Monday, 15 September 2008

Deep Thoughts

Earlier on in the week there was a headline Polar bears turn green in a Japanese zoo, I think it is a clever disguise that the polar bears are perfecting in preparation for global warming in the Northern Regions, after all it wouldn't be helpful to stay white now would it!

I have been a gopher this week, go for this and go for that! Actually I have done very little but supervising is a very necessary
 occupation. I have been practicing the art of supervising from a young age. My dad always liked to have an audience and gopher, and it was usually me, whenever he was doing a project and I have carried on the occupation into marriage. I am around to make sure that Ian gets it right and occasionally to fetch and carry if need be. 
Beats working any day, At least we now have the kitchen back in the kitchen which is a relief. Anyone who has ever lived without a kitchen even for a few days will understand exactly what I mean. It did mean we had to go to the local hotel for a few meals which was a hardship we suffered rather gladly really. (The photos show just the sink reinstalled, you will have to wait until next week for further pictures. The other picture is me sitting on the cardboard from our recent acquisition, the freezer. Why am I sitting in this box you may ask, good question! I was trying to protect our laminate floor while I plucked spinach leaves from some which had gone to seed and Ian had taken over my kitchen and there was nowhere else to work. The things you do when you are renovating!)

A casualty of our renovations (remodelling) has been a little heart made for me by a little friend of mine when she was living with our friends as their foster daughter. Salt dough does not do well in damp conditions and this is looking decidedly ropey from all the moisture after pouring concrete to level the kitchen floor.

On a less flippant note I knew there had to be a better way to help those who are from areas that attempt to migrate illegally and it was encouraging to read of one couple who put their efforts into doing just that. It takes so much money to send someone, even illegally, to Europe which could be used to improve the lives of those in small villages but they do need help in these depressed areas. People do not take the perilous journey across the seas for nothing and our own ancestors often undertook such migrations for a better life in America or Australia etc and shouldn't be surprised when others do it today.

This week I got around to clearing the area that we are responsible for. Each apartment has a designated area that they are to keep neat and tidy, some do it and some don't and some can't but it is all down on a nice colourful chart at the bottom of the hallway. I was just finishing off clearing the path from the over growth of grass when one of the neighbours started talking to me in Latvian and said something like "skaiste" I knew she meant it looked lovely and then she said "nice" in English, I was well chuffed - it meant the two days spent clearing it was worthwhile. (You can see a picture of our apartment block with the leaves turning their autumnal red and maybe I will remember to take a picture of the newly cleaned path - bet you can't wait!)

This week I was talking with a friend about taxes in different countries and comparing systems. I came to the conclusion that socialism only works when people do not become dependent on the state and lazy; capitalism only works if those who "have" are willing to help those who "haven't", otherwise both systems fail and both require everyone to take their part in making it work. It was interesting therefore to read in Sierra Leone there are people queuing up to pay their taxes because they want to help the country get back on its feet. It is incredible to see people with not much money motivated to pay taxes because they actually believe it will make a difference. I say may God bless them as a nation for being prepared to put others first.

If you have been following along with my blog you will know that I have been reading Acts for Everyone by Tom Wright and I am now on to Part 2 (I also discovered this week that there is a group in Timberline Oldtown, our church in America, who are also going to be using Acts for Everyone as their book to study in small groups - good for them they are good books). I found Tom Wright's comment on power thought provoking; he was commenting on Acts 19:11-22 on the power of God versus the power of Ephesus and this is what he had to say about power in general 

"When I was growing up, one of the leading politicians in the British Labour Party was a man named George Brown (no not Gordon Brown - my comment). He was extremely able, very shrewd. Some thought at one point he might have been a challenger for the job of party leader, and perhaps even Prime Minister. He became, in fact, deputy leader, and that was the peak of his career. He went his own way though, and in later life was quite an outspoken critic of his own party. The impact of his views was somewhat lessened by his increasingly eccentric behaviour.
But I recall George Brown here because of something he once said about power. When he was a young man, he said, he knew that things had to be changed. British society was in a mess; someone needed to get to the levers of power and make things happen, make things different. So he went into politics. But in local politics, even once he'd been elected to council office, he discovered that neither he nor the council had any real power. Things were decided elsewhere. So he decided to run for Parliament. But, he said, when he got into Parliament, he found that members of Parliament didn't have any real power. They could talk, and they could vote, but nothing much seemed to change, and the real decision still seemed to happen somewhere else. So he pushed his way to the front and got into the Cabinet. To his amazement, it was the same there. And even when he got within one place of the top of the tree, to be Deputy Prime Minister under Harold Wilson, he looked around and still couldn't see where the real power lay. Everyone just seemed to be doing the next thing that came to hand. Things happened but it wasn't obvious why. Where was the power............?
The question of power - how things get done - is at the heart of a great many of today's debates as well" 

The book Acts for Everyone part 2 was copyrighted in 2008 and was probably written before the credit crunch that has left Governments reeling and banking systems in chaos. The debate certainly goes on but the credit crunch and the doomsayers have certainly shown that the power is not where they thought it was and there is much finger pointing.

Following on from that another comment by Tom Wright really struck me too  about Paul's impact on business in Ephesus in Acts 19:23-41 "Imagine someone setting up shop in the heart of the financial district of one of our great cities - London, Frankfurt, New York, Tokoyo - and using the basis of a powerful ministry of healing to declare, over and over again, that the money markets and the stock markets were simply a way of worshipping the god Mammon, that this was destroying the lives and the livelihoods of millions in other parts of the world, and that the whole system was rotten and anyone who saw the light ought to reject it outright. 

At the time of Tom Wright writing this he was right to say that "You might get more than just a sharp word now and then, especially if the idea seemed to be catching on" but after reading this I was reading that the chief  of HSBC was himself declaring something of the rottenness of the system by declaring that bankers should not be receiving high awards for short term gains, that was one of the causes of the credit crunch, but should be rewarded for sustainable long term gains that did not bring harm. Things are turning in the markets and there is hope I believe. My desire is to see something built alongside that can eventually take over from the greedy markets. When you need to get rid of old housing, you have to rehouse people first before dismantling the old housing otherwise you have a lot of homeless people. I believe something needs to be built up to take over but you can't start dismantling the old system first otherwise you make the problem far worse in the short term even if there is a long term gain, and it is the poor who suffer when that happens. Martin Scott has also commented on the chaos that is around at the moment and I was so encouraged by what he had to say about sowing at this time and in some cases sowing financially. At a time of chaos it is good to know that we should be sowing and not hoarding or burying our treasures to await a better day but gently and determinedly planting the seed. This is great encouragement as Ian and I go ahead with selling one of our houses in England so we can plant into something God wants to grow, it just felt like a very gracious confirmation of what God wants us to do.

Ian was hunting for some further pictures of the bike race the other day when he stumbled across a gallery of pictures of Ērgļi which shows some of the old scenes from Ērgļi and some recent events such as the Gaismas Tilts which was an event called Bridge of Lights in english, where Latvians gathered on bridges and lit candles and thought positive thoughts for Latvia and the world in celebration of the 90 years since Latvia was first but briefly an independent nation. 

I do hope these blogs are not getting waffly but there is so much going on in my head at the moment, so many thoughts floating around, so many ideas that it sometimes hurts. I feel such a sense of optimism, such a sense of opportunity for the future and I am looking forward to what God has install for this World. What will it look like when the Kingdom of God touches this world and impacts it? How can we be a part of bringing Heaven down to earth? Oh Lord let it come!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear your comments and will always reply, so go ahead, ask a question or just say hi