Saturday, 24 January 2015

Anti-Muslim activity will lead to nothing good: A conservative Prime Minister knows this!

 Of course the anti-Muslim movements in the U.S.A. and in western Europe are as bad as the anti-Jewish movements in Italy, France and Germany, which caused so much miserable violence and slaughter between 1933 and 1945.

Just as there is no wisdom in being unreservedly anti-Semitic, there is no wisdom in being unreservedly anti-Islam,  (or being anti-Christian in certain majority Muslim States in the near-East, and in parts of Africa). (Note also that there have been Christian massacres of Muslims in places such as Nigeria and the Central African Republic.)
But the anti- Islam movements have some traction.
For instance:
 In Germany

 In France

(Will Jewish students also be forced to eat pork,  or go hungry?)
In the U.S.A,
( British and American law already recognizes Jewish and Roman Catholic family and marriage laws, provided that they are subservient to national law.  Why, oh why, can we not understand that "Sharia Law"  is not a fixed and formal Islamic code (there are many versions of Sharia Laws); and they are  above all religious codes to be applied within Islamic groups, ( just so long as they do not contradict secular law).
 (Whether or not "we" agree with these codes is not apposite in the context of Civil Law).
 In the United Kingdom
I resent the claims of Brit-in First by which they  assert  that they are a Christian organisation. "They will know we are Christians by our love" according to the New Testament.
In the meantime, British Conservative Premier David Cameron had this to say last year.   I applaud his words (even though he has also had less than helpful words regarding British Islam)

Transcript of speech by Prime Minister David Cameron at the Muslim News Awards for Excellence, Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Monday 31 March 2014.

"Thank you for having me here tonight.
There are two reasons why I think an event like tonight is so important.
First, this is about celebrating the huge contribution Muslims make to Britain.
Second, events like this challenge the narrow, intolerant view about Muslims and about Islam that still exists in parts of our country today.
And I’d like to say a word on each.
First, celebrating excellence.
I’ll take any chance to champion the massive contribution that British Muslims make in our country.
I see it every single day:
I turn on the radio – and it’s Mishal Husain presenting the Today programme.
I go to Parliament – and it’s Sayeeda Warsi, Sajid Javid, Tariq Ahmad and Mohamed Sheikh representing us on the Government benches.
And when I go Europe, yes I see Syed Kamall, not just a British Muslim in the Conservative Party in Brussels but leading the Conservative Party in Brussels in the vital work in the European Parliament
I visit the businesses that are bringing growth back to Britain – and its Asian firms that are innovating and working all the hours they can.
I get home and read the back pages of the newspapers, and it’s Amir Khan fighting for those titles, Mo running for those golds, and Muslim Premier League stars scoring those goals.
This is something we should celebrate in our country tonight. But we should be absolutely clear; the job has not been done. There are still glass ceilings and walls we need to break down in our country so that talented Asians from every community in every part of our community can make it to the top. To the top in politics; to the top in the Army; to the top in the judiciary to the top in the media; to the top in the Police. That is what I want to see in our country and when we achieve that we’ll be a truly diverse and equal nation.
But when we celebrate the contribution of British Muslims it’s not just those in the spotlight.
Muslims give more to charity than any other faith group.
And they play a huge role in our communities, day in, day out.
This winter I’ve been up and down the country visiting places that have been devastated by flooding.
We saw the worst of weather, but the best of Britain.
And the Muslim community certainly did their bit.
Like the young Muslims from Huddersfield. They got together with other faith and voluntary groups, they layed sandbags in Worcester protected a church in Surrey from the deluge and showed above all that our British community spirit could never be dampened.
And tonight this year is a particularly poignant year to be remembering the Muslim contribution to Britain.
It is nearly a century since the outbreak of the First World War. We’ll be commemorating that in August.
More than a million servicemen from an undivided India fought for Britain.
Hundreds of thousands were Muslim.
The sepoys poised with their guns, holding the lines from the Western Front to the Middle East.
They showed outstanding courage like the first South Asian winner of the Victoria Cross, Khudadad Khan.
Many thousands lost their lives, fighting for the freedom that we enjoy today
So tonight we should remember them and all those British Asians and Muslims who serve in our Armed Forces because their legacy, their work is our liberty
Second, let me say this.
We need to keep on challenging the intolerant view of Muslims that exists in some parts of our country.
That is why have done more than any other Government to try and tackle Islamophobia:
We set up a cross-government working group on tackling anti-Muslim hatred – no Government has done that before.
We helped set up a service for people to report anti-Muslim attacks – again, no Government has done that before.
And of course, we launched Srebrenica Memorial Day, to educate the next generation about the terrifying, tragic consequences of hatred.
But these are just the basics.
Really tackling Islamophobia means making absolutely sure that no person is held back from living their life or reaching their goals simply because of the faith they follow.
So yes – we are delivering on Sharia-compliant student loans, Help to Buy deposits and entrepreneur funds.
And yes – we aim to be the first country in the West to offer an Islamic bond: a Sukuk and I’m so proud of that.
And let me make absolutely clear that while I’m Prime Minister of this country Halal is safe in Britain.
It is all part of this Government’s overriding aim: to remove the barriers that stop people playing their part in society and give everyone, whatever their background, the opportunities they need to get on in life.
So those unsung heroes – let’s sing their praises.
Their huge contribution to Britain – let's put it in the spotlight.
The intolerance that blights people’s lives – let’s stamp it out once and for all.
And together, let’s celebrate all that's great about Britain’s Muslims.
Thank you – and above all well done to all those who have taken part tonight, all those who will win, but all those who have been nominated and the organisers for laying on such a splendid evening.
Thank you very much indeed."
 From jmp
I iterate my title to this posting:
Anti-Muslim activity will lead to nothing good.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The wisdom of Ed. Rodman

Ed Rodman is a Priest in the (American) Episcopal Church. I got to know him a bit when I was the Rector at St. James's Church in Cambridge MA, and he hung his shingle at the Episcopal Divinity in that City.
Here is a bit of "Ed Rodman Wisdom". I think that he uttered this for  the benefit of seminarians.
But I suggest that his wisdom is good for all of us

The wisdom of Canon Ed Rodman (as reported by Dr. Ruy Costa, Executive Director, Episcopal City Mission [Boston] in the Fall 2007  edition of the ECM newsletter). 
Here it is.
a. watch for the type of weapon you will use to kill the mosquito on your forehead;
b. nothing has  a greater hold on the minds  of people than ignorance fraught with technicalities;

c. never forget that the most dangerous thing in the world is to attempt to leap a chasm in two jumps; and,

d. never believe your own propaganda.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Healthy snack food ( available at Publix in South West Florida)

Healthy snack food ( available at Publix in South West Florida) and maybe in other places.

Do try the LEASA brand "Snack Sprouts".  They contain "Sprouted Adzuki, Lentil and Mung Beans"

No GMO's. Cholesterol or Preservatives.

Very tasty too!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New England Patriots/Professional Sport?...... and God.

My level of interest in sports of all kinds is at the same level as the Dali Lama's interest in Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches. 
When I served parishes in Massachusetts I  feigned a passion for the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.  I did so for reasons of job security.
(Of  course I am mildly pleased when my home teams [Red Sox, Patriots, Bristol City Football Club] do well, but there is nothing passionate about my pleasure).
In these United States there is much ado and twitter about the possibility that the said New England Patriots used slightly under-inflated footballs in their recent game against the Indianapolis Colts, allegedly to give them some game advantage.
 The "twittersphere" is already replete with the postings of a million or so experts; lining up, expounding their theories, taking sides, and saying nothing.
I am sure that you have read this dreary story.  If it was the case that the footballs were deliberately under-inflated, then the Patriots would be guilty of cheating.
Cheating in sports?  Say it's not so!
Why am I not surprised?
It seems to me that the whole "business" of  sport is utterly susceptible to corruption, and that it often corrupts the athletes themselves.
I think in particular of American Football ( at the professional and college levels - and maybe even in high school football).
I think of Baseball in the U.S.A.; of Premier League Football in England; of  the World Cup and FIFA;  and of the entire Olympic boondoggle.
Back in Massachusetts I would regularly tune in to radio station WBUR to the one sports' show which I found to be worth hearing.  Hosted by Bill Littlefield the programme is called "It's only a Game".
 Would to God that we could say of all sports "It's only a Game".  That would give us a wise perspective. Poor na├»ve me. 
(In the interests of fairness in reporting.  I must add that organized religions are also utterly susceptible to corruption, which often corrupts the religious leaders themselves.)
Speaking of God and Sports it is now commonplace in the U.S.A. (and other places)  for athletes to give public thanks to God for their successes.  I find this to be utterly pathetic, so I am grateful to Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers who is wise.
See this from the L.A. Times:
"God probably isn't a big football fan, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers suggested Tuesday during a radio interview.
Still feeling the sting of defeat from the Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship game Sunday, Rodgers - who has said he is religious - was asked if such a big loss shakes his faith, since it is commonplace for athletes to thank God or to say God intervened when they win.
Rodgers didn't mince words.
"I don't think God cares a whole lot about the outcome," Rodgers said. "He cares about the people involved, but I don't think he's a big football fan."
While that statement may not seem noteworthy to some, it may raise eyebrows.
Rarely does an athlete, especially a professional, say God had nothing to do with the outcome of a game.
In fact, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson - an outspoken Christian - told reporter Peter King that a divine influence made Sunday's barnburner so exciting.
"That's God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special," Wilson said, according to King. "I've been through a lot in life, and had some ups and downs. It's what's led me to this day."
Still, Rodgers made it clear during media day before Super Bowl XLV where he stood on his faith.
"I just try to follow Jesus' example, leading by example," Rodgers said."
(From the L.A. Times via Karen G-R)
Thank you Aaron.  Think again Russell.
I end with  humour, via my Pittsfield friend and colleague the Revd. Richard Floyd. 
His nephew, Ben Floyd, works for the Boston Coffee Co., who were quick off the mark and created "Deflated Football Cookies".
What fun!


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My letter to a School District Superintendent in Alabama who banned a school history club from attending a movie.

Here's the story.

Here is my letter to the School District Superintendent

Dear Superintendent Taylor,
I write as a Christian, and as one who is glad to be an American citizen (by choice, not by birth).
Given that the media is not always accurate in its reporting I offer a disclaimer if what I read was incorrect.
But I understand that you have forbidden the members of a History Club at one of your High Schools to attend a screening of the movie "Selma", on the grounds that some of the language in that movie is "profane".
Please correct me if that report is incorrect.
However, if you have been reported accurately,  I must ask if there are "Bible Clubs", or Christian groups which are sponsored or allowed in the DeKalb County School District.
If this is the case then you might  (and I am utterly serious) forbid the reading of the Holy Bible by those clubs/groups, on the basis that it carries stories of rape; of incest; of assassination  (Deborah and Sisera), and of genocide.  Surely since these biblical accounts are also "profane" your logic should suggest that no student in DeKalb District should be exposed to such horrible biblical texts.
With every good wish,
J. Michael Povey

Monday, 19 January 2015

Should Auld Acquaintance be forgot on Siesta Key FL

Judy Beers was the secretary at St. James's, Cambridge, MA when I was the Rector.
When I retired to Sarasota she introduced me to her SRQ friends, Ron and Charlotte Thompson.
It was a fruitful introduction.  Ron, Charlotte and I delight in each others company.
Judy has been visiting them from Wakefield, MA  down here in SRQ.  So I took her out for lunch today at our local "Turtles" Restaurant on Siesta Key.  Despite the chill in the air we sat outside and enjoyed the view of Little Sarasota Bay.   Judy ate "Coconut Crusted Mahi Mahi" , and I had a very good Crab Cake.
I wanted to have a photo' of Judy and me.  So as we were leaving I saw a pleasant looking "sixty something" couple at their table,
We greeted them, nd I said to the man  "you look to be above average intelligence, so would you be willing to take our photo'".   He  and his wife "got" my humour, and burst into laughter.  He took a great "snap"  (see below). He heeded my request to make it a "head and shoulders" pic.
Turns out that he is an Australian (from Melbourne), and that they both now live in Toronto, Canada.  Two fine cities!
Judy and Michael.  Little Sarasota Bay in the background.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Pillar Box

The Pillar Box pictured below is (or was) in Ramsgate, Kent, U.K.
Eagle eyes will notice something unusual about it.
Photo' via Wikipedia Commons
  Here is a hint, from a pillar box in Bupham, Surrey