Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Top ten reasons this is not the end of the world




Okay. Time for a new blog entry. I've been trying to write, but failing throughout much of the pandemic. I've only been brave enough to admit that I am afraid. Warning - this entry is dumbed down as my brain is slow at the moment...

I’m an armchair expert in eschatology from a Christian perspective. That is the study of the end of the world for newbies. It is something we should be interested in. And I've got good news and bad news..

Firstly, although this is not the end of the world, we are a little bit closer and the hope of leaving earth before the sun collapses, explodes or whatever it is expected to do, is not, in my opinion, going to happen. Similarly, we simply are not going to evolve into spiritual beings who escape death. Not going to happen. We are also unlikely to escape this sick planet onto another planet either. Not impossible, but unlikely....

Welcome to the good news, or Gospel as we call it. Can you sense my heaviness as I write? Everything is conspiring to stop me from writing this, but you have a right to know. So here’s the bad news first. There is probably much less time left than you think. That, as you know, is a dogmatic statement. I can’t possibly know can I? No-one knows do they? We may destroy the world with nukes or we may have millions of years left before we rip the planet apart. Well, you and I don’t have millions of years. The bad news is that we almost certainly have a lot less time left than most people think.

The pandemic is not the end of the world. It is a result of the fall (as in the Bible fall, the original curse). It just happens. I won't get into the theological stuff regarding who is to blame and why God allows suffering because the greatest minds have not been able to solve it satisfactorily. So I don't think some obscure blogger will either. And you are unlikely to be able to do so either. Sorry.

But here are your top ten reasons why this is not the end of the world, if you are into this kind of thing…  It is supposed to bring you a little peace, that there is hope for the children, should you have them...



1. The Jewish temple has not been rebuilt. Sorry, but that has to happen if it is the end of the world according to most of the Christian meta-narrative. And do you know how many prophecies have really been fulfilled in our lifetimes? One. Uno. The Jewish people returning to Israel. The rest of the prophecies have always been going on. And you know what? Those who believe in the rapture will tell you that it could happen at any moment. But it is extremely unlikely. Because even this debated event is based on other things happening first...

2. You’ve got to look very hard at the Biblical prophecies. Here is number two and it is debatable. Jesus said that the love of many will grow cold. It is debatable. But there is still love and mercy and despite our selfishness, people can be loving.

3. A bit of a biggy. Visit The Joshua Project, it's an online statistical analysis of the great commission (the only commissions some of us get). According to the prophecies given from Jesus and the prophets, the whole of the world must hear the gospel. Yeah, God loved the world so much that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him might basically make it through to Heaven. But according to our favourite stats, we are only about 60% through. So does this mean that we are more concerned about this great commission rather than the other signs? No. In fact, this really big fact is probably the most ignored sign. We don’t like it because it means there is a lot of work to do. And as many know, immantisising the eschaton is an actual thing. In layman's terms that means trying to bring about the end of the world.

4. You’ve got to go deep into internet territory to get this one. I will put two-in-one for fun. Apparently the Nile will dry up, according to scripture. It hasn’t but maybe it did once and wasn’t recorded. No religious leader tells you this stuff (Which is why I’m blowing the whistle). And the second? Damascus in Syria has to be destroyed. Sorry Damascus. Still going strong there though, despite a few hairy moments recently.

5. OMG the Sun will turn to sackcloth and the Moon to blood. This kind of speaks of more than just eclipses and blood moons. So, before we feel too smug, remember that the Sun and Moon are symbolic references to our parents, if the Bible is to interpret the Bible and blah blah blah. And the stars to our siblings. And the end of the world to our own deaths. But the prophecy is literal too.

6. 6. 6. Nice obscure one for your attention. In the apocrypha Maccabees says that the Ark of the Covenant will be found in the very last days. Apparently it was made of acacia wood. Not sure how it is supposed to survive but think Indiana Jones. For those interested, it seems likely to be hidden in the mountain ranges of Jordan somewhere. Good luck finding it.

7. Oh, I’m sorry, where does the antichrist happen to be? Not here for a start. Not Trump. Not the Pope. Ain't nowhere to be seen. There are a lot of nasty characters out there, but that's all. No-one is a particularly good contender at the moment for that dubious position. I have been taught that he will most likely be a politician.

8. Again, slightly obscure, according to prophecies, Israel has to prosper within history. No problem with that, but at the moment the country is in survival mode. Nice defence policy though. Buy New Israeli Shekels.

9. Hey, apparently there is a timeframe in which the Messiah, or the Christ has to appear. Jewish people largely reject Jesus so they are largely expecting a Messiah to appear before 2240. Do the math. That gives us 220 years. Hurrah? (I've just realised my maths is wrong even though I was in the top set at school and got a B)... Might not be the Messiah of course as it is doubtful we will get a better one than Jesus.

10. Oh, I don't know. There is no Season 4 of Stranger Things. Whatever. Could be anything. Fill in the blank.




Some of these are debatable. But if the temple gets rebuilt you have to run to the hills. The vaccine is not likely to be the mark of the beast despite what Kanye West may say. It's the arm, not the hand or forehead. But don't get too smug, governments have hinted at stopping travel for those who don't take the vaccine. That's not fair is it? It's freaky. It's weird. And by the way, the people who are getting demonised are those who are questioning. The demonised are not the ones in power. That's not normal. That's freaky.

Finally, don’t you think it is kind of funny that the end of the world just so happens to have come at the same time as the digital revolution where news and information is shared so instantly? Unless we are under Sod’s Law, we have a little more time. And no, non-believers, not so much time as to evolve and escape the earth on spaceships before the sun kills us all, blasting us into smithereens.


Think happy thoughts.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

The Parable of the Cold Island 2020

 The Parable of the Cold Island

Update: 2020. It's been a humdinger of a year. But this is important...

To God: 'Respectfully, many of us here asked for things to get better. Instead you allowed a plague. Are you really going to say 'Maybe next year' again? Mental health, general health, crime, domestic violence, job stability and morale in general are all worse. Never has this parable been more pertinent. How long will you delay and for what reasons?'


This is probably the most important parable that I will ever write. It is also the one I have worked on for the longest period of time. The central metaphor will perhaps give the appearance of being trite, schmaltzy or twee. That was not my intention. I chose this metaphor as I still feel it is the most appropriate for the subject. It is not intended to be unnecessarily didactic in tone, but the nature of parables is to send a spiritual message.

Anyone who tells parables has to decide whether they will explain them or not. In this case I'm trusting in your intelligence and imagination.

'Let those who have ears to hear, let them hear...'





There was once a good king, a king like the sun, who ruled over a cold island with three peculiar children. It was winter and they say that winter is the end of the story of the seasons. But it depends on when you start the story.

Some people hated the royal family, but that was because they tended to get a bad press. Most of the people thought the king was harsh. He always seemed to be on some long journey and his absence caused many of the people to doubt that he even existed. After all, he was never on TV or the internet.

From a distance, he often seemed negligent or downright cruel, if it is possible to be both at once. He did not do terrible things, but he allowed them and would not explain why.

Two of the royal children were as disobedient as vultures. But the third child was as faithful as a robin, refusing to fly away when the winter sun grew austere. Her kindness was all the more remarkable because she was unable to walk. She was as loyal as frost clinging to a car window (for which the people also cursed the king in the mornings).

There hadn’t been a real Christmas on that island for over a hundred years. Although there had been some imitations of it. No-one even knew what Christmas was like anymore. Those who had heard of it either thought it brutal and regressive (following a highly popular Netflix series about what Christmas may be like and a series of stereotypes which were expressed in the arts and media about the character of those who might like Christmas) ... Or else they thought it was yet another money-making scheme, heavy on the merchandise and manipulation.


But the faithful robin-child, after reading of true Christmas, asked her father if they could celebrate too… as the people in far-off places were said to do. She had only read stories of Christmas and it was because she had lost a friend in one of the past winter months that she found her courage.

She entered the throne room in her wheelchair and the king looked sadly at his cold iron sceptre, like a man haunted by ghosts which only he knew about.

"We need Christmas father. Things are getting worse on the island," said the robin-child.

"The island is sick," replied the king.

"Then there is hope of healing. You have healing in your power."

"What do you think Christmas should be like anyway?" the king asked, "Like water? Like the sea's tide turning? Like rain after a drought? Like a river flowing?"

"I don't know."

"Or like the earth? Like an earthquake and a shaking, or a kind of sifting of the good and bad?"

"No not that, Christmas should be for everyone and that sounds destructive."

"Or like the air? Like a wind blowing across the land? Like a change in the atmosphere?"

"I don't know."

"Or like fire? Like tongues of flame? Like a wildfire?"

"I simply think it should be like a new, better season. Like Christmas in the old stories."


But the king went on to tell his daughter yet again that if his children and people continued to misbehave, they would never see Christmas. It was within his power to make the winter months warmer and lighter since kings and queens still hold great power. But it was catch 22 – without the comfort of Christmas, people found it hard to behave, but if they did not behave, the king would not give them Christmas. The king's conditions felt very patronising and simplistic.

It had become increasingly dark and cold in those winter months in so many ways. And the dark and cold had soaked into the hearts of the people, so that even the streets saw puddles of blood. The blood had a voice, but by this time only the king could seem to hear it. Nobody cared about all kinds of roses crushed underfoot. Gentleness had emigrated. It was as if the island was under a curse.

At the start of December, the king sat on his throne and wondered whether he should allow his island child her peculiar request. He was undecided, since two of his children were so naughty (they were always fighting and rarely did what he asked). When he told them to love, they hated. When he told them to forgive, they held grudges. When he told them to not be too proud and condescending towards the people, they simply looked down their noses at the less privileged. It had got so bad that the people were cursing the royal family because of the actions of the princes. “The royal family are judgmental bigots!” the people would sing. Or else, “The king is in the altogether, he’s altogether not there!” And blood on the streets didn’t help. The people would take strange, dangerous potions and dance wildly into the night or else treat each other as badly as the princes treated them.

The king wondered whether he should simply give a present to his daughter and ignore the others. But then he considered that Christmas should be for everyone and an exclusive Christmas had never happened before. But why Christmas on his island alone? There was the Commonwealth, and the people there could be said to be worthier? One last worldwide Christmas for everyone (even though that had never happened before). What had happened before can happen again, for good or for evil. He had told all his children to behave and they had largely ignored him. What should a good father do? He, did, after all, have his enemies and ghosts. And the land had enough problems already, ready to break and divide for the sake of a freedom which was only hoped in.

One of the naughty children didn’t believe Christmas was healthy, he thought it probably meant, a pair of socks as a present, a lot of disappointment and probably a lot of grief. He didn't like anything about Christmas. The other thought it was unlikely to happen again before the end of the world. He simply thought there would never be a genuine Christmas again. But the faithful robin child would read old stories and she believed that even if they were only to have one last Christmas it would be a good thing for everyone on the cold island. It would help them to prepare for the coldest and darkest of days. She too loved the people of the island.

But the winter winds pummelled them all and the thunder made it seem as if the sky may fall at any moment. And the naughty children started to doubt that their father really was good – not because they wanted Christmas, but because he seemed to allow so many bad things and then said it was some kind of test. And never explained why. The tests were always the same anyway, they were either endurance tests or self-control tests, but the king, because of his ghosts, considered that an unfair criticism. Kings can do that and you can't tell them that they are wrong.

The king had set out conditions for there to be a Christmas. He had said that if his children talked to him, keeping their conversations secret, and if they were well-behaved and if they trusted in him, he would give them Christmas once again and the Christmas would be both a relief and a healing for them all. Hearts would turn warm and there would be more light, like the light of a baby in a manger. But the trouble was that he had three children and only one of them was behaving. The majority were not. In a sense, it was because of the naughty children that the whole island did not get Christmas, especially the fault of the naughtiest leading prince who had been given more than the others and who was relatively healthy.

So, the king faced a quandary – he had promised that he would order Christmas throughout the land if all his children behaved. But how could they behave when all was cold and austere and there was no Christmas? The robin princess had talked to him on countless occasions about this, about how Christmas would be good for both him and the people, about how it would make things better, about how a good father should not deny the request of an obedient daughter simply because others were not so obedient. About how Christmas itself would swing the hearts and souls of people onto his side. About how, while he delayed, the people and the children suffered together. About how he had also promised to grant any request made persistently. About what kind of good father would deny Christmas to his children anyway? About how he wanted free will love from the people and he would get that if he gifted Christmas.

But the king simply looked at his cold iron sceptre, shrugged and said that unless his people and his children talked to him, behaved, and trusted in him, he couldn’t send Christmas.

“But you also once said nothing is impossible for you,” said the robin princess.

“These are the conditions,” said the father with a stern face that did not suit him.

“But you once said that even a bad judge would rule in favour of a petitioner if they persisted, and I have pestered you about this for years.”

“These are the conditions,” said the king, his face like flint (which did not suit one whose glory was supposed to be greater than the sun).

“But how can the conditions ever be met on this island where the streets drink blood without conditions changing so that the conditions are more likely to be met?”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Why must you win every argument?" replied the Princess, "It isn’t endearing. People are suffering. What kind of good father would deny Christmas to their children? You told us that you love us.”


So here is the quandary, the mystery and here is the parable – that the good and kind king had seen how cold and dark his land had grown and truly understood the suffering of his people (having lived as one of them, in another land, a long time ago). Yet he denied them Christmas, saying it was the fault of his enemies, or of his children, or of his ghosts. Saying that conditions needed to be met, saying that his timing was perfect. And often saying nothing at all.

And still, the faithful robin princess and the people waited to see if a good King and Father would really delay Christmas on that cold, dark island for reasons known only to himself and his ghosts. And the robin princess, her heart broken because of the blood on the streets, knew that the only thing left to do was to keep on asking.

Saturday, 31 October 2020

The River - Part 3

 


The River: Part 3

“You know, they say that when people get old, some turn to wine, but most turn to vinegar?”

John looked at Mal with sparkly eyes. Eyes which had not lost hope.

“Yes, but sometimes the vinegar is useful,” replied Mal, aching all over, as old men who have turned to wine must.

There was only one story left to tell (although it was true that there could have been many more). It had been difficult. Life, that is. Mal and John were in the winter of their lives. Mal… ( strangely short for Malachi rather than Malcolm). John, short for… oh I don’t know, for some New Testament prophet perhaps… Please let us return to the Halloween story… this is not a night to have an intrusive narrator… we must crave comfort in this dark hour…

The two men watched the river as it rolled on and Mal dreamed of reaching the other side, in so many ways.

Urban Myth #1

It is said that the devil can take many forms. One of the strangest was documented during the horrific scandal of the Salem witch trials. People testified that the devil appeared at night to them as a hog. As a black bristling boar, racing towards them. I cannot say whether or not such a thing would be possible on a night like this. But the moon is full and perhaps nothing is impossible. Perhaps unseen things could be made visible.

Back to the story… The day passed with that strange feeling that a holiday is about to end and the common sensations which always come with that knowledge. And so the ritual of storytelling began once again. 

They were fishing. That’s what people do when they don’t know what to do. After what seems to be an ending. I hear it happened once in the scriptures...

And the river sang to the two old men. It sang a story into the ear of John…

“Huckleberry refused to die.”

“Who the hell is Huckleberry?” asked Mal.

“I don’t know, he just dropped into my head… like a pebble.”

“Okay, you old loon, we are here to do some fishing and have a bit of fun before we kick the bucket… seriously, though, do you allow characters to drop into your head like pebbles. Why pebbles even? What is your head, a pond?”

John sighed with an old man sigh… “Huckleberry refused to die until he had found the meaning of life….”

“Ha!” laughed Mal, “The meaning of life, good luck with that!”

John looked at the river and sighed. “It's getting dark and the eerie silhouettes of the trees here worry me... There seemed to be no way to find out life’s meaning. There was no one to answer the question that burned in his heart. So Huckleberry went on a journey as all those who want to know the meaning of life must do. Huckleberry didn’t just want to know the meaning of life, he wanted to know the meaning of his own life. And when such questions arise, if God will not answer there is only one thing left to do.”

Mal sighed, “Must we speak through stories? It’s a strange dusk and the river looks as if it is empty."

John pretended to be mysterious…. “A person must find a hermit to ask. This has always been the way for those who want to know the meaning of life.

Huckleberry was a lazy man at heart and he did not like the idea of going to the Himalayas to find a wise old man who would tell him the answer to his questions. He felt he had died in so many ways before. He much preferred the idea of googling the answer but the truth of the matter was that no matter which philosophers he read or how much he looked at all the versions of the meaning of life in the Wikipedia page, nothing satisfied him. The answers of the religions didn’t satisfy him either. The Christian answer that we are here to praise and glorify God seemed to be a non-answer. He had watched a famous comedian rubbish that answer, classifying it quite rightly as a mystery. The comedian’s mystery at least seemed sane. The answer that we were here to love and be loved was a maudlin non-answer too. The trouble was that no answer was good enough. And he didn’t even want to know the meaning of everyone’s life or the meaning of life in general, he wanted to know the meaning to his own life.

So, he would have to drag his sorry arse from his London house (which was never a home) and he would have to seek that answer. As we must all do… if the river did not press in. It seemed to him that there were wise men and women to be found in London. And he happened to know that there was one particular man who lived as a hermit who people considered to be wise. Some people at least. This man lived in the middle of a roundabout in the outskirts of London. He was homeless and he was old. So very old. Like us. But without the pension. The local people thought that he was some kind of wise man of this age because he treated them kindly and would always be kind to children and animals. And unlike many of the homeless, many within the local estate would give him food and provide for his needs. It was the kind of act which goes unnoticed and unreported in the media. And the wise old homeless hermit would live in the centre of the roundabout, in a tent, sheltered by the trees. And it so happened that Huckleberry learned about him through talking with others. He learned that this man seemed to have answers to questions where other people would not hold the answers. So he determined that he would go to visit him and take a gift with him. A gift of gold – because there is no other gift to give a true prophet who is largely rejected by the world. And so Huckleberry set out to the homeless hermit who lived in the middle of the roundabout. 'How could such a man live in such a busy place?' he wondered. But Huckleberry made the pilgrimage to this man and found him pitched in the middle of the tree-filled roundabout in a tent.

The hermit looked up at Huckleberry with the face of a life that could tell a story of its own. Faces can do that. Faces like ours. With wrinkles and eyes which spoke of both suffering and hope. A face which a man could trust. A face which Huckleberry instinctively trusted. And our hero reached into his pocket and took out a timepiece, a gold watch on a gold chain and offered it to the homeless hermit. But when the hermit saw the gift he shook his head as if to say he neither wanted or needed the gold. And that was when Huckleberry knew for sure that this man was either mad or that he held the answers to all his questions. It seemed like fate. It seemed like destiny.

There were greetings but the small talk which Huckleberry made was met with a silent acceptance. There was nothing else. There were just the two men, one who was content and one who was not content. It was a scene that had been played out before.

And so Huckleberry sat, with the noise of the traffic all around and the birds in the trees above them and he asked the question that burned within his heart:

‘What is the meaning of life? Actually no, what is the meaning of my life?’

The old hermit nodded and began to smoke a roll-up cigarette. Using Rizla packets with torn corners. He gazed at Huckleberry, as if coming to a decision, and then he spoke with a low gravelly voice.

‘Why d’ya ask?’

Was this some kind of test? Huckleberry was thrown once again. And replied:

‘I want to know. I want to know what it is all about. I want to know why I was born.’

The old hermit smiled as if the right answer had been given and then he replied:

‘There is a meaning to your life…’

Huckleberry’s heart leapt within him. At last, he knew that there was a meaning and finally he was about to get the answer he wanted. The cacophony of vehicles surrounded them.

‘What is it?’ prompted Huckleberry.

‘A question has an answer and a longing has a way to be satisfied. Or else the question would not be there and the longing would not be there.’

The old hermit took another drag of his cigarette.

‘But what is it?’ prompted Huckleberry.

‘I dunno.’ Replied the wise old hermit, ‘All I know is that there’s a meaning to your life as there’s a meaning to everyone’s life. A small side effect of me condition is that I don’t happen to know what that specific meaning is.”

‘You’re lying!’ shouted Huckleberry, suddenly angry, ‘Why did you make me come all this way and not answer my question!!!? Why did you make me travel past the M25 – it was really busy and I got stuck in a jam!’

‘I did answer and I dunna think you’ve journeyed very far anyway. I’m telling you that your life has a meaning but that as a created being meself that I don’t know the answer to your question. And I can’t tell you what will happen when you die either. And do you know why? It’s ‘cause almost nobody knows. Not really. Sure, people say they know and people say they aren’t ‘fraid but almost everyone is ‘fraid. And I can’t tell you ‘cause there is only one person that knows and he answers questions when he feels like it. But if I were to guess, I would say that it’s to try to live life to the full, to attain eternal life and to try to alleviate suffering.’

‘Who is this person?!!’ asked Huckleberry in frustration. And then he slumped as if defeated. ‘It’s God isn’t it?’.

Urban Myth #2

In Britain when a revivalist wanted to share important things, such as the meaning of life and visions to better the country and individuals, others would try to drown out their words. It was even done through church bells. Revivalists would try to help people and try to tell them messages from God, but there were some who did not like this for reasons unknown. As a result, the messages of revivalists were sometimes drowned out by church bell-ringing. It is said that the same thing goes on today, although not always through literal bells.





That was when the bells started to ring from the cathedral. Huckleberry had to listen so much harder underneath the sound of the bells and the traffic.

‘I dunno,’ replied the old hermit, equally annoyed by the bells. He began to shout. ‘I’m quite mad! And I would like to go to visit a small man named Jehovah who lives in a rather shady place beside the tree. Beside the tree, beside the tree we all live beside the tree. I’ve once spotted a machine with a limit to its capabilities who once became a master of gone away. Gone away now. All gone away now. A bore, a boar, me soul is tore. We live we die, we each have a spy and the spy is in our head and we’re all a little dead. Troll under the bush, troll in our head, troll is coloured red. And in the shadows… in the places where there have never been any shadows and a loose a loose my life for a noose.

By the way do you have any tobacco? By the way… you have a silly name. Let me tell you a story…’

And so Huckleberry left that place unsure of what the meaning of his life was still and only continuing in the hope that there was some kind of meaning, that there was an answer. Because he realized that the only way he was going to survive was by believing that there really was an answer out there. One day he would find out, but it seemed a cruel irony that he would never know before he died. And so he returned to work and he returned to his lover and he returned to his house which was not quite a home and he realized that the only thing he had learned was that there was an answer but that no created thing knew what that answer was and that they were not hiding this truth, they simply didn’t know because the only one who knew the answer was keeping all the cards close to his chest. And Huckleberry sat in his house surrounded by his riches and he laughed and laughed and laughed at the madness of it all. A life without rhyme or reason which said that there was a rhyme or reason and a world full of people who held no answers only questions. And even then, it wasn’t satisfying enough for him and the laughter turned to tears.

Such is the fate of civil servants.”

“Why the last sentence to the story? Is that it?” asked Mal. “Is that the only answer? You’re crazy. Stories are crazy… This river looks wild…”

“How would I know?” replied John. “I’m not God.”

“You’re an arse,” said Mal.

“Shut up.”

And they remembered then… That they were fishing.

But the siren song of the river began…

“I don’t have any waders,” said John.

In the distance church bells rang.

"Why are the bells ringing?" asked Mal.

"Is it Sunday? A wedding? I don't know."

"All Saints for tomorrow? Bloody religion."

“The river is hard to cross! I hear that people have died here.”

“Two young men, I heard! They had no opportunity to turn to wine or vinegar.”

The river called to them. It does that, I hear. There are all kinds of rivers and the last one is the one to focus on. But the others can be beautiful. You and I shall both cross it whether we like it or not.

As for this particular river…. it sang a siren song like the call of bells.

And that was when the black hog came, bursting out from the undergrowth near the trees. Two small silver bells hanging from the ring of its nostrils. The moon bright and full. The light fading. A bristling dark shape running unnaturally fast towards the two elderly men.

Before he knew it, John found the hog had raced straight to him and bashed into his legs, snorting with a snort which sounded like a laugh.

John fell forwards into the river and a current took him.

Mal turned to face the black hog. The hog turned to face him, raising its head, something like smoke, or possibly cold air, rising from its huge, wet, bristly nostrils.

Then it raced forward and Mal too was pushed into the river. The current taking him too. The hog raced back to the trees and the two men went under, the moon staring down on the scene aghast.

The black hog, laughing, raced through the trees. Jangling and snorting. But there was a pull which even the hog felt. The river called to the pig too. And it stumbled and fell down the bank. A ringing in its ears. Endings are not supposed to be this way. But it, too, fell under the power of the river, its trotters unable to keep it afloat. 

The invading unclean spirit did not escape from it as it went under. 

I dare say that at least the old men were able to breathe underwater. But I do not know for sure… perhaps if we get older we shall know.

For the river takes us all.

 



Friday, 23 October 2020

Halloween short story - The River 3 - The conclusion

 When the moon is full, the story shall return...



Sunday, 13 September 2020

The Plague (of a kind)


And today's positive message comes from Her Majesty's Conservative Government, because media must, must, must repeat everything they say...

Apart from the Government demonising young people and scapegoating them for parliamentary incompetence, we have a soothing thought from a Government paper.

"Social disapproval: Social disapproval from one’s community can play an important role in preventing anti-social behaviour or discouraging failure to enact pro-social behaviour (15)... It needs to be accompanied by clear messaging and promotion of strong collective identity."

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/options-for-increasing-adherence-to-social-distancing-measures-22-march-2020


Think happy thoughts... 

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Guest Post - Recital of Love - by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

 






I really recommend this author. This is her new book. From my experience she writes extremely well. Please take a look...
Over to Keren...



Keren Dibbens-Wyatt, author of Recital of Love: Sacred Receivings, which releases on September 8 from Paraclete Press. Available wherever books are sold.

"People have been asking me lately about where my new book, Recital of Love, came from. Thinking about this, I have to conclude that it has its roots in failure, sickness, and purposelessness. As Christians, we are not always told that good can come from such things, but given to God, any kind of suffering can bring about wonders. Just as a rosebush needs a good layer of manure to feed it, maybe sometimes we don’t come into full bloom until we’ve spent a while on the dungheap. That’s certainly true of my life.

Twenty-five years ago I got very sick with myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) and had to stop working. My whole life fell apart and the faith which had been little more than a kind of emergency prop for some years (at least on the surface) suddenly had a great deal of work to do to keep me afloat.

This neurological illness plays havoc with all physical systems and damages your ability to produce energy. The more I pushed against it, the worse I got. The more I fought, the less I had left to fight with. I ended up using a wheelchair, relying on caregivers, and spending most of the day resting in bed. I still do, all this time later. For the last two years I’ve simply not had the strength to leave the house and my wonderful husband Rowan takes care of me.

This illness has put me in a cell. At first, it felt like a prison cell, but over the years, I developed a deeper prayer practice, and it has come to often feel more like a monastic cell. I felt God calling me to spend more and more time with him, and as many loved ones distanced themselves, and more physical function left me, well, let’s just say there wasn’t really much else I was able to do. God was waiting for me in the gap created by loss.

I began to practice daily contemplation. Stillness and silence gradually became precious to me and once I’d learnt to let my busy mind chatter away above the more important things that were taking place in my spirit, I found God taking me to new places and showing me new things, and even speaking wonderful words into my heart.

I wrote them down in my journals, and a few years later, started to collate them into documents on the computer. I had no idea then, of these things becoming a book, but rather, wanted to keep a record for myself of the time God and I were spending together, and the dear things he was showing me.

And then, nine years ago, before I was housebound, my parents bought me a few days’ retreat at Aylesford Priory for my fortieth birthday. Whilst I was there, I sat in the Relic Chapel, in awe at the sense of God’s presence that manifested through the prayerful atmosphere, and through the beautiful ceramics, woodwork and stained glass. God spoke to my heart very clearly. He told me he was commissioning me to be a writer.

From that point on I set myself to the task of making the gifts I was being given into pieces that would bless others. There has been an outpouring of understandings, seeings, poems and stories, as well as of artwork. My hope is that as I continue to share this flow of creativity, readers will be drawn into deeper relationship with God, who is love, and all that I weave with God’s help and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will be an encouragement and joy to my fellow Christians, and perhaps even to those who have yet to be still, and begin to know God."

Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a contemplative in the Christian tradition. She writes to encourage others, to know the Lord more intimately, and to share the poetic ponderings of her heart. She lives in southeast England with her husband.

Copyright ©2020 by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt. Shared by permission.

Recital of Love: Sacred Receivings by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt
ISBN 978-1-64060-406-3│September 8, 2020│Hardcover│$16.99

Friday, 4 September 2020

Annual halloween story




The annual halloween story is written in draft and is in pre-production stage.

Somehow.

Huckleberry will be returning here on the blog on October 31st for his final revelation...




Thursday, 11 June 2020

Poem - Ant country


'Go to the ant you sluggard!'
So I went to the ants.
And they were all asleep.
And the only difference between us was that I knew that I was asleep.

Saturday, 30 May 2020

To the survivors...



Stuck on a strange, mad island? Trying to survive and missing those who have left the tribe? Welcome to Britain 2020 and well done on making it this far...

Think happy thoughts.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Tidy home. Stay sane. Live lives.


The picture above is recent street art. You may have seen similar social media memes. The word, as you probably know, for such things is 'lionising'. It is a relatively benign form of stereotyping. In years to come it may be studied in universities (when we get to 'the other side', God willing). Whether or not the NHS staff are angels, it is notable that this is the perception on Day 32 of lockdown. But do you think any groups of people are being demonised at the moment?

Do you have any reservations, in month two of lockdown, about the loss of personal and communal freedoms?... anyway... 'Tidy home. Stay sane. Live lives.'

And think happy thoughts...