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Thursday, November 26, 2015

We stand undivided

I know many of my Blog readers already subscribe to Avaaz (= a voice for those who are not heard). But no apologies for copying here the latest petition. Its message that love is stronger than hate is the heart of the Gospel message and the meaning of Christmas. It's the only real solution to the reign of terror. For those of you who may not be Avaaz members, please do sign up and be among those who join together across the world for love and peace.

To all those extremists who would divide us, and to our fellow citizens and leaders who must choose how to respond:

We citizens of the world have grown wiser. We see the game to drive us apart. To use horror to make us turn away from each other in fear, and turn on each other in a spiral of brutality.

And we resolve, today, that every act of hate and cynical manipulation will only bring us closer together. We, Muslims and Non-Muslims from every nation of the world, resolve to love each other more fiercely than ever before, to listen more deeply to each other than ever before, and to let the pain of each fresh atrocity committed in the names of our faiths or nations or cultures be the birth pangs of the more united, more loving world we are determined to create.

We will build that world, because the truth is on our side. The truth that we are all one people, one tribe. Our fates are bound together, and together we will rise, undivided.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

There was room at the Inn

How history repeats itself - unless we learn and change. It seems we aren't very good at that. This Blog post by Rachel Held-Evans is one of the best things I've read for a long time that brings together Advent reflections on the birth of Jesus and the tragedy of the refugee crisis we face on the news every day. Read these 500 words and reflect.

Friday, November 20, 2015

One click leads to another...

I've often mentioned the Gratefulness website as one worth visiting regularly. Today as I browsed there I came upon a link to another website Portraits in Faith. I've signed up for the "Portrait of the Week" because the one I read and listened to this morning gave me a sense of what this site is like.

Here's some background quoted from the site:

For eight years, Daniel Epstein, a Marketing Director at one of the world’s largest corporations, Procter & Gamble, has been travelling the world for business and for faith. Motivated by his own search to fill the "God-sized hole" in his life, he did not know where it would lead. He felt that if he did not develop some type of spiritual faith he would die. Born and raised a Jew, Daniel’s challenges with relationships, work, and "life" forced him at age 36 to get on his knees and pray to a God he did not know, a higher power not specific to either his own Judaism or any religion, and ask for help. In order to keep his new found sense of faith alive and to gain from the experience of others, Daniel created a spiritual exercise out of interviewing people around the world about the role of faith in their lives. As a photographer, Daniel also captured a moment with each person in a black and white portrait meant to evoke their true spirit.

Portraits in Faith is not about religion. It is about documenting the role of spiritual experience inside and outside of formal religion, expected and unexpected, told in people’s own words, and brought to life with video and photography. The message of Portraits In Faith is that despite all the negative press on faith in the world today, faith is a powerful healer, transformer, and changer of lives. The overriding message is that however one calls God (Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Higher Power, The Divine, Creative Intelligence…) there is a greater force that connects us all and it is good for each person to find a path that leads to a faith that works for them.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

If only...

If only all the world was as calm and peaceful as this secluded spot at Gulf Harbour...

Monday, November 16, 2015

What can we do...?

In the face of yet more horror in our global-village-world the question so often is: "What can we do to change anything?" It is easy to be sickened, disheartened and simply block it all out - especially here in beautiful, tranquil New Zealand. I find myself wanting to do just that. But I am reminded today of two seemingly random and disconnected things:

First The Butterfly Effect 
In simple terms this says that even the flapping of a butterfly wing makes a difference to weather patterns a world away.(Click here for a Wikipedia explanation in scientific terms!)

And then...

A quote from Lao Tzu (died 531BC):
“If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.”

Maybe we can each make some "wing-flaps" of peace by seriously starting from the bottom of LaoTzu's quote and working our way up as far as we can. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

It's not black and white you know...

I'm so grateful for colour! Everywhere I look there is such a variety of colours - such beauty, such creativity, such complexity as the colours mix and blend.

We don't live in a black and white world! What a pity we sometimes see complex issues as if they are black and white - only one "right" (white) answer; any other view blacklisted along with the person or group who think that way.

I know black and white photography is an art but don't you think life is more interesting with all the colours of the rainbow included?

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Secret Life of...

I'm a Charity Norman fan! And this is the best of an excellent bunch (in my view). Best because this picks up one of the most difficult and least understood of all the gender issues that are being discussed today. It is the story of a transgender journey for respectable, family man Luke, to his true gender identity as Lucia. I learned a great deal about what this means and what it entails for the person and for their family, friends, employment... Norman does not avoid the harsh realities but in her usual style she portrays all characters sympathetically as they grapple with this huge reality. In all her books Norman's characters are "good people" and she manages to bring things to a very satisfying conclusion in spite the complexities. This book is published in 2015. Hope she is in the process of writing more!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Blacks, buttercups and ducklings...

I'm not particularly an All Blacks fan but I did wake up in time to see the last five minutes of the World Cup game. And I do feel proud of that team of guys - not only of their win but also their humility and attitude in winning.

Soon after watching the presentation of the cup I went for a walk around the nearby lake and noticed the number of little buttercups opening their faces to the sun.

Then I checked out a mother duck shepherding her one tiny duckling carefully along the edge of the water.

I thought - Love (aka God) celebrates all of these with no distinction. A team of brawny guys known around the world... a buttercup probably gone in a day or two... a fragile duckling and a loving mother duck... all created, enjoyed and celebrated by Love.

And of course, so am I! And you are too!