Saturday, 28 July 2007



John received a parrot as a gift. Unfortunately, the parrot had a bad attitude, an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious, laced with profanity. John tried to change the parrot's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music, anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up he yelled at the parrot. The bird yelled back! John shook the parrot but the bird only got angrier even ruder. In desperation, John threw up his hands, grabbed the bird put him in the freezer. For a few minutes, the parrot squawked kicked screamed. Then suddenly, there was total silence. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the freezer door.The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms said "I believe I may have offended you with my crude language actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude unforgivable behaviour." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird continued ."May I ask what the turkey did?"


Dry Bones

Schismed tokens

Tossed upon the table

Of all doctrinal creeds

Passing for the legalistic currency

Of everyvodys needs.

Trinketing theology

Replace the substance of belief

Every tendered foot-note

Is a quiet nocturnal thief.

We've plundered the bank

Of all that counts above

Replaced the Holy Grail

With a ground-down powdered love.

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 23 July 2007


Don't !

Predicting the Future

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?" -- Bill Gates, 1981

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

Dont !

Predicting the Future

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?" -- Bill Gates, 1981 "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

Friday, 20 July 2007


I recently came across a yellowing book of poetry by Louis Hemmings on my bookshelf called Seeds, and published in 1977.Louis was back then at the forefront of efforts to encourage evangelical believers to express themselves in artistic forms,and he visited Limerick on a few occasions in the pursuit of same.I’m afraid I lost contact with Louis over the years and I believe he is presently engaged in an online theological bookshop, and probably still writing I presume.If perchance Louis you come across this piece in your web explorations,do stop by and say hello.This poem from Seeds is a particularly powerful one on the most important subject of all-the precious blood of Jesus - GOSh. -


I have often swallowed the broken bread
dry and small, it is hard to swallow
if I fully understand all that you said,
if I eat surely a suffering must follow.

I have often let the wine of the cup,
the rim of the cup, touch my lip,
in my halting hands I hold it up
and slant it slightly so to sip.

Your blood is sometimes sweet, sometimes sour,
it is red, it is raw, it is real,
it was shed for our salvation, for our
hardened hearts, Lord my soul bears your seal.

Louis Hemmings

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Stephen Grellet

~ I expect to pass through this world but once.

Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.

Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again. ~

These words were spoken by Stephen Grellet,a prominent French Quaker missionary(1773-1855). He was born at Limoges the son of a counsellor to King Louis XVI, and raised as a Roman Catholic. Sentenced to be executed during the French Revolution,he fled to the U.S.A and came under the influence of Quaker writings by William Penn and George Fox. He involved himself in extensive missionary work throughout North America and much of Europe. He was received by rulers and dignitaries such as Pope Pius VII,Czar Alexander I, and the Kings of Spain and Prussia. Grellet's heart though was always with the poor and dispossessed, and he encouraged many reforms in educational policies and in hospital and prison conditions. In 1811 he visited Ireland and held meetings throughout the length and breadth of the country,below are selected extracts from his memories of that visit... -GOSh.-


The 17th of Eleventh month, 1811. Accompanied by my valued friend, John Robinson of Glasgow, and William Hall, we left for Donaghadee in Ireland. We had a short passage, and came pretty directly to Mile Cross, where there is a small meeting of Friends, which we attended in the evening. Proceeding to Belfast, I was at meeting there in silence, among Friends; but was much enlarged in a meeting in the evening with the inhabitants. I went thence to Antrim and Lisburn. At a public meeting in the latter place, I was brought under very deep exercise and oppression by the feeling of a spirit of infidelity. O what darkness it brings! But sinking deep before the Lord, I was brought to feel the quickening influences of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and enabled to minister to that large congregation, exalting the name and offices of Christ…There was great solemnity over the meeting, under which it concluded. I heard afterwards, that about twelve clergymen were present. There was then an assembly of the clergy at Lisburn, and these had come to the meeting. There were some also present who were once members and ministers of our Society, and a few years past went out with Hannah Barnard into infidelity.
I then had meetings with Friends in the province of Ulster, and came to Lurgan to attend that Quarterly Meeting. Owing to the troubles occasioned by the anti-christian spirit which had extensively prevailed in that province, most of the Ministers and Elders in those parts had withdrawn from Christian fellowship with us, and the Quarterly Meeting for Ministers and Elders, had been suspended twelve years. It was now held again…
I then went towards Dublin, having meetings on the way at Rich-hill, Grange, Charlemont, Cootehill, &c. I reached Dublin in time to be at their Monthly Meeting. Bodily indisposition detained me in the house a few days, being a good deal worn by the continued exertions I have had to make since my arrival in England.
I left Dublin on the 14th for Rathangan, where I had two meetings, the next First-day; both were proving seasons, as also that next day at Edenderry. The three succeeding days I was at Mountmelick, attending several meetings, at the last of which the Gospel spring was opened in a refreshing manner, to the contriting of many present…
The next places I visited and had meetings at, were Mountrath, Knock, and Roscrea. At the last place the soldiers from the barracks, with their officers, came very generally to an appointed meeting. The next meeting was at Ballitore. O the agony that I endured there! A close, searching testimony was given me to bear among them. O Lord! thou hast seen the depth of my distress, and in thy mercy and power, thou hast magnified thy name. A fig leaf covering cannot hide from thy presence. At the Quarterly Meeting at Carlow close excercise attended me…
1st of First month, 1812. At Kilconner, and in the evening at Newtown Barry. This was a very precious meeting, and was attended by many of the Roman Catholics. The Gospel dropped down like dew upon the tender grass. Many minds were reached, and tears were shed.
On my way to Waterford, I had meetings at Ballintore, Cooladine, Enniscorthy, Wexford, and Ross. Some of these were solemn, baptizing seasons. Many of the soldiers and Roman Catholics attended, some of whom had been threatened, if they went, with having to do penance by going round their church on their bare knees; but after meeting, they told Friends, that for the privilege of being at such meetings, they would be willing to go round on their knees ten times instead of once…
I came to Cork on the 15th, under great weight on my spirit, being sensible that bonds and afflictions awaited me in that city. ..
From Cork I went to Fermoy, where I had a quiet and good meeting among the Roman Catholics; no Friend resides in the place. Then I had a few other meetings among that people, on my return to Waterford, where I staid a few days, visiting Friends in their families and having some public service…
The meetings at Clonmel and Carrick, both with Friends and others, were particularly owned by the good Master. Blessed be the Lord, he commandeth the
winds and the waves, and they obey him. I frequently feel much for the Roman Catholics; there are some tender minds among them, who have sensibly felt the influence of the Spirit of God, operating upon them…
At Limerick, I had close service; besides meetings with Friends, I had several with the inhabitants in separate parts of the town, particularly among the poor. Oh, what misery and wretchedness I have beheld there, as in most parts of this nation! My heart is made sad indeed, under the sense of the bodily suffering, and of the darkness and depravity of many of the inhabitants.
On my way to Moate, I had several meetings, in places where no Friends reside. They were generally quiet, but at some of them I narrowly escaped being severely wounded, by stones thrown at me from out of doors, whilst engaged in proclaiming the truths of the glorious Gospel of Christ …
From Moate I went to Athlone, and thence to Connaught, and into Leinster province again. In Connaught I had meetings in places where Friends had not been before. Notwithstanding the persuasions of the priests, in many places, the people would come, and seriously attend to the Christian testimony given me to bear among them, to turn them from darkness to Christ the true light, that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, by whom alone we have redemption, and without whom none can come to the Father…
3rd of Fourth month. My mind now feeling clear from further services for the present in Ireland, and Wales being presented with much clearness, as the next field for Gospel labour into which I am to enter, I have taken my passage for Holyhead. We have had a precious, solemn meeting with Friends of Dublin, this morning, With reverent gratitude I have to acknowledge to my dear Master's love and tender mercy
towards his poor unworthy servant. He has been my help and strength every way.

Stephen Grellet

You can read the complete book online at

Friday, 13 July 2007



In town the other day I saw this man offering a book to passers-by, and curious I approached him. The book on offer was called ‘Survivor’ by Dave McKay, a rebuttal of the Tim La Haye ‘Left Behind’ series which covers End -time events in a fictionalised way. The young man offering the book (for a donation) told me he was part of a non-denominational Christian group based in Australia, who live in community. Later I discovered that the group in question call themselves the Jesus Christians and believe in a radical New Testament form of Christianity based on a shared communal experience. While I approached their web site with some scepticism, after reading various articles on the group I was impressed by their commitment to a form of Christian living that I have long been convinced is nearer the New Testament norm than the usual Churchianity which so many believers still settle for.
My first real encounter with community-living Christians was many years ago at Darvell in East Sussex where a group of about 200 people live together at the Bruderhof ,basing their rule on principles from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. They also practise pacifism as well as sharing of goods and were quietly impressive to my youthful idealism in a mildly eccentric fashion. I became convinced then that many of the principles we find in the pages of the New Testament can only be fully realised within a community setting,as it was in Jerusalem
(Acts 2:42-47).
Last night as we came together to continue our study of Habakkuk, the question of community again came up in the context of how do we really show love for one another when we live in a society where people lead fragmented often solitary lives. Even our church meetings only scratch the surface of real fellowship where we meet up for an hour or two a week,and never really getting to know each other at a deep level, and then when crises hits our lives we find ourselves alone and isolated crying out to God for help! This is not to criticise church meetings, as often they are the only show in town and the only means whereby a Christian can experience any kind of fellowship.
Apart from community,it seems to me so many of Jesus instructions for our lives are nothing more than pious aspirations, difficult to realise in our dis-jointed fellowship state. Interesting to note that when Jesus used an image to describe the effect of a radical witness by His church, he describes it as the ‘city set on a hill’ and ‘the light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14) , a single expression for the collective effect of believers working and living together. We come to Christ individually and He deals with us as we are, then by His Spirit we are drawn to other believers and become part of the community of faith,the body of Christ -
- Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:13-27)
…and through His body (the church) Jesus continues to work in this world as He did when he walked upon the earth.
There is only one powerful Scripture that I can conclude this piece with,our masthead verses from Psalm 133...
” How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity ! It is like precious oil poured on the head,running down the beard,running down on Aaron's beard,down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the Dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord commands his blessing,even life for evermore.”
Gerard O'Shea
For more info on the two communities mentioned here visit :

Monday, 9 July 2007



What can we bring to the Lord?

What kind of offerings should we give him?

Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?

Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?

Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:

to do what is right, to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:6-8

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Craig O'Connor


Sitting nursing a Budweiser in the White House ( a city centre pub) last evening, I was joined by an American visitor who was passing through Limerick. As we chatted he made a few references to the Biblical flood in the context of the flood stories which seem to crop up in several world mythologies. As the conversation progressed he introduced himself as Craig and it transpired he is a Christian believer! He was on his way home after some kind of scientific conference in Crete, and decided to stop over for a few days in Ireland and I suppose with a surname like O’Connor there must be a few antecedents tucked away somewhere on the Island! Now the odds of walking into a pub in Limerick and sitting down hap chance beside another believer must be slim to none, I’d think. Craig told me that he belonged to a fellowship in L.A. called The Rock,pastored by a man called Robert Harris. He described the little group as ‘doers‘, majoring on actions rather than just the words! Sounds like New Testament Christianity to me! While in Dublin he was impressed by a visit to the Chester Beatty Library, and particularly with an old illuminated copy of the Koran which, he thought rivalled even the Book of Kells for its artistry and beauty. I recommended Craig to visit Lough Gur on the following day if he had time, as it is an area rich in pre-historical remains.
So, brother Craig trust you are safely back home when reading this, and warm greetings from Limerick , and may God richly bless you at The Rock in all your endeavours for Him. Oh and yes, do stay in touch, we would love to hear what God is at in L.A….

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 5 July 2007


Continuing gleanings from the rich garner of my Front Porch Collection,this curious little volume is called The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek.Capek apparently was a well recognised Czech writer who coined the word 'robot' for the first time in one of his plays. The Czech original was published in Prague in 1929 and it has been described as "a timeless classic of wit and wisdom,sure to capture the heart and imagination of every gardener."A Sunday Times reviewer at the time of publication of this English translation remarked "This delightful little book is cram full of information,philosophy,and humour." And the Observer enthused "As packed and delightful a volume of humour and entertainment,not without wisdom and poetry,as one can expect to meet in a year's reading" The illustrations are done by Karels brother Josef,himself a well-renowned artist who died in Belsen concentration camp during World War 11. -GOSh.


Roses,phloxes,selenium and coreopsis,hemerocallis,gladiolus,campanula,and monk’s-hood, and inula,and dragon’s-head, and marguerite-thank God! Flowers enough yet for these bad conditions! Always something flowers and something is fading; always you must cut withered stalks, murmuring (to the flower, not to yourself):”And with you also it is over.”
Look at those flowers, in very truth they are like women: so beautiful and fresh, you can feast your eyes on them and never see all their beauty, always something escapes you, good Lord, when beauty is so insatiable; but as soon as they begin to fade, I hardly know, but they cease to look after themselves(I am talking of flowers),and if one wished to be brutal, he would say that they look like rags. What a pity, my sweet beauty (I am talking of flowers),what a pity that time is so fleeting; beauty comes to an end, and only the gardener remains.

Karel Capek

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.The Liberty Bell gained iconic importance when abolitionists in their efforts to put an end to slavery throughout America adopted it as a symbol.It was, in fact, the abolitionists who gave it the name "Liberty Bell," in reference to its inscription.
God Bless America

Today is American Independence Day and I thought I should mark it in some way. America arouses some strong emotions,especially when it comes to their foreign policy and in particular their involvement in Iraq.I must be honest and confess that, at the time I supported the U.S invasion ,on the basis that Saddam had these weapons of mass destruction as we were repeatedly told by U.S intelligence sources.Of course now we know that this was not true and therefore the whole reason for the war is untenable, and the bitter harvest of U.S interference is being reaped on a daily basis by mass killings in Baghdad. Foreign policy apart America has had such a profound influence on the world that it is impossible to ignore its positive contribution...especially in the area of popular culture. Here's a partial list of Americans who have influenced me...Billy Graham...Bob Dylan...Emily Dickinson...Jimmy Carter...Johnny Cash...Earl Hammer...Joan Baez...Martin Luther King Jnr.... And to mark this Big Day for all our American friends,here is a song by Bob Dylan... -GOSh.-
Ring Them Bells
Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams,
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
Cross the valleys and streams,
For they're deep and they're wide
And the world's on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride.
Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow,
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know.
Oh it's rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow.
Ring them bells Sweet Martha,
For the poor man's son,
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one.
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep.
Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf,
Ring them bells for all of us who are left,
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through.
Ring them bells, for the time that flies,
For the child that cries
When innocence dies.
Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
,Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom.
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they're breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong.
Bob Dylan

Sunday, 1 July 2007



A pair of chickens walk up to the circulation desk at a public library and say, 'Buk Buk BUK.' The librarian decides that the chickens desire three books, and gives it to them...and the chickens leave shortly thereafter. Around midday, the two chickens return to the circulation desk quite vexed and say,' Buk Buk BuKKOOK!' The librarian decides that the chickens desire another three books and gives it to them. The chickens leave as before. The two chickens return to the library in the early afternoon, approach the librarian, looking very annoyed and say, 'Buk Buk Buk Buk Bukkooook!' The librarian is now a little suspicious of these chickens. She gives them what they request, and decides to follow them. She followed them out of the library, out of the town, and to a park. At this point, she hid behind a tree, not wanting to be seen. She saw the two chickens throwing the books at a frog in a pond, to which the frog was saying, "Rrredit Rrredit Rrredit..."