Tag Archives: travel


The following is a guest post written by David Welford. The only islands I’ve ever been to are the Florida Keys. – Anthony Baker

I have a natural affinity for islands. I grew up on a small island called Guernsey, and moved to the rather larger island of Great Britain when I was eleven years old. Since then I have visited many islands, my preference being for the smaller variety.

Newfoundland, while interesting, was just too big. Guernsey, measuring just eight miles by five, was perfect. But then I am biased in favor of my childhood home.

There are smaller islands close to Guernsey that are wonderful for a day visit, but living permanently on a very small island poses certain challenges including food supplies, schooling, and social interaction.

Last week I visited Madeira for the first time. Madeira is a Portuguese island that rises steeply from the Atlantic Ocean and has a population of roughly 280,000. To me that is a lot of people, but the island itself is small enough to get around.

Madeira is very rugged and very green. Everything seems to grow in abundance despite the gradients, and everywhere I went the land seemed to have been terraced to maximize the space available for crops.

Accessibility to islands like Madeira is not always easy. There is an airport in Madeira but until the runway was extended a few years back the safety reputation of the airport was not good. There is a small harbor where cruise ships call, but there is no ferry service.

For some reason Madeira has an attraction for the elderly, and I was one of the youngest passengers on my flights to and from the island. I guess the young head to more exciting places.

In some ways churches resemble islands. There are small and large churches, and there are churches that only seem to attract the elderly, while others appeal to the young.

A certain commitment is required to visit church, and significant journeys can be required because fewer churches seem to be inhabited these days.

In some churches there is evidence of abundant growth, but others resemble the desert islands that are visible from the south coast of Madeira where nothing grows.

Problems also occur when churches become exclusive – a bit like islands that fall into celebrity ownership, with Necker in the Caribbean being a prime example. The only way to visit Necker is as a guest or employee of a certain Sir Richard Branson.

While certain types of island attract many visitors, it seems that few churches have much to offer to the world these days. I find myself increasingly drawn to the New Testament model of church where many small islands of faith appeared in an ocean of unbelief and opposition, and grew because friends and neighbors could see Jesus in the lives of their friends and neighbors.
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I am aware that this post poses questions without providing answers, but as my thoughts travelled between islands and church I found myself challenged about church in general, the church I belong to, and the home group I attend once a fortnight.

I think the main challenge is to continue being challenged and asking questions, rather than trying to work out what type of island my church might be. But, if my church is not a place where Jesus can be found and disciples are being grown then it is no better than a desert island, regardless of how many inhabitants it might have.

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47 NLT)



Filed under Christianity, Countries, General Observations, Life Lessons, places, Vacation

Anthony’s Appetite (Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q)


I may have known in the past, but I have forgotten what Bar-B-Q stands for. I don’t know why it is spelled that way, or why other people spell it BBQ. Some people spell it out as Barbecue, but it’s all the same – good eat’n!

If you don’t know what BBQ is, then you may not be from the South…or West…or East…or anywhere animals are smoked and cooked and eaten with coleslaw and banana pudding. One thing’s for sure, if you have never eaten BBQ, you may not be American.

Decatur, Alabama

Not long ago we went to Decatur, Alabama, which is just a few miles southwest of Huntsville, the place with space and rocket museum. Decatur is also the home of Cooks Pest Control.

Back in the mid-90’s I worked for Cooks in Chattanooga, but had to train in Decatur for a month. While at the home office’s training facility, we were encouraged to go to Big Bob’s Bar-B-Q. We were told it was required of us, in order to be good employees, to eat one of Big Bob’s stuffed baked potatoes. We did, and I never forgot it.

That is why when I visited Decatur this time with my family, it was imperative that we go back and eat another potato. You, the reader, needed to hear about it.

Big Spud

Let me tell you, if you want to eat the best Bar-B-Q in the world, Big Bob’s is out to convince you theirs is it. If nothing else, they have the awards and the big-time recognition to back up their claims. But whether or not their BBQ is the best, they have a serious stuffed potato.

This huge potato comes with your choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, or chicken. Under that is cheese, sour cream, butter, and a few other goodies. Believe me, it is a meal and a half. Just don’t eat it if you are on a carb-free diet.


I won’t say that Big Bob’s is the best BBQ in the world, but it is pretty dang good. And if you want a potato that will hold a quarter of a pig, then Big Bob’s is a place you need to try at least once. You won’t regret it.


Filed under Food, places

Monday Monkey (#26) and the 300th Post!

Last week it was 20,000 views.

This week it is our

300th Post!


And, to beat all, the 300th post on The Recovering Legalist is not going to be serious or controversial, but fun and educational. It’s a Monday Monkey video!


This week my family and I went out of town for a couple of days. We went to Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama. While in Decatur we stayed at the Marriott Courtyard and had a half tank of gasoline stolen, ate barbecue, went to my old employer’s bug museum, and tried to work on several papers that need to be completed before week’s end.

Hey, for the record, I normally use iMovie to do my video, but then end of this video features a piece done on the Socialcam app.

Also, here’s a shout out and hello to Gage, a little boy we met in Cook’s Natural Science Museum. He was brave enough to have his picture made with a weird man and a monkey, but his little brother chickened out. And also for the record, his mom gave us permission to take the picture. Thank’s to the mom and granny persons 🙂

Also, on our way home, we drove by the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

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Filed under Humor, Monday Monkey, places, Uncategorized