The Durham Chronicles– Mud Slide Ben and the Leg Boggling Experience

So I am back from Cyprus and Turkey and getting back into the old routines. Of course while I was gone it rained in Durham more than the entire year's annual rainfall for Cyprus. Anyway, I am minding my own business running on the path on the far side of the Wear river when suddenly--- zounds and gad zooks, I had a Sherlockian experience. Think Hound of the Baskersville. I suddenly step into a mud bog.... and looked like this..I was quite literally up to my thighs in deep, thick … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey– Part Six

The ultimate destination of Paul was Paphos. He wanted to speak to the provincial governor of the island--- Sergius Paulus. There he would testify to the Gospel, but at the request of the governor himself. The Palace at Paphos was spectacular in both it's setting by the sea, and by the incredible houses with mosaics that surrounded it as well, though today, the Palace area mostly looks like this...Though close by it looks like this...This posts will be dedicated to the main … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Five

There are, sadly, two sides to Cyprus. There is on the one hand the beautiful island paradise side, and there is on the other hand, the ugly political side. Greeks and Turks have long been at loggerheads with one another over islands, and perhaps no island is the focus of that more than Cyprus. Once the Brits let go of the island, all kinds of bad things began to happen in the 1960s and later. I will not pause to recount the sordid details of battles, and killings and etc. but I will simply say … [Read more...]

Frank Viola’s New Book

If Christian novels are your thing, here is one to check out.Just a quick note that Frank Viola has just released an interesting looking book called God’s Favorite Place on Earth which is a hybrid of fiction and nonfiction about Jesus’ many visits to the village of Bethany, told from the perspective of Lazarus.While I’ve not read the book, it has some impressive recommendations: Craig Keener, Joel B. Green, John Ortberg, Mary DeMuth, Jack Hayford, Greg Boyd, Mark Batterson, Leonard S … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Four

Anyone who has read the Chronicles of Narnia will be well familiar with Turkish Delight. But that is hardly the only sweet in the Turkish arsenal. For example, check out this...Or this....Or did I mention this...Or this...Or finally this...In short, the Turks have as bad a sweet tooth as the Brits. And don't even get me started about the baklava (a Turkish word.... not a Greek word... so guess where that dessert was first made?), or Kunife-- a honeyed … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Three

Life in the antique Greco-Roman world often moved at a snail's pace.And one of the major problems in antiquity was water, fresh water, especially in the Mediterranean where, in most places the rains stop in the late spring, and do not show up again until late Fall or Winter. This problem was compounded by the necessity of having defensible cities, which not surprisingly were often built, at least in part on high hills, acropoli. But this made the water problem even worse. Take for … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part Two

As many trips as I have taken to Turkey,usually in May, but this time, since I am on sabbatical, in April, there are always more interesting Biblical, Greco-Roman, and early Christian sites to see. One such site is Side, on the coast where the western harbor for Pamphylia was. Paul and Barnabas may have landed here, though it's more likely they landed in the eastern harbor of Pamphylia coming from Cyprus, which is at Antalya.Mark and his wife Dindy live in a seaside apartment overlooking … [Read more...]

Turkish Odyssey Part One

So here I am in downtown Antalya Turkey with my old pal Kermie. Antalya is one of twelve or so cities in Turkey of a million people. There was a meeting of ACEME pastors-- pastors of American Churches abroad, from Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Paris, London, Tokyo, Brussels and lots of other places. They get together once a year for a conference, and this year it was in Antalya, a beautiful south coast resort town in Turkey. They get together for some fellowship, food, fun, learning, and … [Read more...]

A Question of Identity– Susan Hill Strikes AGAIN

It is easy, all too easy, to underestimate how difficult it is to write a whole series of novels with enough variety and differences on the one hand, and enough continuity on the other to make it continually interesting. I should know, I'm just finishing up the first draft of the seventh novel in my Art West thriller series, and A Question of Identity is Susan Hill's seventh in her detective crime series starring Simon Serailler and his sister Cat Deerborn.I would rate her latest entry in … [Read more...]