Saturday, 31 May 2008


John Shore

There are a world of Blogs out there on the World Wide Web and every once in a million I stumble across a classic Blog that I wish I had written. Some are funny, some are profound, some are intensely human and others just sheer inspirational. In this new section BLOGORAMA I’d like to share some of these gems with the readers of the DEW. To start this series here is the blog SUDDENLY CHRISTIAN by writer John Shore with his unique and often painfully true take on the business of living the Christian life.Try this recent entry for size…




How can being absolutely certain of Christ’s reality and sovereignty be a curse? Because the one thing that will unfailingly close your mind to the great spontaneous freedom of life — the one thing, in other words, sure to kill the vibrant, open-ended vitality of the Holy Spirit — is being confident that you know and understand everything.
And why, if you’re a Christian, are you at least as likely as anyone else to feel that you know and understand everything? Because you think and feel that you know God.
We Christians think we know God. We pride ourselves on how well we know God, how intimately we relate to him, how constantly we are with him. We’re sure that we know God’s will, thought, purpose, desire, “plan” for our lives. We’re sure we know how God wants us to think, pray, behave, talk, dress, vote.
We have the Bible. The Bible is in black and white. The mind of God is right there on the page.
Read the Bible; know God’s mind.
Know God’s mind; know the world.
Know the world; be above the world.
Be above the world; wouldn’t know God from a used car salesman.
“I tell you the truth,” said Jesus, ”anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Jesus isn’t explicity clear about a whole lot of things, but on this point he leaves no room for misunderstanding: Without the mind of a child, you can’t come into heaven.
And if there’s one thing you can say about children, it’s that they operate in the world wide open to the knowledge that, when push comes to shove, they don’t know squat about life.
We should never, ever forget that, as adults, we barely know more. And as adults we probably know less about God than we did when we were kids.
My personal opinion and experience is that once you’re sure you’ve grasped God — as so many, many Christians are so sure they have – it’s a guarantee you’ve lost him.

Posted by John Shore on May 31

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John Moriarty


It is just a year since the poet and philosopher John Moriarty died after his battle with cancer. To mark this anniversary R T E radio are broadcasting a tribute programme called ‘ The Passion of John’ which will be aired tomorrow night at 9pm. The programme is the work of Johns good friend Aidan Matthews so a sensitive and warm tribute is assured. You can tune in online at…

Thursday, 29 May 2008



Apart from God nothing matters.
We think that health matters,
that freedom matters,
or knowledge or art or civilization.
And but for one insistent word
they would matter indeed.
That word is...
A.W. Tozer

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Can you count them ?


A man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep.
Tells the shepherd, "I will bet you £100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock."
The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock so he takes the bet.

"973" says the man.
The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right.

Says, "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal."
Man picks one up and begins to walk away.
"Wait," cries the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get even.

Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation."
Man says, "Sure!
You are an economist for a government think tank," says the shepherd.
"Amazing!" responds the man, "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?"
"Well," says the shepherd, "put down my dog and I will tell you."

Monday, 26 May 2008


Jesus sets us free !

Recently I alluded to the mixed-message that is Christian t.v. ,so in the interests of balance I must say there is one channel on the Sky religious platform that has been a constant encouragement to me, Genesis t.v. Founded and steered by Howard Conder this channel shines like a beacon ,presenting real people with real struggles and real stories of the goodness of God in their lives. The other night I watched a repeat World In Focus programme which featured Johnny Kinch who has just written a book about his life and the remarkable way Jesus turned it around. Johnny is 34 and just four years ago his life was lifted from the pit of addictions by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Best leave the man himself tell his own story, and if you want to know more skip over to his excellent web site at





A few years ago I was in desperate need of a miracle, and had no purpose in life. I was an alcoholic, drinking about 6 litres of white lightning a day (a very strong cider drink that’s never seen an apple before in its life) plus whatever else I could get my hands on. I was addicted to cocaine and smoking 40+ fags a day. Every penny I could get hold of would be squandered on a compulsive gambling habit, and I was electronically tagged putting me under a curfew (as if I didn’t have enough bondage in my life already). All of my problems convinced me that I was never going to get out of the MESS I was in. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, but little did I know that God had a plan for my life.
Through what seemed like a chance encounter, I ran into Jonnie Cave a guy I had known all my life. What I didn’t know however, was that a year before, he had become a Christian, and knowing what I knew about him from before and now being told this new information, I was gobsmacked! I couldn’t get my head around what he was saying. If he had become an astronaut, the Prime Minister or even a woman – I could have believed it! But a Christian?
No way! what did he want to go and do that for? Never the less it was true. Jesus had saved him but could he save me? There was only one way to find out.
After some thinking and with the urgings of my friend, I decided to go to a Christian gathering and when the Pastor Barry Thomas spoke, I could have sworn that someone had called him prior to me going and told him my life story, as everything he said spoke to me in a way I had never heard before. He offered me a way out. The way out was Jesus! All I had to do was believe he died on the cross, all those years ago, because he wanted to rid the world of sin, my sin…… I believed!
In the following two weeks, and with the power Jesus had given me in my new life, I stopped all my previous habits. I was no longer a VICTIM.
Today, I find it hard to believe, but never the less it is true. My whole life has been transformed, and I am now married and work as a project worker in a Christian hostel. Thanks to Jesus I can now use my experiences to help those who are burdened with the same problems I had, Alcohol, Drugs and Homelessness, be set free!
By making the faith visible, together we can make real lasting change in their lives.
If you would like to know more about what Jesus has done for you, please tab, or email me at I would love to hear from you.
God can turn a Mess into a Message. And a victim into a victor!

Johnny Kinch

Saturday, 24 May 2008


The Market in Limerick city is a hive of activity on Saturday mornings when traders set up their stalls to display their wares for the perusal of the good citizens who flock to this traditional place of commerce. In previous times the stall-holders were mostly farmers selling their home-grown produce but nowadays there is a wide variety of items on display, from car accessories to cheeses...from home made pastry pies to ever so slightly out of date chocolates! Ostensibly the Market is about trade but in fact its all about meeting people and acts as a hub of community right in the heart of the city...and long may it do so.
The market teems with life
And jangles to the sound of gentle trade,
A bit of haggling is still kosher
For the older ones who dare,
For all the rest this sunny bazaar
Is worth its weight in gold
The market stalls that dot the streets
The trinkets bought and sold.

A melting pot of rich and poor
All colours of the world jostle here
And always there is an old acquaintance
Lost over time who suddenly appears
Or an overheard remark of jovial bargaining
The wit and the humour fly through the air
A phrase that puts a smile on the face
And lightens the heart and eases all care…

Vegetables laid out in naked rows,
Their glistening skins
Spilling the very essence
Into the May warmed air,
Fruits and flowers of exotic hues
Seductively stacked
To lure the jaded eye to stop and stare.

And jams and pies and home baked bread
And the aroma of pastries to wake the dead,
And beads and books and coats and chocs
And tools and mats and well-oiled locks,
From a needle to an anchor can be found
Strewn on a table, spread on the ground,
All human life and all earthly fare
Are yours for the asking
At this City centre Fair!

Gerard O'Shea


Burt Lancaster depicted the warped preacher
Elmer Gantry in the 1960 movie.


As anyone who has tuned in to religious tv can testify there is a colourful diversity of men and women preaching from the pulpit at this time. Sometimes the words of the gospel can seem a million light years away from anything that is being shared these days as 'the Word of the Lord'. Fortunately Jesus anticipated this time and left us this explicit warning that we should recognise the 'fly-by-nights' from the genuine man or woman of God. I've chosen the parahrase of the Message which gives the words a contemporary edge and relevance,I think...

Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity.

Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.

Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character.

Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say.

A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook.

These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

Knowing the correct password—saying 'Master, Master,' for instance— isn't going to get you anywhere with me.

What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills.

I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, 'Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.'

And do you know what I am going to say?

'You missed the boat.

All you did was use me to make yourselves important.

You don't impress me one bit.

You're out of here.'

Matthew 7:15-22


Thursday, 22 May 2008


A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one day. It was very hot. They were sweating and exhausted when they came upon a small lake. Since it was fairly secluded, they took off all their clothes and jumped in the water. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their "freedom." As they were crossing an open area, who should come along but a group of ladies from town. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi covered his face while they ran for cover.After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the minister and the priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather than his privates. The rabbi replied, "I don't know about you, but in MY congregation, it's my face they would recognize."

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


At last...a Blog for
the bewildered

If you've come to the Dew of Hermon blog. as a result of coming across a little card with the above info., orr you may have logged on after seeing an add in a local are all welcome indeed. If you'd like to know a little bit of our history just click on the MY WORD section in the left margin and then click on WELCOME. Feel free to leave a note in the COMMENTS section below,if only to say 'hello'. The Dew is an open forum blog and welcomes all contributions both positive and critical...

Gerard O'Shea


Joy and Jack at home at 'The Kilns'

C.S.Lewis "met" a bright American woman whose penetrating, thoughtful analysis impressed him. Joy Davidman Gresham was capable of matching wits with the famous writer - a skill not many people could claim. A Jewish communist, she had converted to Christianity largely on the basis of Jack’s analytical writings.
At first Jack Lewis did not have a romantic interest in Joy. She was married, had two children, and lived in America. But when Joy’s husband wanted a divorce so he could marry another woman, Joy returned to England permanently. And her friendship with Jack deepened.
As a favor to his friend, Jack married Joy in a civil ceremony so she could remain in Britain. Almost simultaneously, Joy learned the worst possible news: She had terminal cancer. It was 1956, the year the last of the Narnian books was published.
Jack’s relationship with Joy continued to thrive. Sick, nearly unto death, Joy married Jack again in a Christian ceremony. The wedding took place in December 1956, at her bedside in Wingfield Hospital.
Although doctors had predicted Joy’s illness would soon end her life, she experienced a remarkable remission throughout 1957. She moved into ‘The Kilns’and, by the summer of 1958, was well enough to take a 10-day trip to one of Jack’s favorite places in the world. The Old Inn at Crawfordsburn in County Down, where Jack had wonderful memories from his youth, now became a place he shared with his wife.
Life at home for Jack and Joy was precious, and they drew closer during long hours spent in their drawing-room and sitting room. But their time was short-lived, despite Joy’s miraculous remission. By the spring of 1960, her cancer returned. She did not have much time left.
Able to take one last trip together, Jack and Joy went to Greece in April of 1960. Joy’s health continued to deteriorate and, on July 13, she died at the age of 45.
Inconsolable, Jack Lewis turned to the activity he could count on to help him think through the difficult issues of life: his writing Pouring out his anguish on paper, he created a book that has comforted millions for nearly four decades: A Grief Observed.
Jack lived three years longer than Joy. He died at nearly the exact moment (5:30 p.m. London time) that President Kennedy was shot in Dallas (November 22, 1963). The story of the relationship between Jack and Joy was made into a stage play and later a film called Shadowlands starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. The film is a beautiful evocation of the joy and the heartbreak of their years together.
On grieving the death of his wife
How far have I got? Just as far, I think, as a widower of another sort who would stop, leaning on his spade, and say in answer to our inquiry, 'Thank'ee. Mustn't grumble. I do miss her something dreadful. But they say these things are sent to try us.' We have come to the same point; he with his spade, and I, who am not now much good at digging, with my own instrument. But of course one must take 'sent to try us' the right way. God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial he makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.
~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (1961)


My mother washing clothes
When I remember you it is always summer
And flowers are perpetually in bloom,
Like here on a glorious afternoon
Rinsing clothes in rainwater…

You were always working, at home or away
Racing from one chore to another
But with the grace and care of the artiste,
Never too busy to stop and smell the flowers
Or lean over the back wall for a chat with a neighbour,
Or listen to my childish tales and poems
Which even then, I pompously recited.

If you were living now you would kill me for this picture
As you nearly did on the day
Not realising that you bent over ,washing clothes
Had more poise and charm than all those starchy family portraits
Where, scrubbed and posed
The life is exorcised by the squinting aperture.

Here in a country garden, inside the city wall
Spotlighted by the sun and cheered by waving leaves
You perform the daily task of living
With all the dignity and grace of a mother
Who cared for and warmed us ,in every routine deed.

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 15 May 2008


David Ben Gurion reads Israels Declaration
of Independence on May 14,1948

Christians make much of the veracity and reliability of the Bible, basing all of their beliefs on its tenets and teachings. For most people the Bible has long since been discredited by the findings of evolution and the discoveries of modern science! This latter view is the prevailing one within our Irish context, the Bible - a worthy religious read but not a book to be taken otherwise seriously. And we Christians spend a lot of time trying to convince people that the Bible is in fact a reliable book on every front coming from the very heart of God who cannot lie! That is why , through the centuries, men and women have given their lives rather than deny the truth and potency of the Scriptures, and succeeding generations of believers have turned to its pages for spiritual sustenance and guidance. But how to convince a sceptical secular world that the Bible is not just one more volume in the pantheon of religious texts that abound in every culture and corner of the world!
There is, in my opinion one solid verifiable fact that should convince the stoutest sceptic as to the unique reliability and divine inspiration of this Book of Books. That fact, commemorated on its 60 th. Anniversary yesterday is the rebirth of the nation of Israel on May 14th. 1948.Why this historical milestone vindicates the claim that the Bible is not just a book of human authorship but one that has a divine origin can be explained by looking at a few prophecies contained therein, which found their fulfilment on that fateful day sixty years ago.
The book we call the Bible is in fact a collection of 66 books written by 40 different authors over a period of about 1800 years. So the words of the Bible were indeed written by a human pen but under the direction and inspiration of the Spirit of God…For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (Peter 1:21) And the most compelling aspect of Scripture which proves its divine input is in the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy. Over a third of the Bible is prophetic and is concerned to a large part with the utterances of Godly men foretelling future events, some of which have already been fulfilled and some of which are still awaiting a future fulfilment. A major theme running right through the 66 books of the bible is Gods relationship with the people of Israel. Beginning with Abraham and continuing right up to Jesus of Nazareth, God made and sustained a covenant with the children of Israel. This covenant or agreement was first spelled out in the book of Genesis when God promised the Patriarch Abraham that his descendants would be numerous… The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:1-3) In this Promise God assures the descendants of Abraham that they will have a nation state in which they can live. Historically the Jews occupied the land given to them by God and at times through their history they were invaded by others (like the Assyrians and the Chaldean's) and taken captive. Even at the time of Jesus, Israel was occupied by imperial Rome and not long after Jesus death the Jewish people were dispersed throughout the world. Subsequently we know that the Nazis attempted to exterminate the race executing 6 million in the Holocaust. But through all their turbulent history the Diaspora clung to the promises of nationhood given in Gods Word and especially to those Scriptures which spoke about bringing them back to their homeland…I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. (Ezekiel 34:13) The world in the aftermath of the Holocaust began to arrange the circumstances that would lead to the re-establishment of the nation state of Israel to which the scattered remnant of Jews could return. Now here’s the prophecy written back 700 years before Christ by Isaiah that is truly astounding in the light of the events of May 14,1948...The prophet rhetorically asks…"Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once?” (Isiah 66:8) And with the birth of the modern state of Israel that is exactly what happened…a nation was born in a day…as predicted! Not only did this single act fulfill the prophecies concerning Israel it also ushered in the beginning of the End Times, that is the period of time proceeding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The existence of the modern nation of Israel is tangible evidence that the Bible is an extraordinary book that predicts events centuries ahead of time, a book that can be trusted and believed in. Not only does the Bible address nations and historical milestones but primarily it is addressed to the individual, relating Gods cosmic plan of redemption for all of humankind through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells of the heart of God which is love and records the tangible expression of that love when Jesus gave up his life on the cross for our sins.
The Bible has verified itself over and over again through the centuries, religious and scientific fads come and go but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Today He is fulfilling His promises to Israel made so long ago, He will do no less for us as we read the Word and surrender ourselves to His rule through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The nation of Israel is established as prophesied, the Second Coming of Jesus as judge of the living and the dead will happen just as surely, it is our privilege and responsibility to respond!

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 12 May 2008


Still at large in the West Clare area

Has anyone seen this man? He may be found in any wilderness area from here to the Atlantic ocean especially in the vicinity of west Clare around the Loop Head Peninsula. He will answer to several names including Antoin…Tony…Anonymous and Boss ! Approach him with severe caution as he may be carrying one of the following…an I-pod…a mobile phone or most dangerous of all the Sword of the Spirit - The Word of God! To appease him if angry one may recite a poem or simply point to the dramatic scenery of the coastal region of Clare or when all else fails a pint of plain should do the trick! If anyone has any information on his whereabouts please contact New Life Fellowship or Mid-West Copytype or encourage him to come home to The Curraghower

TAXI !...TAXI !...

A taxi passenger tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him a question. The driver screamed, lost control of the car, nearly hit a bus, went up on the footpath, and stopped centimetres from a shop window.
For a second everything went quiet in the cab, then the driver said, “Look mate, don’t ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me!“
The passenger apologized and said, “I didn’t realize that a little tap would scare you so much.”
The driver replied, “Its okay, that’s not really your fault. Today is my first day as a cab driver. I’ve been driving a hearse for the last 25 years.”

Sunday, 11 May 2008


BUSHPLANT in fine form at Brandon's
in Ennis over the weekend.
Nuala danced for life
Gasped for every breath of soul
As she climbed the stairway to oblivion...
Lulled by the rhythmic thrust
Of Bushplants searing tunes,
She swirled dervishly
Shadow dancing on the floor
Dreamy eyes fixed to an angel point
Hovering on the bar-room wall _
Nothing at all can distract her
From this astral gliding
Time and space subsumed
By the ocean and Infinity -
Nuala steps out of dull routine
And for an hour or two
Breaks almost free..
Long may her heart and soul
Clasp together slow-set skirting
Across the slanting floor..
And may some gentle guide
Usher her nimble spirit
Beyond the tears and shattered dreams
To a place richer in substance
Than any spot on earth.

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 8 May 2008


His first smile !


The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.
Life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end of it? A death.
I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first, get it out of the way.
Then you live in an old age home.
You get kicked out when you're too young,
you get a gold watch, you go to work.
You work forty years until you're young enough
to enjoy your retirement.
You party, drink , fall in love,
you get ready for secondary school.
You go to national school, you become a kid,
you play, you have no responsibilities,
you become a little baby, you go back into the womb,
then spend your last nine months floating!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Wild flowers bask in the May sunshine
of the Burren in County Clare.~ (GOSh.) ~


Pink, small, and punctual,

Aromatic, low,

Covert in April,

Candid in May,

Dear to the moss,

Known by the knoll

Next to the robin

In every human soul.

Bold little beauty,

Bedecked with thee,

Nature forswears


Emily Dickinson

Thursday, 1 May 2008


R .S. Thomas as a young cleric

Ronald Stuart Thomas (published as R. S. Thomas) was a Welsh poet and Anglican clergyman, noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the Anglicisation of Wales. He was the best known Welsh poet of his day. In 1955, John Betjeman, in his introduction to the first collection of Thomas’s poetry to be produced by a major publisher, Song at the Year's Turning, predicted that Thomas would be remembered long after Betjeman himself was forgotten.
Professor M. Wynn Thomas said: "He was the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn of Wales because he was such a troubler of the Welsh conscience." He learnt the Welsh language at age 30, too late in life, he said, to be able to write poetry in it, and the sixties saw him working in a predominantly Welsh speaking community. In 1996 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lost out to Seamus Heaney.The Thomas family lived on a tiny income and lacked the comforts of modern life, largely by the poet's choice. One of the few household amenities the family ever owned, a vacuum cleaner, was rejected because Thomas decided it was too noisy. Although he may have taken some ideas to extreme lengths, Theodore Dalrymple has written, Thomas "was raising a deep and unanswered question: What is life for? Is it simply to consume more and more, and divert ourselves with ever more elaborate entertainments and gadgetry? What will this do to our souls?" He died in 2000 aged 87.


Suddenly after long silence

he has become voluble.

He addresses me from myriad

directions with the fluency

of water, the articulateness

of green leaves; and in the genes,

too, the components

of my existence. The rock,

so long speechless, is the library

of his poetry. He sings to me

in the chain-saw, writes

with the surgeon's hand

on the skin's parchment messages

of healing. The weather

is his mind's turbine

driving the earth's bulk round

and around on its remedial

journey. I have no need

to despair; as at

some second Pentecost

of a Gentile, I listen to the things

round me: weeds, stones, instruments,

the machine itself, all

speaking to me in the vernacular

of the purposes of One who is.

R. S .Thomas