The Highland Games
June 29, 2008

Yesterday we visited the Ceres highland games. This is an amazing event that has been held annually every year since it was commissioned by King Robert Bruce in 1315. The games themselves are a centerpiece of the town. We asked one gentleman working at the games how long he had been coming to them and his answer was "all me life, I've been coming ".

The games contain such contests as tug o' war, dancing, wrestling, tossing the caber, throwing the bell, Racing, and many more things. One instrument of battle used in the games is a giant 80 pound ball that is to be tossed as far as possible by the contestant. The particular ball here at Ceres has been used in every set of games for one hundred and five years or so! It is like stepping into a time machine to see all the strapping men in kilts throwing giant logs, pieces of mettle and anything else available.

Towards the end of the games a contingent of our men from the tour whent down into the arena and begain to try their hand at a few of the contests such as tossing the stone, and flinging iron bells. We had our own meny games in the middle of the arena. One of the gentlemen in charge of the games came up and congratulated us on our beginnings and began to tell "a wee' bit a' boot' tha' games". It was a tremendous thing to get to hurl giant stones over a field beside giant Scotsman dressed for battle.

Tug o' war.

The first lift of the log.

Final throw.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 06:48 PM |

Our Journey By Train
June 24, 2008

Saturday morning we were up bright and early once again. This time for our five hour train ride fro London to Edinburgh. The train station was almost like an airport, except solely for the purpose of ground transportation. Carrying twelve peoples luggage onto a train is quite an experience! Thankfully we (and all our baggage) did make it onto our train in time.

Waiting to see the time our train arrives.

The Station.

The trains already in the station.

The view from one of the windows.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 05:30 PM |

Day Two; Continued
June 24, 2008

Here are a couple more images from our time in London.

One of the Queen's Guards.

Th Churchill museum and cabinet war rooms.

The Old Bulldog himself.

The view of Big Ben from Trafalgar Square.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 04:51 PM |

Two of My Faverite Statues In London
June 24, 2008

The great Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of The English realm.

Richard the Lion Hearted.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 04:28 PM |

England: Day Two 6-20-08
June 24, 2008

Today after a good night sleep we were rarin' and ready to go. Our first stop was Trafalgar Square. This is an amazing homage to the British Empire. Every corner of the square is representative of the conquerer and the conquered. The main statue is of the Admiral Lord Nelson, whose victory at Trafalgar purchased another century of British colonial rule.

The Lord Nelson statue.

Washington in Trafalgar Square.

Liberty, Jubilee and Providence enjoying the view.

On top of the one of the Lions of England.

Charles I of England. This statue was made in 1633 for the lord Treasurer Weston. It was officially set up in the square in 1675.

A common sign here in London.

The great General Clive.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 01:00 AM |

England: First Stop British Museum
June 19, 2008

This morning we landed at 8:30 England time in Heathrow airport. What an adventure! Nine hours on the plane and we were ready to disembark. Once we got off of the plane (a giant 777) we boarded two taxies for our quaint little hotel. After dropping off our luggage our first stop (of course) was the British Museum. What an amazing place! It would take me days to tell about the "3%" that we did see. For right now here are some images. If time allows I would like to cover this subject more.

Very thankful to be on the ground once again.

"Welcome to Britain"

The British Museum.

One of my favorite rooms in the museum.


Posted by Joshua Phillips at 11:01 PM |

Scotland, Here We Come
June 18, 2008

Today we leave for Scotland. Huzzah! At last on our way for the home of heroes such as Wallace, Bruce, and even our much beloved Ballantyne. My family will arrive at Heathrow airport, London, and then intend to do some scouting in the area, before heading out to Edinburgh, Scotland. Some of the locations we hope to visit during the first few days include Trafalgar square, Runnymede and Kensington Palace.

After we finish in the London area, we will take the five-hour train straight to Edinburgh. Then the Scotland Faith and Freedom Tour will officially start. My father, Douglas Phillips, will be leading the tour. He will be joined by Christian historians Bill Potter and Dr. Joe Morecraft. We will also have the great honor of traveling with award-winning filmmaker and native Scotsman, Colin Gunn, and with my favorite balladeer, Mr. Charlie Zahm.

My father describes our adventure thus,

Our journey will take us through nearly two thousand years of Scottish history. We will visit Roman ruins, stand where the Druids built their ancient monoliths, voyage to the island where Christianity was birthed in Great Britain, survey the land of the Covenanters, immerse ourselves in the lives of Knox and the Reformers, study heroes of Scottish Christian literature, walk on the battlefields of the Bravehearts, explore ancient castle after castle, delve into the lives of the most effective missionaries in history, and even search for the Loch Ness monster. We will learn of Scottish queens, Pictish warriors, and dragon legends that reinforce the biblical account of the post-Flood world. And before the week is over, we will sample haggis and attend the oldest Highland games in the world -- founded by Robert the Bruce and held consecutively every year (except for war) since 1315.

Please continue to join me here at for my day by day journey into Scotland's past. Each day of my journey I hope to be posting pictures, film clips and stories from the tour. Make sure to visit, and keep sending your questions and comments. I will try to answer them from Scotland as much as is possible.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 01:30 PM |

Some of the Men That Will Make This Tour a Tremendous Adventure
June 18, 2008

Charlie Zahm
Charlie Zahm: America's (and now Scotland's) favorite balladeer.

Dr. Joe Morecraft.

Award-winning filmmaker and native Scotsman, Colin Gunn.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 12:35 PM |

New Book Review of Gascoyne
June 17, 2008

I just put up a new book review of one of Ballantyne's really interesting works, Gascoyne. I really enjoyed the special twists that Ballantyne put in the plot.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 05:19 PM |

Book Review of Gascoyne

By Hannah H. — June 17, 2008

Sandy Cove is an English settlement located on a small island in the South Pacific. Amid the grand mountain scenery and rich tropical vegetation [Read more...]

Memories of Jamestown
June 15, 2008

One year ago today was the final day of the Jamestown Quadricentennial celebration. An exhilarating week of storytelling, meeting great men from both the present and past, and most of all exulting in God's mercy and faithfulness was finally coming to a glorious finish, literally ending with a bang. An incredible fireworks display finished off the event, coming right after the the play depicting the Marriage of Pocahontas.

Looking back on the event, here are some of the highlights that stood out to me: Hearing inspiring songs from Charlie Zahm, such as Dixie and the Blacksmith of Brandywine, stirred us to greater heights of courageous manliness. I also got to shake the hands of great men who spoke and taught at the Jamestown Quadricentennial, like Mr. Phillips, Dr. Morecraft, and Col. Eidsmoe. As they took me back into history I also got to "meet" the great men and the Christians of the past. Two characters from history (John Smith and President Theodore Roosevelt) were wonderfully brought back to life by the skilled reenactors who illustrated them so well. I had the privilege of meeting and shaking the hand of Mr. Harrison Tyler, the grandson of the 10th President of the United States, John Tyler.

The J400 treasure hunt added an extra element of excitement to the event and had practically all of Fort Pochahontas and Williamsburg crawling with treasure hunters.

All in all it was one of the most exciting weeks of my life, and one that I will look forward to telling my children about. Lord willing, I would be there for Jamestown's Quincentennial!

By Noah Botkin

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 11:44 PM |

Counting Down: 10 Days Until The Scotland Tour
June 13, 2008

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 06:08 PM |

G.A. Henty Radio Show: True To The Old Flag
June 11, 2008

Today my friend Lucas Botkin and I will be interviewed on the radio with Mr. Bill Potter by Adam McManus. This is part of a series of "G. A. Henty" interviews that we have been doing over the course of last six months. The subject for today is one of G.A. Henty's more contreversial books, True to The Old Flag. We hope to be able to elaborate on Henty's British view of the American War for Independence.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 01:14 PM |

The Jamestown Gathering: One Year Ago Today
June 11, 2008

Today is the one year anniversary of the gathering at Jamestown and Fort Pocahontas in Virginia, commemorating The four-hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown. My Dad has put up a post on his blog commemorating this event.

They came from nearly fifty states--four thousand men, women, and children. They came to celebrate the providential origins of our nation on the 400th birthday of the founding of Jamestown. They came to give America a birthday party dedicated to the glory of God. And from the opening ceremonies which involved the reenactment of the "First Landing" on Monday, June 11th, to the glorious closing fireworks on the evening of Saturday, June 16th, the Christian families in attendance prayed, played, feasted, and rejoiced. By God's grace. the event was blessed from beginning to end, and the Lord alone recived the glory, honor, and praise.

The Jameston Quadricentennial: A Celebration of Our Providential History was the most significant and far reaching event in the history of Vision Forum Ministries. Designed to be a distinctively Christian birthday party which took the best of the great traditions of centennial celebrations past, the event exceeded all of our expectations for its beauty and power as a testimony of the mighty hand of God in history. May the Lord Jesus Christ be praised for His loving kindness and His mercies. . .

Over the course of the week celebrants dedicated an historic monument, attended more than twenty-five lectures and reenactments. They watched "The Marriage of Pocahontas," met the grandson of the tenth President of the United States, shook hands with President Theodore Roosevelt, and dialogued with Princess Pocahontas. Some of them searched for answers to an historic mystery, and one of those treasure hunting sleuths became the "Fifth Trustee" and heir to a cache of four hundred gold coins. Celebrants listened to the blast of the cannons, the sounds of fifes and drums, and they gathered under the evening sky for a simply spectacular fireworks display. . .

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 10:52 AM |

Ballantyne's Influence On Henty
June 10, 2008

Did Ballantyne influence Henty to start writing his books, or did Henty influence Ballantyne? Erin Go Bragh! G. B.

Regrettably there is no evidence that Ballantyne knew Henty. It is true, though, that Henty read some of Ballantyne's works and Referenced Ballantyne in his book For Name and Fame. G. A. Henty says (speaking of the Boys' Schools of the time) "Among the books [that the boys had] were Robinson Crusoe, Midshipman Easy, Peter Simple, three or four of Cooper's Indian tales . . . and Ballantyne's books. These opened a wonderland of life and adventure to the boys." (Page 35, chapter two, published by Robinson Books.)

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 12:41 PM |

Winner of The Week.
June 10, 2008

I recently finished reading "The Coral Island" and I wanted to share some thoughts that I had concerning the book.

In the latter half of the book, Ralph Rover (the main character) has witnessed several instances of bloodshed and violence done by the savages. Ralph is thinking what an awful thing it is that it is possible for men to come to such hardness of heart and callousness towards scenes of bloodshed and violence. Ralph then thought how constant exposure to scenes of violence was having a slight effect upon him and he realized that he too was becoming callous.

Reading this caused me to think how true this was and how Christians must be careful and constantly on our guard that we do not become desensitized to things of this world. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

Becoming conformed to this world is so easy to do if we are not careful to keep "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2) Savannah

Thank you, Savannah, for this important insight. There is godly violence and then there is ungodly violence. The man of God must be ready to act, even using force if necessary, in defense of women and children. But even where force is necessary, we should never develop a thirst for bloodshed. This has been a trait of pagan societies. Your application of Ballantyne's point is spot on. We are to set an example to the world and show ourselves faithful to Christ---this means that we keep a balanced perspective on this issue. .

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 12:16 PM |

Counting Down: 15 Days Until The Scotland Tour
June 08, 2008

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 04:21 PM |

Author and Illustrator
June 07, 2008

Here is one of Ballantyne's own illustrations from The Coral Island. Published by Thomas Nelson and Sons, first edition 1857.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 03:25 PM |

June 04, 2008

Due to last night's elections and the political commentary buzzing today, our Henty radio show has been postponed until next Wednesday. Join us then!

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 02:25 PM |

A King's Birthday
June 04, 2008

Two hundred and seventy years ago today King George III (June 4 1738-Jan 29 1820) of England was born. This was The Man who would win the Seven Years' War, and an empire, but lose his American colonies.

Today my friend Lucas Botkin and I will be interviewed on the radio with Mr. Bill Potter by Adam McManus. This is part of a series of "G. A. Henty" interviews that we have been doing over the course of last six months. The subject for today is one of G.A. Henty's more contreversial books True to The Old Flag. We hope to be able to elaborate on Hentys British view of the American War for Independence.

King George III, <em>c</em>. 1800. King George III, c. 1800.

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 10:52 AM |

Counting Down: 20 Days Until The Scotland Tour
June 03, 2008

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 04:00 PM |

"I Fall Into the Hands of Pirates"
June 02, 2008

I love the illustrations that are in the Ballantyne books. In the nineteen ten's and twenties Blackie and sons publishing house ran a printing of many of Ballantynes best stories. This particular edition would have a really great color image on first page of each book. Here is one of them:

Posted by Joshua Phillips at 03:27 PM |