ON GOD AND STUFF
Material cut and pasted from my weekly commentary are for that month. Where they originally appeared in context "as written" can be found in that year's particular month when not current. See Weekly Commentaries listing on Site index Page.
ON COST-EFFECTIVE HEALTH, WEALTH AND BASIC SURVIVAL [from "Weekly Commentary" 20/08/14]
It was reported yesterday but seems since to have gone underground, that aspects of the NHS is at last seeing sense on late caring, by asking 'at home' patients if they wish to be on the "no resuscitation" list. We are beginning to get somewhere. The furore over 'assisted dying' is no different in principle to the fuss and palaver over CCTV cameras in public places. The perceived problem was a deliberately created one by theorists divorced from realities. Just the same way that Welby is tripping himself up on assisted dying.
He described Falconer's Bill as a "sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of elderly people. Then he said that "an individual's suffering should not blind us to the needs of others". Yet in resisting Falconer's Bill he is deliberately blind to the needs of those others.
As a Christian priest, Welby is fully aware that there is "no death". That there are two aspects to a person: body and soul. The inanimate body is merely a package of biochemistry awaiting appropriate disposal. For too long the Christian church has been preoccupied with the body instead of giving solace to the bereaved of a departed soul.
A century or more back there was so much superstition over dead bodies that they were never allowed inside a church, hence the creation of lych gates. Their purpose was to shelter the pall bearers during inclement weather while the service took place inside the church. A proper lych gate has a plinth in its centre on which the coffin was laid and has seats in the recesses either side. This was a clear indication of the separation of body and soul. The church service for the departed spirit and the church yard for the disposal of the no longer usable body.
The only funeral I have been solely responsible for organising was my father's which, as befits a military man, was already pre-laid out for me. He did not wish to go as far as I would have wished and as I hope to do for my own funeral but he enabled me to send out invitations to "the celebration of a life" and to advise people "not to be downcast but to be cheerful in their attire". At his wish, his coffin came into the crematorium to the tune of Chariots of Fire and we left his body to the tune of Blaze Away. It was my father's way of waving two fingers at the world he had just left. That was some ten years ago. I have conversed with his spirit since. There IS no death.
The problem with funerals is, "whose funeral is it?". Is it the deceased's? Is it the person determined by various precedents to organise it? In either case but less so in the case of the former is the question of the closest mourners. What are their feelings? The marrying of these potential conflicts then has to be tied in with the desired location and the feelings, attitudes and precedents of those managing the location and those invited and prepared to officiate.
Change over time is the only way to accept the reality of change that we must all accept. I sometimes wish I could be reborn in this age but with the background I have acquired! There were times when I was ahead of the game and most insistently told to "pipe down" and "hold your noise". Other times I have lingered too long, resisting change around me. I did not want the church service to change and stood by the "King James'" version but I walked away when they first refused to ordain women. Now I revel in the diverse translations available, the difference between the churches, wishing the Church of England as a whole would embrace some of the playful sunbeams emanating from the Free churches. The fact of Creation is very simple and objectively acceptable, regardless of opinion or faith: it is a state of continual change. Religion primarily is responsible for our refusal to accept our own reality, causing us to resist change. The question is not that we should or should not change but "yes" we must accept change but in which direction? This is where religion should have advised, ahead of our realisation there was a problem to be resolved. Religions should be looking forward but persist in always looking back.
Open, unfettered discussion is the only rational way forward. I look back on my life and see the way so much has changed and basically, overall, for the better. With the diversity of opinions that did not previously exist; or which were silenced from expressing themselves because of prevailing social attitudes that renounced proposals before they were even uttered, it is even more complicated to rationally review the spirit of intent on so much of social living that has grown up, from revolutionary concepts of change. These have themselves now become embedded inthe mantra "this we must not change". Precisely the stance of religion and we know how wrong was that resistance to change.
At least we are addressing, in open dialogue, the finances involved in social care and asking, "to what extent should the public purse pay: to what extent the private individual?". "Where and in what manner lies the dividing line between a meaningful life and the blindly, bizare, asinine following of the Hippocratic oath?"
FRIDAY 8th AUGUST 2014
FROM A FACEBOOK INTERCHANGE
Eleanor's comment on passing this on was "an interesting short story." I would define it as a parable and dissect it more specifically. The analogy I have previously used is that spirit is like an original pool of water, each drop having individual identity while containing every aspect of the whole. On death, the life experience gained by each individual drop is re-absorbed by the collective whole which is further enriched in knowledge and experience.
Multiplicity of lives is a possibility I have directly encountered, purportedly having lived in Egyptian pyramid times, knowing some friends then I currently know in this plane of existence. One of them and I also lived during the English Civil War but we were on opposite sides. I am pleased to say I was the Royalist one! No change there! While unable to pursue our individual previous lives (he was both an hypnotist and a psychic) and I refused to submit my ego to hypnosis, we followed through other evidence from "passing spirits" and were able, independently, to verify certain facts of that period gained through the glass.
Perhaps surprisingly, I have an open mind on the subject of multiple lives and remain unconvinced. That the possibility exists is evidenced by the diversity of spirit experiences one encounters when sitting erratically over a long period of time. This is why I hold that comparative religion, including atheism, should be a base part of all education.
My personal wanderings into the wider religious world and my rather hard-headed responses to it hark back to the incredible stupidity of the Church of England half a century ago, when it determined it would not have women priests, let alone women bishops. I walked out because I found it socially embarrassing to claim membership of an organisation that clearly had gone completely nuts by refusing to acknowledge the reality of what it claimed to believe: a God created Universe which included objectivity and rationality. Too much religion still will not acknowledge those basic facts.
WEDNESDAY 16th JULY 2014
OH FRABJOUS DAY!!!! [mid-morning post]
In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary. -Kathleen Norris, novelist and columnist (1880-1966)
Diversity within unity and change over time is the reality of Creation. -Peter Such, poet and writer (1943–)
Now that the Church of England has at last picked up the challenge with which it first led over four centuries ago, embracing Galatians 3:26-28: "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." England can once more take up its leadership role in the world which started with Elizabeth I. We had thought, with the conquest of Everest, we had entered a new Elizabethan era with the coronation of Elizabeth II. We had but it is a different era for a different time and comes across in a different way.
Stalled by a national church that did not understand the nature of Creation, that it is a state of continual change, we still had the courage to look beyond ourselves to the whole world; built an Empire so vast the sun never set upon it; had the wisdom (with a little persuasion) to turn it into a Commonwealth of Nations; then, without consultation of its people, travestied its entire history into submission to a bureaucratic cabal of the cavalier and witless, whose sole preoccupation was their own self-interest in which they were determined to keep out the rest of the world and not see the world as the oyster which had for so many years been England's preoccupation.
Now, once more, the Church of England takes its place in the forefront of world thinkers and leaders, leading by example, embracing the reality of Creation and gaining a space a little nearer to God, in which undefinable entity lies the centre of the collective whole.
Now, we can look the world in the eye. Tell the EU that diversity within conformity is the natural order; that the richness of Europe is its differences not a perversity to standardise throughout; that the richness of the world is its differences and that its needs are our needs, so that all may enjoy equitably what belongs to all of us, simply by our being here. As Eliot said, "Time present and time past are both perhaps contained in time future and time future contained in time past." (Four Quartets) Unlike Eliot, I believe that all time is redeemable. Let us pick up from Elizabeth I, from which time we have been too long sleeping, and get on with the job in hand. "'Oh frabjous day, callooh callay', he chortled in his joy." (Lewis Caroll The Jabberwocky poem from Through the Looking Glass")
TUESDAY 15th JULY 2014
Diversity within unity is the reality of Creation.
SUPPORTING THE PHILIPPINES [late night post]
There are many realities that need to be reviewed and for which new directions must be found. Religion has too long denied the reality of Creation: that it is a state of continual change. Rome wilfully denies "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26-28) The Church of England has at last confessed its four centuries' stupidity of only allowing one woman at its head instead of women throughout its ministry. Islam is only just realising it is four centuries out of tune with any concept of God's Universe and still thrusts the arrogant egos of those in wilful defiance of the very things in which they claim to believe. All must recognise diversity is an integral part of the whole and that common sense, rationality and objectivity are integral aspects of Creation and the fundamental basis of any relevant, serious religion.
LIVING REALITY [morning post]
Now the Church of England has finally recognised Galatians 3:26-28 "...there is no longer male or female..." perhaps we can get on with insisting religion, as a collective whole, moves its arse and remember that rationality and objectivity are part of any concept of God's Creation!
In this, Islam can now be seriously questioned. Until now, British culture has handicapped itself with the Church of England's utter irrationality over women, in direct defiance of its own history (appointing Elizabeth I as Supreme Governor) and in wilful denial of the world around it: God's Creation as it factually is, not necessarily as the church teaches and that Creation is in a state of continual change in perpetuity.
More over, the Church of England is precisely that: England's church. Purely because Rome, while itself quite happy to go charging into battle, literally in full body armour, refused England the same security, by standing upon principles of religion, which the church of Rome had already historically manipulated for the sake of politics and its own self-interested arrogance, mostly based upon power and control, always failing to explain how such conduct represented the carpenter, seeking to render service, in each of those subsequent periods of time.
It is precisely that same male orientated arrogance that has catapulted Islam into the disgraceful state of affairs it is so keen to publicly broadcast. For this public dispute we can both thank modern civilisation, while at the same time accusing such technology as perhaps worsening the situation, by making so much publicly known at ever faster rates of knowledge. Technology does, however, give us the broad church of worldly debate. Precisely the nature and structure of the Church of England: a broad church of diverse opinion, lively, challenging and provocative.
As history shows, civilisation takes a long time to assimilate change, despite change being the fundamental basis of Life. To get rationality factually into the Church of England's practical thinking there remains a rag tag gathering of hobbledehoys still needing a crutch: a religious parallel to the NHS in the practical world, where the costs of the sick and needy have to be borne by all of us, while at the same time expecting those that can to pay their own way where and when they can.
We are at last finding Islamists of intelligence and ability who are prepared to come forward with a rational explanation of Islam and its relatedness to the modern world: recognising that Islam too, like Christianity, needs to come out of the Dark Ages. Incredibly, we are still finding people so appallingly ill-educated, or wilfully bigoted as to believe and to promote such thinking, that Evolution is provable by science to be nonexistent! Yet teachers are quite prepared to go on strike and to pro-actively oppose proper stringent examination into just what precisely is going on in our schools with the money our taxes provide!
MONDAY 14th JULY 2014
RELIGION/CASTE—NOT ALL TWADDLE AFTER ALL! [evening post]
Today the Church of England finally recognised Galatians 3:26-28 ...there is no longer male and female... having conveniently forgotten that for nearly four and a half centuries it had enabled a woman to be Supreme Governor, while perversely deciding that no woman could hold any other lower office, the Church of England finally woke up to recognising its own damned fool stupidity. Utterly ridiculous. To then celebrate, as they did a week or two ago, twenty years of having women priests when they should have been hanging their heads in shame that they still couldn't be bishops, ridiculed the entire concept of the Church of England and made religion generally a laughing stock.
SATURDAY 12th JULY 2014
RELIGION/CASTE—ALL TWADDLE [late pm post]
With the Church of England seemingly intent on not changing anything, we need to look at the whole question in an objective manner. It is quite clear that what ever conforming basis any branch of religion ever had, it rapidly descended into variations on a theme and most of those variations are directly attributable to religions' collective determination to deny the very thing it claimed to believe in: a God Created world and the reality of that world, which all around them they persisted in failing to recognise and acknowledge.
They persisted in putting their interpretation onto what was God's world; persisted in seeing through their glasses darkly, tinted by a perverse insistence that Life still was as it had been previously described; that there was total unchanging constancy; that the viewers' perspective today was precisely the same as it was two or more thousand years ago; ignoring the obvious, that the people today were no longer the persons they all had once been and that the eyes to see were now more mature and experienced and seeing through their glasses less darkly.
This is not to deny that there is such a thing as a spiritual entity/aspect of secular humanity: nor does acknowledging the mechanics of the universe and day to day living mean that secularism is without spiritual values. Nor does it mean that we must confine each to their own box. The EU, as a modern example, proves the stupidity of insisting that diversity must be governed by conformity, whose intent is to standardise. The greatness of creation is its diversity, an inherent, essential aspect of any concept of God. It is not that God changes, however defined by whom but that His Creation, by its very structure and intent, is in a state of continual change: that is its constancy. Only through time, an inherent aspect of Creation, can we begin to piece together the collective whole.
The British Empire/Commonwealth brought about conformity through diversity. The Indian caste system was urged to be dismissed by the greater diversity of seeing people classified by themselves individually. Not with intent but in passing, the parallel can be seen in Galatians 3:26-28 [at the top of this page]. This is not reducing to uniformity, it is broadening diversity by further diversification: diversity, bringing the individual units into their own equal prominence, for their value as themselves and as themselves providing the unity of the whole.
Another example is the recent news that the Indian caste system still exists, not just in India but here in this English realm but Indians opposed to this archaic codswallop expect the English government to do something about it. Louise Stewart in a BBC blog quoted Desraj Bunger, a leader in the Guru Ravidass Sabha UK Community says the government must take action. Jat Paul agrees and describes a recent incident involving his young nephew who tried to take a taxi home. He said the driver refused to take him home because he believed he was of a lower caste. He said the driver didn't want him in his car and told him, "you've dirtied my car by entering it".
This cannot be classified other than extraordinary damn fool stupidity. It is no different from the ISIS lot, determined to demean their own religion by broadcasting their own interpretation of it and insisting their view is the only correct interpretation. In that, they are no different from the Catholic hierarchy four centuries ago, when Catholic priests thrust their selfish ego of control and domination for no other reason than their failure to enquire and understand their own faith: the carpenter desiring to render service, they felt was best represented by armaments and murder: absolutely no difference at all from the ISIS movement. Talk, discuss, oh no, we might be persuaded otherwise: KILL! So Christendom fractured and pursued alternative thinkers; but at least they were thinking men and diverted for sound arguable reasons.
Islam too is split and not just by religion, culture confuses the issue and what too can best be described as damned fool stupidity. It is a matter of elementary common sense that if you have decided another country offers better opportunities than your own than clearly you need to understand that country: its culture and above all speak its language. Purportedly intelligent, educated Imams come over here, completely at sea and presume to thrust their views as being remotely relevant to the environment they have chosen to inhabit. Too late, it seems, we get intelligent and better educated Imams spouting how Islam should be but the damage has already been done.
The parallel is the emigration from this country and Ireland. Dependent upon the era, emigrants believed they were heading for a new start, a better land, a freer, more progressive land where they wanted to start afresh in what they knew would be a new culture. It seems that Islamists have come over here to be the same as they were—so why come? Where is the logic to that? Or they come determined to change that which they came to, in a way deliberately determined to counter the very values they were coming to embrace. If not to embrace, accept and adapt to, why come at all, unless they wanted to be the new St Augustine? Even he was but a late follower of what had already arrived. Arguably, it was he who thrust the dominance of Christianity on to what until then had been accepted as a part of the way we lived.
A parallel argument could be made for the importation of western values across the Eastern world and the European invasion of North America. How then comes enlightenment of who we are, if we are to dismiss these parallels? Only by acknowledging the realities religion refuses to acknowledge: that God's Creation was formed and is in a continual state of change and that we are designed to change with it as our understanding grows and as the rest of His world changes over time
TUESDAY 8th JULY 2014 [laet after-noon post]
TOO TRUE AN INSIGHT INTO HUMANITY
A Facebook post this morning: "Little wonder we even have religionists charging around determined to thrust their bigoted views and interpretations of God on everyone else. Not because they have strong faith but a lack of faith. They cannot contemplate alternatives, they are so frightened of thinking and meditating."
This was in reply to this post."An Angel graced our lives... Sunday July 6th we got a call about two doggies left abandoned inside a house. The good Samaritan had seen the emaciated English Bulldog and Pit Bull. Ran home called us and went back with a bag of dry food. We arrived soon after. We think we have seen it all, but alas we haven't. Both dogs were taken to our DVM. These dogs were left nothing. I would have posted photo but it's so horrible I decided not to. I will share with you that although the English Bulldog has a fighting chance and is already in a loving home, the Pit Bull had to be put to sleep because it had eaten so much metal that it had not only perforated her stomach but some of her organs. She also had a poorly healed broken leg. Neither dog hurt each other while they slowly starving, they were each other's companion. I cry as I post this. We named the Pit Bull girl Angel. We carried her lifeless body home and she has been laid to rest in a special place at our Sanctuary. We are so heartbroken today. We are just dumbfounded by the cruelty of some humans. You think we would be hardened by all our exposure but I swear we are more fragile each time. Maybe you might have some good loving thoughts for the Bulldog she still has a road to haul before she is okay. ~sounds of silent spirits volunteers.
In the human world we do the same to one another. So called Islamists, not just from ISIS who butcher in the most horrifying manner anyone who does not agree with them. What a statement of frightened inadequacy. What fear these claimed Islamists must feel that they are so lacking in their faith. So afraid to discuss. So afraid that Allah is so inadequate his cause cannot be explained, discussed, reasoned. Yet it is Allah that created the world, according to their belief and in that creation he supplied education and rationality of mind. These alleged followers cannot understand his love or accept his rationality, so they set themselves up as superior to him. How is that serving Allah? Yet in their expressions of superiority they can only demonstrate their inferiority, they must remove everyone who does not agree with their view which, in their arrogance they show as superior even to Allah Himself.
Yet it is the Christian concept of God that embraces all. Christians' belief in Christ is so strong, He gives them patience; He gives them strength in a world of opposition; He assures them that all may be saved who believe in Him. Yes, the Christians themselves have shown loss of faith. They too have fought one another over the twaddle of different interpretations of His Meaning but God the Father is patient, is loving, reveals Himself over time as our understanding of Him flourishes through the passage of Time He instilled into His Creation. His Creation only appears to change, for over time, as part of that Creation, we come to understand. So, to us, what appears to change is only that our knowledge is enriched so we see through a glass darkly, then face to face, as all that which was always there at last becomes revealed.
As a Christian, I weep for these lost souls that believe they have found a way but only by ensuring all see only what they can see. In the narrow tunnel of their limited vision they must destroy the very things they were meant to see and embrace. They acknowledge the reality of the 21st century by using its weapons of destruction; to remove what they do not wish to see and persist in only seeing what once was, many centuries ago; appropriate for those times but Creation has moved on with the Time for which it was created—a Time that is all time: Time present, Time past and Time future.
What is most interesting is that if Scotland goes it alone why would it want to then join the EU? The EU persist in denying independent thinking, that's its problem and why it would be good for the UK (minus Scotland if necessary) to leave. Are the Scots being irrational to consider independence or is the EU irrational in trying to standardise across the rich diversity of separate nations? It simply does not make sense.
In the mean time, the Anglican church shows signs of acknowledging the reality of God's Creation. Ironically, in Australia, not London, when the Westminster power house seems under charge of harbouring child abusers. Perhaps they have uncovered extensive child abuse in Australia? There is a move to remove the inviolability of the priestly confessional, at least for crimes liable to sentences of five years or more relating to child abuse.
The idea that any religion should consider it tolerable for a priest to be an accessory after the fact to serious crime, enabling the abuser to continue to abuse is beyond belief and another example of the total inappropriateness of religion. Doubtless why so much of child abuse under Catholic specific teaching has been hidden for so long. The latest scenario being the discovery of mass child graves in Catholic homes in Ireland where Catholics wilfully abused unmarried mothers and may have deliberately ensured their illegitimate children were starved to death. Is this way of worshipping a loving God any less condemnatory than the Islamists of ISIS in their butchery?
MONDAY 7th JULY 2014 [evening post]
WAKING UP IN ANOTHER WAY
A Facebook post this morning: "It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988)
A salutary warning at a time when the US is showing signs of muddle between state and private religious matters; when the UK is needing to ensure it is COMPARATIVE religion that is taught in schools not a specific indoctrination; when popes exhibit the arrogance of self, contrary to the declarations of the Second Vatican Council as at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/nyregion/church-of-the-holy-innocents-home-of-the-citys-only-daily-latin-mass-might-close.html; when Islamists determine they will thrust their personal bigotries upon everyone else for no other purpose than to bolster their own deflated sense of self-importance and recognition of their own inadequacy."
The Hemel Hempstead Gazette provides a light introduction to Ramadhan and the St Mary's Northchurch Newsletter (not available digitally) provides a gloss over of the four gospels on the subject of unity, attributing it to Jesus' second coming; to be interpreted as a very drawn out process. The implication is that unity must contain diversity, not sameness or rigid conformity, or is that a translation over time problem?
However, religion's view conforms with the secular reality of the creation religion claims is God inspired but declines to acknowledge the reality it is in today's band of time and understanding. An Australian court has stopped the Australian government from deporting a current batch of illegal immigrants. Europe recently received a boatload of dead illegal immigrants. We in the UK are incurring astronomical costs factually and by unnecessary diversion of essential security resources preventing and discovering illegal immigrants. We have been bamboozled into officially taking in some such immigrants, despite the amount of money we have been giving at the root cause.
If we are to be forced to incur the costs without the ability to remove such illegals from our country then we and other countries must be empowered to deal directly with the recalcitrant countries and organise their governments into making their country habitable for those so desperate to leave; the authority of superiority being clearly the desire of so many to leave in such desperate circumstances.
Behind this lies an implicit implication of world government. That brings us back to the EU. In principle there is nothing wrong with the EU concepts, it is the detail and the way implemented that is the problem: just as was the case with the Christian concept espoused in The Gospels but not followed by Christ's practical example by His Church. The determination to thrust conformity across a Creation reality that speaks continually of diversity and continual change.
In the same Christian vein was Louis Zamperini, whose death has been announced today. Forgiveness was his motivation. Through Christ may we all be forgiven and through Christ and through His Father's forgiveness may there be that welding of uniformity across the diversity that is the natural state of His Creation. That Second Coming, to which we are destined by that original Creation, may be the welding of secularity with spirituality. The two will be seen as one and the same: the spirit, encapsulated in the secular, as the plane of the the moment, merging Time past, Time present and Time future as Eliot envisioned in the Four Quartets.
From Friday 3 July 2014
It is our duty at all times to be fit for the road. It is also our responsibility at all times to be fit for our physical bodies and to ensure we are always in control of them, no differently than when driving a motor vehicle. We have to get back to pro-active, conscious realisation that we are all personally accountable for our interactions, at all stages of our life, through all time of that life, on the effect our presence has on this planet. This has nothing to do with concepts of God, science, or God working through since. It is an elemental fact of physical reality by simply being.
THE NATURE OF PROGRESS
A few days ago The New York Times majored on this debate. "As the Rev. Justin Wylie took the pulpit at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan last month, anger and anxiety emanated from the pews. The church is the only one in New York City to offer a daily traditional Latin Mass, but an archdiocesan panel had recommended that it be closed.
Father Wylie, a visiting priest, urged parishioners to be obedient but also to speak up, as traditionalist Catholics, for a place in the church, saying they should not be “turned out like squatters.”
It was an unusual moment of open criticism by a Roman Catholic priest of church policy in New York. And the reaction was swift. Within two weeks, Father Wylie was reprimanded by the New York Archdiocese, and in short order he was dismissed from his job at the Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations.
The episode has underscored the nervousness among conservative Catholics, who were embraced by Pope Benedict XVI, about where they stand under the less doctrinal papacy of Francis. Many liturgical traditionalists are closely watching the situation at Holy Innocents. Some of them simply prefer the old liturgy and music, and others want to roll back the changes of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. "
Now that last sentence is significant. A few weeks further back than this even I myself had attended a Latin Mass in the Protestant tradition. My home church is High church Anglican and almost as near to Catholicism as Protestantism can be while still remaining Protestant. My reasons are complex and more to do with associated sociability than God related matters. My then parish rector departed to All Saints, St Margaret's Street London which struck me, when I visited it, as being as close to Rome as a Protestant could get. Earlier, following the Latin Mass he had conducted in Great Berkhamsted's St Peter's I asked him if he was heading for Rome but he denied that he was.
It was interesting to find how easily we could get through a Latin service but asking a small, mid-week congregation of many former pupils of the four hundred year old independent school the other side of the churchyard wall, was probably not a fair assessment of what could be expected!
One aspect of the New York issue was the Catholic church's indecision. Pope Benedict had apparently encouraged the 444 years old Tridentine Mass, saying all Catholics had a right to celebrate the Latin Mass, in deliberate contradiction to the message of the Second Vatican Council,that the church should move forward.
That is the problem with moving forawrd as time and creation demands of us and which too much of religion stands steadfast i n opposition... and is it fair to charge religion as being the cause of our unwillingness to accept change as it is both inevitable and a natural part of creation?
It was interesting reading that "Attendance at Sunday Mass has nearly tripled since 2009," and then reading that "Faced with a shortage of priests and a declining number of parishioners, the New York Archdiocese — which includes the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and seven counties north of New York City — has been determining which of its 368 parishes it will shutter through a planning process called 'Making All Things New'."
Excluding the statement on priests on which I have no cross-reference, this diminution of support parallels successive reductions in numbers reported annually over the last few years in Free church statistics.
SATURDAY 28th JUNE 2014 [evening]
RELIGION AT FAULT (1)
It seems Rome is at last heeding some sense of moving forward according to a report in the New York Times. However, there is much to be said for the Latin original as language, having myself (as a
RELIGION AT FAULT?(2)
In its 3rd May issue (1)The Independent's Charlie Cooper claimed the elderley were lonely and regarded television as their best friend while Janet Street-Porter asked 'why do we treat the elderly worse than dogs?'. Her effective conclusion is that when senile we would all be better off taking a pill and doing away with ourselves. That is a rationality we must address with Faulkener's Bill, which his bill at present does not address but I cast a charge towards religion that persists in refusing to accept creation as it is, a continual state of change and rationally dealing with the consequences of this particular reality, dealing with it rationally as being a major contribution to our end of life confusion.
FRIDAY 27th JUNE 2014 [noon]
On this, Welby goes out on a limb, claiming that speed of digital communication refutes calm judgement. Codswallop. What he should be raising concerns about is discipline, both of self and collectively. Personal accountability is what is missing, as illustrated by the father of the Cardiff Islamist that has gone to wage war with Isis in Iraq. He is blaming the national concept of the police trying to dissuade. That is a superfluity. If anyone can dissuade anyone it relies on parental and friends' involvement with the individual. The father is wrong to deflect responsibilty onto the public service. He should be questioning his own religious beliefs under which precepts he has brought up his children. The first requirement of a parent is to produce an educable and educated child of mature age onto the world stage. That is an adult able to assess information, rationalise it and deliver a balanced and informed opinion.
What this fuss and palaver in the Middle East is all about is no different from the rows between Catholic and Protestant, four centuries ago; Christian and Jew before that; Secularism thinly covered by a mix of Catholic/Protestant concepts of God that heralded the Second World war, now politely dismissed as Fascism.
As the ages have proved, the devil makes work for those with idle hands. This brings the flamboyant side show into the forefront of world attention: the rich nations are not doing enough and doing it too slowly to bring the rest o the world in alignment. Counter argument: the world is moving too fast, abusing limited resources, ignoring their limitations and ultimate exhaustion. Counter, counter argument: progress will find more efficient use of diminishing resources or alternatives. May be, but with what sureness and what provision should this not be so?
Let us look at Europe. A different style of living but one thousand years back Europe was as the Middle East is today. Has Europe moved on? Look at Russia, Ukraine, the EU. Force has been used but mostly in restraint and mainly in "civilised" debate. Is it really any different than the Middle East scenario: they are all egotistical power struggles for influence? Where is the validity of proof?
Religion has proved the travesty of artificial power structures. It proclaimed a belief (or beliefs) and tried to standardise them into an "official, authoritative" opinion, so we now have more opinions than we had originally. That "universal" view denied the reality of what was claimed belief, that everything "was so", despite the fact it was in a continual state of change. So what does the EU do? Starting with the richness of diversity, the EU determines we must have universality and standardisation in a single moment of time what is flexible, diverse and in a continual sate of change. Where is the rationality, when rationality is a fundamental part of the collective whole?
The Ukraine is a preconceived problem deriving from fixed ideas and denying the flexibility of adapting to changing scenarios as change is inevitable. Universality, conformity and standardisation simply do not work in an environment in a continual state of change, as the problems with the Euro have been so prominent in declaring. The only rational universalism is the collective whole: this globe; these peoples; these resources; this creation, be it of science, of God, or just is. The answer for this moment really does not matter a damn. What does matter is that the sense and sensibility that is a part of that creative whole is heeded, for the benefit of the collective whole and in a manner that each individual part of the whole feels individually it is satisfied with the whole and its part in it. Is that science; basic rationality; or the truth of the God concept but then, which perception of God?
SUNDAY 22nd JUNE 2014
MOVING ON/TIDYING UP
So, where from there (Friday's close)? It seems best simply to keep heads down while confusion reigns all round. The Americans seem to have made a pig's ear of reforming the Iraq army, or the hierarchy has been good at hoodwinking the CIA into thinking they were dealing with professional rationalists, when in reality dealing with anarchists biding their time, before showing the truth of their inherent prejudices.
Look at Scotland, three hundred years after the event, they are now considering retrenching but failing to think it through and themselves following individuals' ego, riding upon a crest of perceived emotionalism, to thrust a possibly very disruptive view. No different in principle from Iraq and the Middle East generally.
Look at the EU. A 'heads of government' compact made to look like a parliament but that parliament does not control the executive, it merely exercises an opinion. Meanwhile the executive cannot operate as an executive without taking account of that separately arrived at opinion. A deliberate hotch potch for chaos whose sole purpose is to lend the appearance of democracy but deliberately designed not to work as such. In neither Europe nor America is the West in a position to presume it can help the Middle East: Europe and America are both confused about themselves. Separate paths in separate cultures but both primarily in the same mess... and I haven't mentioned religion.
Essentially, the Middle East is simply following the West, about four centuries late, when England put Rome in its place and made it clear that we, the English would run England and if need be God too... or at least a Protestant interpretation of him. Whether creation is derived from science, a concept of God, or God operating through science, really does not matter a damn. What matters is objectively (and objectivity is part of any version of creation) assessing what we call the 'reality' in which we conduct our lives; defining it; understanding its mechanism and working with it. If certain factions wish to go charging around proclaiming half-baked ideas of a philosophy, on which the only authority is a world wide historical confirmation of diverse unsubstantiated opinions; muddled through multiplicity of translations through diversely changing and some quite dead languages, then clearly secularism must take control and create some semblance of rational, educated and civilised life. Religion, quite simply has completely ballsed up and we should accept that.
Frankly, I am not happy to do so. I am initially a protestant Christian because I am an Englishman: that is culture. I continue to be a protestant Christian because I have travelled around in my mind's eye, erratically and in an undisciplined manner studying comparative religion and taking the quietude of mind to simply think and to experience, as well as research. 'A plague on all their houses' may be a justifiable response but dismissing them all may be another form of arrogance no different, in principle, from their own.
FRIDAY 20th JUNE 2014
CONTINUING "THE WEEKEND" FROM MONDAY 16th JUNE 2014 via THURSDAY 19th JUNE below
Back to some degree of "normality"! The conference was titled "Is Religion Dangerous? A Day Conference led by the Reverend Martin Camroux at the Immanuel United Reformed Church, Swindon, to which he had for some years previously ministered. It is a very attractive modern church run by a busy and involved community.
I am not going to extract items out of context with the mood of the collective whole, save to observe that the small group gathered to hear Martin were deeply appreciative and attentive listeners and I can unhesitatingly recommend, not only Martin as a speaker but also, should forward thinking and pro-active questioning of religion be your forte, refer you to the Free to Believe web site titled "An informal network of liberally minded Christians striving for an open, inclusive and thinking church". Would anyone want to be involved in a church that was not open, inclusive and thinking?
According to international news the subject was singularly apposite but it is in fact a theme that has been developing over time. The International news merely a latest headline of an undercurrent of thinking of which I have been aware, in various quarters for some time, quite apart from my own personal questioning excursions.
As I have written, I intend not to quote but to use my experience of hearing others voice their views, to have the confidence to be somewhat more open with my own views, which is not to imply I am not sometimes at variance with the gathering.
My family background is Christian and Protestant because I am an Englishman (my father an army officer). Church was a Sunday routine and it was not until I had been confirmed that I actually started thinking about things. It was when the Church of England refused to accept women priests that I adopted the attitude "sod this twaddle" and started casting around.
Perversely, the Catholic Truth Society's publications attracted my attention. This was nothing to do with God or Catholicism but everything to do with a girl that had attracted my attention when I had spent a year at a Catholic convent, prior to starting prep school. She had sparkling blue eyes and long, golden hair that tumbled over her shoulders. I saw her one day standing in the playground, with the sun shining upon her golden hair and I thought she was lovely. So I went over and told her so, kissing her on her lips. She burst into tears and great consternation broke out. I later learned she had been spanked for being provocative (it was her fault I kissed her not mine) and had her long hair hacked short. Such was the Catholic response to honest, openly expressed, heartfelt communication. Later maturity re-interpreted many incidents I witnessed there, drawing out the reality of the double-dealing deceits that were being played out in the background.
An unrelated aside, many years on, the daughter of one of my cousins came home from school to announce that her mother's religion was a Mickey Mouse religion which God did not take seriously. My cousin was CofE but had married a Catholic when the Catholic church demanded marriage only on condition the children were raised as Catholics. Having grown up, the daughter fell in love with an Evangelical and both are more evangelical than I am happy with but they are both deeply wrapped up in their church community.
In the mean time, the Catholic Truth Society provided me with all the factual reasons my emotional anti-Catholic stance needed, for my feelings to be rational and I briefly studied Judaism, wanting to get back to the original. Unintentionally, I got down to the nitty gritty basics by exploring practical psychics. Somewhat later, the CofE woke up and ordained women. It is still arguing over bishops but for the moment a Low church Anglican uses a High church establishment for social reasons, little to do with God, save the short, spoken 08:00a.m. Communion service and partly because the practice seems in need of defending, so I'm involved!
The first third of the day was spent confirming what is so often the case with this country that nothing is happening in the world that hasn't already happened: either because we caused it or because someone did it to us! Think only on the battles between Catholic and Protestant in Elizabeth I's time and Elizabeth II's time.
What were popes doing riding chargers in full battle armour when Christ was a simple carpenter? Where is the rationale? Yes, take the time and place in situ. Culturally men ruled and only men could control (despite the clear example of Boudicca, the only person to really scare the hell out of the Roman Empire).
Henry VIII wanted a son as a protection for his people and his kingdom's inheritance. Nothing was to be allowed to stand in his way. A perfectly acceptable attitude for the time. Elizabeth was not an exception: both Mary's would have been capable, it is just unfortunate that they were brought up with weird ideas about God and religion. Whereas Elizabeth was first a manager and then had God fit in around her. The Marys believed in God first then worried about how that related to the reality around them: the failing of so many religionists.
Elizabeth dealt with reality as it was in her time and culture. Religion, believing creation a God-given fact has always refused to accept the reality of that creation: that it is in a continual state of change and therefore religion must adapt, according to gained knowledge and re-interpret. Such re-interpretation has to be both in the context of our acquired knowledge of those times (which affects understanding of language and the validity of translations at different periods and respective use of language) but also in the light of additional knowledge gained, of which previous periods were unaware.
That was the essence of the remaining two thirds of the day: "The Critique of Religion" and "How can we get Religion Right?" Comparative theology is something I now feel I would have liked to have studied but even the Reverend Camroux was unable to quote me a reliable source for an authoritative understanding of Islam. Is that really any worse than Christianity? Where is the "authority" there? We have the "simple" split of Catholic/Protestant: yet Catholicism has its Jesuit and other orders divisions; Protestantism has its German diversity before the Church of England and from that comes the Free churches of diverse opinions, quite apart from the diversity of translations at different periods of linguistic understanding over a gallop of time. The Islamic perception that any "learned" person (who mostly seem determined to show their complete lack of learning) is "an" authority and therefore "authoritative" and the persistence of Saudi Arabia to plough money into its interpretation of Arabic translation, where lies authoritative authority?
My linguistic ability lies in shouting more loudly and energetically pointing in English but as a printer I have an unusual experience of language. When handling multilingual publications it is necessary to "cast off" the text. That is, to assess how many pages the original copy is going to make when printed. German usually takes up seventeen and a half percent more space than English, French about twelve percent, Russian around twenty-two percent. Chinese/Japanese and Arabic are particularly difficult to assess and it is not just the size of type. In English alone, change the type style, not the size, and you can add or lose ten to twenty pages to the average novel, adding to or subtracting from, the overall production cost. Then there are the diacriticals. In Arabic (overly simplistically) there are basically two versions, north and south and Arabic is a phonetic language, so spelling changes dependent upon source and the way the words are used also changes. Where is your original authoritative source when translated into English, or even if you learn Arabic?
Wednesday 28th May 2014
The Church of England at last announces some movement on its intention to sort out excessive financial interest charges by unscrupulous private money-digging enterprises. My use of words is deliberate and my condemnation unequivocal. This is just where the church should be, on the street in the mass of the community. This is the sort of thing the church should do but can only do, when it has the wit to bring in a man of the world to take on the cloth.
Christianity despised usuary until Henry VIII started shaking up the church and brought in the 1545 Act, "An Act Against Usurie" (37 H. viii 9) which, perversely contrary to how it sounds, enabled the charging of interest on lent money. Some British banks are now adapting usury to the needs of Islamists in the same way they have always adapted to the Jewish need. It is all a simple and straight forward way of dealing with the reality of life on this plane as it needs to be lived, while bearing some remembrance of the idealism from which and to which we are ultimately intended.
All we want the church to do now is get one or two women priests as bishops and once again the Church of England can hold up its head and look the world and God in the eye. Then, perhaps we can all get on with doing something practical and relevant.
It seems it is not only Islam that needs our guiding hand. The present movement of congregated unlawful immigrants massing at Calais' borders should never have got that close to our borders were France, itself a country disliking illegal immigrants, not so crassly incompetent at maintaining security at its own borders. It is here that lies the main problems with our own immigration concerns.
The fact that there are illegal migrants, or migrants at all, is due to the failure of their own countries to maintain a sufficient civility of management as to cause them to want to stay. That is the way to control immigration. Run your own countries in such a way people do not wish to move. If countries will not make that provision then we must ensure they do. That is a much more cost-effective for those of us who do run our countries in such a way that migrants wish to come to us: that we are entitled to step in and force their method of government to adapt to the will of their own people.
It is also clear that those choosing to come here do so because of who and what we are. If they are unable to accept that then for other than allowing the time necessary for new ideas to be accepted, if we choose over time to accept them, there is no question it is they who must go or adapt. Where on earth has there ever been a problem with that simplicity?
SATURDAY 31st MAY 2014 [daily snapshots]
ON DISCUSSIONS REGARDING THE END OF LIFE
These are indeed difficult situations. Rebecca Ley’s view, contrasting with Ian Botham’s view.
First, full marks to those who choose caring as a career and are able to do it with the professional competence we believe we are paying for, when we are not there to objectively observe. I know it is not something I could do.
Second, all three have perfectly valid viewpoints. [the third viewpoint is quoted from an Fb page: “Vàna Rúndóttir Moving. But not very helpful. Such cases as this can change the lives of those who love the dementia sufferers in terrible and perhaps unimaginable ways. I think it is wrong to say that someone is a coward for not being able to face the agony of seeing someone you love like that. Perhaps those who have lost their minds suffer less, if their memory has deteriorated so much that perhaps they can't even remember their own suffering, whereas the visitors may be constantly preoccupied with the loss and discomfort and pain suffered by their beloved. Everyone has to get on with their own lives in the best way they can, and ultimately everyone is alone in their journey to death. People do what they can, and cope however they are able. We should not judge anyone for being less 'strong', more 'cowardly', more or less 'loving' than we can be ourselves, because we don't know what goes on in anyone's minds, not only those suffering from forms of dementia.” The original posted by Ali Beauchamp]
My viewpoint is going to come over as crass by comparison but I make it in the context of the wider whole and that wider whole includes the sweep of history. Historically, people simply would not have lasted so long and although there would have been similar scenes but for not so long, they could not have been coped with as well as they, on average, are coped with today, nor as pleasantly.
The reality is that many of us are lasting longer than our allotted time and we are simply not built physically or mentally to cope with the extended period. The brutal fact is that we treat our animals with a greater sense of dignity than we do our own human kind. Think of the early developments with poliomyelitis; of thalidomide; of those devastated by war injuries; then think of the paralympics. Triumph over disaster: people, half of what I am, proving themselves more capable than I have ever been. Think of children who do and do not overcome the seemingly impossible.
There are two reasons. The mental make-up that simply says, "sod it I WILL.": the physical composition of the biochemistry contained within the bag that is a body; from which, arguably, the spirit to fight is or is not derived. See then in the, "years completed", life in the context of expectation of length of life and in what condition.
Turn then to religion. Let us take 2,000 years. No religion actually believes in what it claims to believe in, that life is a God created world and the world God created is in a continual state of change. That last bit, religion chooses to ignore. This is not the same world that manifested itself 2,000 years ago, either in fact or our understanding of it. Our knowledge of that world and the present day is seen through gained knowledge; more perceptive understanding; realisation of an even greater responsibility; faced with confidence gained to accept and handle the world He created with an added sense of responsibility and accountability.
It is time to be responsible and accept accountability. Less than half UK adults have not made a will. An elementary basic essential requirement for anyone over 18. Part of that Will must be (and English law must change to accommodate these things): how you wish your body to be disposed off; how you want your life to be led should you be placed in a position when you can no longer control your own management of it, or manage those forced to manage it for you; what criteria should determine if you are no longer going to improve or manage a life-style you determine is acceptable; how, when and by what criteria, you wish your life to be ended.
In determining these "end of life" criteria you must not place any obligation upon anyone, save those professional services that would expect to be called in and are there for those purposes. In this and ONLY IN these ways, do you comply with the obligation you took upon yourself, when you chose to be born into this continuum of time. This Creation in which we find ourselves includes: conscience; rationality; objectivity as well as the other recognised attributes of human living. These are the aspects of a God-created universe religion chooses to ignore. Religions' concepts MUST be challenged. There is no excuse for a male only God. There is no reason a woman may not be a priest. There is no rationality in today's state of God's Creation, as religion would determine, for men to be in charge rather than working in harness with women as equal partners.
Any argument contradicting this "thesis" has but one answer. It is a simple one word answer but through politeness I will express that one word as two: spherical objects!