Monthly Archives: March 2021


Did they get Dillinger…? by Ken Riddles

Did they get Dillinger?

The story behind this painting:

I held an exhibition when I finished with my day to day job as a typesetter.

The exhibition sold well.

Amongst my guests on the opening night was my elder brother.

There was eight years between us.

He suffered from a heart condition and passed in 2015.

We used to meet up once a month for lunch, and these were enjoyable times, with banter about whose turn it was to pay etc.

When we were young, he was always kind to his little brother, especially at Christmas, when I waited with anticipation to see what present he had bought me. He never disappointed (e.g. when I was 8 y.o. – he was 16).

I had two ‘not for sale’ drawings in the show. And he liked these because they were depictions of the street of our childhood upbringing.

As I would have explained – not topographical depictions. A drawing of a memory, not a drawing from memory. (Some of you might ‘get’ the difference).

But I wouldn’t let these go. So his eyes lit upon the painting above, and just before someone else wanted to buy it, he was able to stake his claim and it ended up on the living room wall of his home.

He too, like me, was ‘weaned’ on the old black and white gangster movies seen on TV.

He had three of my paintings in his home and joked about how when I was gone – they would be worth so much more. With reference to the old adage about an artist not being worth much until he was dead.

These paintings have been inherited by his son and daughter.

Be great to have my brother back – I would paint him as many ‘Dillingers’ as he wished (RIP).



Have you ever thought about curtains? Of course you have – although the ladies perhaps more than the men?

But curtains – not as in room decor – but as in that which divides, separates, shuts out, covers, stops.

We have all heard of the iron curtain.

[The Iron Curtain was a political boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

The term symbolises the efforts by the Soviet Union (USSR) to block itself and its satellite states from open contact with the West and its allied states].

So in real life, as in history – dividing and separating.

There is another curtain/veil mentioned in the Bible.

The curtain/veil that separated the holy place from the holiest-of-all place in the Old Testament description of the Temple.

However in the New Testament we are told that…

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17/24)

This is very much a New Testament statement. Because of course it was a different story/dispensation/time under the Old covenant.

In the Old Covenant only the high priest could enter the most holy place (holiest of holies) – once a year. That was it – no one else could enter the Presence of God Almighty.

He is the intensely Holy God of light and perfect righteousness, who Presented Himself in the holiest-of-all place in the temple i.e. e.g.David’s tabernacle, or temple of Solomon.

One of the things the preventative curtain/veil represents is the extremely antithetical nature of God in contradistinction to the nature of man. 

They must stay separated. If not – and we see this on a number of occasions in the Old Testament – God can only consume, judge and eradicate the carrier of sin, who ‘stumbles’ into His Presence. (e.g. I Samuel 6/19)

We do not have the slightest notion of how perfect God is and of how awful and despicable sin is to God.

I have tasted how sinful my own heart is in the Presence of God – on quite a few occasions.

And – but for the Grace and Mercy of God as the scripture says: Psalm 130:

If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You.

There is no standing before Him. Thankfully there is a veil to keep us out!

However – and this is the good news: If God can find us righteous – we can go beyond the curtain and dwell in the Presence of God without the fear of destruction. But He can’t find our nature anything but sinful – that’s why He must IMPUTE righteousness to us, as a gift to be received or rejected.

That veil that keeps us out of God’s Presence, is taken away in Christ. Now all that remains is for us TO COME TO HIM, ASKING FOR MERCY.

Receiving Christ as our Saviour ‘enables’ God to find us IN His Son – He now sees that acceptable, holy and righteous nature is with us, which enables us to enter into His Presence without fear of retribution. 

Because we inherit a new nature, that takes away our sin, and makes us righteous in Christ, we can enter and dwell continuously in God’s Presence, – with us always – even to the end of our life or the world itself.

We become – by accepting Christ – righteous enough to enter the holiest of holies.

Those who do not accept Christ have a remaining veil over their minds, the veil of the sinful fleshly natural mind. That cuts us off from spiritually experiencing the Presence of God, or appreciating the bible.

14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.

The veil that separates us i.e. our own fleshly nature, our sinfulness, with all it’s tendencies, is no longer the irremovable obstacle that previously prevented us entering the Presence of God, and indeed His Person entering us.

So that every believer in Christ becomes a temple not made with hands, but one that allows God to dwell within.

Christ’s flesh on the cross, represented the destruction of all that separates us from God’s Presence. As His flesh was ripped so the veil in the temple at that time was rent in two at the same time:

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

The reality of the complete opposites, as found in God’s nature and ours – is never diminished. It never changes from being so. That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of The Holy Spirit is spirit.


That’s why man can blaspheme, ridicule, accuse, mock and reject the God of the bible. He hasn’t a clue as to what he is doing in rejecting Christ.

He cannot grasp what all the fuss is about – when God corrects or punishes sin.

God is some big ogre who is out to condemn and bully mankind – is the perception of the unbeliever. He never stops to think that he is a sinner and deserving of punishment because of how ugly his nature is.

The same veil on his mind, the veil of unbelief also stops him seeing the love, mercy, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, life-giving, all-wise and forgiving God who wants to come and give us spiritual life and life more abundantly! The One who has made a way for the nature of sin to be replaced with His nature in our lives.

Acts 16/31

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”



Choosing what to post, is an exercise that all bloggers obviously and necessarily go through – pre-next posting.

Do we consider our ‘audience’ when doing so? We might ask: ‘What’s the point of posting on a topic that is contrary to the world view of the majority of our ‘followers’?’

Are we posting in order to sell snow to the inuits? Or e.g. In the politics of a certain nation – Are we posting to ‘Republicans’ sharing ‘Democrat(ic)’ things? Or are we perhaps breaking into everybody and anybody’s world view in order to direct them to our own? Are we out to convince them? Are we simply wanting to share what is – a joy to, or at least of interest to – us?

And so on… we could reason, as to the what’s, when’s and wherefore’s of our decision making process, in the context of audience.

How about we all agree as bloggers to give each blogger a day, and on that day we shall all visit their blog, and refrain from posting anything ourselves, on that very same day?

Wow! – they would get some traffic right? 😎

At this point I have to confess – I am not sure where this preamble is going…

So let me change gear and include the introduction of a change of thought, but related.

THE ‘OLD POSTS’ dilemma?

I’m sure someone will answer this. What do you do with OLD POSTS? Do you delete them?

Are we realistic about the fact that people will not take the time to search through our blogs to find them?

Old Posts have had their day?

No – not if never read by someone before…

But there/here, they ‘lie’ unattended to, like paintings in an art gallery vault – locked in the basement and never seeing the light of day.

What shall we do? Delete them?

Well, someone might tell me what they think?

Before I hit the delete button….

Perfectionism (tyrant?)


I don’t know if you share such conclusions, but I often think of, time I have wasted in my life.

The thing is – I can, but won’t be – terrorised by that thought-tyrant.

The thought that we could have done better, been more profitably employed, accomplished more, been a better servant, given more, took a right turn instead of a left at a particular juncture in life, been more adventurous, stepped out in faith more and so it goes on.

And unfortunately I too readily, become a candidate for the deposition of such thoughts. This is borne out of a basic desire inherent in most ‘normal’ people – the desire to do well, be morally upright, accomplish something, and so on.

The most important motivation for the professing Christian is to please God and to be in obedience.

But when you are overwhelmed with your own failures one aught to inoculate oneself with a good dose of reality.

Because such shortcomings, are common to all humans.

To be perfectly free from such conclusions of sinfulness or imperfection is impossible. 

There was only One who fulfilled the call of perfect timing and the perfect use of time, coupled with His morally perfect life.

An examination of the life of Jesus, should leave us aghast at such perfectionism!

I however, am easily disappointed in yours truly, sometimes a justified disappointed for a real reason, sometimes not justified, because of the perfectionist tyrant, trying to unfairly discourage.

One needs to know the difference between legitimate desirable self-examination and awareness and morbid introspection.

One needs to keep one’s conscience healthy – yes. But also be aware – 

II Corinthians 2/

…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

You can become aware of this perfectionist tyranny besetting your moral aspirations, when you examine your own thinking. It is by your own contrivance, as you are overwhelmed by a ‘million’ (imaginary?) things you are not doing.

You can also realise that it can be the result of a dark power that is engaged in sending fiery darts into your mind.

Ephesians 6/16

…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

So your sense of imperfection and disappointment with yourself, can be the result of your own invention or demonically inflicted.

There is a whole biblical teaching too long to go into in this post, that establishes the alien-workings of darkness summed up in the apostle Paul’s words to us:

Ephesian 6/

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.

The Only Living and True God is not such a tyrant, but at the same time, is only too aware of our shortcomings.

His desire for us is firstly and foremostly that we engage with Him in relationship. Then as any good Father – He then starts to help us to mature and grow out of our immature behaviour.

And – as a by-product – make better spiritual use of our time.

We cannot live in perfection or spiritual maturity straight away after we have encountered and submitted to Jesus. In the sense that the Christian life is an ongoing growing experience.

That’s why we account that His long-suffering is our salvation.

Christ offers us perfect acceptance when we choose Him as Lord. This is our perfection. It suffices God’s requirements, that we ask Him into our lives.

II Peter 3/

15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

Most(?) people want to live right. Do good and be a follower of what is right. But they can’t find the ‘how to’ of the whole thing. And all of us are blind to many of our shortcomings. 

Until we meet Jesus and allow Him to start to change us from the inside-out, we shall remain the same – unchanged.

So yes we do need to be perfected, but not by the dictates of the perfectionist tyrant.

Footnote: It could be suggested that the last thing this secular world needs is to be reminded that perfectionism can be a tyrant. Some might suggest – no one is the least bit interested in moral perfection. But is excusing any and all behaviour, else why still indulge in it?



When the preacher comes

They don’t let him in

They stay submerged

Hiding behind

sofa or wheelie bin


When the Electricity woman comes

Seeking to read their meter

They open up the door

And are happy to greet her


When the Rent man arrives

In his long pale coat

If they don’t have the money

They’re ready to take him by the throat


When the window cleaner knocks

They bargain with him for a price

If he only charged a fiver

That would be nice


When the pest-control man calls

And their anxiety subsides

They offer him some tea

Glad to see – the rats flee


When the preacher calls yet again

They thought they had made it plane

That preachers are not welcome here

They don’t need eternal life it would appear

Surreal encounter


An old man

Came trudging along the path


A young lady sat on the park bench

Eating her homemade sandwiches


Their eyes met

Then they both had a brain-storm


A scene in their movie was lost

And they skipped to a scene – twice-removed


In full splatter of immense conversation

They found everything was in agreement


So in pretence they rose-up

And cut-a-caper

To the next bench


Something like a tango


Laughing and laughing

With the person they had just met


They were hugging

While their brain said ‘no’

‘This can’t be happening…

You’re no relation of mine…!’


Finishing her crusts – at first neglected

She prolonged their encounter

By thus – masticating bread


While he – rubbed his calves

Sore from the unprecedented caper – cut


Now – slowly – reality came back

And a stunned silence

Came over them both

From this dark world


This dark world offers itself to me

And into it’s grasp I fell in times past

But still it is all around

[In the forest clearing like

Robin and his merry men]

Ready to seize me

as though I was rich


Passing through like you

It took me a long while

to have my eyes opened

To the deceptive tug of

The bands of wickedness


You think I’m writing poetry

But there is a kink in my exposition

You can’t grasp it –

and quickly turn away

It’s a language I could enter into

That would send you reeling back

Far away into your own shell of unbelief


You will not respond to this

My plate of wholesomeness

It’s a foreign language as you puzzle

What’s he getting at –

and where did he get it?


New life comes with the Christ

To deliver you from the darkness

But it is unfamiliar language…


It is a must – but you just can’t see

‘Please return to ‘normal’ poetry’

That’s your plea to me

‘Don’t be getting all religious now’

But it’s the freedom you cannot see


I too was held

as blind as blind could be

But His hand was mightily on me

So thankfully my dirge turned into joy

As from the chains of bondage

He rescued this boy


So turn while you can

Before tomorrow says goodbye

And you have no more tomorrows

From which to say goodbye 

Time – friend or foe?


Time zones

Decades cordoned-off

A time for advancement

Growing up

Blisters – kicking a ball

Getting tall

Developing – by eating:

“I’d rather keep your picture”

On – up – and – past

The pre-teen stage

And so it all begins

Life looked straight-in-the-eye

What can you offer me?

Experience and experiences

“No sorting wheat from chaff?”

Dented minds

Carried through life

Hearkening back

When five decades are gone

Back to the teen years

Only achieved –

In the memory.

Time Zones

Trying to keep time

‘Time Stand still!’

Time won’t listen

Teenage highs

Emotion remembers

Sounds – smells – song titles

And back we go

Indelible recollections

Desire to relive them

Catch the time-train

Back to the slotted time

Allotted time

Besotted time

Formation time

Character development

Or the whirlybird-head

That can’t grow up

Teens ’n twenties


Time of caressing

Time of fashion-dressing

Mates? – I’ve had a few

But then again too few to…

Firmly held friendships

Sound as a pound

And others – ships in the night

Music soundtrack to

All this and what was amiss

Melodies hummed

And repeated

With repeated years

Looking for ‘long-gone’s’

Reunions that will never happen

Longing for the former days

Of youth…

Believing the impossible:

That somehow

A time machine

Will one day be built



Any great ambition I had to sell my paintings, and perhaps earn a living from doing so, got lost along the way somewhere over the years.

The ambition wasn’t big enough in the first place, to drive me to do all that was necessary to achieve such a goal.

Borland’s outbuildings (wax crayon)

The bible talks about seeking first the kingdom of God. And as far as I was concerned there was no other option, than to gladly do so. So spiritual ministry priorities were put first.

Consequently an 8 to 5 job in a newspaper office took the place of these ambitions as the responsibility of raising a family also came first.

So to sell a painting now is the result of some kind of connection with other human beings.

Whereby they see some of my work and would like to have it.

I do not spread the work around as e.g. in galleries etc. like I used to do. So I’m pretty much, an unknown – sliding into ‘oblivion’, in the background somewhere.

If someone through this blog wanted to buy a piece of work, this would entail individual email communications and financial arrangements. And gladly the forming of some kind of relationship.

I have in other words no selling mechanism of pay pal and all the rest of it, necessary, if you are running a business.

Multi-talented (inks)

Sometimes my mind wanders to Van Gogh – a man who was on a spiritual quest and through the rocky road of life with its hurts and rejections – eventually found solace in his art.

As far as I can discern he lost his way spiritually, because in biblical language he sought God by works and not by faith.

It isn’t my intention to elaborate on such a statement in this post. I realise it is more complicated than my thesis might suggest.

But I do see in his life and can understand, why painting became his passion and means of self-absorption, and quest for achievement.

Even in his art he did not find the acceptance and praise he justly deserved.

I see life in that way, and am so thankful that I have found in Christ what I was looking for.

In the old hymn Be Thou My Vision we read these words:

Riches I need not, nor man’s empty praise

Thou mine inheritance through all of my days

Thou and Thou only though first in my heart

High king of heaven my treasure Thou art

That succinctly sums up how the loss of ambition doesn’t matter, when it is replaced by the Riches of Christ. It is Christ who satisfies, not only in this world but in the one to come.

There is a place for doing things well, for creativity, and for enjoying the communication of life through the arts.

A place for someone to have goals and resolutely set out to achieve them (provided others do not get trampled-on along the way.)

But there is a fine line between seeking man’s empty praise and appreciating the love that others give, that makes us feel worthwhile and satisfied that we have something to give, through our expressed talent.

Life poses the question: ‘Are you ultimately empty?’

Funny question?

Perhaps – but there is a spiritual vacuum inside each one of us. That can only be filled through a relationship with Christ. 

Realised ambitions will not take this vacuum away.

Apple Gluttons (w/colour/acrylic)



(For long enough…?)

Dictionary: Dogmatism:

the tendency to lay down principles as undeniably true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others: a culture of dogmatism and fanaticism.

I’m still convinced there is a lot to be said for remaining neutral.

I will explain.

But first, I remember Billy Graham preaching about being neutral about Jesus.

He used the illustration of the American Civil War – and how one gentleman tried to be neutral about the war, he put on a blue coat and grey trousers and they shot at him from both sides.

So no – we can’t be neutral about Jesus. We either believe on Him or don’t.

The Rolling Stone’s lyric comes to mind – ‘trying to make up my mind – but it is so hard to find so I’m sitting on a fence.’

We can’t ‘sit on the fence’ when it comes to Jesus. There is no neutral here.

We cannot remain neutral on perhaps many things. But my premise is = neutral first.

When it comes to making judgements, or deciding what is right or wrong, we need to be neutral until we know – that we know – that we know.

This is not easy. Because when a given set of opinions is communicated to us, we want to come to a conclusion as quickly as we can. And sometimes in our eagerness to conclude – we end up with the wrong conclusions, one’s that we later regret.

Recently I became aware of an American Radio show host, and was open to what he had to say.

I added my address to his email list. 

Like everyone else(?), – I like a mix of profundity and humour. 

Humour of the non-mocking kind. There are many levels of sensitivity when it comes to being on the receiving end of humour and basically comedians are unable to please all of the people all of the time, as they dish it out.

We all need a bit of thick skin, a duck’s back from which the water flows off, and a dose of not taking ourselves too seriously, when it comes to receiving humour.

We run the danger of becoming enslaved to political correctness, so that freedom of speech is stifled for evil purposes rather than good.

So – enjoying this radio commentator, most of my observations on what he says and espouses, are neutral until slow persuasion either-way takes place.

Notice the underlined slow. Too many, too quickly, jump to conclusions.

If we listen to someone enough, we shall find ourselves partnering with a lot of what they believe – or not – as the case may be. Give it time.

It is not wrong in my view to be found accepting perhaps 70% of what they share whilst rejecting the rest, but still accepting their legitimacy. Consequently it is acceptable to still follow them and listen-in to their views.

Some folks find perhaps one major thing that the commentator holds, and it’s enough to cause them to run a mile from anything else they might share.

Falsely accusing them of things they are not guilty of, simply because in our view they have made a large faux pas, in espousing one particular thing we don’t agree with.

Professing Christians who expound given views – should get the initial benefit of the doubt, even if they do not wear one of our immediately recognisable T-shirts.

The fact they profess to follow Christ should be enough for us to give them a chance.

We are told however:

John 4/1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

‘Test the spirits’ is an important exercise – often overlooked by many hard-line dogmatists. They can’t accept anything the professing man of God says – because of one thing they can’t agree with.

How many of us have got it – all right, all of the time?

Apart from examining other aspects of the commentator, ‘testing their spirit’ entails spiritual ‘discerning of spirits’ – a gift of The Holy Spirit.

We must embrace the idea that we are to know THE HEART (their spirit), of the person speaking.

They can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. And the sincerely wrong can have a good heart (spirit). 

Thus discerned – they should not be rejected by us, or dismissed as heretical, because of the one ‘heresy’ we perceive they hold to.

I came across a post, subsequent to my having embraced this American radio host Christian and a lot of his views.

And my openness to him was suddenly challenged by the conclusion of this blogger, who did not speak highly of him.

The one element in all this that I should add, is the fact that I am not from USA, and have a limited grasp of their cultural, religious, and political affairs.

Let’s remember what was said of Steven and take our lead from his life: Acts 6/

Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

Stephen spoke that which was right. But he had his priorities right in that his heart was right with God.

[That’s a lot or ‘rights’].

He was an instrument in God’s hands and incurred opposition, as we will also, if we walk closely with The Lord.

Notice: not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

As I assimilated what this blogger was saying about said broadcaster, I felt no urge consequently, to flee (from listening to his radio show).

The blogger’s decrying of the ‘conspiracy theories’ this radio host was espousing, was not enough to persuade me to debunk the other stuff he was sharing.

As one who usually avoids like the plague anything political – I got interested in the whole ‘vote steal’ battle  and the varying views on both sides of the political divide, in the States. Interested from the ‘truth’ perspective rather than the political.

And in the midst of it all I still remain baffled as an outsider to the situation, why a thorough examination of machines, vote boxes, means of voting and so on never took place?

Am I naive – in thinking that – that could have settled the thing either way?

Well it seems I’m ending on a note I hadn’t planned, ie. a by-path meander into election fraud.

Back to the point – neutral – until we know. Not a bad piece of wisdom in my opinion. Let’s allow The Lord to have the final say: James 1/

19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: