his path led him through a job in NYC, then to Westerley, R.I., then to a farm in Connecticut, and finally back to NYC.

Back in NYC he (by happenstance) met an immigration lawyer who was able to regularize his immigrant  status, as a result of which he was able to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Sig was assigned to the 99th Infantry Battalion  (Sep) of the 10th Mountain Division.

(See) (and)

SIGVARD (Sig) JOHNSON fought with distinction in the 99th Infantry Battalion.  SO MUCH SO that he was honoured by the Norwegian Government with a WWII medal.

You can see his picture at under the heading on NORWEGIAN WWII MEDAL


Next Wednesday Sig will travel from Sarasota FL to Naples FL, there, at the French Consulate, to be awarded the highest of French awards, "The Legion of Honor".


The Greatest Generation.

So few of these men and women left.

I am grateful that I met one of them today, the 94 years old Finnish born Sigvard Johnson.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Lunch at home today

(1) Home made beef and pork meatloaf, made with the usual ingredients (ground meats, eggs, bread crumbs, diced onion, diced green peppers)  and a bit of hot salsa for zest, with a brown sugar and tomato ketchup glaze.

(2)  Kim-chi, with a bit of Greek yogurt.

(3)  Quinoa: cooked not in water or stock, but in Ginger Carrot Soup.


Who wants to marry me?  (!!!)