Sunday, May 27, 2007

I love Sacred Space

Pentecost is about the Now. The Holy Spirit gives us the confidence to be where we are, possibly depressed, old, with sicknesses. We do not look at trees and say they have to be saplings. Ancient trees may have rotten branches but they have a beauty that comes from all the years they have lived. In the Holy Spirit nothing goes out of fashion; it grows, and never dies. The body may die, but you and I will not. When you are fifteen, you do not want to know about when you were ten. You are looking ahead, hoping to be something else. That does not give peace. Peace comes from knowing: I am fifteen, which means that each of those 15 years has added something to me. My successes come from what I did with my failures. I have survived some sufferings, and have learned from them. The Holy Spirit would have taught Saint Peter to think about the denial of Christ and crowing of the cock. He would rather have forgotten about it, undone it. Instead he learned to make it part of the Lord’s dealing with him, as much a part as Jesus’ tender words to him after the Resurrection: Feed my sheep.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Panorama on Scientology

I was a bit disappointed with this in the end. Firstly, it wasn't long enough. Secondly, I wasn't too sure that the journalist had the skills to get the story that he wanted. This is nothing to do with the infamous shouting moment that has been so widely seen on U Tube. It was more to do with the fact that he insisted on using the word "cult" which they had obviously forbidden and as soon as it was said, interviews were curtailed and things brought to a halt. He was either being inflammatory or stupid. Either way he didn't really get the inside breaks that he needed to get a good story. I think my issue is partly that Louis Theroux could have done it so much better. Louis would have let them dig their own graves and been above all the psychological tricks of survellience.

The programme did show what a bunch of wierdos they all are and it amazes me that so many Hollywood types just seem to lap it up. No wonder they have so much money sloshing around. I also hadn't realised they swoop in on disasters in order to bring comfort and relief (and then suggest that they need dianetics/scientology in order to bring happiness into their lives).

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Monday, May 14, 2007

One to watch

Remember to watch Panorama tonight at 8.30 on Scientology. Well publicised and creepy. Maybe we could have a blog debate on What Makes a Cult soon too?

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Mr Beane- legend!

During the week, I think I was slightly controversial at our church's prayer meeting. During the pre-prayer conversation, the others in my group were talking about how Christians are unfairly treated in favour of other religions and how university CU's are being victimised. One person said we should be a people who stand and make a fuss about these things. I disagreed. I think Christians are good at whining in this way and I think this contributes to the bad press we get. I said we should stand up and make a fuss about the things that are really important like slavery and world poverty and be known for our positive stand on issues rather than moaning about things (look at the Jerry Springer case in particular).

What a refreshing change to read about Mr Beane (no, not Rowan Atkinson!) well actually I guess he's actually the Reverend Beane, the Spixworth vicar who is quoted in the Evening News article:

“This whole idea about environmental concern is a really Christian belief.

“We believe we had a God who created the Universe and then gave to humanity this creation to care for.

“We are the stewards of creation and have to care for it, but sometimes we don't make a very good job. In our own small ways we can make a difference and together we can make a big difference.”

Case in point. What a positive way to deal with such a serious issue and what a witness. Mr Beane- legend!

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Event Horizon

The artist Antony Gormley, creator of The Angel of the North has created 31 life size sculptures of himself that will be positioned on buildings in London. Here are some questions:
What does it mean that he's only used male statues: anything?
What will it be like having 31 statues in a mile radius of one another?
Is there any reason why he has named it after a horror film?
Is it art?
Have you seen it yet?
And something else: are they a permanent fixture in London?

BBC news story here

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cheap Stuff

(Click on image to enlarge)

This is me buying clothes from Primark. I hang my head in shame...

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Learning all the time

I'm currently writing an essay on young people and drugs and came across this,
The Responsible Drug User’s Oath:

I swear or affirm that:
• I understand the effects of all recreational drugs I take, to the best of my ability. I shall research the neurochemical, psychological, physiological, spirituality effects, the legal issues surrounding the drug and its use.
• When taking a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall begin with the lowest dose suggested to be psychoactive by the aforementioned research before progressing to higher dosages. I will measure the drug carefully, with an accurate scale.
• If it is possible that the drug may contain harmful adulterants or in fact be a different drug altogether, I shall have the drug chemically analyzed for purity and content.
• I will learn the overdose limits for my own body weight and adjust them for any possible synergistic effects due to diet, prescription or other drugs. I will also adjust for dangerous side effects and my own health condition. After calculating my personal limit, I will stay under 75% of this limit, to minimize risk.
• While under the effects of a drug, I shall not take physical risks such as driving, climbing, swimming, or any other physical activity in which my actions may cause harm to myself or others.
• When first using a drug I am inexperienced with, I shall take it in the company of an experienced user, also known as a spotter. The spotter will remain sober during this experience, and will also have fully researched the drug.
• I shall not attempt to sway, force, trick, or otherwise coerce another person to take any drug in a dishonest way; rather, I shall discuss previous drug experiences and research frankly and truthfully, allowing all people to make their own personal decisions about drug use.
• I shall defend the rights of others to make educated, responsible decisions about drug use. I shall not support any person or movement that attempts to remove or abridge said rights.
• I shall not allow my drug use to overshadow or disrupt the other important aspects of my life, including social interaction, employment or even other personal pursuits.
• I will also take responsibility for the drug use of friends and relatives, if their drug use becomes dangerous to their health or personal relationships.
I swear this with the hope of creating a society in which safe, responsible drug use is a personal decision, not a criminal offense.
Addenda January 2006, 2 new points:
• I understand the effects of habituation, and therefore I shall exercise caution and significantly reduce the quantity of any familiar drug I use when taking the drug in a new and different environment for the first time.
As a drug consumer, I will embrace responsible drug production and distribution methods, such as growing or farming your own, and shun suppliers who use violence when not necessary for their self-defense.

What do you think of that? I thought it was very interesting and will be using it in my essay.

I have also been learning about my family and about the life of my grandmother. She is 93 years old and is very seriously ill at the moment. I've been to visit her twice now and it's good to see her at home in her last few days but sad to see her body wasting away and know that she's in pain. From talking to my aunt, I've found out that her mother was married twice: her first husband died and then she married my grandmother's father. He left her mother and took her 2 year old brother before she was born. Apparantly he went to Australia with all the money from the family business and set up a new life (and family) for himself there. Their's was not an easy life.

I also learnt that her first name is actually Phyllis and not Pearl as we all had assumed.

God is teaching me lots of deeper things here too. About life and death, assumptions, strength, family.

Thank you God.

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