It’s Not Religion That’s The Problem.

  There is one common flaw that us Humans all share, this being that we are all too willing to blame a system be it political, theistic, atheistic, cultural, social or whatever. We all assume that if ‘we’ got rid of ‘that’ (irrespective of the opinions of the followers / believers) things would be better because into the gap would flow rational thought, understanding and all those negatives would evaporate.

And we would all live happily ever after.

Cut to end music and credits.

This idea, nice though it would be and goodness knows I have subscribed to it so many times over the years (Far Left Socialist writing here). The hard and sad fact is take something away from Humanity which they have been misusing and they will find something else to misuse and pervert in a short space of time. Classic case being post Revolutionary Communist states and if die hard apologists persist I am wrong, then let’s talk about Pol Pot, shall we?

Another Human flaw being that if we do not like something then we will go looking for the worst case example of that ‘something’ to prove our point. Never mind that within the something there are numerous variations and differing opinions. As long as we can find that shocking example (and there usually are plenty) then we will be content or justifiably outraged depending on our mood.

So let’s look at religion. Firstly if I try and go blundering about discussing all religions I am bound to offend some of my fellow theists as I don’t know everything about every one of them, just enough to appreciate all have a common code of ethics which everyone is supposed to adhere to, but don’t. Therefore I will firstly narrow down to the three Abrahamic religions, as regards Islam and Judaism it is essential to be brief here too because not being a practitioner of either I have no right to go preaching about either, thus simple observations

  1. There are 1.9 billion Muslims. IF they were all fanatics intent on world domination and force-converting the rest of the world I think we might have noticed a few more invasions and ravening hordes. The notion that all Muslims are a threat is grotesque and just another excuse for other races to hide their racism. Tell an NRA member all gun owners are dangerous and potential mass killers and see what they feel about that parallel.
  2. NO the Jews are not all devious business and financial manipulators bent on world domination. If you had been persecuted for one thousand years by every other group and forced into certain occupations by corrupt or ignorant governing powers then you would develop a certain caution in your culture. So get your perspectives sorted there people. And I am also looking at other minority groups who have suffered persecution and thus should know better. And before we go any further Israel’s current administration is what happens when right-wing exclusivity takes hold, it is not the sole flaw of Jews, every nation around the world has that stain in some form…Ask their minorities.   

Thus I move onto home ground. Christianity, which itself has a fine history of folk who think they know better than God and so go around slaughtering other Christians to ensure that they, the group doing the slaughtering have a place in Heaven. After a while they decided that slaughtering was not beneficial to the economy, so they calmed do a bit, settled on persecution and eventually into simple suspicion and not letting ‘those folk’ have the better jobs, housing, etc. And before anyone tries to tell me that The Communists learnt that from Religion I have to say ‘You’re reaching folks’. There were times when Trade Wars..were…well wars. It’s the Human thing again. Get angry. Hit. Don’t think. Grab the loot    

When viewing the antics and the hypocrisies of those who wave a Bible about and tell you about a selected line out of the Testaments which suits their arguments, then it is only natural to despair. However this in itself is selective. Be honest you know you have gone there to disagree with them; the opposite side of the coin as the ‘true believers’. Barely regulated, unedited YouTube available to anyone….seriously, that’s not the way to judge the Big Picture.   

So here I am.(pre-covid). At Mass in a Catholic place of worship. The Mass begins. We come to the Homily…..and I don’t recall one calling on us to gather up our wrath or sharp implements assail non-catholics, march on places of government, or not render unto Caesar things which are Caesar’s. I do recall a lot about getting our ethical acts together and start thinking about our personal short-comings and how we should stop paying lip service to the English version literal of the Bible and look at the meaning.

And cut to New Testament Gospel According to Matthew Chapter 7. The whole chapter, not neat little bits. The whole instruction from Christ:

“Judge[a] not, that you be not judged. For with what [b]judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The Narrow Way

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

You Will Know Them by Their Fruits

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Build on the Rock

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

 

Yes, that is the full instruction. That is how it should be. Anyone see anything there about killing anyone? Anything there about getting wealthy on religion? Anything there about starting wars? Persecuting minorities?   Have a look at verses 15-20…..AND that is what is going on in the Kingdoms of Humanity. Jesus warned about that, as had the Old Testament Prophets, and here we are still doing it while hiding behind fogs of words and firecrackers of sound-bites. And before we move on….consider verses 1-5…………Yes….all of us. Humanity in all its flawed stumbling ways.  

So across the politics. My neighbourhood: Socialism & Socialists. Many of them like to announce their credentials as against war, looking for justice, worrying about minorities, seeking equality. And yet I have witnessed packs turn on journalists who did not agree with their views (Free Speech?) with a MAGA like ferocity. They turned their back on the sufferings of millions in Syria because of some odd notions to do with American imperialism. They have indulged in the old European Sport of Anti-Semitism under the guise of being concerned about Palestinians and very cross with you when you ask why they are not equally concerned about other groups around the world. Pretended that Putin was not as bad as American Presidents…..until rumours started that Russians were funding the Conservative Party and Brexit……        

And we could go onto. Into the polite and not so polite manoeuvres in The Arts, Entertainments, of course the pestilences that crowd Social Media (Shaming, Trolling, Misogyny, Malice and so forth). And on and on.

In short don’t go looking for some convenient or fashionable reason to collect up the World’s ills and blame it all on that.

It’s in you and me. It lurks in all of us. The problem and the cure are the same Humanity.     

Writings and Our Faiths or Beliefs

We all have faiths and beliefs. Be they in those close to us, or our community, or way of life, or politics, outlooks, religion, science, art, following….I could go on, thinking up other categories. Our faiths and beliefs are part of who we are, we change them, we lose some, we find others; we gain strength from them, if we are of such stature we suffer for them. No matter which way you look at it or care to frame your explanations you are demonstrating one or the other, most likely both.

Of course some are not constructive, or positive. Some are built on Intolerance, Hate, Opportunism and Self-Aggrandisement; to name but a few of Humanity’s myriad failings and short-comings. Thus someone having faiths and beliefs is not always something to be celebrated by everyone who comes into contact with them.

Thus it follows that anyone who sits down to write, anything, will have as motivation those two factors working away within them. Not always Faith and Belief in themselves, because many of us are fragile creatures plagued by doubts. If you do write though, you will be expressing Faith and Belief in the processes which turn ideas into words on a page. At times you may feel ragged, wondering if it is all worthwhile, and yet at the same infuriating instance still be drawn back to ‘The Page’. This is because deep within there works Faith in your ability to write and Belief in the very creative process. They will not leave you alone.

Slight aside, but have no fear gentle reader, ’tis simply me getting there….

For some parts of The Christian Community starting on the 28th March was Holy Week which basically chronicles Christ’s journey to the Crucifixion. A time of reflection and meditation….annnndd if you’re honest with yourself about what another spiritual botch up you made since last Holy Week and do try and do better this time (sigh…as opposed to self-hatred. That is not what it is all about people). As with many spiritual, theistic systems the actually basic are all about being positive and compassionate to your fellow beings and not try and grab everything for yourself…… So with this in mind…….

I would say have when writing have trust in The Faith and Belief of the writing processes. Do not expect this to be an easy path. 

Just remember when you are writing you also have a responsibility. Write what you will, with one caveat, do not be cruel to those who are trying to be innocent of Intolerance, The Sweeping Generalisation is a soft weapon of Evil. I know I have been as guilty of its use as any.   

Wishing you well in your endeavours 

 

Just One Writer’s Statement…That’s All

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I should be looking through my friends’ blogs and reading of their views, adventures and interludes. I should be reading the news and keeping abreast of the miseries that torment others. I should be….. (you fill in the gaps, they are probably very similar to mine)

OR

I should be writing something about the current state of the nation and world from various perspectives. There again I should be writing something about the creative spirit or maybe some other aspect of the craft of writing.

AND

There are the chores when need attending to, now that my breakfast is finished (8.30 GMT 25th March 2021. UK). (Well, that was when it was started)

YET

Reflection stills and then diverts me to write this…which has come from a frequently visited place on the map of my Writer’s World, wherein stands a temple dedicated to Creativity and from which tolls one clarion bell, a steady simple peel.

There again perhaps inspiration to write this comes from the small bird perched on the guttering of our roof and singing its Spring Time Anthem of ‘Here I Am’. However, the image of a wolf howling out across the still landscape does have its attractions.

SO.

Three volumes. 600,000 + words. Fantasy Adventure. Independent minds. Comradeship. Humour. Romance. Acceptance. Upbeat. The Positive and Constructive Wins Out. Villains cast down.

AND when the final re-write is completed having hunted down most of the typos, the syntax tidied up and the continuity ironed out.

ALL will be well.

What happens after?

Why, the ship sets sail. I was but the shipwright.   

Sailing Ship

But I love my craft.

Some Thoughts on Revisions and Re-Writes

So as I work through an updated and improved version of

Skirmishers

And the Nagging Demon of Doubt says ‘What’s The Point?’

 

I take heart from the fact that Samuel Taylor Coleridge author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

Ancient Mariner

Returned to this work over and over during 40 years and that there are at least 18 different versions.

 

Pondering one Are you suggesting that you’re…….

 

Whimsical one No! Just saying. That’s all. 

worried-man Please close this post now.

There’s Nothing New Here. Just Another Nation in Decline. (This time it is The UK in Brexit)

I am somewhat honoured that Keith of ( musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com  ) has asked me to write this, following a response to a question he raised on Jill’s ( jilldennison.com ) blog

I would warn you, there will be no quotes, statistics or links, these by their very nature are selective and can be turned around by oppositions, often getting side-lined in arguments over the character of the provider of the quotes, statistics or links. This is an essay, or if you like a polemic. This is based on the readings of the Histories of Humanity and all their various accompanying  follies and tragedies. This is about something very old, on this occasion making its appearance in Brexit Britain.

Although shadowed by the world-wide pandemic, this lesser event will still have its ramifications even if many of the world’s population can be forgiven for barely noticing it; after all, what will it matter to someone living in a nation a few time zones away and more concerned with their own day to day struggles? Some in the UK so wrapped up in their myths and dreams would have you believe the entire planet will shake as the UK rises from some European induced torpor calling on spirits of Churchill, Thatcher, Drake and Arthur (King) to inspire our current political and economic leadership to gather the people together in a glorious endeavour bringing in the proverbial New Golden Age. And this will be our True Finest Hour. If you examine the headlines in the right-wing tabloid press and the comments of their readerships or have the misfortune to run into them on FaceBook you will see I am somewhat understating the rhetoric.

Each nation or community which would be a nation or movement has its own baggage of legends, myths and massaged history mixed into a heady brew which offers in a far more glorious vision than it deserves. Never look too deeply into your people’s past unless you are of thick skin, detached or objective for you will not be comfy. Many in the UK in 2015 to 2016 feasted too deeply of the Empire, Victors in WWI & WWII mythos rich stew without reading the warnings on the various contents’ packets, and to keep their sacred beliefs firm still partake.   

And whenever a collection of folk take the step towards independence or dominance you can be certain there will be the taint of outright or implied discrimination, for the collection of folk will have convinced themselves that all ills, and the end of the none-existent “Good Old Days” are down to interlopers and non-believers. So never mind the economic and legalistic arguments surrounding Brexit, Race and Prejudices played a major part in many a voter’s decisions. One of the two truths folk do not like to mention. The other being on the Left that without Corbyn’s lukewarm unenthusiastic campaign or the section which believed the EU was an adjunct of the multi-nationals the Right might never have won the referendum and subsequent 2019 General Election. Struggles are not just won by one side’s courage or tactical superiority; they require a degree of failure within the opponents’ ranks.

So here in the second decade of the 21st century  The UK is positioned. A collection of islands without their own independent mercantile fleets or major ship building trades. Other types of industries which for many years have been owned by overseas groups and now without the mutual protection of the EU. Whereas there are a large number of small ventures making herculean efforts, these are now all vulnerable to the unpredictable and savage storms of international climates of trade and politics along with another layer of avoidable paperwork.  Meanwhile the UK places some of its faith in a leisure industry which waits for Covid to be supressed and hopefully the tourists to return. And forgetting the financial hub currently residing in London can in these cyber days be moved with relatively little effort. The balm to soothe these worries is that the UK can make new vibrant and fresh deals with other nations outside of the EU; however the problem is these ‘Other Nations’ looking to make deals are by their natures on the rise or with a very strong base whereas the UK has been in a steady decline of nationally based infrastructure, services and industries since WWII, thus these Isles are negotiating from the lesser position with the give and take going in the other direction. It is hard not to view us as the wilful self-absorbed member of the family who has blustered out of the home to seek life on their own believing their ‘smarts’, determination and cherished fantasy masquerading as a plan will see them through. This is the character who ends up on the streets, a battered minor hustling supplicant desperate that the next day will bring ‘the break’ while looked down upon by the major players.

There is another facet, that is the strength of the nation as displayed in its military prowess. In some this is simply the self-defence capacity; in some it is the ability to operate outside of the borders. Questions are being asked of that capacity, and at a time where there is an undercurrent in the USA of questions as to the future of NATO and Russia’s the inevitable historical draw to surround herself with client states. Examples of the never ending tides of human action and reaction in the political world, a dance as old as communities.

And herein lies the evidence lain bear by Histories. Nations and Empires rise and fall the names, locations and components change but the tectonic that is Human activity continues. Thus worn out by a century’s effort and the shedding of a role too heavy to bear do these Isles suffer their turn in this cycle. The sensible, rational long term approach would have been to hunker down, regroup and reform within the security and stability of a Union. This is not the Human way, we must believe in our legends and our folk myths, we must live them, we must be seen to be independent with all the angry deluded stance of the someone Lear-like living their past glories, denuded now of past abilities  observed by predators looking on to take away the last vestiges of independence, dress that someone in their own cloth and have them dance to their own tune, for their profit. Look into Histories and read the runes, observe that Rise and Fall over and over again.

There is a large swath of the population who have seen the message and are not turned by the populist press, the self-important financially secure commentators and their political relatives. Sadly these have divided themselves into fractious groups busy blaming each other for the 2019 General Election debacle which allowed a previously nationally indulged self-serving jester to become Prime Minister, now having to grow up, fast. While they are reduced to self-aggrandisement, anger and bitterness on Social Media. Whether there will be a steady movement by the national groups of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland away from England and into some connection with The EU remains to be seen. It could be that the old Islands’ story of  infighting and opportunist accommodations with whoever holds Westminster will be played out again and all will once more bow before The Centre; nothing new there, despite what the Nationalists would have you believe. There again delusion and desperation have their own tectonic and a fragmentation with a nominal centre could arise. A mini-version of the Holy Roman Empire, nodding to someone, a nominal head yet with each region going its own way. And of course the fate others have suffered so often; Client state, something which happens in so many ways often without folk noticing. Or battered and ragged knocking on Brussel’s door the prodigal state returns, only this time there will not be one loving father with a fatted calf; there will be a clutch of judgemental siblings. 

The permutations and variables beckon with a skeletal finger as we stumble out into the storm, eyes closed and muttering invocations from a false religion.

One last salutary note. By all mean shake your head sadly at these Isles’ ill-considered venture. However do not walk away feeling secure. At some stage these tectonics will reach you. Be sure you are prepared for the shock and have a plan to prevail. For we have still not evolved beyond those first communities of villages and small towns looking to survive or dominate.    

Obituary| Veteran Rights Defender Aegile Fernandez No More

The Human Lens

Veteran human rights defender and Co-founder Director of Tenaganita NGO, Aegile Fernandez died earlier this week in Malaysia, leaving behind a legacy for fighting on migrant worker and refugee rights.

Together with her sister Irene Fernandez, the sisters duo were a force to be reckoned with with their unwavering activism in ASEAN region, especially their country Malaysia.

Aegile and Irene Fernandez were both daughters of a migrant worker family that has settled in Malaysia, a motivation that paved a long path of their decades long battle on social justice issues.

Aegile Fernandez had began doing social work at the mere age of 16-years, by making personal visits to sick people in a hospital in Sungai Petani, Kedah. Later on she went on to work on serious human rights abuses including prisoners, sex workers, drug addicts, HIV/AIDS patients, domestic abuse victims, refugees, human trafficking victims and abused children before becoming…

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A Brief Shift of Locations (The Precipice Dominions)

The ‘Just for Marketing and Giggles’ sojourn was probably not the most responsible venture in the history of Book Marketing but it was a great deal of fun. Probably too much fun than is good for a very low profile and sales author to indulge in but there again a ‘smidge’ of fun does help the old writing processes. Footling around also opened up a whole new learning process in page layout and image usage.

Just for Marketing and Giggles- The Comic Tragedy Approach   

But there comes a time when the writer must put aside the frivolity and the set sight upon the content of the book (or books) in question so I’m going to be working on the site dedicated to the trilogy

The Precipice Dominions… (A Fantasy Trilogy) ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

Basically musings on writing fantasy and commentaries on the Hows and Whys of this trilogy, a place to go if you want to find out more about the books, the characters and the content.

And when anything springs to mind about writing in general or other subjects then that will turn up here. 

Such as in all that is the Muses why did  the enigmatic entry ‘4.4’ appear one-third of the way through on my hard copy of Of Patchwork Warriors, I do hope it was something which happened in the last week and not when I uploaded it on Kindle. Curse you ‘WORD’

Friday Reading Fun: Chris Nuttall’s Two Newest Fantasy Novels Are Out…

Now here are series worth considering…True the first is into book 22 but I’m going to give them a shot on Audible.

Barb Caffrey's Blog

Folks, I have to admit that I am biased in favor of Chris Nuttall. I often edit for him, and indeed edited the two newest books I’m about to talk about here at my blog. (One, THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY, I co-edited with author and editor Christine Amsden, and of course Twilight Times Books publisher Lida Quillen also keeps an eye on things, so it’s like having three editors for the price of two.) But as with Kayelle Allen’s newest book SURRENDER LOVE, these books are just so much fun that I have to write about them.

First, take a look at this gorgeous cover by artist Brad Fraunfelter:

THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY is the 22nd book in the Schooled in Magic series, and stars Emily, a young woman from our Earth’s Kansas who was translated to the Nameless World in her mid-teens. Emily was bookish to a…

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International Women Day During Covid-19 Pandemic

Remember this day and please spread the word

The Human Lens

So 8 March is fast approaching and this year it will be celebrated amidst the on-going Covid-19 pandemic but that does not damper spirits as internationally gender advocates, feminists and different stakeholders have mobilized for holding events and activities related to to women rights issues.

Earlier, the UN Women announces the theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021 (IWD 2021) as, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

Why is March 8 celebrated?

This crucial theme celebrates and recognizes the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment…

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