The thing condemned is different. He condemns a natural expression of a human being which does no harm. I condemn his condemnation. He attacks others who do not harm him. I defend myself. Even if I were defending someone else from his intolerance, I would be condemning something harmful or useless.
And yet, if I say, “he externalises evil, he attacks what he cannot bear in himself, he cannot correct his own life so he pretends to correct that of others”- that applies to me, too. Judge not that ye be not judged. Jesus did not lay down a set of arbitrary rules which would be enforced after death: Jesus described reality. He projects! I say, and find myself projecting, judged as I judge. There are better things to think about.
And, you persecute others. Should I not defend them?
I carry on a discussion with the tedious bore PS Pruett partly because I do not want to give him the last word. Maybe I should withdraw. He says, I was more interested in why Christians like yourself almost always (in my experience) react by condemning people like me rather than attempting to be inclusive and caring about our spiritual state like they do with others. Most of the “inclusive” Christians that I have dialoged with about this are quite theologically liberal and do not believe in hell, but they seem willing to make an exception in my case.
The idea of Hell is useful, not as a threat to non-conformists about suffering after death, but as an image of spiritual reality now. He wants me to care about his spiritual state, as he claims to about the gay people he “loves”. I care that the truth is found, through dialogue. Jesus could be terribly, terribly rude.
And yet, bothering with all this can hurt me. I get myself all riled up, rather than proceeding with my own concerns. If it is a stage I am going through, of self-acceptance through rejection of homophobia, it is a stage I would like to pass.
That wasp, flying/climbing up the Meeting House window is doing its thing. It is not happy or unhappy: it does that because it is the thing it does, the evolved response to particular circumstances. It will carry on until it falls, exhausted. It is not feeding, so it will exhaust its supply of chemical energy. If I am to help it, I must do so carefully: picking it up and putting it outside is not sufficient, I should put it where it may find a food source. I may do as I wish: putting it outside is enough, I do that because that is who I am; or I could use a smartphone to find how to help it feed; or ignore it completely.
When I was transitioning, I had experiences which I called cognitive dissonance, though I do not know if I use that term of art correctly. It felt as if the fact that I seemed to perceive something or believe it to be true was not evidence for or against its truth. The bottom fell out of my world, I was blown about having lost my bearings and my footing, I was terrified and after such experiences I became “depressed”, taking time off work to recover. I would gladly take pills to make that sensation go away, it stopped me functioning and any anti-depressant would be an improvement.
Now it seems I am like that, not knowing truth or falsehood, never being able to act in a way which is Good, or which fulfils my aims.
R. is not here. Is it something I said? That is a paranoid thought, but given the scope of our interaction over a couple of weeks recently, it is just credible enough to bother me- so I checked, and Liz said she is away visiting. The fear I have of driving her away is the same thing as the care I took in that interaction.
I sought Safety, and that means Stagnation. I stay in my house and do not go out, and even that is unsafe- do I feel up to going to the corner shop? There will be people there- and this is a disaster, a wilful act of self-destruction- and the best self-care I could do at the time. And- at the moment, all I have to do is buy food occasionally. Even washing and dressing is not essential.
This is Perfect. I can Know where I Am for the First Time. Possibly.
I wanted to minister, but my mind is too full. I could go out and ask Kelley to hear me- oh, that’s interesting, I recognise the possibility but do not get up. Then I speak, on Amos Oz curing fanaticism through humour and empathy, which may or may not be inspired ministry.
By the clock, the Meeting overruns by one minute. What? That’s not the Rules!
At that moment, I feel Loved. Perhaps I have never felt more Loved.
If you go South over Westminster Bridge, and turn left- East, that is- you go down some steps to the South Bank walk: nice places to eat inexpensively, the National Theatre, Tate Modern, jugglers and buskers. I should not have walked ahead, and stopping, waiting, long before he caught up I should have gone back, to see what was going on. On those steps, my father had fallen, and someone had helped him up. He fell quite a bit, actually. I blamed him. I was embarrassed by it. He fell once in Edinburgh at night, after we had a meal or a concert or something together: a bloke saw us out the window of a wee restaurant and clapped and waved, thinking my father was ratarsed. A passer-by helped him up.
That weekend in London I had not quite realised that he wanted to see a particular exhibition, rather than some generic art gallery, so we saw the National Gallery permanent display- impressive, but not quite the same. He had not wanted the theatre, but I did, so booked that day. Brecht: not fun enough for a fun show, not serious enough (in my view) to be satisfyingly high brow, it was alright. God it’s been such a long slow goodbye- the next year, he could not have done it.
I wanted to look after him, and he wanted to look after me- that is, to be the big brother, making the decisions, the dominant one-
or to actually be looking after. We took the bus into Edinburgh last September, and we wanted to be looking after the other: I fussed officiously with his walking frame, and he paid my fare.
Little squabbles and little minor irritants and you could really get to care about them and alternatively you could push them into the background- on that bus trip, he stood before the bus had come to a stop, which pleased me, he was not so frail after all. Minor irritants and major irritants, and the major irritants matter
and I remember it all. Nothing need be denied.
I loved him, and he loved me.
God created Heaven and Earth, and made humanity in God’s image: male and female created he us. In God’s image: we are loving, creative and powerful. We are beautiful. Since Creation, God has been tirelessly seeking to communicate with us, to bring us to our highest way of being. There are two principal ways in which God communicates with human beings in the 21st century: the person of his son our Lord Jesus Christ, in personal relationship; and through the words of the Bible.
I seek what is Right, the best way a human being can be, through relationship with God. In this, I continually fail: and God’s love lifts me up and enfolds me. God’s forgiveness cleanses me. I am perfect in my imperfection.
The atheist is also created in God’s image, but is unable to see the way in which God seeks to communicate with him. When they attempt moral argument, it is fatally flawed, because though they seek what is Good they reject the ways our Creator has given to find what is Good: His holy Word, in the Bible and the person of Christ. They are incapable of moral argument, knowledge or clarity. O God! Heal them!
Male and female God created us, and that creation is beautiful in its complementarity. The man fits the woman as perfectly as two halves of a whole, physically and spiritually. Two people become one flesh. A penis is perfectly fitted for a vagina, and the male character for the female character: Colossians 3:18-19, Ephesians 5:21-33- what makes that submission and tender care beautiful is human Love, a reflection of the Love which is God.
“Gay” people distort and destroy that. In place of the fitting love and complementarity of male and female, they put lust for a disgusting physical action, the misuse of their own bodies. This blasphemes the body made in the image of God.
“Gay” activists seek to pervert marriage, the symbol of the Godly union of a man with a woman, to their demeaning lusts. They demand that everyone bows to their idol: they are not satisfied with living together and pursuing their abomination together, they demand that we call their sin “marriage” and we participate in their “weddings”. They sue Christians who refuse to serve their blasphemy.
We’re not the bullies. They are.
Friends, this is not what I believe. I have taken something which is ridiculous- surely, no-one can believe That??- and made of it something I could almost assent to. I see that someone could assert it, without being a wicked persecutor. Instead she is someone who acts from Love to benefit us all.
The council has to house anyone who is homeless, in priority need, has a right to reside in the UK, and is not “intentionally homeless”. The problem is that they do not have the housing available to fit this obligation. So they play games, in order to avoid their obligation.
One game is the definition of “In priority need”: “vulnerable” people are in priority need. A man with a broken leg in plaster was found not to be “vulnerable”. If you have a child under 16, you are always “vulnerable”. Locally, they are given a double room in a hotel at a cost of £80 a night. My friend visited an offered room, and found it disgusting. This is not suitable for a couple with two children, even for a night. They might be there for weeks, with no cooking facilities. So only the most desperate will stay. If they do not accept this offer, the council has fulfilled its obligation and they have no further rights. They might stay there for weeks or months before social housing becomes available. A quick Google finds 3* hotel double rooms for £50 a night locally, without the guarantee for the hotelier of a steady stream of customers, or long term residency: this is not a place where people go for holidays.
Either there is incompetent negotiation of prices on the part of the council, or corruption: the hotel belongs to a former Tory councillor.
The Tory government felt the need to limit the housing benefit bill. This is a commendable aim. So they assessed rents in particular areas, and set the “local housing allowance” at a level which would pay for 30% of the lets offered. Because the areas were badly defined, in some parts of Manchester according to CAB research the LHA would only pay for rents of 2% of houses offered. They then failed to increase this amount, even by the rate of inflation. The result is that benefit payments of rent decrease in real terms year on year.
To house vulnerable people, we had council housing, at much cheaper rents. However the Tory government destroyed this national asset, by forcing its sale. Worse still, they stoke up the housing market. Currently there are Government schemes giving money to potential first time house buyers. The result is to inflate house prices, and housing costs generally, beyond what the market will bear. The government creates a pyramid scheme inflating house prices.
So, while taking action to push up rents for those who cannot afford to buy, they are also taking action to reduce the help the most vulnerable people get for their housing. The two policies together are wicked.
From 200 BCE, the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, India, were Buddhist monasteries decorated with art which is particularly alien to the Christian eye.
These are art-works for monks, celebrating the beauty of the human form. The people illustrated are sexual beings.
In Christianity, sexuality is suspect. Not for all times and in all places- the Song of Songs is sensual- but celibacy is praised, and sex may so easily be sinful. Here are religious works for separate monasteries, which celebrate human life with sexuality simply a part of that. It is liberating to see them.
I am addicted to this hobby. Having several comments gets me a little high. I find checking the blog compulsive. Self-control! I urge myself.