Friday, 5 May 2017

But...

But...

Never take notice of what people are saying until they have said, “BUT!” The “but” can change everything.

I liked the article that Benjamin Sledge wrote on “The Irrelevance of Christianity”.  I even wish I had written it. I agree that we Jesus Followers should not be imposing our laws and values on others. We belong to another kingdom, and hold passports of another country. So we observe the laws, values and culture of that regime as top priority.  BUT, Jesus did say he was putting us into THIS world and not taking us out of it.  So we are here! I need to engage with this world and not put myself in a corner and become part of some ghetto.

That means to engage with the politics, the voting, the speaking and - if possible - pulling down handfuls of Kingdom into this time space world and persuading people to take on board Kingdom Values. Why?  Because it’s good for all of us, both the followers of Jesus and everyone else on the planet.

So, I believe in a God of Love. He is one that loves all of humanity. This means that the laws of the Kingdom of God, the values of the Kingdom of God, The Morals of the Kingdom of God, must be for our good. It must be for our benefit. By that I mean the benefit of all humanity not just those who have discovered a relationship with the God who is there.

Logically then, if I know this God of love and His values, and understand that His way is the best way to live, of course, I will want to share His love and these values, not out of a sense of superiority, or one of condemning my fellow human beings, but because I want the best for the lives’ of others as well as my own.  After all God does not make the sun to shine just on His followers, we all benefit from His goodness.

Now! That does not mean that, as Benjamin Sledge says, I hammer you with a book that you never read (i.e. The Bible). Looking at the history of Paul he did not do that. Of course, in His day he did not have the New Testament part of the Bible, he was still writing most of it.

What Paul did is very interesting. He wants good things for people. He wants people to get related to Jesus, the “risen from the dead” One. But he does not start there. In other words, what we might say is, he does not quote Bible to them, but rather he starts where people are.  We should not – really - do anything else.  So he starts on Mars Hill in Athens with that rather strange phrase, “Oh! I see you have an altar to the unknown God.” I know the unknown God. Let me introduce you to Him.  

Paul does not quote the Bible to them. No! Not even the Old Testament Bible. Rather, he quotes their own poets and draws them from there to a better value system, a better way, a knowing of the unknown God.

It would have been quite difficult for Paul to get involved in the politics of Rome. It wasn’t a democracy. Although he gently tried at one point of time when he says in one of his trials before King Agrippa; “I know I am chained up, but what I have is still the best. Apart from these chains, I would want you all to have what I have got”.

Sure, people thought he was mad, but maybe what he had was so good that he wanted others to have that kind of life quality.

We live in a democracy. I am a follower of Jesus. I know that the value system that He gives, when applied gives a better life. Not always easy. Not always nice. Not always happy, but with a source of Joy and purpose.  I guess I want to share that.

Surely I know that Morals can come from other sources. The Atheists are always telling me that. But what sort of morals?  What sort of values? Are they the values of generosity? Of loving your enemies? Of doing good to those who are bad to you?

Lots would like me to be quiet and to keep my values to myself. But I care too much for the well-being of others to do that.












AH
Edited KL
W. 724
adrianhawkes.blogspot.co.uk



Saturday, 1 April 2017

Noise and Think

Noise and Think

I spent quite a lot of time in the 60’s in what was, at the time, referred to as “Coffee Bars.” They were quite social places. Routinely we would go there straight from school, and then, if we were going to some event or other, we would be out and about for the evening, returning afterwards to our second home, which was – you guessed it – the Coffee Bar.  I am not sure how they made a profit as usually we could only afford one frothy coffee per night from their new-fangled machine.

The “wealthy” ones amongst us, and they were few, would put money in the jukebox, or occasionally play the pin ball machine.   Am I speaking a foreign language?

I moved on to some of the meeting places youth that were even more noisy, which, in Birmingham in the 1960’s were packed out with “standing room only.” Usually, I ended up jammed next to very large speakers which made hearing anything other than what came through the speaker impossible.  Hence conversation was difficult, if not, near impossible, unless you did what I see being done even in night clubs today, that is, one puts one’s lips as close to the person’s ear as possible and complies with the need to shout. The usual response was a primal retort of, “What?”

On the rare occasions when conversation could reasonably and rationally take place, which in those days usually meant a record was being changed somewhere in the depths of the building, I, being sort of odd would ask people who were pressed in on me, “What was the meaning of life?” or “Why are you here - not just here in this place, but here on earth?”

Usually I got funny looks. Many of the clientele of the night clubs were taking the latest drugs of the day too - that did not always encourage intelligent conversation. I saw many of the not so nice results of that kind of behaviour. However I did often get responses, of the same ilk of non-coherent talk.  I often heard things like, “I come here for the noise, so I don’t have to think.” Or, “I take drugs because that helps me not to have to think.”
 
For me, I wanted to think. I wanted answers. On top of that, I reckoned I had answers, and still know them, years later, to be good answers.  I had found that life is not purposeless, nor is it unreasonable. I do not think life is an accident. I don’t prescribe to what Professor Richard Peters said.

 Peters was Professor of the Philosophy of Education at the Institute of Education. He said Our basic predicament in life is to learn to live with its ultimate pointlessness.  We are monotonously reminded that education must be for life, so obviously the most important dimension of education is that in which we learn to come to terms with the pointlessness of life.”  (Richard Peters (1919-2011).

I don’t think life is pointless. There is a purpose and there is a point.  I do, however, understand why one would want to put noise into one’s brain if one’s education had taught them that what Professor Peters said was correct.

 I understand why a person would put things in their ears to block out thought. I understand why one might take drugs to escape the pressures, responsibilities and the hassles of life. I even understand why one might just want to jump off a cliff to stop the pointlessness of the “pointless accident” of life.

As I used to say to my friends amid the deafening noise of the places I went to in Birmingham in the 60’s.

“Stop the noise for a moment, and think!

Ask some good questions! Like: “Why am I here?” “What’s it all about?” “Is there a purpose?” “Is there a God?” And, “Is there a point?”

Thinking for just a short while and asking some real questions will ultimately push out the nonsense and white noise of the “Life is pointless” thought.








AH.
adrianhawkes.blogspot.co.uk
www.adrianhawkes.co.uk
Edited by K. L
W 689


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Jenny or Robert?

Jenny or Robert?

My Puzzlement

Brexit and Trump

I am writing this blog with questions to my Christian friends who are followers of Jesus.  Now, I am sure that, in a democracy there are many who would agree that in the field of politics, the fact that we are followers of Jesus will not stop us from see us seeing things from different perspectives. I have many friends in all kinds of political parties who, I am sure, are followers of Jesus.

However to all of them, as well as you my reader, I would want to ask these questions, and hopefully find some kind of coherent answer.

Here we go...
  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, why would I not want people to have health care, especially  if they could not afford it?

  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, am I not responsible to try my hardest to see that people have a home? Again I say, even if their economic ability does not give them the resource  that allows them to buy their own? Why also would I not want to see them clothed and warm? If you are asked for a biblical foundation for this thought, Luke 6.29 come to mind: “Give him your shirt also”.

  • ·         As a follower of Jesus, why would I want to support a policy that makes my nation and people more important than any other people? Matthew 25:38 comes to mind.  Am I not a stranger in this world holding the citizenship of another place? And more: Should not my citizenship of the other place impact my outlook in this place?

  • ·         Thinking historically, why would I want to push for Nationalism (as opposed to Patriotism), that says, “My Nation is Great. My nation comes first”? Would that make us think that we are superior to all others?  Wouldn’t that make me feel that Mexicans, Polish, Syrians and “whoever” are somehow lesser that my own people and my own nation? Would that not make me feel, somehow, that I was looking forward to the “Master Race”, which … oops!  Happens to be mine?

  • ·         On the political side; wouldn’t you agree that the Right wing politics around the planet have, somehow, given us the Hitler’s and the Saddam Hussein’s of this world?

  • ·         Again, on the political view of things: Why would I cheer at the demise of the EU? Do I really want to see the UK putting on the side things like worker’s rights, the Human Rights charter and other things like that.  Some are actually cheering the fact that we may have managed to wreck the whole project by our withdrawal. I see nothing to be happy about there.  I don’t want to see Europe become a collection of right wing nationalistic groups, with each country feeling that they are the superior one and that anyone who does not fit into their culture is unwelcome. May be those dissidents need to be got rid of. We all know where that leads too.

·         On a positive note, I do think that as a follower of Jesus my EU brother or my Mexican brother is my responsibility. I should want the best for him or for Her.

·         On a negative note I don’t think that the deprecation of women, disabilities, or other nationalities is in any way a positive force.

I understand the concern from my friends from the USA about the abortion issue. The problem is that exchange abortion death, death from no health care, no concern for refugees and other nasty’s raises possibly even worse scenarios. That is the problem with democracy and politics, its often having to choose the lesser of two evils – and the difficult choice of which one is the lesser along with the ensuing battle concerning which was the lesser evil and which wasn’t.

I understand the concerns of the jobless, and the need to blame someone, be it the EU, the last President, the governmental opposition, and, of course, never forget the immigrants.  The problem is, however, that these are not the makers of joblessness, the closed mines, the loss of the textile industry, or even car manufacturing.  

I was privileged, many years ago, to have a conducted tour around the British Leyland car factory, formally the Austin Motor Company, by my Aunt. She was not on the board of directors, but because of her financial nous they did not usually have a board meeting without her.  In that day (the 1960’s) the factory at Longbridge, Birmingham, employed some 25,000 people. When the whistle blew for the end of shift it was a site to behold. There was a veritable river of humanity pouring out of the factory gates.

The same could be said of the coal mines in Wales and the textile factories in the North of England.  It was probably true of Detroit too.

The thing is that in 1764 the UK went through similar labour throws, due to the invention of the Spinning Jenny. Workers broke into factories and smashed the machines. Why? Because one machine could produce together with a single worker, what hundreds of workers had previously been needed to achieve the same output.  So, it wasn’t immigrants or politicians that caused the job loss, it was a little piece of machinery called “Jenny!”
Are we at that stage again? However, this time it’s not the “Spinning Jenny”.  Maybe this time its Robert, as Nissan can run a car factory with 22 workers in Sunderland in the UK, and build 5,139 cars in its first year of production.  Maybe it’s not the Mexicans, Polish, politicians,   or whatever nationality you want to blame. Maybe its Robert’s fault! Eh! Sorry! 

Robotics.

I am sure that the New President of the US will be able to create Jobs for things like roads, walls (better to have bridges), locks and canals, using tax dollars.  Hitler was able to do that. I am still not sure that the UK will be able to replace the jobs that I believe we will lose, outside the EU mind you, even if the USA puts us at the front of the queue.

I am not sure how we created those new jobs that have been taken by the closure of mines, the use of robotics, as well as the outsourcing to cheaper labour economies.  Even the supermarkets make us serve ourselves these days.  Maybe we should invest in social care, hospitals, care for the elderly, social services, and maybe to do it taxes will have to go up?
So, 2017! Such new political policies. And are they really nice ones? Yes it’s the lesser of two evils. However, have we picked the lesser? Will we move backwards to where the poor get even poorer, where those who need health care can no longer get it because it is now too expensive, both in the UK and the USA.

I understand the arguments, particularly in the USA, but the UK too - where Christians feel that they have to not only agree with equality and fairness for people they disagree with, but they must no longer disagree.

They must, in fact, agree and change their opinions. The thought police are here these days, and we must now agree in thought action and word. Thinking like those we disagree with, but yet want them to have their say, and yes treat with respect and equality, even those we not agree with there view on marriage and whatever. 

Could it be that this is where the “Thought Police” have overplayed their hand they have pushed those who don’t agree to use the ballot box to give us Trump and Brexit.

Maybe the evangelicals, so called, have also overplayed their hand, and we will now get injustice, robbery of the poor, a downer on women, and - hopefully not- but maybe, just maybe, we are back to Caesar.








Adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
W.1330
Edited by K. Lannon
Saturday, 21 January 2017




Wednesday, 1 February 2017

What is this Freedom Anyway

What is this Freedom Anyway

Lots of talk on Face book and other Social Media about the Trump election and of course the Brexit out election, so I think this is a bit of a different take.

When I listen to my American friends, who voted Trump it’s all about abortion, and along with that an anti what they would call libertarian swing, when you listen to the Brexiters, it’s about freedom from the shackles of the EU, jobs, and the fact that the elite have ignored us and what we really are saying and wanting.  There are so many similarities in the reasons in both countries.

I am sure that I will not be the first to say this or the last but is it a cry for freedom, freedom from the elite, the professional politicians, freedom to as they say in Brexit so that we can be in charge of our own destiny as a nation, (fat chance of that).

So what I will not be first in saying is I wonder if the libertarians have overplayed their hand. If I ask myself where I sat, I am sure many people would put me in the libertarian camp.  I don’t think I have the right to tell other people how to live, act, sexual preferences, dress, even politics.  

However I do object to being told that I must agree with what I don’t agree with, that I am not allowed to express views that are different to what has been deemed by the liberally lobby to be politically correct.  

I do object to having to make cakes with slogans on that I don’t agree with.  I do object to being told to be silent because that what I think , be it on sexuality, marriage, politics, education family or whatever is different to yours.  That is where the hand has been overplayed.

Now I do want you to be able to express your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it, I want you to put forward your argument even if I think you are wrong, I don’t want you to make a cake expressing my opinion which you disagree with if you don’t want too. I even want you to be able to have platforms to speak on, I don’t want universities and the like banning speakers that they don’t agree with that is not grown up students studying that is childish.  But that is where we have got to.

And so to the ballot box and now I have the chance to vote for what you don’t want and won’t like because that is my last chance to express a view that is different to yours.

Yes I know that ultimately it will hurt me, but I have been cornered. It is a bit like what happens in riots, we burn down the buildings that serve us, accommodate us, help us, not at all sensible but for a very brief moment it makes us feel better, even if long term it makes us worse off than where we started.

It all comes back to that freedom that we feel has been taken away, Socrates said in that first treaty on politics way back in 399 BC that democracy is about equality and freedom and we all want to be equal and freedom is that we can all do as we like.  

We could argue about where that equality has got us to but let us look just at the freedom.  We can all do as we like, the problem is that currently you can do what you like but I am not allowed to say I don’t agree with you!

It’s an old chestnut, but we do not understand freedom.  We cannot do as we like there are rules, not just governmental rules, and Gods rules if you like, or you probably will call them rules of nature.

You can’t jump up in the air and keep going up; the law of gravity makes sure you come down.  Saying you don’t believe in the law doesn’t not work, so if you jump of a tall building hoping to go up you might but not in the way you intended.

The same principal applies to governmental laws in certain situations, so in the UK the rule, law, of the Road is drive on the left, if you chose to ignore it and dive on the right, you will end up a mess pretty quickly.

Now tell me this, here are two inexperienced climbers, they both arrive at their chosen challenge, one says I am free to climb this mountain and I will do it by myself.  The other say I am free to climb this mountain and he hires the best guide he can find, who ties him by rope to himself and they both climb together, and come down together.  The free climber dies on the mountain side.  Which was free to climb?

So are you free, well if that means you can do as you like I doubt it.

There is a time recorded in the Old Testament part of the Bible in Judges 18 and 21 which says ‘and every man did what was right in his own eyes’  actually it was chaotic and awful.

When we think that everything we want to do must be right, because we want to do it is very dangerous, to society but to us as an individual also; There are many things if you want to do it, I can’t really stop you, but please don’t make me agree with you, or silence me or stop me from saying something opposite to your opinion – when you do that what happens in a democracy is that there is a back lash and you get what we have in two recent elections.

Dylan says in one of his great songs, whoever you are you have got to serve somebody, and he is right. The Bible puts it a different way, but it’s really saying the same thing it say whoever commits sin is a servant of sin, (John 8:34.) I know sin is not a politically correct word, but there you go again, and I know many don’t believe that it exists, it just a different behaviour model. 

Of course Jesus said something else about serving somebody He said to those who were following him, there to serve him, I no longer want to call you servant but rather friends because I want you to know what I am doing.(John 15.15) 

Maybe being his friend we could climb that mountain.

Free, well just what is freedom?




Adrian Hawkes
adrianhawkes.blogspot.co.uk
Edited K. Lannon
W. 1118

24TH January 2017

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Death Of Free Speech

The Death of Free Speech

There are lots of times when we do not like what other people say, particularly if they say stuff about us,  our good friends, religion, work, politics, or what we believe about God.

I know  it’s a bit later than George Orwell’s gloomy prediction, and 1984 has come and long gone, but are we moving to the point where, not only have we got to act right, but we must also speak right. I am referring to being right according to what is PC. But more than that, we have to think right too! So, it may be late by thirty plus years, but has the Orwellian “Big Brother” world finally arrived?

There is a growing trend that says if I don’t agree with some issue, or if my different opinion is not PC, or even if I just don’t like it, then I must not be allowed to say it.  Our universities are stopping people speaking because they don’t like the view point of some of their students or staff.  I probably agree that a lot of what is being said is horrible, and distasteful; but doesn’t that suggest that the next stage is to demand that not only is one not allowed to say what one thinks, but that one must not even think differently, and then, if things escalate to stage three, the echelons of power in universities would probably have to kill the Thinking person who indulged in the atrocity of disagreeing with them.

There are many countries where one is  not allowed to speak about the current politicians if it is detrimental, the reigning monarchs of the state defiantly, and definitely not the religion or religious personalities or leaders - that would be  “blasphemy” and one would end up in prison or dead.

I do think it somewhat strange that a god has to be defended by humans?  I am very sure that God is quite able to look after Himself. He does not need me, or anybody else to defend Him. And of course, He said, when being crucified, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” Of course, He was saying things that should not be said, at least to the leaders of religion, and/or religious views.



My question is: If my arguments are so good in any particular area, does that mean that the only way my view cannot be presented is that I must be silenced – or even killed if necessary. That is not a nice world to live in. I am speaking from a position where people have written to me, telling me that if they had any power they would make sure my view was silenced .

I guess therefore my argument must be correct and the opposition so weak that the only way to win the argument or discussion is to silence any opposite view.







Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Keith Lannon
W.656



Sunday, 4 December 2016

A Bit Of My Theology

Bit of My Theology

It gives me some food for thought when people say ‘Its God will’ and everything that happens is ‘Gods Will’. I am not so sure.  If that was the case, why does Jesus tell us to ask God that ‘His will be done’ if it’s going to be done anyway, seems a sort of waste of time.

Rather it seems to me that God will is affected by my free will.  Can God change his mind, yes of course he can and there are lots of examples in the Bible of this. Can I go against what God wants or wills, most certainly, not a good Idea but it certainly can be done.

Does God change his Plans dependant on my pleas and of course the pleas of others.  Yes of course He can and does.  Does God give us sometime the things we ask for even though they are not good for us, yes certainly especially if you nag Him enough.  Again not a good idea, but certainly it happens and it’s not good.  For those who need Bible, to back up my theology, just check (2 Kings 20 or 1 Kings 11)

I think it’s very humbling that God will ask my opinion and he can change things according to my requests.

The thing we do have to note here, is that God does promise to make things ‘work for Good to those who love him and are called according to his purposes,’ even though the thing that maybe has happened was not His will, nevertheless He will make it good for some.

So how do we know that it was an answered prayer?  That’s a hard one, especially when there are lots of people praying for opposite things.  However it is much easier on the smaller scale, when one asks God for those things that are seemingly strange, out of reach, or just plain impossible, and He answers prayer.  Many who do not believe in prayer put it down to ‘coincidences’ my delight is that when I pray I get a coincidence.

Seems like answered prayer to me.  Check out just one of those answers:(http://adrianhawkes.co.uk/index.php/2013/08/the-answer-my-friend-is-blowing-in-the-wind.html)

So are these latest political events answers to prayer, I don’t know, am I allowed to say, I don’t know?  Maybe they are, then again maybe they are not, or maybe I hope not, they are one of those Quail events we shall see.

Then of course we come back to those coincidences that I have harked on about many times on my Blog.

It seems to me that it’s possible to get a coincidence by praying, maybe that’s answered Prayer?  Of course for those who cannot envisage a God who is personally interested in us, and will actually communicate two ways with us then all of the prayers, answered or otherwise are just part of the accident of nature?

There seems to me to be some great planning going on somewhere.




Adrian Hawkes
Edited: Keith Lannon
w.501



Friday, 11 November 2016

The Negatives seem too often to be in the Majority

The Negatives seem too often to be in the Majority

Many of the best “How to be Successful” books will tell you that in order to move forward and be a success one needs to surround one’s self with either successful people, or, most certainly, positive people. Yet so often the majority seem to fit the “negative” criteria.

I note from the story of Israel in the Bible, that when they arrived at the land that God had promised them, they sent in twelve spies and - true to form - the majority, ten, to be exact, said we can never do that! We cannot win there! We look like grasshoppers, and they look like Giants!  Only two of the spies said “It’s great. God is with us. We can take the land.”

The thing is that my experience of life shows me that for most people it seems that it is easier to be negative rather than positive.  So many times in my experience I have been told, “You cannot do that.” “You won’t get there.” “You are finished.”  One has to learn to stop one’s ears sometimes, before they get the chance to say, “You cannot…”, or move out of the immediate zone before the cold water carriers pour it on your internal fire.

The truth is that sometimes one cannot do it simply because the majority are so negative. So, Moses never did get to the land - because he needed the others to come with him, and they were too negative to do so.

I have been in situations where I know it was achievable, workable and doable and would have been great to be done and help others. But, the “ten” outweighed the “two,” so I lost out also.

It’s sad also when people do it to others.  They are no good, they cannot do it, and they poor scorn on other human beings. Often they pull down others who are actually doing what they are not and doing it well.

I still remember a deputy head teacher calling me to his office one day. It was the days when people in that position sat in high and lofty desks and looked down on the students as if they were minnows. He looked at me and said, “Hawkes! You are so stupid, you will never be able to do anything in life.  I can’t even think you could be good enough to sweep the streets.”  Maybe that is why, when people ask me, “How do you get to be a leader?” my answer is always, “How well can you sweep up?

If you can do that job well, there is every hope in your other abilities, and the character to lead!”

I was very bad to that teacher. After I had left school, I took my new car - part of my successful job - and drove past the school as he peddled out on his rusty old bike. I pulled over and asked him with a smile, “Are you really still riding that old bike sir?”  I guess that was not a good example to others, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit it was fun.

The other side to this “negative” discussion is often the mountain or the journey of achievement itself. “It’s just too big!” I get lots of knocks on my FB page and other writings as people tell me we should not be taking in Refugees.  Many look at the problem, and, “Yes! There are around 60 Million displaced people in the world at the moment.” And: “No!” I did not make a mistake on the number. Many sarcastically say to me, “Where are you going to put all those millions of people in the UK?”

My oft reply is to refer them to the story made plain in the following web site: https://eventsforchange.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/the-starfish-story-one-step-towards-changing-the-world/  Have a look at it. 

Even so, I do have answers for the bigger group, that is, the majority that are the “neggo’s”. But then I need more than the two out of the ten to see it also and come with me to take the positive action.  I could climb the mountain, or enter the land, but others need to see it too.  That is the problem with vision. What is obvious to the positive mind, is just negative fun to those who are of the negative mind.

As the Chinese proverb goes, “The longest journey has to start with the first step.”  If we are not willing to get out of our easy chair. If we are just happy seeing only the negative. If we are always of the “half empty” rather than “half full” people. If we are always only able to see the problems and never see the problem as a “stepping stone” to success, then we will never see the view from the top of the Mountain.

I am a follower of Jesus, and he said to his followers, that if they believed, they would be able not only to see the view from the top of the mountain, but they would be actually empowered to say to the mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea.”

Personally, I would rather believe and see the success, than listen to the negativity of others. Or rather, I would prefer to have you join me in being positive, seeing what could be, taking steps, believing in a vision, and climbing mountains, or moving them out of the way, whichever is most appropriate.





Adrian Hawkes
W. 931
Edited by K Lannon