Category: complaints

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

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

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


SUMPTUARY LEGISLATION

SUMPTUARY LEGISLATION


Was very widespread in the 16th century, and in fact for many was carried over into the 17th century.  The process was orchestrated by governments mainly to keep people in their place.  So in England you had to wear a woolly hat if you were an apprentice, if you did not do so you could be arrested.  If you were not at the level of Knight or Baron, then you could be arrested if you dared to wear purple.

The whole Idea was to keep a ‘moral line’ so you needed to be able to quickly tell a milkmaid from a countess, if you did not then the whole of society would unravel.  

For example:

Greenwich, 15 June 1574, 16 Elizabeth I

Wherefore her majesty willeth and straightly commandeth all manner of persons in all places within 12 days after the publication of this present proclamation to reform their apparel according to the tenor of certain articles and clauses taken out of the said statutes and with some moderations annexed to this proclamation, upon pain of her highness’s indignation, and punishment for their contempts, and such other pains as in the said several statutes be expressed.


None shall wear

            Any cloth of gold, tissue, nor fur of sables: except duchesses, marquises, and countesses in their gowns, kirtles, partlets, and sleeves; cloth of gold, silver, tinseled satin, silk, or cloth mixed or embroidered with gold or silver or pearl, saving silk mixed with gold or silver in linings of cowls, partlets, and sleeves: except all degrees above viscountesses, and viscountesses, baronesses, and other personages of like degrees in their kirtles and sleeves.

            Velvet (crimson, carnation); furs (black genets, lucerns); embroidery or passment lace of gold or silver: except all degrees above mentioned the wives of knights of the Garter and of the Privy Council, the ladies and gentlewomen of the privy chamber and bedchamber, and maids of honour.

None shall wear any velvet in gowns, furs of leopards, embroidery of silk: except the degrees and persons above mentioned the wives of barons’ sons, or of knights.

Cowls, sleeves, partlets, and linings, trimmed with spangles or pearls of gold, silver, or pearl; cowls of gold or silver, or of silk mixed with gold or silver: except the degrees and persons above mentioned; and trimmed with pearl, none under the degree of baroness or like degrees.

            Enameled chains, buttons, aglets, and borders: except the degrees before mentioned.

            Satin, damask, or tufted taffeta in gowns, kirtles, or velvet in kirtles; fur whereof the kind groweth not within the Queen’s dominions, except foins, grey genets, bodge, and wolf: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, or the wives of those that may dispend £100 by the year and so valued in the subsidy book.

            Gowns of silk grosgrain, doubled sarcenet, camlet, or taffeta, or kirtles of satin or damask: except the degrees and persons above mentioned, and the wives of the sons and heirs of knights, and the daughters of knights, and of such as may dispend 300 marks by the year so valued ut supra, and the wives of those that may dispend £40 by the year.


And so on and so on…


So what France has tried to do with legislation on Burkini’s and other countries are trying to do in terms of legislating for dress, particularly woman’s dress is really nothing new.


It’s all about control, but let’s be upfront and know that this kind of legislation, power, instructions, do not just come from the hands of government – religions also use their power to try and control dress, again I say particularly woman’s dress.  It’s about power, control and I think male chauvinism.   I did read also that the Burkini had been condemned by religious authority too, as you could distinguish the outline of the female form – oh help!


Such laws that control our dress are facile, and actually should be resisted; but let us not think as has been widely published that the woman are free to chose how they dress, that too is a facile view. Also do not think that it is just Islam, or the French government that tries to control such things.  My wife comes from a particular Christian group that also tried to list such laws as to what to wear and particularly what goes on  your head – what is it with female heads, maybe it’s me but I just don’t get the problem?

Anyway coming from a background of working in the fashion industry, when I met my wife, and supplied clothes the family definitely labelled me as the horror that had turned their daughter into Jezebel, for those who know that meaning.  There’s that moral prerogative again got to keep those morals right and its woman’s apparel that will do it isn’t it.

So back to that simplistic statement that the women who want to wear the Burkini should be free to do so.  What does that ‘free’ mean?   Now I do meet Muslim woman who tell me that they wear it out of religious choice.  Some maybe are doing so, but I really don’t think the majority are.

I have travelled to the Middle East many times and watched groups of giggling young woman on my flight, and just before landing going to the toilets and coming back to their seat in a full Burka, western clothes disappearing.

 I watched the same procession in the airport facility too; a lot of young ladies just disappear and out comes women in black.  Are they free or what?


Let me tell you a story, I was in Kenya working with some churches, a young 16 year old helped me with translation, and came around with me.  After working with me for a week he turned to me one day and said Adrian, are you telling me I can be a Christian without wearing a suit?

I was surprised, saying I haven’t mentioned clothing, but although I had not mentioned it I had noticed he was always dressed in a suit and tie, while I was my scruffy self.   I then asked him, did your church tell you, you had to wear a suit, he thought for a bit and then said no. I then said let me come with you to your church, I did and as I expected I was the only one without suit and tie.  Freedom to wear what you would like, I am not sure that I would call that freedom.

Of course in many Islamic countries they would go one step further and you would be at the mercy of the clothing police; who enforce Islamic dress-codes.


I once went to visit a house, a young Muslim lady was there having her hair cut, as I walked in she grabbed her head covering quickly covering her head, I asked in a long conversation what was the idea of being so covered in the presence of a male, her answer was well men need protection as they cannot control themselves, I am sorry but I am insulted, and I think the majority of men would be too (or should be)


So is it true that the males have no control? Which if that’s what is believed to be true then of course males have no responsibility regarding controlling one’s self. It can’t be done!

Again if that is the belief I am more insulted. What this kind of thinking does it transfers all responsibility to the woman actually that means those deciding on the women’s covering are the ones allowing men to shirk the responsibility of controlling their desires and behaviours. I do not for one minute believe that men cannot control themselves but I do believe that allowing both men and women to believe that men are not capable of controlling themselves then the responsibility for sexual propriety lies solely with the women, making men innocent of any sexual crime; Which is why I guess raped woman in some countries are then imprisoned for allowing themselves to be raped. Are we free yet?


So freedom, most of the time I think not, rather even if only symbolic the male chauvinism is the controlling power, and I think that control needs to be undermined if it’s coming from the national government of a country or the religious power house, it’s wrong.

Not the freedom that I call freedom.



NB.A great book on Fashion if you can get it is: Fashion and Style By Mike Starkey

ISBN 1854242385

Adrian Hawkes

Adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

W. 1275

Edited by Gena Areola

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