Lifestyle

One of the best lifestyle choices I made in the past two decades was to stop going to church. It was a combination of factors. It wasn’t about losing a faith but gained a realisation that god doesn’t exist.

Constantly the gay community is bashed over the head when is said that it “makes a lifestyle choice”. Would I choose to be discriminated against? Isolated in society or even put to death for a choice? If I was to say I have chosen this path I would immediately recant knowing that my life could be spared.

Would it really have been a choice that at the age of 13 I would want to hide who I truly am; not even come out to people who are my friends a decade later?

I chose NOT to believe in god. It has made my free from the politics of church. Free from the bickering and backbiting. Free from knowing that if I was to walk through the door I would be immediately be judged for the person whom I want to love.

In the past three years I have met a person who has given more more love and acceptance that the whole of every congregation I have ever been a part of. He hasn’t gossiped about me or made underhand comments to colleagues I once worked with. He has listen. Loved and accepted. He has told me when I have done wrong but in a loving way.

My friends are those who have loved me. Accepted me. Been the ones to wipe the tears. Unlike those congregations I am not ashamed to open my heart and express who I am.

Hallowe’en

When I was a ‘church-goer’ many years ago there was always a hushed moment if you mentioned the word Hallowe’en. If people were to speak about it then it would be in condemnation. No Christian should participate in this unholy of days. I just remember a time when I was young carving out a turnip (no American use of pumpkins) and the smell of the burning as the candle burnt the lid. I would plague my neighbours asking ‘penny for hallowe’en’. That was it. There were no sacrifices or drinking of blood.

It was only when I became a member of the local church was I discouraged from such practices. It was not something I really thought about until the past few weeks. I have been doing some research and reading into the background of Hallowe’en and tried to grasp perspective from all sides.

I read a book by Owen Davies “Paganism”. Even though it was a short introduction to the subject it was rather dull and many times stated that the facts the author was supposedly presenting about pre-christian religion most of it was conjecture. What it did though was explain that according to Christian beliefs that any other religion that wasn’t backed by the belief of Jesus Christ as God and saviour were seen as pagan beliefs.

Image

Unfortunately there in a belief that “a pagan” is someone who believes in devil worship and an occultist. This simply isn’t true. Some of the church teaching seems to throw in a mix of Hollywood’s portrayal of the devil and stories that have popularised demons and other horror stories.

Looking back Hallowe’en is more about the ending of the agricultural year, giving thanks for the harvest and lighting fires to symbolise the welcoming of the darker part of the year and to remember souls of those who had died. It was seen as a time when the people had the clearest connection between this life and the next.

I have very little superstitious belief. I cannot believe harm can come from this time. I believe humans inflict horrible harm on each other more that supposed ‘demons’ and the ‘devil’.

So whatever and however you are celebrating make sure you have a good one.

Autumn

I love this time of the year. The whole of the landscape is changing. There are so many diverse colours about and the moving of the summer into autumn is certainly underway.

I was discussing this with some of my friends as we had tried to identify a tree that had shed its leaves. It was amazing to see that nature is such a powerful thing. We seem to miss the changing colour of the leaves. The way that the full green of the landscape is turning into a orange- brown-reddish mixture.

Storms

So as predicted in the news there is a massive storm that is going to hit the UK on Monday. This has been mention on news channels, social networking and various other media outlets.

“Fail to prepare; prepare to fail”

I wonder how many stories we will get about those who have been stuck in cars or affected in someway by this storm when following simple advice given has been ignored?

Like time and time again when severe weather hits as a nation we complain and and moan about everything has come to a standstill and we are held up by accidents and breakdowns on our roads.

So if you do venture out on Monday. Here’s a few tips to insure you have a hassle free journey.

1. Check your car tomorrow (Sunday) not Monday morning. Check washer fluid. Make sure all the lights are working correctly. Make sure your car has enough petrol and oil.

2. Place a warm coat in your car. If you have a mobile make sure it’s fully charged on Sunday evening.

3. Leave the house 10/15 minutes early. If you arrive at your destination a bit earlier than you normally do it’s a positive thing anyway.

4. Listen to traffic news before you go. Tune your radio into a local station. They will provide updates.

5. Don’t use your mobile while driving and slow down if there are high winds.

6. Secure loose objects in the garden. Make sure shed doors and greenhouse windows are closed. The same goes for your house.

These are a few simple tips. It’s not an exhaustive list. If have your own tips leave them in the comments below.

Celebrity

I am struggling with the term “Celebrity” at the moment. I am having a hard time getting my head around what it means to be actually famous. So I thought about looking at the actual definition of the word. It’s origins lie in someone who is honoured or celebrated.

If I am widely known does that make me a celebrity? I am sure people wouldn’t consider someone like the serial killer Dr Harold Shipman as a celebrity when he was alive. So notoriety and knowledge of a particular person doesn’t make them one. The minute that someone is placed on a talent show, broadcast on mainstream television, some think that they are a celebrity. ┬áTo me they are not.

Look at what so-called celebrities have achieved. You have auditioned and failed to win. You haven’t achieved anything. I certainly will think again when someone considers themselves to be a celebrity. I will start firstly with what they have given to society and is it worth celebrating.

Church and “the gays”

I have been watching the Supreme Court case of the Christian B&B owners who have been sued by a gay couple of the grounds of discrimination. I am sure that people in the UK are aware of this case.

There have been long and complicated arguments over the past hour in the court and the one thing that has struck me more than anything else is that it is sad that it has come to this.

The Christian B&B owners are an elderly couple who some would say hold rather conservative and old fashioned religious beliefs. The argument in the court has been about whether a gay couple would be treated in the same way as a married couple. As this has happened many years ago and the marriage equality act hadn’t been implicated some say that it couldn’t be the same as a married couple and therefore choosing to deny a room to a gay couple is tantamount to discrimination on the grounds of sexuality orientation.

I feel it is sad that it has come to this point. Very sad. These sort of cases are continually pushed into the media causing hurt and division but I don’t blame the reporting of such cases as they are certainly in the public interest to be heard. What I do feel is the continuing isolation between the mainstream church and gay community is certainly apparent and wrong. Both sides could learn a lot from each other and have a lot to give.

A community where compassion forgiveness and understanding seems to be lacking. The established church is continuing to be increasingly irrelevant not just to young people but to all generations. The Christian argument is that scripture is clear and its moral code and the understanding of this doesn’t change. What the Christian couple have failed to understand is the hurt in which their religious beliefs has cause to the the original gay couple involved but to the community.

Murder , rape, torture and child neglect or abuse is morally repugnant and wrong. The majority of a sane normal society would find these acts abhorant. What the Christian couple have said is they believe that people who are gay are also part of the problem sin and apply this to unmarried straight couples as well. But how many hotels and B&B now in this ‘enlightened’ age would turn away a couple who is unmarried? It would certainly become more difficult to determine whether a straight couple were married compare to a couple who are in a gay relationship.

Also in what circumstances would you impose Christian teachings to someone who is staying in your home? I am sure some wouldn’t allow unmarried couples to share the same bed but would we also expect people to observe sabbatical laws? Or perhaps not to covet the hotel owners shiny new car on their drive?

Lets face it the church has the biggest hang up about sex. Particularly sexual relations between people of the same gender. Does the established Church continue to plows its beliefs no matter what the consequence or outcome believing in a divine rule or do both sides try to come to a rational and sensible understanding?

My belief is that there should always be dialogue. It’s those who close the door and turn away others that I find morally reprehensible

End of the EDL

The EDL was always about the puppet at the top. He was a show man. Albeit a bad one. He was supported by people out of the scene. People who had money and an anti-muslim agenda.

The people who were brainwashed by Stephen Lennon (Tommy Robinson) were the ordinary people in the streets. They fell for his lies about Islam and directed his hate to all Muslims. This was generalisation and prejudice at its worst. It caused damage to a lot of communities and divided a lot of people. What it did do was galvanise a side of people (including myself) to stand up to peoples prejudices. I was certainly happy to join the anti-facism march back in May of this year against the EDL in Newcastle.

Take a rough straw poll of people opinions on twitter I can see many are dismayed that Stephen has jumped ship calling him a traitor and other unsavoury words. It showed you how much their were sheep following one another and being at his beck and call. Other have congratulated his for taking the EDL this far. I just ask the question “What actually have they done?”.

The have terrorised and abused people in this country not just Muslims but those who have stood up to their appalling beliefs. They have cost the tax payer millions of pound insisting they protest around various parts of the country. Money that could have been spent more wisely.

I believe it’s the end of the road for the EDL but not for vile right-wing views.