Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Been away too long…

Posted: May 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

Hi all. HELLO OUT THERE!

I’m back- never really been away-I’d sort of neglected this blog page for what actually seems to have been a pretty darn long while. I was waiting, leaving it for when I may have felt inspired or had some good tale to tell…well sometimes you just need to write any old thoughts down, and well I should have been doing that a while back.

So…how are you all? Doing good? Some interesting or eventful things moving your life and path these days?

So look I’ll just make this a quick return post for now, mention a few interesting things. Let me think…well I went to Greenbelt again last August-good time, but may have been feeling as I do not need to really go again too soon (even thought probably will be there 2017. )

I haven’t been at my regular church every week- this ain’t a real shock. Yes, I struggle with how I feel being there, my place in being there, if its the right church for me etc.

There’s tons more of course-music, art, films have been happening. Twin Peaks is back y’all!! Can you even believe it? Good start to it so far as well…

We’ve had a really great new Demon Hunter album released about a month ago-big success on release it seems. The new The Letter Black album out this week. Good to have them back. Latest Mastodon album seem one of their best since Crack The Skye.

So look I’ll post again very soon (no, I really will) and I’ve got things in mind to write about here. Keep good and safe, positive and keep the love.

Clearing the leaves…

Posted: January 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

Hello everyone. How are you keeping right about now?

I return here, to this blog of hopefully humble thoughts and contemplations with the experience and dealings of another week behind me now.

Hold on there, I need to change this music…

I can only listen to bagpipes for so long. Right then, on we go.

So look, this week has been not highly unusual but eventful near the end. My own thoughts of faith, God and purpose have been turning over in my mind. You see, I often observe people, our culture, the world events, national and world news and consider what is going now here, why and how and for what reasons. With this I then think about how I fit into all of it, in the best way.

There are many different things going on spiritually all over the world. Maybe we here in the UK have a largely faithless or agnostic culture, but it cannot be denyed that humanity has and continues to look for and worship God in many ways. Is it a natural, expected thing, a deep-rooted human part of living which will never really leave us, whatever science or Western culture may argue?

I did end up having some form of feeling of guilt personally today. This was about myself, where my faith may be, what I may or may not be doing as a Christian, how I may or may not be living. This feeling has drifted now, and I am not precisely clear why or where it came from. I am not Catholic and have not done some drastically serious crime as far as I know. No, this was just a regular spiritual kind of guilt.

Was it brought about by church? Well, possibly but much more than that.

Anyway, this blog post is not me feeling all guilty and moaning. Things have turned around. You see, I am just very concerned for our culture, the country I live in, the divisions, the ways that many of us are afraid, made to feel fear or confusion by the media, the ways we hurt each other.

I see hope thought. There are lots of problems. Hey maybe this is still me grieving for the loss of David Bowie (we should make him a Saint now right?). The start of this new year has been a struggle. Both Bowie and the legendary Lemmy of Motorhead passing away days apart. Just why? I mean, rockstars are never really immortal, but seriously God-taking them so quickly one after another-it hurts.

The floods, the extreme weather in the United States, the continued terrorist threat. But there is much to look forward to in this year, we have so much to be thankful for still. I know this, I see this and I relax a little more.

I am who I am, I don’t think there is much wrong with this at all. Let us drink or listen to the lasting great music of Lemmy and Bowie and be thankful for it in our world.

There may be more people around me and us who do believe in God or a higher power, more people who want to love, help others, know our neighbours, help others when very bad things happen, when low emotions pull us down.

I think I’ll go listen to Bowie’s Blackstar album again with a smile and peaceful night ahead.

 

Yeah, I somehow managed to make it back along to the bigger modern local church again this morning with my wife. This was after problems with the house door, waking up and getting dressed quick enough to walk super-fast along the main road just as the service was starting.

So already was in a bit of a ‘not totally awake and grumpy’ mood on stepping into the church. But as the songs and service continued, it cheered me up surprisingly quickly.

Thing is, right now in the last week or two the crazed advertised hype and marketing and commercial aspect of Christmas has come down upon us fast and without mercy. The many regular atheist or secular floks around me in work and daily life are thinking about expensive presents, what the festive seasons means-i.e.- often or usually many chances or excuses to get shockingly drunk and do really stupid things and work parties and in pubs and clubs with the get-out of ‘hey,it’s Christmas’.

Brief note-I’ve no problem with people drinking and being merry at all-drinking way too much, acting like total fools, starting fights, hurting eachother verbally etc.-that sucks.

So I was at the chuch this morning after a week or two away. Many kids, young ones around, big mass of people all happy and spiritual etc. Great, good times.

After all the songs, the sermon things started. About a couple minutes in the speaker-well known and respected nice fella-accidentally swore, mixing his words. Many people laughed, possibly uncomfortably. So that was funny.

It was the a sewrmon connected to the start of Advent of course, and he was highlighting the link with Christmas and Jesus’ death on the cross, but we should not forget the time between he was suggesting. very good. Some of it was maybe pushed a bit much toward the end, but it was very good overall.

After all this, well-pluss the ‘mingle part midway-came the really uncomfortable walk around and chat part before leaving. Look, for some of you, just casually chatting away to others or even stranger may be the easiest thing in the world. Great for you. Well done, have a gold star.

It’s not that I’m shy really-at this point more probably that I don’t want to offend others with some of my views and beliefs. And having noticed that some may not be Guardian readers-which is arguably the most relevant, essential, modern, connected, non-bias, open-minded, wide reporting world and national newspaper-well that made things suddenly even more difficult. I’ll try to connect and know and be friendly with all and any kinds of people, I really will. But if I’m surrounded by a load of Dail Mail reading narrow-minded, conservative, Tory-voting, paranoid, materialistic, upper-middle class ‘spiritual’ people…that is fairly hard.

Churches are closing regularly in the UK, some remain open or expand due often to money from wealthy middle-class folks. So in some ways, hey maybe the poor and confused peeps like myself don’t matter so much to churches. I can’t pay for a church extension, I don’t look like a member of Mumford & (Wealthy)Sons.

Godbless, I’m off to think things over, listen to some tunes, better than apathetic, feminized church tunes or christian ‘safe’ pop ditties.

 

Hello all. Here we are on Sunday midday, morning after Halloween 2015. I did not end up doing much last night. This is the usual event really. So look, I don’t know what you think about Halloween, the notions about spirits, devils, witches, celebrating things creepy, spooky, ghoulish and evil. Do you approve? Kids walking the streets, maybe with parents, knocking door to door and asking (or begging, depending on your point of view) for sweets or a ‘treat’. If they get nothing, they may then feel like giving people a ‘trick’. Or just simply throwing eggs at your windows.

I was at work for some of the night. Some of my colleagues were dressed up in costumes, all bloody and ugly. I wore an old great Alice Cooper t-shirt and had some plastic fangs if I needed them.

I saw many families and some groups of friends, some couples on their way out or having been trick or treating. People seemed happy, in good spirits (pun intended).

So should I dissaprove of all of this, as a born-again God-believing person?

The answer may be a yes or no, but mostly personally I do not really mind it all. You see, I am also a big fan of horror films, horror books. What I do not like is when it gets out of control. There were reports in some of the local newspapers of people who had been attacked on the streets last year, their money stolen, hurt with knives. Some people beaten up by groups on the dark streets under shadows. It can be a dangerous night. I worry about the young children and kids wandering around. Older kids may chase or attack them, steal their sweets, steal their money, beat them up or worse. These things do happen.

But then, some people have a really good time, really enjoy themsleves. Many folks were going to Halloween parties-we are becoming so very much like America now with our October 31st. This is consumerism, selling an event, an excuse to get drunk and merry. Maybe we need this, want this, or just accept one more on top of all the other social big occassions now. For non-religious people (most folks in the UK) it is a chance or excuse to get merry and have fun. Well, that’s fine.

How about all of the old thoughts about getting too close to ‘evil’ or bad spirits? Are we actually taking a big, possibly dangerous risk, tempting fate with all of this ghoulish behaviour? Many Christians would certainly think so.

Do I think like that? Possibly just a little. But then, part of me maybe thinks that it is also good in some ways to acknowledge and confront the notion of evil, danger, dark forces, evil in the world. Danger, death, fear are part of living. Death is a part of life at some point. This is how I see watching horror films and similar things. To shy away, is to deny this. To confront fear and horror, is to also possibly enbrace life from that. Confront mortality and remember how blessed we are. To also remember that there are dangers in life and the world around us. Some people-many Christians may live a life, with almost all or every kind of uncomfortable, nasty, troubling event or thing around is edited out, or ignored which may not be the best way to live.

There is danger, darkness, things that spook us and scare us in this world. There is then also love and light around and beyond that waiting for us.

Hello all, here I am with a new post, it has been what? A few weeks? I was waiting for something I don’t know-important, real, right?

So look, this has been another week of ups and downs, moments of strong and mercyful faith, moments of sin, confusion and distraction as ever. But then here is the part that may end up most challenging or interesting in some ways. The day before yesterday a couple of my work colleagues seemed to have learned or guessed that I am Christian.

So look, I have never really hidden this, but I suppose I have not always shouted it from the rooftops-some reasons for this are linked to not working Sundays, and a previous manager not wanting me to encourage other staff to do the same.

So yes, these are both two younger guys I can mostly view as friends I would say-especially the one who just suddenly, but in a friendly way looked at me and said-

‘Are you a Christian?’ (He did say it with a curious smile, not in a vindictive way)

I was not at all expecting this, just going about with the usual tasks in work. So I possibly hesitated for a short couple of seconds-what is the right way to confirm this, in 2015?-I said, with a smile…

‘Well, yes I am, in my own strange way’ (or something very close to this, it was a rushed, surprise moment so some of it s lost to me)

So then began a casual but unexpected conversation in a friendly manner about my faith, my view of what/who God is or might be, what I think about Jesus, my friend’s own beliefs, childhood religious upbringing. The other guy there just quietly said he was probably atheist while the one talking a lot I think decided that he was possibly agnostic these days. He had been put through a religious school period with nuns, that Catholic kind of thing I think.

At first, he expressed just how shock he was in some ways-

‘But you like Lamb of God and listen to metal!?’ he said.

‘Well, I don’t love Lamb of God, but yeah I like metal and rock music…so?’

So I expressed my current personal views-briefly, I mean, were at work, and this just suddenly happened. Well, at present he is still my friend, and had the view of ‘to each their own, fair enough’. One of the others guys I saw at work yesterday and was not too sure if he was really wanting to still know me now. But it seemed that he was okay still like he always has been, I think. I think it probably helps that they have known me for a good while previously, so they’re not suddenly meeting a ‘Christian’. They know me, how I am, what I like, my interests. I told them ‘look, I’l be first to tell you church music sucks, that’s why I listen to a good few christian metal and rock bands’. I have previously lost some friends when they have found that I that I have this particular kind of faith, and just hope that these guys still want to know me and that we can continue to work well together as we usually do.

Okay, continuing on from the previous post I having been reading more of the weekend article about LGBT tensions with faith and church.

The brave and bold reverend from the UK I mentioned was Sally Hitchiner-a wonderful young lady of faith, and yes also gay. She works with Diverse Church in UK, and they attended London Pride recently. Many LGBT people really seemed to react well to the unexpected support, and message of God’s love waiting for them.

Diverse Church handed out leaflets stating- ‘We’re sorry if anyone has ever told you that God doesn’t love you. God loves everyone’.

This just simply warmed my heart so much. Simple honest love spread out to all.

One slogan seen around the area read ‘Queerly Beloved’ as joyful music played loudly at the Pride march.

We have some great supporters of LGBT and gay rights  from our world of faith here in the UK now, including Ms Hitchiner, Vicky Beeching-evangelical musician/theologian, Steve Chalke-social activist/leader of Oasis network, but also Tony Campolo has shown support.

The UK CoE Anglican church of course remains tongue-tied and hesitant, only just about managing to get to grips with the problematic (but not really) issue of female Bishops recently.

Must must listen, show love, respect, and listen to God, not simply our possible fearful or confused conservative cultures of old.

I thought that I was in fairly good spirits now after having finished work and returned home. Nice cup of tea, half an old doughtnut, look at the papers. Oh dear.

Now, I don’t read the trashy simple propagandist right-wing or tabloid newspapers, and so this was a valid serious issue to change my mood.

Starting out, it was written by a very intelligent guy, a spiritual journey-man if you like from the UK  here. He was setting out an article about LGBT in our times and the challenges with acceptance, culture and more. He referenced a brave lady reverend who was supporting LGBT cause, and calling for them to ask their haters for forgiveness.

He then goes on to state some of the LGBT tensions in America toward the church, with disrupting services, breaking stained glass windows, calling for stripping of charitable status for church.

This all saddened me. I do know that all gay/lesbian and LGBT people are not agressive, violent, angry to such extents, but I would also certainly understand all of this.

Considering how the majority of American church and christianity reacts toward gay people, it would not really surprise me to hear of this kind of response from some.

Although from my parents/grandparents generation, I had mostly respected the massive scale of evangelising done by Billy Graham, but he apparently thought that Aids was Gd’s judgement on gays. Oh dear.

That was a very long time ago, but there are many christians who of course read the Bible very literally, and have serious personal problems and views of LGBT people. This is 2015, let us please move on. There are so many more serious issues for people of faith to be concerned about such as illeagal war, the wealth/class divide increasing, poverty and joblessness continuing, big corporations collecting our personal data, our children and young being so confused, violent, lost and more.

Right here-I have no problem with gay people, bisexual people, trans or other gender minority groups at all. Get married, fall in love, be very happy. Spread love, find peace, find faith. People of faith-find tolerance, understaning, find love.

Coffee, pain and Grace…

Posted: June 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Oh it’s Sunday. Oh joy.

No really, I was kind of looking ahead to it with some hope and optimisim this week, but just hours before I was sort of getting less interested.

Now we’re back from church, and well…it was one of those off times. This is mostly due to the fact that I took my morning meds quickly and then we rushed off to church, maybe the late night but on top of all of that was just my state of mind.

I have such strong views on social class, justice, injustice, inequality, I’m cynical, jaded, I curse more than I have in the last few months. Stuff is going on.

I perhaps don’t fit into some of the nice charming social catergories with the rest of the very nice, mroe wealthy, very well educated, very financially successful people in this church around me. It gets to me, I won’t pretend it doesn’t.

With that also…the music. Oh dear heck, ah man…I know the views, the cultural debates or lack of…I am not a super-masculine guy really but this music, these hymns are just still so very, very feminine, and soppy to be blunt about it.

Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, the majority of people in the church are probably female, this music and worship style ‘clicks’ well with them, with how they feel. That’s fine and good. But it certainly isn’t for everyone in society. Should I feel odd because I don’t want to sing about almost going on a date with Jesus and falling head over heels for him?

There are many forms and genres of musical styles, and mainstream church worship music is still so inoffensive, conservative, middle-class, feminine and blant…I just can’t get with it personally.

Please don’t be offended by this, but I’m say that there are many folks in modern society who do not dig worship music like this, never will, and will and are probably very turned off by it.

But hey, they probably don’t have huge bulging bank accounts right? (Oh dear, there I go with my class related issues again).

The major problem is there for me, not just with the lame worship tunes but because I know that so many thousands of people in my country don’t go to church, many of them young, under 30, the next generation, and they like different music and pop culture which current mainstream church just isn’t connecting with.

The message doesn’t really get spread inside church, just repeated. The message should be out on the street, in work, with strangers when it feels suitable and right.

Is too much of modern, current church just simply an ego thing? There just to make many of us feel better about ourselves, even when most of us are some of the luckiest people on this planet, in some of the richest, wealthiest countries right now?

Take peace, faith and hope with you.

There were some good things mentioned in the service today-the message is not the church, it is Jesus. You’re not bringing people to church, you’re bringing them to Christ.

Amen to that for sure.

Okay the thought came into my mind either today or late yesterday. It was a bit different, not as serious perhaps and scripture focused for this blog as usual but I think it is worth exploring…

It is the end of the week too, so maybe I had this lighter thought in mind as I relax slightly near the weekend.

Here it is-What would Jesus laugh at?

Okay, that might not have been the first burst of the idea, but that is what frames it. It mostly goes around myself as a christian, and other Christians today…what do you find funny, what do you think you CAN find funny? What do you think you are NOT allowed to find funny, being a Christian? Why is that?

Myself, I am a fairly relaxed person, pretty mainstream, almost secular if not for the faith part. I’m ‘Born-Again’ (urrgh, awkward term but…whatever) and so I’ve got a regular British, western pop cultural background.

I am not ashamed to say that I have for many years since my teens years been a big fan of Blackadder, The Young Ones, the Naked Gun movies, Austin Powers films, the Bottom tv show, Harry Enfield shows, Monty Python…(yes, all of Monty Python…) Red Dwarf and much, much more varied kinds of great comedy in tv, film, radio and more places.

Yes, I did mention Monty Python. Over here in the UK, they are almost universally seen as a modern classic comedy institution, legends who have influenced modern comedy shows, films, and actors worldwide. But they made that film didn’t they…? The one about Jesus…

Okay, so Life of Brian if you have not really ever seen it or heard about it, did create quite a big controversial fuss in the late 70’s with a number of Brit politicians and tv presenters and journalists harrassing the members of Python, and asking why make such an apparently ‘Blasphemous’ film?

The film actuall focuses on a baby born in a stable, named Brian, who grows up, wanders around, experiences some strange event, then says somethings that many people take as inspirational and special but he just wants a quiet life, to be left alone but the crowds beleive him to be the chosen one, sent to them. He is not the Messiah. He is Brian.

It is a very funny film, it does put forward some very important questions about faith, religions, institutions in society. They Python comedians were not trying to be offensive, but just putting forward these questions in the form of comedy as they always did. It is a kind of comedy satire in film form.

I am aware of a few Christian comedians around the UK, and they have some different views on how they can or should do their work. Some will never swear in their act, some will not makes jokes about stereotypes, women, minorities-well, regular comedians should not do those kind of jokes but then….Ricky Gervais…

What can we laugh at as Christians without feeling guilty or bad about ourselves? What is alright to laugh at? Right now in 2015, we are sort of almost post-politically correct in pop culture-or are we? It can get so very confusing.

I laugh at slapstick comedy, a like comedy shows or films with scenes where the characters make uncomfortable social mistakes, or dig a big hole for themselves. Sometimes it is just wordplay, puns, that kind of thing.

The Bible can seem so serious, and we as Christians can often seem to others to have no sense of humour whatsoever. Is that okay? Are we okay with that? Should we be? Do we even know?

Can’t we enjoy a simple good joke like anyone else? Well, we will see things in life different possibly. There are many different kinds of people, cultures, walks of life. Everyone sees some things in life different to some other people-that is part of life.

So what is funny? What might Jesus laugh at? Do I have that answer? Is this really taboo?

One day you might laugh at something, another day a similar thing might not be so funny. Things change.

A person slips on a banana skin-funny? Someone breaks wind, no one around admits-funny?

Someone makes a very serious point about justice and politics…but they have tomatoe sauce up the side of their cheek saying it and don’t know-funny?

Life can make us laugh, I think God knows this. It can be a gift, it can help us through hard and very difficult times. So laughter and laughing is special, it is important in life. Jesus would laugh I think. I think God might laugh at Monty Python.

Life is funny.

Two great musicians unite for new album…

Christian Rockers Online

SweetandLynchPhoto
Album Slated for Release on January 27th via Frontiers Music.

Exclusive Pre-Order Available via PledgeMusic at
http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/sweetlynch

(NASHVILLE, Tennessee) — Stryper’s Michael Sweet and Dokken / Lynch Mob guitarist George Lynch have combined their talents and long running legacy of hard rocking excellence together in the project Sweet & Lynch. The outfit will release their debut album, Only to Rise, on January 27th via Frontiers Music.

And while Sweet and Lynch’s names form the moniker of their partnership, their band also includes a pair of well-known rock names. Brian Tichy, who has spent time behind the kit with rockers like Whitesnake, Billy Idol and Ozzy Osbourne, will man the drums for the band, while James Lomenzo, who has enjoyed stints in Megadeth, Black Label Society and White Lion, is handling bass duties.

“When I was approached to help put together an all-star lineup, I initially thought of George Lynch,” says…

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