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On this day 10 years ago:
Realisation - Even I'm a Corporate Whore
First off this is not a rant. At least it's not supposed to be a rant. I might also not get all of my brain thoughts down here as there are many, but I'll try my best. The reason for this is that we have just had an excellent evening at SCM looking at green issues, in particular climate change, but also touching on ethical issues in food produciton and chemical environmental problems. The evening was lead by Simon Nash, who is a member of SCM and also runs a new Green Action group on campus.
One of the biggest things to strike me relates to washing up liquid. About 8 years ago it must have been my Mum tried some Ecover washing up liquid, but unfortunately we didn't really think that much of it and so went back to Fairy. And since then I've been very much under the impression that Fairy is the king of washing up liquids for which there is no comparrison. I especially like the eucaliptus blue version because it looks much less like green ecto-plasm and thus must be better. But then I find out that the lovely bubbles that are generated when using the liquid is a sham - they are completelty separate from the actual deturgent bit that is doing the greese cutting. The bubbles are purely there to make the experience more fun - "Bubbles! Bubbles! My bubbles, precious bubbles." - Finding Nemo. They've sucked me in. I'm their bitch. They are pimping me.
Sure the Fairy liquid is probably the best of the liquids, but to what environmental cost. The manufacture, packaging (in small woman shapped bottles), and all the shit that just goes down the plug whole and back in to the water system. So Ecover it is. I'm already enjoying using the Ecover clothes washing liquid so I'll be getting that for the kitchen sink to.
Our discussion on vegetarianism was interesting as I've been contemplating my own standing on this quite a bit recently (and I'm still to blog my thoughts on the matter). While I'm a veggie and massivly in favour of the benefits of being a veggie, I'm not actually out to convert everyone else. Actualy I don't think we should all be veggies (when I differed from what Simon was suggesting as an ideal) as it's not the way we are built and it's not biblical (if you want me to get thological on your ass). But it is clear that consuming vegetables is a hugely sensible use of land while rearing animals is not. Bodies are inefficient, they waste energy (by being alive), and so you have to keep feeding them. So it takes masses of land to produce enough food to raise animals to then eat, where as using all that land for producing calorific staples would, quite litterally, solve one of the problems the world faces with it's accellerating populaiton.
However, as I say I don't believe this is sensible. Meat is important. Meat is good. But what meat isn't and definitly should not be, is as redilly available as it currently is. I'm afraid I believe it is an utter disgrace and abuse of creation to be able to go to Asda and pick up a selaphane tray of some generic "meat" to consume as the stable conponent of your meal. Eating meat is a privilage, it is a celebration quite simply because an animal has lost it's life so you might benefit. Now I'm not going into any of the 'animals are people too' shit, but they are alive and concious, can feal pain and, more disturbingly, fear. The loss of their life has been lost in the sterility and mass economy of the meat industry. Sickening.
On a similar line was our small group discussion that wound it's way to looking at the reasons behind the problem (rather than simply trying to solve the consequences). What we came round to was the breakdown in our family structure. No longer is there the emphasis on the family as a unit working through good and bad. No longer is there the time (read love) spent in tending the relationships, the time and energy in preparing meals and sharing meals together. No longer is the focus on others, but on ourselves, on gathering as much income as possible so we can be as rich and therefore 'happy'. So we see both parents out to work, we see the stresses of that tearing paresnts apart, requiring two separate houses with two separate energy requirements (and not to mention all the transporation of kids between these two 'homes'). And what do we feed these children? We feed them the very same lies about self and the persuit of happiness. But it's more cunning, and dare I say evil, than that. As this mesasge is given stronger, deeper and more subtly before. An all pervasive message through the media that self is all important and fuck everyone else.
But before I offend an ever increasing demographic of single parents or children of broken familes, I am not seeking to place blame on you or your parents, nor am I implying that all separated familes provide shit upbringings for their children. Rather the root of the problem lies in the fabric of society, in the ideal lie of capitalism that if we earn enough we will be happy. If we work all the hours available we will be fullfilled. This is the fundamental error. I'm also not proporting to be some wacky socalist. I believe we need a new way, a party of sustainability and family, that seeks to build community (both small and large scale) thorough love and respect for each other. To do away with the fear that is filter fead our tiny childen (and less tiny americans) that those different are the enemy. To grasp the realisation that we must live on less in order for others to even live at all. And don't write this off as some wacky Christian legislation (I'm against faith ruling the masses) but I strongly believe that there is great strength and truth in Jesus and his message.
But how to achieve this? How do the seemingly few that care about justice and worry about climate change do something real to tackle these problems? How can I, an individual amongst 6.5 billion, do something to save the world. How do I tell you skeptics that might be reading this thinking "yeah whatever Nick - it's not that bad - stop preaching at me - why should I be expected to change when China ... - what difference can I make" that we are the problem but that we are the solution?! How do I help not giving up myself when I think my own efforts futile?
I wish I new. I wish I could get eveyone I know to recycle everything they can, to by fairly traded produce, to think ethicaly, to think about their carbon footprint, to know that they are the solution? How do I do this this through love? For surly it is only by love that people change, and I mean the real foundational meaningful change? How do we love the population of the UK, of America and the rest of the 'developed' world into accepting that we are the problem, but that we are the solution. We are the problem and we are the solution. How do you love people into acting in a way that will sustain this planet for my children and my grand children? How do I express this pain and worry that I feal inside as a passionate but active love that can only invite a responce of love and action in others?
Praise the Lord! Graham Archer was back at the help this evening beginning a four week series of sermons and I'm glad. I've not been happy there of late, Graham has been a way a bit (I think more operations, but I'm not sure) and in his wake I'm afraid Chris Halls has not been doing a grand job. He's been taking it a little too American Evangelical for my liking (praying that God will convert all Jews to Christians through us). So having Graham back might just make me stick on at Highfield.
Despite being on welcome this evening I didn't really want to go. I was happy to stay at home and perhaps get some odd bits and pieces done. I've also been feeling a little low and not in the mood for going out much. But I'm glad I did. As the service started (it was an informal thankfully) I wasn't feeling the vibe, but gradually through the first set of songs God broke through a little and came by me (or rather me to him). Frankly I was a little angry at him for not giving me clear guidance and answers on something that's bugging me. But nonetheless I regained better communication with him and did some meditation work.
Grahams sermon was good, but it wasn't that which struck me. Rather the invitation that was made to come to the front of the church (transept I think it's called) and do some art. As we prayed following the sermon I felt this suggestion to lye on the floor. But in my usual self-conscious way I resisted, but then realised that this was silly and that I should just follow God's prompts. So I did. Nothing remarkable happened apart from helping me shed some tears. I then felt the suggestion to go the front and do some art. But again I resisted mainly on the grounds that I didn't want to walk past everyone on the way to the front. And again I snapped out of this and went for it.
There I found a number of people painting in a lovely attitude of prayer and worship and so I joined in. Bloody glad I did too. Again, nothing radical or lighting zappy, but I painted my feet red and blue, stood on the cloth canvas and then wrote the words "your ways are my ways" around my footprints. Though now largely shod I'm remaining barefoot in church for a year and so this seemed to fit nicely. While standing on the canvas I prayed a little too. It was all rather liberating, and fun, which I an important aspect of Church life.
Painting - a great use for bare feet :)
The Blog of Life
Three Word Thursday
This evening, while having a bath, was the first time the little guy strung three words together. It was only last Thursday that he did two at a time, which I think was "daddy down". During the week there have been increasing range of instructional two-worders with a lot of them involving saying bye-bye to me, Dr K, Eme (auntie) etc. Tonight, at the end of our bath I heard "Daddy get out".[2017-02-09]
The Blog of Photos - past 30 days
Sunday Fellowship: Church without the church, but also mostly just church.
When we went down to Southampton a couple of weeks ago we joined our friends for the Monthly Quaker "youth" outing to the Southampton Sunday Assembly. For those of you who don't know, the Sunday Assembly was started in 2013 as an idea to take the best bits of church such as communal singing and gathering together, but without any of the crappy religious bits that obviously makes actual Church rubbish. Here are their four point summary (see, they even shirk the three point sermon):
- We are a secular congregation that celebrates life.
- We have an awesome motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.
- A super mission: A Sunday Assembly in every town, city and village that wants one.
- An awesome vision: To help everyone live life as fully as possible.
So we went along and it was just like church. Actually, it was closer to some of the funkier churches in Southampton such as New Life or Vineyard, perhaps even a little CU at a push. There were the funky folk, the quirky outsiders, the poets and the rebels. After an initial slightly awkward meet and greet time with coffee and tea the service got under way with some singing of traditional pop songs (Cold Play's "Fix You" was rather enjoyable) followed an excellent poem on apathy by an American member of the congregation. The main sermon was also good, by local poet come song writer Grant Sharkey about maintaining a line between love and anger (and included the term 'binge thinking' which I rather liked). This was followed by the short five minute talk (which went on for nearer 30) and tried to get us to share nice things that had happened in the past week. We then prayed together. No, I mean we thought together. There was even a collection!
It was good. Nice people and a friendly atmosphere, just like a good church should be and quite often are. It was markedly young, as seen by their twitter banner and I suspect most of my church would feed out of place and not as a result of the lack of God. Indeed I barely felt there was a lack of God, just that no one mentioned him or tried to avoid mentioning him (actually Grant accidentally did). This was simply church re-imagined by young people who failed to be taken along to a CU while at university. Or perhaps they were taken along to a CU, or similar funky modern church where they were prayed at or otherwise intimidated into being saved, resisted but secretly enjoyed the whole thing.
Perhaps I'm being a little facetious. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why people were there, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a number were ex-evangelicals, some of them had that look. Either way there is something other actual churches could learn: people like to sing together, and do pretty much everything else that Church does. It's not even the preaching that puts people off, though no doubt some of the older traditional stuff has. We just need to loosen up a little and funk it up. But at the same time I certainly don't want to loose all the lovely silver backs we have in my local Church - they bring such warmth, love, vision and stability that should be treasured. Also they are most certainly not all stuck-in-the-mud bores who don't want change. Lets all sit together and learn from each other. It is hard to be a cohesive living church of all ages, but God really can help, even if some have to pretend not to have heard about him.
PS. The idea of giving new people different coloured mugs so everyone knows who's new and who's not is a wizard idea.[2015-08-17]
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Upside Down & Inside Out
From: Hungry Ghosts
23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint
Change from our first outing with baby
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