Sunday, 16 January 2011

Two Pertinent Points for Israel

Could Israel not allow the Palestinians to carry on saying that Israel should be wiped off the face of the map, when they have known for years that it is only bragging, empty rhetoric and, cannot possibly be achieved? All downtrodden peoples always say the most uncomplimentary things about their oppressors.
Could Israel not attempt to meet Palestinian grievances through talking and compromising for the sake of getting peace through justice?  Like sharing the land and sharing Jerusalem, possibly?

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Daft and incapable in charge of a bike!

From e-mail to Jono:

"Last week, (26 October 2010) I had my worst bike crash, at night, when I was not paying attention to the road ahead. I thought I had eaten too much condensed milk with my pineapple chunks, so thought I ought to cycle off the calories. It was at night, and on a dark country lane when I was not paying attention to the road ahead. I hit the kerb and landed awkwardly, twisting my back - thankfully on soft grass - and broke my left collar bone, cracked two ribs and am now suffering with chest and back pain, too. This was after 10 pm just below the summit of Romsley Hill as I was gathering speed. I stupidly looked down at the pedals to check they were the right way round before the long, 3 mile descent into Halesowen. That was my undoing! I had to eventually flag down a passing motorist for help. He straightened the handlebars but, as he could not get the bike in the back of his car, I had to somehow limp home on the bike. In bed, I was in so much pain and felt a protruding bone, I then had to get mum to ring 999 for the ambulance. In the ambulance there followed a haggle between the two paramedics and me as to which hospital I should be taken to. Later, after a cursory examination and X-ray, I had hours sitting on a wooden chair until it was time to go to the fracture clinic at 9 am. I had to stay awake or, as my friend and colleague, Chris said, I could have fallen off the chair and broken the other collar bone too! Stewart, from next door, and mum, took me in his car to the fracture clinic. Our car was at Fast Fit, with the leaking cooling system being investigated.

Since, then I've had loads of X-rays and now a scan on Monday to decide whether or not I have to have an operation on the shoulder."

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Two maxims from a Quaker friend

Two maxims which express my political philosophy. 1 There is very little that you can do, and it is very important that you do it. 2 The right thing is never done till there are wrong reasons for doing it. [The classic example is Victorian legislation to protect factory workers, like the Ten Hours Act. This was supported by the Tories because they thought it would harm their Whig opponents, who were industrial magnates, whereas the Tories were the 'landed interest'. Currently my peace movement colleagues tend to be sniffy about Henry Kissinger's conversion to nuclear disarmament. Undoubtedly he sees this as the most intelligent way to preserve US supremacy, but it's a great plus to have someone like him on side to get rid of the horrible things.]

With kind regards, Geoffrey Carnall

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Two problems with Christianity

One problem with Christianity is that it is mixed up with Judaism and the very different values, beliefs and behaviour of the people of Israel in the Old Testament. With its quite shocking track record down the centuries, even to the present day, Christianity I think, should really be confined to the life and teachings of Christ in the Gospels. His teachings should not have been mixed up with scores of other teachers, prophets and kings outside of four New Testament books in the Bible of 66 books. Christians have to be syncretists and to take on board so much that it is different from Christ's values and practices. You then have to be into defending the indefensible or, cherry picking the more ethical teaching and, even explaining what should, simply, be repented of.

Problem two is what my youngest brother in law mentioned to me at Christmas. He had read the mighty tome called 'A History of Christianity - over the last three thousand years'. One conclusion he came to was that Christianity's history has been noted by a love for truth rather than a desire for unity. I agree. I have found division, conflict and war within Christianity and out to others since the conversion of Emperor Constantine. Nothing changed with the rise of secularism over the last 100 years. War to defend our vital strategic interests around the globe is as common among the secularists as the church-goers.

Down the centuries, Christians have slugged it out between the different denominations and churches of Christendom. Now, against the Muslims and the Taliban in Afghanistan and the border with Pakistan whose killings we justify 'cos they are the terrorists and we are the angels of light, truth and justice; the angels of goodness bringing democracy and Western values to those who don't know better! All the Christian churches - and everyone else - are fully involved apart from the Quakers, whom the evangelical Christians sadly shake their heads at as not being Christians, at all.