Wednesday, 29 June 2016
It's all very well being positive. Positive is good - no-one wants to be moaned at all the time. Counting your blessings. That's good too. I'm all for it. Most of us are a lot better off than we realise and it does no-one any harm to stop and take stock and be grateful.
Last week, I was re-reading a book that had got on my nerves a bit the first time. But, my multiple insecurities disorder always tells me that, in all circumstances, I am incorrect and everyone else is right so I tried it again. There is this bit in it where this woman realises that she is very ill - she's not dying or anything but she's definitely ill and she grasps the table whispering - with her very shallow, ailing breath. "Gratitude to God - at all times." Well she is either amazing or mentally unwell. I would be whispering "999. Please dial. Quick as you can" but I suppose I'm just self centred.
We have to be honest I think. It is not great faith to keep saying that everything is top-notch when it quite clearly isn't. It is weird.
In Britain at the moment lots of things are rubbish. We have no Prime Minister (well there's David Cameron but he's just thinking about retirement in Cornwall now.) There is no effective opposition party. (Unless you include a Labour leader who seems to be spending all his time with his arms and legs wrapped around the nearest chair leg shouting "I won't go and you can't make me.") All the Shadow Cabinet have resigned leaving just three people to run from room to room putting different hats on quickly depending on which department they are in charge of today. There's Nigel Farage. Lets just leave that one as it is. I just can't, to be frank. And this is all before we get to your actual Exit negotiations, casual racism, Nicola Sturgeon's steely glint and the England Football Team. And people keep standing up and saying "Don't worry. Everything is fine." Well it isn't is it? If you are a praying person - our nation could do with some now. I'm not very good at praying for England. I'm better with people I know and love. (Or people I don't love which I only tend to do because God is pestering me to.) But I love Great Britain. I am grateful to be from here. And it's not good at the moment.
There's a bit in Matthew in the Bible where Jesus tells his disciples that with God they can tell a mountain to move and it will move. We take God seriously - amazing things happen. However, first you have to agree that there is a mountain. It's no good keep trudging forward and pretending it's not there - you will bump into it and have a nasty scrape on your nose. If life is awful. If something is wrong, we need to say so. Pretending is not exercising your faith, it's acting. It doesn't give God any credit either. Because it doesn't matter how bad it is - God can do something about it. We don't need to pretend that things are better than they are. God is not afraid of my problem. So we can admit it. Admit that it is a mess and we don't know how we can solve it. It's not just about national and international things - it's about you and me and the day to day. It's no good whistling a happy tune and getting on with it. Be honest with God - if necessary until snot comes down your nose. We should be counting our blessings by all means but we also need to say when it's rubbish, then pray when it's rubbish. That way, we get to see the mountain and get the privilege of seeing it move as well.
“Because you’re not yet taking seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matt 17 v 20
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Anyway, time will tell I suppose. I have seen the accusations of racism and it's not really something I have some across. I just think some evil genius somewhere is congratulating him/herself on the way that people felt that the economic misery of their lives was down to the EU and not successive British Governments who have largely ignored the poor and the working class unless they were searching out people to press the demands of the austerity budget upon.
Everything that has happened since has left me vaguely uncomfortable. I'm not very good with bad feeling. I'm not happy with people using that bad word about Boris Johnson or booing him as he got into his car. I don't really feel that this thing should be done again until we get a different result - no matter what the petitions say. So what to do? The future that people like Boris or Nigel envisage for us is not a future I am interested in.
So maybe it is time to put our money where our mouth is. If we don't want to see refugees treated badly or even students or foreign workers - then we need to work to make sure that doesn't happen. If we want a kinder, less exclusive society, the what are we prepared to do to achieve it? And if we understand why the poor and the disabled and those who shop at food banks were so angry - how does that stir us into action?
Because in the end, it is all about the love. I watched Samantha Cameron watch her husband, going through agonies because she loves him. I thought it might be the first real positive emotion I had seen all the way through this rubbish.
I am unhappy and a bit scared. We have no idea how this will land and the people who were so keen on it haven't got the faintest idea either. But I'm a Christian in I'm asked to have faith. Not in a dodgy system or ideology but in a God who loves me. That will be my starting point I think.
Thursday, 23 June 2016
So the Polling Day comes to an end and I think we are all glad to see the back of it. I have found the last few days quite wearying what with one thing and another. For what it's worth I came down as a remainer. I have not that enthused by the European set up but I don't like the idea of pulling up the drawbridge when it's all such a mess. Also, I just couldn't find myself voting on the same side as Nigel Farage and some of the people he attracts in the street are even more troubling. Lastly, for purely selfish reasons, I work in a charity, supported by some government money. I'm not convinced that if European money is withdrawn, national government will have little charities at the top of their lists for handouts. So there you are. I don't expect everyone to agree but let's keep it civil please. I did read on a Twitter feed that I usually like that I may well have voted in Armageddon. Well listen to me sweetheart. Stories this week have included
Pastor prays for Orlando Survivors to Die (Link through for full story if you feel you can take it)
- A disgusting group of people breeding fox cubs to throw to hounds to train them to kill. On top of there being no words to describe how disgusting and savage this is - fox hunting is against the law here!!! What part of that sentence do you people think doesn't apply to you. Foxes are nuisances so shoot em. Don't chase them in some perverse game to make you feel excited. Get over yourself and be a bit normal.
- I have read of a secret meeting that Donald Trump has had with Evangelical Pastors. It was supposed to be a secret but half the people there seem to have had secret recorders on them which they have almost immediately handed over to the Internet. These are TOP Christian names. They have written books and preached and things. Donald Trump is a man who thinks racial profiling may be a viable option.
- Er Just this bloke......
Pastor prays for Orlando Survivors to Die (Link through for full story if you feel you can take it)
- And then this man got to take his children to their murdered mother's funeral.
Listen - never mind in or out of Europe - don't tell me you can't hear the clippy-cloppy of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse as well - a bit.
Saturday, 18 June 2016
I have been avoiding the Internet a bit. I've also been avoiding debates around the referendum. I shouldn't do really. I have been a classic undecided and wanted as much information as possible. Immigration is an issue obviously as is the economy. The democratic process or otherwise in the EU is a concern for anyone. Yet I have been unable to engage as I should. Who was it do you think? Who was it that sat around a table and decided that it was going to be all bets off. That debate was going to be a nasty, untruthful thing that only the strong would survive? Who thought that we could then call this the cut and thrust of politics? I just haven't been able to bear it. People with expertise on economics or democracy have simply been shouted down by the other side. People have said whatever they wanted and no-one has been able to call them out on it. A lady in the hospital where HOH works said she was going to vote out because all the Syrian refugees are flooding the Health Service and making the queues long. She had seen it on the telly. Normal political thinking has been killed stone dead in this campaign. Partly because we really have no idea what will happen if we leave. This gap in our knowledge has been filled with nasty words and threats on both sides. It is, however, my personal belief, that any team with Nigel Farage on it must deal with the thing they let loose. I wonder how the people on the Exit Team - many of whom are thoughtful people with challenging things to say have made their personal peace with this poster?
I don't know why but whenever I look into these poor people's faces, I keep seeing Jesus there, because that is assuredly where he would be with the terrorised and the dispossessed. It was his natural home.
It has been horrible and there are people I will never, ever want to see on TV again. My personal belief is that, for some politicians, it has nothing to do with Europe but it is opportunism of the worst sort. A chance to clear out people standing in their way in their party, with no actual thought for the country and how things will affect it.
And now an MP is dead. One of the brightest and the best. Killed at the hands of someone with longstanding mental illness who maybe, just maybe, picked up some of the underlying tone of what was going on. I don't know of course. I saw the BBC Political Head Person, Laura Kuenssberg saying that this was the most vicious campaign that she had ever covered and that this death may well give people pause and make them think before they speak. I admire her optimism. I don't share it.
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Out and about on a school night which is very unusual. I was invited - along with a team of volunteers where I work, to the Plymouth Guild Volunteers Award night. (Actually that isn't precisely what it was called but there were so many words in the title that I have forgotten them but you get the gist.) I need to point out that I do not volunteer where I work but I did get an actual separate invitation to the event as I am Head Honcho and all round Life and Soul of the Party.
We didn't win and I am not surprised as we were playing out of our league. I mean, our volunteers are awesome but we were up against people who had built entire national charities in their spare time just because it was their passion. One gentleman was just entering his fiftieth year of volunteering. I did a lot of clapping and a bit of snivelling and felt really humble and really pleased to be in the same room as these people.
It is probably my age but sometimes, when I see people pouting into phones all flippin day long or being apparently willing to do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING to get on some poxy reality show, after which the vast majority of contestants will sink without trace after walking the red carpet at the Toenail Clipping of the Year Awards, I have been known to get a little downhearted. However, this week, I have listened to a ninety year old lady who started volunteering when she retired because "Well you can't just sit around doing nothing when people need you, can you?" I also watched a son accept his father's award - given posthumously - for tutoring a young man to two silver medals at the Special Olympics, even when unwell with the disease that killed him, and I am comforted, that mankind is not full of shallow, annoying, self centred twonks but there are amazing people doing amazing things, quietly, all the time. And it maketh me glad.
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