"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday

The photo is inside the Memorial to the Victories of the Marne in the grounds of the Louis XIII castle in Dormans, France. There are two chapels, one above the other.This is the lower chapel.
I have been touring this area, the Marne Champagne region of France. It is hugely sobering to see the war cemetaries and the chapels built by the side of them, to see the museums of war artefacts and the photos of the villages that were flattened, the families standing bemused by the ruins of their homes. The day after tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday, and war memorials throughout this region are being cleaned up, pressure hosed, flowers tidied up and so many fallen leaves swept up, ready for services. Some will be simple, some will involve more pomp and ceremony. Someone said the other day, I forget who, (anyone remember?) that this is all outdated, meaningless for today's generation. How can they say that? The news continues to tell us of our boys who still do not come home, and who pay the ultimate sacrifice for our countries. We do not learn from our mistakes it seems, and we have to remember, with pomp and ceremony, lest we should ever forget.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wounded Healer

I have returned to the blogging scene after a few months away - so watch this space - I will be talking about my book that will hopefully be appearing in 2010 - how getting in touch with our compassion and empathy will be needed to heal this fractured earth - and the Wounded Healer is such a potent symbol to use.
And of course the greatest Wounded Healer of all was Jesus Christ. This is a picture of the nativity set up at our local church last Christmas - the manger empty waiting for the birth of the Christ Child.

Friday, 27 March 2009

community post offices and shops

“Community means more than the comfort of souls. It means, and has always meant, the survival of the species.” (P Palmer in A Place called Community)

We cannot make real communities happen, warned M. Scott Peck. We: “cannot heal the mess we have made of the world…(without ourselves)… undergoing some kind of spiritual healing.”

That was written twenty years ago and the world is in an even bigger mess.
Lexington Virginia sounds like a good place to live. With its tourists and students it can support a good range of small retail shops and art galleries, a flourishing food co-op and independent bookshops. It also has a Farmer’s Market.
Its residents are kept in touch through a comprehensive website with all the latest local community news, from invitations to informal gardening events to the death announcement of local residents, from birthdays and anniversaries to church meetings. Just to remind us that all is not totally Utopian, it has recently launched a new emergency citizen alert system and it has its share of residents living below the poverty line. But there seems to be plenty to do for its 7000 citizens, and evidence everywhere of a friendliness and civic pride.

Small retail stores form the dynamic core of a real village community. The fact is that local stores are more than simply economic units and profit centers. They offer a place where people can meet and greet, gossip, find help and companionship, as well as buy the occasional greetings card or loaf of bread. They are part of the soul of a healthy village and a supportive community life. Sadly in many areas the large malls and the cheap hypermarkets, which we all go to for convenience and fast shopping and keen prices, are driving those small stores out of business. When local shops lose that support and are forced to close, communities suffer deep fractures. At least support for local produce in farmers markets can go some way to redress the balance.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Me-Millennium

In the context of the Wounded Healer the ‘thriving’ response is seen in the person who experiences a traumatic or stressful event and benefits or gains in some way from the experience. An example would be Beethoven who overcame his deafness to find joy in his music making.

But this response type may not always be what it seems. I believe it may sometimes be similar to what I prefer to call the ‘self-help response.’ Those popular ‘self-help’ shelves in the bookshops groan with the weight of titles on how to overcome adversities, how to succeed, even how to get rich or how to achieve our own personal dreams. These can perpetuate the selfishness of the ‘Me-Millennium’ and are very often written at the expense of other people who are more vulnerable, weaker, more wounded.

We have to take healing beyond this potentially egoistic self-help genre that is so often aimed purely at personal gain; we have to travel beyond that goal to help others and stop being so self centred and selfish if we hope to heal the world.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

mobile phones in cars

Yesterday someone is sent to jail after killing
a man soon after texting on the M1!!!
Tonight I see a mother driving a people
mover full of children on the school run
whilst negotiating a tricky set of lights and
one hand holding phone to ear! Some of the
children were clearly not her own.

She is breaking the law. Not to mention
being stupid and endangering the lives of
other peoples kids, and me! .And I see this
all the time on the roads. As a cyclist I worry.

What does it take to stop people breaking
laws. For me it is a straightforward moral
issue - I was brought up to obey the rules,
whether stealing or speeding or phones or

It seems that most people now dont bother
at all about rules and regulations of any sort.

As a Christian not only do we obey laws on honesty principle but of course this is a love thy neighbour as yourself issue, and that is c principle common to all the faiths!

What can we collectively do to put a stop to
this crazy murderous habit? Ideas?

Sorry have been so quiet for so long. Now "back in the loop" as they say!

blessings to all


Thursday, 5 February 2009

A beautiful Tessimond poem

Hello friends

I have been away for a while and unable to find access to blog. Hope to be back in full shortly but meanwhile I would like to share a super blog I have found at http://davesdistrictblog.blogspot.com/ where I found amongst many interesting posts another Tessimond poem I think is beautiful: See what you think:

When I first met you I knew I had come at last home,
Home after wandering, home after long puzzled searching,
Home after long being wind-borne, wave-tossed, night-caught,
Long being lost;
And being with you as normal and needful and natural
As sleeping or waking; and I was myself, who had never
been wholly myself; I was walking and talking and laughing
Easily at last;
And the air was softer and sounds were sharper
And colours were brighter and the sky was higher
And length was not measured by milestones and time was not measured by clocks….
And this end was a beginning…
And these words are the beginning of my thanks.

Oh that the world would think like that!
love to all.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

A S J Tessimond part 2

Following on from my first blog today, here is another of my favourites from A S J Tessimond (1902-1962)

Day Dream

One day people will touch and talk perhaps
And loving be natural as breathing and warm as
And people will untie themselves, as string is unknotted,
Unfold and yawn and stretch and spread their fingers,
Unfurl, uncurl like seaweed returned to the sea,
And work will be simple and swift
as a seagull flying,
And play will be casual and quiet
as a seagull settling,
And the clocks will stop, and no one will wonder
or care or notice,
And people will smile without reason,
Even in winter, even in the rain.

as Submitted by Stephen Fryer to poemhunter

and the photos? Nun's Valley Chestnut Festival November 2008 Madeira - and I stayed cheerful throughout - as I watched a community determined to enjoy itself in spite of the relentless rain!

Tessimond the poet

I have discovered a new poet - new for me that is - and I rather like what I have found. Read this for example - about the ad man who cynically exploits our woundedness:

Attack On The Ad-Man:

This trumpeter of nothingness, employed
To keep our reason dull and null and void.
This man of wind and froth and flux will sell
The wares of any who reward him well.
Praising whatever he is paid to praise,
He hunts for ever-newer, smarter ways
To make the gilt seen gold; the shoddy, silk;
To cheat us legally; to bluff and bilk
By methods which no jury can prevent
Because the law's not broken, only bent.

This mind for hire, this mental prostitute
Can tell the half-lie hardest to refute;
Knows how to hide an inconvenient fact
And when to leave a doubtful claim unbacked;
Manipulates the truth but not too much,
And if his patter needs the Human Touch,
Skillfully artless, artlessly naive,
Wears his convenient heart upon his sleeve.

He uses words that once were strong and fine,
Primal as sun and moon and bread and wine,
True, honourable, honoured, clear and keen,
And leaves them shabby, worn, diminished, mean.
He takes ideas and trains them to engage
In the long little wars big combines wage...
He keeps his logic loose, his feelings flimsy;
Turns eloquence to cant and wit to whimsy;
Trims language till it fits his clients, pattern
And style's a glossy tart or limping slattern.

He studies our defences, finds the cracks
And where the wall is weak or worn, attacks.
lie finds the fear that's deep, the wound that's tender,
And mastered, outmanouevered, we surrender.

We who have tried to choose accept his choice
And tired succumb to his untiring voice.
The dripping tap makes even granite soften
We trust the brand-name we have heard so often
And join the queue of sheep that flock to buy;
We fools who know our folly, you and I.

This and many more submitted by Stephen Fryer to be found here.

From Wikipedia: Arthur Seymour John Tessimond (Birkenhead, July 19, 1902 - Chelsea, London May 13, 1962) was an English poet.

He went to Charterhouse School, but ran away at age 16[1]. After studying at Liverpool University, he moved to London where he worked in bookshops, and also as a copywriter[2]. He later moved to France.

After avoiding military service in World War II, he later discovered he was unfit for service.

An eccentric and an Imagist, Tessimond wrote astute, elegant, urban poetry. He suffered from bipolar disorder, and received electro-convulsive therapy.

He died in 1962 from a brain haemorrhage.

The link to the photo at the top? What are cruises if not sometimes about trying to live some kind of dream sold by the slick ad man? This was actually a cruise liner arriving in Funchal in November 2008

Saturday, 3 January 2009


Well here I am having "survived" Christmas. Don't misunderstand me. I love Christmas. At least I love all the church services, the celebration of our Lord's Birth. This starts with the children's nativity services when we help them build up the crib through readings and songs as they process around the churhc with all the individual characters and place them in the crib itself. We then have the Midnight Mass when the church is always full to bursting. I am then up early for serving duties again at the early morning and family Eucharists.
I love all of that. It is a great privilege and joy to me to be one or other of servers/acolyte/crucifer/verger/thurifer duty ( I wear many hats!!) at all these services.
No I love all of that. But what I absolutely loath is the commercialism of the Festival. The spending-mad masses who shop to drop as if they will starve if the supermarket closes for one day!! I loathe the politically correct street decorations, the way the media dumbs down the Christian elements of the celebrations as if these do not exist when they certainly do!
Just before Christmas I retreated to Madeira for a week - an island where they profess their faith more openly, and where the taxi driver did not think it strange to take his fare to the Anglican church in Funchal on the Sunday - he would be going to his own church later that day. The photo was of a nativity display in a shop window - a shop seemingly devoted to Christian artefacts in Funchal.
Hey Ho. Happy New Year and a Happy Epiphany.

It's Time you knew - by Transition Rachel at YouTube

Many reasons to love La Gomera



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