Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Greetings!

Manger scene: Figures are olivewood from Palestine,
the stable outline (and star) is a MangoWood candel holder from Fairgrounds, Bradford

A Christmas break. Blogging may not occur as I'll be off to the Iona Community and unsure of Internet signal there.

Have a good time whatever you do

Look forward to seeing you in the new year

Have a Very Merry Christmas.....

Monday, December 21, 2009

(Belated) Sunday Song - Christmas Special

Man Smart : Woman Smarter.  A rather apt song to have in the run upto Christmas, as we see the central role that women take in the life of jesus.....but it is also a very good song and reminded me of a very good book I read recently - the Handbook of Non-Sexist Writing - which came to mind as I was singing many carols and hymns with the phrase 'saviour of all men' etc....

Take Care Y'All


(please note; I appreciate this is a song by a man but I initially heard it sung by Joan Baez but can't find a youtube of her singing it)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Voting Results - Please Read All!


News just in. Clean Shave has beaten sitting the sitting MP, Shaggy Beard, to claim the right to represent John’s Face.  After three days frantic discussion, debating and voting, the people of ‘Friends List’ have made their voices clear.  The need for change was clear, the people had mandated it and it was up-to the democratic mechanisms to follow through.

As the handover of power occurs (pictured above), people were given the chance to muse upon the reason for the change in fortune.   At first it was thought that water warming, recently increasing due to replacement of the boiler, was the reason for change.  However this was only a catalyst for peopel to examine the true impact of John's Beard.  D.Bradwell, long time friend of the constituency, recalled the words of Cromwell and Churchill when asked the opinion of now-departed Shaggy, ‘In the God, Go’*.  Similar passion was on the side of the clean shave skeptics who often talked of how they had benefitted from representation by Shaggy Beard.  However, the votes were staking up and from last night onwards it looked clear that the time for action was here.  Due to misplacement of the returning office, Ms Shav Ing Cream, some feared that the result would just be ‘noted’, meaning action wouldn’t have to be taken and the whole exercise would have been wasted. Thankfully the people of Johns Wallet stepped in and facilitated trade with Midlands Cooperative to ensure justice was delivered.

During the three days, discussion had been varied. While some saw a preferred outcome of chemical enhancement of the sitting MP, no one was doubting the science indicating something had to happen.  After months of itching, and catching on the top of John’s Jumper (always a troublesome neighbour), the need to act was there.  This was furthered proved by many people who often see Johns Face advocating the need for change.  The question was, would ‘Friends List’ have the guts to make a good strong decision? Thankfully they did.  At the same time, the neighbouring constituencies of Mutton and Chop saw their sitting representatives returned, albeit with trimmed majorities.

In other news, world leaders gathering at Copenhagen had an equally stark choice to make. Either they made moves to save the future of the planet, and legally oblige themselves to stick to such plans, or they condemn the world’s poorest to suffer for the right of the rich to pollute.  Unfortunately, unlike the result from John’s Face, the result was not as clear.  While thousands outside the venue, and many more around the world, watched for a sign of leadership and commitment, what was returned was ‘more of the same’.   Developing countries were left distraught as the status quo was returned meaning ‘further discussions’ would be needed to get somewhere.

[Edit: Since this story was published, the author noticed that the quote should have read "In the name of God, Go"... this was an editing error and I'm happy to confirm D Bradwell gave the correct quote to start with]
Take Care Y'All


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Song - If I Had a Hammer

This week's Sunday Song is another Pete Seeger classic. Although made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary it was penned by Seeger.

Inspired by today's news that the Methodist Church is opposing the Homosexuality Bill in Uganda (which could include the death penalty for anyone 'convicted' of homosexuality).  This is an important move towards the church as a liberation movement. It shows that, while it has yet to allow a civil partnership to be blessed it will still speak up for the right of homosexuals to be who they are.

Why should this matter? As the Christmas season is in full flow the Moral Maze (Radio 4) tackled the subject of how to really celebrate Christmas.  The fascinating discussion flowed through issues of morality and religion and really stretched and examined the many issues about 'celebrating christmas'.

One  of the most stunning contributions was made by Jonathan Bartley.  Using the example of Santa being turned away from Yarlswood (although it was sad he didn't mention the Methodist/Baptist/URC One More Card campaign on the issue) he made clear a simple point.  Christmas is about getting to the meaning of the message of Christ.  A message that was bound up in delivering freedom for all.

The Methodist action to send One More Card (I've sent one - have you?), coupled with this statement on the subject of Uganda shows that a joyful Christmas can be coupled with an awareness of the real world and showing how the joyful message of Christ is for all - and at this time of year we must ensure it.

Final word must go, though, to a often understated - but clear - section of the Methodist Church statement on human sexuality. The final point, point 6, makes clear a simple fact - regardless of your view of human sexuality - this is a subject to do with freedom and liberation.  Wherever we are on our individual pilgramge to greater understanding of the subject, we cannot stand by and let injustice reign.
Conference recognises, affirms and celebrates the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church. Conference calls on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.(For full text see 1993 statement on Human Sexuality).

So as you enjoy the sunday song I implore you. Take some time to think and consider - what are you doing to spread joy and justice this Christmas.  But let us not hide our actions under a bushel. Instead take steps to proclaim to all what we do.  For while Church Bells or Minorettes call those to worship God - let us take the chance to call others to say here is part of our worship.  For Christmas will only ever be Christmas if we allow it to be a time, as Greenbelt 2004 so memorably reminded us, to let freedom ring throughout the land.

Take Care Y'All


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sunday Song COP15 Special

"The task of belivers isn't to spread a few good ideas to a few promising people. We are to transform the face of the earth" Archbishop Williams
When the Rev, the Honorable, Archbishop of Cantebury, Rowan Williams, addressed thousands of worshippers at a service yesterday, he present a clear message. Rooted in scripture, theology, science and reality, we were challenged.   Challenged to think about how we are spreading good news.  The good news that is good for all creation. That is good creation for all, not just the people we like (listen to the whole sermon).
This week, at Copenhagen, the world's leaders and negociators have the chance to transform the face of the world, and the future of the planet. If we take heed of the science we can mitigate against previous mistakes and build to a positive future.

However, once the negociating is over the hard work begins. It's upto all of us to make great moves that enable us to reduce our carbon footprint.  This isn't some namby-pamby middle class privaledge.  This is a clear way to deliver social justice.  More carbon effecient homes mean lower heating bills.  More localised food means better diet and better local industry.   More carbon effecient countries mean others, often the poorest, don't suffer the consequencies of our addiction to oil.

So this weeks Sunday Song is dedicated to the committee.  From Church Council or PCC to the world's leaders at Copenhagen.  Let's just hope people are willing to make the leap of faith.  One that says that we want a better world and we are willing to help make that happen.

Take Care Y'All


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Song - If you tolerate this.....

Today's song comes from the Manic Street Preachers. It is a simple reaction to the following news.... Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, will be part of the team representing the European Union at the Copenhagen Summit.

So Nick Griffin will attend the key environment event of the century. With the potential to deliver justice to millions around the world.  It will set the tone for years to come.... so what does he think about climate change?

  • According to 'Two Doctors' he sees the peak oil crisis as a chance to exploit people's fears and bring them to fascism.

  • He believes climate change is a 'hoax' that has been created to provide 'the liberal elite' with new ways of controlling the population

  • Let's not forget his opening comment earlier this year when he said he wanted to 'capsize' boats carrying asylum seekers from North Africa.  Therefore the issue of climate justice, and our (Global North) need to deliver restorative justice to a globe we have scarred through our overconsumption - thereby committing millions around the world to a live of misery....
 Words fail me about this move.

Take Care Y'All


Friday, November 27, 2009

Stopping the Vultures

The moves to stop the vultures continues with much pace.  I had a fantastic email action from Jubilee Debt Campaign in my inbox this morning and I just had to share it....(ok this is my write up of it)

The call is simple - This latest case is yet another example of the horrors of Vulture Funds.  They can be stopped if an MP introduces a private members bill.   The 'winners' of the poll this year to introduce a bill (of their choice) are currently deciding what to introduce....

So.... JDC have suggested....if Vulture Funds get your Goat (not to mix my animals up) then contact the MPs direct.  But also I would suggest letting your own MP know your concerns and asking them to lobby the MPs to introduce such a bill as welll.

Incase you don't know the winners list they are

1. Dr Brian Iddon MP (Labour, Bolton South East): 
2. David Chaytor MP (Labour, Bury North): 
3. Andrew Gwynne MP (Labour, Denton and Reddish): 
4. Albert Owen MP (Labour, Ynys Môn): 
5. Julie Morgan MP (Labour, Cardiff North): 
6. Anthony Steen MP (Conservative, Totnes):
7. Alistair Burt MP (Conservative, North East Bedfordshire): 

As ever, if you want more info then go to the Jubilee Debt Campaign page and also send the MP there as well... or make it easier and print out a Vulture Funds briefing and send it to them with a note.

(Brief History........
Spring 2009 - An early day motion is lodged opposing the practice of Vulture Funds - this EDM currently has over 200 MPs signatures - the equivalent of a 1/3rd of the house
Late Spring 09 - Sally Keeble, and a group of cross bench MPs introduce a Private Members Bill to severly limit the practice of Vulture Funds
Spring 2009 onwards and JDC gets thousands and thousands of lobby cards signed by members of the public

Summer 2009 and the Government has a consultation on the issue of Vulture Funds - an issue no-one was talking about (bar JDC) around Christmas last year
Autum 2009 - Consultation closes and no further word from the government....)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Vultures Have Swooped

Rage. Anger. Fustration.  Blimey the news makes my blood boil.  But what news is this?  Quiet simply the news that Vultures Have Struck Again on a Vulnerable Nation....

Vulture Funds are, by their name, a scavaging mode of making money. They purchase debt cheaply from the debtee and the pursue the debtor for the full costs (and some) making profit out of these actions.  For some areas of the market this could be seen as what ensures that those with poor credit are able to get credit, because it enables their debt to be passed on if the person lending the money knows they will get at least some back. However, for some areas of the economic market this is nothing but outragous exploitation and can potentialy lead to some vial consequences.

Today's case serves only to highlight what a blight on this country such actions are.  Both the UK and US legislators have been considering legisation to stop such action. The UK held a consultaiton on the issue, but results have yet to be released - but nothing about it in the queens speech does imply the result.  The US is reconsidering its options after the presidential election stalled their equivalent bill.

Church groups were at the forefront of calling for debt relief way back in the 1990s.  Church groups have been key to ensuring the debt issue stays on the agenda.  Because of church groups Jubilee Debt Campaign still exists to ensure that we  all work towards a world without illigitimate and onorous debts enslaving nations.


All this good work will be undone if vulture funds can continue to operate.  Email your MP today and ask them to take action on this subject because for all the moral condemnation the law still enables it to happen... because the government haven't released the results of the summer consulation and time is running out.... not just for this parliament.... but for some of the most economicaly vulnerable nations in the world.... and I for one don't want another private firm to benefit off a soverign nations poverty, and at the same time by the act of litigating enslave another generation to live in poverty.

To live in poverty for no more than private gain.

This isn't an issue of economics.

This is an issue of justice.

And for every one of us that keeps quiet, we are allowing the next case to be brought to court.

Take Care Y'All


(For information updates and to donate to support the campaign to defeat these funds please go to the Jubilee Debt Campaign website)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ethical Chocolate

The certification of Cadbury's Dairy Milk, in 2009, should be considered a highpoint in the fairtrade campaign.   It is estimated the impact of this will have been a doubling of the amount of fairtrade cocoa sold to the UK.

Therefore, it was quiet a shock to visit Cadbury's World last week and not find any reference, bar a few pictures stuck on the wall, that the bar had gone fairtrade.  This was, to be honest, rather odd.  Through a fantastic set of interactive videos, the story of the ethical, Quaker founded, Cadbury company seemed to end slightly too early.

Unfortunatly, it could all end slightly too early. Another set of people taking a peek around the factory were journalists.  With notebook and cameras, they were getting the low-down on what impact the proposed take-over bid from Kraft could have.

Therefore I thought it wise to return to an age old piramid cartoon. For, through the movements of craft, I am convinced one of the problems of capitlism - well the shareholder part - is clearly illustrated. Kraft discussed with the board what they thought of the plan. The board of Cadbury's said 'thanks but no thanks'.
Now, I would think at this point Kraft should take no as an answer. Afterall, that is what Children are taught - no means no.
Instead Kraft launched a hostile takeover bid. This operates, not in the companies interest, but in the interest of the shareholder. Ie the company aiming to do the hostile takeover opens up its wallet and waves money at the shareholder and says 'dare you overule the current management'.   Certainly, this grows even more worrying, because reports have begun to circulate that the Fairtrade status of the bar could be under threat should the deal go through.

So, to return to the pyramid. Popular around the time of the Russian revolution, it outlines the way the richest percentage of any population rely upon the poorest to prop up the system.  When shareholders are given dream amounts of money it is as though the top of the pyramid leans down to the bottom and begs them to move. However, as the Building Society debacles of the last decade illustrated, if you go away from a more co-operative approach to purely chasing profit the future isn't bright - it is the potential for absolute disaster.

Cadbury's are a fascinating orgainsation. Somehow they try to mix ethics with being one of the biggest confectionery companies in the world.  Many people didn't realise they striving for ethics - yet that is being highlighted as the biggest issue that challenges the merger talks.  Almost, it appears management have realised ethics behind the machine and wish to defend it.  Will the shareholders wish to defend it?

Sunday Song

"Do you want salt and vinegar", was what they made her say,
But in the language of the ghetto,
That means, "Help, I'm a woman in chains"

This weeks Sunday song is a wee bit of fun. Bill Bailey and Billy Bragg unite to sing one of the finest songs ever written.

Take Care Y'All


Friday, September 18, 2009

Awards for Methodist Bloggers?

Exciting news. The Original Christian Web and New Media Awards meet this evening. In line for awards are blogs run by some key Methodists. In the 'Best Small Church' category we find Wellspring Methodist Church. Their website features a calender, blog and podcasts in a well designed and accessable site. In the 'best blog' category we find the current chair of lincoln and grimsby. Rev Dr David Perry runs 'Daves District Blog' and we readers are in for a treat. Using well taken photography and his love for his locality, we find a range of worship resources and personal reflections that give you an idea of all that goes on in his world. Finally in the category of 'Best Leadership Blog' we find our very our President and Vice-President. In their co-authored blog we get an idea of their diary, their photography skills and their personalities. Since its inception with Martyn Atkins and Ruby Beech this has become a firm staple of the Methodist year. As a blog whose authorship alters each year it doesn't have a definitive style. However the cycle of visits mean different people, places and buildings are stressed in this online eye into the world o f Methodist leadership! Outside of the Methodist world it is good to see 'Church Mouse Publishing' in the running for best newcomer.Church Mouse Publishing has always presented a very sharp view of the goings on in the Anglican world. Unlike some critical blogs, it manages to mix criticism with praise - and always a faint hint of disbelief at events - in a very readable and accesable way. This is a very exciting evening for Methodism so lets hope for some silverware...well proberbly it'd be glassware....or at least a wee banner for their blogs or websites! Best of luck to all entrants. Take Care Y'All John

Monday, April 20, 2009

They came, saw - then waited and waited and waited

Hello patient reader. This blog has fizzled to an ungainly halt. This is because I'm unhappy with many aspects of it. The plan is simple - relaunch, re-freshed and revived around Pentecost 2009. Why? Because Pentecost was when the Desciples found ways to communicate to a wide variety of people in multiple differnt ways that everyone understood... Warm Regards John

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dan's Story - Our Story?

The above advert was recently released by Action for Children. What do you think the key message is? What impression does it give? What issues does it highlight? With Regards John (Will respond in three days with reasons why this is listed)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bye Bush : Ola Obama!

Bush Bush n Blair Hello Obama... Let's get ready to see what the land made for everybody can deliver...one day at a time. Take Care Y'All John

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Song

Performed at last weekends demo by 'Lowkey', Free Palestine is a fascinating exposition of frustration and anger. Focusing not on the massacre - but our own place in supporting it - he gets to the nub of the issue. Take Care Y'All John

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Song

Song: He Was My Brother (Simon and Garfunkel) Saturday saw over 50,000 people take to the streets to demands Israel out of Palestine Sunday has seen tens of thousands flood the streets again - this time supporting Israel but calling for peace. Both sides see brothers (and sisters) stand up willing to be killed to set each other free. Take Care Y'All John

Friday, January 09, 2009

Enemy of Apathy

There is a point in paying interest. There is a point to taking action. Without action others die - others that you could have saved. Take Care Y'All John