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Friday, 22 February 2013

Small nation: BIG difference!

Further to the previous post, is this video on Israel.  I'm unsure as to how long the embed code will operate, so do take the time to watch it, now!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

What did he expect?!

Never having taken part in a formal debate in any university - although I have enjoyed many an informal one! - I may not be the best person to comment on the structure of such events.  However, I would have thought that, for any debate to take place, it would be a basic premis that there be 'sides' with opposing ideas!  Little point in Richard Dawkins being on one side of the debating chamber supporting the motion that "God does not exist", if the person on the other side is A.C.Grayling!   As two of the country's foremost secular humanists, these two gentlemen are in full agreement on the subject.

This is why I am unable to find any excuse for MP George Galloway's behaviour - walking out of a meeting at Oxford University when he discovered he was debating with an Israeli. Mr Galloway, who is the Respect (makes that something of an oxymoron!) Party MP for Bradford West, had been speaking in the debate organised by Christ Church College in favour of the motion: "Israel should withdraw immediately from the West Bank".  Around three minutes into the speech given by his opponent, Eylon Aslan-Levy, Mr.Galloway interrupted, asking: "You said we. Are you an Israeli?"  Third-year student Aslan-Levy answered "I am, yes."  Mr.Galloway then stood up and replied: "I don't debate with Israelis, I've been misled, sorry."  He then left the lecture theatre.

I am certainly no fan of "Gorgeous" George (as he used to be known).  However, surely even his most devoted followers must be confused.  Did he honestly expect that the University College would have provided a Palestinian to oppose him?  Does it not seem reasonable that his debating opponent should be someone who opposed the motion?  Who better to do so than an Israeli?

In terms of the actual debate, I suppose that one may conclude that the motion fell!  With regard to Mr Galloway, he merely showed his inability to enter into an intelligent discussion of the motion - simply because his opponent was well-qualified to be so - and his total lack of 'Respect' for others!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Just a little difference?!

Here is another of the brief "Marriage Matters" videos.  Interestingly, there is a connection - albeit, tenuous - with the previous post!  Do take the less than two minutes to view.

Just a Little Sin

Many parents are hard pressed to explain to their children why some films, music, books, and magazines are not acceptable material for them -- to see, listen to, or read.

One parent came up with an original idea that is hard to refute.

The father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG-13 movie. It had their favourite actors. Everyone else was seeing it. Even church members said it was great. It was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex -- they don't really show it. The language is pretty good -- the Lord's name is only used in vain three times in the whole movie.

The teens did admit there was a scene where a building and a bunch of people were blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff. It wasn't anything really bad. Even if there was "just a little" stuff wrong, the special effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed.

However, even with all the justifications the teens made for the film, the father still wouldn't give in. He just said, "No!"

A little later on that evening the father asked his children if they would like some brownies he had baked -- knowing they loved brownies? He said that he'd taken the family's favourite recipe and added "just a little" something extra. The children asked what it was?

The father calmly said that he had added "just a little" dog pooh. However, he quickly assured them, it was "just a little" bit. All the other ingredients were gourmet quality and he had taken great care to bake the brownies at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.

Even with their father's assurance that the brownies were of almost perfect quality, the teens would not take any. The father acted surprised. After all, it was "just a little" part that was causing them to reject the brownies.

He said he was certain they would hardly notice "just a little" bit of dog pooh he had put in the brownies. Still the teens held firm, and would not try the brownies.

The father then explained to his children how the film they had wanted to see with "just a little" bit of bad stuff in it was just like the brownies. Satan tries to enter our minds and our lives by deceiving us into believing that "just a little" bit of evil won't matter. The truth is "just a little" bit of of pooh makes the difference between a great treat and something disgusting, which is totally unacceptable.

The father went on to explain that even though the film industry would have us believe most of today's films, with "just a little" bit of bad stuff, are acceptable for adults and children, they are not.

Now, when this father's children want to see something that is of questionable material, he merely asks them if they want some of his special dog pooh brownies? That closes the subject.

Put the film you or your children really want to see to the ultimate test. Would you be comfortable taking Jesus with you?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Tale of Two (and more) Children

In yesterday's copy of the free newspaper, The Metro, was an article advising readers that the four-year-old daughter of "Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie" has landed her first film role - with a pay-packet of £2,000 per week!  I suppose that it's yet another case of "It's not what you know, but who you know, that counts"!  Oh, and there is also a mere £40 per day for "expenses".  That buys a lot of sweeties, even in these days of austerity!

Perhaps it's just me, but I found it almost obscene that any child should be considered worthy of such a financial package.  However, what makes the situation worse, in my opinion, is the knowledge of what that amount of money could do for some of the thousands of children in Syria who, as I type, are facing freezing temperatures without winter clothing, or shelter, or food.  I imagine what £2,000 per week could do for some of the millions of children, worldwide, whose life chances will be permanently damaged by the impact of childhood hunger.  I wonder how many children from Niger, and Ethiopia, and Armenia; from Bangladesh, and Zambia, and Uganda; could be sponsored with £2,000 per week.

I was, however, heartened by a brief letter to the newspaper.  It referred to the reports that a number of "celebrities" have been encouraged to pay the bill for the Rehab Clinic being attended by former football (soccer) 'whizz-kid', Paul Gascoigne, in an attempt to deal with his alcoholism.  It read: "Celebs are paying for Gazza's rehab bill.  I wish they'd do the same for people in Malawi who don't even have clean water, let alone booze."  Well said, Elfontheshelf, Helensburg.  I couldn't agree more!

I suppose it all goes to show what a crazy, upside-down, world we live in, where one already pampered child is paid a ridiculous amount, while millions of others die from starvation and malnutrition; and where there is more concern over the self-inflicted condition of one man, than over the condition in which millions find themselves, through no fault of their own!

Marriage - the fight continues!

Another brief video message - letting us know of some of the realities that occur when marriage is redefined!  It's worth taking the less than two minutes to view!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Vacancy at the Vatican!

Today's big news has had a distinctly Italian flavour!  No, not Scotland's unexpected, but decisive, win over the Italians in Saturday's Six Nations' Cup rugby football match, welcome 'though that was.  The big news has been the equally unexpected announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he intends to resign from his pontificate at the end of this month. 

As one would expect, the great and the mighty have been quick to comment on the Pontiff's decision.  None more so that our own dear leader, Prime Minister David Cameron.  Speaking to the House of Commons he praised the Pope's leadership of the Church of Rome, and said that he had "worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain's relations with the Holy See."   He added that Benedict's visit to Britain in 2010 was, and would continue to be, remembered "with great respect and affection."  "Pope Benedict's message on that visit of working for the common good is something that spoke to our whole country," he said.

This, of course, was less than a week after the same David Cameron supported the Bill to redefine marriage to include persons of the same gender - something to which the Pope is steadfastly opposed.  So much for respect and affection! 

There is now, of course, much speculation as to who will be the successor to Benedict when he reverts to being Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.  Many seem to expect that it will be someone from outside Europe - quite possibly an African.  Personally, while not accepting all that is claimed for the Papacy, I would be delighted to see the Scottish cardinal Keith O'Brien elevated to that office.  However, it will be the College of Cardinals, convened in Conclave, who will make the decision.  Whoever is elected as the next Pontiff of the Church of Rome, will require strength and wisdom to stand against the aggressive secularism of the present age.  I wish him well. 

Must stop now.  I'll maybe brush up my own CV, and send a copy to Rome!  (Only joking!  I don't think that Rome is yet ready for a "protestant pope"!).

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

It's not over yet!

So, the House of Commons has voted to legalise same-sex marriage by a margin of 400 votes to 175.  Already the supporters of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill seem to think that the battle has, effectively, been won.  However, there is an old saying that, "It's not over until the fat lady sings" - and that stage has not yet been reached!  

As I understand it, the Bill now has to go through at least one Committee stage, during which amendments may be made.  It then has to go to the House of Lords - and the Upper House has the option of returning it to the House of Commons.  This is where things could get really interesting!  My understanding (again!) is that, because the issue was not in any of the Party manifestos; and because it was not in the Queen's Speech at the opening of the current Parliamentary session; the Parliamentary Act (1949) may not be invoked.  This Act curtailed the power of the House of Lords, and reduced the Lords' delaying power over legislation to one year, ensuring that it cannot, indefinitely, overturn decisions of the House of Commons.  If my understanding is correct, then the House of Lords may, in this specific situation, delay the passage of the Bill right up until the next General Election!  As that is more than two years away, who knows what will have happened in the intervening period?!

Of one thing I remain certain - that God is Sovereign!  He is also the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and the End.  He has not been phased by this decision.  From His vantage point of eternity - a dimension far beyond anything that we are capable of even imagining, let alone understanding - He sees all of created time simultaneously.  He already knows the final outcome of this attempt to redefine that which He instituted at the very beginning of time.  And, of course, He is working all things out in accordance with His ultimate will and purpose.

So we do not lose heart.  We work; we pray; we submit to the Father's will.  To Him be all the glory!