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Rose Bowed Down

She stood tall with her back to the wall, Gracefully and cheerfully with peachy roses on display. She stretched up to the sky, as if about to fly, But her feet were firmly rooted to the soil, Stretching out her branches, like arms, in a wide embrace.  She clung with tenacity to the trellis that was her support, Weaving her branches  out and in,  in and out, To hold on tight, To keep upright.  Then one day, out of the blue, the tellis lost its grip, and came adrift, from the wall on which it had been mounted. Now, no longer the support on which she so relied, The trellis had become a burden, Which weighed her down -  She silently cried. Bowed down low, bowed but not broken, She yearned to be relieved of the heavy weight that bent her. There was only one solution,  So every branch and stem that weaved about the trellis was trimmed, Freeing her from her life-long friend, Lifting off the trellis on which she used to depend, Straightening her up again, Pruned, but by no means defeated, She
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Guidance and Glory

 Listening to morning prayer on St. Mary's, Walthamstow Facebook live, (at 8:30 a.m. weekdays) you will hear, in Ordinary Time , the lines " Lord, you guide me with your counsel and afterwards receive me with glory".  For some time now, that statement has caught my attention. There was something about it that I felt needed exploring further. So I am writing this blog to do that.  Knowing "God's will" has to my perception, been something of a preoccupation of Evangelical religion in my lifetime. The quest of every Christian teenager leaving school and making decisions about what career path was often overshadowed with "What is God's Will for my life?" With the understandable trepidation that they would get it wrong. In the Torah, and Judaism,  matters seem, to my view much more concrete and clear cut. If you were in a certain family, you were to be a priest, a Cohen, and if you were were not a decedant of Aaron, you were a Levite, and you had a

Baseless Hate

 Earlier I came across something that surprised me. First of all I need to give some background,  as some of you may be aware, in addition to my interest in matters of my Christian faith, I am also interested in other religions, but very much, Judaism.  Judaism has its own calendar. We are in a part of that Calendar which is a period of mourning from 17 Tammuz to 9th of Av.  The 9th of Av is designated a fasting day. 9th of Av in Hebrew is Tisha B'Av. It is believed both the First Temple (That Solomon built) and the second Temple build after the exile with Nehemiah and Ezra were destroyed on 9th of Av. There were many other things that coincided with these dates but these are the most significant I understand.  The First Temple was destroyed about 586 BCE (BC) and the second was 70 CE (AD) .  Without getting to involved with the details of of these dates and practices I want to get into what I learnt today . It is from part of the Talmud called Yoma 9b It asks why the First Temple

Where vaccinations come from - Really

Vaccination is definitely the one and only way we can get out of this mess. We cannot continue in this lockdown and social distancing, which though it served its purpose as a stopgap measure was never going to be sustainable in the long run. Vaccinations have been the solution to end epidemics such as polio and smallpox, but how did this miracle in a bottle come about. Many would mention the physician Edward Jenner, and you would be right as he was the first to give this technique of fighting viral infection the name vaccination, but Edward Jenner is not where it started. A process called "ingrafting" was carried out by women in Turkey, in which the pus of an infected small pox pustule was "ingrafted" into blood system of a person making them slightly ill but after recovery, apparently immune from the disease. Now, how did this practice make its way to England you might ask. It did so by a very interesting brave and brilliant woman called Lady Mary Wortley Montague

Visiting in prison

  (No Title) John C. Fairlamb Humility 3 In the previous blog, we looked at the 'parable' of the sheep and the goats. Jesus said, among other things, " I was in   prison   and you visited me ". We tend to forget this aspect of the story. You see it is easier to identify with those who were sick, or who were poor, or were homeless but when it comes to people in   prison   we tend to become uncomfortable.   I think that for many Christian men and woman, the thought of people in prison being regarded in any positive light is practically an anathema.   Didn't they   deserve   to be in prison, hadn't they committed some crime that meant that they should be there and not in society at large?   Aren't they despicable creatures who deserve our contempt? I would simply ask would Jesus have that attitude.   Firstly, NOT everyone who is in prison is truly guilty of what they have been accused of. Even in our modern, scientifically advanced world, miscarriages of just

Pentecost 2021: Language

 I try to write a poem to coincide with the Feast of Pentecost each year, I don't always make it. Quite often I make it, but a bit late. This year I started early and so I am putting down here what I have got.  At the first Pentecost, the disciples who were already following Jesus started speaking many languages and people from many different places heard their own languages spoken by "these simple folk from Galilee" So this year I decided to treat LANGUAGE as the theme.  I will admit that though some bits are poetic, it is not all poetry. These are my various thoughts about language.  To begin with, did we all speak the same across the board - one universal language with universal understanding? That would have been paradise, no? An ideal perhaps to which it's natural we should aspire to return?  It is portrayed that way in the book of Genesis that from Adam and Eve, for many generations the people spoke the same language, and then came along a huntsman by the name o

A New Kind of Christian" by Brian D McLaren

 I have been reading this book and am almost finished reading it, but thought I would share a brief review.  When I started reading it some time ago, I didn't realise that it is a theology book in the form of a novel. I know that sounds weird - how could I not realise it was a novel?  The author wrote in the first person, as one of the characters in his story, but I thought the author was relating something personal to himself. The character, "Dan" was a church pastor at the end of his tether and ready to pack in the pastoring and exploring his options going forward. I am not going to give you any spoilers as to what happens, but suffice to say, it was a fascinating story and more importantly chock full of very challenging thoughts about how we think about God, the Bible and Christianity.  I at one stage unfortunately mislaid the book before I finished it, and was very worried that I had lost it. However much to my relief I found it again and started reading again.  I am