Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thoughts whilst sitting in church on Sunday

Just some random thoughts as I speed towards Cardiff on the train.

On Sunday I was sitting in my home church in Ely, listening to the sermon, however my mind wandered (as it usually does) to a favourite verse of mine from the bible. "Without a vision the people lose restraint;" from the book of the  Proverbs, chapter 29 verse 18.

Why this particular verse, perhaps as looked around the church it was depressing to see how few people we have on church, however what worse that I never hear talk about mission and growth! We just sit and "wait for God" the inevitable decline and eventual closure of our little mission.

Unless we start thinking about what the Gospel is about and making disciple of nations, we will end up bent just another redundant church or worse a ruini like poor St Mary's 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When is a library not a library? When it's a hub

I remember as a child of 6 my first trip to our local library. It was the Trelai branch in Caerau, Cardiff (now sadly closed). I remember it well, I remember the first book I checked out. It was Rosemary Sutcliffe's "Troy",an big picture book, and it began my lifelong love of reading.

I remember 2 very important things about my visit, the first quite a lot of books, and the other shhh!. When I lived in the US, I was always impressed by their libraries and how well maintained they were, whether, it was Denver, Boulder, LA, or even tiny ol Dodge City, they were great even in times of recession and none were closed. Even in extremely right wing Colorado Springs they were great.

However I come home to Wales and find that my home of Ely has closed it's only library and moved its collection into a hub, where people can pay their bill, receive advice.

This is not a library! But this a what is going to happen in Cardiff our libraries are going to be sacrificed to the God of saving money!

When will the people of Cardiff stand up for their libraries? The people of Ely did not. To my shame.

A hub is not a library.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Oklahoma bombings 20 years on and Charlie

After dwelling on the tragedy that happened in France with Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish Kosher Supermarket  (and let's not forget the thousands slaughtered in Nigeria by the Boko Haram) I recall that we will be approaching the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma city bombing (April 19th, 1995). I was living in Denver, Colorado, at that time and remember, that the hysteria that surrounded it and the belief that this was a act of middle eastern terrorism. I however it was some crazy American (who was not actually crazy) who showed very little remorse for the poor child in the fireman's arms a terrible icon that I will never forget

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Conrad Noel the cross of St George (flag) and revolutionary England andEmily Thornberry

Conrad Noel: Vicar of Thaxted

During my wanderings through the ideological  desert that was the 1980s moving towards that promised land of dogmatic certainty, I rejected the trendy left wing socialism of the Labour party of the early 1980s and the "longest suicide note in history" that was the Labour manifesto of the 1983 election, Thatcherism for me was something that I loathed and despised as the dogma of unenlightened self interest. I rejected both the Tory party of Thatcher as well as the Labour Party of Michael Foot, Tony Benn, as well as Scargill.  

I joined the Liberal Party rather than the SDP because they appeared far more radical than the SDP who were known in the Young Liberal circles as the "Soggies" as illustrated by the the songs in the "Liberator"

The party's flag is pallid pink
And old Madeira is our drink,
Though Labour sneers and Tories plot,
We will remain a moderate lot.
Then raise our banner shoulder-height,
For to do more is impolite,
We are so middle-of-the-road,
Our guiding light's the Highway Code.

The Cardiff West Liberals were not really an active lot,or large compared to their SDP counterparts however they were a radical bunch in favour liberty, devolution, workers control (which will lead to my thoughts on Guild Socialism). The Cardiff West soggies where a snobby lot mostly from Radyr, who were quite middle class and respectable and were contemptuous of any form of devolution (some crept back into the Labour party in the 1990s where Labour had moved to the right for them, in fact even to the right of David Owen, ironically enough).That was why I did not like the SDP even though I did regard myself as a socialist of sorts.

Guild Socialism

Also in the 1980s I was very active in the church you could say a very extreme Anglo Catholic, I was big on the ritual of the Mediaeval Church and that lead me to the guild theories that were popular at the time that found its origins in William Morris "The Dream of John Ball", also in a book written by A J  Penty " Towards a Christian Sociology" (unfortunately like others began as a Guild Socialist and was seduced by the Syndicalism of Mussolini ). Their basic was the organising of industrial life into guilds which would include workers control this is where the New Liberalism of Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse and socialism met with common goals. This is the tradition that I am most attracted to but however I do not believe that we are mature enough to establish it

Conrad Noel and the Thaxted Movement

Conrad Noel I do not believe was a Guild Socialist, he was however a true radical, his Anglo Catholicism was subversive and counter culture, for example his procession of the Blessed Sacrament which he described the "Procession of the Divine Outlaw" illustrated where he placed Jesus, as amongst the poor and marginal, and his movement was a shelter for them

The battle of the Flags

Recently during the Rochester and Strood election we saw Emily Thornberry resign over her daft remarks over the St George flags that were flown and the implications of English racism. However we should get a sense of proportion. The Cross of St George is not like the Confederate Stars and Bars! Conrad Noel flew 3 flags in his church, it was the cross of St George, the Sinn Fein flag, and the Soviet flag. For him the English flag was a symbol of English liberty and more importantly a symbol of anti imperialism, just like the other 2. The Union Jack was a symbol of dastardly imperialism. Its time that the Cross of St George should be reclaimed as a symbol of the Ancient English Commonwealth,a revolutionary England  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Xmas bollocks

Let me begin with an apology for a bit of profanity!

Perhaps a bit of frustration on my part, however as I just complete the delivery of my newspapers, and head to my other job of selling unneeded goods to the masses!

One thing has occurred to me since my return to my homeland of Wales. 

It's the different ways we think about Christmas in Wales and the US. Just an aside, the reason why I chose to use the word "Xmas", comes from C S Lewis's essay "Xmas and Christmas" written Shortly before his death. 

It illustrated brilliantly the difference (interestly as I write this in the shelter of Llantwit Major station a Robin a symbol of Christmas hops round my feet) between Christmas of the birth of Jesus and God becoming human in terrible poverty, and the Xmas of getting and commercialism. 

In Denver (where I lived for 7 happy years) the lead up to Christmas (Advent in calendar of the Western Church) began with the "Parade of Lights" a splendid occasion that was well worth getting cold for.
Which began with a ceremony in front if the Denver City Hall

Now compare this with the Winter Wonderland in front of Cardiff City Hall

What a difference! Here in Colorado which has strict seperation of church and state the Christmas message is right at the heart of the celebration despite the commercialism and it was vibrant, different to Cardiff where ou have surly shoppers totally oblivious to the Christmass message, and those who think that Muslims are offended by it. Should get real, they are just as big on. Xmas as the secular crowd.

The is winter wonderland is nothing to do with the real message of Christmas, which is giving and celebrating Jesus who cared for those who had nothing, the homeless and the marginalised.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Wales needs to change its policy on teaching in Wales

A teacher of my acquaintance will be winging her way back to America this week. She was hired for a teaching job there. Here she was not able to teach, not even long term, supply jobs which she had in Wales before. And why? Because she did not have QTS in Wales, and was told at the General Teaching Council Cymru that she could only cover for a day or work as an aid, yet in England she gained QTS in England in a couple of weeks. The only way that you can gain QTS in Wales is by taking an year long course at UKIP. Essentially Wales operates a closed system in Wales when it comes to teaching. I would like to ask Huw lewis how can you claim to want to recruit the best teachers in the World, when it's impossible for them to teach here. Whilst I realize that each country must have its own standards, perhaps there is a way in Wales to evaluate their qualifications than by the costly way they do. I would suggest that they could move the courses online so that teachers could take them from over there? What do you say Carwyn Jones? Does Wales want the best teachers to teach? -- Sent from Fast notepad

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Horror Express

A good day at work yesterday was spoiled by the nightmare journey home, courtesy of Arriva trains who decided to stop the trains earlier than announced, so a journey that should had only taken 40 minutes took almost 3 hours. We had to wait 45 minutes for a bus which only took us to Barry. Then we had to wait at that nasty station an hour for another bus. At the Barry station were 2 poor kids who had been waiting 2 hours for a bus, absolutely disgusted that 2 youngsters had to wait on their own. Shame on you Arriva trains for allowing this ridiculous situation and not putting your passengers well being first. Shame on you the Labour Party when you were in power for 13 years not to put this ridiculous situation with the trains right, how can we trust you. -- Sent from Fast notepad