(Copyright J.M. Cullen 25/6/2003)
Quietly she wonders, what her life could be;
If people ignored the outside, and saw what God could see;
Now and then she whispers, to ears that cannot hear;
To faceless shells of people, imprisoned by their fear;
"Oh, will someone please talk to me?"
Desperately he clings to, a photo of his past;
Of friends and close acquaintances, who disappeared too fast;
Sometimes he remembers, the tears that he fought back;
When happiness was lost to him, when God had turned His back;
"Oh, will someone please comfort me?"
Dont you know that I was there, when the stars were put in place?
Dont you know, I have carried you, I have wept with you,
When the sky seemed grey?
Cant you see, I am totally in love with you?
Cant you see, I have kept you, and, I will keep you still?
Youre My Child.
Monday, November 29, 2004
(Copyright J.M. Cullen 25/6/2003)
Scribbled by Jm at 10:55 pm
I may regret this...
I've been writing my own songs for a while now, (copyrighted, so don't even think about it... :-) lol) and thought I would post some of the lyrics of them, for what reason, I don't have a clue! lol
They're nearly all about God, people and situations, and the way 'He' thinks of them...
Scribbled by Jm at 10:54 pm
Further to my experiment the other day, hear are the results of the sleep deprivation jury...
- The cheese didn't work.
- The Horlicks knocked me senseless.
So, to conclude:
- Cheese isn't as evil as I thought.
- Malty Goodness really is "good", in the classical greek sense.
- They should sell Horlicks on the Black Market, and make it illegal
Therefore, this is what I shall do:
- Drink a cup of horlicks every night before I go to bed.
- Go to bed.
- Try to advertise evangelise the amazing healing effects of malt.
(can you tell I'm in an analysing/list-making mood?)
Scribbled by Jm at 8:17 pm
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Had a lot of those today, could've done without it.
The last straw, was when the shop had closed:
*phone ringing incessantly at 5:40pm, TEN minutes after we'd closed. Jm decides to answer it*
JM: Good evening, (company name), John-Mark Speaking?
MAN: Hi, I'd like to order... (goes on to describe product)
JM: (interupting) I'm really sorry to interupt you sir, but I'm afraid we actually closed ten mins ago.
MAN: (sounds slightly annoyed) Oh? What are your opening hours then? (Jm preceds to tell him, ending with the fact we close at 5:30pm. Sharp.)
JM: I'm really sorry I can't help now, but we do have a website, or mail order service if it's urgent?
MAN: No, it's not THAT urgent. (still sounds annoyed) Why did you answer the phone if you were closed then?
JM: (slightly amazed at the question) er, because it was ringing for so long.
MAN: (even more annoyed tone) Well, in future can I suggest you put an answerphone on your line saying "we're closed, please ring back tommorrow" instead of answering the phone in future. It might be better for your customers (spits out the word "customers" with venom at that point)
JM: er... rite.
(man hangs up)
I'm not joking! That was the actual conversation!! I was fuming when he put the phone down!!
Scribbled by Jm at 11:42 pm
Had a phonecall today from my "patient repersentative" at the drug company...
They're shipping the needles and sharp bins and the drug to me on Tuesday, so I guess I'm starting then.
I have to confess, I am a bit nervous about injecting myself tho...
I've watched the video an stuff, so I am sorta prepared, but it's still gonna feel a bit wierd!
Scribbled by Jm at 11:26 pm
Sorry about this, I seem to be in that kind of mood...
Some geezer was posting about pre-destination on his blog, so I thought I'd add my own comments.
Now, before you reach for the mouse, and flip to another more interesting blog, hang on!
Pre-Destination is EASY!
Do you believe me?
It always hinges round one particular passage: Ephesians 1:4: "...4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves..."
I'll be finished in a minute, I promise you. All I'd like top say is... notice two teeny-tiny words, that change the whole context of the verse, if you miss them when reading all the controversial stuff 'bout the beginning of the world...
Paul uses this phrase loads in ephesians, yet we miss it's significance here.
What's Paul saying by using this phrase?
Well, if you take it in context, God set up a divine rescue plan for us to get back into relationship with him, even before he created us! He knew that we would turn away from him, and so set the divine gift of Jesus' death for us in our place. He pre-determined Jesus role, that is, he decided on a divine principle:
whoever accepts Jesus death in their place is saved.
So, everyone who accepts Jesus love for them and chooses him, is pre-destined in the sense that they have accepted a gift that was pre-offered to them.
That's what I call Good News!!!!
*starts a party*
Told you I thought it was simple in one sense!! Kinda blows your mind though doesn't it!
Scribbled by Jm at 10:06 pm
Since Science wasn't my greatest subject at school, I've decided to take it up again in service of my insomnia.
I've just eaten a HUGE piece of Cheddar Cheese very quickly, (so I don't get much chance to digest it) to see whether I have any nightmares or strange dreams tonite.
Also, as an interesting twist, I've made some lovely warm Horlicks, extra strength with lots of milk to drink at the same time.
And all this just as my head hits the pillow...
So, will the evil genius of the cheese disturb my sleep, or will the homely "mother earth" goodness of the horlicks soothe my slumber?
Have a vote.
I'll let you know in the morning what happenned...
Nite!! (maybe... ;) )
Scribbled by Jm at 2:17 am
I'm going to London on Friday, I'm going to London on Friday!!!
(can you tell I'm excited?!)
Pity I get paid on Monday... typical.
At least it saves me spending all of my wages in one weekend I spose!!
That reminds me... I must start my washing tommorrow night...
Scribbled by Jm at 1:46 am
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
You would think so, wouldn't you?!
I'm talking about my first name.
Not john, not mark, not john-paul, not jean-marc, "mr. mark", not dave, or anything else.
So why can't people flippin' say it properly???????
It really, really bugs me!!!
That's why I've told everyone that's ever met me, or that knows me to call me "Jm".
But customers where I work still can't get it right, and people on the fone always think my surname is mark!!!!
Scribbled by Jm at 12:34 am
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal... Along with these instructions.
Ok, here goes:
"Only as many as it takes to capture Thomas. They're more useful alive"
It's from "White", the third in a fiction/fantasy trilogy I've just fionished reading by Ted Dekker.
Phew, that wasn't so bad, didn't quote from the "How tio be a Gay Icon" book...
Scribbled by Jm at 9:45 pm
I don't have insomnia as in staying up all night, but I do find myself staying up till 1:00/2:00 am.
Thanks for people's comments by the way, they were all really useful, and I've decided I have this because of:
- eating crap food
- having a computer in my room
- having a tv in my room
- reading a suspenseful book before sleep
- thinking about the next day
- thinking deeply
- eating dinner (or "tea" as us brits call it!) really late
- not having a "sleep routine"
(I'm sure there's a pun there I didn't mean..... lol)
Scribbled by Jm at 9:18 pm
In answer to Comments made, (!) I will attempt tyo explain this strange above-mentioned phenomenom...
This is completely gross. It belongs to that strange collection of "food" called "offal", (Basically, all the yucky leftover bits from a dead cow), which includes heart, lungs, kidney, liver, etc , etc.
Actual blood is mashed together into a paste and put into a sausage-type skin and cooked till it is black. Sometimes it's flat like a pancake, but nearly always it has white flecks in it, which look wierd. (possible white blood cells?? *shrugs*)
Anyway, it's leftover body parts of a cow but not the muscle/meat stuff basically.
Really really gross.
Not to be called a hypocrite, I have eaten it once, and found if you eat it quickly with lot's of ketchup, you hardly notice the strange coppery taste of cooked blood in your mouth...
*feels sick now*
I will write again when I think up of more strange british "food"...
Mmmmmmmm... *dreams* gimme a large Hot Chicken Tikka Masala with a Naan Bread and Poppadom and Pilau Rice and extra jalapenos on the side and mango Chutney anyday.... mmmmmmmmmmmm.....
Dammit, I'm hungry now.
Scribbled by Jm at 8:15 pm
Apart from the fact I don't know how to spell it, I don't really have it fully, I just sleep less than other people, and seem to survive on 5/6 hours a night.
Don't really feel sleepy, but will try and got to bed now as i have to get up in 6 hours....
Anyone know why ppl get insomnia as a matter of interest?
(awaits with bated breath for answer)
Scribbled by Jm at 1:35 am
Have just realised to my delight, that the new medication I will start to take, (daily injections administered by my good self) could very well result in some VERY MANLY SCARS....
OH, I am so happy right now, it's every little boy's dream, to show off scars....
Scribbled by Jm at 1:29 am
You know you're old when...
- You start using the phrase "when I was your age", and suddenly realise you're talking to people in their late teens...
- You think about what you're having for tea tonight when you wake up...
- The term "Progressive Rock" makes sense to you...
- You remember the ORIGINAL "Band Aid" song...
- You know who Midge Ure is....
- You spend your day off shopping/paying bills/looking at bills/cursing bills/watching daytime TV/watching "The World At war" documentaries...
- You know about/have watched the History Channel...
- A broad mind and a narrow waist swap places.... (with thanks to Kazz for that one! lol)
Any more for any more?
Scribbled by Jm at 12:40 am
Went to see this film a few weeks ago, was quite cool as a horror film, but not really scary...
(frightenened the life out of my brother tho! lol lol lol)
For the past few weeks, me and my bro have been ringing up colleagues, neighbours, friends and total strangers, just so we can make the funny noise the creature makes, down the phone. We find that incredibly funny, other people probably just find it annoying!
Scribbled by Jm at 12:18 am
Monday, November 22, 2004
Well... I got to the venue for the gig at 3pm on Saturday, and none of the bands were there yet!
(Note To Self: being early is as bad as being late)
Waited round for 20 mins, and got to see one of the girl bands doing their sound check... (salivated alot at this point I'm ashamed to say! *shrugs* ) Was not surprised but extremely gutted to find out during the course of the interview that they all were either married already or had steady boyfriends... Blummin' typical!
I forgot to mention, in the end, it wasn't me who actually did the interviewing, it was Sam and Jess who did that. (they are both 15, and will be presenting their own youth show - apparently I'm too old now... *weeps* ) I just had to go around being excitable and keen and enthusiastic and down-right annoying to all the bands, till they agreed out of sheer desperation to give an interview to get rid of me... (I think it worked!) By the time the gig started at 7:30, we'd interviewed all the bands except two! and also got some very funny and very silly interviews!!
The only bloke who really annoyed me was the mc at the beggining with the DJ, who kept just saying "c'mon, c'mon" in time to a dance beat. Hmmmmmmmmm....
requires any form of training, either musical or vocal?
No, definitely not.
Never mind, was still a good night, considering my best friends just left for another country yesterday!! Life will go on, as, fortunately, music always does....
Scribbled by Jm at 11:55 pm
Currently, I have 7 separate tabs, so I can switch and rush like a whirling dervish between my favourite blogs and sites, commenting like a mad poet.
I couldn't do that with IE. *smiles smugly*
Ah the joys of Mozilla!!
(p.s. anyone out there know what a "whirling dervish" is anyway?! )
Scribbled by Jm at 11:35 pm
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Saturday, November 20, 2004
You'll be surprised:
- The Ring: NEVER watch videos that you haven't had recommended to you
- Manchurian Candidate: DON'T hire a british civilian to show you the finer points of Kuwait
- Wizard Of Oz: BE SUSPICIOUS of women who wear long, curly footwear
- The Grudge: AWAYS be wary of helping out alone in a crazy person's house
- Jeepers Creepers 2: AVOID approaching scary looking scarecrows that move, and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES poke your head through a hole in the roof of a broken down bus
- Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs: NEVER accept fruit off a stranger
- Home Alone I, II, III and XIIV: DON'T under-estimate the power and pure evil of a child.
- The Sixth Sense: ALWAYS read the obituary each morning to see if you are in it, and are actually dead or not
- Open Water: NEVER trust hype about a film, it's nearly always just that: hype!!
- Mystery Men: ALWAYS be aware of the power of fury, and PMS!
Now I've got that out of my system, I'll try and go to sleep...
Scribbled by Jm at 2:27 am
Well, Gaz an Gen should be halfway on their way to Cape town now, in another 6 hours they'll be touching down in their new home.
I hope it's a new start for them, and they have many new and exciting experiences while they're out there! I am of course, a teensy bit jealous!!
I've just been watching Children In Need on TV. This is how sad I'm becoming in my old age, and what my social life has dwindled to!!
Haven't thought of any other really sad chat-up lines to use yet, what's worse is I can't think of anywhere to use them either!!
On another strand of thought, it's amazing how quiet a house can get at 1 in the morning isn't it! It's quite peaceful at the moment, which makes a nice change...
Oh well, better get to bed, am up early in the morning for a training half day at church. If it hadn't been for the promise of danish'es and coffee when we get there, I wouldn't be tempted!! (Gosh I'm sooooo shallow.... lol)
Scribbled by Jm at 2:00 am
Friday, November 19, 2004
I'm sat here eating Strawberry Cheesecake Ice-Cream, and drinking my yummy filter coffee, feeling quite sorry for myself.
I'm losing my best friends tommorrow, as they're moving to Cape town, and find I have a busy weekend to take my mind off it. Saturday morning, I'm at a training course at church, starting at 9:15, and finishing at 12:30. Then, I've got a few hours free until meeting someone outside the Royal Court Theatre at 3pm, to get in early before a concert and interview the bands before the gig, which starts at 7.
Then, Sunday afternoon I'll be helping to set up for a multimedia missionary event in church at 6:30. It should be really good, and I'm expecting it's going to be really challenging.
Then, it's back to work on monday and the rest of the week, before going off to London for the weekend.
I hopefully won't have much time to dwell on things.
It's wierd, my life hasn't worked out at all like the way I thought it would so far. Maybe that's a good thing. I feel quite alone tonight, but part of me also feels quite blase at being alone as well. That's actually a bit worrying, because I'm upset deep down. Hmmmmmmm... being depressing again, I'd better shut up.
Scribbled by Jm at 12:42 am
Thursday, November 18, 2004
This, is, in my opinion, the worst ever chat up line in history.
I am, however, thinking of using it, because I desperately need a girlfriend, I'm 30 years old for goodness sake!
This is worrying me greatly, as I must be really, really desperate.
Scribbled by Jm at 10:32 pm
They're brill. I'm not normally one for listening to stuff that's in the charts and "current" in that sense, but I'm really really starting to like them...
"Everybody's Changing" has taken on an almost apochalyptic anthem in my life over the last few weeks...
Strange how a song can speak to you in loads of different ways, and can suddenly explode with meaning all of a sudden.
Scribbled by Jm at 10:20 pm
Well, it's finally happenned.
I'm on the guest list for an event, without even trying!!
It doesn't matter that it's a local city-wide youth event, with loads of different bands, and that I'm tagging along as an "older person" so that a "younger person" can interview the bands for the local christian radio station we're involved with... that's all beside the point!!
I'M ON A GUEST LIST!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! :-)
Scribbled by Jm at 9:39 pm
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
I've just had to traipse all the way into town because the security guards at the shopping centre where I work rang me at 11:30pm said the alarm was going off.
When I got there, it was just the door alarm, not the main thing, and all it was, was a high-pitched whiny noise.
Why it took them till 11:30 to report it, I don't know.
I realised I'd forgotten to press and release the door alarm button before I left the shop, and it must have started 5 mins after I left. Why it took the guards from 6:30 in the nite till 11:30pm, I could not guess!!
My own stupidity in setting alarms show up yet again?
Scribbled by Jm at 1:26 am
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
It's been quite a momentous week emotionally for me so far, and it's only just started!!
The two people I count as my closest friends in the world, are moving to Cape Town, South Africa on Friday. I've known them for a long time, I practically grew up with them, and they've been there for me through two broken engagements, and the resulting broken heart's, and my diagnosis with M.S. I don't honestly deserve such great friends, and I'm going to find it incredibly hard to let them go. I'm partly glad that I can't get the day off, as I'd be an even bigger mess of tears if I had to wave them off at the airport.
I feel very strange, because I have a building "upsetness" that started today, counting down to the day I know they'll be going... At quiet moments during the day today, I've found myself thinking about them and how kind and generous they've been to me, and getting upset, almost feeling a tide of emotion beneath the surface that I have to control, otherwise I'll start crying and never stop.
Added to this, I made the momentous decision to start a drug treatment for my M.S. I've been on a trial, and apart from taking a few drugs to control the symptoms, I've not actually had any disease modifying drugs at all since I was diagnosed 19 months ago. What made up my mind was the fact of thinking about this silent disease, that is slowly scarring my brain and spinal chord, even in the times that I feel fine, damaging nerve cells that may not recover. In a way, it's like admitting I can't fight it on my own, I need to recognize this disease might get worse, and taking steps to avoid the worst consequences later on., is a good decision.
I've been trying to put the M.S. to the back of my mind, pretending it's not there, but recent symptoms and a small relapse, have convinced me otherwise. So, this week has been a step in acknowledging this is a disease I'll have to live with, no matter what the consequences.
Having your heart broken deeply is a very painful thing, it's happened to me twice, and this week it's happening again, but in a different way. Learning that life is a series of stages of "letting go" is a very hard thing to come to terms with, and one I don't relish, but still bittersweet. It's hard to say goodbye to intimate face to face friendships, but joyful in that they're moving to a new time in their lives, as I am in a way with the drug treatment.
Life I think is a series of "letting go's", and it's important how we do it. To resist change, is even more painful, but to welcome it and look for fresh challenges and inspiration is what God calls us to. In some ways, my life with God and others has been like a journey, with God leading the way, sometimes clearly, sometimes hidden, but always there.
All in all, a very emotional week, I don't know if I'll be able to write anything on Friday...
I'm glad I have Jesus, He keeps me open to change, and gives me the strength to cope.
Scribbled by Jm at 1:00 am
Friday, November 12, 2004
I'm going to be very tired by this time tommorrow night.
I'm working at a YouthWork/Spring Harvest Conference tommorrow, helping to staff the bookstall all weekend. My day starts at 6 am, when I will very groggily wake up, tear myself from that land of shifting shadows and possibilities that is unconciousness, and have a shower.
Then I will go downstairs, have a VERY strong coffee, and get my bag ready, before I am picked up at 7am.
I and my collague will drive to the venue, and meet the truck, where we unload 8 pallets with approximately £20,000 worth of stock on it. (This we will do with the help of 6 other members of the team meeting us there) Then we will put up shelving, and put the bookstall up, and put all the stock out in time to open at 4:30 pm.
We will then trade till 8, where we will close the shop for two hours and go and have some tea, to return for 10pm, and trade for one more hour. Then we will cash up, and bank takings, and go to sleep. This will pretty much be the rule of thumb for most of the weekend, obviously with breaks.
That's why I say I'll be tired. But part of me will enjoy it aswell. I'm strange like that...
Scribbled by Jm at 12:12 am
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I've come to a decision.
This disease is eating away at me all the time, (to put it delicately!) even when I feel fine, and I need to be doing something about it.
I'm going to ask to start treatment with Copaxone.
I'm a little nervous about injections everyday, but... hey ho.
Here's to hoping God will work through this drug...
Scribbled by Jm at 11:55 pm
Ah... what a sweet thing a day off is!
Have thoroughly enjoyed mine, now back to work tommorrow and the whole weekend!!
I'm working at a Youth Conference in Southport from Friday, (we've got a huge bookstall at it) so I'll have to finish my washing tommorrow night and pack. Work's paying for a flat for us for the weekend, 'cos we'll be closing late each night, after the last train leaves to Liverpool. It's actually easier to stay there all weekend, than to travel back an forth each day.
I hope the beds are comfortable...
Ah well, am keeping my thoughts to myself tonight, I've been far too serious this week, thinking about War an stuff, will have to be silly soon...
Scribbled by Jm at 12:38 am
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I've just realised in my two previous posts, I didn't explain why I put the Cross in the title!! (that's an overactive brain for you!)
I was going to respond to ur comment made Jonny saying that the Cross is not about a bloodthirsty God., taking revenge...
I agree, but it seems there's a lot of confusion about the Cross and it's significance at the moment. I've just finished reading a book by Steve Chalke called "the Lost Message of Jesus", which is really good... until you get to the Last Chapter. (in my humble opinion!)
The problem comes for me, in the last chapter where Steve says he doesn't teach anymore that the Cross was about a wrathful God punishing Jesus for taking on sin. This, I have to say I struggle with, as all the other points in the book I agree with: Jesus coming into the world to establish a new Kingdom, not of the world, one based on servanthood, not power, one based on an amazing Divine Love that conquers all evil.
All these things I would happilly say yes to, even where Steve says the Cross was about Jesus associating himself with us in our weak, powerless humanity, becoming one of us, yes!
Cutting out the idea that Jesus took the punishment for our sin on the cross however, is going too far. The Bible teaches that since the beginning, God set up a principle that "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins". Hence, why in Genesis, we see this priciple very graphically illustrated immediately after the Fall: God kills an animal, (where else did he get an animal skin from?) therefore shedding it's blood, to "cover" Adam & Eve and the result & consequences of their sin.
Again, in Genesis, we see this when Cain and Abel start to offer sacrifices to God:
Abel's sacrifice of animals, is accepted by God, but not Cain's of crop. Perhaps this is not just because of the way in which it was offered, (Cain seems to demonstrate pride in that he's angry at God when all the produce he toiled over making is rejected) , but rather because of what the offering was.
After the flood, Noah builds an altar, and sacrifices animals to God as an offering of praise, and thankfulness.
When God calls Abraham, as a sign of the seriousness of the Covenant He is making between them, God kills animals, and blood is shed.
Then, we see in Leviticus Moses under instruction by God) sets up the Principle formally in the Law, and the Jewish Sacrificial System is begun.
In the Exodus, Judgement of Death (which is the result of sin remember) passes over the houses of those who smear animals blood on their doorposts.
This a constantly occuring theme throughout the Old Testament, and it's final fulfillment was in Jesus dying on the Cross. The problem for God, (if I can put it that way!) was that He is a Holy God, and cannot look upon sin, but loves His creation, and wants a personal relationship with each of them. The only way a Holy and Just God can accept us, is if the punishment because of our sin (which is death and bloodshed) was paid by Himself, i.e. His Son. In Jesus, we see the perfect sacrificial Lamb, broken for us, to make forgiveness, and new life possible for us.
The Cross doesn't show us a vengeful God, committing (as Steve controversially puts it!) "cosmic child abuse", rather it shows us the EXTENT that the Trinity would go to, to love us. Although I can't explain it, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus had a choice over the Cross, over whether to fulfill His Father's Will or not. This wasn't just Jesus the Son of Man, but also Jesus the Son of God. He chose, in the Garden, (which I'm sure wasn't the first time in his earthly life) to put His Father's Will first in all that He did. There was no ordering around from God the Father, Jesus the Son chose to go to the Cross. Why?
Because He loved us.
That's why I can't accept defining the cross as just an excecise in God Identifying with us in our weakness. Certainly that was another powerful message we found in it, but If that's ALL it was about, we still would not know God, Heaven wouldn't be open to us, and all of Jesus' teachings about living as part of His Kingdom and receiving His Spirit, would have been null and void., because God cannot dwell with sin, and we are sinful.
Through Jesus taking our Punishment, we are clean in the Father's sight, as the price has been paid for sin.
For me, that's a FAR more positive message of God Identifying with us!! He didn't just become one of us, he did what none of us could do, He paid the price of Sin!! Because of Jesus, there's no more regrets, no more guilt, no more false hope: as He Himself said: "It Is Finished!"
Now if that's not worth telling people as Good News, I don't know what is!!
Scribbled by Jm at 4:18 pm
Monday, November 08, 2004
I didn't have time to finish what I was saying or gather my thoughts properly yesterday, so I will attempt again!!
Thankyou for everyone who responded to my previous post, I didn't realise people actually read this that much!! lol
Anyway, what interested me in replies was the absence of where the Old Testament fits in with Jesus teachings on Non-Violence. It was interesting to note that this seems to be a bit of a "gap" in most people's ideas, and it made me ponder that surely if we have theologies, they should be 'whole' theologies, based on both Testaments. Jesus himself said that he came to "fulfill" the law, not abolish it, so when we consider a subject, then surely both revelations of Yahweh and Yeshua should come into it?
Hmmmmmmmm... will have to ponder that one...
I think, because I rushed to present a case, my thoughts weren't really formed properly, and maybe I wasn't as clear as I should have been. I do consider the teachings of Jesus to point to non-violence definitely, but how you reconcile those on a national basis, I still struggle with. The task must be to reconcile them, because if we simply ignore them, we shoot a hole in our own faith. As argued before though, we need to look at the whole message and context, and then come to a conclusion, one which I confess I haven't achieved yet!!
If, as I suggested previously, Jesus teachings were far more radical than how we read them today with 2000 years of 'Christemdom' behind us, then the question begs to be asked, how do they apply? Agressive Non-Resistance is certainly an option, but how does it work itself out in a national situation? Someone commented on the fact of the Holocaust and the Nazi's, how do we interpret Jesus' teaching in the light of these events? It's interesting to note that Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Evangelical Pastor in Hitler's era, felt so outraged at the evil that was overtaking his country, that he became involved in a plot to assasinate Hitler, and was eventually imprisoned and killed for it. In some of his letters, he talk about asking for God's forgiveness for plotting to kill, but seeing no other way forward in that situation. Some of Bonhoeffer's letters are very moving, as he accepts his imprisonment as a punishment for plotting evil, but still seeing it as an act of loving desperation in an evil situation.
I really struggle with this issue as a whole, and would like to say I am a pacifist, but I still struggle to see how the purest form of Pacifism could work out in a sin-damaged world. Do I like War? Of course I don't. Should a Christian exalt in war? Of course they shouldn't. Should a Christian try every other means possible to resolve a situation first? Of course they should. But the question remains... After every possible solution has been tried, every avenue of diplomacy exhausted, what then?
I can only see then the final option of warfare. I do not believe that Just War Theory is as easy to use in this day and age though, with the prolification in Nuclear Arms, this option seems to be less and less likely. How Nuclear Weapons can be "discriminate", I do not know.
Basically, I still have lots of things to ponder, but I still can't get past "loving your neighbour" in protecting a victim of aggression, whether that be on a personal or national scale?
Scribbled by Jm at 8:49 pm
Sunday, November 07, 2004
This blog is in response to a few other bogs I've read recently, and some things I've been pondering for a while.
Sven and Jonny both have suggested that if you're a Christian you can't possibly support war. They also suggest that the only solution to an act of aggression is non-violence.
While I am not as intelligent as either of them. or as good with words, I will attempt my own reasoning. A few months ago, I would have actually supported the view that they hold, but find myself now after much pondering disagreeing with them wholeheartedly.
I would like to say a few things before I start!
- I always get alarmed when I see articles starting with "why christians should/should not" etc... because it gives the impression that there is no variety of beliefs within christianity, it gives no scope for differing viewpoints and suggests that being "christian" is about holding one view, which I think is a bit of a dangerous assumption to make!! (obviously apart from certain fundamental beliefs like Jesus as the Son of God/The Trinity, etc, etc...) (Sven/Jonny take note, if you're suggesting this, you're as gulity of 'fundamentalism' if only in your view of this one issue as the christians you make fun of for theirs!!)
- The Bible is a very complicated book, and it's very easy to read verses out of context and very quickly "summarize" a passage without looking in detail as to it's context, to pertain it's meaning.
God is not automatically against the taking of life. If you look at your Old Testament history, God seems to command the Israelites at certain points while taking their promised land, to slaughter whole villages and tribes, in some passages, women children and animals, like a sort of ethnic cleansing.
I understand that some theologians talk about the idea of "progressive revelation", the idea that God was revealing himself stage by stage to his people, and they may have thought that Yahweh wanted these things dome, but that he didn't actually command them to kill in His name, they just "thought" that He did, because they didn't know Him very well, and they projected onto Yahweh their own idea of what He would act like, e.g. other 'gods' around them at the time acted like that, so why shouldn't Yahweh?
The problem with this is, you're starting to question the accuracy of the reporting in the Bible. Once you start to question this passage or that passage because it doesn't fit with your views, why couldn't you question the interpretation of the Israelites throughout the whole Old Testament? Either the text is trustworthy or it is not.
If you look at the 6th Commandment, God makes a distinction in his wording. A common misconception is that the commandment says "Thou Shalt Not Kill". It doesn't. What it actually says in Hebrew, is "Thou Shalt Not Murder". Though I am no Hebrew expert, I cheated and looked it up, and the word specifically means "to murder", i.e. it doesn't say not to kill par se.
This obviously gives us a difficulty, how do we justify this? If we use this approach however, we're making a mistake. The whole basis of the Ten Commandments (as shown in the first one) was to show that God is Sovereign, is Holy, and has no equal. He does not need to jusify Himself. To understand some of these passages, we need to understand the Holiness of God not as a characteristic, e.g. as a part of His Character, but rather as a physical (when God is spoken of in a physical way) representation of His Otherness, a quality of His Presence. Elijah talks about his vision of God's Holiness, and it terrifies him, and without a word spoken by God, Elijah immediately falls facedown and realises his own sinfulness and unworthiness in comparison, such is the greatness of God's Presence.
I still struggle with these ideas, but it has helped me some way to understand that as Isaiah says "your ways are not my ways, says the Lord".
Jesus, in his teaching, did teach that we must refute evil with good yes, but, if you accept that the apostles were passing on the message of Jesus after his ascension too, then Paul talks about authorities that are put in place by God. (Romans) Paul seems to suggest that governments are given a special authority from God to rule, and this can include the authority to punish the wrongdoer as seems right under authority from God himself.
If you take the idea of Situation Ethics, sometimes the loving thing to do is to show a love based on tough decisions and circumstances.
e.g. if you were married, and had a child, and an armed man came into your house, would you simply resist a confrontation, or would you try and stop that man? Surely to resist, is not showing love, as it would result in not only your death, but more importantly the death of your wife and child. Simply to stand in the way would achieve nothing, as the man would kill both yourself and your wife and child. The lesser of two evils would be to (if neccesary) kill the man who is attempting to endanger your wife and child. Simply to do nothing, would not be showing love, or loving your neighbour (your wife and child) as yourself. To do nothing on your own behalf, is your own decision, yes, but to do nothing on their behalf endangers them. However I study it, I can not see anyway past this argument.
If you study the passages carefully, Jesus was nopt simply advocating a passive resistance to evil. The meaning we take from these passages today would have been heard completely differently to those of the original hearers. To carry a coat two miles, would have put the soldier who forced you to carry it one mile anyway, in a difficult position. If his superior found out he'd apparently forced someone to carry his pack two miles, he would have been court-marshalled. Similarly, when Jesus talks about giving someone your shirt, he was reffering to a practise in the courts at the time of debtors giving up outer clothing in the event of paying a debt. When jesus said give them your shirt too, he was actually suggesting the inner garment, i.e. saying if you want it, take it all, and going naked out of the court!!! This would result, not just embarrassment for the person who's clothes they were, but perceived shame on the court for apparently enforcing such a harsh decision!!!
The Bible is always more interesting and complicated than you think, and it's dangerous to suggest that it's simple!!!
I will write on these issues more after I come back from Church as I'm now late!!!
Scribbled by Jm at 7:02 pm
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Well, it's nearly the end of the week, unfortunately it'll be a bit longer for me, since I've got to work on Saturday aswell. Never mind.
I can't believe it was nearly a week ago since I went down to Winchester for the weekend, and I haven't written about it!! What's wrong with me!!
Well, it was a brill weekend, meeting up with Alison and her husband Mike, I haven't seen them for nearly three years since their wedding, and they were surprisingly sane when I arrived. I thought it was a good time to visit, since they're expecting their first baby in April, and I didn't want to be around then!! (not that I'm anti-baby or anything!)
I've known Alison since Uni days, which seems a loooooooooong time ago now. It's actually 12 years since I went to Uni. TWELVE YEARS!!!!!!! Blimey, I feel old! That's a really depressing thought, my only consolation being that I still look old enough to just be going to Uni!! lol
Had a great weekend catching up, it still feels wierd to me to be visting friends, who are all married withkids/kids on the way. You kind of feel a bit left out in some ways, it's very strange. It's a different feeling to just lonliness, everyone gets that. It's more like a feeling of 'not fitting in', because society says you should have found someone by now, be having kids, etc. You kind of feel that there's something just that little bit strange/deviant about you, because your life hasn't fallen into that pattern.
lol listen to me, I sound like I'm 106!!
Well, I don't feel like this all the time, just sometimes. It's strange, because although my two (yes two!) separate engagements didn't work out and hurt me loads, looking back I can see that both I and them were different people, and although (in the most recent one) I was older, I don't think I'm that mature at times, so it's been good to learn from both heartbreaks.
However, it's gonna take some woman to make me propose to her in the future, I don't know even after 19 months of being single, if I can trust women really. This blog's probably making me sound like a right depressive, but I guess you're more introspective on these things, besides, if I was, would I have white an purple hair?! ;-)
Scribbled by Jm at 8:22 pm
As I'm in pondering mood, I've come across a few other issues similar to Sven's, to access his original post click on the title of this article, since I'm really truly pathetic at html...
Anyway, here is my list of issues:
- If Vegetarians eat Vegetables, does that make Humanitarians Cannibals?
- Why is it imperative according to the Guidelines, for me to be able to walk 100 metres unaided to get a drug I might need in the future because I will find difficulty walking? (honestly true!! lol)
- Why can it take seconds to open your mouth, but years to mop up the consequences? (voice of experience there!)
- Why do I start my Blog List with inspiration, but then mentally grind to a halt halfway through?
I'm sure there were loads more, but I've suddenly forgotten them all.
Scribbled by Jm at 7:57 pm
No, I don't mean as in an alchoholic establishment where you can get re-fills....
I've just realised that my blog is not letting me put spaces in... Why is that???
(this line was on a different line when I typed it in 'compose', so what's going on????!)
I hope I get it figured out, 'cos it may seem unimportant to most people, but it's doing my head in!! Oh well....
Scribbled by Jm at 3:36 pm
I've decided that my boss has finally lost it completely...
The other day, I was told off, (which happens quite regularly to be honest!!) for leaving a piece of paper sticking out of the invoice box...
Apparently, the reason I was told off,was under 'Health & Safety Grounds', because someone could get a paper-cut, and if not treated, the worst case scenario is that it could get infected, and the infection could spread, and the result could be death.
I KID YOU NOT!!!
What is up with the world, I ask you????!
I must admit, I tried really hard not to laugh in my manager's face, (he doesn't take lightly to that, obviously)
but I had to disguise it as a cough, and run to the toilet, as I nearly very literally wet myself!!!
I realise with the 'claim culture' we're now brought up in, we have to think about things like Risk Assesments an stuff, but... come on!!!!
I'm sure Digbert would have some serious speeches to make over that incident, if he were a real person, lol
I think I must live in a dream world that one day I'm gonna wake up from....
Scribbled by Jm at 3:30 pm
In case you hadn't guessed, it's my day off today, and I'm using the time to catch up on washing, and blogging. Quite alot has happenned this week, so a lot to tell you about, but all good things to those who wait...
(runs downstairs to put next wash in machine... very domestic, admit it, you're almost completely underwhelmed!!)
Scribbled by Jm at 2:58 pm
I've always liked it as a colour. Which is why I decided yesterday to get my hair dyed. I think most people are a bit shocked, but I'm really pleased!!
Apparently, in earlier times it was considered a royal colour, but I don't think my eglomania goes quite that far...!
Blimey, I must be bored to start blogging stuff like this...
Scribbled by Jm at 12:36 pm
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
I have a decision to make.
Today was my check-up appointment with the M.S. Specialist, who mentioned to me about treatment. I don't know whether people who read this will know, but M.S. doesn't actually have a cure yet,basically all doctors and nurses can do is treat the symptoms of the disease, but you can't affect the disease itself.
Well, my specialist made an appointment with me to discuss treatment options for me, as I've had this (in terms of diagnosis anyway) for 19 months now. When I was first diagnosed, I didn't really know much about M.S. or possible treatments, so I agreed to go on a Clinical Trial. It was for a drug called 'Avandia', and I still don't know whether I had the actual drug or a placebo, but at least it helped them out in deciding whether it was useful for treatment of people with M.S....
Today, I was told of four different treatments that could be available to me as a person diagnosed with M.S. and it was left to me to decided whether I wanted to start on any of them. The problem is, at the moment, even though I've had three or four relapses in the past two years, I've been basically healthy, because my M.S. (relapsing-remitting) is in actual fact quite mild. The dilemma I have is, I've got no guarantees about whether it will get worse or not in the next ten years. Apparently, 1 in 10 people who have the relapsing-remitting form of M.S. will actually move on to the Secondary Progressive form, which can be quite debilitating.
My dilemma is, do I want to start on these treatments, which may or may not help me, because I may or may not get worse than I am now? Should I start taking this treatment which involves injecting myself every day or every other day? My illness doesn't seem that bad at the moment, but if I don't take it, will the results be worse long term??
I've asked for a week to think about it, I need to.
Grrrrrrr... these decisions are so hard.
Scribbled by Jm at 9:20 pm
Monday, November 01, 2004
I did something very silly this week....
I joined an online dating site for a laugh!! I didn't think it was a good move, until I started editing my own profile. I answered all the questions as honestly as I could, and awaited the results with bated breath...
The search found that I had Hundreds of potential women meeting my criteria, but there was a problem...
I didn't match hardly ANY of theirs!! lol lol lol Here are some of the following criteria/comments on my profile that were seen as negative by most women: (very helpfully pointed out by the search engine on the site, lol)
- "Not very confident" - bad move this one chaps, even though, if you were extra confident in real life, a girl would tell you to push off...
- "Not very good looking" - I was being honest, but if I'd said "stunning looking" (an option in the drop-down list of answers!! can you believe it??! lol ) then they'd have taken one look at my photo and laffed their pretensious misguided bottoms off... Besides, which girl would honestly date a guy who thought he was God's Gift???! lol
- Height 5-5 '2 - Now this one I can't do anything about, and can understand some reactions too, I mean if you were 5'8 or something, you wouldn't want to date a short guy, but... come on!! surely being short isn't that much of a turn off??! How did Danny Devito get a woman for goodness sake!!! I mean, height doesn't equal axe murderer you know...
It's very ironic that men are often portrayed as shallow creatures, when often women are just as bad!!! I'll stop ranting/pondering now, and go and lift some weights...
(* all the women's profiles that I looked at anyway)
Scribbled by Jm at 9:21 pm