Category: Church

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

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


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

Charity Starts at Home?

Charity Starts at Home?


The amount of times I have had people say this to me, and on social media, and in other forums it’s getting tiresome.   It’s used when I talk about helping refugees and asylum seekers, sadly Christian use it like scripture to me.  It not!  Scripture that is!
Can I ask what do we mean by this, where is home, your little house, your 2.5 children, your street, your country?  What are you talking about?
I supposed I can almost forgive those using the phrase who would not claim to be Christians, or Followers of Jesus, but for those who make both those claims I do have a problem.
Jesus tells us what is commonly called the story of the Good Samaritan. Of course at the time when Christ was walking around in Israel, now self respecting Jew would ever go to Samaria, as the woman at the well said to Jesus, when he asked for a drink of water, “you’re a Jew and you ask me for a drink of water don’t you know that Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans”.   Of course she did not know that Jesus had previously said to his disciples, “I must go through Samaria”; an amazing statement in of itself.
So let me counter that awful get out ‘charity start at home’ by reminding ourselves that Jesus said we are to love our neighbours, and then follows that statement by asking us to decided who are our neighbours, and the answer is not well pleasing to the people who never went to Samaria, as the neighbour turns out to be one of them.
In Africa I was speaking to a group and telling the story of the good Samaritan, I changed the story knowing that I was speaking to people of one particular tribe, and I knew that they hated another tribe so I made in my story the tribal member that helped a member of the hated tribe.  People came up to after the meeting and said, you should not have done that, people hear hate the people of that tribe, don’t you know, err der! Maybe someone should have told Jesus that too.
Recently I had the privilege of going to a regular happening at a local Synagogue, where well over a hundred refugees where being fed, clothed, and financed by the local congregation, every nationality and religion turning up for help.  I asked who is financing this and was told we are, at the moment its costing us about £30,000 a year.
The other very important point that I should make, especially to those who say they are Christians, follower of Jesus, is that Jesus commanded us to ‘love our enemies’.
So next time I say we need to be helping, caring for those pushed out by war be it from Syria, Eritrea or wherever,  I know that I have responsibility for my family, but maybe that other statement of Jesus is apposite ‘that you should do but this you should do also’ please don’t tell me Charity starts at home it’s just plain the wrong response.
Adrian Hawkes
adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
W. 529

Edited Gena Areola

Help me, why is it so?

Help me why is it so?


Talking to my friends in the USA who know these things, and also to people in the UK parliament they tell me that the rudest letters, the most vitriolic complaints almost always come from those who say they are Christians.  Why is that so?


Talking with a Christian Journalist friend, he tells me that the worst letters of complaint the most condemning and nastiest come to him from Christian readers, why is that so?


I know that when people find their way to Jesus, they are often not nice people, usually they know that and that is why they come to Christ for help, for change, for a new right life.  I have often had people say to me you need to love me as I am God does,  my often thought with such people is, that’s very hard because you are horrible, you are just not nice.

I do know that God loves us as we are, there would be no hope, or grace if He did not as a Muslim friend once said to me, if God does not show us Grace there is no hope for any of us.  However it is very clear that the plan for those who follow Jesus is that we should not remain as we are Horrible if you will, but the plan is to change us, make us more and more like Jesus.  So his values become our values.


I constantly find that people who call themselves Christians do not seem to haves the values of Jesus and although they claim to be following him their actions really give me a problem.  Yet I find some who make no claim to be a follower of Jesus, having values, actions, grace and concern for others in a Christ like way.  They may even call themselves atheists or people without faith.


 Even Paul had those who were Asiarchs in Ephesus who did not share the ‘Jesus-bit’ but were ardent defenders of him even when their own future status and comforts were greatly under threat. 


A friend of mine said The tension comes when we view evangelicals as ‘brothers and sisters’. I don’t think my discernment is simply cultural – I think I discern it in the Spirit. But working together with a number of them is all-but impossible, or, there is a small uncomfortable area where we can work together.  Then, with those who are not believers, I do not discern that bond, but find where they share the values of Jesus we can go a long way forward.


Let me tell you a personal story, I was part of a church group, working with them I bought a house they provided the deposit however from then on I paid all cost mortgage, repairs everything.  Then they fell out with me; silly me had put the whole property in the name of the group, it seemed spiritual at the time!

It did not seem so good when they issued an order ejecting me from the property, a life on the streets with wife and three young children did not seem a good idea. Fortunately God was there and I was able to buy back the property I had paid for, at a very inflated cost, my brothers and sisters in Christ making a goodly profit out of my distress.

So reason for this story, well at the same time as all this happened I had entered into a seven year contract to rent a shop, we were about three years in.  I read the contract carefully, should have done that when I signed it. I realised that I had signed away a lot and given the landlord great power over me.  What to do,

I went to see them, one Muslim one Hindu owing the shop.  I showed them my contract saying I realise you have lots of power to take me for everything.  They both read it carefully, yes they said we have defiantly got you, however we are also in business, so we think we should be kind to you, you are released, and they ripped up the contract.  I was happy but disappointed too; I was puzzle as to who was Christ like, who really were my brothers and sisters, who had the Jesus value.


So now can you help me understand?  Maybe C.S. Lewis had it right in his last battle.

Emeth, one of Rishda’s men and a devout follower of Tash, insists on seeing his god. Rishda tries to dissuade him, but Emeth enters the stable, and the dead body of another soldier, who was stationed in the stable to murder the rebellious Narnians, is thrown out instead.  Aslan invites him into His world, Emeth says he cannot come as he has never severed Aslan, always Tash, Aslan say all you did was for me even though you thought you were serving Tash.



Adrian Hawkes

adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

W. 834


Socialism

Socialism


I think it’s good we all get to know this stuff, but I am particularly thinking of my American Cousins as I write.  Particularly the Christian Right wing so called.
The term socialism was first introduced by Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), the French social theorist also credited with the advent of Christian socialism and what would later become labelled as “utopian socialism.” The term itself refers to a collective mode of production and political economy.

Socialism’s roots go far back beyond Marx’s works. Church’s actually led the first socialist movements. The US gave birth too many of Socialism’s key concepts. 


The original Socialistic concepts date back to 1700s and influenced even the founding fathers of the US. You find many of them embedded in the Constitution and in laws passed over the years. Prisons for example were one of the first major socialist contributions to society. Before prisons came about, people generally were publicly punished with physical punishments, financially punished or executed. There was not much in between.

The first prisons date back many years. Socialists in the early 1800s made major penal reforms in the US which quickly spread to the rest of the world completely redefining crime and punishment. That is an example of early Socialism in the US and its predating Marx.


There are things that puzzle me about my American Cousins, and I love the USA. But from a Jesus Follower perspective, I want things that are good for people so I cannot understand why as a Jesus follower I would not want to promote Health Care for everyone at the point of deliver, I want people to be as healthy as possible, whether they can afford it or not.


Then again, another area, I want people to be housed, I don’t want them to be homeless, even if they cannot afford it. How can we help them?


Yes I know that when it comes to government enforcing these things that where the problems start, why is that, well much as people don’t like to hear it we are as people not intrinsically good, rather we are selfish, self-serving, and we tend to look after number one, us!


If you look at History when Christians are in control of the levers of government we have not done very well, but does that mean I should forget Biblical commands to Love Justice, (Matt 12:18 Luke 11:42 Gal 5:22:23.) If government of whatever ilk try’s to put in place things that do good, help people, give justice, welcomes strangers amongst us (Exd 22 and Exd 23.)  Surely as a follow of Jesus I would want to support such action.  

Likewise when people are being unjustly treated, marginalised, poor and denied the means to help themselves by government policy should I not cry out against such things?


The problem is we like to read the parts of Scripture that we like.  So we would like to put things on one side such as (Matt 19:24) concerning the rich man, or (Acts 4:34 on, having all thing in common) and I often hear Christians say such things as well that was then, this is now, you cannot do things like that now.  Why not, is that part of scripture we don’t like?


I often hear people say, why should we support free loaders, or as my Mother in law used to say why don’t those people get a job.  Sorry but that really is uneducated.

On frequent visits to Kenya, another country I love, I have often asked leaders what do you need.  They will say things like more crusades, more meetings, and more preachers. I look around and think no, what you need is more jobs. I see loads of people who want to work, need to work, would work hard, sitting waiting trying to find work, are they free loaders.  

We need to understand that often the way society is structured means that the opportunities you are given are not just or righteous, the poor are often not poor because they are lazy or free loaders, or unwilling.

Please there is a lot of other reasons way beyond their control that put them in such positions.  And if the follower of Jesus can change their position for the better be that by influencing government policy, or direct action to help, then God calls us to do it. To quote Jim Wallis – A Budget is a moral document.

And a bit more Wallis to end The Biblical prophets do hold their rulers, courts, judges, landowners and employer accountable to the values of fairness justice and even mercy, evil and sin is in the concentration of power, politics and economics need to be held accountable to Justice especially in the protection of the poor.

Fair outcomes not necessarily equality should be the goal of governments.


Socialist or whatever, let those who follow Jesus cry out for His values in His world.


Adrian Hawkes
W.830

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan


Some time ago, before the tribal troubles in Kenya I was speaking at a conference.  I was using for my talk the story of the Good Samaritan.  Knowing a little about the tensions of the area I used as my illustration one of the tribes, who in the area where I was, was not very popular to say the least. I chose this least popular tribe and used the tribal name instead of a Samaritan.


Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist


I have thought about this a lot. It is one of those words that the English have borrowed from the German, but which in its usual dictionary explanation does not express all that the word implies. Some words are just like that, aren’t they?

The dictionary definition of the term is; “the spirit of the time and general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time”.  Well yes, but the thing is when you go into the background of the word from a German perspective, it has many layers to it.  This is perhaps why we don’t have a good feel of its translation or its common English usage. The word in German carries the idea of being in a fog, so the ‘spirit of the age’ is not recognised by you or me, because we are so influenced, affected, controlled by, engulfed by, our eyes covered by the fog of the spirit of the age that we do not know there is such a spirit nor can we see any alternative.  From a German perspective you can only assess zeitgeist in retrospect; looking back or, better translated, the ghost of the past age.  Then we can see what it was and know where they went wrong or how they could have done better.  Hind sight is a wonderful thing.

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