November Miscellany 2019

My biggest lesson learnt this month is chapter one to four of John’s Gospel. Reason one: JPCi has been studying it this term. Reason two: I have been studying it specifically with a couple of girls to help them prepare for our Bible studies. Reason three: St Helen’s Read Mark Learn on John is exceptional. Reason four: I tried to memorise the content of these four chapters with a common study technique called Space Repetition. I think I’ll keep going and see how far I can go in John before the next JPCi term starts.


Finished Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. See review here. Also finished And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. My first of her books! Unbelievable I know! That wasn’t a planned read. I got it on Kindle Daily Deal and finished it in two days.

Apart from those two, my reading was a bit here and there in November. I tested Christopher Ash’s Advent daily reading Repeat the Sounding Joy. I didn’t say this upfront when I did the notice last Sunday, but I really like the idea of the church family reading the same content every day, putting the same book down on their bedside table / coffee table / bathroom window sill, having the same thoughts before falling asleep / while driving / having breakfast. I also tested Glen Scrivener’s Reading Between the Lines (volume one and two). I didn’t say this upfront either: although I liked his preaching, I haven’t liked all his books, but these two volumes are actually good. But as I said, among all the Christmas books and booklets, the nerdy The Weirdest Nativity is the one that you really should not miss.

Started reading a book called The 4-Hour Work Week (to the horror of my bosses), which is well-known in entrepreneur circles. Some ideas are very interesting and applicable for my own work and some are subtly but plainly against Christian work ethics. I haven’t finished it so can’t comment more yet. But hopefully, I’ll be able to do a blog post giving a Christian response to this book.

For more holiday reading (not on the topic of Christmas or New Year), here’s a substantial list from the Gospel Coalition. I spent half an hour this morning searching and adding samples into my Kindle. I’m now feeling more excited about my holiday! See TGC 2019 book awards here.

Misc. of Misc

The day I discovered Ali Abdaal the YouTuber was a delightful day. His channel is the kind that an intentional viewer can benefit from. His videos are all beautifully filmed and edited – I noticed the orange and blue lighting setup in the background, and it makes me smile his frequent mentions of colourful highlights in study notes, graphics and images and anything that makes pieces of paper or coursework aesthetically pleasing. And his videos (on study tips, technology, reading etc) are full of useful information but without anything overly technical, the arguments are persuasive and easy to relate. I like the slightly too fast speaking speed (a common issue of doctors?) and the British accent. My overall feeling is: this is one VERY intelligent human being! And a quick read of his bio only confirms my guess. Over the month, I have acquired his study methods called Active Recall and Space Repetition to memorise the Gospel of John (as mentioned above). I also got quite a few book recommendations from Ali including The 4-Hour Work Week. Looking forward to seeing more content.

We’re actually only one day away from the Event of the Year in JPC’s calendar – Carols by Candlelight! If you’re in the North East of England this weekend or next week, this is something you should not miss!



cover photo by John Christian Fjellestad on Unsplash




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