Posted in Blogging, faith, relationships

Laura and I agreed we would not be doing Valentines day. It’s a waste of money and a sham to guilt people into spending money to show how much they love them.

I don’t need to partake in this sham, because I show her everyday how much I love her, how much I genuinely care, with my actions.

When most of you partake in this shower of fake love festival though you probably don’t understand it’s origins. 

It’s a religious holiday celebrating the martyrdom of a number of Saint Valentines (yep there is more than one). I however, an going to focus on just one of these.

Saint Valentine was Roman priest who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians.

A work called Passio Marii et Marthae published, in the 6th century,  a story of martyrdom for Saint Valentine of Rome, perhaps by taking stories of tortures that had happened to other saints. As with today plagiarism was the norm in the literature of that period. 

The story goes that Saint Valentine was persecuted as a Christian (pretty much the norm in those days) and interrogated by none other than Roman Emperor Claudius II  himself! It seemed that Valentine must have made a good impression on Claudius. They had several chats, Claudius was attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine, however remained faithful to Christ. He refused and instead tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. Claudius had no other choice, although he and Valentine were buddies, he ordered Valentines execution.

Before he got the chop though,  he allegedly performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer’s daughter and his forty-six member household (family members and servants) came to believe in Jesus and were baptized.

So when you are looking at your lovely flowers and tucking into your chocolate, remember that alleged declaration of love is actually taking place because of a Christian saint festival day that celebrates the martyrdom of a Roman priest, who saved a blind girls sight and then got killed in what was probably a rather nasty way (knowing the Romans).

See Laura: I may not have got you flowers or chocolate, but instead I bring you the gift of knowledge. Happy Valentine’s day beautiful..

Posted in Blogging, faith, Family, Mental Health, relationships

Having had a rather rough week I am feeling slightly better. Yes I’m still aching because it seems I have a rather painful kidney infection.  
 
But in my head, where it really matters, I am feeling better. The anxiety of the week has melted away. I am in place of solace, of comfort. Surrounded by friends. This here is where I feel at peace. 

Anybody who reads my regular posts will probably be able to tell that I was Off kilter a bit earlier in the week. But that clarity I needed, I required is here. 


I needed this, to be sitting in the peace of my church, surrounded by friends and fellow faithful.  So here I am. Cleansed spiritually If not physically (it’s not like I stink or anything though).

It’s been a full On week. I think I am finally getting the closure around my dad issues. Having been prompted into helping regards to his housing situation (regardless of the impact it had on my mental well being). But I no longer see him as that bullying man that terrifies my inner child. Instead I see a frail shaking broken old man. I have no fear anymore. I see him with, if not sympathy, then certainly pity.. I haven’t got to the point of forgiveness yet but I’m on the way I think. 

This may not have been the closure I wanted, but may be the closure I needed.  

Posted in Blogging, faith

The devil you know.

Now normally I wouldn’t engage in a theological discussion whilst pushing a trolley around the supermarket, but yesterday I had a five minute conversation in Sainsburies with some people (from church) about ‘The Devil’ regarding whether he is real. I can’t tell you if they were actually involved in the conversation or just humouring me whilst desperately looking for a way out of it.

My stance on the conversation was like this; Everything in the universe has an opposite.

Light and Dark

Up and Down

Sweet and sour

Night and Day

Matter and Anti-matter 

Acid and Alkaline

Love and Hate

Good and Evil

So it’s a fairly certain bet that if you believe in the existence of God (no matter what you call him) then there will be a Devil. A polar opposite so to speak.

The bigger question I went on to say (by now I definitely think they wanted to run away) was whether The Devil is truly evil?


To go back to this I look at his origin, 


Lucifer was originally an Angel, one of God’s best buddies but he was dissatisfied. After all hadn’t he served God loyally? But now, God was showing a bit of favouritism to (when it all came down to it) something no better than an ape.

Feeling a bit put out he got a few of his boys together and they kicked off. God, being a bit of a bad ass himself, sorted this out in no time. The little rebellion quashed,  Lucifer and his buddies were sent away.


As a result Lucy as he was affectionately known to his friends has spent the rest of time fighting against God’s plan, trying to corrupt the Damn apes. Now they have this choice, this ‘free will’ so to speak. Us apes choose whether to be good, whether to be bad.  

I don’t see Lucifer as evil per se! He had started on a path and much like the apes he despised he was too stubborn to admit he was wrong.  Can’t go back to God and say sorry.

So no, I don’t think he is evil, just misguided, and stubborn. The devil made me do it is just an excuse for people using their free will to do bad things. 

Evil exists in the heart of men, we are our own devil. 

Posted in Blogging, faith, Jesus, The Bible
When you read the bible what do you get out of it? Inspiration? Insight? Understanding? Hope? Reassurance? Does reading it fill you with wonderment or joy? Maybe it gives you a sense of calm? Maybe not, maybe it fills you with doubt or you read into it with a sense of disbelief. When you read the tale of Noah do you see impossibility? Do you scoff that no one man could build a boat of such size? Or do you see a story about a man’s perseverance that allows him to achieve something monumental? What about when you read about Jesus feeding a multitude of followers with a bit of fish and some bread? Do you see it as a genuine miracle? Do you laugh at the ‘ridiculousness’ of the tale? Or do you see a potential story about a good man who inspired an act of generosity amongst one of his followers (who brought what little he had to share) that in turn encouraged acts of kindness and generosity amongst all the others present? What you can get out of the Bible is positive messages about how to live your life in harmony with others. Messages of kindness, forgiveness, peace and love. Yes as with anything you can cherry pick and find negativity within. Stuff that can be twisted and used to inspire hatred or violence. Remember after all, its a text that is from a different time.  But the positivity within, if you go into it with an open mind is timeless.
Posted in Blogging, faith, Jesus, The Bible

The Frustration of being a disciple.

Jesus delivered a message of peace. But I can imagine it was challenging, frustrating even. 

If you were Living under Roman occupation and awaiting a Messiah to deliver you from this, I can imagine that Jesus wasn’t what you had hoped for, maybe Jesus wasn’t what you wanted? But he would have been what you needed. The Messiah that was going to come and deliver Gods chosen people wasn’t going to be peaceful surely? 

Later on would rise the Zealots, a group of nationalistic Jews (sometimes bordered on fanatical) who actively sought independence from Roman rule. But his message, his stance, was so different from theirs!

He had a disciple known as Simon the Zealot, but not much is known about him.

If this Simon WAS a Zealot and he was hoping for a war then at this moment he had backed the wrong horse (metaphorically speaking), this Messiah was not a warlord. So why did he stick around? Once he realised that he wasn’t going to get led into a fight, why was he still following Jesus?

Because if he had opened up his eyes, his ears and his heart to Jesus how could he turn away? If he had absorbed Christ’s message how could he leave?

I imagine if he was that emotional he would still lose his temper now and again. That he would become passionate, frustrated. Of course he would, that’s human nature.

Ironically enough it wasn’t Simon The Zealot that we have record of violence for. No, rather it was Simon Peter.

John 18:10 states;

Then Simon Peter drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus

This was just after Judas had betrayed Jesus. Simon Peter was just defending him.

So yes, some of those disciples may have been frustrated. They may have found his message or his method of delivery confusing. They were human, they were flawed. They had fears. They doubted, they denied, they betrayed. As well, This whole thing was not playing out exactly how they expected. They weren’t getting what they wanted. But yes, as stated above, they were getting what they needed. And they took it on board, spreading it through the world.

Like those disciples of old we are human, we are flawed. All we can do, when we become frustrated, or do not understand God’s message fully, or have doubts, is like Simon, Matthew, Mark,  Peter or any of the others us open up our hearts and listen to what he is trying to tell us.

Posted in Blogging, faith, Jesus, The Bible

Sanctuary

I wrote this yesterday morning but for some reason never published it.
As I sit, in what has become my sanctuary, I whisper a little prayer for guidance. About where this faith will take me. I am starting on a journey, a spiritual one at least, and have no idea where this will lead. A light has been lit inside me, that although it isn’t showing me the way directly, it is at least guiding me towards the right path. So I come here to sit in quiet reflection, to pray. I open my mind and my heart.

You may think I am sitting here in solitude, but I am not alone. I sit here (in pew 53) in contemplation, asking for that guidance, for direction.

Here I feel at peace, here I experience tranquility. And yes, it may be freezing cold, but I feel warmth.

It feels like all my life has brought me to this point, to this time and location.

The noise which filled my mind fades and I see clarity. I want others to feel the peace I do. I want to bring that light and hope into others lives.

I want to be one of the vessels through which Christ delivers his message. I am unsure how I can do so. How I can fulfil that role. The path that got me here. Guided me to my calling, was difficult, challenging, but here I am. I have an opportunity, a gift that I must utilise.

Posted in Blogging, faith

Misinterpretation or corruption

I was thinking, as I do really, about Monotheistic beliefs and how many there are. All these separate religion’s, that all worship a single deity, yet do not accept that what they are doing, is worshiping the SAME God. Now if they are all following the same God how are their beliefs so vastly different.

There is a grain of truth in each faith. As its core they have the same belief, the same foundation. But it is a belief that is tainted by man, a message interpreted differently by each. And it is easy to understand how that happens because even within the same group, the same church, look at how varied people’s interpretation can be.

So is this difference between faiths merely a human misunderstanding?

Look at Egypt. How following the Exodus, the Pharoah turned to his interpretation of the Hebrews faith. He introduced worship of the Aten. A single deity. Yes, after seeing the power of a vengeful God, a fearful pharoah introduced his interpretation, to his people, of their former slaves beliefs. But this only lasted a generation and the Egyptians soon returned to the previous worship of many gods. This was because they did not receive the true message, so the didn’t truly open their heart to it.

Bringing us back to the difference in Faith, how different even amongst one faith can it be? Look under the broad blanket of ‘Christianity’. Under that umbrella you have many interpretations of the same faith, the same belief.

So coming back to my original question is this a simple misunderstanding, a misinterpretation of the message? Or is it something more sinister? It’s very difficult to answer that without being misinterpreted myself.

So rather than looking at the differences, look at the similarities. Let’s build on that.