Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Give to the rich!
I am all for incentives and rewards but this is seriously sick. £14billion in City bonuses with 4,200 City slickers trousering bonuses in excess of £1million!
Barclays Bank exceutive Bob Diamond has even managed an extortionate £22million in bonuses and share options to supplement a meagre salary of £250,000 per annum. Perhpas we should organise a Flag Day to help him out.
I bank with Barclays and I know of people who have had a raw deal from that bank as with others. The resdies that keep Comrade Bob in the style to which he is becoming accustomed, seem not to be quite so ready for paupers.
I find a situation of extremes of wealth and poverty to be fundamentally in contradiction to the values of the Gospel which turns a world upside down. Christ seems to favour the poor with his presence and his example holds good.
I cannot help but be disturbed that the snouts are in the trough to this extent under a Labour Government which seems to be hellbent on appeasing the super rich whilst giving a few sweeties to the poor to keep them quiet. It seems that whoever we choose to be our political masters, they drop to their knees in eager subservience at the sight of the wealthy and the powerful. So much for the illusion of democracy which we are fed!
Anyhow, I think it just may be time to look for another bank.
Norway shows the way on religious freedom
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Cowboy justice in Texas
Well, only in Texas can someone be executed for a crime they did not commit.
I realise that this is the State that produced George W Bush and Attorney General Gonzalez but this case isa unnacceptable in any civilised society. Any state that carries out such an execution should be turned into a pariah state.
Please follow the link and provided above and plea for this man to be spared what is clearly judicial murder!
Labels: Capital Punishment
Dick Cheney - voice of wisdom
Well, he was in 1994!
We greatly enjoyed our visit to Greenbelt. A particular highlight for me was hearing Dave Tomlinson whose Post Evangelical came along at the right time for me when I was being damaged by so called Biblical Christianity. It remains a book that I recommend.
Dave is currently writing a new book to be published in the Spring. It asks what can replace the lost innocence that comes with a collapse of a literalist mindset. I long for the new book judging by what I heard at Greenbelt and the precis on his website.
I also enjoyed hearing Duke Special who were an excellent band that I had never heard before. I recommend anyone to look them up on myspace.
Another great act was Faith, Hope and Gaffertape's "Return to the Forbidden Planet" which was so full of great energy with brilliant dancing and singing. I'd heard them last year. They were great then. This year they were even better.
But perhaps, most important is the people I met. Some were local such as our Circuit youthworkers, Chris and Debs, who were manning the Edukid stand. This organisation has done great work helping children in Cambodia and its scheme for Uganda is worthy of support by groups wishing to make a difference to peoples' lives.
I also met Methodist blogger Dave Warnock with whom I shared an enjoyable conversation. I confess that I did not meet his principled wife as I am lacking in the principles department. Nor did I meet his cousin and muse Adrian who may be a little too sound for me. Still, I enjoyed meeting Dave and hope to do so again some day in the future when there is more time.
Visiting the Methodist Church stand, I was able to have a chat with Michaela Youngson from the connexional office who like me comes from Cornwall. I will blog and resources that she provided me with, in the next few days.
I wonder if some time in the future, we might manage to arrange some sort of gathering of Methodist bloggers. We might manage to explore issues of communication and with a bit of luck there would be no homicides.
Anyhow, we enjoyed our time in Cheltenham. It's well and truly a back to work time But first, there is the matter of a football match to attend tonight. More on that tomorrow.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Tories accept money from merchant of death
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wel it is a good news day. My father is out of hospital. Hopefully, he will continue to improve at my sister's home where he lives.
Also my nephew, Stephen, has today had his GCSE results. For 7 subjects he got "A" grades as for the half a GCSE in Religious Education. In his other two subjects he got "B" grades. This is a result that he deserves and like others who have had good results, he merits congratulations.
Greenbelt here I come!
Going to Greenbeltwith my family on Monday.
I will be delighted to meet any bloggers there. Feel free to email cntact details. Otherwise I shall be wearing a vomit inducing red shirt, jeans and trainers.
My father's health has improved during the week and I am doing OK other than a problem with a nerve in my left leg.
Anyway, looking forward to Monday. In the meantime, my son is rowing on Saturday and Sunday and I shall be paying a visit to my father.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
New Labour party gambling shame
New information concerning political donations in the quarter ended 30th June 2007 shows that the Labour Party has accepted a donation of £150,000 from internet gambling company, Bet 365.
I trust that son of the manse, Gordon Brown, will return this dirty money.
I cannot help but feel that we are currently the victims of a confidence trick. Sure, the supercasino may not happen but this limited victory will serve to dampen the necessary reaction to the rest of the gambling expansion that will go ahead.
Next time you receive Labour Party campaign literature, I suggest that you rip it up for it is financed by the sweat and tears of the victims of New Labour's disgusting spivvy chums. It is blood money!
Indeed it is such a low, that I won't bother mentioning other donations from those great heirs of Keir Hardie, the private equity boys!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
There's only one Wayne Rooney!
Hilarious film of Britain's greatest living fooballer having fun with the Sanchez Boys
During my holiday at Kidwelly, we wre able to join worshippers at Sketty Methodist Church in Swansea. The minister Richard Hall had fled on his holidays - the extent people go to in order to avoid the Martin family.
Still, we had a god service there led by a man called Bruce Sawyer. That is after someone directed us to a white Roman Catholic Church when we asked the way to the Methodist Church. Arriving to see a picture of the Pope, I thought must be visiting a rather unusual form of Methodist church. Still when we arrived and found ourselves having to sit at the front, it was nice to have got to the Switzerland of Methodism. Bruce offered the sanest exposition of the hope that comes from an expectation of the return of Christ, that I have heard for quite some time. More importantly, worship had a relaxed feel about it which I particularly appreciated.
Refreshments afterwards were agreeable.
Leaving to go to Mumbles where they serve quite the most delicious ice cream, we passed the church whose minister is Barth enthusiast Kim Fabricius who had fled to Greece so that he might avoid us.
I saw neither of these prolific bloggers but I had a sense that I was close to blogging heaven and the pull of doctrinal soundness - or was that me thinking too much about dh?
Monday, August 20, 2007
The things they say - No 1. Gordon Brown
From his first budget comes this pearl from Gordon Brown;
I will not allow house prices to get out of control and put at risk the sustainability of the recovery.
Funny how in terms of average earnings, house prices are now six times higher as opposed to three and a half times higher in 1997. Along with tuition fees (I wonder if they will increase in the next Parliament) this goes some way to explaining why the average age of first time buyers is going up and up!
And strangely, Prime Minister Brown says he is going to to do something about the problems people face in getting on to the housing ladder. Well Gordon, don't expect applause. You had ten years to do something as Chancellor. Or did that Blair chap keep getting in the way?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
I am back home in Bideford. I will post about my holidays when I am able. However, there will be a delay. I continued getting a tight chest whilst on holiday but more importantly my father was yesterday taken to hospital. He has had a mild heart attack which seems to have been brought on as a result of yet another infection. Hence, I am not really in the mood for blogging. I have two more days of holiday after today before resuming work on Wednesday when I have a funeral service to take. Thankfully, I will not be preaching until Sunday September 2nd. Pending events we may as a family be at Greenbelt on Monday August 27th. We would have booked the whole weekend but my son is involved in rowing races with Bideford Amateur Rowing Club at events on the Saturday and Sunday. I will be trying to be a good father by watching him in action.
Meanwhile, I point you to the best of Methodist blogging
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
I am as of today on holiday for two weeks. Some of that time will be spent locally and some will be spent away. As I give priority to my family, blogging will be light but I may look at other blogs when the opportunity arises.
Friday will be my birthday which sadly is no longer a day I look forward to as much as in the past. I shall also be visiting my father who has Parkinsons tomorrow. Last night I heard of the death of two excellent people from the Methodist Circuit in which I was brought up, who were killed in a car crash. It is desperately sad. We certainly live in a world in which joy and shadows coexist. There are no easy answers which is the issue that arises from recent posts concerning the Mississipi Bridge disaster. Certainly I advise you to visit the links I have used on that.
I am currently planning books for reading during my holiday and during the latter part of August when I always try to get some reading in. I hope to completely read, Tari Ramadan on Muhammad, Keith Ward on taking the Bible seriously as well as something on faith and postmodernism and some writings on spirituality. And of course, I intend to read some Ian Rankin. I will post some reflection on this reading (probably not Rankin) on my return to blogging.
In the meantime, do have a glorious August!
Mississipi Bridge, John Piper and Divine judgement revisited
I opposed the Iraq War. However, it has happened and as a result, many Iraqis have worked for Britain and its allies in roles such as translators etc. These people are now at serious risk from the death squads within Iraq. Surely, we owe a debt of honour that these people be given political asylum.
If you agree, please sign here and call on Gordon Brown to intervene
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Going solo - a crime in the land of the free
Monday, August 06, 2007
Time to tighten arms sales regulations
Worrying news that components from Britain are being used forsales of military helicopters to Burma by India comes from Amnesty International. I urge readers to use link to make representations to British Government to tighten regulations.
Labels: arms trade
Google and pornongraphy
In view of the recent controversy in Bideford, I did a google search to see if things had gone quiet or whether there was a response to today's "This Morning" interview. Sadly, as I used the search to look for blogs after News, two of the first three produced what to me was nasty porn.
I think it is a disgrace that google is not filtering this stuff. Does anyone know of a search engine that exercises proper self control? I would be glad to use such a search engine.
Song for the week
This is a interesting version of a song called "Shut up your face" which Joe Dolce took in the charts back in the Stone Age. This time in honour of the upcoming football season, we have a Jose Mourinho take off.
The sick violence of Iran's gangster regime
I found myself revolted by this account of an execution in Iran.
Frankly, I believe that there is more of the demonic than the Islamic in the Iranian regime's bloodlust for executions. Having seen the videos of such events, I feel that the apirit of such occasions is far removed from what the Prophet of Islam would wish. The sad reality is that Iran is led today by some mighty sick men who lack the substance of true religion even if they put on the appearances of such. To be honest, we have a regime that effectively spits at Allah and Allah's Prophet
But look to the bottom of the page and you will find that the crowd being corrupted by watching a group of men die, include even young children. I have only two words to describe that - child abuse!
A Christian struggles with a collapsing bridge
I have to confess that I do not find myself helped by this article by John Piper concerning the recent collapse of the bridge over the Mississipi River.
If there was one thing I learnt during my training, it was to be intolerant regarding nice explanations of disasters and atrocities. I share with many especially Jewish people in feeling an anger towards God that the Holocaust was able to happen. In part this is because, it happened against a background of anti Jewish proclamation within Christianity. But it is also because I was taught that God is interventionist.
For what it is worth the view I came to after studying the course "Christian and Jewish Responses to the Holocaust" is that God has chosen to be limited. This is not to deny that God works in people through the Holy Spirit - of that I have no doubt. However, I am wary of claims that God intervenes by suspending the laws of nature be it concerning the big things or trivia such as finding car parking spaces, a superstition that needs to be driven out of Christianity.
I am still left with problems. Whilst that which I am increasingly convinced of, might let me off the question why a God of love fails to intevene in evil, there are times when I wish that God would be more prone to intervening for good with all the problems that follow from that.
I am sure that God is big enough to cope with people like me complaining. Indeed, because of my being human, I shall go on complaining at the unfairness that I see in God's world. I can believe that in the light of eternity, there may be that which dwarfs the horror we often feel at events around us but please do not sugarcoat the matter of suffering.
In a paragraph that causes me to struggle, Piper says;
The meaning of the collapse of this bridge is that John Piper is a sinner and should repent or forfeit his life forever. That means I should turn from the silly preoccupations of my life and focus my mind’s attention and my heart’s affection on God and embrace Jesus Christ as my only hope for the forgiveness of my sins and for the hope of eternal life. That is God’s message in the collapse of this bridge. That is his most merciful message: there is still time to turn from sin and unbelief and destruction for those of us who live. If we could see the eternal calamity from which he is offering escape we would hear this as the most precious message in the world.
I know of many churches where this would get a loud Amen. But I refuse to see in the unfairness of a collapsed bridge and with it collapsed lives, God giving a great altar call. the very thought is grotescue.
So when I see dreadul disasters, I am reminded of the fact that our world is impefect even if it is the best world possible. I am reminded that unfairness is all around and that I and others need to help the process of healing. And I am reminded that God weeps with us for these things are not God's wishes. But when my answers run out, I am not going to seek a Divine plan. On the contrary, I will let God feel my anger full on.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
How much land does a man need? - A sermon for the tenth Sunday after Pentecost
The Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote a short story entitled ‘How Much land does a Man Need?’ It tells the story of a peasant named Pakhom who sees his greatest need as being to remedy a lack of land. Should he have enough land, he comments that he would not even fear the Devil himself.
His opportunity arises when the landowner of a nearby estate decides to sell her property and so he decides to buy forty acres of this land. To finance this, he has to sell a colt, half of his bee colony, hire out one of his sons and to borrow the rest from his brother in law. The purchase works out well. Thanks to a good harvest he is able to pay of all his debts.
End of story you might think but No! Soon he feels cramped and develops problems with his neighbours and so hearing of land beyond the Volga which is available at a decent price, he sells his land and purchases more land than he could ever have dreamt of owning.
Made me smile
I have never really done conformity in the cause of nationalism so I rather like this gem from the US. At least humour lives across the ocean.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Hail to the thief!
Craig Murray is angry and I don't blame him.
The reason for his anger is the decision of the US Administration that what the Middle east needs is $60 billion in armaments. In the main these will go to regimes with poor human rights records. I suppose it beats looking for a balanced solution to the region's problems.
It's all a bit stange. Not long ago the Saudis were threatening to aid Sunni insurgents and torture is virtually a routine hobby with the House of Saud and the reality is not much better with Mubarak's Egypt.
Still, it seems that since Bush came to power the lives of young people and foreigners are rather expendable in the armed madhouse in which the crooks of the arms industry get rich and morally constipated.
Still, I offer again the words of a Republican President who is remembered uin a much better light than Bush can dream of. Read these words from Dwight Eisenhower;
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross."
Given that even in the US, there are those deprived of proper medical treatment, let alone those elsewhere in the world, I guess I ought to call Bush a thief.
But I won't. To call George W Bush a thief can only be seen as an insult to decent thieves.
Olympics soaked in blood
I know that many people think that to rubbish the Olympic movement is a form of heresy. However, I really hope that in the next year, the morally indefensible decision to award the 208 Games to China, will be exposed as what it is, a craven surrender to corportate interests.
The self important IOC have chosen to open these markets for their sponsors by holding the Games in a country with a terrible human rights record. I draw your attention to Amnesty Internationals's estimate that 8,000 people will be executed in China during the next year.
Our media, intoxicated at the thought of the 2012 Games being perfomed in front of the wealthier sections of British society, will doubtess enthuse at every sporting achievement. But what we need is daily reminders that every day we marvel at those who hop skip etc, on average over 20 people will egt a bullet in the back of the head.
Sport in the killing fields of China - don't make me laugh!
Bring on the new season.
The last few weeks without football have really done my head in. I cannot wait for Match of the Day to begin again even if at Premiership level, teams are increasingly owned by human rights abusers and robber barons. As always, I guess I will try to blot the corruption of football out of my mind.
My real excitement is more local. I am desperately hoping that our local team, Bideford Town can regain the Western League Championship. Having won the league for two seasons in a row, last season, the team finished a diaappointing fourth. This season, there will be a real challenge from Truro City who won the league below last year as well as the FA Vase. they are owned by a seriously wealthy individual. Yet, I believe that our Summer signings mean that we may be able to show the superior value of a good community club.
I am not always able to get to games but I hope to bring some of the excitement of the terraces to this blog, hoepfully with the odd picture. Bring it on!