Following a break from writing, and taking some time to move over most of my posts from my previous blog, I am hopefully now ready to get blogging again.
Please stay tuned...
"I've attended a few Unitarian services, and the problem I have is not that they don't have a creed - i respect that, and the non-assertive nature of their congregation, all are welcome, no questions asked, plus the obvious liberalism. It's more that in their services they seem to borrow the religious element of other religions, almost as if they are playing at being religious, lacking any tradition of their own.
So one week we sang some Buddhist chants, and we all ommed away for a bit, and meditated (or closed our eyes anyway). Another week, we played at being Hindus. It felt very Western, trying on the clothes of various religions in turn, as if we could touch the numinous by proxy, while the sermons were essentially children's stories, Just So Stories."
"Something new is emerging at Capitol Hill Friends. It does not fit neatly into the old binaries of 20th century Quakerism. Rather than getting bogged down in fights between Liberals and Evangelicals, we are simply trying to follow Jesus. This feels risky, because he leads us to unfamiliar places. But there is freedom here, too.
Jesus releases us from the culture wars that are tearing at the fabric of the United States, including the Quaker community. Jesus sets us free from dogmatic worldviews that make us feel both secure and terribly afraid. As we lean on Jesus, we are liberated from the need to fit our lives into tidy little boxes - or to confine others to them. He uproots the seeds of war, whose roots have sunk so deep into our hearts that we hardly notice them anymore."
"At times like these it is important to remember the difference between hope and optimism. Optimism is an expectation of the future, but hope is a way of experiencing the present. Optimism assures us that the oasis we see in the distance is not a mirage, but hope simply inspires us to keep going. Optimism promises specific outcomes, but hope just says that striving is worthwhile, that whether or not good things will happen, creating opportunity is a good thing in itself.
Optimism often lies, but hope never fails. Optimism argues with the predictions of cynicism and bitterness, and is often proved wrong. Hope rejects cynicism and bitterness as unhelpful, and is perennially proved right.
Hope cares for the eggs without counting the chickens that might come from them. Hope plants as wisely as it can, knowing that the rains and the harvest are uncertain. Hope is—right here and right now, whatever may happen in the future—a better way to live."
"Be content to stand in your lot. Whatever it may be, there is work in it enough for one to perform. It is your work, and if done in a Christian spirit there is ample opportunity to build up faith and piety in your own soul, and to bless your fellow-men. If you aspire to what you think a better lot, the way to reach it is by being faithful where you are. But be sure, that no lot to which duty calls you can in its essential nature be excluded from the highest good. A noble spirit ennobles the humblest condition, and a mean spirit alone makes the lot mean. A wonderful fact! It seems as if it had been to disabuse the world, and to exorcise it of its false views of human conditions, that the Saviour of man was born in a manger; that his ministry was in the obscure land of Judaea; that by the way-side, along the lake-shore, among humble men, he subjected himself to poverty; that he washed his disciples' feet; that he died on a cross; and in all places lost not his own divinity, but made the event divine.
Whatever then your lot may be, so that it come to you in the simple way of duty, do not contemn it, but honor it, and by your fidelity in it make it honorable. All real duties come in the order of a providential appointment, and take their character, not from the measurements of human vanity, but from God who appoints them. He can be worshipped as devoutly in the humble way-side church, as in the great cathedral; and so also he may be served as truly in the obcurest duty as in that whose performance wins the plaudits of the world. Leave to others to labor in their lot, and for yourself be satisfied to stand in your own; fulfilling its duties; enlarging it by your fidelity; contented to stand there while it is your lot; there to serve God, and to be useful among men." --Ephraim Peabody
"Striking teachers, lecturers and civil servants served notice on politicians today that they will not be sacrificial lambs for capitalism's crisis.
The workers who took action were defending not only their modest pension schemes but also our hard-won public services.
Big business and the politicians who defend its interests, irrespective of what party label they wear, are inspired by two motives.
The first is to force public-sector workers and citizens who depend on the services they deliver to finance the deficit caused by bankers' reckless adventurism.
They are pulling a classic politicians' fast one by trying to transform in the public consciousness a crisis associated with the private financial sector into a question about the justice or sustainability of the public sector.
The second is to devalue public-sector workers' pensions arrangements so as to make privatisation more profitable and thus more likely.
Private-sector vultures intent on tearing into the body of our public services constantly complain to politicians about the cost of maintaining pension schemes when taking over operations from the state.
They would like to emulate the scandalous treatment in recent years of workers' pensions in the private sector.
What took place with regard to occupational pensions in the private sector is scandalous, with schemes closed to new entrants and final-salary arrangements all but eradicated.
Then there's the companies that walked away from their responsibilities, leaving tens of thousands of workers bereft of pensions they had paid for.
Add to that the history of financial institutions mis-selling private pensions to individuals and it is clear that the private sector is the last area to serve as a model for the public sector.
When Tory ministers assert that even if they have their way in forcing workers to pay more for longer and for reduced rewards, teachers and civil servants will still have some of the best pensions around, this just emphasises how much damage has already been done to pensions in the private sector.
The Con-Dem government is encouraging a race to the bottom because it sees workers' pensions as an inconvenient burden on business and the exchequer.
In fact, pensions for all workers are simply deferred wages, which have to be defended against the government's premeditated, politically motivated windfall tax.
The only windfall tax meriting support is one on the super-profits of the energy companies' oligopoly, the banking sector and the rapacious supermarkets.
It beggars belief that the politicians and big-business media can keep a straight face when they unite to denounce public-sector pensions as gold-plated or unaffordable.
Research group Income Data Services points out that FTSE 100 directors can rely on average pensions of £170,000 a year, while MPs will still have a pension scheme that knocks those for teachers and civil servants into a cocked hat.
How enlightening it would be if every Mail or Telegraph leader writer and TV commentator who joins the gang-up against public-sector workers' pensions were made to disclose their own salary and pension arrangements.
The same goes for the front-bench politicians who make a huge song and dance about their marginal differences while uniting in opposition to the justice of the public-sector workers' case and to their reluctant decision to strike to get their voices heard.
Today's splendid action was the first battle in a long campaign to defend our public sector and those work in it."
Jesus said,"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other."
"If you live inside your head, Science, Art and Religion will appear to contradict one-another. This is because, inside our heads, we build systems of knowledge, and in the name of reason, we demand consistency.
If you stay inside your head, only science and logic ultimately make sense. Art becomes nice things to look at to make us feel happy, and religion becomes wishful thinking to calm us when we are afraid – especially afraid of death.
Get outside your head, and Science Art and Religion are things that we do. And we do things differently. Science tells us how best to use the world to meet our needs. Art tells us how best to view the world to find value in it. And religion tells us how best to relate to the world, including and especially to one-another."
(source)"The discoveries of healing science must be the inheritance of all. That is clear. Disease must be attacked, whether it occurs in the poorest or the richest man or woman simply on the ground that it is the enemy; and it must be attacked just in the same way as the fire brigade will give its full assistance to the humblest cottage as readily as to the most important mansion. Our policy is to create a national health service in order to ensure that everybody in the country, irrespective of means, age, sex, or occupation, shall have equal opportunities to benefit from the best and most up-to-date medical and allied services available."