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There was a time when I really admired Prince Harry, despite some of his party scandals.

The Prince Harry of active British Army service and of the Invictus Games has been replaced by one of snobbishness and environmentalism.

Has marriage changed him or was this always in the back of his mind?

His interview with Jane Goodall, doyenne of primatologists, has just appeared in the September 2019 edition of British Vogue. His wife, Meghan — the Duchess of Sussex — guest edited this edition of the magazine.

The Duke of Sussex — Prince Harry — spoke of his love of nature and the environment. Prince Harry’s dialogue is in bold. Jane Goodall’s is in normal print:

… I think, weirdly, because of the people that I’ve met and the places that I’ve been fortunate enough to go to, I’ve always had a connection and a love for nature. I view it differently now, without question. But I’ve always wanted to try and ensure that, even before having a child and hoping to have children…

Not too many! [Laughs]

Two, maximum! But I’ve always thought: this place is borrowed. And, surely, being as intelligent as we all are, or as evolved as we all are supposed to be, we should be able to leave something better behind for the next generation.

But, in fact, we’ve stolen their future. Not all of it. But we’ve got to try and pay a little of it back. And get together to try and heal some of the harm, and at least slow down climate change.

The New York Post‘s Page Six picked up on the interview and Harry’s perspective (emphases mine):

Harry’s outlook on family is a stark contrast to his brother — and to the royal matriarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton already have three kids: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The Queen has four children, although all of her kids only have two.

In his interview with the conservationist, the prince also brought up racism and “unconscious bias,” saying some people don’t realize their own prejudices are inherited …

The prince has previously criticized British tabloid coverage of his former TV-actress wife, whose mother is African-American and whose father is white, as having racist overtones.

I thought so, too. This video compilation of headlines and reporters’ text messages is a fine example.

However, I’m highly disappointed in both of them, should the following story turn out to be true. On Saturday, July 27, the New York Post‘s Page Six reported on a story in The Sun that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex do not want any communications with their neighbours on the Windsor estate. The couple live in the highly expensive Frogmore House, which the Queen had refurbished for them:

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are off to a rough start with their new neighbors.

Handlers warned people living near the royal couple not to talk to the pair, pet their dogs or ask about baby Archie, among other “over the top” rules, according to a report.

Locals at the couple’s Frogmore Cottage home on the Windsor estate are also prohibited from offering neighborly favors, such as babysitting or dogwalking, The Sun reported.

Pleasantries — specifically “good morning” — are banned, and commoners are forbidden from placing letters in the royal mailbox.

“It’s extraordinary. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone who lives on the estate works for the royals and knows how to behave respectfully,” one resident scoffed. “We aren’t told how to behave around the Queen like this. She’s very happy for people to greet her.”

“An overly protective palace official” issued the royal commandments at a recent meeting for residents, The Sun reported. It’s unclear how locals who break the rules will be punished.

The Sun had more:

The astonishing “do and don’t commandments” were issued at a residents’ meeting.

One local said: “It would be funny if it wasn’t so over the top.”

Narked neighbours ordered not to talk to Harry and Meghan said last night: “Even the Queen doesn’t demand this.”

Also:

The warnings were made at a recent residents’ meeting where the issue of the Sussexes’ move to the private Home Park estate was raised.

Royal commentator Ingrid Seward said: “It sounds as if Harry and Meghan’s ­incessant demands for privacy means that palace officials are second-guessing what they might want.

“It’s odd because it’s just good manners to engage your neighbour in conversation in a pleasant way. It’s a very normal British thing to say ‘Good Morning’ and pat a dog.

The Queen always chats to neighbours and even has tea with people on the estate as she’s very friendly with them. The ‘not petting the dog’ is particularly strange.

“Maybe Harry doesn’t want people approaching them and using their dogs as an excuse to talk. And of course the dog with no name keeps its privacy as they won’t tell us its name!

Meghan brought rescue beagle Guy over to the UK from Canada, then she and Harry got a black labrador last September.

They have always refused to reveal her name, even when asked by well-wishers.

Bizarre, and not the level of behaviour expected of a member of the Royal Family.

Harry was raised by his father and late mother to behave better than this.

If Palace officials are ‘second-guessing’ what the couple might want, as Ingrid Seward said, then the Duke and Duchess should tell the residents’ association that there was a mistake and that, of course, they are happy to get to know their neighbours.

Not a lot of people outside the UK realise that these grand country estates — including those of nobility — house employees and their families. The Sun‘s article states:

Around 400 people live in the private Home Park and Great Park area of Windsor, which is run by the Crown Estate.

They include the Queen’s right-hand woman and dresser Angela Kelly, Prince Charles’ old nanny Mabel Anderson and the governor of Windsor Castle.

You do not treat employees like dirt, especially when they are your grandmother’s and father’s.

About 20 years ago, there were two BBC series about the Duke and Duchess of Bedford of Woburn Abbey. The first series featured the elder Duke and Duchess handing over the estate to their son, and the second series featured the current Duke and Duchess running the estate and bringing up their first child. It was shown on PBS in the United States.

I mention this because the one of the first things that the family said — and repeated often — was the importance of the relationship between them and their employees who lived and worked on the estate.

I was amazed at how close they were — and are — to their employees. They held holiday celebrations in Woburn Abbey, which, by the way, is open to the public. They made visits to their employees’ cottages in times of loss or illness. The programmes were a joy to watch.

Therefore, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not behaving in a ducal way at all.

Dukes are said to be among the kindest men in the Realm. They can suffer insufferable bores quite readily, making said bores feel very comfortable indeed. Dukes have a kind word for everyone. They are also very helpful, reaching out to others in need.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex would do well to remember that British taxpayers subsidised the refurbishment of their home, Frogmore Cottage, to the tune of £2.4m! Granted, the couple did pay for the fixtures and fittings, however, the point still stands.

This was such an outrageous amount of money that there was a call for a parliamentary enquiry on June 25. Although the Royal Family’s Sovereign Grant costs only 74p per year per UK resident:

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, questioned why £2.4 million of taxpayers’ money had been “thrown” at Meghan and Harry’s Frogmore Cottage residence while public services were under financial pressure …

The annual royal accounts were released on Monday and, at a press briefing, Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for monarchy’s accounts, gave details of the Sovereign Grant, the funding used to pay for the Queen’s official duties and areas like royal travel, salaries and the upkeep of occupied royal palaces.

Sir Michael said of Frogmore Cottage: “The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied royal palaces estate.

“The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.

That same day, another report appeared stating that Prince Charles’s expenditures had continued to increase over the last year. The Press Association reported:

Charles pays for the public duties of Harry and Meghan and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and some of their private costs, out of his multimillion pound Duchy of Cornwall income.

Royal accounts showed that the prince’s bill for the Sussexes’ and the Cambridges’ activities, plus other expenditure including Charles’s capital expenditure and transfer to reserves, was £5.05 million in 2018-2019, up 1.8% or £89,000 from £4.96 million in 2017-2018.

Over two years, the figure has risen more than £1.5 million from £3.5 million in 2016-2017.

In the year Harry and Meghan married, Charles’s non-official expenditure increased by £155,000, up 5.2% to £3.16 million.

Clarence House’s annual report provides no detailed breakdown of the funding for the activities of the Sussexes and the Cambridges, with royal sources saying the details were private.

The prince contributed to the Sussexes’ wedding and hosted Harry and Meghan’s evening wedding reception at Frogmore House, where the newlyweds enjoyed a spectacular firework display and partied until 3am with celebrity guests.

A royal source said: “Their expenditure is met by help from their father or things that they would pay for themselves from their private expenditure.”

In closing, I wish the Sussexes well, but they would do well to remember on which side their bread is buttered.

Public sentiment, particularly in Britain, is a fickle thing. And, when the public decides you’re out of bounds, you’re out, often for good.

We all know that Democrats are the voice of the people, right?

I’m being sarcastic, but that is the image they project:

Meanwhile, the once beautiful city of Baltimore, Maryland has been in the news over the past few days. The district’s congressman, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), has been roundly criticised by residents, Republicans and President Trump for allowing it to deteriorate. He cannot take full blame, but he would do well to focus on his constituents rather than trying to impeach Trump.

This lady is a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee:

While the controversy over Baltimore rages …

… Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and selected Democrat congresscritters stayed in Venice — yes, Italy — over the weekend in five-star accommodation at the Hotel Danieli (be sure to click on that link)!

Yes, Pelosi and the Democrats truly are of the people (not):

Over the weekend, various people, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), thought that Rep. Elijah Cummings was among Pelosi’s delegation, but he was not:

The Washington Examiner reported (emphasis mine):

Pelosi was joined on the trip to by several other black Democrats, including Majority Whip James Clyburn, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Ilhan Omar, and Rep. John Lewis.

The Democratic delegation is visiting the U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Italy. They will also visit Ghana, a trip that coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans landing in America. Pelosi will be the first speaker of House to address the Ghanaian Parliament.

One wonders how much this junket cost and how many family members accompanied them. The mind boggles.

Meanwhile, Baltimore and other Democrat-controlled US cities are in chaos.

One of President Donald Trump’s favourite meals is meat loaf, which is on the menu at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

According to Nancy Ellison at One for the Table, Trump has long been offering his club members and their guests suggestions on what to order. I have read that he often recommends the meat loaf, but Ms Ellison has more (emphases mine):

His real joy in life is acting the Host. “Try the chopped steak. It’s the best! …You know what’s great – the pretzel bread… This individually wrapped butter is so good. I don’t like those little flower butters. There is always a finger print on them!” The real secret is that Donald Trump wants his guests to feel good, important and to be happy … as happy as he felt when his mother, Scottish born Mary MacLeod Trump fixed Meat Loaf for him as a child. “I loved my mother and I loved her cooking … and, she was a real beauty!”

On the menu – along with the Raw Oysters, Champagne and Caviar – at Trump’s exclusive Mar–a-Lago Club, Mary MacLeod Trump’s Meat Loaf rules, and it is truly a man’s meal; it has all the warmth of a cozy aromatic kitchen and the familiar comfortable masculinity of a favorite armchair – but tastier. And, it makes Donald Trump smile!

I have always wondered whether Mary MacLeod Trump’s meat loaf recipe would be revealed. Thankfully, Nancy Ellison provides it for us.

The readers’ comments specify that the breadcrumbs should be dried, not fresh.

I am always suspect of a meat loaf recipe that calls for beef only. My late maternal grandmother always used an equal mix of beef, pork and veal mince, having been taught that way in domestic science class in high school during the First World War, when it was no doubt a luxury, given that even the United States had rationing.

I thought my late grandmother’s was the best.

But, we shall see about a 100% beef meat loaf.

Having read so much about it, I plan to try it soon!

Bible penngrovechurchofchristorgThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy omit — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 28:23-28

23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

26 “‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
27 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’

28 Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”[a]

—————————————————————————————————————————-

Last week’s entry discussed the Roman Jews’ request for more information on Christianity, which they called a ‘sect’.

Before delving into today’s passage, John MacArthur makes an excellent observation not only about the content of Acts 28 but also about the entire Book of Acts (emphases mine):

the whole book of Acts is the story of God’s final striving with the Hebrew people. From the time that God called Abraham and founded the nation, He has been striving with Israel.

Historically, throughout all of the Old Testament, Israel failed to live up to the information and the revelation that they had. They grieved the heart of God, they wounded His heart, they broke His heart, and judgment after judgment after judgment after judgment came. There were several captivities that came. One tragic note in the history of Israel was when the entire northern kingdom just disintegrated. Israel was just continually failing to live up to the covenant with God. And yet God was gracious, and Christ finally came.

And first, John the Baptist announced it to Israel. Then, Christ came first to Israel. Then, at the day of Pentecost, when the church was born, the Spirit of God was sent to the midst of Israel. As the church scattered, the apostle Paul went into town, and he went first to Israel, into the synagogues. And finally, now we come to Rome; the last solemn abandonment of Israel. It was only 10 years later – or less – from the record of this passage, that the Roman eagles stormed into Jerusalem, and destroyed Judaism, for good.

What we have today that is called Judaism is only a faint shadow of what Judaism was. It was destroyed in 70 A.D. This is the last solemn, biblical warning to Israel. This is the last time God ever went to the Jew first, right here. Now, the words that Paul quotes in this passage are taken from Isaiah 6. Isaiah spoke them at a time when Israel was in sin. Our Lord Jesus spoke them in Matthew 13, showing the kingdom would be taken from Israel. John quotes the same words in John, chapter 12, and now Paul quotes them.

The prominent Jews in Rome went to Paul’s lodgings on an appointed day to hear what he had to say about Christianity (verse 23). In his love for them, which he had for all Jews — even those who wanted to kill him, as Luke documented throughout Acts — Paul spent hours trying to persuade them that Jesus is the Messiah. He cited the Pentateuch — the first five books from Moses — and he cited the prophets.

I cannot imagine how passionately yet rationally Paul, a converted Pharisee, laid this out. He would have felt duty bound from his heart. He wanted so much to persuade these Jews, his brothers, to believe.

He succeeded with some, but not with all (verse 24).

They left after Paul cited Isaiah 6:9-10 (verses 26, 27), which Paul prefaced by saying that the Holy Spirit was correct about those to whom Isaiah prophesied (verse 25).

In effect, Paul asked them to really consider that one last message. Paul was saying that what had happened to their forefathers will happen to them if they do not heed his discourse. God would make them spiritually blind with no way back.

Matthew Henry’s commentary says:

He perceived by what they muttered that there were many among them, and perhaps the greater part, that were obstinate, and would not yield to the conviction of what he said; and they were getting up to be gone, they had had enough of it: “Hold,” says Paul, “take one word with you before you go, and consider of it when you come home: what do you think will be the effect of your obstinate infidelity? What will you do in the end hereof? What will it come to?”

1. “You will by the righteous judgment of God be sealed up under unbelief. You harden your own hearts, and God will harden them as he did Pharaoh’s’; and this is what was prophesied of concerning you. Turn to that scripture (Isaiah 6:9,10), and read it seriously, and tremble lest the case there described should prove to be your case.” As there are in the Old Testament gospel promises, which will be accomplished in all that believe, so there are gospel threatenings of spiritual judgments, which will be fulfilled in those that believe not; and this is one. It is part of the commission given to Isaiah the prophet; he is sent to make those worse that would not be made better. Well spoke the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers. What was spoken by JEHOVAH is here said to be spoken by the Holy Ghost, which proves that the Holy Ghost is God; and what was spoken to Isaiah is here said to be spoken by him to their fathers, for he was ordered to tell the people what God said to him; and, though what is there said had in it much of terror to the people and of grief to the prophet, yet it is here said to be well spoken. Hezekiah said concerning a message of wrath, Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken, Isaiah 39:8. And he that believes not shall be damned is gospel, as well as, He that believes shall be saved, Mark 16:16. Or this may be explained by that of our Saviour (Matthew 15:7), “Well did Esaias prophesy of you. The Holy Ghost said to your fathers, that which would be fulfilled in you, Hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand.” (1.) “That which was their great sin against God is yours; and that is this, you will not see. You shut your eyes against the most convincing evidence possible, and will not admit the conclusion, though you cannot deny the premises: Your eyes you have closed,” Acts 28:27. This intimates an obstinate infidelity, and a willing slavery to prejudice. “As your fathers would not see God’s hand lifted up against them in his judgments (Isaiah 26:11), so you will not see God’s hand stretched out to you in gospel grace.”

MacArthur has this analysis:

Isaiah, Jesus, John, and Paul all quote the very same words. What do they say? Look at verse 25: “And when they had agreed not among themselves, they departed.” Boy, that is so tragic. That is the last Biblical abandonment of Israel, after Paul had spoken one word. Here’s what drove them away: “Well spoke the Holy Spirit by Isaiah the prophet unto our fathers.” There’s a note on inspiration, the Holy Spirit speaking through Isaiah.

This is what He said: “Go unto this people, and say, ‘Hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is become fat’” – or obtuse – “‘and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’” You’ll notice verse 27 says: “They closed their ears, they closed their eyes, they sealed up their understanding.”

Verse 26 says: “Now they can’t hear, now they can’t understand.” What began as a willful act turned into the sovereignty of God. Israel rejected, willfully blinded themselves, willfully deafened themselves, willfully did not understand, and consequently were tied to that kind of destiny, as God sealed their ears, their eyes, and their minds. Turn for a minute with me to John 12, and I just want to show you the similar passage here, and point some things out to you.

… Now, what began as willful blindness turned into sovereign blindness; frightening. They did not in verse 37; they could not in verse 39. He who will not believe may find some day that he cannot believe.

Paul closed by saying that the Gentiles would hear the Gospel message and, therefore, salvation is theirs (verse 28).

MacArthur explains, still citing John 12:

Verse 30: “The Gentiles who followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness.” Verse 31: ”But Israel has failed.” Now, all of that to show that God turns to the Gentiles, but notice carefully, chapter 11, verse 17: “And if some of the branches be broken off” – now, the branches here are Israel, and the root or the trunk is the blessing of God. “If some of the branches are broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them.”

In other words, the Gentile is the wild olive tree grafted into the trunk of God’s blessing; the Jews are the ones cut off. Verse 18: “Boast not against the branches.” In other words, just because the Gentiles have been grafted in is no cause for us to boast against the Jews. Verse 19: “Thou wilt say then, ‘The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.’” You think you’re better than the Jews? Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. “Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not you.”

You see? Now, be careful that you don’t become overmuch proud, or God may just cut you off. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them who fell, severity; and toward thee, goodness, if you continue in His goodness: otherwise thou shalt also be cut off.” And here he’s talking about the total of the Gentiles. “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in.” Now, notice that? Israel will be re-grafted in if they believe. “For God is able to graft them in again.

“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree” – you’re not even a normal olive tree, you’re a wild one – “how much more shall these, who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” Listen, the end of verse 25: “blindness in part has happened to Israel, only until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” – until the completion of the church. “And so all Israel shall be saved.” Listen, God will graft in Israel again.

And so, we see that He’s not ultimately through with them, because that would be to break His eternal covenants. But for the time being, God has set Israel aside, the kingdom is postponed, and the Gentiles are drawn to Him. Verse 28: “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it.” Now, this has happened over and over again in the book of Acts: chapter 11, verse 18; chapter 13, verse 46 and 47; chapter 14:27; 15, verses 14 to 18; and chapter 18, verse 6; we see this move to the Gentiles.

Does this ruin God’s plan? No. It didn’t ruin His plan. God will restore Israel. So, we see the inversion, the reversal; and we are the recipients of the blessing of that reversal: Gentiles who believe.

Pray that all unbelievers — not only the Jews — come to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. I often wonder if some atheists have had a sovereign judgement placed on them. I hope not, but the thought of such a judgement is, as MacArthur says, ‘frightening’.

Next week’s post ends this study of Acts and discusses the rest of Paul’s time in Rome.

Next time — Acts 28:30-31

What follows are the readings for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity — Seventh Sunday after Pentecost — July 28, 2019.

These are for Year C in the three-year Lectionary used in public worship.

There are two choices for the First Reading and Psalm. I have differentiated these by using blue in the headings for the alternative option.

Emphases below are mine.

First reading

For this Sunday and next, readings are from the first chapter of Hosea, a minor prophet in terms of writings left behind rather than preaching, according to Matthew Henry. Hosea preached for 70 years and lived at the same time as Isaiah. He was the first to prophesy of the destruction of the ten tribes, an event he lived to see. Here the Lord gives Hosea instructions on his family. Matthew Henry’s commentary is excellent. This is a judgement not on Hosea personally but on his tribe, who turned adulterous in preferring idolatry to worshipping the Lord God. Gomer, the name of Hosea’s wife, means ‘corruption’. Her surname, Diblaim, means ‘two cakes’ or ‘two figs’ which are so rotten that they cannot be eaten.

Hosea 1:2-10

1:2 When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.”

1:3 So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

1:4 And the LORD said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.

1:5 On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

1:6 She conceived again and bore a daughter. Then the LORD said to him, “Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have pity on the house of Israel or forgive them.

1:7 But I will have pity on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.”

1:8 When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and bore a son.

1:9 Then the LORD said, “Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not my people and I am not your God.”

1:10 Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”

Psalm

This Psalm was written after the Jews were delivered out of Babylon. The petitions are for release of God’s remaining judgement upon them.

Psalm 85

85:1 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.

85:2 You forgave the iniquity of your people; you pardoned all their sin. Selah

85:3 You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger.

85:4 Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us.

85:5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations?

85:6 Will you not revive us again, so that your people may rejoice in you?

85:7 Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.

85:8 Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

85:9 Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

85:11 Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.

85:12 The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.

85:13 Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

First reading — alternative

Abraham asks if the Lord will spare Sodom and Gomorrah provided a faithful remnant is present.

Genesis 18:20-32

18:20 Then the LORD said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin!

18:21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”

18:22 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the LORD.

18:23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

18:24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it?

18:25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?”

18:26 And the LORD said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.”

18:27 Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.

18:28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”

18:29 Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.”

18:30 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

18:31 He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”

18:32 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Psalm — alternative

It is unclear at what point in his life David wrote this Psalm, one of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord.

Psalm 138

138:1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;

138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.

138:3 On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.

138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth.

138:5 They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.

138:6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.

138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.

138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Epistle

Paul tells the Colossians to stand firm in the faith and to support each other, because Christ’s death on the Cross for our sins and His Resurrection surpass everything known to mankind.

Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19)

2:6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him,

2:7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.

2:9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

2:10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.

2:11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ;

2:12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

2:13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses,

2:14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

2:15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

2:16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths.

2:17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

2:18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking,

2:19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Gospel

Jesus directs His disciples to pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Luke 11:1-13

11:1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.

11:3 Give us each day our daily bread.

11:4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

11:5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;

11:6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’

11:7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’

11:8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

11:9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11:11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish?

11:12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?

11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I pray that everyone has a blessed Sunday.

Despite record-breaking heatwave this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost no time on his first full day in No. 10:

On Thursday, July 25, 2019, he held his first cabinet meeting. The Press Association (PA) reported:

Boris Johnson will preside over his first meeting of his new Cabinet after a brutal cull of Theresa May’s top team.

Within hours of taking office on Wednesday, the new Prime Minister moved to stamp his authority, putting Brexiteers into key Cabinet posts as he vowed to take Britain out of the EU by the October 31 deadline.

He took his pledge to Britain seriously in his first address outside of No. 10 the day before:

Sensible people welcome his approach:

I do hope that journalist Lloyd Evans is correct:

Political pundit Guido Fawkes has been getting record-breaking social media stats:

Even the dress that Boris’s girlfriend wore on July 24 was selling out that same day:

Let’s look at the Cabinet reshuffle, which, for the most part, had me cheering.

In short:

This is also worth keeping in mind:

The new Cabinet will actually carry out the 2017 General Election Conservative Party mandate:

Conservative MP — and former Party leader — Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) says that leaving on October 31 is possible. I already knew this, but for those who do not, there is little danger of ‘crashing out’ with ‘no deal’:

Ultimately, the true nature of our MPs emerged with the stalling this year:

He is not wrong. There was a protest in Whitehall as Boris was preparing to make his first speech as PM. Please pardon the language below, but this has to be shown:

Now for more detail on the new Cabinet — which is diverse. By way of explanation, Michael Howard is also a former Conservative Party leader and Jewish:

Pundits think that Boris’s senior adviser Dominic ‘Vote Leave’ Cummings (in the tee shirt below) …

… had a lot to do with it:

Guido Fawkes posted a comprehensive list on July 24 of firings and hirings. Highlights follow (emphases and red in the original):

Earlier: Hammond, Stewart, Lidington, and Gauke pre-emptively announce resignations.

16:44: Penny Mordaunt sacked as Defence Secretary. Penny drops…

17:00: Liam Fox sacked as International Trade Secretary. Out-Foxed…

17:11: Chris Grayling quits as Transport Secretary. Grayling bailing…

I was really happy about this one:

17:24: James Brokenshire out as Communities Secretary. James Broken-fired…

James Brokenshire fired conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, who was deliberately misquoted in a New Statesman interview earlier this year. Scruton did not find out he had been sacked until he returned home from Paris the evening the article was published. He had been lecturing on architecture in Paris that day. Brokenshire did not even ask Scruton about the interview. Later, he admitted he was wrong in having jumped the gun, but he never rehired Scruton until July 23.

So, Brokenshire is out …

… and Scruton is back!

Incredibly, Brokenshire rehired Scruton the day before his own sacking! Perhaps Brokenshire thought that would put him in Boris’s good books. Wrong!

Scruton’s new boss is Robert Jenrick.

But, wait, there’s more.

Boris’s rival for Conservative Party leadership quit:

17:58: Jeremy Hunt quits as Foreign Secretary after turning down Defence. Shunt for Hunt…

Now for a few names of the new Cabinet members. I’m happy about all except for Dominic Raab, Grant Shapps and Amber Rudd, as I do not trust them nor believe they respect the British people:

18:35: Sajid Javid appointed Chancellor.

18:43: Priti Patel appointed Home Secretary

18:52: Dominic Raab appointed Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. 

18:59: Stephen Barclay remains Brexit Secretary. 

19:10: Michael Gove appointed to Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, no deal coordinator.

19:26: Liz Truss appointed International Trade Secretary.

19:55: Matt Hancock remains Health Secretary.

20:11: Theresa Villiers becomes Environment Secretary.

20:24: Gavin Williamson becomes Education Secretary.

20:29: Andrea Leadsom becomes Business Secretary.

20:46: Amber Rudd remains at DWP, adding Equalities brief.

20:59: Robert Buckland becomes Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary.

21:07: Alok Sharma becomes International Development Secretary.

21:12: Grant Shapps becomes Transport Secretary.

21:39: Baroness Evans remains Leader of the Lords.

21:51 Geoffrey Cox remains Attorney General.

22:11 Rishi Sunak becomes Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

22:43: Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Leader of the House of Commons.

23:02: Oliver Dowden becomes Paymaster General and Cabinet Office Minister.

23:58: Kwasi Kwarteng appointed Business Minister.

This is Boris’s brother:

22:55: Jo Johnson returns as Universities Minister in BEIS and DfE.

I’m really happy about this appointment:

22:32: James Cleverly becomes Tory Party Chairman.

James Cleverly replaces Brandon Lewis, who is now Home Office Minister.

Here is the entire set of appointments. You can tell The Sun‘s political editor, Tom Newton Dunn, is not a Boris fan:

Everyone appointed attended Thursday’s Cabinet meeting:

Afterwards, Boris addressed the House of Commons:

He did a splendid job, on the last day that the House of Commons meets before summer holiday. (They return in September.)

This is what happened, as tweeted by Dan Hodges, ex-Labour member — and former actress/Labour MP Glenda Jackson‘s son. He noticed the effect that Boris’s pusillanimous attacks were having on Labour, including party leader Jeremy Corbyn:

As for Jacob Rees-Mogg (JRM), who sat next to Boris during the Prime Minister’s Statement:

Re Brexit and the EU, he said (emphasis mine):

The days of supplication are over.

Well said!

In fact, even the Germans noticed, calling Boris ‘the blond bulldozer’. Wow:

Meanwhile, Theresa May — and some of the cabinet ministers Boris sacked — enjoyed a day of cricket:

Pundits wonder where Boris will travel first: Europe or the United States. Although President Trump hasn’t yet issued an invitation, it will surely come soon:

In closing, for anyone wondering about living arrangements:

According to the comments following that tweet, Tom Newton Dunn has exaggerated about the size of the No. 10 flat, which is larger than he makes it out to be. He has also conveniently forgotten that Boris has children, too: four, to be precise.

We can expect more Boris-bashing and sniping in the weeks ahead. The media and the rest of the Left will make sure of it.

I am cautiously optimistic for Boris’s tenure as Prime Minister.

July 24 is the feast day of St Boris, a mediaeval Slavic martyr who died for the faith with his brother (or half-brother) Gleb early in the 11th century.

Boris Johnson became Britain’s next Prime Minister on July 24. Let us hope that the association of PM and saint bodes well.

A number of resignations took place prior to his becoming PM.

One was in the Conservative Party …

… other resignations took place in government:

Guido Fawkes says there ‘will be more’ (red and italics in the original):

Officially resigned:

    • Alan Duncan
    • Anne Milton
    • Rory Stewart
    • Philip Hammond
    • David Gauke

There will be more…

And so there were.

This is good. These people were never really on board with Brexit, especially a no deal departure.

Guido was correct in his prediction. David Lidington, the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, was the next to tender his resignation:

The second tweet below is interesting. One wonders what he means by ‘relishing the prospect of … speaking freely’:

More followed:

Mordaunt tweeted:

There were more resignations, including that of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond:

Savid Javid succeeds Hammond:

Boris wants to make his Cabinet all-inclusive. He has appointed a female Brexiteer as Home Secretary:

If we want to talk about diversity:

Ex-Labour member — and former actress/Labour MP Glenda Jackson‘s son — tweeted:

Also:

Continuing with the resignations:

Boris’s opponent for Conservative leader is also leaving government:

The Education Secretary has also left:

From this, we can conclude that Boris wishes to wipe a long-standing Conservative cabinet clean:

I repeat: this is likely to be good news.

Since July 23, the day he became Conservative Party leader, Boris has been busy putting his team together. It will be comprised of both Leavers and Remainers in an effort to promote national unity. I hope it works. He has a working majority of just two MPs at present.

That day, Guido Fawkes reported:

Former dairy farmer, MP since 2010, and whip since 2017 Mark Spencer has been confirmed as the first appointment Boris will make to his Cabinet when he become Prime Minister tomorrow. Spencer will take on the unenviable brief of Chief Whip …

Sky’s Chief Financial Officer Andrew Griffith has been appointed as a corporate adviser, while May’s Principal Private Secretary Peter Hill is resigning and will be replaced by Boris’s own choice of civil servant …

David Frost is reportedly joining Boris’s team in the Olly Robbins role – Frost is the CEO of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and was previously Boris’ SpAd and the boss of the Scotch Whisky Association. The LCCI have arguably been the most pragmatic industry group towards Brexit under his tenure, it’s definitely a boost for Brexit…

SpAd is ‘special adviser’.

But what has really set the cat amongst the pigeons is the appointment of Vote Leave’s Dominic Cummings as senior adviser. Remainers are furious:

More to come soon.

It was on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, that Theresa May made her final appearance at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons at PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions). Boris Johnson succeeded her as Prime Minister later that day.

Here’s a great video compilation of Boris in action. He was declared the next Conservative Party leader on July 23:

Today’s PMQs session was bittersweet. I remembered liking Mrs May wholeheartedly until March of this year.

Outside of Brexit, she was a very good PM, as MPs from both sides of the aisle made clear during today’s 65-minute PMQs.

The link in the next tweet shows a list of MPs who asked today’s questions. Mrs May did not wear this suit, by the way:

Instead, she wore the royal blue one that matched Angela Merkel’s in colour. As it looks like wool, that must have been over the top when we are not only in July but also in the middle of a heatwave:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn paid her a brief compliment on her ‘sense of public duty’:

Political pundit Guido Fawkes noted with irony (colour and italics in the original):

Remarkably he will now be onto his third Tory Prime Minister, not that he’s had much to do with that himself…

May asked Corbyn with good humour if he would follow her example:

She said:

Perhaps I could just finish my exchange with him by saying this – as a party leader who has accepted when her time is up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same.

She also reminded the House of his many political flip-flops:

An Independent MP later agreed with her:

May has taken 4,540 questions during her PMQs sessions since she became PM in 2016. She has spent hundreds of hours answering them.

Both Conservative and Opposition benches gave her credit for:

– lowering public borrowing (the lowest rate in 17 years);

– a stronger economy, despite Remainers’ anti-Brexit Project Fear;

– reducing unemployment;

– actively supporting legislation, currently in place, to combat slavery;

– actively supporting legislation, also in place, to prosecute perpetrators of domestic violence;

– supporting law enforcement, although, as always, more work needs to be done;

– promoting a more equal society, as she promised in July 2016;

– being a solid role model for women, including those in politics;

– showing dignified, respectful leadership.

Indeed, Brexit was her only black mark.

After she listened to a warm tribute from Jo Swinson, the new female leader of the Liberal Democrats, May rightly pointed out that only the Conservatives have had two female prime ministers! She added that most of Britain’s political parties have or have had women leaders. She concluded by saying that there is only one party that has not had a woman leader: the Labour Party! (We cannot count the Brexit Party, because they have no MPs yet.)

Philip May was in the spectator’s gallery to watch his wife give her final appearance in Parliament as PM. A Conservative MP mentioned it. You can see that she really loves her husband, because she blushed and smiled broadly at his mention.

When she left the dispatch box, she received one minute of applause and a standing ovation from Conservative MPs.

Theresa May will now sit on the backbenches as a Conservative MP.

Outside of Brexit, she did a great job as PM.

Thank you, Mrs May.

Guido Fawkes has a rundown of what happened next. I’ve inserted tweets from the BBC:

13:00 TM returns to Downing Street to say goodbye to staff.

14:00 TM leaves Downing Street for the last time as Prime Minister, making a short speech outside.

14:15 TM goes to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to the Queen.

15:00 Boris goes to Buckingham Palace to be formally appointed as Prime Minister.

16:00 Boris makes his first speech as Prime Minister from the steps of Downing Street.

17:00 Boris heads to his Commons office to begin his Cabinet reshuffle.

Expect the top jobs to be announced by 10pm…

I wish Boris Johnson well as Prime Minister.

When we are in Cannes, one of the highlights of strolling down Rue Meynadier — the city’s second main shopping street — is seeing what Boucherie Brugère at No. 38 has on offer.

Also known as Au Roi du Charolais, this butcher’s shop has the best fresh meat in Cannes. L’Académie du Goût (Taste Academy) wrote a short article about Au Roi du Charolais, which Georges Brugères opened in 1996. It is currently run by Jean-Luc Olivari, who is from Nice and is the son of a livestock farmer. The meat comes from the most famous regions in France and is top quality:

Charolais beef, Limousin veal, Sisteron lamb, Bresse chicken — every item is one of tradition. The ribs of beef, specialities of the house, go to the “people” in the news, served on the yachts in the Bay of Cannes and in chic villas. Yet, every morning, the customer is king in Mr Olivari’s little shop.

One chill cabinet has whole volaille (chicken) de Bresse, complete with heads and feet. The one opposite has whatever is on offer that day. When we went there was a lot of lamb and veal, but also whole rabbit. How I wished that we were staying in rented accommodation so that I could prepare rabbit!

My wish came true once we got home. Last week, we bought a whole French rabbit for £8.99 from our own butcher! Gressingham Duck from Norfolk has been buying them and selling them to butchers in Britain.

You can get whole French rabbit online in the UK, but not at that incredibly low price. One place has it at £21.95 and another at £13.99.

I boned and sectioned the creature myself, which isn’t too difficult. When you buy the entire animal uncut, you get the offal, too!

This video from Scotland shows the various parts of the rabbit and how to butcher them:

After cutting the legs off, I cut my saddle (loin) slightly differently to the man in the video. I cut down the whole length of the back to get two lovely rabbit loins. Let the rabbit’s spine be your guide and make sure your knife is against the bone. That way, you’ll get all the delicious meat rather than leaving it behind.

Cut off the thin flaps of cartilage at each end of the loin and save for stock. Cut the backbone into four or five equal pieces.

To remove bones from the legs, slice down each one lengthwise and carefully cut the bone away from the flesh. A boning knife is particularly useful for this.

As one never knows how tender rabbit will be — and this is one of the major complaints from people who dislike eating it — it’s a good idea to marinate it.

Marinade for rabbit

1/2 cup port or white vermouth
3 cloves crushed garlic
3 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp each of thyme, marjoram and oregano
1/2 tsp salt
two to three twists of cracked black pepper

I placed all the rabbit joints and the offal in the marinade and let set for 48 hours in the refrigerator. It probably takes less time, but I had another dinner planned for the intervening evening.

Stock

I made a delicious stock out of the bones and loin cartilage by sautéeing them in butter — you can also use lard or beef dripping — then filling the pot with water. Bring to a boil, skim and let simmer for an hour or two to reduce. Season to taste and remove from heat. Cool, then strain. The stock will become somewhat gelatinous, which is good.

Sautéed rabbit with sauce

Ingredients

Meat:

boned rabbit pieces
rabbit offal
1/2 cup seasoned flour (salt, black pepper, cayenne, with a scant teaspoon of mustard powder)
2 – 3 tbsp butter (I also use lard or beef dripping)

Sauce:

2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup rabbit stock
Salt, black pepper, cayenne to taste
2 tbsp heavy cream

Method

1/ Heat the fat in a large skillet until sizzling.

2/ While the fat is coming up to temperature, prepare the seasoned flour, place the rabbit pieces — though not the offal — in a large plastic bag for food use and shake well to coat them evenly.

3/ Place half the rabbit pieces in the hot pan. Cook for approximately four minutes on each side until golden brown. Place on an oven proof plate or in a similar dish. Repeat the process with the other half of the rabbit pieces. If you want to see what they should look like when done, here’s our Scotsman again to explain:

4/ Quickly sauté the offal for two minutes on each side. Remove them from the pan to the plate or dish with your rabbit meat.

5/ Make the sauce in the skillet used to cook the rabbit. Melt the butter and flour together and cook until flour is bubbling and has a golden colour. You will have made a roux!

6/ Add crushed garlic and, little by little, add in the rabbit stock to make a sauce. Stir well. The roux will remain somewhat solid until you stir in enough liquid. Adding the liquid gradually and stirring thoroughly will prevent lumps!

7/ Once the sauce is smooth, add cream, stir well, allow to cook for a couple of minutes and season to taste.

8/ When the sauce is finished, remove the skillet from the heat. You can reheat it later before serving.

9/ To reheat the rabbit, place the oven proof dish in the oven at 170° C / 350° F for ten minutes.

10/ To serve, place half the sauce on the dinner plate and put half the rabbit pieces on top of the sauce. As for the offal, cut the liver — huge! — in half, serve one kidney per person and cut the tiny heart in half.

The meat will be very tender.

The offal is fantastic. I was surprised to see how large a rabbit’s liver is. It’s about the same size as a goose liver. It has a slightly sweet flavour — delicious! The kidneys and hearts are also very tender and tasty.

One part of the rabbit we did not eat were the lungs.

I’m sorry now, because there’s a chef in Chicago who sautés the lungs and serves them in his restaurant. They sound like a real treat. Here is Jeffrey Hedin from Leopold to tell us all about it:

In closing, I would encourage everyone to try rabbit, whether whole or already jointed, fresh or frozen. It is out of this world and won’t cost the earth!

Saturday, July 20, 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of Americans landing on the moon!

Marking this anniversary should have been the buzz (pun intended) of the Western world, right?

Instead, people tweeted a variety of negative remarks:

‘Who cares?’
‘This country stinks.’
‘That’s all in the past.’
‘Did it really happen?’

Even one of the commentators on ITV4 who mentioned it during the Tour de France coverage said:

Allegedly.

That’s a sad state of affairs for such a great achievement, one which I remember clearly as a schoolchild at the time. So does a Fox News correspondent:

Commemoration at the White House

I was delighted to see that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump paid the great heroes their due. As Neil Armstrong has gone to his rest, his family were invited. Good call.

Mrs Trump knocks it out of the park with this one:

I will get to Hollywood and the moon landing further down in the post, but, for now, let us recall one of Astronaut Armstrong’s quotes. Who alive then could forget the ticker tape parade, televised nationwide?

Returning to the White House commemoration, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin was thrilled:

Hollywood’s take: First Man

I have not seen this film, nor do I intend to do so.

First Man made its debut in August 2018.

As China is buying up much of Hollywood, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) asks a pertinent question, given the revisionist nature of the film:

Cotton was not alone.

Conservative columnist Don Surber also made his views known:

Hollywood made a movie about Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin going to the moon. It picked a Canadian actor to play Armstrong …

Then the movie omitted the planting of the AMERICAN FLAG on the moon.

That was the sole purpose of the mission.

This flick shows Hollywood is anti-American.

The House UnAmerican Activities Committee was correct. Communist[s] were taking over Hollywood for propaganda purposes …

This week, John McCain died. I remember that one of the things that kept him alive in Hanoi was the knowledge that we landed on the moon. OK, he thought it was seven months earlier than it was, but Hanoi fed him Fake News but let the truth slip that Apollo 8 made it to the dark side of the moon.

JFK inspired us: “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

He Made America Great Again.

I was 9.

Reagan Made America Great Again.

Trump Made America Great Again.

Hollywood can go to China.

Speaking of Trump, Hollywood and First Man:

As Dinesh D’Souza pointed out, the movie seems to have airbrushed out the Cold War:

Breitbart had more on Gosling on September 1:

Explaining the decision to omit the American flag-planting scene, Canadian actor Ryan Gosling, who stars as astronaut Neil Armstrong, said that the landing “transcended countries and borders” and that it was a “human achievement” rather than an American one.

“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling said. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

On September 3, 2018, Breitbart reported:

Last week, [director Damien] Chazelle dismissed criticism that the omission of the American flag was meant to be a political statement. “To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no,” the First Man director said in an interview with Variety. “My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon–particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”

Buzz Aldrin, the most visible member of the crew today, wasted no time in tweeting the historic photo of the American flag:

He had saluted the flag on the moon (look for his ring finger and pinkie):

The portrayal of Neil Armstrong rankled many Americans. Returning to Breitbart‘s September 1 article, fellow astronauts Aldrin and Chuck Yeager were not happy:

Aldrin indicating disapproval of the film’s anti-American sentiment would provide further embarrassment for its director Damien Chazelle, who has reportedly portrayed frontman Neil Armstrong as a “liberal progressive,” “anti-Trump,” and “non-flag waver.” When asked his opinion about such a portrayal, legendary pilot Chuck Yeager said that it would not reflect the Neil Armstrong he knew.

Yeager tweeted:

What really happened

On the 50th anniversary of the day Apollo 11 launched, Aldrin tweeted:

Even though the text is in French, those who were not alive for the ground-breaking, historic moon landing will enjoy seeing the many photos at L’Internaute, which bring back many fond memories for me.

This 20-minute film by David Woods shows the complete descent that day. Compelling viewing:

A NASA webpage features the video and gives us the following information. Yes, there was drama, too:

Explanation: It had never been done before. But with the words “You’re Go for landing”, 50 years ago this Saturday, Apollo 11 astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong were cleared to make the first try. The next few minutes would contain more than a bit of drama, as an unexpected boulder field and an unacceptably sloping crater loomed below. With fuel dwindling, Armstrong coolly rocketed the lander above the lunar surface as he looked for a clear and flat place to land. With only seconds of fuel remaining, and with the help of Aldrin and mission control calling out data, Armstrong finally found a safe spot — and put the Eagle down. Many people on Earth listening to the live audio felt great relief on hearing “The Eagle has landed”, and great pride knowing that for the first time ever, human beings were on the Moon. Combined in the featured descent video are two audio feeds, a video feed similar to what the astronauts saw, captions of the dialog, and data including the tilt of the Eagle lander. The video concludes with the panorama of the lunar landscape visible outside the Eagle. A few hours later, hundreds of millions of people across planet Earth, drawn together as a single species, watched fellow humans walk on the Moon.

Relive — or find out more about — the moon landing on a special NASA page.

Here are a few front pages. The whole country was buzzing:

If this were fake, would Buzz Aldrin and others be tweeting about it?

Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin

It seems Buzz Aldrin wishes he were younger so that he could fly to Mars:

Here he is making a visit to the pilots on a Delta aircraft:

On a more serious note, Aldrin — a practising Presbyterian — took Communion on the Apollo 11 mission, but the general public did not know.

A 2012 Guardian article has more (emphases mine):

Before Armstrong and Aldrin stepped out of the lunar module on July 20, 1969, Aldrin unstowed a small plastic container of wine and some bread. He had brought them to the moon from Webster Presbyterian church near Houston, where he was an elder. Aldrin had received permission from the Presbyterian church’s general assembly to administer it to himself. In his book Magnificent Desolation he shares the message he then radioed to Nasa: “I would like to request a few moments of silence … and to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours, and to give thanks in his or her own way.”

He then ate and drank the elements. The surreal ceremony is described in an article by Aldrin in a 1970 copy of Guideposts magazine: “I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.”

Not only that, Aldrin also read from the Gospel of John.

The public never found out until years later. This was because of Madalyn Murray O’Hair‘s objection to the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis:

Aldrin had originally planned to share the event with the world over the radio. However, at the time Nasa was still reeling from a lawsuit filed by the firebrand atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, resulting in the ceremony never being broadcast. The founder of American Atheists and self-titled “most hated woman in America” had taken on Nasa, as well as many other public organisation[s]. Most famously, she successfully fought mandatory school prayer and bible recitation in US public schools.

After the Apollo 8 crew had read out the Genesis creation account in orbit, O’Hair wanted a ban on Nasa astronauts practising religion on earth, in space or “around and about the moon” while on duty. She believed it violated the constitutional separation between church and state. In Magnificent Desolation, Aldrin explains how astronaut Deke Slayton, who ran the Apollo 11 flight crew operations, told him to tone down his lunar communiqué. “Go ahead and have communion, but keep your comments more general,” he advised. Looking back Aldrin writes that the communion was his way of thanking God for the success of the mission. Yet, later he hinted that he could have been more inclusive:

“Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion.
Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind – be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists.”

O’Hair’s case against Nasa eventually fizzled out, but it dramatically changed the tone of the Apollo 11 landing. Aldrin had originally intended a much more pioneering Christopher Columbus-style ceremony on the moon. That was never to be.

Apollo 8’s Genesis message was delivered on Christmas Day 1968, incidentally.

Back now to Apollo 11. Aldrin’s home church still commemorates his out of this world Holy Communion, which was a beautiful way to give thanks to God for His Son and the successful moon landing mission:

at Webster Presbyterian church – the spiritual home of many astronauts – Aldrin’s communion service is still celebrated every July, known as Lunar Communion Sunday. Pastor Helen DeLeon told me how they replay the tape of Aldrin on the moon and recite Psalm eight, which he had quoted on his return trip to Earth (“… what is man that thou art mindful of him”). The church still holds the chalice that Aldrin brought back with him. Judy Allton, a geologist and historian of Webster Presbyterian church, produced a paper, presented at a Nasa conference, arguing that communion could be an essential part of future manned space travel. She claims that rituals such as Aldrin’s communion “reinforce the homelink”.

In 2002, Aldrin did not appreciate being poked with the Bible by an irreverent moon landing denier. Aldrin punched the man. Perth Now recapped what happened:

On September 9, 2002, Aldrin was accosted by conspiracy theorist Bart Sibrel and a film crew outside a Beverly Hills hotel he was lured to on the pretext of being interviewed for a Japanese children’s TV show.

The footage shows Sibrel confronting Aldrin and demanding he swear on the Bible he walked on the Moon, calling the former astronaut out for being a “thief, liar and coward”.

“You’re the one who said you walked on the Moon when you didn’t,” Sibrel says.

Aldrin is also reported to have been aggressively poked with the good book.

The 72-year-old lost his cool and punched the heckler in the jaw.

Pleading self-defence Aldrin was let off by police on the basis of an absence of visible injury and a lack of criminal record.

Believers sided with Aldrin after the regrettable affair, though it could be said his heated response to the heckling provided grist for conspiracy theorists’ mill.

On a lighter note, in 2017, Revolution magazine, which discusses machines of all types, interviewed Aldrin about the watches he and his fellow astronauts wore on the mission. It also covered watches worn by astronauts on other Apollo missions. The brand of choice? Omega:

The Tribute to Apollo 11 45th anniversary limited edition is another phenomenal demonstration of Omega’s ability to thoroughly modernize its design language while retaining a salient link to the past. The watch is configured to evoke the ref. 105.012 Speedmaster worn by Revolution UK14 cover star Buzz Aldrin when he stepped onto the Moon in 1969. While Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon, his Speedmaster was left behind in the Lunar Module whose electronic timer had failed. Meanwhile, according to Aldrin, “It was optional to wear the watch [outside of the spacecraft]. Few things are less necessary when walking around on the Moon than knowing what time it is in Houston, Texas. Nonetheless, being a watch guy, I decided to strap the Speedmaster onto my right wrist around the outside of my bulky spacesuit.”

That’s right, he made a conscious decision to strap his Omega onto his wrist because what kind of Space Cowboy would be complete without his most heroic of timepieces? This made his Speedmaster the first watch on the Moon.

Wow. I never gave the astronauts’ watches a thought, especially with regard to the moon landing.

Conclusion

May we never say the moon landing didn’t take place or that it was an unremarkable achievement.

America’s moon landing was indescribable. People all over the world who were alive at the time remember the excitement and awe they felt that day.

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