Come in, it's lovely to see you. Pull up a cushion and stay as long as you like.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Journey's End

For Clive...........

So this is how it goes.
Things don't always work out the way we want them to.
Those we want to leave stay
and those we want to stay leave.
It is how it is

Each breath leads us to the last
and on the way our journey takes us where it takes us.

Well, my friend,
your journey has come to it's end,
at least this part of it.

Much too short, of course,
if time is how it's measured.
And who knows where it has taken you.

The circle is now complete.
The instrument has played his last note,
for now at least.
Your work here is done.

And those that you have left behind
will continue with their own journey,
all the richer for having been a part of yours,
their lights that bit brighter.

A few of us with hearts opened
to those we had thought lost forever.
What greater gift to give,
and to receive.

So, it is goodbye my friend,
You will be missed.

Another time another place then.

Oh, and one more thing.
Thank you 
Thank you 
Thank you

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Onward Christian Soldiers

You've got to laugh haven't you, another good old Daily Mail headline.  Christianity Under Attack
Can't beat it for entertainment. Lets not get bogged down with the facts when we can propagate a knee jerk reaction and stir up some hysteria in the process. And my how they have succeeded, see the comments after the article.
Makes a change from Christianity doing the attacking though. Now it is 'under attack' itself. Oh no!
My how they doth protest when they can't get their own way.
The case in question, brought by atheist former Bideford town councillor Clive Bone, has resulted in the High Court ruling that local councils cannot put prayers on the formal agenda at the start of meetings, so councillors cannot be summoned to attend.
Leaving them free to have a proper council meeting, not a bible study group (stop it Jonna).
Lord Carey, former Archbish of Canterbury, has joined the scaremongering, sorry debate, in warning of the 'gradual marginalisation' of the Christian faith.
And government minister Eric Pickles has also got involved, saying the ruling is 'very illiberal' (not just illiberal mind, but 'very illiberal'. OMG that's like really really illiberal, innit?) and that the government are going to push through legislation, the Localism Act, to enable local councils to say prayers at the beginning of meetings 'as early as next Friday'.
Strange isn't it that they can do nothing to get terrorists deported, can't push through any legislation to make that happen?
Notice the language in the papers. Christianity UNDER ATACK. Prayers BANNED. OUTLAWED. And the emphasis heightened by the use of capitals. And of course this is going to lead, ultimately, (see article) to 'the end of hospital and forces chaplains and the abolition of the coronation oath' !!
Followed, one must assume, by the complete and utter moral breakdown of society (or has that happened already? I get confused).
Good god no. Not on Eric Pickles watch!
Seems also they are still smarting from a court judgement (and recent loss of the appeal) against a christian bed and breakfast owning couple who discriminated against a homosexual couple and wouldn't rent them a room for the night. And having to pay them compensation as a result.
Lord Carey (god bless him) goes on to say, as does Mr Pickles (god bless him too, I'm feeling generous) that these councillors can get round this ban by praying together anyway before the meeting starts (ner ner yah boo sucks to that nasty high court).
Well that's EXACTLY (note my own use of capitals here for dramatic effect, or is it affect? I'm never quite sure) what former councillor Clive Bone wants. He wasn't after, and neither did the court rule, on anyone being banned from praying, or from being a christian. Just from being forced to take part as part and parcel of his council duties.
Get together and pray, (or smoke or meditate) if the mood takes you, before the meeting is officially called to order.
I would have thought that the church, preaching as it does (allegedly) tolerance and understanding and compassion and love etc etc, would see this as an excellent compromise. Pray as much as you like but don't expect, or need, laws in place to force that belief and practise on others.
How weak faith really is when it needs the law to enforce it. How hollow those prayers really are when we have to force others to pray too. How narrow minded to think we can make anyone believe anything they can't or don't want to.
I guess what is really under threat here, and what needs banning, is intolerance and bigotry, of having Christianity, or any other religion or faith or belief, forced on us, rammed down our throats at every available opportunity.
Now that is something I will happily pray for.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Books and Imagination

Just finished reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. What with all the stuff of life going on around me, and not particularly keen on most of it, finding a book to get lost in is such a delight.
And what a book it is.
It has all the ingredients I need and love.  A magician.  An illusionist.  A sorcerer.  An enchanter.  A fortune teller.  A love story.  A dark story.  A fin-de-siecle.  Life and death.  Endings and new beginnings.  Slight of hand.  Deception.  Loyalty.
A mysterious circus that..... 'arrives without warning. Opening at nightfall and closing at dawn'.
It is one of those books that from the moment you begin to read you are immediately hooked. The characters come to life like a waking dream.
A real work of the imagination that taps into and demands the attention of your own imagination. I love books that do this. I've always loved books that have done this. Some of the happiest memories I have are of reading books that do this.
To me the experience is as real as any of the true life stories I have read.
And there waiting for me, next in the queue, top of the book pile, is part three of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Another feat of and feast for the imagination. Another love story playing out over time. Time itself becomes distorted. No one quite seems to know what is real and what is imagined (rather like life itself, yes?). Two central characters and a strong supporting cast.
And I have just found out that Carlos Ruiz Zafon has written and will be releasing sometime soon The Prisoner of Heaven, the third in his series featuring the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the Sempere and Sons bookshop.
And what I love doing as well is finding out about the authors and their lives and there art. Just as interesting as the stories they write. Just as stimulating to the imagination.
Books and Imagination.
I love these.