A sad story in the current news concerns a lovely little old lady who apparently jumped to her death near Bristol after being ‘hounded by charities.’
According to the Express (see link)
>>>>Legendary Mrs Cooke, aged 92, who had sold poppies since 1938, is believed to have taken her own life and jumped into Avon gorge in Bristol.
Family and friends said she was overcome with guilt after being sent 260 letters from charities every month asking for money.<<<
As well as being very emotionally loaded, this isn’t even accurate. A close friend of the deceased said on TV last night that she had, in the worst month, received 200 letters, this isn’t ‘260 letters every month.’ Another friend said that Mrs Cooke was a very generous woman who had over 20 standing orders to various charities. She had been ill with breast cancer and was distraught after £250 she sent her son was ‘lost in the post’.
Below the Express article are many comments basically denouncing all, or most, charities as scams and vowing never to give another penny to any of them. Many posters mention the aggressive practices including cold calling that are employed, and persistence. I get this, its a problem. There is a clear religious duty on Christians to support widows, orphans, the disabled and those suffering from natural disasters and wars, but we are not called upon to support any and every organisation calling itself a charity, let alone the one with the most aggressive fund raising practices.
My wife and I support half a dozen charities regularly, a mix of overseas development and relief (Tearfund, Leprosy Mission, Mission Aviation Fellowship, Compassion) and Christian evangelism, e.g. the Bible Society and local churches. But we decided some years ago that we would never give another penny to any charity that we aren’t already involved with, as once you do that you never get off their mailing list and they will chase you for life. Apart from the hassle, this is a waste of their resources, we hate throwing letters in the bin, sometimes unopened.
Oxfam is one example. We have supported them in the past but prefer to support Tearfund which does the same kind of work in the same places, but is explicitly Christian. Both charities are members of the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee). Like many others, we gave something to the Nepal earthquake appeal-for which Tearfund has now raised £2 million which is being spend through their partners on the ground. Recently we had 3 begging letters from OXFAM. I wrote back to say please take us off your mailing list as we are fully committed to another overseas development and relief charity of our choice. Hopefully they have, as any further letters from them will go in the bin unread. We must have got on their list as we donate books to the Oxfam book shop in Winchester (great shop) and they asked me to register for gift aid so they could reclaim tax.
Probably the worst offender is Premier Christian Radio. They must send 8 or 10 letters a year, there is always a crisis, they are always about to be shut down unless they get another £360,000 by Thursday….I steel myself and send what I think is right, no more. It is possible to say no.
Last week I had a cold call on behalf of my old university, a young female student who asked me all sorts of comfortable questions to make me feel relaxed before asking me to sign up for regular donations to support immunological research into cancer. I politely declined, not least because I know something about this sort of research and consider it highly overrated, especially since I work at the early diagnostic end (see www.dermoscopy.wordpress.com) which is about a million times more cost effective. She got this and we ended the conversation politely. BUT and (like mine) it is a very big butt, I am a big, ugly, self sufficient male and not a little old lady who is kind, trusting and naive enough to put £250 in notes into an envelope and post it. If I find it hard to say no, a frail widow will find it much harder.
All religions and most philosophies teach that those who have a sufficiency should give to those who through no fault of their own are poor (yes, I do make a distinction between deserving and undeserving poor. I will give to a charity helping alcoholics recover but will not give money to a drunk for more vodka). The more charities you sign up for, the more they chase you. And they all, always, want more money-they see the needs of their clients and want to help. They’re not evil, but sometimes can get out of hand.
Just because a number of people post nasty selfish comments on the Express web page doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with what amounts to aggressive begging from many of our charities. I am not a big fan of the ‘The government should do something’ approach to problem solving, but maybe there is a case for something along the lines of the public service advice against telephone scamming. Because some people really are vulnerable.
PS how much is David Miliband being paid (I will not say earning) as CEO of the International Rescue charity? I just looked it up and apparently its rather a lot-£300,000 a year.
PS never kill yourself. There is always a better option. Mrs Cooke could have used a wise friend, now that would have been charitable.
A few more reflections on the 2015 UK General Election. the outcome of which apparently surprised a lot of people but which looking back I think can be understood, if one factors in various lies, swindles, corruptions and insanities.
Firstly, the power of the main stream media. We are told that Britain has a ‘free press’. Yeah, one’s rotund hirsute posterior. I am free, for now, to write this blog. Trouble is, only about 8 people read it. If I was a billionaire, I’d be free to own a newspaper and get it to write what I wanted. Some people, a very few, enjoy that much freedom. If you own a media outlet such as a popular daily newspaper or broadcasting channel, very likely you will want it to write stuff that will influence people in a way that serves your interests. And this is what we find.
Most people have heard of the repulsive Rupert Murdoch who has for decades exercised massive control over the UK media, including the Sun and the Times, both of which backed David Cameron’s Conservative Party. The phrase ‘it was the Sun wot won it’ has been triumphally boasted of in past elections, and I read somewhere that the Sun has backed every victorious political party since 1979. I find that worrying. The Mail also backed Cameron. Murdoch’s News of the World would probably have backed Cameron too had it not been forced to close by scandal. I am very concerned that the rich and powerful are able to influence voters, for the obvious reason that if this is known to be true (and it is) then the politicans will want to do deals with media owners that are not in the interest of taxpayers and voters.
The Express alone backed UKIP, its owner Richard Desmond donating £1.3 million to the party. His media empire included pornography and as a UKIP supporter I was very sorry that his money was accepted, but then UKIP has never claimed to be a Christian party (although is less anti-Christian than the others, which isn’t saying much).
The Telegraph, which used to be a decent centre right newspaper that was worth reading, is owned by the shadowy and unpleasant Barclay twins . Like most papers, it has been frantically telling its readers who to vote for.
The Labour supporting Guardian newspaper, which is subsidised for political reasons and runs at a loss, claims to take the moral high ground and that the BBC has a right wing bias. This of course is the exact opposite of the truth. The BBC is the very epitomy of the liberal left secular humanist philosophy it has worked so hard to create. Of course they can’t admit it, but every now and then a former insider like Peter Sissons blurts the truth out. The most effective propaganda is the one you don’t even realise you are swallowing. Of course the BBC has to be careful since it has a charter obligation to be unbiased, but they skilfully get round it, not least by only advertising for jobs in the left wing Labour supporting Guardian.
The BBC regardless of its contemptuous denials is very obviously biased. As Peter Hitchens has written, it’s about who you interview (and how often, and when), who you don’t, how you introduce people, who gets the first and last word, who gets interrupted and who gets an easy ride, what questions are asked, et cetera. The BBC hates Hitchens. It also particularly hates UKIP because they are the first threat to the liberal left consensus since Margaret Thatcher, and even when the Liberal Democrats were running well behind UKIP in opinion polls, were doing interviews with ‘the three main party leaders’ excluding Nigel Farage. The Mail was running anti Farage stories up to the end, notably a story about a bad taste joke he told at a wedding 14 years ago which it saved up for the day before the election.
The Mail on Sunday pulled Peter Hitchens’ column (which is usually anti-Cameron) the Sunday before the election. They had to tread a careful line as so many of its readers support UKIP, as can be seen from the comments in on line Mail discussions. At the last minute, the Mail editorial pleaded with its readers who were planing to vote UKIP to vote Tory instead as ‘Red Ed’ would be so awful and that Cameron was going to give a fair referendum on EU membership anyway (he won’t). I think that was the main reason for the polls failing to predict the outright Conservative victory, undecided voters and some UKIPpers voting Conservative to stop Labour.
Of course the standard reply to anyone who complains about bias is to call them a sore loser. Its an easy charge to make, a hard one to refute, but the truth (or some of it anyway) is out there and for now we are still somewhat free to root it out and discuss it. How can I prove, for example, that the BBC’s failure to hold David Cameron to account over his disastrous adventure in Libya is a result of bias and a liberal left agenda? Because, as Peter Hitchens proves in his book ‘The Cameron Delusion’, David Cameron is no conservative but a liberal, who has called himself ‘The Heir to Blair’.
Of course, things are more complex than they appear. You can only wonder about what we aren’t being told. Having been successfully lied to in the past by people who wanted to take advantage of me, I am warier than when I was younger, but am under no illusions about the probability that at this moment I am seriously misinformed about some important things. I only wish I knew which ones. But it is clear than many voters, apart from the 35% or so who don’t vote at all, have only a superficial grasp of the main issues. If advertising did not change the thinking and behaviour of a significant number of people, there would not be a multi billion pound advertising industry, would there? David Cameron of course used to work in a public relations company. He is a consumate performer.
On the Conservative victory, Jeremy Clarkson (whose popularity can be gauged by the million plus signatures on a petition not to sack him after he violently assaulted a colleague) wrote in The Sun that ‘Britain will not elect a weirdo as PM.’ So a lot of it comes down to this: There are unattractive photographs of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich and apparent;ly picking his nose which have been heavily employed against him, whereas there are many photos of David Cameron looking successful with his highly photogenic wife Sam. and this sort of imagery may have turned the election, rather than a sober evaluation of policy, character and performance. Why did we see attractive family pics of the Camerons, but no accountability for his foreign policy disaster in Libya? In fact, defence, national security and freedom of conscience, thought and speech were barely discussed in the whole stage managed election campaign.
Regardless of what I think of Ed Miliband (as it happens I think he’s a dangerous Marxist who would have done immeasurable harm as Prime Minister) this is NOT how I think we should choose our leaders. But how can a discussion about undue influence by the handful of powerful people who own our media be conducted? Do turkeys vote for Christmas?
reflection on election
It is breakfast time on Thursday 7th May 2015, a momentous day which will change my country’s history for better or worse. Probably worse.
I have just voted, and to avoid suspense will say it was with some reluctance and uncertainty for UKIP. I almost changed my mind at the last moment as there has been a big move to persuade people who see many things the way I do (honest money, respect for tradition, our loss of free speech due to political correctness, no to half a million immigrants per annum, housing and transport issues, perpetual NHS reorganisation, selective secondary education on merit i.e. grammar schools, etc, etc) to abandon UKIP and vote Conservative ‘to keep Labour out.‘ This idea is in itself worth a long essay.
The latest polls put Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck at about 34% each, so if (as David Cameron and the Daily Mail request) all those intending to vote UKIP were to vote Conservative instead, David Cameron would return to 10 Downing Street with a big majority. So? If UKIPers all voted Labour, then similarly Ed Milliband would become PM. And if everyone who is entitled to vote who did not vote last time (35% did not vote in 2010) were to vote Green, we would have a Green government. And if nobody votes, we’d presumably have to ask the Privy Council to set up a junta (might not be a bad idea actually). David Cameron has no rational basis to assume that he has the right to our votes, Kippers or otherwise. Why does he think he is entitled to them? I don’t think he has earned mine and based on past performance I don’t trust his promises.
Yes, many of Nigel Farage’s supporters are, like Farage himself (and me-though I have voted Labour, Lib Dem and Green in the past), former Conservative voters who feel badly let down by the Conservative Party. Maybe rather than try to frighten us with the Ed MiIliband bogeyman, Cameron might wish to ask himself why so many former Conservative voters feel so badly let down that we have taken our votes elsewhere. Could it be that HE has got something wrong, not several million of us? If, as he supposes, the Tories are entitled to the UKIP vote then the ‘centre right’ (if that’s a valid term any more) poll numbers would be 35% +14%=49%, which would be a comfortable majority assuming reasonable distribution of votes across constituencies. However, Cameron’s assumption that UKIP voters are all disgruntled former Conservatives is unsound.
Many former ‘working class’ Labour voters are equally unhappy and feel let down by the wealthy metropolitan EuroMarxist elite that now run the Labour Party. Their children can’t afford homes to live in, their wages have been depressed by cheap immigrant labour, the roads they drive on are choked with traffic and their GP surgery is choked-not just with extra patient numbers swollen by 5 million net immigrants in the last 20 years but as the GPs are weighed down under a suffocating weight of government regulations and a target culture. Many who vote UKIP previously voted Labour or not at all. But this blog is not primarily about my reasons for voting UKIP, but the election campaign as a whole.
Many people think it has been a boring, irritating, stage managed campaign-rather like the dull nil-nil draw games often seen for tactical reasons in Premier League football. No spirit, no flair, no excitement, just accountancy and public relations. I listened to a discussion last night with some experienced political journalists who thought that politicians were being extra careful not to go off script given the dire consequences of actually saying something unrehearsed. They remember the famous Gillian Duffy moment in the 2010 election when Gordon Brown was caught calling a Labour supporter ‘bigoted’ for questioning mass immigration.
The politicians are all so scared of a slip of the tongue that will be all over Twitter in 30 seconds that they are avoiding the public. Stage managed ‘rallies’ take place in halls and factories which are empty apart from a dozen or so activists who have been bussed in for a photo opportunity. The slick Cameron in particular has a smooth speech which he delivers whatever question or comment is put to him. Milliband is the same. To be fair, although I don’t support him Nick Clegg has been a bit more forthcoming, but not much. Remember the boost his shiny TV persona gave the 2010 election?
Its drivel, utter, utter drivel. ‘We want to be fair, to build a better future for hard working families, we will make work pay, build homes, be more efficient, we will CARE more, create opportunities, reduce the deficit….blah, blah blah.‘ Most of them make promises so vague that you could not prove they hadn’t been kept. Ed Milliband’s set of promises ‘written in stone’ (see above) is so vague it means nothing. I mean, what does ‘a better future’ mean? Ed Milliband’s ‘better future’ might be a nightmare for me. I want details. And ‘more time to care in the NHS’ Oh really? Well UKIP has said they will abolish appraisal and revalidation in the NHS, that is a specific, deliverable, testable proposal, won’t cost any money (will save loads) and would actually give every doctor maybe 30 hours or more actual time each year. Would Labour support that proposal? Of course not, because appraisal and revalidation are about CONTROL. Milliband’s ‘more time to care’ promise is too vague to be any use, and you could never prove it hadn’t been kept, Just pure guff and soundbites.
I could go on, but what it really boils down to is this. Most of the political discussion from all sides has been about entitlement spending, although that phrase has not been used in my hearing. Whenever they talk about tax, benefits, ‘fairness’ or anything, the unstated assumption is that the State has the right, the power, the responsibility and the obligation to take as much money as it wishes though taxing people alive today and taxing children and those not yet born (through future debt and interest payments on our ever increasing borrowing) and handing the money out like Father Christmas. The late and sadly missed Auberon Waugh wrote that he thought most of them go into politics because they want to be Father Christmas, giving out gifts, toys, chocolates and other goodies to the children, as long as they are good little boys and girls and don’t do anything naughty-like question secularist liberal left consensus thinking on immigration, marriage and the family, tax and benefits etc.
In my post apocalyptic Kindle novel ‘Darwin’s Adders: Chronicle of Pagan England 2089′ I envisage a post-democracy future in which England is ruled by a oligarchial governing class who determine what people will and won’t do and who tolerate no dissent. They laugh at the history of democracy ‘..in which knaves bribed fools for their votes using their children’s money.’ I wrote it because I think we’re going that way. As Richard Nixon said, ‘A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything away.’
People don’t see that big government spending means big government in every other way, they just vote for more and more spending with cries of ‘we’re worth it…tax the rich!’ (as if better off people weren’t already paying most of the tax) and ‘lets borrow more, since interest rates are low’ as the leader of the Welsh Nationalists has said. Silly woman doesn’t seem to realise that interest rates are deliberately kept artificially low SO THAT governments can borrow more to bribe us with for our votes and encourage us to borrow more to stimulate the economy. History tells us that such low rates can’t be maintained for ever, as eventually investors won’t invest and lenders won’t lend with such low returns. When interest rates inevitably rise to a more normal level, it will ruin heavily indebted borrowers-i.e. all of us. But these socialist politicians are as useless at history as they are at arithmetic.
Just heard on the radio about telephone investment scams…‘Scams are scripted to appear just like genuine investments.’ Quite so. This election is a scam scripted to look like a genuine exercise in people power. With vapid airy promises and the real issues avoided just as most of our politicians are avoiding the public, it’s nothing of the kind.
I have prayed, I have voted, now I will pray some more. And I have got some crisps and beer in and have tomorrow of f work so I can stay up all night shouting at the TV. But I am fairly sure that the madness will continue with debt funded entitlement spending running the game until we end up like Greece but with nobody to bail us out. And we’re not just running out of money but moral and intellectual capital as well. The end of our civilisation could come very quickly-remember the summer 2011 riots.
God help us, please.
Today British voters decide our nation’s fate by voting for a new government. Or do we? I have been thinking more about Biblical prophecy recently, especially Daniel’ which we are studying at church. We studied Revelation last year.
Prophecy is difficult. It can be hard to understand and easy to misinterpret and misuse. But Jesus referred to prophecy a lot, and referred often to the Last Days. His own miraculous birth, life, death and resurrection fulfilled and was validated by multiple prophecies-something unprecedented in any other founder of a religion or philosophy.
As I post, no votes have yet been cast, but God already knows the outcome of the 2015 UK General Election. And He will have His way. I have pondered much on the issue of free will versus predestination and ended up back where I started-I can neither reconcile the two nor dismiss one or the other. We do appear to have real choices with real consequences, but who can say how we make our choices? I have noted elsewhere that the late Fred Phelps of extremist Westboro Baptist Church and his opposite number atheist philosopher Richard Dawkins both denied that people had free will, but viciously criticised people for the choices they (apparently) made.
So, as we ‘choose’ a negovernment, may God’s will be done and the precious name of Jesus be exalted. And may this stupid, wicked, greedy, selfish, cruel, apostate, idolatrous, adulterous and self-deceived nation come to her senses before it is too late.
When I hear David Cameron with his smooth speech about ‘a strong economy’, hard working families, ‘economic stability’ and all the rest of the stuff his researchers tell him that people like me want to hear, I am almost tempted to vote for him. And then I remember when he reneged on his promised Lisbon treat referendum, how he smashed us with the perverted redefinition of marriage (not in the manifesto) and then I think of Henry Rollins’ brilliant song about skilled manipulators.
Do you wanna know why? DO YOU WANNA KNOW WHY???
Recently, actress and campaigner against violence against women Angelina Jolie had mutilating surgery in order to reduce her risks of getting ovarian or breast cancer. She chose to do this as she was found to have certain genetic mutations which increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
She has written and spoken openly about the experience and her reasons, and has received widespread commendation for her courage and openness. I was reminded of the story today after reading a piece in the Sunday Telegraph about another woman, Sarah Bury who is to have the same procedure, basically to remove most of her female organs in the hope that by doing so she will avoid getting breast or ovarian cancer.
I have every sympathy with any woman who chooses to go this way, without saying whether I think this is a good idea or not. I am sure such aggressive surgery is not undertaken lightly. It may do more harm than good, it may not, I haven’t researched it in depth. But it seems a very shocking thing to do, removing healthy organs in case they become diseased. I would have thought that if a strong risk was established that maybe careful monitoring would be a better way to go, but clearly autonomy comes in here, one of the governing principles of medical ethics.
The there is the question of justice (another of the principles of medical ethics, the others being beneficence, non-maleficience-‘first do no harm’). I know that the costs are not simply transferable, but kids are still going blind in poor countries for want of a 60p tube of antibiotics. I feel a bit queasy about the ‘Angelina Jolie Operation.’ If we as a society are going to go this way as genetic research uncovers more previously unquantifiable risks, where will it end?
Two things occur to me about this. First, the lengths that some of us will go to to stave of the inevitable day when we will have to die. Secondly, the clearly understood fact that mutations cause cancer.
Funny that, since if molecules to man evolution was true (*), a very large number of mutations, arguably a majority, would have to not only be beneficial rather than harmful (as the BRCA and similar mutations so evidently are) but would have to create new genetic information to build new structures which would give organisms a competitive edge in natural selection. But direct repeatable observations tell us that mutations are harmful and destructive. The direct observations about mutations fit with the intelligent design hypothesis, but are exactly the opposite of what molecules to man evolution requires.
Funny thing that nobody in the mainstream media ever refers to this, even as they are reporting high profile cases where mutations are seen to be very harmful indeed.
Angelina Jolie will, sadly, have to die at her appointed time whether she likes it or not, and so will I. As the Bible says ‘It is appointed to man to die once, and after that comes Judgment.’ I am all in favour of taking reasonmable steps to prolong life but our technology will NOT be able to prolong our existence indefinitely. Eternity is a long time. We ought to consider our latter end and get right with our Maker while we can.
(*) I’ll let you into a secret. Molecules to man evolution could not have and did not occur. You have been lied to about this. You might want to ask why.
I think I may have posted a review of this rather nasty film when I saw it at the cimema last year, but thought I’d post a review on Amazon since they sent me an advert for the film. Anyhow, they rejected the review, the first time out of many I’ve had a review rejected. Rejected within 5 minutes of being submitted, so most likely there are some key words or phrases a programme picks up and rejects. They said it didn’t comply with guidelines but were not specific. As I’ve no idea which words were deemed worthy of censorship (Greville Janner perhaps?) I saw no point in trying to re-write it. I looked at their guidelines and could only conclude that they had rejected it as it was politically opinionated. Their gaff, their rules, OK, but a politically motivated review of a politically motivated film seemed fair enough to me. Anyway, since I’d spent a few minutes of my life writing it, here is the review Amazon didn’t want to publish. For what its worth and with a sentence (about bishops) added..
Shame really, I was looking forward to seeing the sort of responses I’d get from people who lapped up the film, assuming it was the unadorned truth about the Conservative Party and reason enough to vote Labour, as the film’s makers and distributors so clearly intended.
Difficult to know how many stars to give this. It was a well made film so maybe 4 or even 5 stars, but I certainly didn’t like it so maybe 1 or 2. I compromised and gave 3 on balance.
The film is very obviously about the infamous Bullingdon club, of which as the world knows our current and possibly next but one Prime Minister (David Cameron and Boris Johnson) and chancellor George Osborne were members. And there is the famous picture of them looking like the privileged rich people they are, see above.
There is nothing for me to add about how disgusting the characters displayed in the film are. The scene where they smash up a pub and then the landlord is perhaps the most shocking scene I have ever seen on film. But the final scene, where the chief miscreant, quite impenitent, is being interviewed by rich powerful Establishment figure in an exclusive London club is perhaps uglier. He is told that the Establishment will get him off the hook for GBH and that he will have a bright future …’we (obviously the Conservative Party) can’t give you a constituency (i.e. shoe you in to Parliament) but there will be work for you to do behind the scenes.’ He then walks out into the street, past a Salvation Army band collecting for charity, and sneers the repulsive sneer of the power elite who despise the poor and have no fear of God.
OK, so the producer knows how to do a really brutal hatchet job on a caricature of the Conservative Party. Don’t get me wrong, I detest what the Conservative Party have now become and many of their past deeds. And I do believe that there is an unaccountable Establishment that looks after its own. But is this Establishment Conservative? And are Labour and Lib Dem any better?
Arrogant rich toffs are VERY easy to caricature, easier even than C of E bishops (who, interestingly, these days are pretty reliably left wing in outlook and often spend more time preaching about tax and welfare than salvation from one’s sins). Its harder to caricaturise the Left, particularly in a climate where the UK media, particularity channel 4 and the BBC, are so one sided in their political affections and dislikes. I wonder what reception a scriptwriter would get who wanted to do a fictionalised version of the secret machinations of Mandelson and co as revealed by Andrew Neather to deliberately engineer mass immigration in order to permanently alter the social and demographic mix of England, ‘to rub the Right’s nose in it’? Seriously, isn’t that a story worth writing about? Or how Jack Jones and other union leaders were in the pay and under the orders of the Kremlin while working with a Labour government do undermine Britain’s prosperity to enable revolution?
And if we’re talking about dodgy sexual matters, what about the disgraced liberal/left politicians like Tommy Sheridan, Greville Janner, Cyril Smith or Liberal Lord Reynard? When are we going to see films made about these guys?
What it comes down to is this. Riot Club was a grossly exaggerated anti-Tory smear funded and made by the LEFT WING Establishment designed to prejudice people against voting Conservative in the 2015 election. I will not be voting Conservative myself, but I think we should decide how to vote based on a calm, reasoned and informed appraisal of the policies and record of the different parties, not on the basis of a ‘down with evil toffs’ propaganda pantomime.
I’m not the only one who enjoyed the’ Interstellar’ film but noted subtle anti Christian propaganda in it.
As the famous quote from John Donne goes ‘The death of any man diminishes me…ask not then for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’ But the death of some people inevitably affects us more personally than others, and I was very sorry to hear last week that legendary guitarist John Renbourn had passed aged only 70. His long term friend and collaborator Stefan Grossman, whom I have met twice, has posted this video of the 2 men informally rehearsing.
He was an exceptional and adventurous musician who inspired at least 2 generations of guitar pickers. Coming to prominence in the late 1960s with the folk fusion group Pentangle (whom I saw perform at the Royal Albert Hall as a teenager around 1973) he studied composition after achieving commercial success (a rare thing) and succeeded in producing guitar music with elements of folk, blues, jazz, mediaeval, baroque and Irish (particularly the music of the great blind Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan which he and Stefan Grossman (featured in this video) did so much to transcribe and popularise for guitar.
I saw him play at least 4 times that I can remember, with Pentangle, Jacqui McShea, Isaac Guillory and solo-and he was never less than amazing, but could make self deprecating jokes about himself. Check his playing out on YouTube.
John Renbourn inspired my playing (such as it is) more than many. The first song I learned to play on guitar was Pentangle’s version of the old English ballad ‘Lord Franklin’. And now he is gone, where we all must go-to the next world.
The Bible says in Psalm 90, attributed to Moses, ‘..for the years of our life is but three score years and ten, or perchance by strength, fourscore, and then we fly away….so let us number our days and get a heart of wisdom.’ Time is passing, we should use it well because it will run out sooner than we think.
I heard about the self styled ‘Disciples of the New Dawn’ a few days ago via a FB post from a Daily Mail item about them. The Mail appeared to take them perfectly seriously. There is a petition calling for them to be banned. But the whole thing is a malicious fake, and part of an emerging pattern of deceitful ‘false flag’ internet operations designed to smear and misrepresent Christians..
The material the group (or is it the work of an individual?) posts is ludicrously and spitefully anti female, purportedly coming form a biblical Christian viewpoint. For example excoriating Caesarian sections for difficult labour, saying stuff like ‘if God wants you to die in childbirth, who are you do disagree?’. There is a lot more nasty stuff, after reading a sample I didn’t feel the need to clog my mind up with any more of it as it was so obvious. Or was it?
Lots of people are either taking this seriously, or else making comments like ‘whether or not this is a troll site …’ as if it was open to question. A veritable festival of Christian baiting is going on, as you can see from this Facebook page with sample comments like
” And they say the “wickens” (Wiccans-SH) are a cult. I hate that all the cults choose Christianity to use as their excuse to spread hate and ignorance ‘……..’ Of course… That way, they can get away with anything they want by claiming First Amendment rights, which they don’t deserve the way they spew hate/bigotry”
But no Christians have ‘spewed bigotry’ on the New Dawn page, since this is a fake site claiming to be Christian, a false flag operation. Note the second poster cited above asserts that the presumed Christians behind New Dawn ‘don’t deserve’ their First Amendment rights to free speech. This may all look like a very nasty joke, but it is serious. Mud has been thrown, some has stuck. And presumably this is what was intended.
Free speech means free speech, and if I want it (which I do) then it has to also be allowed to idiots, spiteful jokers, hateful blasphemers and others who are up to no good. If I am free to express my love and admiration for Jesus and pass on the message about God’s command to repent and believe, then opponents must be free to use their words to openly oppose that message should they so choose. But I do find it particularly repellent when people pretend to be who they are not in order to deliberately misrepresent other people and stir up hate.
This is a nasty form of poisoning the wells of debate. I have come across it before with a site calling itself creation science study which is another troll site run by a cynical atheist. Amongst other things, this site says that God hates the Phillipines and sent hurricane Hyan to punish them for being Catholics. If that were true, then I worked against God by sending some relief money via TEAR fund. I posted a couple of comments calling out the unprincipled, cowardly liar (*) calling himself Jim Solouki (**)responsible for this hateful false flag blog but he simply censored my comments without responding. And I have seen similar ‘false flag’ postings on YouTube.
From the posts that are published, apparently some people are taken in, but then again since it is clear that the people behind these anti Christian troll sites have no regard for truth, the responses may be fabricated. However, many Christians being gentle souls are slow to be as suspicious as they might be. And of course, much of what they post has a superficial resemblance to material that sincere believers like me post-so they can have a good old chortle as ‘real life resembled parody’ or whatever else they want to tell themselves. They won’t be laughing when they give account to Him before whose eyes there are no secrets.
Yes, I post angry stuff here, yes God is judgmental. No, I don’t apologise for that. But I post here under my own name and comments are uncensored. What kind of people deliberately post lies and misrepresentation with false identities to try to smear an intellectual/religious opponent? Oh yes, as Jesus said in John 8:44, something about ‘when Satan lies he speaks according to his nature, for he was a liar from the beginning’.
Its all getting very nasty out there. Christians, wake up. The enemy of our souls is no gentleman, and he isn’t playing for a draw or a truce. He is working to comprehensively destroy the church. Resist him, firm in your faith.
(*) Sorry if anyone doesn’t like this sort of phrase, but it is biblical language. I don’t hate this guy, I love him and am calling him to repentance.
(**) I tried Googling on this name, I found nothing. If anyone knows ‘Jim Solouki’ he is welcome to come here to explain himself, I won’t block his comments as he blocked mine.