Category: Culture

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

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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
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When Funny is Not Funny…

When Funny Is Not Funny…

Some years ago I was with a white friend who was marrying a black African girl, it was great fun. They had an English / African wedding which was full of dancing and laughter.

Later in conversation with the young man he asked, “Would you like to see what the African Elders have given me as a wedding present?” 

Of course I was interested; he showed me an ornate stick. 

“What is it?”  I asked. I could see it was a stick, but I didn’t know what you were supposed to do with it.  

He laughed and said, “It’s presented to all young men who get married. It is a stick to beat your wife with to keep her in order.” Then he laughed. I did not! 

He then said, “I of course would not use it, I just think it’s funny.”  

I replied, “Well, personally I don’t think it’s funny at all. I cannot laugh at such a gift, such an action.”

Culture – Challenge – Change – Conform

Culture – Challenge – Change – Conform

Culture – challenge – change – conform

One of the things that I ask audiences who say that they are Christians is, if you are one have you changed and what methodology do you think, you or God uses to change you.

I get lots of answers usually things like:

  • ·         The Bible
  • ·         Prayer
  • ·         The Holy Spirit
  • ·         Meeting with other Christians
  • ·         Love
  • ·         And others sometime a bit more obscure

Of course all of those things have a bearing on change, if change is necessary, however that is not actually how we change. In fact the funny thing is that the Bible does tell us what the method of change is, and more than that it tells us how to maintain and continue with the relevant and vital changes that are needed to become a new kind of person. The Book of Romans starts us off…12:2  Don’t be conformed to this world (allow the world to squeeze you into its mould), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.


Thinking is what changes us, what we think.  So often we don’t, think that is.  When I was a teenager I used to hang out in what was euphemistically called coffee bars, the place where young people could legitimately go. You went there before you went out, and came back there after you had been out, if you see what I mean.  It was the place you met your date before you went on the date… Bit more like a house front room with frothy coffee and the very required juke box.


One of the things I noticed is, and that hasn’t changed much in 50 years is that the music had to be very, very loud. In fact so loud that you couldn’t think, I asked a few of my friends back then why they like the music so loud? Most of them answered the same, well they said “It saves me from having to think”!

The trouble is there are many times that we think we are thinking but we are not; rather I would say we are conforming.  We conform to our culture our peers, those we feel we need to impress, be the same as, want them to like us, feel part of the crowd, and be accepted.  All of those things going on inside of us but often without much thought.


I have been to a lot of parties of late, most of which I have to say not my age group, but even when occasionally it was my age group I note the attempt to conform to the group is very strong.  Our cultures, that we don’t think about puts us into a box where we act, do, be, just like everyone else but without much thinking.


Let’s be honest it’s hard to change culture, not that we shouldn’t try particularly when culture has it wrong, which often it has.  When you change your thinking you can change your behavior, but changing others thinking is not that easy, even if your thinking is right and their’s is wrong.  Think about Ignaz Semmelweiss, don’t know him, well in 1847 he discovered that if doctors washed their hands before attending women in childbirth it dramatically reduced deaths from puerperal fever.  His views were ridiculed and eventually drove him insane – not that he was wrong but it took some 15 years for Pasteur and Lister to develop their germ theory of disease which explained why Semmelweiss was right.


Going back to those parties, why is it that we have to have so much Alcohol, so much ‘same’ music, so much ‘same dress style’ so much conformity.  Are we thinking or just culturally conforming, and if we are just peer pressure conforming, are we right to do so? Are we that different to my coffee bar era, ‘well it saves me from having to think?’


To quote Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in ‘The Spirit level’ they said, It is a remarkable paradox that, at the pinnacle of human material and technical achievement, we find ourselves anxiety-ridden, prone to depression, worried about how others  see us, unsure of our friendships, driven to consume and with little or no community life.  Lacking the relaxed social contact and emotional satisfaction we all need we seek comfort in over-eating, obsessive shopping and spending, or becoming prey to excessive alcohol, psychoactive medicines and illegal drugs.

So why am I going on.  Well because I want to provoke you to THINK!  Think what about?

Well:

  • ·         Why are you here in this world?
  • ·         What is it that needs changing?
  • ·         What is it that you could do to effect change?
  • ·         Why are you just being one of the crowd?
  • ·         Where are you going anyway?
  • ·         When are you going to do something constructive?

Sometime the problem starts by what you think about yourself, again to quote the Bible it says in Proverbs 23:7 Paraphrasing “as you think in your heart so you are”  So what do you think about you, are you insecure, unsure, do you think of yourself as not so good.  Well to start with that would need to change if you are to tackle the thinking above.  And of course it can and should change.


 What should you be doing?  Shouldn’t you be the person to change things, by first of all changing your own thinking?  Why be a ‘samee’ why not be a change agent? You could be a world changer, but first you probably have to change, personally I do that by firstly becoming a follower of Jesus, then trying hard to ‘not conform’ and putting on the mind of Christ, thinking about good things rather than bad, in fact seeking to renew my mind.  Not got there yet, but trying and on the way.


How about you, wouldn’t you rather be here to change things rather than just be one of the crowd?  Think about it!  There’s a challenge!

Adrian’s Blog

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Riots

RIOTSNow that the riots have calmed, and the papers and newscasters have left the subject behind, I have some questions about it all.I have listened to the Prime Minister and various Politicians all talking about the fact that this was just gang cultu…