Saturday, February 26, 2011

Christchurch, New Zealand - February 27th 2011

Bloody Channel Seven! In a news broadcast last week, the News Item was about Mr. Brian Coker, who was trapped in the collapsed Pyne Gould Building on Tuesday night. They had the story of how Mr. Coker was rescued by a female surgeon from Melbourne using only a hacksaw and a foldaway knife.  What they didn't mention was the rescue was carried out in confined space with the unnamed surgeon assisted by an anaesthetist, a policeman and a police medic.
Then - the final insult to the viewers -they showed old footage of a rescuer using a hacksaw to cut through what I think was some concrete reinforcement steel out in the street. To be sure, they didn't actually SAY it was the surgeon, but putting that story over that vision was one more instance of the sad development of what Channel Seven chooses to call "News".
The other thing that ALL news services are doing, is making silly puns about their stories. Story about racing - the commentator will be a little "hoarse/horse" that sort of thing. It might have been funny once, but enough is enough.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Religion - February 24th 2011

It never fails to amaze me - the Vatican still insists Priests be celibate, and yet it will allow men who are already married to become priests, and what's more the Vatican allows them to STAY married while they're priests. What over-the-top hypocrisy is that? It has never, obviously, occurred to anyone at the Vatican, that if marriage were allowed, it might, just might, go some way to alleviating the dreadful problem of paedophilia within the Church.
I say might - maybe it's just a fool's dream.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The End of Julia Farr

After six years of vandalism, reported haunting by deceased inmates, and council/developer wrangling, this Adelaide eyesore is finally being demolished.
To see some other threatened Adelaide Buildings go to: Vanishing Adelaide

Spirit Festival

The Spirit Festival last Sunday was a wonderful example of Kaurna People getting together with the non-indigenous people of South Australia. Opened on Sunday by Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood, who thanked the local Kaurna People for setting everything up – especially the Pati Yerta Dance Ground and spreading pine bark to soak up some of the rain that fell Friday.
To see some more pix of the day go to:Flickr Albums

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christchurch - February 22nd 2011

Earthquake measuring 6.3, if the news service got it right. The 'quake that flattened San Francisco in 1906 was about that size - gives you some idea of the power of 'quakes when they do happen.
Christchurch looked like a nice city, and it doesn't matter where it is, we all send our healing thoughts to its people.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Politics - February 16th 2011

Never have I been so ashamed to call myself Australian. The furore that has erupted over the funeral of the asylum seekers who drowned off Christmas Island is utterly reprehensible. Especially the comments by the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott - so much for Christian principles
And now Immigration Minister Chris Bowen refuses to let the young survivor of this tragedy stay in Australia with his family. Where is the humanity in this - what possible danger could a young boy be to Australia? Would it not be better to reunite him with his family and so allow him to grow up to be a valued member of our society.
(It now seems that common sense has prevailed and the young boy will be allowed to stay.)
Joe Hockey, who I usually view with some suspicion, has gone up several steps in my estimation after his public disagreement with Tony Abbott's position.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Egypt - February 15th 2011

It's one thing to rejoice in the downfall of Mubarak, but I wonder if Egypt is going to be better off now?
The Army now holds the balance of power and has promised elections in about six months with a proviso that civilian unrest must cease.
Will the Army really relinquish power, or will we see yet another country ruled by a Military Junta.
Not only that, but the civil unrest seems to be threatening to spread to other countries in the region - Iran and Yemen for example; and if that happens God only knows where that will lead.
I also see that India and Pakistan are having more peace talks. Good luck with that - as both these somewhat volatile nations have nuclear weapons (not to mention Israel and, possibly, Iran) I can't help thinking of the scenario envisioned by Neville Shute in his novel, "On The Beach".
Heaven help us!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wasps! - February 10, 2011

European wasps! Very dangerous, but strangely, we've been walking around and through them for weeks without any trouble. The only time I was worried is when I took this pic - it seemed to annoy them a little, because a few of them buzzed round my head in a sort of, 'Go away' dance. I went.
Unfortunately, as they're a menace to society at large, we had to get rid of them. Pity, but there you are.

Sunset - February 9th 2011

I was just thinking, as I took this pic, that from the time the Earth was formed until the sun eventually destroys the Earth some billions of years from now, that there has never been, nor will there ever be, a sunset exactly the same as this; and in all those uncounted and uncountable billions of years no sunset or sunrise has ever looked the same as another.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tony Abbott - February 9th 2011

Now I want to make it abundantly clear that I don't like Tony Abbott, for the "church and state" comments I made earlier.
The way Channel Seven's reporter ambushed him, and then took Mr. Abbott's comments the wrong way is not only reprehensible, but, sadly, only too usual for the way Seven's reporters do things. The "here we are being chased by the police in Barcelona" story some time ago was a prime example.
If you want to clarify what someone has said, ask for clarification, don't ambush them and then plaster your OPINIONS all over the media as if they were holy writ.
Investigative journalism is, I'm afraid, too open to abuse, and this is a prime example.

Do The Shuffle! - February 8th 2011

The State Government has done it's usual New Year re-shuffle of Ministerial Portfolios.
Same places, different faces. What worries me is the addition of more fundamental Christians to the front bench. What the hell has happened to "The Separation of Church and State"? It's bad enough in Canberra, without it happening here.
Another thing that annoyed me was the Government's crowing about how young the new "team" was. What about some life experience - or does that not count for anything now?
One last: why didn't Tom Koutsantonis get Motor Sports? With his driving record he should have been a shoe-in!
Roll on the next election...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Politics - February 6th 2011

Well, the Labor Party has (not) surprised us again. With three senior pollies resigning their ministries, but not their seats, it seems that plus ca change, plus la meme chose still holds true.
Needless to say, our Treasurer, in his comment to Channel Seven, couldn't resist giving yet another "poor me" in his comment, 'Port Adelaide boys don't cry.' And why does he continually refer to himself in the third person instead of just saying "me" or "I". English as she is spoke.

I can hardly wait for the answer from the Opposition Liberal benches.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Musings on a new year - February 6th 2011

He asked for strength that he might do greater things, but was given infirmity that he might do better things.
He asked for riches that he might be happy, but was given poverty that he might be wise.
He asked for power that he might have praise of men, but was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.
He asked for many things that he might enjoy life, but was given life that he might enjoy many things.
He had received nothing that he had asked for, but gained far more than he hoped for.
Listen to the exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this day, for it is life - the very life of life!
In it’s brief course lie all the verities and all the realities of your existence - the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendour of beauty:
                And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
                Look well, therefore, to this day!

This great Sanskrit poem says all that needs to be said about life - whether we spend our days regretting what is past or dreaming about what may be coming. Jesus said, ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.’

A new year, however, is the time for a little retrospection. If we can look back on the last year and see where we might have missed an opportunity to do some good for our fellow beings, we can at least resolve to do more in the future. I do not mean that we all should immediately sell our goods, give the money to the poor, and live in a cave. We did not return to this Earth plane to all be like Mother Teresa.

History is full of men and women who lived selfless lives - who dedicated themselves to helping others - and today there are millions of people in the world who are actively working for others; whether they work for the Salvation Army, Animal Welfare League, Red Cross, Red Crescent, R.S.P.C.A., Police, Fire Brigade, Meals on Wheels. I include the R.S.P.C.A. and Animal Welfare because the animals need our help, too.
People who Volunteer in all the service areas of our society - those ordinary people who do not belong to any organised group or religion who, day by day, seek to help those less fortunate. Often those helpers and volunteers have very little themselves, yet they gladly share what they do have. These are the people that “make every yesterday a dream of happiness”, and there are millions like these - people doing what they can, not great works of charity that are publicly acknowledged, but little things like cleaning churches, volunteering, standing on street corners taking collections, sometimes just filling envelopes - people doing what they can to help others, with no thought other than to just help.

Australia has great material blessings, and most of us do not have to worry about food or clothing; and we have homes, be they houses, units or flats; but there are many in our society who do not have these things. You may hear people say, ‘Well, that is their Karma and we should not interfere.’ What? We should ignore those among us who do not have enough to eat; have nowhere to sleep? No. If you believe that those unfortunates are suffering under their own Karma, than it could be your Karma to help those in need; and it could be their Karma to be helped by you.

A new year could also be the opportunity for  other changes:
Major corporations taking a active role in the welfare of consumers, rather than just looking at the profit margin.
Opposition political parties could start co-operating with Government parties rather than the “oppose everything” attitude that is so prevalent and so destructive.
Local Government Council Members could accept their responsibility in the care of the underprivileged and homeless.
Ethnic and religious groups could look for the similarities in their beliefs rather than concentrating on the differences.

Despite what we see in the news media, there are more people in the world doing good that there are doing evil - the bad ones get all the publicity.

So I repeat - ours is a beautiful world, and if you want to make it even more beautiful you only need to do just a little bit. Everything we do for others gives us, as Spirit has told us, another Spiritual Coin to collect when we return to Spirit. Everything: wish someone well, smile at a stranger, that’s all it takes to make every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Middle east - February 4th 2011

I see that trouble has erupted in Yemen, just a stone's throw away from Egypt.
It looks as though the Yemenis have decided to emulate the Egyptian people and get rid of their President as well.
Why don't they just take a leaf out of the South American book and depose them? It would save a lot of angst, and they wouldn't blame the international Press, who are only there reporting the news, not making it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Joan of Arc - Talk given on Sunday, 30th January 2011

St. Joan of Arc was born at Domrémy around January 6, 1412. When she was 13 years old, she heard what she called “celestial voices”.

Early in 1429, during the Hundred Years’ War, when the English were about to capture Orléans, the “voices” exhorted her to help the Dauphin, later King Charles VII of France.
Joan succeeded in convincing Charles that she had a divine mission to save France, and she was granted titular command of an army that quickly lifted the siege of Orléans on May 8, 1429. She defeated an English army at Patay on June 18; and after accepting the surrender of the city of Troyes and other towns, as a reward for her service, Charles VII granted her noble status along with her family on December 29, 1429.

Captured at Compiègne on May 23, 1430 and transferred to the English, she was placed on trial in Rouen by a selected group of pro-English clergy, many of whom nevertheless had to be coerced into voting for a guilty verdict. Convicted and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431, she was subsequently declared innocent by the Inquisition on July 7, 1456 after a lengthy re-trial.

The presiding Inquisitor, Jean Bréhal, ruled that the original trial had been tainted by fraud, illegal procedures, and intimidation of both the defendant and many of the clergy who had taken part in the trial, and she was therefore described as a martyr by the Inquisitor. Now let’s face it, for the Inquisitor to declare a trial a fraud, it must really have been bad! After the usual lengthy delay associated with the slow process of canonisation, she was beatified on April 11, 1909 and canonised as a saint on May 16, 1920.

Those are the bare facts as we know them, but what is it about St. Joan that keeps her memory and legend so alive, more than 580 years after her execution? Much has been made of Joan’s youth and her humble beginnings, but while we all know about her clairvoyant or clairaudient abilities, she was not convicted of witchcraft but of heresy in believing she was directly responsible to God and not the Church! This, I believe, is because of the Church’s somewhat ambivalent attitude to what we would call Joan’s psychic gifts: for while the Old Testament, in the Book of Exodus, states that, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” the Church was only too well aware of St. Paul’s letter stating that prophecy (or clairvoyance if you like) was a gift from God; and then, as now, the writings of St. Paul were considered by the Church to be unarguable holy writ, overriding much that was written in the Old Testament.

That one sentence in Exodus has been the driving force behind much of the world’s antipathy towards anyone with any sort of psychic ability and even those women and men who did nothing more than collect healing herbs.

The persecution of witches declined about 1700 banished by the Age of Enlightenment. One of the last outbreaks of witch-hunting took place in Massachusetts in 1692, when belief in diabolical witchcraft was already declining in Europe.
Recent research indicates that much of the hysteria at the time was caused by the ergot fungus in Rye. Consumption of ergot-infected rye results in both physical and mental harm, including convulsions, and hallucinations.

The attitude of the Orthodox Churches towards Spiritualism today remains undecided. First they tell us that we should not talk to Spirit, and then they ask us to pray to Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Indeed, one lady of my personal acquaintance was told by her parish priest not to talk to Spirit, and her reply was, ‘I don’t talk to them, they talk to me!’
Despite St. Paul’s letter, some still regard clairvoyance etc. as ‘the work of the devil’ and so do not hear the wonderful messages of love, reassurance, and survival that are regularly heard from demonstrators at Spiritualist services.

Modern law still has prohibitions against Clairvoyance, or Fortune Telling as it appears on the statutes, despite the valiant work done by Spiritualists in the mid to late 20th century which was instrumental in taking away much of the intolerance and misinformation. However, comments such as - Are you sure it’s safe? Do you know what you’re getting into? and They’re Devil worshippers, aren’t they? are still heard even today.

We can all help bring Spiritualism into the 21st Century by being open about our beliefs: for example, when we are asked to name our religion when filling out official documents, instead of putting down the generally accepted C of E or Catholic, we could write Spiritualist. If those in authority don’t like it, you can tell them that the Australian Constitution, Clause 116, guarantees us, in law, the right to freedom of religious beliefs, without any interference by anyone; and this freedom is one of the legacies of St. Joan. Joan’s other belief, that she was responsible to God and not the Church, was also the guiding force behind John Wycliffe who died in 1384, and was referred to as the ‘Morning Star’ of the Protestant Reformation; and Augustin Baker who died in 1641. Baker was a prominent Benedictine who insisted that each of us could approach God directly, without the aid of clergy, which is what St. Joan was doing – talking to God on a one-to-one basis, which we can all do!

Like St. Joan, we know we can approach God directly. We also have the Seven Principles to guide us, given to us by Spirit through Emma Hardinge Britten in 1871.
Like St. Joan, we can stand up for our beliefs and those Seven Principles; we can tell other people what those Principles are, and how they show us that Mankind is one brotherhood under the fatherhood of God, and that we are secure in the knowledge of the eternal existence of the Human Soul.

Smokers! - Ist February 2011

Adelaide City Council is looking to completely ban smoking in Rundle Mall in the City.
Now, while I detest smoking - the smoke from cigarettes exacerbates my asthma - surely the Adelaide City Council is going a little too far?
I can understand the current smoking ban in restaurants etc. but the Mall is OPEN AIR, or doesn't the Council realise this? This would seem to me to be the "Nanny State" taken to extremes.
If people choose to smoke out in the open air, let them. Don't be so keen to legislate everything, or the legislators may find themselves being legislated out of their comfy chairs by the State Government, many of whom, I'm sure, are smokers themselves.