Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Purpose Driven Life - an alternative view

What on earth am I here for?

To pass on my genes;
to live as sustainably as possible;
to prepare for heaven;
to make my peace with God/to get right with God;
to glorify God and enjoy him for ever;
to support Israel in all that it does 'cos the Lord is working his purposes out through Israel for the return of Christ;
to tread as lightly as possible on the planet;
to leave the place in as good a heart as when I was born;
to be faithful to Christ in living out his life and teachings;
to turn my back on invading other countries to sort them out when there is no UN mandate to do so;
to make disciples of all nations - as long as they become non-violent disciples of all nations; and, it does not look like colonialism/imperialism or, we're right your wrong; and, it doesn't look like more white supremacy by the rich West telling everyone else how to behave;
to live for others, especially for those yet unborn, in order to leave a habitable planet for them;
to support Israel right or wrong, violent or non-violent, aggessive or non-aggressive, despite all the UN resolutions flouted and its transformation from oppressed to oppressor;
to live for God's pleasure;
to make all life on earth last for an eternity - a grand purpose, a magnificent obsession for me that is no part of God's purpose for his believers.

This I can't believe!

This I can't believe I can't believe in a God who created humans for the sole purpose of them worshipping and praising him and to give him pleasure. What kind of God is that? The Westminster Confession has, "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever."

I can't believe in a God who, as part of his purposes for his special nation of Israel, that nation under God can slaughter over 1,000 Lebanese and Palestinians in 2006 in Lebanon and a further 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza in 2008/9. Jews for Jesus Christians, certainly, and other Christians, too believe that God is working his purposes out through Israel and, therefore, Israel's aggression is all part of God's wonderful plan for Israel. They also believe that Christ's return is dependant on the Jews return to Israel and their acceptance of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. Israel's encroachment on to more and more of the West Bank is all part of God's glorious plan in these end times.

I can't believe that a God of justice and love, who is all powerful and all knowing can countenance the suffering, misery and large scale murder by the crown of his creation - humans killing humans. The track record of the West and the whites is easily the worst throughout the planet and down the centuries. Especially in the 20th century - the most ecocidal, suicidal and destructive in the history of humanity. And we all know which God fearers were responsible!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

More snow than we ever expected!

Saturday 7 February 2009
I had six days of walking through the snow to work between Halesowen and Harborne but there was no snow in Aberystwyth or along he Cardigan Bay coast as Jon and I drove to climb Cadair Idris in, we hoped, snow. We felt there was not enough, so we drove further inland to Dinas Mawddwy and up the narrow mountain road for six miles to the sharp corner where we parked to climb Aran Fawddwy. Earlier, back in the Jon's study bedroom, I had adjusted my ancient but adequate Salewa crampons to fit Jon's size 11 boots. I was keen to try out my new winter mountaineering boots with their matching crampons. They have a metal tongue that slots into the groove in the boot toe.

We soon met another walker on the track that goes up the valley side. He also had Grivel crampons, I immediately noticed, but of an older design. I next noticed Fergus, the small Scots terrier with his short and very hairy legs but all four were so thickly balled up with snow that he was struggling. The pair were on their way down because of Fergus. Fergus and master were from west London and were staying at the Red Lion. I mentioned we hoped to have our evening meal there. As we left the track, we got into deep soft snow. Only then, did I realise that I had not thought of bringing the snow gaiters.

Jon soon offered to take my heavier, green rucsac with the two pairs of crampons and I took his small black day sac with the ice axe. We soon reached the post and rail fence that we followed to the double summit of Foel Hafod-fynydd 689 m. On the way, Jon sank into snow up to his thigh. When I came up to it, we saw that it was a mass of rolled up rusty wire fencing that was fun jumping up and down on it to spring up onto the grass step; except, I didn't make it! On this hill, we heard the sound of the NW wind howling round our ears. I filmed Jon running and jumping down the slope into deep snow on his way to shoot the circular patterns on the semi frozen llyn at the foot of the E face of Fawddwy. Crampons were used to get up the long, broad SE shoulder to the main ridge between Fawddwy and Benllyn and the shoulder summit at 872 m. By now, we were in cloud but only more spindrift. The patches of icy snow near the top could have been avoided but we tried out the sharp crampons points that held beautifully in the ice.

We made our way south on the main ridge through the cloud and dusk. We stopped to get out our head torches. Soon, Jon shouted to me through the murk, "We're going down hill. Is that right?" "It's all right; we lose 30 m before climbing again", I shouted back.

The steeper N ridge took us, in the gathering gloom, to the cloud shrouded, ice and snow encrusted trig point at 905 m. Jon took two self portraits of the pair of us, despite the strong wind and the dark. The climb had taken over four hours to do less than four miles (6K). We completed the circuit with our new head torches and reckoned we were real mountaineers in the snow and climbing in the light of them; found snow to the top of the fence in one place; and, another stretch of fencing that Jon described as looking like a waffle, with the horizontal rime more on the windward side of the wire.

We came down before the 632 m spot height when passing it makes the descent easier; crossed the stream that flows from the large llyn we looked at earlier in the day; and, found the one man and his dog, Fergus in the bar of the Red Lion in front of the roaring log fire. Jon had lasagne and I had broccoli and cheese bake for the second time running. It was a great walk made all the more enjoyable and safer with Jon's presence. We were out for nearly seven hours in the most glorious of winter conditions.