Tag Archive: Jesus


I Wonder. What If . . . .

I had one of my thoughts a few minutes ago.

There is a children’s hymn.  The theologian Karl Barth, when asked to sum up his understanding of God, quoted the first two lines:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so

I thought, what if, instead of that, instead of the hymn having said that in the first place, its sentiment had been more along the lines of Jesus loves you, this I know, for the Bible tells me so?  What if it were not a self-centred affirmation possibly pandering to insecurity and trying to remedy it in what is possibly a mistaken way, and instead taught children primarily to affirm the value of the Other?  It is said that what you give you get back, anyway.

I was brought up in church to believe that the Bible takes it for granted that we love ourselves when it says love your neighbour as yourself.  I think it is in Leviticus that there are lots of rules about how to treat other people and their property, and the individual’s responsibility towards other people, like making sure there was a fence around the edge of your roof, I think, to make sure other people were safe.

In the Pentecostal church I went to we were taught a formula for joy that used the word itself as an acronym: Jesus first, Others next, Yourself last.  I’ve struggled with that acronym over the past few years and wondered if it is right and thought, from what I have been led to understand, that perhaps it isn’t, and I became resentful of having heard it in the first place.

The first time that the ‘love yourself’ movement came into my awareness was back in the 80s.  I think the Church was talking about it and teaching it as good.  From what I understand as a person who is no longer involved, that has now taken a strong hold and a lot of the ideas espoused by the Church I’m aware of are geared towards self nurturing.  We are to love and nurture ourselves, instead of recognising and being secure in the fact that God wants to, and does, do that for us, and being grateful, and giving our attention and acceptance and affirmation to others and loving and caring for them out of that security.

It seems true to me that if our focus is inward and on ourselves, rather than on God and others, it is a recipe for neurosis and unhappiness.  If we love God and others right, we will love ourselves as a byproduct.  I think this might be something that is recognised in the Indian use of the word ‘Namaste’.  Recently I read a quotation from Ram Dass that put it this way:

“In India when we meet and part we
Often say, ‘Namaste’, which means: I
honor the place in you where the
entire universe resides; I honor the
place in you of love, of light, of truth,
of peace. I honor the place within
you where if you are in that place in
you and I am in that place in me,
there is only one of us.”
~~Ram Dass~~

I recently heard someone say that either the Dalai Lama or people in India could not understand that people in the West have a problem with self worth and loving themselves.  I’m thinking at the moment of the story I’ve heard Krishna Das and Ram Dass tell, that when Maharaj-ji (also known as Neem Karoli Baba because he came from Neem Karoli, it means teacher from Neem Karoli) was asked how to raise kundalini he said ‘feed people’.  Krishna Das says that in India food was worth more than money, so feeding people was an amazing thing for them.  The story goes that Ram Dass got into a confrontation with Maharaj-ji and demanded to know how to raise kundalini, saying Maharaj-ji must know, and Maharaj-ji said ‘All I know is Ra-Ma.’, Ram being the Hindu word for God.  He said only Jesus died the real death, because He had no thought for Himself, but lost Himself in Love.

A lot of evangelical and charismatic Christians are afraid that, if they don’t get everything ‘just right’, they might not make it to heaven.  It all depends on right understanding and performance, and it is a good idea not to let anyone who might take them away from that get too close to them.  Yet when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment he said to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then added that the second was like it, to love your neighbour as yourself.  In the Sermon on the Mount He said we should do to others as we would want them to do to us.  It seems to me, at the time of writing (even though I’m having contradictory thoughts – I suppose who doesn’t?  That is fallen humanity for us, never sure of even the most obvious and beautiful truth), Paul’s instruction to Timothy to rightly divide the Word of God should be understood with that as a backdrop.  And what if his instruction to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling could best be understood as fear and trembling in beautiful and loving awe of of another person and their Godness?  The Bible says in Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  I heard Charles Slagle say back in the 80s that the word ‘fear’ there is best translated as loving respect.  I like that idea.  What if we all did?

Jesus is referred to as both Priest and Sacrifice.  I think it says exactly that somewhere in Hebrews, which is all about the relationship of Christianity to the sacrificial system that used to exist in Judaism. We are to trust Him for salvation.  Not only His death on the cross, but His Priesthood, which was not limited to that, but also involved all His teaching up to that point.  In Jesus Christ Superstar there is a song that says ‘You’ve begun to matter more than the things You say’.  There is definitely truth in that for the way a lot of Christians approach things today.  That trusting Jesus’ death on the cross for salvation is all that is needed, which can easily degenerate into a me centred position.  Me and my security, although if we understand salvation rightly we can begin to live in it on earth, not only when we die.  Jesus’s teaching and example were all about love for God and others.  He said if a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it bears much fruit, but if not it remains alone.  He said those who hear His teachings and do them are like the man who built his house upon a rock which stood the storms and floods, as opposed to those who don’t follow His teachings who are like the man who built his house on the sand, which fell quickly in the storms and floods.  We do need the words and teachings of Jesus, but the foundation of them, as He said Himself, is love for God and others, love for ourselves being assumed, not a lot of anxious nitpicking and working out positions, including some people and excluding others because we are frightened that we ourselves might otherwise lose our own security.  If we really understood this, we wouldn’t have all the denominations.  We would be and live out One Church, just as Jesus prayed in John 17 in Gethsemane before they arrested and killed Him.  I really believe that.

God help us all!  And God deliver us from wannabe teachers and theologians like me who write this kind of stuff and don’t actually acknowledge all their own horrified misgivings about some of the things they say because they just want to put it out there and be done.  We can be in danger of being like the teachers Jesus said people should listen to but not do what they did, who made heavy burdens for people and didn’t help them carry them.

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Trip to the Pub

There is a pub 2 minutes walk away from us, on the other side of the road.  I’ve been in there a few times, and I was there tonight.  I went there tonight with the express intention of getting drunk.  I had 2 pints of guinness, but I was nowhere near as happy as I was the other day, unintentionally, on 2 glasses of wine in the Hilton restaurant.  I don’t go there that often, but I like it when I do.  They were doing lunch at half price, so I got a light 3 course lunch for a reasonable price.

Tonight at the pub there was a very sweet older couple just sitting at a table with some drinks and a packet of crisps.  The woman smiled at me.  As soon as the football match started they moved tables so they could see.  I looked at them and thought ‘there’s nothing wrong with this’.  An old couple enjoying a pint and a football match.

There is a lot in the Bible about getting drunk and how it’s a bad thing.  I enjoy being drunk, though, it makes me more mellow.  And Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding when they ran out and the guests were already well oiled, so what was he saying by doing that?  Would He have sacrificed a belief that it was wrong to be drunk in order to rescue a family from the social disgrace of running out of wine at a wedding?

I like to go on my own and just be with everyone else there, even though I’m not with anyone.  I like to soak up the atmosphere and just sit there on my own and enjoy it.  A few people smile at me, and I smile back.  It’s just a place to sit, with a drink and maybe some food, that isn’t the hospital.  I would do it at home if I had a home, with the radio or tv on, or something on my laptop.

Christianity and Veganism – Either/Or?

Today I went to a Zizzi restaurant in Newark.  All I wanted was a glass of wine but I thought I had better at least buy an Italian bread bucket, as it is a restaurant not a pub.  As a vegan I was not thinking that the fining process for the wine had probably involved the use of animal or fish products.  I wasn’t thinking, all I wanted was a glass of wine after over two weeks not drinking anything.  In the end I had two glasses of wine, sea bream and tiramisu.  Some vegan I am?  Yes, absolutely.  I keep wanting to ‘eat normally’, ie, not vegan, and sometimes I give in to the urge.  The last two or three months I have given in a few times.  Until tonight, over the last two weeks I have been OK and stuck to the straight and narrow path of being a vegan.  It’s been better for my digestion as well.

Today, before this, I was thinking that the reason I am a vegan is that eating non-vegan harms animals, even just using their products, given the farming methods used, and that it brutalises people, especially at the extreme end of those who work in slaughter houses.  I wanted to be a vegan because I wanted to affirm myself as a human being who does not harm or cause suffering to animals and is not in any way involved with it.  There are people who say they would never harm a fly who eat meat and fish and their products regularly.  They are in denial.  Other people are being paid to do the dirty work for them and they buy the sanitised product at the end, and obviously recognise no link between themselves and any harm or suffering caused to an animal.  If they say they would never harm a fly and mean it, their thoughts and feelings lack clarity.

At the moment, though, I could joyfully abandon veganism.  I often crave foods that are not vegan, the vegan equivalents are just a bit harder to get hold of and a bit more expensive, and there have been times when I have eaten seitan when I have wanted to cut into some real flesh.

Christianity and Veganism – either/or?  Apart from two years in my teens I have always considered myself a Christian.  Even during the first years of being hospitalised I sometimes had difficulty seeing myself as Christian, but in those days I considered myself to be in a bad place in my life.  In my teens I embraced a life without God for two years.

The one thing we know about the things Jesus ate, if we believe the Bible, is that he ate fish.  For a few years now I have held to a position in my thinking if not always in my practice, that abstinence from all things animal is morally superior to indulgence.  So I was asking myself earlier today, where does that leave Jesus?  If it is better not to eat flesh or any of its products, where does that put the Saviour of the world, morally?  I get embarrassed when I don’t eat vegan.  I would be embarrassed to give up my vegan position, and have often seen my slips as sin.  If my slips are sin, did Jesus sin in eating fish?  Yet I have seen my veganism as part of my Christianity.  I have thought a great deal of the vegans I have met, robust and beautiful people.  Is it enough to say that Jesus was a man of his time and ate flesh without sinning?  I think vegetarians and vegans existed in those days as well.

I don’t know about veganism, but vegetarianism is an important part of some Eastern religions.  When the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans he recognised that some people did not eat meat and saw them as the weaker brethren with weaker consciences, and said that if his eating meat caused any of them to stumble he would never eat meat again.  There is no reason in the text to believe he did not mean this and it seems possible that he might have become vegetarian himself, because undoubtedly there were people who would have been stumbled by his eating meat.  I’m wondering if I am making too big a thing of this in believing that holding to a position that veganism is morally superior and preferable is incompatible with me calling myself a Christian in the traditional sense.  The kind of Christianity I have believed in says that Jesus was sinless, yet He ate fish, at the very least.

John 14

I’ve just read John Chapter 14.  It is full of ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in Me’, ‘I am in you and you are in Me’, and John 15, which I haven’t got to again yet, starts off with  ‘I am the true vine and My Father is the Gardener’.  It will go on to say that the disciples are the branches.  What struck me the most was the intimacy, like Jesus saying, ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing is gonna be alright’.  It makes me pine for the days I had not heard of boundaries, for the simplicity of full surrender, total security in Jesus.  I can’t remember if I’ve ever been taught that forgiveness from the heart is not a contract or a transaction.  The Bible says that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, yet we speak in terms of deliberate forgiveness of others for our own sake and not for theirs, as if the person being forgiven should not also be in our minds as someone who needs our act of forgiveness and who stands to benefit from it.

At the time of year that Jesus was crucified it was customary for a prisoner to be released.  The crowd was offered a choice between Jesus and Barabbas.  Barabbas was an insurrectionist, a revolutionary, it is said that he had killed people, but the crowd. in its manipulated and whipped up determination to be rid of Jesus, chose for Barabbas to be released instead of the Teacher and Healer and Forgiver of sins.  So supposedly Barabbas went free without penalty or any regard to boundaries.  Granted this was Pilate’s decision and not based in good theology.  So maybe this example falls down.

Part of the massive guilt I’ve felt about the way I tried to establish my personal boundaries in Church relationships when I had newly come across the concept has been that I felt at the beginning of that that in spiritual relationships it was different.  The Bible says act justly and love mercy (and walk humbly with your God), but we talk about forgive, but justice still has to be done.  Sometimes I want mercy without someone pursuing justice as they say they forgive, or talking about the consequences being distance and separation.  Certainly in Church relationships I have been afraid of making the wrong approaches in the wrong ways to people who are going to call me proud for seeking them out.  I want this inner crying to stop.  I don’t want to have to live with it for the rest of my life.

Love one another deeply, with a pure heart, fervently, it also says.  Does language like deeply and pure heart really allow for the insistence that love is first of all an action?  It could do, I suppose.  Maybe the action primes the pump.  But what if love, in sincerity, is first of all a feeling expressed in action?  You can tell I’m not a theologian, can’t you?  Or much of anything else.

I’m reading an introductory work to Foucault which has introduced me to the concept, in the chapter on madness, of knowledge as error.   Among other things Foucault was a hero to the antipsychiatry movement.   The writer, Gary Gutting, puts the word ‘creative’ in brackets before error.  It reminded me of the verse that says knowledge puffs up but love builds up.  1 Corinthians 13 says love never fails, although everything else will.

This Morning

So, what happened this morning?  R in the wheelchair told me it was either Sue or Sharon who said she had legs, she should use them.  When she told me that they were both sitting opposite me and she just said the one sitting opposite, so that is as close as I have it for now.  They started whispering together and laughing.  It came up about Sue swearing at me and telling me no one liked me again, and she said I had no proof.  They told me I was boring and my blog, which they say they haven’t read, is boring.  They told me I don’t know how to use my brain and that I am paranoid.  Sue said I was paranoid when I was saying about her swearing etc.

OK, I don’t have proof, but she and I both know, and I know she is lying.  She lies even to say she isn’t lying.  What sort of person says that another has no proof when they are expressing that kind of concern and offense?  I believe I should not need proof.  They have almost absolute power over me and I think that I should not need proof in the same way that a person reporting a past sexual offense against themselves does not need it.  We are that vulnerable.  I hope it turns out that I do not need proof.

They were all shouting at me this morning and laughing at me and letting other people, patients, shout at me.  They kept taking their side and using them to have a go at me.  I tried to talk to the doctor about what was happening and they wanted to hang around outside the door and watch, as if I was dangerous, so I said I would talk to someone else.  Jesus said the same thing – why have you come at me like this?

I couldn’t eat lunch, it was too spicy.

Whatever these people want, I will not work with them.  They are Nazis.  I will not have it said that they are working with me by my consent.  I’m not sure what they think they are trying to achieve, if it is not just trying to disempower and humiliate me.  Helen was there again, Steve who was responsible, so I was told, for the decision to not even help me with my bed.  Steve stayed laughing in the background, the women worked me over.

It started because I was told I needed to be out of my room so they could do a cleaning audit, and I let them bully me out.  I wasn’t dressed, I hadn’t showered.  When I pointed that out Sue gave me an empty stare and said ‘tough’.  I’d had a bad night because a woman on my corridor kept slamming the door again, I think it was Kerry, but I’m not sure.  It also could have been staff.  When I wanted to go back in my room Sue was sitting there and she said ‘she won’t come out again’, then we got into an argument about my right to stay in my room, and the fact that they can’t manhandle us out if we are not a danger to ourselves or anyone else.  As I said last night, they know it is the only place I have and they are taking full advantage of that. They were saying the other patients were all out and I said they didn’t have to be because the law protects us.  They were goading me, with complete disrespect.  They stripped me naked and insisted I stay among them in my distress, with them tossing me around on their horns.  I’ve had the hospital as my only home for nearly 16 months.  It has always been untenable.  I told them I would probably be gone within a month because accommodation and discharge is being talked about, and one of them threw up their hands and said hurray, or something to that effect.  Two of the other patients started on me, one said I should be in prison or in a hostel and that they were going to phone the police.  She got on the phone and asked for Scotland Yard.  I told her I would happily be in a hostel but they wouldn’t let me go.  I’ve got to wait until after 4th September when my Care Co-ordinator gets back from leave, unless I can find out from my advocate that there is a quicker way of doing it.

I had a dream last night that I was looking after Brian May’s house for him while he was away.  I also dreamt about the whole of the original Queen cast, but their hair was up in frizzy bunches on each side of their heads, while they were singing.

Oh, apart from putting me in the wrong all the time they asked me if I wasn’t sick of the sound of my voice.

Of course my constant fear about my blog is that it isn’t making the difference I want it to make, that in spite of all the clicks people don’t read it and they do think it is boring.  All I can say is that I am a real person coping,or trying to, with a terrible situation.  And I think I have something to say which should be taken seriously and should make the difference I keep saying I want it to make for myself and for others.

A Song From My Youth

I met Jesus at the crossroads
Where the two ways meet
Satan too was standing there
And he said come this way
There’s lots and lots of pleasures
I can give to you today
But I said no
There’s Jesus here
Just see what he offers me
Down here my sins forgiven
Up there a home in heaven
Praise God that’s the way for me.

Poetry Please!

I wrote this in an idle moment at my work desk when I was about 26.  I wrote it to Jesus.  Some of it makes me cringe now.  Let’s not go there.  I thought I would take this moment to share it in full, as I can’t on Twitter!

And when I see the love in Your eyes
It melts my heart
And makes me wish
My love for You were deeper
For as I AM
You care for me
And by Your light
You set me free
Burn deeper
To the recesses that I’ve closed for years
Barriers of tears and fears
Let me look at You
And see the key
Your love and life
Enfolding me
And Your Kingship over me.

This Moment IS

The staff on the ward have found my blog, without me giving them the address but saying angrily a few times that I was going to blog.  The ward manager collared me twice, once quite softly and the second time in a way which made me feel they wanted to take my computer and my leave away.  The second time she approached me with 2 other female staff members and in public.  She said she wanted to talk about my use of my computer on the ward.  I said it was music and that I have no internet connection on the ward.  She asked me quite crossly where I wrote my blog and how I wrote it and I pointed out that I have 5 1/2 hours total off the ward and I go where I can get a connection and that I have the same freedoms as everyone else in that time.  They said they did not like having their names associated with certain things.  I said that I have things associated with my name which I don’t like also, and that they were free to write or comment.  It was probably in that context that she said that it was a matter of confidentiality, but I took it to mean that she was saying I was breaking a duty of confidentiality which I was quick to point out that I do not have but that they do.  They talked about seeking advice.  I said OK.  I hope if and when they do the outcome will make a big difference in society and for people who are held against their wishes and with other forms of abuse, harassment and bullying thrown in.

This is good.

They saw me coming towards the office/ward exit this afternoon and it seemed to me they deliberately closed the office door and I stood outside knocking with them ignoring me.  This happens often.  The staff last night were calling people rude.  I’m not sure who they meant.  At the time it seemed it was obvious they meant me.

2 nights ago a woman had 2 separate instances of being forcibly medicated.  Hefty men called and involved, on an all-female ward.  If anyone knows how that is appropriate I would appreciate the feedback through comments.  She said they had hurt her hand and it was all swollen and red.  I know I have been there, in London.  It took 6 months for my hand to stop hurting, and the man doing it at the time, when I said he was hurting me, said ‘well, you will learn your lesson, then, won’t you?’  I was never contemptuous of my own life until I felt betrayed by the church and came under the psychiatric services.

We appear to have a large degree of revolt and anarchy on the ward at the moment.  Everyone is angry and the staff are, to my mind, often unprofessional.  Everyone knows what is happening but the staff say nothing, and I think most of us patients know they know more than they are allowing us to be party to and that, if we were allowed to be party to the staff’s knowledge of what everyone knows, a lot of things might be called into question.  Just a thought.

This blog is exactly what it says in the title, that and nothing else – the thoughts and observations of a certified nut.  Why would anyone want to seek advice over that?

Did I say that I had had a bad week as a vegan last week?  I was tempted again earlier this week but I talked myself through it.  I went through the ‘so I’ll feel guilty’ bit and realised afresh that it is about the suffering or death or utilisation of an animal in a way which is not ideal.  I decided we are different from most of the animal world in that we have a conscience and can think, philosophise and moralise about our behaviour.  I had tears in my eyes as I thought it through.  I was happy about that.  It is about the animal and about me, living according to my light.

Jesus is wonderful and I love Him.  He ate fish.  I’m not sure how to harmonise that.  It is said that the prophets were vegetarian and that the Essenes were also.  And I believe it is right not to use animals.  So I can’t deal with the Jesus and fish thing – not at all, in that context.  I think I was taught at Bible College that John the Baptist was an Essene.  So while they might have said ‘but Jesus ate fish so it isn’t wrong’, why would John the Baptist have lived by a higher morality?  We were told that when it says JTB ate locusts, it actually means the locust bean, and not the insect.

Good Point, Melvyn Bragg

Why DID Jesus tell the disciples to take a sword and say ‘it is enough’ when they said they had two?  What did they need them for?  We aren’t told they used them.  I heard that and thought my whole anti-war argument was demolished.  I felt really embarrassed and wrong.  So did Jesus’ teaching contradict itself?  Did Jesus require obedience, or did he teach by tests and by allowing people to discover themselves to themselves?  He said ‘if you love me, keep my commandments’, so what commandments are we to keep? ‘Render to no man evil for evil but overcome evil with good’, or ‘take a sword’?

On Thursday morning I felt I had a moment of painful but completely cohesive understanding.  The writer of Hebrews (who I thought of as Paul, even though I know many if not most scholars reject that, but I had forgotten, so most of what I was thinking falls in regard to Paul) says in Hebrews 6:4-6 that it is impossible for someone who has tasted of the heavenly gift, if he falls away, to be renewed to repentance, as he has put the Lord to an open shame.  On Thursday morning I was thinking that it would be better if that had never been said or written.  But I was thinking of it out of context.  Its context was the return of Hebrew Christians to the old sacrificial system.

But I was thinking that verses like that as they are often understood and feared are the reason  for so much bandstanding when it comes to disagreements between Christians and insisting that we, really, love God.  I think so.  I think it is verses like these, coupled with some of the more heavily directive and dogmatic teaching that can be heard in church, that make us afraid to embrace ourselves and our thoughts and experiences and trust God that, if we face and handle and accept who we are, as and when in every aspect, that God will bring us through.  Rather than saying, ‘no, no, no, I love God’ without even allowing the thing we fear in ourselves to fully present itself.  We try to push it away rather than let it present itself fully to our perception to be ‘naturally’ rejected by us as Christians, recognised after a good long look, after exposing our inner eyes and ears, and just expelled by the whole person as foreign, rather than battening down the hatches and nipping even the thought and perception in the bud before it can develop to be understood and recognised.  If you don’t understand what you are rejecting, how can you REALLY reject it?  Is that why we so often struggle over and over with the same thing, because we won’t let it manifest in the first place to our recognition so it keeps coming back, because we are not rejecting it in the first place but closing our eyes in stubborn fear?

And the bitter arguments and the fear of each other, the denunciations, overtly or covertly.  It seems to me they are born of a fundamental fear, rather than a trust in the love and faithfulness and goodness of God.

For years I stopped telling God I loved Him.  I believed it was an assertion of something which was barely true.  Sometimes I would tell Him I obviously DIDN’T love Him, or I couldn’t do or be as I was.  I affirmed HIS love for ME and refused to lie, as I saw it, by saying I loved HIM.  Consequently I think pleading and asserting our own love for God in a discussion, conversation, disagreement or confrontation, or even in a public act of individual worship, can be an act of abuse and manipulation and a hindrance to humility and openness.  I think focussing on our love rather than His is a hindrance to deep and lasting change, more often than not.  Change is about more than performance.  It has to be initiated from outside of ourselves and should be something we submit to, not something we try to produce as an angst-ridden proof.  That is what I think.  Lasting change is a response to a truth which we know won’t move or change.  The truth puts pressure on us and we yield.  We don’t need to invoke God.  He is in the process and reveals Himself in the process.  In the process itself He draws us into relationship, with Him and with others.

I’m thinking a lot at the moment and having conflicting thoughts, but at the moment I would say I know this much is true, and that is where I will stop in this post.

My Imaginary Friend

I have a friend, at least in my imagination, that I always want to contact with sensitive and intimate information.

On Friday I was walking along Queensway/Bayswater Road and for some reason I was remembering the time when an old lady died who had always been in Church, never said much, or anything at all, that I remember hearing, but always, without fail, had a smile on her face.  I thought she was lovely and beautiful and serene.  I know nothing about her life.

I was remembering that, when I heard she had died, I went back to my grandparents’ house crying my eyes out.  When they asked me why I was crying and I told them, one of them said ‘what are you crying for?  She wasn’t family’.

I can’t remember who it was so no one can be betrayed by me saying so.  I can’t remember if and how I answered the question.  I know my feelings and crying were not affirmed.  For a moment in Queensway I felt the pain and the emotion again, and I wanted to write and tell my imaginary friend.

I believe my imaginary friend reads my blog.  Imaginary because we have never had a close up relationship, and imaginary because, except for when things seem very simple and obvious in his favour, I feel and believe and know that things are far too complicated.  It is imaginary because I am in denial, even having it as imaginary.

But there is pain in my heart as I am writing this, and it is always him that comes to mind when this kind of thing comes up and I want to tell him.  I used to write to him a lot.  Almost always, as soon as I started, I had to push through my ambivalence and anger to do so.  He knew that, I told him so.

I once heard him saying, in answer to someone’s question, that if someone attacked him (or something like that) he would hold them in a bear hug.  On my side there is often so much resentment, and on his there must be some exceptions, that even if no attack was involved not everyone would be treated equally.  Even if there are no exceptions for him, I think, apart from my imagination which tells me I am wrong in the strongest possible terms, that I would find it awkward and difficult.

 

 

O . . .

(Public Health Warning: more mangled blood and guts, but also an attempt to address the issue of goading and chain-yanking, failed, unfortunately, on the whole, and I’m not the sort to incubate a post and try again.  I talk about the guy who got water thrown in his face by Spurgeon, I think, when he told Spurgeon he was perfect, and he got angry, which I think might have been the perfect reaction to Spurgeon’s mischief and therefore did not disprove his statement).

That is my open mouth, made silent with hysterical fear.

I’m living in Sofia now.  The woman above me screams hallelujah in the most hateful voice every time I feel I have a good communication and I can communicate it.

I want to scream for help and I can’t, it is that psychologically, emotionally and spiritually abusive.  I can’t express anything without feeling dishonest or that I am going to disintegrate or, if I am angry, be attacked, even physically.  She makes me feel she is my friend and I should ask her to forgive me and help me, whatever I feel she voices differently.  I said that because . . . well, if you read this blog, you know.  There is a man from whom the only vocalisation I hear is an angry or frightened throat-clearing.  That feels to me like part of the illusion, if it is an illusion, of their goodness.  If he spoke it might not persist.  But his vocal silence is also part of the oppression.

She is attacking my soul and spirit with razors and bludgeoning me with hatred which feels like a physical mallet to the head.

Combined with the banging . . .

So is this orchestrated, because it is happening everywhere I go.  Who is behind it?

The most torturous thing about this for me is the church’s dishonesty and use of these things.  Someone on Premier was talking about chain yanking this morning, and that is what she is doing and that is what Premier and the church have been doing for years – the way they have kept saying ‘crazy’, for instance, and pushing psychiatry.  This man said so this morning, he pointed it out himself.  What they have been doing is sadistic, cruel and abusive.  That must always have been obvious to them, surely, and if it hasn’t been . . . either way they are not fit to  hold ministerial duties of any description.

I don’t know if I’m imagining that when my recording was interrupted near the end this morning, John Pantry became annoyed because his attempt to build a bridge had been interrupted.  How would he have known, without illegal access to my computer?

Sometimes it feels like protection and I feel unworthy and shameful calling it criminal.  But it isn’t really.  It isn’t really protective.  They are keeping me imprisoned by their evasion of responsibility, procrastination, holding on to power, refusal to apologise officially, if not openly.

I don’t want a bridge back to the world where leaders are not first prepared to own their wrongdoing before I cross that bridge.  Own it where everyone can see, in a committed way. . .

One of the ministers involved, I think it was R T Kendall, but I’m not sure, told this story of someone who said to Spurgeon, I think, that he, the person speaking to Spurgeon, was perfect.  That he believed he was perfect.  Spurgeon (if it was him) said ‘oh, really?’ and threw a glass of water at him, and the man became angry, and everyone laughed at him.

The same chain-yanking.  That is hardly perfect, is it?

Now, was the man expressing imperfection to express anger in that situation?  Is anger a sign of imperfection?  But the Bible says Jesus was angry.  Our teachers have had it for ages that Jesus’ anger was different, that it was perfect and righteous anger.

It doesn’t say, though, that He ever pulled anything like this self-righteous, judgmental, proud, debasing, mischievous and malicious chain-yanking.  At least, not on true seekers and people who expressed something they thought they had grasped as a truth.

An exception comes to mind, possibly, in Mark 7.

Jesus Honors a Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.  He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

I’m not supposed to criticise this man, but what was he about here?  If he wasn’t being provocative, it could be put down to insensitivity because of tiredness, or some sort of irritation.  Our leaders say He was correcting her attitude.  But if it wasn’t that, if it was a lack of perfect response, where does that leave us in terms of my Friend Jesus’ perfection?  He;s my friend, I can’t talk about Him and theorise about Him like this.  But I just have, and for the usual reasons it has to remain.

But back to the perfect man who got angry when the person he told threw a glass of water at him.

In the Bible David said that God’s enemies were his enemies, and that he hated them with a perfect hatred.  I’ve heard it said that David did not have the complete revelation that we have today.  Would they say that of this occasion?  No, not all of them.  There would be different opinions backed up with chapter and verse and personal experience they felt was surrounded with the approval of those that matter to them.  I know for sure there would be some who agonised more over the truth than to be satisfied with that low standard of agreement, potentially low, at least, but I don’t know how many.

I got to this stage with St Barnabas’ Church.  They opposed me in every way, locking down on me and preaching at me.  I had read a book recommended by a Christian counsellor, on boundaries, which said that negative emotions were a sign that something was wrong.  I was going home, time after time, feeling devastated, and one night in bed I was frightened by a feeling of hatred.  I was also angry, I thought they were opposing what God was doing in my life.  I find that a bit embarrassing now.

But that was the verse which came to my mind, and I embraced it, because I couldn’t get rid of the feeling of hatred, so I actively justified it.  Hindsight says if I had done this or that . . . but nothing within me which is saying anything gets much chance to be heard at the moment, it is silenced by the violence around me, and as soon as I can strongly own and express anything from within, the harassment starts without and I am left too hysterical to cope.  I’m trying to argue something when I want to scream and beg and cry, since every time I feel I can and should surrender I refuse it.  I feel I should go up to them, apologise and ask what the problem is, then we could begin to sort everything out.  That is what I see and what I feel condemned by.  Her hallelujah makes me feel joy, but what about the rest?  It is chaos.  It is also illegal, and they know what I think of that.  It is the word I am reacting to, not the people or their activity.  I feel she even steals, with her occult violence, the tone of joy which would be in my own voice if I said it myself.  That must be where the confusion comes in.  I can’t validate this, it is so wrong.  I’m not the only one who hears them, and not everyone rejoices, I am sure.  I don’t want to be patronised by people saying poor Sue, come home.  I want people to focus on the issue of chain-yanking, and if I could focus on it myself it would help!  I try to be serious and have to be humorous.  Why?  I feel thumped in the head and I can’t cope with the pain.  There is no point waiting for a better time.  It never happens.  Don’t get bogged down in the circumstantial stuff that comes pouring out just because I don’t know how to edit it away. They seem to feel it when I calm down and start justifying them in my mind, and I hear them say dobre with a smile.  But I know what they are doing and it isn’t OK?  Or is it here?  Is this a valid and acceptable expression of Christianity here?  If it is, I’m out of step.  I feel as if I want to join in, like a party.  Go up and say hello and bubble along with them.

It’s a form of psychological harassment and censorship.  Who wants to read the silage that I insist on letting pour out of me, or allow by default, instead of being a normal, generous, kind, forgiving, friendly person and neighbour?

The point I was going to make was that I think there is something wrong with the theory and theology of leaders who can make a good and positive thing out of this incident of cruel chain-yanking in one of their traditions major heroes.

If that anger from the man came out of a damaged emotional place, it was incredibly cruel for him to expose it in that way.  Granted I don’t know the whole story, maybe it was just a bit of robust male joshing. I don’t know how the man took it after his anger was over.  But what if it wasn’t from a damaged emotional place?  What if it was the perfect reaction to such mischief and malice towards what he believed God had said to him?  Then who is the laughingstock?  If there should be one at all.  If our emotions are appropriate to the situation then they are perfect in that situation, aren’t they, so what he said wasn’t disproved at all.  In a sense we are perfect, and not just by imputation.  In a sense, as individuals, we are perfect, if people don’t interfere with us.  But they do, when we are too vulnerable to resist or realise.  I can’t do this, I’m tired and hurt.  I can’t think and write it through.  I’m mixing everything up all over the place when I started out believing I knew exactly what I wanted to say and where I wanted to go with it.  I’m already editing after first reading, and that isn’t doing me much good either.  I am ill and traumatised, I must be, to put this abortion out.

Another thing:  I believe this thing we call robust joshing is itself a manifestation and denial of pain.  Or is it just a healthy switching off every now and again?  It must be.  It must be me that is crazy.  So someone invite me to come and have some fun?  To live your whole life in the perfect therapy session and healing moment after healing moment, at least one participant has to be perfect.  And where have I got this idea from that therapy and healing is all about deep and querulous and earnest talk and tears and quietly and meditatively going about your business? ‘Tain’t, is it?

But what if, instead of throwing water over him and laughing at his anger, he had accepted the statement with respect and watched his friend over a period and tried to understand what he was saying and learn something instead?

It is thump in the back salvation.  I’m wondering if I am being a pathetic wimp if I object to that.  The people I have felt close enough to to love over recent years, and want to model myself on, I am thinking possibly I have only seen them awkward and afraid and desperate and making an effort, because of me and my situation.  Maybe they too are back thumpers and I have just not seen it, and I myself need to enter the real world of rough and tumble where people do not always treat each other with reverence and respect and it is OK.

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OK that is it.  That is my communication after being butchered by upstairs and everything knowing my account/computer is being hacked is doing to me, turned into a bucket of unmentionable stuff and screaming.

Enjoy!

Yes, we should.  It is the only way to understand each other and live in peace with each other.  David Cameron is right.

But he is wrong about which language it should be.

The language should be mutual respect and respect for human rights, not the spoken language of your adopted country.  The problem arises if we let people in who are against our values in the first place.  What could happen then is that people learn our language (English, in our case) and subvert it to use it against us.  People who don’t speak our language coming in to the country are not our problem, but people who don’t share our values.

What are our values?  I don’t know!  Get any group of White Anglo Saxons together and you can have just as many culture clashes as you can with anyone else, even though we have been here for generations as the dominant group.  The loud mouths.  “It’s all the fault of the immigrants, coming into our country and stealing our jobs”.  If people have to make an enemy out of someone and unite against them, I have been taught that is possibly all they agree about, and some of those do it because they wouldn’t feel safe to disagree.   Correction, some of us, because we all do it sometimes.

But not speaking the language of the country should not be a problem, because there are ways around that.

Respect is the thing.  If we provide translations (or anything) but resent doing so, that communicates and damages relationships.  Or the people working with the translations, the officials and what have you who, for some reason, don’t really value different cultures but are doing a job because if they don’t they are financially penalised, if they can’t stand the people they serve or work with, how is that going to help anyone?  I know the answer is obvious and so does my reader.  “It isn’t”.

Translators are people who love language.  They problably love the culture that goes with it as well, otherwise they might not have got that far (I managed to take French to first year degree level myself, starting at the age of 9 or 10.  My best exam mark for it was an A at ‘O’ level, as it was before GCSEs.  My worst might have been an E at ‘A’ level.  I put it down to the increased literature element and my inconsistent attendance).

What if translators of English into other languages translated our literature for the non-English speaking people that live among us, and we also got their literature in translation?  This must be distress at its worst, because I know I’m talkiing garbage because I know that obviously happens, now I say so.  That’s what snakebite does for you, it has you all over the place!

But . . .  national identity doesn’t depend on us all speaking English, and you can’t blame the foreigners for the fact that there are many clashing value systems in our country, because that is true without them.

If we maintain respect there is no reason why we should push for integration.  People want to maintain their own identities, that is natural, especially in a strange place.  And why should it be seen as unhealthy if some of them never want to do anything else?  Saying that kind of thing about what someone wants makes them angry and miserable and promotes discrimination and prejudice.

We can keep the separate communities.  We can celebrate difference.  We can enable learning about each other within our own communities.  We don’t have to mix it, we can keep it separate, if that is easier, and let different communities be taught what they need to know by their own people and anyone else able to communicate with them that they accept.

Why, these days, should a non-English speaking child be thrust into an English taught school and therefore be at a disadvantage?  We can’t all learn another language, it doesn’t come naturally to some people.  Some people have problems with their own language, let alone someone else’s.  And there was plenty of illiteracy in England before mass immigration, so it isn’t fair to say we are being slowed down.  And why should the focus be language skills anyway?  What about other necessary skills?  There are some jobs you can do quite happily without needing to yap at everyone.  Some jobs might be better done that way.  Artisan type jobs, for example.

Let’s celebrate everything!  Different cultures, different gifts and skills.  It doesn’t have to be onerous and pedestrian, it can be a constant, joyous flux and flow.

People keep up trade links with their own countries anyway.  Why force people to integrate who can’t or don’t want to?  As long as we can establish and maintain respect between the communities there is nothing wrong with separateness where people want to be separate and coming together where they want that.  I’m thinking that education, at least in the first years, should be within the child’s own ethnic community, because that is where they will be happiest.  And what’s wrong with having further and higher education that way as well, all within our own country?  Why should we invade or insist on dragging out into the open the private place of someone else’s cultural identity?

It’s about choice.  Choice creates industry and jobs.  This is something there is both a need and a demand for.

I say, back to basics.  Back to reality.  Stop blaming people and trying to create jobs selling things people don’t need like food, for instance, with all kinds of subliminal messages attached (why else do you think we are obese and lazy?  But those who sell it and know the methods they use to sell it still turn round and blame us and say we are a burden on the tax payer.  Well, some tax payers are a burden on everyone!).  Start providing instead the things we actually need to make society work – people skills, philosophy, values, the arts, beauty, (shh erm – religion?)

Quack quack, said the silly duck, it’s time for another industrial revolution.

Hey, this is the 21st century! (I never thought I’d say that!)  David, what kind of leader says, “you must learn our language, or you can’t come here”?  Different isn’t bad, it’s different.  It’s an opportunity.

This is so outrageous I can hardly believe you mean it.  I watch the most serious things these days and find myself laughing as if it is a comedy, sometimes.  Does everyone end up saying, as they get older, “the world has gone mad”?  Because I did last night.

If we are going to say to people, “you can’t come here unless you learn our language”, what about the people here who already don’t speak it? Are we going to end up having an ethnic purge?  Shall I being the mental health system into this?  Yes, I think I might, because in many ways it is the same kind of thing.  Ethnic purge.  That is a real danger.  There are elements, including among those in power, who after stopping entry by others who can’t speak the language/don’t share our values, will next turn on those already living among us, and that wouldn’t be pretty at all.  David Cameron, you seriously need to rethink this.  You can’t make people conform at will without damaging relationships. There would also be a backlash from some people already here from countries from which some people were not allowed access.

By the way, when I talked about snakebite earlier – I had just watched the Andrew Marr Show before I wrote this and I first thought of that phrase after hearing William Hague talking.

I think among our human rights should be the right to be inadequate and incapable, if that is what our lives have done to us, without it bearing any kind of stigma at all.  I wonder if that is possible while the great god the tax payer gets invoked against everyone that is or feels that way?

This society stinks, it is so abusive.  But it is probably not that much different from many others.  Jesus said you can’t serve God and mammon.

He also pointed out that the Bible says in one of the Psalms that we are gods, and the scriptures cannot be broken.  I used to think that was sarcasm, but would the Jesus I have been taught about have been sarcastic about scripture?  No, He wouldn’t.  Is the Jesus I have been taught about the real Jesus?  Unquestionably!  Jesus defended the scripture that says we are gods.  He would not have been sarcastic about scripture.  And we can’t serve each other (God/gods) and money as well.

I apologise for my style, but I watch and listen to so much rubbish.  It seems to be all there is available.

I Was Thinking, I Was . . .

Colin Dye said in his sermon on Sunday morning that Jesus gives you a satisfied life.  But after a minute or so I thought, ‘No, that’s not true.  Because if, as it says in Revelation, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, which always looks forward to the future, how can His followers be satisfied?’  Jesus said, ‘I have a baptism with which I must be baptised, and how I am constrained until it is accomplished’.  So if even He wasn’t satisfied, how can we be?

It’s only thoughts, though.  I am sure there must be some element of paradox involved which, even in spite of all that, means that a Christian is a satisfied person.  (No, I’m not, actually, unless I am really abnormal). Maybe satisfied in some ways but not in others.  I once knew what it was to be absolutely unafraid and confident about death.

Funnily enough, WordPress is featuring a blog on Freshly Pressed that says the Rolling Stones were right.

I Thought There Was No Such Thing

As HP spicy sauce in Bulgarian supermarkets.

I was wrong!!!!!      Yayaah!!!!!  Da-dah!!!!!!

Dumb gone found it today.  Now I have to make the burgers and rashers and sausages to go with it.  I could have it just with beans on toast, or mushrooms on toast.  Not sure what else.  Craving a boiled egg earlier.  Found loads of stuff I never knew existed when I first started by just putting the name of the food in a search engine together with the word ‘vegan’.  My 2 favourite finds vegan blue cheese (sheese) and others in the same range, and vegan honey (agave nectar).

I say that, but some of the burgers you can get are nice as well, but these were my first two serious wants.  Redwoods burgers are really nice.  Just like the old hamburger.  You can get others which are nice in their own right but nothing like a meat eater is used to.  Also wheat slices which are just like cold sliced smoked meat.  Yum yum.  Theres a place near Piccadilly Circus that does a great range.  Whole food market or something like that.  I’ve forgotten, it’s so long since I’ve been there (it WOULD be, I’ve been out of the country for over a year).  They’ve got a nice cafe there as well.  All organic, all diets, from meat and fish to vegetarian and vegan.  Great place to shop, I really love it.  You can make your own muesli or oat cluster type breakfasts if you aren’t as lazy as me, or you can get some nice vegan Belgian Chocolate cereal, and maple syrup and pecan, I think it is.  I can’t remember the name of the manufacturer now.  But it’s really delicious.  It is a good place to shop for something out of the ordinary, really different from the ubiquitous high street supermarket.

Even then, if enough people discover these things and ask for them, the supermarkets, so I am told (oh yeah?) will stock them.  Don’t know how that works.  It might work out more expensive for smaller orders.  When I first heard of agave nectar (agave is a plant and the nectar is just like runny honey and you can get it in a few different varieties, and there’s also something called Sweet Freedom which is plant based, slightly thicker and comes mild or rich) I never expected that I would be able to find it in Sainsbury’s, but they stock it.  The agave nectar, that is.

OK, change the subject, how stupid do I want to be?  I’m 50 years old, for goodness’ sake, but I might be about to sound like a teenager with a crush.  There is a really debonair photograph of Tommy Boyd on his blog, with a piercing stare and a smile, arms folded.  I’ve had a bad day today in many respects.  I’m exhausted.  I’m lying on my sofa, it’s now (this second) 2.25 am.

I just scrolled down and rediscovered it, and looked at his face, and smiled, and the next second I was gone.  Just like that.  Out like a light.  Not asleep, but ‘zapped’, as they would have said at St B’s.  Apart from the fact that it hurts because I don’t know where we are with each other, I feel a lot better already.  Ready for a good sleep.

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