Cyberpunk, Spirituality and Technology - The Voidspace Blogspot

The strange and deluded ramblings of a rather odd person. Hello Dude - It's Me

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts

And Loosen Your Clothing

 

 

These pages are all my own work. Unfortunately that may be a terrible admission. In these pages are various writings of mine, from the first part of my life story, to poems, to mad ramblings without excuse. Below the links to the articles is my blog. Not to be confused with the Techie Blog, this is random ramblings from life.

Rambling Rumination

Diving or Drowning Part I. The first part of my Autohagiography... up to the point where I first take ecstacy. The tale of how a polite, well mannered middle-class child became such a ruffian.....

Diving or Drowning Part II. The second part of my life story - the further fall....

Life in Romania. An article about living in Romania. This follows two visits in 2004 and 2005 to visit my wifes parents. Life is very different in Romania than it is here in Britain.

A Random Assortment. A short collection of my poetry. There's one or two gems buried in here.

HumanOS v1.3. Subtitled baby crocodiles, computers and the human personality. This is an article that compares the human mind to a computer operating system. It touches on artifical intelligence and the ages old Nature versus Nurture debate.

Christian Meditation. A short piece on Christian meditation - exploring living Spirituality with God.

Imagine Paradise. No its not about a large network of computers, its actually about Christian Community..... and why we bother.

The first is an article on the spiritual power of symbols and sacraments. The second one, is on what sort of truth we can expect to find in the bible - with a brief section providing one possible reconciliation between modern science and Genesis. They should both be understandable by 'beginners' to the subjects.

Quick 'n' Dirty HTML. Need to get a webpage up quick and never done any HTML before ? This article will get you up to speed with the basics, using a TABLE for layout. Not for those who want nice, standards compliant, XHTML and CSS...

Voidspace Story. My cyberpunk short story. Lovely imagery but very short *sigh*. Come and play in the Void !

Beginners Guide to Atlantis. My beginners guide for new players of Atlantis - the computer 'Play-by-eMail' game. Very useful if you`ve just started to play.

Leviticus - a Much Maligned Book

emoticon:apple When I was young I attempted to read the Bible from cover to cover. I almost did it as well, working my way through all the old testament and most of the new testament. I got as far as Revelations before I got weirded out and stopped. Laughing

Leviticus is a book of the bible that has a bad reputation amongst both Christians and non-Christians. Amongst Christians it is known as having endless pages of genealogy that is tedious to read. It also enumerates the Jewish law, parts of which are seriously out of context for today's culture and regarded with incredulity by non-Christians.

In fact Leviticus has some things going for it as well. One of my favourite blogs, Zen Habits about living a simpler life, mentioned it recently.

In a post entitled 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule he says:

"thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Leviticus 19:18

I love the simplicity of the Golden Rule, its tendency to make those I interact with happier, and its tendency to make me happier as well.

Like many pearls of wisdom it can sound trite when read at a glance, but is difficult, challenging and rewarding if really taken to heart.

This is the same for another of my favourite bible verses, also from the old testament:

"man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

This is from when the Prophet Samuel is looking for the next King of Israel. It is a pleasant enough homily, but difficult and life changing to take to heart. Both verses are also great antidotes to Western selfishness...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-08-06 20:39:23 | |
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Limbo, Hell, Suffering, Israel and More

emoticon:nanagram Apparently the pope has just abolished limbo. Smile

Limbo was a Catholic invention to solve a moral dilemma. What happens to the souls of innocent babies who die without being baptised [1] ?

According to the principle of original sin, newborn babies inherit sin and share in the judgement of the fallen world. It is morally repugnant that innocent children should go to hell for being born into a world they didn't choose. I'll talk about the wider issue of hell in a minute. The Catholics solved this moral dilemma by inventing limbo, a place that isn't hell (which would be unfair), but also isn't heaven (which they can't enter because they haven't been baptised). As far as I can tell limbo was conjured up with only the scantiest biblical support and seems to be in the process of disappearing again.

Before I use the word 'protestant' again, I'll just explain my background. My earliest memories of Church are being part of a Church of England church in the 1970s. This was during the charismatic/evangelical move during which a lot of people experienced baptism in the spirit [2]. The vicar was filled with the spirit, but his bishop wasn't. In the end he felt that he couldn't honour his vows to obey God and his vows to obey the bishop, so the church split. Many of the congregation came with him to form a church that was part of the charismatic 'new church' movement, but still owed a lot to its church of England theological background. I have been part of charismatic 'spirit filled' churches ever since, and I am currently part of the Jesus Army in Northampton, UK.

The protestant (in the sense above) position is that every baby born is infected with original sin. Sin is essentially selfishness. No-one with any experience of children would deny that they can be extremely selfish, as well as extremely cute and even selfless at times. In fact, growing into awareness for very young children means growing into an awareness that others even exist. Hopefully a process of becoming less self centred.

However at a young age children have not developed free will, and are not responsible for their actions. Before this age of responsibility (which obviously varies with the individual), children can not be held accountable for their sin so they go to heaven.

This is a good common sense position, but I'm not sure what biblical support their is for it. Luckily being a Christian doesn't include a requirement to say goodbye to your common sense.

But a lot of people struggle with an idea of a God because of suffering and the idea of hell at all, not just for little babies. How can we reconcile the idea of a loving omnipotent God with so much human suffering, and eternal damnation ?

This is an extraordinarily difficult question. It is particularly difficult to answer when faced with any instance of personal suffering, like the death of a child or loved relative. How can any attempt at an answer be made which doesn't seem to belittle the pain that an individual may be experiencing ?

A standard explanation for human suffering, is free will. We live in a fallen world and are free to make our own choices, for good or evil. Unfortunately many people choose for evil, and the freedom to do that causes suffering for others. Disease and natural disaster are symptoms of this fallen world. A lot of natural disasters are attributable to human causes. Drought and third-world disease usually have wars and the greed of first-world countries at their root. This planet produces enough food for everyone, and it is our corporate greed that means people die of malnutrition and related diseases.

Cancers and other awful sicknesses are also the product of this fallen world. Their is no explanation that can make sense of this. How could a loving God allow this to happen ?

Well, God could sweep it all away and institute paradise now. Having given us free-will God wants us to choose what is right and good for ourselves. He won't force that upon us. We have an opportunity to love what is right and hate evil, and whether we do or not is up to us.

The biblical concept of the fall is not just something that applies to human nature. Creation was intended to be perfect, but when sin came into the universe, creation fell along with mankind. Redemption is not just about redeeming humans souls, but the transformation of creation. "All the creation longs for the sons of God to be revealed" [3], creation is waiting for harmony to be restored.

God is a God of justice. He hates evil. He hates human suffering with a burning passion beyond anything we can know. How could their be justice if their was no price to pay for sin and evil ? If there was no judgement for those who perpetrate such terrible crimes, who perpetuate such misery, how could justice be real ?

Except there is a problem. Who bears responsibility for third world drought ? There are some individuals I guess, those who broker deals knowing that thousands will suffer. Much of the pain is down to the world trade system though. We buy coffee and minerals at low prices, effectively raping the ecology of poorer nations to line our own collective pockets. Us, we, me, you. Whenever you buy coffee, or minerals, or use the energy that pumps pollutants into the atmosphere we help to perpetuate the system of this world that causes misery and suffering.

We didn't choose to be born into it, but neither do many of us choose to do a lot about it. It is in the air we breathe, our very genes, the fallen nature.

Some people do try and escape this, they join Greenpeace, become eco-warriors or aid workers in other countries. I salute their effort (very genuinely, they are compassionate and passionate people: the most important characteristics in the world). But their is a problem, how do you escape your inheritance ?

And if we all share a part in the guilt of the world, isn't it right and just that we should share a part in the judgement on the world ?

This is the God of the old testament. He is just and demands that the price be paid for evil, for selfishness and the pain it causes. But God loves the world, he wants to redeem it or he would have swept it away millennia ago. The old testament is the story of how God created a nation for himself to be his people, as he intended from the beginning. That nation was the physical nation of Israel, set apart to be his. He instituted the law, by which the price for sin would be paid for with the blood sacrifice of animals. He also had a wider plan, the messiah promised to the Jews.

Jesus was the fulfilment of this promise. He is God's son, perfect and blameless. On the cross he paid the price for sin. God didn't pretend that sin had never existed, he still demand justice. Jesus paid that price. A blameless sacrifice for the debt of the world, once for all. We can accept or reject this. He is the way to exit the 'kingdom of darkness' and enter the 'kingdom of light', to use old fashioned religious language.

So Jesus came to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. Through forgiveness we can escape the sickness that infects the whole earth and start finding our way into selflessness. Jesus came to establish the church, which is supposed to embody this new kingdom (and unfortunately fails so spectacularly at times). This is a kingdom of justice and equality. If the church doesn't practise equality, then it isn't a true church. This (and all the reasons above) are why Jesus said that it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

The church is now God's nation, his people, and it is open to everyone. The church inherits the old testament prophesies about Israel. This is the new Jerusalem. So Christians who think that modern day Israel is relevant get it badly wrong. In fact there is a case for saying that middle-class, well-meaning (do-gooding) wealthy American Christians perpetuate and exacerbate the problems in the middle-East. Don't get me wrong, I think that Israel has a rough deal. It is surrounded by nations that have sworn to destroy it, paranoia is perfectly understandable [4]. Modern day Israel has little to do with the nation of God of the old testament though.

One day God will make it all right. There will be justice, for the victim and the aggressor. I don't understand how, I certainly don't know when, but I know enough of God to know that it will happen.

""Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

~Helen Keller~

[1]I would say Spirit rather than soul, but that's another debate. The Catholics particularly have this problem because they predicate salvation on the physical act of baptism, when biblically and spiritually salvation comes through faith. Additionally they do baptism 'wrong' (along with most of the mainstream protestant church). Baptism was originally by full immersion, and symbolised a joining with Christ in his death and resurrection: going down into the grave and resurfacing. This is a symbolic act that is obviously not fulfilled by 'sprinkling'. The Greek word 'baptismo' should be literally translated 'dunked'. The Catholics got round this problem by saying that the bible should be read in Latin (rather than its original language !!?!!?). The protestants got round this by not translating the word 'baptise' and inventing their own meaning.
[2]A tangible and overwhelming experience of the power and love of God.
[3]An approximate quote... Smile For conjectures about the relationship between the biblical fall of creation and the 'old earth, young earth' debate see Biblical Truth.
[4]Rockets into civilian areas aren't justified, but then the Hezbollah hardly worry about that either.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-11-04 13:30:46 | |
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Science or God ?

emoticon:speaker Science enriches my faith. Creation enriches my faith.

I can stand in a field, the breeze causing velvet ripples in the tall grass and the sun causing everything around me to shimmer with life. I can gaze at the stars, the unquenchable blackness that may be infinite or may just be beyond my comprehension.

I can see images of far off nebulae, distant clouds that condense stars in their fingertips. So vast that they as well be mythical for all that I can understand them.

I can read of a quantum world so odd and so elegant that no magic can rival it.

All this speaks to me of God, of a majesty so utterly beyond me.

In worship I can touch holiness. A purity that is beautiful, that holds no guile, no deceit, perfection. It is terrifying. It exposes who I really am. But it is still beautiful and it is in me, around me, in those I share this hope with.

Modern science claims to be in conflict with religion, or perhaps religion claims to be in conflict with science. But my religion tells me that the goal of my life is to learn not be selfish. That true fulfilment is to be found in a love that genuinely wants to serve others. This is the same holiness that I touch in worship, how beautiful. If only I could do more than aspire to it, to glimpse it.

How can this detract from humanity. How is this in conflict with anything genuine ?

But it is the opposite of religious dogma and law, an anathema to it. The bitter irony is that this is the very thing that Jesus stood against in his day. He opposed the teachers of the law, who oppressed the poor and put burdens on others that they would not carry themselves. He called them whitewashed tombs, snakes in the grass, the blind leading the blind.

So please never mistake ignorant, dumb religious law for Christianity.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-10-11 00:44:35 | |
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Geniuses, IQ and Passion

emoticon:drive A recent New Scientist Article [1] runs with the headline You Could Be a Genius Too.

It suggests that brilliance, whether academic or in music or sport or anything else, is not innate. Instead it is partly based on support and environment in the early years, but mainly on plain hard work.

This is a reassuring message for most of us, who are not yet geniuses, by applying the 99% perspiration we have lacked.

Apparently the majority of real achievers in almost any field have an only moderately high IQ. Conversely, those who have an exceptionally high IQ tend to only live moderately achieving lives.

The article concludes that almost anyone can become a real achiever, a genius in their field, if they are prepared to put in the hard work.

This sounds at least partly true, but I don't think its the whole story. Personality still determines success or achievement (however you want to define success and achievement). I think the missing factor is passion. Passion is the intellectual or emotional force that drives people to achieve, and IQ is probably much less of a factor than we suppose.

It is this fact about the human soul [2] that makes it much more relevant to human endeavours than the mind. We achieve when we get passionate about things. Smile

It's also why I find the blog Creating Passionate Users so interesting. Good programming isn't just about cold rational choices...

[1]The article is by David Dobbs, and although it cites 'studies', a quick scan of the article didn't reveal any specific references.
[2]Perhaps a controversial word, but a word that encompasses human emotions and subconscious drives as well as the rational mind.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-09-20 23:11:18 | |
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A Beautiful Tree

emoticon:pda A poem by Luke Van Der Schaans.

A Beautiful Tree

I watched a little seed, with a hard and shiny shell,
As it in the rich soil fell.
There, when it had died in the ground,
Not long after, a green leaf was to be found.
For a while I feared this new life would not survive,
So I watched and prayed that it might stay alive.
For raging storms blew over my little one,
Trying hard to get it's fragile roots undone.
And after the storm, the sun made everything so dry,
That all the shallow plants give in to die.
Just when this brave one could catch it's breath,
The weeds arose, almost choking it to death.
In all of this, a big black bird was going round,
Wanting to devour all that sprung fresh from the ground.
But after to have endured all this hardship and pain,
It seemed my little tree was going to remain.
Already birds came in it's branches, their nests to hide,
While it's deep roots drank from the stream it stood beside.
Every season it released a sweet fragrance, for all to smell,
Followed by good fruits, carrying little seeds, with a hard and shiny shell.
After many years of producing all this good,
Something happend I very much misunderstood.
The Sower, picked up His axe and went my tree to kill,
Saying it had yet a greater purpose to fulfill.
But never before had I seen greater loss,
When I saw Him preparing this ugly cross.
He cried, as He brought it to the marked square,
And placed it on the back of His own Son who was there.
Father, Father, He cried; Is there really no other way,
To save mankind from it's evil day?
But the hammer had fallen, there was no turning back,
The Light of the World was sent into the Black.
So there He went, willingly dragging that cross upon that hill,
Where a cheering crowd, willingly gatherd for the kill.
And after those nails went through His hands and feet,
He was lifted in the air, hanging there for all to bleed.
And as those drops of holy life fell into the dust and clay,
All the worlds dirty stains of sin where washed away.
Before He closed His eyes, only this was left to say,
It is accomplished, there is escape through the narrow way.
All you little seeds, with a hard and shiny shell,
Come, and die in the ground, beside the eternal well.
For that truly is the way to join Life's victory,
All through the blood, that was shed on that beautiful tree.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-09-02 16:35:00 | |
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Thinking About God

emoticon:cross When I was at university I read a short book, called Thinking About Thinking by Anthony Flew [1]. This book had some very good things to say about thinking, and particularly common fallacies in arguments.

As usual wikipedia has interesting things to say about Anthony Flew.

So why am I mentioning this ? Well... I happened to see a new Scientific American Blog Entry via the feed on Planet Voidspace.

It is about a debate on Intelligent Design, that Sci-Am thinks is rigged from the start. This might be the place, but it isn't the time for me to air my views on intelligent design. You can see my article [2] Biblical Truth to see my views on whether evolution and Christianity can ever be more than uncomfortable bedfellows.

The Sci-AM article linked to an article called Anthony Flew Considers God...Sort Of. It turns out that Anthony Flew was a poster-child atheist for many years (remaining unconvinced after attending meetings of the Socratic Club led by CS Lewis at Oxford University).

Apparently in December 2004 Anthony Flew converted to deism (not Christianity). Very interesting... Smile

[1]This book is now out of print according to Amazon.
[2]Quite old now, but still OK I think.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-05-07 22:56:49 | |
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Jesus Centre Agency Day

emoticon:cross Last week we (at the Jesus Centre) ran an Agency Day for organisations working in the Community & Voluntary sector in Northampton.

The Jesus Centre is the premises through which the Jesus Fellowship Church [1] seeks to help the community of Northampton, especially the disadvantaged and marginalised.

Agency Day Northampton, Glen Suite

The full centre has now been open for over a year, but we ran a drop-in from smaller premises for a couple of years before we managed to complete the renovation of the cannon cinema [2]. The experience we gained through that, especially the training of our volunteers, was invaluable.

We now run over forty different groups and services regularly. These include :

  • Our Step-Up Scheme drop in

  • The Circle Community Cafe

  • Friday Evening Theme Nights, including :

    • Jammin' Sesh
    • Gold Nuggets Poetry Evening
    • Music from the Heart on Classical Music
    • Multicultural Evenings
  • Several creative groups

    • Drama Workshop
    • Creative Sewing
    • Expressive Art
    • Guitar Lessons
  • Several support groups

    • Knowing Me, Knowing You
    • Open Doors (Support for ex-prisoners)
    • Parenting group
    • New to UK
  • Appointment services

    • Money worries
    • Listening Ear
  • Spiritual Life groups

    • Healing Rays (prayer)
    • Faithbuilders (lunchtime devotionals)
    • New Friends (a bit like the Alpha Course)
    • New Seekers (bible study for new Christians)
  • Skills Classes

    • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
    • Maths for All
    • Literacy
    • IT with English

We also have a couple of new groups, Scrabble for the over fifties and a group working with the sex workers of Northampton.

We also run an art exhibition in our gallery area as part of the community cafe [3]. This changes monthly and features the work of local artists from the Northampton area.

So why am I reeling off this long list of activities ? Well, there is no other organisation in Northampton (as far as I know) that provides such a range of services for such a diverse range of different people.

This was the message we hoped to convey to the representatives who attended our agency day, as well as learn how to better work with them.

We also hoped to allay their fears about the religious context of the services we deliver. The activity of the Jesus Centre is motivated by our faith and an expression of our faith. However, we don't force our religion on anyone and none of the services of the Jesus Centre are dependent on the faith (or otherwise) of those attending. This is the kind of faith based social action promoted by Faithworks and endorsed by the UK central govenment and also (at least in theory) local government.

So was our agency day a success ? Well, as usual we didn't know how many people to expect. It could have been anything from fifteen to fifty. In the end thirty people came, and we made some good new contacts. I was very pleased with the event, and didn't even feel too much of a gump when doing my part of the presentation [4]. Razz

[1]Also known as the Jesus Army.
[2]An art deco cinema designed by architect Richard Glen.
[3]Along with free internet access and a free Wi-fi hotspot.
[4]My theme was the range of activities we provide, how that is relevant to other agencies, and how we would like to work with those organisations. John Campbell talked about the aims and ethos of the Jesus Centre (as well as some background to the project). Additionally, we had brief presentations on our BME work, our skills classes, and the work of the Step-Up scheme with the homeless of Northampton.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-03-07 11:37:42 | |
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#97

Moving Out and On

emoticon:newspaper It's now almost three weeks since Delia and I moved out of community. After ten years in community (for me) this is a big step and a big change.

Community living, as practised by the Jesus Army and the New Creation Christian Community is a great thing. So why did I move out ?

Now that the dust has settled (a little) I'd like to explain.

The vision of community, is that living together and sharing income and possessions, is much closer to how God intended us to live than the "Normal Western Lifestyle". Lots of Christians felt the call to community in the charismatic outbreak of the seventies, but few of the communities have survived. The strong structure of the Jesus Army has not been uncontroversial, but it is what has enabled it to remain a strong movement of God thirty or more years after it was founded.

The JA has (depending on how you count membership), some two or three thousand members across the UK. Around four to five hundred of these currently live in community.

I arrived in community in a very desperate state, back in early 1996. At first it was little more than a bed and food, which was more than I could expect to find elsewhere. I gradually found my faith again, emotional healing and strong friendships. This is undoubtedly through the ethos and practise of the Jesus Fellowship. If you are interested in my story, you can read the first parts in :

There's more to come... Wink

Many other people have found help and encouragement through community and Church.

Community living obviously has its advantages and its difficulties. Nonetheless, my experience was largely a very happy one. So why did we leave ? Is it just a step backwards ?

Well, possibly the answer to the second question is yes. Sad I'm still not sure about that, and time will tell.

Community living puts a lot of constraints on lifestyle. Not the least of which is constraints on yourtime. I have always had a great interest in computers, and in recent years have discovered I have an ability to program. Particularly using the Python Programming Language.

Community means spending a lot of time with people, this is its greatest strength and its greatest problem. I really enjoyed living with the folk at River Farm House, some of whom I count as my closest friends. Along with the opportunity to really share your life comes the opportunity for relationship tensions and difficulties. Living with people who you find difficult, or who find you difficult, can be a painful thing. It certainly forces you to examine your character and be aware of your selfishness and weaknesses. The alternative of course, is to never have to face up to them; or at least to deal with them a lot more slowly.

But along with spending time with people, community comes with an enormous commitment to attend meetings. I was finding that fitting programming into the couple of hours left every day wasn't working. I'd already decided that I wanted a job as a programmer, but the elders felt that it absorbed too much of my soul and time. They wanted me to give it up altogether [1].

It wasn't a decision I made lightly, in fact I agonised over it for months. In the end I felt that I couldn't give up programming altogether and we had to move out.

So we're no longer living so closely with people, and we don't know what the future holds. Perhaps I've chosen a path further from what God wants for me. This certainly isn't the end of the story. We haven't left the Jesus Army and still attend almost as many meetings as we did before Exclamation People have largely been very supportive. Although they may disagree with my choice, they've made it clear they want to remain our friends.

There are dangers. My Faith is the most important thing in my life, and I desperately don't want to lose my relationship with God. My past experiences have shown me just how good at running my own life I can be when I do that. Community puts a lot of (good) boundaries up, and outside of it you have to maintain these boundaries of morality and responsibility yourself.

When we first moved out I was very confused. I didn't know where I stood with God, or with other people. Maintaining my commitment to the Church felt like it was going to be difficult. I was worried that I had completely blown it with God.

The week after we moved out we went to our weekly family meal (agape) and I felt a real touch of God [2]. It was very unexpected, but also reassuring. Even if I have made a wrong decision, God hasn't abandoned me and there is hope for the future. This stirred up my desire to stay involved with the Church, and I feel like this is a new beginning.

As I said, this isn't the end of the story. I still hope that in the future, when things are more settled, we may be able to move back into community. Even if this doesn't happen, it's not the end of our friendships with the people, nor our friendship with God.

[1]The exact sequence of events is slightly more complicated, I reached a decision to move out a few days before the elders were going to talk to me anyway. The upshot is the same though.
[2]A perhaps slightly bizarre euphemism, meaning to experience the love and presence of God.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-02-07 14:33:39 | |
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#95

Pseudo Spirituality

emoticon:worship It's not often I say anything controversial on this blog, but I've had it, and I've donned my flame proof pants especially for the occasion. Bad Grin

Interest in ghosts, aliens (alien visits, alien sightings, alien abduction, whatever...), speaking to the dead and anything related are not spiritual. At best they are pseudo spiritual, and probably worse. Neutral

They all stem from a similar need. People realise that there are facets of life and the universe (and everything...) that are unexplained by Western rationalism. (a.k.a. science). These things are possibly (well, definitely, but let's not get too dogmatic) unexplainable by a purely left brain world view.

Instead of causing them to look inwards at Soul & Spirit, they externalise them. The answer is enough to provide a 'rational' explanation, but just mysterious enough to prevent people having to look deeper. Ultimately all these subjects have nothing to say about the ultimate nature of reality, and man's relationship to it. They offer an explanation to the mystery of the universe on one hand, but on the other hand have little to say about the real question.

Like many lies, they may contain grains of truth, but you don't need to scratch deep to uncover the deception.

These beliefs are sometimes adhered to by ardent fanatics, but are also explored by spiritual seekers. Unfortunately these beliefs often ensnare people, and make it harder for them to find the truth.

Not wanting to discourage those on a genuine Spiritual search, I find it difficult to discuss these topics with people. On the one hand I want to listen to people and assist their search. On the other hand, I find these particular beliefs hard to discuss without wanting to dismiss them.

What particularly grates is the name of the practise of communicating with the dead, spiritualism. This is a travesty of a genuine Spirituality.

I'm sure there are a lot of charlatans, I'm equally sure there are a lot of genuine people with real beliefs. That's why I find it difficult to discuss the subject. It's not that I don't believe in Spirits (but I believe more in Spirit - the human spirit and the Holy Spirit). I don't believe they are spirits of the deceased though, they are either (almost invariably) manifestations of psychic forces (and so mindless except as they respond to the human soul) or demonic forces.

Oh, and by the way, you can add conspiracy theories to the list of pseudo spirituality. Razz

Yep - I think that's the rant over.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-02-01 20:58:19 | |
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#93

A Big Change

emoticon:acrobat Over the weekend something very big has happened in the lives of Delia & me.

We have moved out of community, and in with a couple of friends into Kingsthorpe Northampton.

Andy & Mini originally bought a bigger house than they needed, specifically so that they could have people move in with them. This means it's not such a burden on them to have us. Smile

It's all come at once for them too - they have someone else moving in on Friday (another old friend of mine & Andy's). It won't be that different from community after all.

The move was our choice. We both loved community but there was no single choice that addressed all the issues. Particularly the way I wanted to work with computers. We're staying part of the Church and hopefully will remain committed and involved.

Andy & Mini are a young couple from the Church. We got married on the same day ! I've known Andy for many years. Hopefully we'll still be good friends in a few months time. We are going to save up to move into our own place (probably a rented flat in Northampton) in about April or May.

It's a difficult but exciting time for us. We have a nice room here, currently filled with my accumulated possessions from nearly ten years in community - and Delia's from around three years.

We have lots to sort in the next few days. Transport to work is a big concern. We're now on an outer wing of Northampton, and the bus that gets me to work forty minutes late (and Delia ten minutes late) will cost us around 160 a month. In the short term this is OK as TBS will permit it if I take it out of my lunch break. We will have to look at getting a car as soon as possible. It's a good job I've had some practise in the last few weeks.

Delia is just about ready to take her test and is also ready to take UK citizenship. Neither of these are cheap. We can delay her citizenship until a few months before we next need to travel (which won't be this year now !) - but it would not be good to delay her driving lessons/test.

Anyway, Andy & Mini are charging us a reasonable rent, so we can work these things through.

We're both fine. The shock of moving out has either worn off (it was a slightly traumatic week) or not yet really hit. We're both quite excited by all the new things, so you can ask us how we are in a few weeks time.

Neither of us are looking to change jobs immediately - but I'm still looking for work as a programmer four days a week. I didn't have any positive responses to sending my CV to a few local companies. However, last week a web-development firm in Oxford approached me having seen my CV online. They would be happy for me to work four days a week (enabling me to stay with the Jesus Centre). I would have to commute initially, but eventually could work from home. It would be doing exactly the sort of work I'm looking for. I may not get the job, but it makes me feel that it's not an impossible dream and I will persevere.

Anyway - I think I've told you all the news, and all the things that worry us.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2006-01-23 10:38:35 | |
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#76

Dining in a Temple

emoticon:knot Last night I ate dinner in a Sikh temple, cooked by a Sikh priest. It's not every day I get to say that. Smile

My wife met Amrik (the priest) by teaching English at the Jesus Centre. This in itself is slightly ironic, her being Romanian - but she speaks better English than most of the natives.

Amrik is a short beaming fellow, with an impressive grey beard, broken English, and heartwarming hospitality. There are two Sikh congregations in Northampton, and he is the priest of one of them. He lives with his son in what is effectively a bedsit atatched to the temple. Their wives and children are both living in India. We watched some of the DVD of the son's wedding (whose name I won't even attempt to spell).

Amrik has an impressive multi-levelled house in India, and he's given it up to live in a small room in Northampton.

He cooked us pizza - cooked the traditional Indian way Wink - along with a mildly spicy chickpea dahl (spelling ?). Very nice, not every day a priest cooks for us.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2005-11-25 09:42:22 | |
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