Tuesday, 21 July 2009


Some angelic trivia:
1.The word angel comes from the Greek “angelos” meaning “messenger.”
2. Despite numerous references in the Bible to angels, none says explicitly that they have wings
Angels are numberless and arranged in angelic orders. There are nine orders Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones contemplate God and reflect his glory.
Dominions, Virtues and Powers regulate the stars and the universe
Principalities, Archangels and angels who minister to humanity. (Ephesians 1 v21)
3.The devil is an angel- a fallen angel. He led the angelic revolt.
4.There is no known reference to a female angel- maybe they are genderless.
5. Archangel Michael is the most senior angel, with Gabriel ranked below him. Both are mentioned in the Bible. Other high ranking angels include Raphael (who is mentioned in the Apocrypha) and Unez, Chamuel, Jophiel and Zadkiel (who are all mentioned in Enoch).
6. According to 14th century members of the Jewish Kabbalah sect, the total number of angels is 301,655,722.
7. St Patrick spent 40 days in retreat on the Crough Patrick Mountain, fasting and praying with tears that Ireland might be delivered from the hands of the pagans. Every night an angel appeared to him with more and more promises from God arising from his prayers. Patrick stubbornly refused to leave the mountain until all his prayers were answered including that at the last judgement Patrick himself should be appointed to pronounce judgement on the Irish people. Finally he was assured by the angel that all his prayers had been heard and he descended the mountain pausing only to preach a sermon in which he cast the snakes (meaning the serpent symbolism of the Irish pagans) out of Ireland.
8. In 596 Pope Gregory I spotted some Angles (British) boys who have been bought to Rome and being told they are pagan “angli” the pope exclaimed “They are not Angles but Angels”. Inspired he instructed the respected abbot, Augustine to lead a mission to convert Britain. Within a few years much of southern Britain was Christianised.
9. William Blake (1957-1827), the painter, engraver and mystic described in later life the visionary experiences he had as a child, including visions of angels in a tree and the prophet, Ezekiel in a field.
10. The Angels of Mons became famous after a Fleet Street description by Arthur Machen of an angelic vision during the British retreat from Mons in 1914. Machen later said he made the story up, but many soldiers described a similar experience.
11. The first Russian astronaut told his communist masters that he didn’t see any angels when he went into space.
12. Pope John Paul II confirmed his belief in angels in 1986 when he explained: “They are invisible, for they are purely spiritual beings.”
13. Two Quotes: GK Chesterton: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”
Psalm 91 v11 “For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”
Check out my Encyclopedia of Church History blog for more.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Songfacts 2

Here are some highlights from my latest batch of Songfacts.

1. Jamie T's EP Sticks 'N' Stones was the British hip-hop artist's first release since his 2007 Panic Prevention album. He told Q magazine about the title track: “I think it sounds a bit like The Police. It’s about travelling on the train and reminiscing about things I’ve seen on the line, like running away from gangs down side alleys.”

2. "She’s a Genius" is the first single taken from Australian rock band Jet’s third studio album, Shaka Rock. Drummer Chris Cester told Billboard that this track is “about a girl who does things that just take it to the next level in your mind.”

3. "Never Would've Made It", Marvin Sapp 2008 record-breaking tune, is the first song by a gospel artist to sell over 1 million ringtones.

4. David Bowie explained on the VH1 Storytellers series that he penned his 1976 track "Word on a Wing" as a prayer to see him through the period when a debilitating coke addiction had him flirting with fascism and black magic.

5. "Over You", was the first single taken from British rock band Roxy Music’s seventh studio album, Flesh + Blood. It reached #5 in the UK and #80 in the US. Guitarist Phil Manzanera recalled to The Mail on Sunday: “In 1979, I had just built my first recording studio and I rang up Bryan (Ferry) and asked if he’d like to check it out. We decided to have a jam together, Bryan on bass and me on guitar with a rhythm box. Within five minutes we had written this track.”

6. "Porcelain" was released as the sixth single from American electronic artist Moby’s sixth studio album, Play. It reached #5 in the UK. The song’s popularity was enhanced by being featured on the soundtrack of the 2000 movie The Beach and in the UK it became Moby’s highest charted song to date. Moby recalled to Rolling Stone: “Strangely enough, that's probably the most signature song on the record, and I actually had to be talked into including it. When I first recorded it, I thought it was average. I didn't like the way I produced it, I thought it sounded mushy, I thought my vocals sounded really weak. I couldn't imagine anyone else wanting to listen to it. When the tour for Play started, "Porcelain" was the song during the set where most people would get a drink. But then Danny Boyle put it in the movie The Beach with Leo DiCaprio. It was Leo DiCaprio's first film since Titanic and everyone went to go see it. He used the music so well in the movie. I think that's when a lot of people became aware of the record.”

7. Vincent Price recorded the central spoken section of "Thriller" on his second take, after it had been written by Rod Temperton in the taxi on the way to the studio for the recording session.

8. In the US Michael Jackson's Bad long player is the only studio album to have spawned five #1 singles. The chart-toppers in question are “Bad,” “I Just Can‘t Stop Loving You,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,”“Man In The Mirror” and “Dirty Diana.”

9. Bulletproof by La Roux debuted at #1 in the UK in the week that Michael Jackson died, so it was apt that a Jackson, in this instance La Roux vocalist Elly Jackson, was involved in that week’s premier song.

10. Canadian rapper Drake is the nephew of former Sly & the Family Stone member and solo R&B star Larry Graham.

11. Lady Gaga's hit "Poker Face" reigned for 16 non-consecutive weeks on top of the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles chart. It was the longest-running pan-European # 1 single since Kylie Minogue's "Can‘t Get You Out Of My Head" completed 16 consecutive weeks at the summit in January 2002.

12. Mariah Carey’s husband, Nick Cannon, told MTV News that the main inspiration for her song "Obsessed" was a Lindsay Lohan movie. He said: "To be completely honest, she did the record 'cause she's a huge fan of this movie Mean Girls, and there's a line in the movie where one of the girls is like, 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' She says that at the beginning of the song, and that's where the concept came from. But you know, art imitates life."