Choosing happiness …

If you had to choose between happiness and something or someone that you desperately want,  what would you choose?

It seems such an inane question  … but think about it a moment.  Aren’t there things in life, decisions we make every day that we know will not bring us happiness  – and yet we make them?

As Anthony Mello de Mello puts it in his reflections on Awareness:

“…. we don’t  want to be happy.  We want other things. Or let’s put it more accurately:  We don’t want to be unconditionally happy. I’m ready to be happy provided I have this, that and the other thing. But this is really to say to our friend, or to our God or to anyone, ‘You are my happiness.  If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.’

It’s so important to understand that.  We cannot imagine being happy without those conditions.  That’s pretty accurate.  We cannot conceive of being happy without them. We’ve been taught to place our happiness in them.”   

So when you have to choose between happiness and something or someone that you want, what will you choose ?   Honestly …..

Should ‘auld’ acquaintance be forgot …

Already nine days into the New Year !!

I have been on ‘sabbatical'(how else to describe the inactivity on my site??) for some time,  but cannot let the dawn of a New Year pass without greeting ye ‘auld acquaintances’ and fellow bloggers.   I hope the year ahead will bring you your hearts desires if they be good for your soul.  May Peace, Love, Joy and Contentment be yours in abundance.

… lets have a cup of kindness yet for ‘auld lang syne’.     (and spare a few minutes to join in this awesome rendition.  You won’t be disappointed.)

Building that wall …

I am astounded at the unravelling of the forthcoming US presidential elections … and I am alarmed.  Like it or not, the US is a cultural lodestar for numerous other countries, particularly in the west, A.K.A  the ‘developed’ world.

Quite frankly, I am confused  as to how the likes of Donald Trump can even be considered seriously by US voters as a potential candidate.  I am not referring here to his policies – (and should clarify at the outset that I am an objective bystander with no interest in either candidate).

What I am astounded at is the character of the man.  Or should I say the lack of character. He was OK, even a celebrity, admired for his business acumen from afar. But once he entered the race and got up close and personal,  I have lost any respect I had for him.  I doubt even the staunchest Trump fan would deny his records of discrimination, injustice, bigotry and racial prejudice which makes people of the 21st century squirm in disbelief.   And the fact that he blatantly boasts about his ability to avoid taxes!!   I cannot understand how America can seriously consider such a man for the highest office in the land.  What do you think … that he will make a difference when he is the President?  That if he had no patriotic fervour for his country, sent some of his businesses offshore, and felt no compunction or conscience to pay his dues as a billionaire,  that he will now provide windfall benefits to all?   His audacity and the acceptance of it by a sizeable populace boggles my imagination.

Please forgive me if I am treading on the toes of any one who sees Donald Trump as a saviour of the nation.

I accept there are circumstances that could make him appear as an  economic saviour to persons who have lost their jobs, whose companies have been threatened by advancing technology of the East, by those who want to live in a promised ‘safe America’ without fear of attack  by terrorists, (although it is questionable whether the hatred he incites will actually prevent or invite attacks from the ‘enemy’,  or even police/locals gone amok with hate)   … and to realise the American dream.

The American dream  – to which you have every right.

But what I am questioning here … is what gives Mr. Trump … or indeed any other leader or any race or group of people – the right to take over a piece of land, call it their land and then prevent anyone else from entering?

We are so used to having ‘nations’ and ‘borders’ that it is almost impossible to imagine a world with freedom for everyone to move to a nation of choice, live by the rules and call it ‘home’.

This is a radical view but one that has been on my mind since I heard Trump talk about ‘building a wall to keep them out’. 

Two decades ago, my father suggested that national flags, school flags, church and temple flags only promote segregation and differentiation of people.  It was a radical view and I did not then see the wisdom of his statement.

My father also suggested that if we can get every soldier in every country to sign that he would not go to war under any circumstances, then we would have peace.

We laughed at him.  It seemed an impossible dream.

But when I hear about people like Donald Trump  – a candidate for the highest post in the world talking of building walls to keep people out,  then I realise my father was truly a visionary.   And a Christian of the highest order  (albeit one who hardly went to church) !

And it saddens me to think that it is the Christians mostly – conservative, evangelical, bible belt and bible-loving Christians – who are thinking of casting their vote for this very un-Christian view point viz . to keep out the marginalised, the desperate, the poor and those seeking refuge,  and to deport others based on nationality and religion.

This is the policy loudly proclaimed from the platform of Trump  – inciting people to religious and racial intolerance and financial selfishness,  and dangling the God of mammon and prosperity before you.

The other candidate inter-alia promotes free choice, and whilst as a Christian there are some choices that I wish people would not make,  I also do not think that you can bring about moral values in a nation by regulations and legal restrictions. The choice of right and wrong should come from deep within you, not from legislation.  It is still hard to accept that we should give each one the freedom to make choices we disagree with, and to accept that we are not called to act as arbitrators and judges.  And so

America .. you are truly between the devil and the deep blue sea.  And I feel for your plight. Your choice is tough.

But if I were you, I would run from the fear mongering devil, jump into the “deep blue and cast my cares on the Lord.

Blessings and prayers … and peace to all men of goodwill.

Soul searching

I came across this statement recently in a post by Adrianplass that has me wondering :

“The world is filled with desperate people.  They need Christ, not Christianity.”

Some soul searching going on here.   Am sure I have been one of those who has contributed to separate Christ from Christianity !!

Thank God for the reminder  which I hope will stick with me.   And  thank God for people like Pope Francis who helps us to refocus/re-align with the merciful Christ.

The world needs Jesus, not systems. A real person among real people doing real things. Informal, sometimes bewildering, often captivating and exciting, not very religious, frequently alienating.

Are you man enough …

I came across this poem that gives you ‘knots’ in your stomach.  I am sharing the full  post on http://soulofachristiantriathlete.blogspot.com/2009/03/adrian-plass-poem.html whom I thank profusely for sharing this.

Adrian Plass Poem

 If you are interested on learning more about Adrian Plass, please visit his site at www.adrianplass.com.

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need no joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.

Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

 

And from me Amen ten times and more … tough Lord but I’ll try.

(PS. In following protocol of sharing the post I mention that the highlights of last verses are mine )

For love of learning … and elephants.

I am sure this little one seen in my neighbourhood will graduate with a magna cum laude in English 🙂

Unlike Jithin’s MM Challenge #44 education poster, This school does not promise to make a genius in two days.  I guess that would be a gargantuan task.  Or would it ?  Elephants have astounding memory.

You can’t help but smile when you see these gentle giants.  But these majestic animals – the largest living creature on land should not be chained but left free to roam where he will on the plains or in the forests and jungles.

Sadly man is not only encroaching on their territory but also slaughtering them for their ivory.

I pray the elephants will not be driven to extinction by man’s insatiable greed. Thankfully, the world is waking up, albeit slowly.

Just last week, Sri Lanka became the 16th country to burn a huge cache of ivory, whilst apologising to the elephants.

“We have to apologize,” said the Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thero, the Buddhist priest who will lead the service. “Those elephants were victimized by the cruelty of certain people. But all of human society is responsible. We destroyed those innocent lives to take those tusks. We have to ask for pardon from them.”

“One Country Will Destroy Its Ivory—and Pray for Elephants” 

Picture of Sri Lankan customs officials inspecting seized ivory

Can you imagine how many animals were killed to generate this haul of tusk!!!

 PHOTOGRAPH BY STRDEL/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Let us do our part by not using ivory in any shape or form – whether as ornaments, or trinkets, or any other way-and spreading the word to save these awesome animals from extinction.

And so dawns another New Year …

11.30 pm Thursday, 31st December 2015.

I would normally be in church but a bout of flue had kept me home.  I was watching the world celebrate the dawn of another year.  The TV channel carried pictures as 2016 winged its way across the globe.  Spectacular fireworks from Sydney Harbour, where residents were among the first to celebrate.  Then Tokyo, Taiwan,  Beijing,  Thailand … the New Year was inching towards home.  A news break to report that a fire  had broken out in a high rise building in Dubai .. and another report showing the quiet deserted streets of Belgium where public celebrations had been cancelled due to threat of terror attacks.

Five minutes to go … I knocked off the TV and picked up the Bible.  It opened to a verse I like  .. Proverbs  21.17  – The words of the wise.  What a beautiful word to start the year :  “incline your ear and hear my words and apply your mind to my teaching.”   I read right through to Chapter 23 .. the thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge.

Then I went onto the balcony and that was when I felt it … the unmitigated hopes of the universe;  the dreams and aspirations of men. The nonstop drum-roll of crackers bursting like a volley of cannonball fire but more muted, one blending into the other.  For a full 15 minutes or so.  I recorded it on my phone but the recording does not do justice to the sounds or the feelings they expressed.

The world ushers in a New Year with such anticipation – whether it is in Sydney, Singapore or Sri Lanka. What is man that he expects things to be slightly different,  just a little bit better with the turn of a page onto a New Year.  Thousands and thousands and thousands of Rupees/Dollars/Sterling expended to see the New Year in with a bang and a hope that the bang of joy will continue for another 365 days – and the New Year will be better than the last.

Strangely, I felt that man seems so lost, so alone and yet so full of hope for the future.   I wondered … God are you looking down ?  Can you see the fireworks, the expectations with which people are ushering in the year? Can you see their dreams?  their hopes for happiness ? How do You view this .. we seem so puny with these dreams of a better life?

I got to thinking … how would we usher in a life of eternity … the life we would have to embrace the moment of our death.  Would it be with the same bang and expectations and celebrations ?   Shouldn’t we give some thought to that .. the most defining and all important moment of our lives?

As you inch towards that day, whenever it may be, may you find the joy, the peace, the happiness, and the contentment that you seek in the New Year. May all your expectations be filled to overflowing.

My wish to all of you ..“.. May the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asylum Roads

Andy Mersdon has penned some inspiring words – Asylum Roads – to be sung to the tune of what he calls the annoyingly catchy tune ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver .

It really highlights the plight of refugees risking their lives to a place they long to be …

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?

If we can’t help in any other way, let’s at least whisper a prayer daily for those on the high seas today leaving everything behind in search of asylum  …  refuge, … freedom.

Ocean breeze, take me there 
To the place, I long to be 
Safe asylum, distant refuge

Take me there
On pure blue seas.

Poetry is my aeroplane

Written in response to a Stanford University prompt to write new words (politically motivated) to an easily recognisable tune.  I have chosen John Denver’s annoyingly catchy tune “Country Roads” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo).

Asylum

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
One more shoreline, shines before our eyes
The Christian people will surely grant our lives.
But dark ships stop us and point us back to sea,
Reject our arrival and more horrors we will see.
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
You surely hear our…

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