Monday, 8 December 2008

Pontification abounds

Well we had more snow this week so Ian and I went out for a walk just to take photos. It was a nice break from course work for me and rewirng for Ian and there were some wonderful scenes. Hope you like the pictures.

I forgot to switch on the slow cooker for our evening meal one day this week and so we decided that we would go out to eat a day earlier than usual instead. We try and go once a week to our local hotel ( I am sure I have mentioned it before), a treat for us but also about spending money locally - such a hardship sometimes. Lol Just as we had decided a friend of ours rang to see if we were in and we said we
were actually just heading out and he asked if he could join us which we were more than happy for him to do. We had a great meal with Chris  and a great time of bouncing ideas about to help youth to engage. He runs the youth group in a town nearby along with a few others and he was wondering how to encourage the youth to feel part of the church community. It is really sad though that we have to think in terms of how to get youth motivated shouldn't we be holding them back trying to reign in their enthusiasm their idealism? Not that I am proposing putting a block on what they want to achieve, just helping them move forward with advice along the way to guide not hinder. Why do our youth give up so easily? What blocks have we and life in general taught them that says everything is useless? It's not worth bothering! Well just in case any younger folks are reading this then I say to you "Go! Try it! Reach out and dream! We of the older generations need you to be dreaming big". To parents I say "Let them go! Help them in anyway you can to try and live those big dreams and be their biggest cheerleaders and then watch them fly and help them out if they come in for a crash landing." 

On a different note we are soon to get our kitchen, we went to have a look at it while it is in the process of being made. Victors the guy who runs the business is so enthusiastic about making inset doors which costs more but matches our other furniture. It is lovely though to watch this craftsman get so much happiness out of the creative process. We are paying more but then the kitchen will still be around for a long time, and we get to see it being made, it is also being made with love and care. It got me thinking and the following phrase came to mind "Stop saving pennies by buying cheap stuff but start saving pennies to buy things worth having". I think William Morris's statement from 1882 still has much value and maybe even more so nowadays.

Have nothing in your houses that 
you do not know to be useful 
or believe to be beautiful. 

We have got so used to quantity that we sometimes forget about quality and I am not talking about the expensive named stuff, that can be as bad as the cheaper stuff sometimes. I am talking about the quality of relationships, the interaction with the craftsman that makes the piece of furniture just for you. We don't need a lot of stuff really so why not go for one or two really nice pieces instead of a whole load of junk that will fall apart in three or four years time. Some of my thoughts are hard to actually write down, you had to be there to see the joy on Victors face, we have worked on the creative process together, each contributing ideas, to come up with something that will be unique to us and fit the space we have perfectly, that has been more precious than the kitchen itself.
Another unexpected happening this week was a shooting star, although Ian has seen lots of them I have only seen them once before and that wasn't long ago in Colorado. That just raised my expectation of something that is imminent, so close. 

On my course this last week I have been reading about various happenings in the world which led us the market systems we have now. In the 80's communism was dismantled, the 90's saw the collapse of state led development which only left captialism as a viable option for economics and that has just had a spectacular crash, although this isn't mentioned in the book because it was written a few years ago. It did set me thinking, in fact my course does that a lot to me and I sometimes have difficulty keeping focussed as it sets me off on another train of thought. Anyway what I was thinking was that now is not the time to retreat into protectionism but a time to advance. The world needs and is indeed waiting for an advancing army to which it can rally but it needs to be one that proclaims love and justice not hatred, judgmentalism and triumphalism otherwise those who have been abandoned will rally around the sounds of war, making this world an even unsafer place to be. My suggestion is simple less greed and more compassion, how we work that out is between you and God. If anyone wants to tell me that I am pontificating up the wrong tree then I would love to hear from you, I value debate and I think we need fresh ideas and fast or even better some God ideas. The world is waiting, paralysed, people don't have a clue what to do next, they don't know where to turn to or what crisis is going to hit next and that includes our leaders. For those of my age and younger many of us have not known hardship, I only vaguely remember power cuts and reduced working weeks due to the oil crisis of the early 70's and I must admit to the crises of the 80's and 90's largely passed our family by. Just found out today that it was in December 8th 1991 that the Soviet Union was officially dissolved, a significant day I think.

We have to believe though that our contribution counts as Christians. If one small boy's contribution of five loaves and 2 fish can feed five thousand in the hands of a living and loving God then what can our contribution to fairness and justice in the markets make? Or our care in the field of old peoples homes, hospitals and schools? One small nun made an magnificent contribution to the care of the unloved in Calcutta through her devotion. Our contributions maybe small but we can make a difference, it might not make us rich but it will enrich our lives and those around us. Well my small contribution this week was to fast for one day. I haven't fasted since I had gallstones around 6 years ago, it made me nervous of fasting, something I used to do quite regularly. I prayed for a shift! When I used to fast it was usually something short like that, a change or a shift, something to break and God was faithful. Sometimes I wasn't sure what the shift was for, I just understood it was God's timing and that was what I was meant to do. Well I fasted on Saturday for a shift and one notable shift I have seen is that Sweden have got involved in the discussions with Latvia and the IMF. There was talk that the Lat might have to be devalued a position that the Government was keen to dismiss, and the Swedish Government would be keen to avoid too. Now why would the Swedes not want their Baltic neighbours currency to be devalued? Nothing altruistic I assure you, it is pure economics, many of the Swedish banks have been lending irresponsibly here in Latvia, for instance ten year loans for a car, cars do not last 10 years on the poor gravel roads here in Latvia. The Latvians do a fantastic job of grading the roads to keep them usable but the weather soon puts potholes in them again and it takes it out on the cars. If the Lat was devalued the Swedish banks would be hit either because the value of the loan would be decreased or due to the increase on defaults owing to the fact that many loans are in Euros and devaluing the Lat would instantly increase loans to unsustainable levels. Well I guess I have pontificated long enough so time to finish and if you wish to read more pontification you can always read Clive Jame's article entitled "The brilliance of Creative chaos"  very funny! Well I thought so!

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