RRRAAARRRGGGHHH

In case you hadn’t guessed, this is a ranty post. If you’re of a nervous disposition or easily offended, I suggest you look away now!

The Greenhouse Effect Report

Why is nothing changing? Does no one in power read? or understand? etc.etc.  insert bad stewardship rant!

Then there’s the power of Nazis, fascists & co. under the banner of “The Golden Dawn” in Greece… yes there’s been arrests recently and a big action on the criminal activity, but how did it get so powerful and infiltrate police and government in the first place!!!

This protest in Manchester, also illustrates some of the many areas in which the country has suffered under ‘austerity’ measures. The thing which makes me maddest about it all is the total duplicity involved, down to the twisting of many words from their usual meanings. No top down changes for the NHS eh? No privatisation, as long as you redefine the term!!! Utter Shite. Raargh. I hope this angry bird can get through the realities through to this ridiculous groupthink.

Then there’s the million ways that people are arseholes to one another, in all manner of petty to gradiose methods, that when you pay attention to them really wear you down…

 

So on St Michaelmas I’m going to refocus my vision for a mo with a dose of the prophetic:

First to Rant and Cry, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true…”

Then to Pause and see, “Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne.”

and to look ahead, “I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, ‘Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Connect the dots (long version):

John…

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

 

‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’
    and ‘every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him’;
    and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’
So shall it be! Amen.

 

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’…

On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches….. I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

 

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

Then there’s the short version, repeated every Sunday, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

Positive New Developments

I’m aware that I’ve been on the receiving end of lots of ‘negative life events’ recently, and I know from past experience that this can feed into my tendency to view news, and then life negatively… so I’ve got a couple of reminders of the positive power of innovation.

First there is this phone that I’m hoping to save for for Christmas, it’s fair and pretty cool 😀

And there’s also this, caring for the health of those who care for others in the poorest situations… excellent innovation.

An Apt Prayer

The turning of the year has brought an awful lot of changes and challenges, so this prayer from the Carmina Gadaelica seemed most apt:

DHE STIUIR MI

God Guide Me

From the Carmina Gadelica

GOD guide me with Thy wisdom,
God chastise me with Thy justice,
God help me with Thy mercy,
God protect me with Thy strength.

God fill me with Thy fullness,
God shield me with Thy shade,
God fill me with Thy grace,
For the sake of Thine Anointed Son.

Jesu Christ of the seed of David,
Visiting One of the Temple,
Sacrificial Lamb of the Garden,
Who died for me.

My Heroines…

Today I had two reminders of that sober question, what kind of old lady am I going to make myself into?

One, a fictional detective, created by agatha christie, has returned to bbc iplayer, with the actress I consider to be THE image of Miss Marple, Joan Hickson. I remember as a child watching it wanted to be able to knit and light a fire and manage a garden like she did, as well as to see and understand people clearly, her real genius. And one real life heroine, who at the age of 107 could say this:

“Hatred of other human beings will have to be totally eliminated throughout our land and that is what I, in the short time left to me, am still campaigning for – peace,”

There’s more about her here.

The Silence of Our Friends…

I’ve had a few internet tabs open that I’ve been thinking about discussing on the blog for a few days, but an article today has helped me think of what draws them together…

First there is this one about the increasing certainty of the human role in climate change…

which ties in rather well with this article discussing why world leaders aren’t working together on tackling this effectively.

The point I felt to be mo

st salient is probably best expressed by a verbatim quote

“[There is a]willingness to sacrifice large numbers of people in the way we respond to climate change – we are already showing a brutality in the face of climate change that I find really chilling. I don’t think we have the language to even describe [geoengineering], because we are with full knowledge deciding to allow cultures to die, to allow peoples to disappear. We have the ability to stop and we’re choosing not to. So I think the profound immorality and violence of that decision is not reflected in the language that we have. You see that we have these climate conventions where the African delegates are using words like “genocide,” and the European and North American delegates get very upset and defensive about this. The truth is that the UN definition of genocide is that it is the deliberate act to disappear and displace people. What the delegates representing the North are saying is that we are not doing this because we want you to disappear; we are doing this because we don’t care essentially. We don’t care if you disappear if we continue business-as-usual. That’s a side effect of collateral damage. Well, to the people that are actually facing the disappearance it doesn’t make a difference whether there is malice to it because it still could be prevented. And we’re choosing not to prevent it. I feel one of the crises that we’re facing is a crisis of language. We are not speaking about this with the language of urgency or mortality that the issue deserves.”

One a little closer to home is changes I have seen in my own country in the way we talk about people in poverty, those who are sick, and those who are disabled. A girl called jack blogs very eloquently about the food poverty that has become rife, and this blog on gingerbread gives a taste if what it’s like day to day trying to manage a family on a limited budget (on benefits and in work). Heartbreakingly there is also this blog in memory of a young man driven to suicide by the ATOS assessment process. The theme I notice under these areas is that “beurocracy” “paperwork” “trying to reform the system” have become excuses to hide staggering inhumanity… and very little is said. Not in the the kind of language that gets across the urgency of the situation. There are people who are starving and dying because of these little bits of paper being pushed around, but where is the urgency to describe it all.

The more recent piece of news is the shocking suicide bombing of a Christian congregation in Pakistan, with the news today showing some more detail of the devastation across that community at the burials.

It seemed to draw mass media attention to a situation this article describes, from which this post gets its name. Although its focus is on the middle east, rather than asia, it seems the content is similarly applicable. I think it also shows that political decisions and scapegoating responses are, as ever, most likely to impact upon vulnerable people groups with no control and political power. Where has the worldwide response to all the other events been? Why have things been able to excalate to this degree of killing?

Anyway, all these thoughts brought to mind a confessional prayer often used:

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Still thinking about how I can ensure that the power of words (so well referred to in James’ letter as like a fire) can be turned around, so that the same mouth I use to praise God is also used to speak up on behalf of those whose voice is not being heard.

GOOD NEWS

So I saw this on the BBC about Pope Francis and welled up with joy! These were the particular phrases that brought delight to me:

“The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently….. the Catholic Church must work to heal the wounds of its faithful and seek out those who have been excluded or have fallen away…..

The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the Church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

Amen. Amen. Amen.

On a similar theme of mercy (and in fact justice) and awesome blogger has become a published journalist, and she’s got something important to say: YOU CAN STARVE ON BENEFITS IN THIS COUNTRY!

Having seen people going through the hideous hoops required & still getting inappropriately penalised for the crime of being poor, I am keen to highlight this, so you ONE PERSON READING THIS BLOG, consider yourself told. However, I think this youtube clip makes the point in a much more droll manner, and possibly has a suggestion for you…

ATOS(sers) satirised

Along which subversive lines, I had to share this… I love it… Pirate Jesus

Something which seemed a little to close to home, and yet nevertheless drew a wry smile (at least for one of my spiritual homes) was this (un)welcome page.

Perhaps it’s just a reflection of the state of some of Eileen’s etherweb friends, at least judging by this reflection from Burton.

However, this also appeared from the Beaker Folk, and to me it is the most perfect summary of my understanding of divine healing in beautiful concise satirical form.

Finally I want to end with something, which may seem (to you my invisible reader) like a “downer.” I suppose in one sense it really is, I want to talk about suicide and mental health. Actually, no, I do that a lot already, I want people, all people, but especially the communities of Christians that I know and love, to know that these are GOOD things to talk about. These are incarnational, positive, beneficial, protective, healing, clarifying, guiding through dark valleys kind of topics, and so it is a good and beautiful thing to trust someone enough to talk about these topics, or to have the privilege of being someone’s listener. It relates directly to the quarter/third of us that will suffer with a mental health problem at some time in our lives… and directly to the 3/4 (or 2/3) who will live with and love these people. Which is why this blog by Haydon Spenceley delighted me.