Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Dundee United

Double the volume in Dundee, Scotland

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Double the volume in Dundee, Scotland

In today’s Scottish newspaper the Daily Record we read about the Scottish university “The University of Dundee” introducing a “2 Pint glass” in order to reduce waiting times at the University bar. Let’s look at this further.

Ephesians 5:11 (ESV) Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we read the warning to “not get drunk with wine” because that is “debauchery” and I would tend to agree with this.

Where are you coming from?

If you have read my ” testimony ” page you will understand where I am coming from on this one. I have had in my past a very unhealthy attitude towards alcohol and as embarrassing as it is to admit one’s faults on such a public setting, I was and remain to this day a recovering alcoholic.

My “wild day’s” were between the ages of 18-26 and I did untold damage to my internal organs with my copious consumption of alcoholic beverages. Please do not think that because I write this article from California, USA that I have no concept of what the drinking culture is like in the UK (or more specifically Scotland).

The reason I write that is that you may dismiss the article after seeing the ethos of what this website is about and skimming the headline as some “out of touch temperate bible thumper” with an axe to grind over the “demon drink”. That is not the case.

Please drink responsibly

My issue was not one of supply and demand but one of greed and lack of moderation. If I had the money then I was out on the town. If I had the opportunity to shovel a two pint tumbler down my gullet I would be dead now, no questions asked.

The problem in Scotland is that there are two camps of drinkers. Let’s look at them both:

Responsible imbibers

A rare breed I assure you, the ones who take one or two beers and do not damage themselves or others. Usually are folks who are into home brewing and craft beers. This is not really the crowd this news are aiming for. This crowd usually don’t drink their liver to oblivion and usually remember the nights,  the tastes of the beers and would not thank you for basing volume over quality.

Binge drinkers

That’s the category I fell into (sometimes literally) where I would drink 12-14 UK pints a night, lose hours, nights and in some case have very few recollections of the night outs that I had.

The crowd I hung around with, we were all the same, drinking alcohol was just another way to show off and be a pre version of “YOLO”. I ran with rugby fans, football (soccer) and NFL fans and a large part of what we did was done in bars.

I was the crowd this is aimed at and I did lament when when I did this that the largest glass I could get was a pint (568ml) but I know that if I was drinking a 2 Pint glass my night would be over in an a few hours.

For this crowd, quantity over price price is king, you have places like Weatherspoons and the Pound Pint bar in Manchester England is the crowd they are going after.

Poor Students

It is a student bar, it I was known for cheap beer, up and coming bands and a clientele mainly of medical students who will have less beer money than your average adult in Dundee. Certainly drinking in there would be less expensive than drinking on the Perth Road or the City Centre. (Even although I am a Glaswegian, I support one one of the city clubs called Dundee United)

Having been there, all I can say is it is a bar, beer is bought, beer is consumed, sometimes there is music, sometimes not, people drink a lot and sometimes make bad decisions there. The language you here is much the same as any other bar in the city. Really I am not singling the University for criticism for selling beer, I just question if this is a good idea for the well being of their students.

Sober for a decade,  what are my thoughts on alcohol?

I am very much a live and let live person and as long as you are not doing it to get drunk or buzzed then I have no issue with you having a beer.

Do I do it? I don’t as I have had an issue prior. As I don’t drink alcohol I will not hang about in bars anymore because let’s face it, drunk people are annoying when you are sober!

Although I have chosen abstinence,  I would never preach that it it’s the only way to go, I still get tempted at things like family parties or formal occasions but have learned that it is best for all concerned if I do not.

One of the reasons I don’t is that I never know if I was going to cause others to stumble, you never know what someone’s weaknesses are and we absinthe told in the book of Romans to not stumble our weaker brother.

Other addictions, but I have the odd beer.

People with a personality that is weak to addiction in one area are more likely to stumble in others. If you have had issues with drugs then I would choose alcohol very carefully (if at all)

I say that as i have seen folks switch one addiction for another, really there is no sense in this as they are no better off than they would have been if they had stayed on the drugs. (Perhaps more legal in the eyes of the law)

Everyone needs a crutch

I would agree with that! We were not built to handle the stresses of this life alone. We were also not meant to use artificial stimulants like drugs or alcohol.

You see, we were created to love one another and to worship God. Check out our “Creation” and “Gospel” sections If you don’t know what i mean.

You have hope and life has meaning!  JESUS CHRIST died for your sins and wants you to spend eternity in heaven, you have a choice, choose God or not.

I don’t agree with that!

Then please comment below and let your feelings be known. Also if you agree or disagree, feel free to share this link, I am keen to get feedback from all walks of people.

I pray this article was a blessing, please share, like and comment below as the LORD leads you.
TGBTG
TTE

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Keep right on til the end of the road

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Keep right on til the end of the road

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

I entitled this article “Keep right on til the end of the road” as I am reminded in this verse of the song by the legendary Scottish balladeer Sir Harry Lauder who sang this song and it became an anthem for many causes. One of the most famous is that it is the anthem of the supporters of “The Blues” a team in England’s second city Birmingham. The team is called Birmingham City and their fans use the song from anything to signing messages to each other “KRO” (Keep right on) to singing the song when the team are playing at home and away.

I find it mildly amusing that a team with such a history of almost making it to the pinnacle and then faltering, and then coming back and then faltering again would have the following words in their anthem…

…”When you are tired and weary, you’ll still journey on”

I get this as football (or association football or soccer depending on where you are reading this from) is like a religion, in my deepest throws of “worship” I have been in big cathedrals dedicated to the worship of the players and our “tribe” all wear similar colours and sing the same “hymns”. I have laughed, danced and cried based on the position of a size 5 spherical object that we call a football and where it is on the field. If it enters their goal I am euphoric, it is enters our goal it could ruin my weekend. Some may object to calling it worship, but it is what it is.

Do I still enjoy the game?

I do, but as I am 4000 miles away it has less of a pull on me than it did when I was younger. The last time I was in Scotland I did check the fixture lists to see how I could get a game in and I did. But I noticed a difference that it was still my team and regardless of whether I was there or not to cheer on my team (Dundee United) the gig went on, they didn’t postpone any games because i wasn’t here, they even managed to win the Scottish cup without me being there (2010) so i would say that it is a lot healthier than it used to be.

Getting back to Paul

What does this mean in the context of the verse? Well I am brought to thinking of the song as it is a song of endurance. A song to keep your spirits up during hard times, I once looked for the song on YouTube and the song that came up had many archive pieces of footage showing victory in wars.

Which is relevant for us, we are called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will. We will be “tired and weary” we will see injustice, we will in our flesh question God’s plan. For me, that is the most difficult part of my walk with Jesus, understanding God’s “big picture”. It is hard to do so when you are in the pit and your circumstances are real.

We are told in verse 17 that “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” so I encourage you, when you can’t pay your bills, when life deals you a raw deal, when I want “My will to be done” I have to buckle and say “Thy will be done”, whatever trial, whatever temptation, whatever it is you are facing God is big enough to take this. You are praying to the God who created the universe in one single spoken sentence. (We are still finding bits of that self-same universe)

We have to get beyond the temporary, when we are in the pit, it seems so hopeless. I must confess that I try to do God’s job for him at that point and find exit routes as I don’t like being tried and tested when I should just place it at his feet and say “LORD I don’t know how you are going to do this, but I need you LORD”.

Let’s look at the life of Joseph

Last night in our bible study, we took a very high level look at the suffering of Joseph, (Genesis 37-50) Joseph had a prophetic dream that his brothers would all bow down to him and he suffered by being betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery for 20 silver coins but through it all Joseph trusted God that it was all going to work out. He was sold into slavery, imprisoned even although he was innocent, (he resisted temptation in the form of his masters wife) this allowed him to meet Pharoah’s cup bearer and when Pharoah was troubled in his dreams, God allowed Joseph to interpret the dream, save the land of Egypt from famine and rise from being an imprisoned slave to number 2 in the country. All throughout this he gave God the glory. What a lesson!

Joseph subscribed to God’s plan, even when he was in prison, even in a situation where he would have got away with sinning against his master and God, he chose the righteous path even although it meant prison time. He knew that God was working behind the scenes and even if it was at his cost he was “all in” on God’s plan.

This is the encouragement, although we may not gain temporarily, we have a promise in Paul’s letter to the Roman church…

Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Application

For me I guess it is about enduring the trials and trusting God, if there is anything you are holding back then give it to him. Lastly trusting that God has “got this” and what we are going through is temporary and there is much more eternal to consider.

I get it, it is tough! People have their faith rocked on a daily basis; personally I have questioned God when people are taken away from me most of all, especially kids and people in the prime of life. I have had doubts and I have never been in jail, never been sold as a slave, maybe I need a little persecution to make me man up at times.

All I can do is do what God has called me to do and trust God to do the rest.

I pray this article was a blessing and please feel free to share, comment or like below
TGBTG
TTE

I am no “Patriot” but I do “Hail to the Chiefs”

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I am no “Patriot” but I do “Hail to the Chiefs”

Like most males based in America, I love me a little MNF (Or Monday Night Football for those who do not speak NFL) but I try to restrict myself to when my team are playing and I have it as more of a treat than a Monday night ritual. As you may have guessed by the title and picture that I have placed on the top of this article, I am a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.

I must have some sort of NFL style Stockholm syndrome by choosing a team that I have never seen live in the Superbowl (I was born in 1977) and who quite often lose in the playoffs, but I am a loyal guy and once I saw an aging Joe Montana throw snaps in the Red, white and yellow uniform, I was hooked and instantly loved the game.

A few years later in the country where I lived in Scotland we got the NFL Europe and we got a team called the “Scottish Claymores” and I continued to like this “foreign sport” along with about 10,000 other die hards until the team ceased operations in 2004.

When I moved to the US I continued to like the game and although I live no-where near KC, I have kept up with what is going on with a team that I have formed an association with and a team that has given me a great deal of joy, a great deal of frustration and a great cause of my mood swings.

Last night was a good night to be a Chiefs fan and it is hard because there is a tradition that we do at Arrowhead that I am not too fond of, this may sound hypocritical as I was not born in the US or am I a US citizen, however I am not a fan of the tradition of concluding the American national anthem with “The land of the free, in the home of the CHIEFS!” I am a really big fan of my team but I do think there are some things that you shouldn’t mess with. The US is a wonderful country and one of the greatest things about this place is that they are proud to be American.

Play by play, the Chiefs played better than the Patriots, won 41-14, they set a new Guinness record for noise and despite the fact I started the game about an hour after the rest of the country. (I had errands to run and I had the game DVR’d) I still finished it about the time the rest of the US and I was getting more and more excited as the game was drawing to a close.

This made me think, imagine getting into a state about a game that I have no control over and that for half of it I was cheering after the play had occurred, (even if I was in the stadium I would have little to do with the outcome on the field) when I don’t get in a state about the things that matter, things like I wonder how many of the 76,000 seats last night were occupied by people who were assured of going to heaven by having Jesus as their Saviour.

Please do not think I am against sports and enjoying yourself, that is not the case. I love watching football and love to see my team win, however I do realize and recognize that “tribal worship” like that is not exactly a good thing. Since I have been in California, I have seen folks check their smart phones to check scores whilst in church, rush out of church to get home to see their game or in some cases (and I have done this) when the church service collides with a game, not went to church.

That’s when you have to do some examining our natural face in the glass (as James would say in his epistle) and pray about what the LORD wants you to do. This maybe an emotive subject as I know many Christians who love the NFL and I know the teams they follow but precious little else about them, that is tragic and we do tend to wear our sports teams jerseys like some sort of cultish pride.

I am not against watching football on a Sunday, Monday or whatever day you choose to, but I do have some advice, last night when I DVR’d the game, I got through it in just over an hour as opposed to the nearly 4 hours I usually set aside. This is not a guilt trip and I am as much talking to me as anyone but when was the last time you spent nearly 4 hours in prayer and worship to the one true king? (Jesus Christ)

I do not wish to get all legalistic and we are all free to make our own choices. I can no easier see your heart as I can your motives in what you do, I have no idea what your daily walk with Jesus is like, however I do like to throw up warning flares and hope that the Holy Spirit uses these writings to fulfill the will of God. There is no anti sport agenda here as I love Rugby, Soccer, Football and Baseball. In fact if my “religion” was sports results then I would have been a happy worshipper with Dundee United, Glasgow Warriors and the LA Dodgers all winning recently.

It is like most things I guess in the Christian faith, all down to your heart. If it becomes a consuming passion in your life then it is clear that you need to take a step back and a step closer to Jesus.

From this member of the Red Tribe I pray that this blog is edifying, challenging and thought provoking, please feel free to comment, like or share below, God bless you one and all
TGBTG
TTE

The Jacobite experiment

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DISCLAIMER:- the views expressed are the views of the author alone, TTE does not normally comment on political issues but this is an important issue for the author. We will return to Bible studies in the next article.

The Jacobite experiment

John 1:45 (ESV) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

As most of you who know me personally will know, I am a strong advocate politically of Scottish independence and the upcoming vote in September on whether Scotland should be an independent nation and secede from the Act of Union of 1707.

That being said, should a yes vote actually happen, in my view as Scots we have to lose the “English chip on the shoulder” as a good relationship with our neighbours to the south has to happen.

Just to see how plausible that was, I did a little experiment on my Facebook wall last night. I am a passionate fan of football (soccer for the US readership) and I love seeing my club team (Dundee United) and my national team (Scotland) win every game they play.

As most of you will be aware, the World Cup is happening in Brazil at present and Scotland have been unable to qualify. Our neighbours to the south England have, but in many cases the Scots will usually cheer on ABE (Anyone but England)

So last night I did what I call “The Jacobite experiment” over the piece I have stated that as I live in the US now I would like to see them do well and that is true. I hope the USMNT get as far as they can in the tournament, however everyone assumes that I as a Scottish nationalist, will actively be cheering against England.

I actually don’t see that viewpoint, I don’t hate our neighbours in the south, we share many traits and joint history since this “marriage of convenience” began. We have fought under the same Union flag and share broadcast, newsprint, currency and telephone exchanges with them. I just believe that rather than being a 9% minority where the vote does not count and having policies foisted upon us that hinder the growth of my country, it is time to go our separate ways. Nothing personal, it is just for the good of the country.

Back to the experiment, I placed a flag of Saint George (the traditional flag of England) on my Instagram wishing England well and a Facebook post urging England to beat the Italians.

Unsurprisingly I got a few queries, but the sad part of the experiment was not on my posts, but on the posts of others gloating over a 2-1 victory for the Italians.

My hope for my nation is that we can be grown up enough to want to see our neighbours do well, that way we can get past the “No true Scot” mentality that some of us have where we blame everything on the English. We may have to actually man up and look at some of “plooks we see in the mirror”.

I am not against “banter” but these posts have a more sinister feel, the actually could be described as hatred.

This article will not be popular and I am not all that fussed if it is or isn’t! We have to get past the idea that a vote for Yes is some “get it up the English” this is a one way street with no U turns.

Think of the nations who have declared independence from the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, think if all the countries that at one time had a Union flag in the top left hand corner of their flag, Britannia no longer “rules the waves” and the Empire is over! Of these countries NONE are begging to be ruled again from London.

Why did I choose the verse above? Well replace the word Nazareth with “England”, “London”, “Liverpool”, “Manchester”, “Birmingham”, “Newcastle”, wherever and you may see what I am driving at.

Like I say, I am not anti-English or even anti-European, but what I do want is for the buck to stop in Edinburgh rather than London for the constitutional decisions that affect the people of Scotland.

The Yes campaign have had it hard, they have the mainstream media being their press campaigners, the message in many cases are not going through and quite a few headlines are twisted to a pro-Union viewpoint, in some cases, headlines are created to give a view that is not present in the article.

I love my country, there are times where the Union served Scotland well in the beginning, but in more recent times it has not been beneficial to Scotland. It is time for a change, that can be achieved in a vote in September for the Yes campaign.

I don’t get involved with US politics mainly because I can’t vote for a president!

God bless and I hope this was a good read for you and please comment below should you wish too
TGBTG
TTE