Saturday, 18 September 2010

Halloween

I found this site for info about Halloween and thought it was pretty good.  It comes from the Woodlands Junior School site which is always very interesting, I used it a lot for information on the church newsletter I used to produce.

Must say that Halloween is more of an American phenomenon, but we Brits have taken it on board big time.  Ghosts and stuff well, what ever rocks your boat, remember that there are goodies and baddies in the 'other world'. 

I personally believe in Angels and Spirits, or ghosts if you like, so I do not meddle in the super-natural, my religion says it is a dangerous thing, and that I should not be tempted to take part in such activities; I believe that if you are not careful you could end up in a situation that is well beyond your control, another debate for another day.

So is Halloween just harmless fun?  Is it pagan and satanic as some people claim?  Apparently not according to this site, I guess it depends on what you believe and how you use the tradition. 

Personally I would stress the fun side and the fact that if you want real spooky things then how about Jesus raising from the dead and wandering around for forty days, appearing out of the blue and eating with people?  Beats Halloween spookiness for me :)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Talking and Listening 2

In ‘Why Bother with Theology’, Alex Wright makes a point that both the institutional and evangelical Church should listen more because “…theologians seem reluctant to acknowledge legitimacy and truth other than where it was found in biblical authority, canon law and Church doctrine.  The consequences are that theology can often seem out of touch as the social and sexual morality of church leaders.  Those church officers are left without precisely the resources that they need in order to make sense of society today, with the still further ramifications that nobody cares or in fact knows about what Christianity may have to contribute to the constructive ordering of our world.”  (Wright, p15, 2002)

There is much to be said for Wrights comment, but it is also important that theologians do become so secular minded that they lose sight of the message of the Bible.

The message is not nice and easy to listen to.  The message questions our ways and asks us to look and listen to find out what God’s way is.   Of course those outside the Biblical teachings may not wish to heed the Message or the Word.  H0wever even those not wishing to heed the Word they have to accept that the Biblical scriptures have moulded the western world through the application of its laws and moral codes of behaviour.  All are affected and effected by the Bible.

But it is not the only source of information, and both sides have to listen as well as talk.

Listening and Talking

In today’s modern world of high technological  communications one wonders if the human race has lost the art of listening to each other – are we so busy “saying something” that we no longer really hear what is being said to us?

We may be able to contact one-another more easily, but is the content so superficial, that meaningful dialogue has become an art, or even obsolete?

Christ spoke often, and clearly, using parables to explain or reiterate what he was saying.  He also listened very carefully to what was being said to him.

Dialogue based on self-definition and ideas is obviously not wrong, but how often do we repeat what what we’ve been told, only to find out the we hadn’t got it quite right, in fact we seemed to have totally missed the point or meaning of the conversation.

Misunderstandings arise from this, it could be that we really did not understand what was being said to us, or it could be, which is more likely, that we were so busy with our own thoughts that we failed to listen properly.

When people say that dialogue is useless, impossible, pointless or irrelevant to a situation, then what they are saying is that their way is the only way, their voice is the only voice; in most cases it is the only voice they want to hear.  And if two people are talking together are both taking that stance what happens next is…conflict, violence even war.

Yes we have to have strong positions to work from in our lives, be it family, social or political standpoints.  But strong does not always mean right.

We know someone can can hurt us by what they say and their actions, we know that they might well hurt us with out provocation, and of course we would not do that would we?  We would not strike out for no reason at all would we?

We would only strike out because we felt threatened, hurt, rejected, frustrated, or simply because we were made to look foolish or powerless.

So maybe we strike out first, so none of the above things happen to us, and thus we prevent ourselves from being hurt: therefore attack is the best, no the only form of defence.  We stop listening and just act.  Because what we want and what we believe in is the only thing that matters.

If you are a Politian or someone in religious authority, you might well say that it’s the best for the country, best for your people, best for the other people that you are not listening to.  At the end of the day though you are acting on your wishes alone.  You say in your heart that you know you are right.  So does the other person.

Dialogue fails if we know we have contributed to the mess, the aggravation, despotism and tyranny, and we don’t want to admit that we could be, was, wrong.  To admit one had made a mistake, was wrong, an error of judgement, to have acted out of self-greed and influence of more aspirations of power  is very hard.  But once you say it out loud, the fear of being seen as foolish, the pride that prevents you from saying your were wrong, that all subsides.  Then you can start talking from a different stance, one that will open up people’s ears and minds to listen.

People, having heard the truth, can then decide what to do, they can judge the situation better, and so can you, this is putting free will into action.  Having truth and reacting to it.  And if this is allowed to happen, I believe you will see a different perspective and outcome, and dialogue can and will take a different course.

Monday, 13 September 2010

A Sunday Message Monday

Moving away from the stress.

Stress is so common amongst westerners that there is no wonder there are so many specialists and self-help books.  And they all tell us the same thing, in order to de-stress your self you have to…

That’s where Jesus differed from the chattering classes of his day. He did not say you have to…he said to those who had heavy burdens, heavy hearts if you like, stress in their lives that was wearing them down, worries that were eating away at them, he said “come to me and I will give you rest. Do what I tell you. Learn what I teach you. I am gentle. I am not proud.  Then your hearts will rest, for what I tell you to do is easy, what I give you to carry is not heavy.” Matthew 11:28-30 Worldwide English (New Testament) Version

Maybe you know this version better:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 KJV

In other words you don’t have to do it all yourself, go to the Lord in prayer and ask him to help you.  All those of us who are weary and burdened do not have to de-stress ourselves alone, we have been given the opportunity of the Gospel to go to Jesus.   Ask him for help.  He will help you.

Ask the Lord to help you with the things that are going on in your life.  Maybe you are holding on to things that are burdensome and weighing you down.  Ask the Lord to take them from you, direct yourself towards the Gospel.

Remember to treat others as you would have them treat you!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

9/11

Least we forget.  Those who died did not do wrong.  Those who died were not evil.  Those who died will never be forgotten by those who knew them and loved them.

This applies to all people who have died in the sadistic, satanic and evil actions of terrorists.  Even if those terrorists though they were martyrs of righteousness.    Even if those terrorists were, in their minds, killing, maiming, destroying human life in the name of justice and retribution.  Their ways will always be the wrong way.

War is also an act of murder when the violence is proscribed towards civilians.  The weapons of mass destruction have taken the warfare out of war between two opposing armies and put warfare into the physical hands of politicians, who sit comfortably in their armchairs whilst destruction and death fall down upon civilians. 

Not for them the smell of blood and death.  Like the generals of old sitting comfortably away from the action as the armed forces thundered into battle with bullets and bombs going off all around them.  Keep your nerves boys they said as they poured out their port.  Won’t be long now till this glorious battle has been won and I collect my medal and the glory and the praise.

The same for the wars of today.  The glory and the honour is soaked up by the politicians.  Where are the scars of battle on the likes of the Bush’s, father and son, and Blair?  Did they hear the screams of the children and woman?  Did they rush to the aid of a dying comrade?  Comfortable chairs and a nice glass of port.  Plenty of time to write their new books.

The religious fanatics who dance to the death of the others, they are no better than the Blairs’ and the Bushs’.  They too sit in their opulence safety, worshipped by people who should really know better.  The Popes of the Crusades, the Nazi’s of past.  All to the distant sounds of death did they laugh.  The new Popes and Nazis are walking around, and to the sound of death they too do laugh.

We are not laughing, we are just numb.  That in this day and we could be so dumb.  Fight for the glory, fight the soul, fight for the freedom, which you will then control, but whatever you do, as you sip your next glass, make sure others do the fighting for you, so you don’t feel the draft of death creeping up upon you, ready to pounce, to devour your life.   You sing to the tune of freedom for all, but only the freedom that is worthy to you.  Where were you in Zimbabwe and Somalia too, in other countries where your ‘brothers’ rule?

Where are you when oil and diamonds and rich minerals and gold are not  in those countries where you could be bold?  Not for  those peoples do you sing to the tune of freedom, nor do you send others to sing or to dance,  you who do this are the least worthy of men.  Whatever you do, do not get out of your chair, or walk to the window and hear the cries, for indeed  you may catch a glance of the dead and smell the blood and hear their cries.  Death is your hero, but you are not wise.  Sad human you are. Sick in spirit and soul.  Be you religious or atheist I care not to know.  Your deeds have been written your words have been heard.   Sit in your chair do not move at all, the one thing we do know is that death takes us all.

In memory of those who did not chose to die and those that did in the false belief that they had the right to kill.  And to hope that one day good will triumph over evil, and knowing that not all who say they are good are good, and that not all we think are bad are bad. 

In loving memory of the wisdom of my Dad – George Donald Parker.

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Cuts Are Here

Yo Ho Ho Off We Go!

Where can we get money from now? I know we'll stop all projects that might actually help the working people out there, and especially those single parents, and benefit layabouts. Yo Ho Ho Off We Go!

Play areas and Youth Club have been cancelled and closed in my area, just when it was looking like there would be something for children and teenagers to do rather than just roam the streets - thank you ConDems at Brighton & Hove. Yo Ho Ho Off We Go, who can we take money and facilities off of now?

I know, care homes, carers, the sick and the ill, anybody who we decide is not good enough to to be one of us ConDems. Yo Ho Ho Off We Go!