Friday 28 September 2018

The Ultimate Radical

World politics has turned into a TV Soap the last few years, on all continents based on what I hear from friends and family abroad. No surprise that this in turn has led to some pretty heated "debates" on my Facebook wall and in my emails. I'm not one for sitting quiet if I think something is wrong or if I think something else is a great move forward.

What has surprised is how many people have leapt to the assumption that I'm "Left" which is amusing in a way since a few firmly Left friends have nagged me for NOT being Left. I'm also constantly told I'm New Age which is equally confusing. I am a Pantheist (who loves Jesus); they've been around for a very long time. 

Am I Left? I will admit that a lot of the Left parties have policies I agree with, but then again... there's a lot they stand for that I don't agree with. I've never voted for the classic Left party of Britain: Labour. I doubt I ever would. But I most certainly would NEVER vote Tory Right either. It's Green for me first and foremost. No point in a vote without a healthy world to cast it in.

So what are the things I'm saying and/or standing up for that have led so many of my friends (and even some family) to think of me as being a Lefty? I had to stop and think about that this morning, since it's been bothering me for weeks.

This is what I've figured out...

I support the rights of others very different from me (races/religions/sexual orientation) - This is due to what I learnt from reading about Jesus as a child. He said to love thy neighbour and then pointed out that the radically different person is our neighbour.
Matthew 22:36-40 King James Version (KJV)

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

I support feminism and women's equality - Also due to Jesus. He was the first feminist I ever met. He called women "Daughters of Abraham" which was extremely radical. There is no such title. Jewish MEN were called Songs of Abraham, but women were just... nothing. Jesus changed that and gave them equal dignity and respect. He also allowed women to touch him, which was also radical back then. In fact... everything he did related to women was radical.

He spent time teaching Mary and reprimanded Martha for thinking chores should come first before spiritual studies. AND he treated her as a disciple, not merely as a woman he was talking to. This is shown in the fact Luke says she sat at his feet, which is symbolic and meaningful. Disciples being taught would sit at the feet of their teacher.
Luke 10:39

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word.
Which leads me to saying I am fairly radical, same as Jesus. :) Like him, I think we have to let go of out-dated laws or ideas that no longer suit us. Like him I believe change is inevitable and to be embraced. He even promised that spirituality would change from people needing a religious leader/teacher to each person claiming their own sacred autonomy of having God's Holy Spirit within them to lead them. I fully support that as well!

I am pro choice. I think women deserve to have power over their own bodies, including pregnancy. These are my personal feelings, but they are backed up by the Bible. It strikes me as VERY odd that many Christians are against this as they are actually not aware of what the Bible says. The Old Testament states that it is the breath that is the moment of life. A foetus is not seen as living until it draws breath. This is why the crime of forcing a woman to miscarry was punished with a fine (Exodus 21:22) whilst murder of any type is punished by death.

I support the rights of children - that every child should have a peaceful, loving, healthy environment, good health care and a decent education.  That no one should ever abuse or harm ANY child. You certainly can blame this one on Jesus. He's famous for his outspoken love and protection of children.

I am not 100% pacifist, but I do try to look for better ways than war, hate and violence. I support sensible gun control, more diplomacy in politics and less frantic armament of our nations. This is in part due to common sense and having experienced war/terrorism growing up, but also due to Jesus. He proposed a very tough commandment to be better than those who harm you. To rise above it and not react blindly in hate, rage or fear. To show others respect in order to teach them respect.

Luke 6:27-31
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
I am "Green". I support alternative energy, less cruelty in how we deal with animals (wild and domestic), more recycling and better protection of vital natural resources. No, not coal and oil. I mean trees and water. We can live without coal and oil; we cannot survive without oxygen and drinking water.  This is mostly due to common sense. I will live a day or so without water - I could endure a lifetime without coal or oil. I can live without new gadgets, but I can't live very long without clear air to breathe. Can't say that's obviously Christian, but it did strike me as sad that God told Adam and Eve all of this planet was his gift to humans and then we trashed it. Sort of shameful, like we're spoilt brats.

 I believe in the power of Love to make the world a better place. I'm completely bemused as why some think this makes me New Age as I learnt this straight from Jesus. There are so many Bible quotes on this that I had a hard time picking one. I went with John, as he's my favourite. :)

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.


And finally, I know that I'm doing all the right things, because it's actually Jesus who told me so. I'm me, with his blessing.

Matthew 5:3-10

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Hold On

Pueblo Indian Prayer

Hold on to what is good,
Even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I'll be gone away from you. 

Thursday 27 September 2018

Tunnel Vision

I'm bringing back an idea I had years ago of something thought-provoking for "thoughtful thursday". Feel free to join in, but let me know so I can read your blog post, please.

It's hard to read my emails lately and not end up feeling either depressed or frustrated. It can be summed up by a poster an American friend sent me. Just change the "it's good for.." country's name to Australia, Great Britain or Canada (yep, even Canada now has people in employment having to use food banks due to rising prices and low wages).

And be aware that by "farmers" most countries do not mean your local small farms, but more your "big business" mass-producing farms.

I'm still constantly taken aback by this short-sightedness of extreme greed. Too many politicians  think the top three on this list bring in money and the base group do not...

But it is the much larger base group who use the banks and buy the farmers produce. Without a stable middle class, everything falls apart.

It's obvious, it doesn't take much of a brain to figure it out, and yet way too many world governments are so thick they can't realise it. A healthy, well-fed and homed society ADDS to productivity and the national economy. More poor makes the whole country more poor. A small top layer of super wealthy cannot keep an entire country's economy afloat.

And they keep making this same mistake over and over... even though the shops and factories are closing, the houses are being taken back by banks who then cannot sell them and the amount of homeless keeps growing.

If I were to add a prayer here, it would be to ask our world leaders to realise how stupid they are being.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

The Green Chickens of Mars

A long time ago, in a living room far far away... I discovered the awesome powers of the Green Chickens of Mars.

It began one average day. I was talking to a family member (you know who you are! :P ) and had a hunch that they weren't actually listening to me. I'd say something... they'd go "mmm?" or "mmm..."

A strange, mad power enveloped me... I opened my mouth and said, "They've discovered green chickens on Mars."
My non-listener replied, "mmmm..."

I finally had proof!

Since then, for well over two decades, I have used the Green Chickens of Mars whenever I'm in doubt that people are listening to me. It works brilliantly and instantly picks out who was utterly not listening... 

Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars are invading this summer."
Them: "mmm..."

from those who were half listening, but need to be refocused...

Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars have invented trans-dimensional time travel."
Them: "Uh... WHAT did you say? Chickens of WHERE?"

to the odd few who were actually listening...

Me: "The Green Chickens of Mars are famous for their minty freshness."
Them: "How does this relate to what we are talking about?"

 Whichever reaction I end up with, it's always fun. I love those Green Chickens!

Comic book cover thanks to Pulp-o-mizer.

Go check out the rest of Bradley's art. His Celtic shop is equally awesome.

Friday 21 September 2018

Half Filled

The old saying about pessimists seeing the glass half empty and optimists seeing it half full has been on my mind this morning. Some friends were talking about a news item about young man who joined a hate-cult and went on a rampage, killing innocent people. They were wondering why someone seemingly normal would join a group that did such terrible things and it got me thinking...

What if it's about how we fill that glass?

I once knew a person who had belonged to a cult. What struck me today was not how a cult holds onto a person with various forms of brain-washing, but why someone is drawn to a cult in the first place. People naturally want and need their glass to be filled. By "filled" I don't mean the obvious things like money, love, fame and success. Those things are important, but what we all hunger most desperately for is PURPOSE.

Such a bland word, but without a sense of purpose we are nothing. It is more important than money or power or fame. I was about to add "or love" when I realised that purpose IS about love. Having a sense of purpose gives us self-respect, which is vitally important and strongly connected to self love.

Some people find their purpose in a career or a creative art form; many find it in religion. But it all boils down to the same thing... that worst emptiness in our glass of life is a lack of love. That emptiness might be that we were never loved as children or never taught how to love ourselves. We might be empty due to mental or even physical illness. Or perhaps we became empty when life broke us in some manner; through abuse, neglect, poverty or war. 

An empty person searching to be filled is the dream target of every group, because he/she will do anything and try anything to fill that emptiness. Empty people are willing to spend more money. And empty people aren't only more willing to buy fake products they don't actually need... they're also more open to buying into fake news, fake political agendas and fake religions.

And once they're filled with poison and lies, they are completely ready to buy into being told that their emptiness was due to THIS group or THAT group taking what was rightfully theirs. So easy  to create a scapegoat that the cult member is willing to kill.... so easy to change the word "cult" for any other type of hate group.

The only way I can see of stopping that is by teaching every child and person how to love themselves. Sounds trite, but you're not likely to be brain-washed if you trust your own judgement and you're not likely to turn on others in mindless rage if you are completely happy in your own skin.

Time to fill the glasses...

Thursday 20 September 2018

Wonder Full

Stunning water sculptures by Malgorzata Chodakowska. You can see the entire collection HERE.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

No More

Something struck me this morning as I was reading my Facebook wall; people all over the world are sensing the changes many of us have been predicting for decades. The tide is turning.

All over the world I'm seeing more and more people saying "This isn't good enough" in one way or another. We're not willing to be mushrooms any longer? Or perhaps the planet itself is reaching crone status?

Feels like Mother Earth is becoming Crone Earth ready to shout, "NO MORE!"

Sunday 16 September 2018

Monty Puthon and the Holy Quest of YO

I was text/chatting a friend (Kim) today. We both tend to be typo queens and we share the same kind of silly humour, hence the title of this blog post. 

We were talking about life in general. We've been friends a long time and in that time we've both gone through a lot, good and bad. I was commenting on how people talk about life as being a plod up a mountain, but that's not quite true. 

I said, "No one tells you that ascending the mountain is done on a yoyo bungie cord."

Because that's how life feels, doesn't it? Today you're feeling epic, like you're striding up the mountain and then suddenly you fall ten feet as some unexpected problem hits you only to go  *SPROING* upwards as you find a way to bounce back. 

Kim agreed and added, "and with the frequent head whack on the side of the mountain."

That's when I saw us; a clear vision in my mind. We weren't spiders, we were Knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, valiantly questing through life's ups and downs with irreverence, mild insanity and a complete lack of co-ordination, 

...but when I tried to tell Kim my epic vision I typed "Monty Puthon" and we both ended up laughing. It was downhill into silliness after that.

Goodness knows, we all need more humour lately! The world seems to be winding itself up on seriousness.  I've also noticed way more touchiness around the internet. I've been unfriended twice on Facebook for my "offensive" life choices and once for my political views. Considering the fact I'm politically Green, tolerant of all religions and not interested in anyone's sex life... that's quite a feat! The three people I've offended come from completely different political views and religions, so Kim pointed out that at least I'm "an equally-offending opportunity partner". LOL

But it's not just others who have been more touchy this year. I've had  my moments of losing my temper as well. Some arguments have been equally matched with irritation both sides.

Laughing today about the up-and-downs of life, I realised that I need to get the YO back in my yoyo. That mojo of magical madness, irreverent Heyoka humour and silly walks. Life is too short for taking seriously.
It's much easier to climb the mountain if you lighten your load. ;)

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Movie Cuts

A while back, someone I knew told me how they had managed to miss the ending of Ben Hur three times thanks to freaky bad luck. I had something similar with South Pacific. It was on TV during a thunderstorm and about 15 minutes before the end... bzzzt... nothing.

But my most annoying, frustrating and yet also most funny cut-off moment wasn't due to a power cut. It was... well, let me tell you the story! It all started in a movie theatre, on a planet in a galaxy far far away...
It was some time in my teenage years and the movie was the long-awaited sequel to the first original Star Wars.

I'd been waiting an eternity to find out what happened next. Now finally, there I was sitting with all the other excited Star Wars fans waiting to watch the sequel. The movie started and the magic began. Luke Skywalker came bounding back into our reality, riding a wonderfully weird alien critter on a planet of snow. I was hooked, once again.

Luke, seemingly lost in the snow, sees a vision beginning to form before him. The ghostly figure of Obi-Wan Kenobi appears. Luke stares... shocked.

The entire audience held their breath as Obi-Wan lifted a hand and, with a deeply serious look on his face, he pointed at Luke and said... (in a very loud, unknown voice)

"Will Johnny Smith please call at the front desk.
 Your mother wants to talk to you."


What kind of insensitive idiot breaks in with a message at the critical moment of a movie?

Now, you have to remember I was a teen and my finances did not run to seeing a movie a second time purely to hear one or two sentences. And this was long LONG before video tapes or DVDs. I had to wait ten years to finally rent the movie out from a video shop and find out what Obi-Wan said.

And you know what's really funny? I can't remember what he actually said! I'll forever remember him humiliating Johnny Smith, and probably bringing about the break up of his relationship with his mother, in front of an entire jam-packed Saturday audience.

Monday 3 September 2018

Time to Listen to Your Self

A friend recently quoted Machiavelli to comment on the lack of hope in the world, how history seems doomed to repeat itself. It was a very valid point. When I watch world news, I see only tragedy and failure across the entire planet. I think we can agree that many of our world leaders (big business and politics) are seriously lacking in common sense and true commitment to the people they started off promising to serve.

I think this problem is because it is often the most sociopathic layer of humanity that is drawn to positions of power whilst the decent folk head for medicine, science, charitable services, etc, etc. I've often thought that if we made politics a vocation or career that paid very little, similar to teaching, we'd see a vastly better world. 

The men and women we set up on pedestals are often those that show the worst traits. Humans are too trusting, which perhaps lies in the fact that humans are not encouraged to look, listen and discern for themselves. Right from the first day of school they are told to sit down, shut up and take orders. Is it then any surprise that humanity is so clueless in who they admire and trust? 

Humanity mistakes recklessness for courage, vanity for power and overblown ego for assertiveness. And worst of all ... we seem to never learn from history, but I think it's more that our leaders don't want us to learn. The game works for them. The top layer stays rich, regardless of whether they are Left or Right in the political spectrum. 

The only way we'll ever change that, in my opinion, is by moving away from trusting leaders and becoming our own leaders. Ironic thing is that Jesus preached this message in a way, before the churches squashed his predictions of human spiritual evolution like a bug.
Bear with me here, this may seem like a digression, but politics and religions are often very much alike. In the case of Christianity, Jesus took a scary warrior God (Yahweh was the Canaanite god of war) and made him a "daddy" (The actual word he used in the Lord's prayer is daddy, not father). Then Jesus took it a step further and said the Holy Spirit would take over. Complete human autonomy - you now are your own temple. You have the higher conscience (holy spirit) to make your own decisions. You are responsible for your self.... but that was no use to early Church leaders who wanted control, so they took Hel and Hades from the pagans and create fear in order to keep everyone in line...
FEAR, don't think. HATE, don't think. TRUST US, we are the only salvation and know what is best;  OBEY US, we know what is best for you... we'll think for you. And above all... DO NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF, because we will frown upon you, laugh at you, call you a heretic and ultimately punish you. 
So easy to make people do the most insane or appalling things if you use that cocktail of commands on them. Politicians and dictators use the exact same tactics.

I think we need to become more responsible as individuals before we'll ever move forward and change our "rinse and repeat" history pattern of war and disasters. Jesus agreed, stating that he was leaving and the Holy Spirit would take over. For the atheists out there, I'd say this is that little voice some call conscience. Or even maybe... the voice of our True Selves? You know it, it's that small voice at the back of your mind that whispers, "this is wrong" or "There has to be another way."

I do believe we can do anything if we stop listening to bullies using fear and hate to control us and focus instead on hearing our true selves.

Personal Rant Moment

This started with several videos arguing the facts regarding the ongoing problem of the farm killings in South Africa. Some say there are still too many murders/tortures and some say the numbers have dropped. That's really not the point. The point is... all murders are wrong. it doesn't matter why you don't like the person or who they were... ALL murders are wrong.
And as for killing farmers? That is like shooting yourself because you feel angry. Farmers are the life of any country, they feed the nation. You kill your farmers - you starve your people.
But what has always had me bounce-off-the-walls angry about Africa is the hypocrisy of other countries. So many countries who want South Africa to hand over the farms are colonial countries that wouldn't dream of handing all their farms back to their own indigenous peoples. No one ever seems to point that out.
No one ever seems to point out the fact that it's pretty much only the colonial countries in Africa and Asia that have handed back the power of government as well. Australia may chew over handing some land back, but I've yet to see any European country demand that the government be handed back to the Aborigines. Same with South America, North America, Central America, New Zealand and many islands.
Only in Africa and Asia have people been decent enough to hand the lands back and yet it seems we still get thumped on the heads as "not good enough" and when I talk about this... people back off saying, "Oh but white South Africans are racists."
Yes, many Africans are racists. I've met black racists, Indian racists and white racists in Southern Africa. My coloured friends weren't racist, but they were liberal Islamic. Go figure! Non-racist Muslims. :P There's another rant dealt with. LOL
And living in Africa, I've also met, am related to, and have friends who are wonderful, non-racist people. :) I felt blessed to live in Africa as I grew up with all religions as friends of my family and all races, nations and sub-groups in my personal friends group. I think that is awesome.
So please... stop thinking all white Africans are racists. We're not! Most of us are simply concerned about the levels of violence and deaths of ALL people in Africa. I've lost friends of all races and all religions. I've lost family... and I still love Africa. It's an incredible continent full of wonderful people.
The only way we let go of violence is by letting go of hate and fear of each other.
Rant over.