Thursday, May 17, 2007

Church Speaks Sense

Morning My head was turned last week by headline in The Gruaniad declaring (something like) "Church rumoured to be Pregnant". After blinking twice I realised the story wasn't about the latest Catholic myrical, instead it was about singer Charlotte Church. Today she was in the Gruaniad again, this time a quote in relation to a media driven "feud" and I rather liked it... (warning language slightly fruity)
(upon having her boyfriend and her looks insulted she responded with) "Look, love. When you can sing fucking Ave Maria, then you can have a go"
Now if only the Church I was thinking about spoke so clearly and precisely half the mess it seems to live in wouldn't exist... ach well roll on Conference 2007! Take Care Y'All John

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Death Humbles Us All

American Evangelical Rev Jerry Falwell died yesterday, and there has been a large amount of media coverage within the Uk about this. A very interesting discussion was had on "The World Tonight" about his influence and legacy - was he really responsible for the stratification of religious political opinion within the US? Anyway, Jim Wallis (of Sojourners) blogged about this in a way which reminded me about the above Not the Nine O Clock News Sketch.
Jim Wallis: The Passing of Rev. Jerry Falwell I was saddened to learn that Rev. Jerry Falwell passed away this morning at age 73. Rev. Falwell and I have met many times over the years, as the media often paired us as debate partners on issues of faith and politics. I respected his passionate commitment to his beliefs, and our shared commitment to bring moral debate to the public square, although we didn’t agree on many things. At this time, however, what matters most is our prayers for comfort and peace for his family and friends.
[EDIT: Here we have a wee linkcovering some of the more repulsive quotations from Rev Falwell, before you think I am trying to say is viewpoints pronounced were delightful because, they often weren't) It is bizzare how the most fierce enemies can often be just that, but only that in the political sphere. On the discussion last night it was said that Rev Falwell was very open towards homosexuals in a "don't ask, don't tell" manner and this was in stark contrast to his public persona. What this all reminded me was the sudden ability, when someone is gone to remember all the good over all the bad. Whilst they are there, living and breathing it is very easy just to think the worst, yet once they are gone you cannot be further confirmed right or wrong in your personal bias. Suddenly all you have are the memories and they shape your final perception. Maybe though there is a deeper lesson in it for us all, for with Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley suddenly sharing government can we not begin moves towards peace and reconciliation whilst we are alive instead? After all, if we are all dead there is nothing to work for. Instead we should be seizing each and every opportunity to look for the best in ourselves and in others, fine we may annoy people and all that, but that is what makes life so great. The variety and unexpectedness of what people will say or do next. Yet if we allow instead a veritable straw (wo)man to be built up, we can fail to see the great good they can be doing, even if it is shrouded in (what you may perceive as) evil. Ultimately, it reminded me of the great Ghandi saying "An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind" Take Care Y'All John (Hat tip to Dave at the Cartoon Church BlogCartoon Church blog for alerting me to the blog post)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are You Still Sat Here?

This week is a most exciting week, as it is Christian Aid week. All round the country a whole variety of things and events are occurring to raise money for a very worthy cause. Edinburgh has the most marvellous second hand book sale, which raises thousands and thousands of pounds and for some like myself is bliss. Here we have a video reviewing a previous years sale... This years TV advert is It nicely sums up what Christian Aid is all about in many respects. It works to ensure that every has dignity and respect and help themselves in the long term to be alleviated from the poverty trap in which so many find themselves stuck. Yet this is also backed up by a hard-hitting, serious, amount of decent campaigning back here in the UK getting our Government to alter and change the worldwide and local laws that ensure we force other countries to stay in a poverty trap to ensure we can have cheap goods. Ultimately, it is an organisation that lives out its ideas to all (regardless of the receivers faith) varying its message to ensure maximum impact and greatest equality. We can all help build a world of peace and justice, we just need to all work together to ensure it. If we don't we miss a chance to make a difference to everyone's life. Our short term loss is for the worlds gain and, ultimately, will be for our own gain as well. We cannot continue, either ethically or environmentally, to run the world as it currently is and we all need to start to make the difference. So please, give all you can this Christian Aid week - if you don't have an envelope through your door or know of a local collection point then you can always donate online by clicking here. Take Care Y'All John

Radio Round Up

Hello I am knee deep in ex... ams and essays at the moment so blogging lite is altering to blogging nul. That said, in the spirit of keeping you informed, a few radio programmes that are worth listening to. 1) Mark Thomas Mark Thomas is a political comedian, insofar as he uses comedy to get across serious political points. I have alot of respect for him as he isn't overtly political more issue based. I first came across him when he aided our "die in" on the School Student Strike Against the War and since then have followed his many exploits on both television and radio. This latest escapade is his exploration of the SOCPA SOCPA (or Serious Organised Crime and Police Act)was introduced as a way of banning, or limiting protests outside the houses of parliament. Instead of just being able to turn up willy nilly with your banner you all needed written permission from the local police authority. Therefore Mark Thomas has been doing this and protesting about the widest and most diverse range of things. Anyway, click here then download and enjoy a light hearted, yet very serious, half an hour exploration of free speech and silly placards! (For more information on Mark Thomas click here 2) When is a prostitute not a prostitute? Between Ourselves is a typical radio 4 discussion programme, built upon a questionable action and two people who have shared in it in differing ways. This week examined the case of selling sex. The two differing people were a prostitute and a male escort. Both had very differing outlooks with one feeling they were not selling themselves and the other very much doing it only for the money. In some ways some of the more interesting aspects were provided by the questions asked by the presenter, questions covering issues such as family background and history. This overt moral undercurrent was a fascinating one to explore. Explored it certainly was. Whilst the majority of the programme was more like soliloquies from either individual the final ten minutes covered the two interacting over the issues raised and really challenging each others views and opinions. A truly fascinating exploration of attitudes towards money, self worth, exploitation, liberation and what it actually means to "make love". To listen to the programme click here 3) Students! One of the most interesting aspects of being a student is being part of a very transient three years. Come election time or identification then it is difficult to consider quiet where home is. Whilst the emotional home is often where the parents/ where you have come from the "here and now" home is wherever you are staying for university. But this placement really only occurs for eight months out of twelve. This effect, multiplied by the thousands of students in any one sizeable university town or city can lead to a lot of unrest. Unrest caused by students "making the most" of their time together, unrest caused by a local economy which becomes structured around an eight month high and four month trough and unrest caused by a lack of any form of integration between student populous and local population.(For an interesting reflection on what this does to Church choice and what "home" that can or can't create I can do no greater deed then suggest you read this blog entry The end result of this is what promises to be a very interesting radio programme which travels to Swansea, Wales, and looks to cover all the opinions from Student Union to local student to local neighbour in a lively and exciting discussion. The issues covered within this will not just be for students though. How many have ever gone self catering or even stayed in a hotel? What does that do to the local economies etc? I was out walking down on the Gower much earlier this year and our quick pace ensured arrival earlier than the bus so much time to spare. The temptation at that point was to locate a decent pub and relax with a pint. The only problem was no-where was open. It was a commercial ghost town which only opened any amenities during the "high season". Anyway, a preview of the show is provided in thisEducation Guardian article and the show can be listened to by tuning in (either by radio or by clicking here ) at 10pm tonight and listening to the Anita Anand Show, else use that weblink any time afterwards and listening again.