Saturday, 13 June 2009

Finally: Rant 3

Just in case you thought I was all high and mighty and self-opinionated (no to the first two and yes to the latter) then take note. I loved the idea of a play about teenage mums called “Mums and Prams”, by Entertainment MK. I think this kind of media with involvement from young mums themselves is excellent. Well worth a look at on the BBC Beds Herts & Bucks site, which is linked above.

There’s not enough of this kind of media action relating to important issues. I remember when AIDS (now its STDs and teenage pregnancies) was the big news story with information, dis-and mis-information and scaremongering being in every form of media. Finally the hype was toned down and reality and compassion has set in – except from the Pope of course. He doesn’t wear condoms so no one else should? Being factious here I know, but ignorance and religious dogmatics and unrealistic ideology - Don’t do it if you’re a homosexual, and no sex till you’re married, then no contraception, because you’re only supposed to have sex in marriage with the desired outcome of babies - does harm not good. Back to the point. When a media such as drama through live theatre and then recorded theatre takes on issues of importance, especially social issues, there is an opening of awareness and sensibility. From black and white there comes an inlet of colour. A chance to see that there are more than the two sides to a story. A chance to reflect and have empathy and sympathy towards those of us who are not on the high-ladder and living a comfortable and safe life-style. This is not always through choice. Any way, a great idea! 

MY RANT: WHY 2?

In my last blog I was talking about STDs and teenage pregnancies.

Maybe the answer to the why question is the truth that sex is now a commodity, and like alcohol, an addiction.

Without respect for your mind and body there is always going to be this silly way of thinking and behaving.

Of course it is not new. Modern teenagers did not become the first to get drunk, cause mayhem, inflict bodily harm and have unprotected sex with and against each other. It is the social attitude of acceptance to such behaviour that has changed.

This attitude will change in time also, as such behaviour causes health and social policing costs to rise. Once that happens then attitude moves within a society and crass behaviour will be seen as juvenile and not cool and exciting or just a case of adolescence high jinks.

Sex is fun, so is drinking, but irresponsibility when participating in such activities causes so much damage and destruction, with society in general paying for the outcome of such irresponsible behaviour.

Of course it is not just teenagers who behave this way. Twenty, thirty and forty year olds, trying to be "young" again, as if the only proof of youth is sex, misconduct and irresponsible behaviour, are just as stupid in their outlook.

Am I being unfair in saying that people are being stupid. I don't think so. Every thing is permitted but not every thing is good for us! Things are not stupid, people are. The cost far outweighs the benefit. If such action was to be cost-ed out to the individuals involved - health and social costs - then there would be a backlash at first, but maybe there will be thought before action. Thought before self harming and the harming of others. And maybe parents, schools, colleges, universities and employers would change their attitude to turning a blind eye or worse condoning such behaviour as a "jolly jape" or just "youthful expression". One can but hope.

Of course not all teenage mums, single or not, are stupid or irresponsible, and not all teenagers having multi-sexual partners get STDs. And unlike some folks on some blogs I do not want to go back to a time of stigma (for the young mother and the baby) and back-street abortions. And I do not think that young girls get pregnant to get a council house - oh please someone do the research! But I do think that a lot of the young girls who have babies do so because they need unconditional love in their lives. And that is sad. There is no such thing as unconditional love from a new born, nor from many people sadly. There are always conditions. You have to bond with the baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult. For a baby is only a baby for a very short amount of time. The ah factor soon wears thin. You have to give total attention and love and commitment to that child. And many, if not most, young mums do.

The thing that saddens me most is that society takes two options. Blame the girls or blame 'society'. Society being the government, social services, the educational system - I've said all this before. There is no blame, just a attitude deficiency. Changing one's attitude is the hardest thing to do. Rant Over.

MY RANT: WHY?

It was sad to hear that STDs and teenage pregnancy was on the increase.

With so much information out there, why are teenagers being so silly and irresponsible? And what on earth is wrong with parents who encourage their young to be irresponsible? If you are going to allow your under age children to have sex, apart from that in itself being wrong, then for goodness sake help them at least be responsible: for instance parents of Chantell Steadman* must take up some of the responsibility for her sexual behavior – even if the young chap Alfie Patten, who thought he was the father, did take up the responsibility of being a father, good for him, but so young for such an important responsibility and role in life. The fact that the paternity test turned out negative and it was another chaps, one of many it sadly seems, child, does not detract from the sad situation that children so young in this country are behaving so silly.

A baby is not a toy that you give away, or leave it for your relations to 'deal' with when you’re bored with it, or when you find that your life with it is not what you thought it would be. I know many of the young girls who have had babies have coped and survived but… See link* Chantell and Alfie .

Could it be that it’s more exciting to do risky things than sensible things?

Could it be that they feel they are being dangerous and anti-establishment?

Even high risk extreme sports people take the correct precautions, after all they don’t really want to die young or get crippled.

So what’s with taking risks when having sex?

As for bringing a child in the world from a moment of excessive stupidity, what kind of life is that for the mother and the child? Does the man whose sperm fathered the child care – it seems, sadly that most do not; they want to be a “fornicator”, but not a “father”. So why not take responsibility and take precautions? And why, in some cases, leave all the responsibility on the girls shoulders. Take precautions. I repeat take precautions. As for the girls, if the boys are not man enough to take responsibility, talk about such issues with you, then they are not man enough to “fornicate”. There are some young men, and women, who are now either dead - very sad - or suffering because of their, "lets do it bare back" or "lets do it wild" attitude. Leaving behind some very sad families and friends, and even partners and children in some cases.

Sorry for the “f” word, but let’s not use the words “making love” here, because there is no love involved when two people put their health, if not their lives, at risk, as well as the health and the life of a potential living human, a baby, a child, use whatever word you like, by acting irresponsibly and oh so very selfishly.

There has always been teenage pregnancy and STDs, this generation is no cleverer or better at it. The sad thing is that it is now seen as the “in thing” to do. A badge to wear with pride and arrogance. Sad but true. The cost to those who are stupid and irresponsible and to society as a whole will be born out in the next generation, as health costs increase and family unity decreases. Sad, very sad. Rant Over.

Monday, 8 June 2009

The EU Vote, the BNP, UKIP and all that Jazz

After the saga of the EU vote with Labour being decimated and the Tories not exactly cashing in, with Gordon Brown not being shoved out of office and the UK, for the first time in it’s history, electing two BNP fascist members, despite gaining less votes than in 2004, to the EU parliament, along with UKIP gaining another four seats, one could ask where do we go from here? We could dwell on the BNP vote and feel something like akin to the German voters leading up to 1933 elections:

“Not only the economy, but even the spirit of the country was destroyed by the [Re. the UK: corrupt and self-centred parliamentarians] Versailles Treaty of 1919 [Re. the UK: we are not in control of our own country, we are being told what to do by these foreigners – the EU]. Of the nations of Europe, Germany above all had taken pride in its military strength, and now its armies were reduced [Re. the UK: poorly equipped and understaffed, fodder for a war we did not agree with and was waged under a lie]. The new government was weak and many small parties sprang up to oppose it [Re. the UK: the main parties were not for the ordinary Brit and were only in it for themselves. They were not addressing issues that mattered to the ordinary folks]. Family unity shattered as young people lost respect for their parents and began to rebel against them [Re. the UK: respect for law and order is out of the window, respect for the elderly is out of the window, we want it all and we want it now, we are owed a job, a home, a Porsche?, we have a right to have whatever it is we want. We want to start at the top, get that top salary. We want, we want, we want a...] . In short, Germany's faith in itself was shaken deeply by the defeat and its aftermath [of the First World War] [Re. Germany then and the UK now: so they listened to someone who offered them something, anything was better than this. But it was false and based on deceit and hysteria. It is easy to promise anything when you know you can not really deliver – UKIP, LIBDEM, BNP et al]”. Quoted in full, with mv comments in brackets, from Holocaust An End to Innocence by Seymour Rossel, with apologies for taking it out of context.

And my apologies to the UKIP party for I have aliened them akin to the BNP. However, look at the areas were votes were and were not attested by these two parties – I know, I’m a conspiracy theorist.

However in the UK, as in Germany, the main parties and the main institutions had let the average German down. They were in dire straits and no where to go. There was real dissatisfaction then, and there is to some extent the same dissatisfaction now in the UK. The issues that mattered or affected Germany still affect people now.

Issues of immigration, those ‘others’ as then, as is now, was not tackled, or at least it was not seen as being tackled by the main parties. Those others are taking up the jobs, the hospital beds, the school places, getting welfare benefit with out ‘earning’ it or ‘deserving’ it.

Unemployment is on the increase, but the ‘fat cats’ still get their bonuses on their overblown salaries.And worse MPs are exposed as using tax payers money to benefit themselves. So whilst the average worker and unemployed person has to ‘suck it in’ those in power take more.

There are house repossessions but the Government does nothing to really help those that have now become homeless, and in fact therefore can become yet another burden on the tax payer, as they have to most likely go on welfare payments.

When these things happen, when injustice and individualism of greed rears its ugly head, people reflect inwards. They start to blame ‘the others’ for the situation. And when you start to blame others, be it ‘those immigrants’, ‘the Government’, social services, the police and the law courts, or whoever you decide to ‘blame’, you fail to see that there has to be individual accountability as well as ‘collective’ accountability for the situation we are in.

Instead we look for a scapegoat; and Hitler gave the German people one. BNP and UKIP et al are giving us some scapegoats - the EU, the immigrants, the Muslims, the terrorists – oh hang on they’re the Muslims – the gays, the Government, the social services, the bankers, the industrialists, the Europeans, the.. you get my point.

When you are down and out, and I do not mean just literally here, but relatively as well, and life is hard, it’s easy to believe that it’s someone else’s fault or that someone else has got what you should have. The pathetic British Jobs for British Workers slogan, what was Gordon Brown thinking when he said this?, really means British Jobs for British White’s Only. Being British is being banded as being White. But in truth, who can blame those who think that? See this BBC NEWS link for more info.

And that is the point. British people, black and white, Asian or Eastern or European origin, but none the less British [the BNP forget that side of British and they say there can be no black or Asian or middle eastern British – Sarfraz Manzoor] are fed up. Issues that matter to ordinary folk are jobs, homes, law and order, education, health care and access to affordable utilities, where our armed forces are fighting and why, the provisions they are, or are not, getting are issues of concern to the average Brit. The BNP and UKIP got that. The EU vote may have been a backlash towards the Labour Government. Those who voted for the BNP and UKIP may all in fact be nationalists and or fascists in their political stance. The point being is that history is worth looking at, and learning from. Do we always have to keep inventing the wheel? The main political parties are being complacent, are being indifferent and could be made impotent. Maybe that is a good thing? Maybe it is time for radical thinking. Not fascist or racist thinking, not even socialist or far-left thinking, but radical thinking.

Obviously the European Union is important and relevant – even if there is a low vote turnout of some 34.27% in the UK – even if those parties who have seats within in wish to take us out of it. Let’s now forget the hype and concentrate on getting things into perspective and working on things that matter. For me community matters. And diversity is good for communities. That’s how we evolve. That’s how we improve.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

[SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND] Newsletter: SEVEN MISTAKES EVERY CHURCH SHOULD AVOID

[SUBVERSIVE UNDERGROUND] Newsletter: SEVEN MISTAKES EVERY CHURCH SHOULD AVOID
The seven mistakes are:
1. Embracing the building
2. Misrepresenting the tithe
3. Ignoring the poor
4. Over-emphaising the role of the pastor
5.Yearning for political power
6. Business-minded ecclesiology
7. Conversion-focus instead of disciple making

This is interesting. For instance, much has been made of the 'status' of high profile ministers, pastors, or whatever title they use. The focus can sometimes loom towards the personality of the pastor, something that humans have to face, for we all go for different types of personalities, but the image and the manner can and does put people off. Especially if the pastor thinks he is 'the man', 'the dude', and starts to believe in his own infallibility or the hype about him - or her. These preachers are so busy thinking they have been led by the Lord to take the church where they want to take the church - they may have indeed been led by the Lord - that when they turn around they find they've lost the flock, if not the plot. This is because the role of the pastor is over-emphasised (Mistake No 4).

In 'Seven Mistakes Every Church Should Avoid' we are brought back to the basics. Nice. This refocuses attention on what we should be doing as Christians. Where our priorities lie. There are some Christians for instance who are tired of the social message of the gospel. They are fed up with the various programmes of social action that are talked about and put forward. We are however, called not to make the mistake of ignoring the poor (Mistake No 3), we are to remember that we are called to be there for the poor and oppressed. And may I suggest we are also called to 'stick up' for the 'alien', the foreigner, the asylum seeker and the refugee.

I liked the point about churches being conversion-focused rather than discipleship focused. It's easy to get caught up in the emotion and the hype of a church meeting/service. But if so-called spontaneous conversions are not followed through with bible study and fellowship then the so-called believer will drift away or at worst think it's just all about 'them and Jesus'. In truth of course it is about one's relationship with Jesus, but there is more, much more, to it than that.

The point about churches, leaders, yearning for political power (Mistake No 5) is something I am in two minds about. For instance I do not believe that the church, any church denomination, or set of church institutions, should govern. Or try to govern. This leads to theocracy not democracy. Therefore I do not believe that the church should try to 'legislate Christian values'. However good or bad they may seem. Nor how 'Godly' Christians think these values are. I do however believe that Christians can put forward their values, views, ideas and propositions in and through an arena of self-respect. They should endeavour to be lights of Christ in their behaviour and attitude towards each other - in spite of theological differences - as well as in their attitude and behaviour towards those who have a different 'belief' viewpoint. This is not blind tolerance but subjective tolerance. For as those in other situations have found, once an absolute is in power, then free will is subverted. And this could end up being my free will, or your free will, that is subverted. Alternatives to so called un-Christian behaviour can be found that is not, and does not have to be, imposed through legislative measures. As I said. interesting.