About me

Sydney Carter 'The Devil'

The  Devil  wore  a  Crucifix 
"The  Christians  they  are  right" 
The  Devil  said  "so  let  us  burn 
A  heretic  tonight, 
A  heretic  tonight". 

The  stars  and  stripes  or  swastika 
The  crescent  or  a  star 
The  Devil  he  will  wear  them  all 
No  matter  what  they  are, 
No  matter  what  they  are, 

In  red  or  blue  or  khaki 
In  green  or  black  and  tan 
The  Devil  is  a  patriot 
A  proper  party  man, 
A  proper  party  man.

Whenever  there's  a  lynching 
The  Devil  will  be  there
A  witch  or  an  apostle, 
The  Devil  doesn't  care, 
The  Devil  doesn't  care. 

He'll  beat  a  drum  in  China
He'll  beat  it  in  the  west 
He'll  beat  a  drum  for  anyone 
"And  a  Holy  war  is  best, 
A  Holy  war  is  best". 

The  Devil  isn't  down  in  hell 
Or  riding  in  the  sky 
The  Devil's  dead  (I've  heard  it  said) 
They're  telling  you  a  lie, 
They're  telling  you  a  lie!

Sydney Carter 'Creator of the Living'

Creator  of  the  living, 
Creator  of  the  light, 
Keep  shining  to  your  children 
That  travel  through  the  night. 
In  loneliness  and  terror, 
In  madness  and  despair, 
If  Love  is  what  you  really  are, 
Oh,  show  them  you  are  there. 

Creator  of  the  living, 
We  have  no  life  but  you.
Upon  the  tree  of  torture 
You  hang  and  suffer  too. 
Your  life  is  in  your  daughter, 
Your  life  is  in  your  son, 
Created  and  Creator  still 
On  every  cross  are  one. 

If  Love  is  what  your  name  is, 
Your  angry  children  cry, 
Is  this  the  love  you  show  us? 
We  suffer  and  we  die. 
Through  bitterness  and  blindness 
Keep  shining  in  us  too, 
That  we  may  keep  and  cradle  still 
The  gentleness  of  you. 

Keep  shining,  Love,  and  travel
Keep  shining  in  us  still! 
Like  Mary  we  can  mother, 
Like  Herod  we  can  kill 
The  miracle  we  carry 
That  is  our  maker  too. 
Keep  shining,  Love,  that  we  may  show 
The  radiance  of  you.

Sydney Carter 'Run the Film Backwards'

When  I  was  eighty-seven 
they  took  me  from  my  coffin
They  found  a  flannel  nightshirt  for  me 
to  travel  off  in

All  innocent  and  toothless, 
I  used  to  lie  in  bed
Still  trailing  clouds  of  glory 
from  the  time  when  I  was  dead

The  cruel  age  of  sixty-five 
put  paid  to  my  enjoyment
I  had  to  wear  a  bowler  hat 
and  go  to  my  employment

But  at  the  age  of  sixty 
I  found  I  had  a  wife
And  that  explains  the  children 
(I  had  wondered  all  my  life)

I  kept  on  growing  younger, 
and  randier  and  stronger
Till  at  the  age  of  twenty-one 
I  had  a  wife  no  longer

With  mini-skirted  milkmaids 
I  frolicked  in  the  clover
A  cuckoo  kept  on  calling  me 
until  my  teens  were  over

Then  algebra  and  cricket 
and  sausages  a-cooking
And  puffing  at  a  cigarette 
when  teacher  wasn't  looking

The  trees  are  getting  taller, 
the  streets  are  getting  wider
My  mother  is  the  world  to  me, 
and  soon  I'll  be  inside  her

And now it is too early,
there's nothing I can see.
Before the world, or after?
Wherever can I be?

Sydney Carter 'Present Tense'

Your holy hearsay is not evidence
Give me the good news in the present tense
What happened nineteen hundred years ago
May not have happened
How am I to know?

The living truth is what I long to see
I cannot lean upon what used to be
So shut the bible up and show me how
The Christ you talk about
Is living now

Dear Brother, I’m sorry that I ate you

Dear Brother,

I’m sorry that I ate you, but you were looking tasty.
So I decided to slice you up and baste you.
It’s a pity you’re not as cute as your sister,
She’s soft and fun, but you mister,
You’re just tasty,
Imma wrap you up in pastry,
and wash it down with Fresca,
You bet ya.

I’m sorry that the message of salvation is not for you,
Jesus didn’t die to save you too,
He died so that all things (in heaven and earth) might be saved,
Unless one of his followers craved,
Some meat to eat,

I’m sorry that you won’t see your friends,
That stood beside you by the fence,
Chewing the cud, rolling in the mud,
When all I saw was flesh and blood.

I’m dead against violence.
But it seems I forgot,
That we all we come from the same stock.
Maybe one day the lion will lie down with the lamb,
But until then I’ll have some ham.

Kind Regards,
Your older brother

Excerpt from 'The Coffee House of Surat' by Leo Tolstoy

 This is an excerpt from a very interesting short story by Leo Tolstoy called 'The Coffee House of Surat' which revolves around a group discussion where people of different faiths are all claiming to have the ultimate divine truth. Eventually the student of Confucius says some very wise words.
"You are all misleading one another, and are yourselves deceived. The sun does not go round the earth, but the earth goes round the sun, revolving as it goes, and turning towards the sun in the course of each twenty-four hours, not only Japan, and the Philippines, and Sumatra where we now are, but Africa, and Europe, and America, and many lands besides. The sun does not shine for some one mountain, or for some one island, or for some one sea, nor even for one earth alone, but for other planets as well as our earth. If you would only look up at the heavens, instead of at the ground beneath your own feet, you might all understand this, and would then no longer suppose that the sun shines for you, or for your country alone."


"So on matters of faith," continued the Chinaman, the student of Confucius, "it is pride that causes error and discord among men. As with the sun, so it is with God. Each man wants to have a special God of his own, or at least a special God for his native land. Each nation wishes to confine in its own temples Him, whom the world cannot contain.

"Can any temple compare with that which God Himself has built to unite all men in one faith and one religion?" All human temples are built on the model of this temple, which is God's own world. Every temple has its fonts, its vaulted roof, its lamps, its pictures or sculptures, its inscriptions, its books of the law, its offerings, its altars and its priests. But in what temple is there such a font as the ocean; such a vault as that of the heavens; such lamps as the sun, moon, and stars; or any figures to be compared with living, loving, mutually-helpful men? Where are there any records of God's goodness so easy to understand as the blessings which God has strewn abroad for man's happiness? Where is there any book of the law so clear to each man as that written in his heart? What sacrifices equal the self-denials which loving men and women make for one another? And what altar can be compared with the heart of a good man, on which God Himself accepts the sacrifice?

"The higher a man's conception of God, the better will he know Him. And the better he knows God, the nearer will he draw to Him, imitating His goodness, His mercy, and His love of man. "Therefore, let him who sees the sun's whole light filling the world, refrain from blaming or despising the superstitious man, who in his own idol sees one ray of that same light. Let him not despise even the unbeliever who is blind and cannot see the sun at all."
 If you want to read the full story you can go to http://www.online-literature.com/tolstoy/2737/.

Free Will in the Afterlife

So this is something I've been thinking about for a while and don't exactly have my head around yet. I definitely don't have an answer, but it's still something to think about.

Is there free will in the afterlife?

In order for love to exist there must be the opportunity to not love. This is the basis of the Christian idea of free will. God gave us free will so that when we chose to love Him it would mean something, because if we were simply programmed to love God it wouldn't be real love. God wanted us to choose Him, and the reason there is evil in the world is because we and other free agents decided not to choose Him.

Okay, so if you accept that free will is a necessary precondition to love, then what happens in the afterlife? In the New Creation, do we maintain our free will? Is there a possibility of not choosing God in the afterlife? We believe that Christ defeated sin and evil and the New Creation will be a place without death and decay, but there must still be some meaning to the decisions we make in the afterlife.

I think that in the New Creation we will be so exposed to the love and truth of God that it will become almost impossible to choose anything else. He will reveal Himself in full and every part of us that isn't love and goodness will be burnt off of us, so that we enter only with that which can be in God's presence. Therefore in the New Creation we will still be making decisions, but the decisions will be ones of love of peace.

It's still not cut and dry for me. I think there must be some eternal value to free will, and in the New Creation decisions must surely still be made. My two cents.

Joy to the World: An Environmental Reflection

Christmas is one of my favourite Christian holidays. It’s a time for people to gather together over a meal to remember the day that the Prince of Peace was born.

In light of the season I want to do a quick reflection on the carol ‘Joy to the World’. My aim is to use this carol to reflect on our place in nature and whether this Joy really is for the world, or if it’s just for us humans, or even just for Christians. At the outset I would like to say that 1) I am a vegetarian and a fairly new one at that and 2) you don't have to agree with me.

In case you forgot the carol, here it is:

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods
Rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat the sound in joy

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of his love
And wonders of his love
And wonders and wonders of his love

Joy to the World
One of the first themes I’d like to pick up on is the very title ‘Joy to the World’. Who does the world include? Is it just Christians? Are we ‘the world’ that the message of Jesus is for? Or is it possible that it should be good news even for those who don’t believe? I posture that it should be. If we are to be known for our love, should we not be blessing those around us regardless of their faith or sexual orientation or race or gender? Jesus didn’t come for the cool group. He came for those who were on the fringes of society, and while it’s fun to love the church people perhaps Christ is calling us to love everyone as He does.

But I would like to extend this question of who the world includes, and suggest that it doesn’t just include humans, but it includes all of Creation. That when Jesus died it wasn’t just so that Christians could go to Heaven, but rather that the New Creation could break forth on earth. And maybe, just maybe, animals and plants are to share in that New Creation. In terms of understanding this I would suggest a look at Colossians 1 where Paul says:

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
“This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”

It is difficult to read Colossians 1 and think that Paul meant that redemption and reconciliation was only for humans. Rather Paul is talking about a gospel for “every creature under heaven”. 

Romans 8 - "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."

Hosea 2 - “In that day I will make a covenant for them, with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely.

Then if we are willing to accept that Earth should be receiving her King (as the carol suggests) then how are we as the church allowing our fellow creatures to receive their King? I would suggest that exploiting and abusing Nature is not allowing her to receive her King. We are the only beings on this planet that can make moral decisions that affect the rest of the planet, and I think that comes with great responsibility. Are we living up to that responsibility?

Heaven and Nature Sing
The birth narrative of Jesus is such an interesting one, because it keeps pointing us to this galactic moment with the star shining brightly in the sky pointing to the fact that the King is born. As misguided as some nativity plays may be, I wonder if we really consider the oxen and sheep that would have surrounded Jesus when He was born. When Jesus is born it is as though all of Creation is a part of this moment; from the lowly shepherds, to the stars in the sky, to the wise Magi.

The Psalmist is amazing at talking about nature’s groaning for God and how Heaven and Nature sing about the glory of God.

Psalm 19 - “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

Psalm 98 – “Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord”

Psalm 148 – “Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, You great sea creatures and all the depths; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; Mountains and all hills; Fruitful trees and all cedars; Beasts and all cattle; Creeping things and flying fowl; Kings of the earth and all peoples; Princes and all judges of the earth; Both young men and maidens; Old men and children.”

Isaiah 55 - “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 

In light of these Scriptures and the idea that all of Creation is to experience the Joy, how then are we so okay with the destruction of the planet? How are we okay with eating meat and the mass slaughter of animals? How are animals to partake in the Joy of the World? How are they to “repeat the sounding joy” if we keep them locked in torturous farms where their only job is to serve our greed and desire for meat?

If Jesus really is the Joy to the World, perhaps we ought to take the focus off of ourselves and focus on how this message and the movement we are a part of is actually being a Joy to the World. Perhaps we are to take seriously John 3v16, “For God so loved the world (all of it) that He gave His only Son...” and perhaps we, as God’s agents on earth, should finally understand what it means to take dominion over the earth.

This Christmas I will be enjoying a good, vegetarian meal with my family, reflecting on the Prince of Peace whose birth has brought the Kingdom of Heaven to earth and through whose resurrection we are assured that one day a New Creation will be made where the lion will lie down with the lamb.

Be blessed this Christmas. Love and peace.

San Parks Magazine Advert

What is going on here? Firstly, I apologise for the bad photo quality. Blame Blackberry if you must blame someone.

This is an advert for San Parks, and all I can say is "...". Actually I can say quite a bit more, and so I shall.

What is going on with the couch by the river? Did they bring the couch with them or is this couch there for public use? Did San Parks place couches around dams for people to enjoy story time.

Next, what is up with the woman's left leg and where does it go? Does she only have one leg?

Lastly, why is the woman smiling after she is clearly a victim of domestic violence? Those black eyes didn't make themselves. Is she just smiling in front of the kids, while deep down inside she is crying? Is that why she's only got one leg?

From this advert I take it that San Parks are great for families where taking couches to the dam seems smart, and domestic violence goes unchecked. San Parks... more like Sad Parks.

Wenger GIFs

The Professor says stretching is important

Wenger likes to stay hydrated

Sometimes he doesn't want any more water

Sometimes Wenger doesn't really know what to say.

Sometimes he does.

He is French after all

But if there is one thing that Arsene Wenger enjoys the most, it's fiddling with the zip of his jacket.

And fiddling some more.

And some more...

And still some more struggling

Finally the Professor figures it out.