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Showing posts from August, 2014

Total Rescue!

On the night of 14 April 2014, a group of militants attacked the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria. They broke into the school, pretending to be guards, and told the girls to get out and come with them. A large number of students were taken away in trucks, possibly into the Konduga area of the Sambisa Forest where Boko Haram were known to have fortified camps. Houses in Chibok were also burnt down in the incident.

How is your endurance?

Everyone loves a tale of endurance. In most cinema stories the lead character is first introduced to us and then they face some unfortunate obstacle which they then have to overcome. Through that endurance process the audience picks up some life lessons for their own battles of endurance.
One of my favourite movies about endurance is the biographical Hurricane (1999). It tells the story of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (Denzel Washington) a former middleweight boxing champion who was convicted for a triple homicide in a bar in Paterson, New Jersey. It depicts his life in prison and how he was freed by the love and compassion of a teenager from Brooklyn and his Canadian foster family.

In a moving scene the wrongly convicted Hurricane turns up in prison. The prison warden tells him to wear a prison uniform. He refuses by making it clear that "only guilty people wear a prison uniform". And since he is innocent of any crime, he cannot put on the identity of a convict. This …

Norwegian Treatment

Norway's government is considering withdrawing Norwegian citizenship from people taking part in terror activities and wars abroad. Plans to punish the potential threat of terrorist activity in Norway were announced on Monday. Minister of Children and Equality, Solveig Horne, said to the media: “This is a strong signal to people wanting to take part in terror operations and wars.”

Skyscrapers and capitalism

Martin Parker has a fascinating piecewhere he explores what London's rising skyscrapers says about society. This quote is particularly interesting : Skyscrapers are terrifying and beautiful at the same time. They are both monuments to human ingenuity, and to massive inequality, as their occupants look down on the people living in cardboard on the city streets. The question they provoke is not really about boom or slump, but about the nature of an economic system which makes such projects possible.

On the Kindle

I am currently kindling 'Journey toward Justice : Personal Encounters in the Global South' by Nicholas P. Wolterstorff. The greatest moral philosopher alive today. What he observes about injustice in Honduras is fascinating: "..It is commonly said that the failure of Honduran officials to deal with crime against the poor is due to corruption—graft and bribery...Though there are indeed corrupt officials, the fundamental problem is not corruption but fear and a pervasive lack of trust. Poor people do not trust the police, the judicial system, or the bureaucracy. The police do not trust the prosecutors; the prosecutors do not trust the police. The result is that the poor are afraid to take action when they are the victims of crime or illegal treatment; they fear that if they file a report with the police or some government official, the person or organization that wronged them will retaliate. The police and prosecutors likewise fear that they will be the victims of retalia…

Elysium and Our Deepest Need

Elysium is set in the year 2154 where two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine space station city called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The government of Elysium enforces strict anti-immigration laws to preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. That is all about to change when ex-convict Max (Matt Damon), who has always longed to go to city of Elysium, finds himself desperately in need to save his life from fatal radiation poisoning. He needs a machine on Elysium that can heal anyone. The big question is will he get to Elysium?

Robin Williams (1951- 2014)

The world has been mourning the passing of the actor Robin Williams. One of his best performances came in the movie Jack. Williams stars as a boy who suffers from a unusual aging disorder that has aged him four times faster than a normal human being. As a result he starts school for the first time with the appearance of a 40 year old man. The movie explores human frailty. In a moving scene towards the end,  Jack, with the appearance of a 72-year old but only 18 years old, arrives at his graduation ceremony and is given the honour of delivering the year's valedictory speech. Here is a moving quote from it:  I don't have very much time these days so I'll make it quick. Like my life. You know, as we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry , thinking, "What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna be in ten years?" But …

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. …

Male suicide in the UK

The graphic is typical of most western countries, where it seems that suicides are rising for those above 40 years (accounting for population differences).  Prof John Ashton attributes this to "the dramatically changed position of men in society vis-a-vis women and vis-a-vis the labour market" is affecting "men's self-esteem and self-confidence". If that is true then he simply means that it is all economically driven.

Looking to God in difficult times

Last Sunday I had the privilege of sharing from Psalm 3, as we begun a four part series looking at some of our most beloved psalms. The question we were asking is : where do you go when you have problems? Where do you turn when your life is out of control?

King David shows us in Psalm 3 how we are to respond in difficult times. When his son Absalom came after his home and work, King David responded to the situation by declaring in Psalm 3v8 - “From the Lord comes deliverance”. Throughout the Psalm he teaches us an important principle : When life is out of control we must look to the God who controls everything!

One Minute Lesson (Lesson 19)

Drama in the empire of King Xerxes : Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
(Esther 4:13-16 ESV)

When God Wants A Man

When God wants to drill a man, And thrill a man, And skill a man When God wants to mold a man To play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart To create so great and bold a man That all the world shall be amazed, Watch His methods, watch His ways!