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Category Archives: justice

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2014/10/27/state-will-appeal-pistorius-case-npa

I have no desire to see Oscar spending the rest of his life in jail

however, equal to that, I have no desire for Reeva to remain dead for the rest of her life

but of course, my words will fall on deaf ears

this is our constitutional, democratic rite

and I saw something else under the sun

in the place of judgment – wickedness was there

in the place of justice- wickedness was there

this was posted on Facebook  recently and it is indeed a sobering cluster of ideas

when I saw this for the first time it was posted by a person of “white” race in South Africa – a minority cultural group in the country who are now feeling the very real pressure of racist legislation and the resulting reality of legislated dis-empowerment and intimately perceived unfairness under the powerful hand of the present government which was democratically elected into power by the majority of South African citizens nearly 20 years ago

as a member of this same “white” cultural group I immediately resonate with the sentiments and ideals expressed in the posting

I also feel all manner of emotions bubbling up inside me as it is a very tangible reality we face every day

and yes, in the posting there a strong linear thread of ‘logic’ in these statements and the wisdom of what is stated is to my mind self evident

… however what is seemingly less evident is that without too much lateral thought and perspectival gymnastics the same set of principles can be seen at work in the present political legislation as those which entrenched and under girded the now disgraced and ousted Nationalist Party’s policy of Apartheid and “Separate Development” prior to the political shift in 1994

with these policies legislated during the days of Apartheid the White race in South Africa was entrenched as exclusively privileged recipients of preferential access to resources … material, economical, political, social, cultural and this spilled into all other sectors of society including job reservation, education, land ownership and many other arena’s …

what a man sows is what a man reaps… whether just or unjust

and yes, the circle will turn again, and again…

and it’s always amazing how the same thing can look so completely different seen from just another angle

… and perhaps now, with the shoe on the other foot so to speak, so many of us “whites” seem to all so easily think of many reasons and linear justifications not to share this sobering  aspect of the equation, publicly, privately, even within ourselves – in our own private thoughts

… don’t you think?

A beauty, celebrated by a significant sector of our society is stripped once again and exposed, only this time in disgust and to public outrage.
This beauty was once on display before us and we gazed upon her with desire and lustful admiration but now this beauty has turned ugly by simply saying something that somehow cuts us deep, causing us to react in anger, even disgust.
And we turn towards her again… all of us, from all sides…

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/2012/05/04/racist-tweet-model-stripped-of-title-by-fhm

One concerned person, perhaps speaking for most of us I dare to suggest, posted this sentiment:

“No kidding? This disgusting behaviour keeps dragging us back into the dark ages.”

She was stupid to tweet what she did, no doubt,… (and she has acknowledged this already) and the expression and its sentiment is without any doubt unacceptable, but I think on all sides of the politico-cultural swamp we think and feel the same things.
Perhaps some of us are more “socially appropriate” about it all and don’t succumb to that many ‘irrational’ outbursts and also not in such a public forum, but I believe it’s deep in there… in all of us.
Yes, she is totally out of line, but we perhaps should consider that it might not be any more than just us turning on her in a bestial “pack-mentality” … Perhaps vainly to purge ourselves of these inner demons through her vicarious substitution?
We are a sorry bunch, hiding behind the illusionary veneer of the vanity of our belief in ourselves that we are the worthy possessors of a superior intellect…. That we are above the other creatures, that we are good and upright, civil and morally just?
Instead, I’m sorry more for us as a species than for her alone…. It’s sad, very sad.

For some reason ants seem to get into the kettle.  Perhaps they are in search of moisture?  It has been unusually hot here over the last while so perhaps it makes sense.

As with many households in the western world every morning our kettle is switched on for morning tea and of late I have begun to notice that there are more often than not a few small, dead ants that get poured into the pot or tea cup along with the boiled water from the kettle.  Our electric kettle is mostly black and in reality it is difficult to see them inside and mostly I usually don’t even think that they will have crawled in overnight in search of water… why would I think that?

This morning I removed four little ants from my cup who had suffered a terrible fate.  I suddenly thought what must it have been like to unexpectedly feel the temperature rise rapidly around them and then, before anything could be done to avoid disaster a searing heat overcomes everything?  It was probably totally confusing for the poor ant and clearly any attempt to get out of the trouble had at least 50% chance of getting the ant into more hot water.

The ants were neither good nor bad.  They meant no harm.  They were just being ants and were, I can only presume, doing what they needed to do.  Doing what ants do.

The only wrong they committed was that they never seemed to know of or understand the context they were in.  They clearly had no knowledge that the place they were seeking moisture and relief from was an electrical appliance that was used to boil water and an impending threat of death to them… and yet at the same time a comforting convenience for humans upon waking each morning.

My mind suddenly meandered to the historical account of the devastation of Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted and less than a decade ago to the boxing day Tsunami in Indonesia which caused so much loss of life.  I also thought of the trouble as a result of the recent earthquakes in Japan.

The earth wasn’t being evil.  It was just being itself.  It was doing what it had been doing since the very beginning.

And then I also thought about all of those people who happened to be born to Iraqi or Afghan parents and suddenly seeing American bombs raining down on them from the sky.  I thought of the two World Wars and all the ethnic violence that has filled our senses through the media over recent decades.  I also thought of those in many nations simply who happen to have been born to parents who were well below the breadline with little chance of ever changing their status because of the circumstances they were in economically, politically, culturally, geographically.

All these people, neither good nor bad.  The only wrong they committed was that they never seemed to know of or understand the context they were in.  They too were just being human, doing what humans do.

I suddenly felt strangely like God in my kitchen and the power both destructive and constructive I could unleash by simply flicking a switch.

I became alarmed at that which I was potentially a part of even without my knowledge or intent this way or that.   I was not being evil was I?  I was just making some tea.

And then I thought about my thoughts regarding all of this and the feelings that cascaded through my mind when I saw these four ants floating lifelessly in my boiling water.

I then began to wonder what God feels like in his kitchen?

 

 

Someone said today, “God is still God, even in bad times.”
I’ve heard it many times before but this time it got me thinking.
Is time ‘bad’ sometimes and ‘good’ other times?
Or is time neutral?
Does time have feelings?  a personal agenda?
Time is not a person, … is it?
Our nursery rhymes speak of “Father Time.”
I may be wrong, but I struggle to personify time.  Do you?

Time can seem ‘bad’ or ‘good’ to us.  We all go through these periods.  I know I do.

But what is the basis for this perception in us?
At times time can seem to cut across what we believe to be actually warranted.
‘Good’ times can come when we are not so ‘good’ ourselves, and ‘bad’ times can come when we really have been ‘good.’
Even after having done all we could do under the circumstances.
I think time is neutral, it will just go on regardless, even if we know and understand it or not.
The statement “God is God” tries to assure us that God is constant, never changing.
We believe this and the scriptural texts declare this.
This is intended to bring us security, but what of the times when we feel that things are not going so well?
What is God then?
Perhaps on another level it comforts us to believe that God is constant.
Perhaps we need to have this as a reality?  Perhaps we need it for our sanity.
If God isn’t constant we’d be in all types of trouble.
Like gravity which can seem to really suck sometimes, but if it changed every so often we’d all be in deep trouble.
So we eagerly tend to believe God is totally constant.  It’s reasonable to think this (perhaps unreasonably so?)
And what of when God appears inconsistent – at least according to us in any given situation?
Can this indirectly point a finger our way suggesting that if God is always constant, always ‘good’ and then at the same time things are not going ‘good’ for us … that maybe it’s us who are going bad?
Now that’s not what we want to hear is it?
We have a belief in God.
Does God have a belief in us?
In our religious culture no one likes to be seen as not having faith.
After all, we call ourselves ‘believers.’
It’s usually most unacceptable to admit that we don’t believe.
It’s almost as if this acknowledgement will send irreparable waves of rippling destruction throughout our universe.
But is it reasonable to think like this?
Jesus was not rejecting of the plea of one person who said to him, “I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
We don’t (even can’t perhaps) know all the details cognitively, but we can still know.
Can we also not believe all things but still believe?  Don’t we do that anyway?
Perhaps, like someone we really love – we can never know everything about them but we can know that we love them.
Perhaps the same can be said about God, our relationship to him and his relationship to us?
So, what about God?
It seems clear from the texts and even a fairly general understanding of things pertaining to God that God has offered us grace, love, acceptance, peace, etc.   But do we really even understand what these are?
Do we have much idea about the ‘seasons’ of God, the ‘timing’ of God?  the ‘workings’ of God?
For many of us God can appear “bad” to us at times.
Could this be seen in the same way as the way time has been described above?
When God seems ‘against’ us, is he?  is he then “bad”?
Or as the statement said, is he simply himself, Mr Consistency – not restricted or trapped into any box.  Not eventhe box of our own personal or collective human understanding of him (our ‘theology’).
God’s clearly not like us.
We seem to change all the time – ‘hot’ one day and ‘cold’ the next? …
Perhaps God is also “neutral” – not unfeeling nor intentionally distant … not intentionally ‘for’ nor ‘against’ anyone?
Even the ancient texts declare that God is spirit, not a man that he should lie, etc.
Maybe God is not even a person at all?
In some ways we are like God but is God at all like we are?
Maybe we find ourselves in ‘bad’ times when we are not ‘flowing’ with time properly?
Maybe things start rubbing the wrong way when we are not seeing or fully understanding what’s really happening?
Maybe we cannot see events from the past converging in on the future and disrupting our present?
Could our feelings and understanding about God be similar?
What do you think?

[aka – helping is not always helpful]

it’s good to be kind and helpful.  i don’t know about you but i think it is.  at least, if you said it i’d be one of the last to oppose your statement.  but i’m not always good at it although i try my best to be.  but truth be told there’s a side to me that is not always helpful and i have come to understand (more and more as i have grown older it seems) that i am not naturally so kind or good as i’d like myself and others to think i am.

we have just come through a very difficult learning curve involving trying to help someone else.  this person seemed in need and we wanted to help.  so we stepped in and took a stand at our expense and did what we believed was a helpful, kind thing to do.  it may sound stupid to you, but a big reason we did this was because we have been helped so many times by so many and we so appreciated it.  we also believe that if we give we will in time and in turn receive

that was then.  now, well over 50 grand down the toilet later and all manner of internal stress and toxicity of thought – not to mention the loss of sleep and sense of humour, we have terminated the whole thing and walk away …. still with a sense of guilt that maybe we could have continued to sustain the loss …..  and amazingly still with the thought and intent to be kind, generous, and forgiving as we terminated.

now generally i do this by faith not by nature (i speak mainly for myself here so please don’t burst a valve just yet).  but i have fast begun coming to a new suggestion or take on reality for myself.

my wife asked me a strange question this morning.  she asked me what gift this person left me in all of this?  “no more red wine for you darling!!” was my immediate thought, but i never let my lips know what my head was thinking and instead i thought about it and this is the gift i received:

the gift to me is the realisation that i am fast coming to a conclusion that sometimes trying to be kind and helping others can mess with major lessons that need to be learned.  … and i’m referring here to lessons needing to be learned in those we are trying to help as well as in us.

more often than not helping is not really helpful at all.

… and!! ….perhaps this could be the biggest gift i received – looking inside myself sometimes i think we “help” others more because it helps us to think we are being helpful/kind, etc and this is more about us than it is about those we think we are trying to help – so are we even being helpful to ourselves by doing this sort of thing?

“don’t cast your pearls before swine” and “don’t give to dogs what is holy” comes to my mind but the point here is not to be insensitive and callous, but rather to spend our real energy in the acquisition of the wisdom to distinguish between swines without making a pig of ourselves

waiting on God … hmmm?  a very prominent meme amongst christians from what I can see

firstly, it’s very rich coming in a world of fast-food, instant gratification, personal short and long term insurance, re-insurance, quick-fix best sellers, disposable culture

just the thought of waiting on/for anything is revolutionary in our times

so what are we waiting for? …. for God to open doors?

I was asked this very sincerely recently –  so it got me thinking

… and when we wait what are we waiting for?

is God late? reluctant? … holding out with punitive intent? … insisting that we first learn a lesson or two before he grants us our wish … our need …. our desire ….does God do this?

hang on,  I thought it says that he makes it rain on the godly as well as the ungodly … so, nah, can’t be then? … can it?

hey! – maybe he’s waiting for us? … but if we are waiting for God and he’s waiting for us neither will get what they’re waiting for – in fact, this way no one gets anywhere … so it’s got to be one or the other, not both? … not so?

so, what does it say? … it says that God is at rest – that’s what it says

and what could this mean?     is he tired?     exhausted?      needing a holiday?

but then again, maybe not ….  maybe he’s satisfied?  … like after a job well done … maybe even content, confident – maybe God’s at rest in the fact that what was begun in the beginning was indeed good, profoundly successful and very well balanced and well able, in it’s own good and perfect time and process to run its perfect course to a perfect end … ?

but for most of us to wait is a huge weight – especially in these times we live in

ok, so he’s resting, but does this mean he’s stopped? … now there’s a question!

it all was started in the beginning and it goes on, or so we are led to believe

we use words like eternity … a very short word for such a long time

… but then maybe time has nothing to do with eternity? … now there’s another long question

it’s often sung from the scriptures that waiting on God is good

but is it always good to wait?

well, maybe not always, but perhaps definitely in this day and age

why?  –  well to my mind we live in an artificial world – a world no longer in line with what it was meant to be – a make believe world of virtual reality masquerading as reality, in fact no, not only masquerading as reality, but actually replacing reality

we have made the world we live in and it’s a world of strenuous marketing strategies based almost exclusively on self-promotion

this is so anti the spirit, pattern and process of the universe we say we live in – even so anti the spirit of the Christ we claim to worship and follow as personal disciples (did the term ‘anti-christ’ come to mind? … hmmmm?)

I had a thought once that shook me to my bones – a simple thought really, but it changed almost everything for me …. it dawned on me that the creator as well as the creation does not plant trees, but instead, seeds are sown. … this is a revolutionary thought (if you can let the seed take root in your mind that is)

if anything is to surface, it will surface even if it has to break through tons of solid concrete

it may take time but it will surface

there are very few if any, sudden, quick fixes

trying to make things happen …. also, ….  waiting for things to happen, both don’t work – it will  happen, or it won’t  …. and when it does it will not be a second earlier or later than is the perfect time, regardless of the circumstance or context – perhaps even if the context is our own misguidedness or even mindless foolishness … now there’s another thought

this is not fatalism but the reality of the order of our universe … and if there is no order … well then, nothing matters at all … which sadly, in this day of such enlightenment and technological advance is pretty much the way we live our lives mostly – no mind for the effects of cause nor the cause of effects – no understanding of time or space ahead or past …. only, nothing but me and mine

perhaps ‘waiting on God’ is simply the time it takes to finally allow ourselves to see the reality of who we are? … also the reality of what we are, where we are and what we are standing on  … so that then we can respond appropriately

perhaps it’s the time it takes for us to come to a realisation of who or what God is? … for us?

and who or what we are … for God?

… that is who God is …

…. that who we are is what we are

…. that who we or God are is not what we’d like it to be, or wish it weren’t – which is just normal marketing and merely vain magic tricks  to try perhaps stay the hand of the inevitable for a while  (did you hear the word witchcraft?)

there is order out there as well as in here … so maybe waiting on God is the realisation that shouting louder only makes us deaf to the realities around us…

… that trying harder only increases the resistance …

… that giving up only prepares us for collision

but like God, we too can be at rest


I logged on to my facebook profile last night and it sort of popped out at me even though I have mostly tried (and succeeded) to blot out a vast majority of those intruding little parasitic media viruses that brazenly seek to pollute my visual field everywhere I look these days. Perhaps I was just tired but this one got through even my cynical, skeptical defense systems.

It was under the nauseating little sub-heading of “Health Travel Tourism” which might have attracted my attention because it conveys the same oxymoronic logic as “Military Intelligence” – well, at least to my mind it does.

The pitch went like this:

“Receive expert medical treatment and make your recovery in the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa”

I must confess that I had to look twice and still then I simply had to also click on the link just to make sure it wasn’t simply a joke. Seriously, this is actually a genuine advertisement, I kid you not!

But not only that… the covering picture graphics shot looks a Hollywood ER series poster.

My first thought was, …. “are they serious?”  … and indeed they are.

I must admit that I had never thought of planning my annual heart attack or surgical procedure to coincide with a holiday trip to the coast. I must also say that I can’t think of anyone I know who does actually plan their major sicknesses and surgical procedures like this … (but then I am a musician……)

Ok, my brain is also not your normal soft-corn, cauliflower look-a-like Farmers Weekly centerfold pin-up, but this immediately reminded me of the old Sci-Fi movie “Soylent Green” where in order to alleviate the global food shortage people would be lured into ‘electing’ to be “euthanised” in luxurious settings with the bonus of seeing the last remaining colour movie reels of the long lost natural beauty of the world on big screen just prior to being ‘put under.’ Their bodies were then harvested and turned into protein feed for human consumption. Sort of like the original “Stepford Wives” – only this time with stethoscopes.

Apart from the usual medical services offered there is also: The organizing and booking of outings and visits to tourist attractions and visits to the beach in the area, including rides in their exclusive beach wheelchair in order to aid in rest and recuperation. … er, ok … and: Assisting family,  friends and next of kin with administrational duties, shopping, banking, running errands, rental of mobile phones etc. … But hang on, if I were to plan my next heart attack surely I’d also have the administrative fortitude to take my own barrage of cell phones along? … and if I was family, friend or next of kin to the suffering and/or convalescing patient I cannot think I’d want to focus on outings to tourist attractions and visits to the beach … er, … even I would think that would be perhaps just slightly a bit,  .. er … tacky.

I know we have let ourselves slide radically and we really do fit the “consumer” label snugly, but isn’t this a bit much, even for us? I mean, what is this? What are they now trying to sell us? Is this some new sort of a “Disease Boutique” idea?  Are they now trying to make medical trauma and chronic illness a luxury affair? Are we next going to see ads that say, “Die Like the Stars” – “Perish in Pleasure” or “Decay Deliciously.”

Us faithful consumers have been all but stripped, exposed and undignified for over a century now. Isn’t it enough? Can’t they at least let us totally lose our dignity in a dignified manner without stooping to this depth?

Maybe I’ve said too much already? What do you think?

“It’s just not fair!” – I hear this often. I hear others say it. I hear myself say it. I feel it. I feel myself feeling it. I see the situations of others, their suffering, and I think it for them. I think it about them, on their behalf. Sometimes I rage and seethe inside as I see some alleged oppressor seeming to triumph over some apparent victim. But is this not fair? Dare I even suggest this as a remote possibility?

Sometimes to hear someone say, “It’s fair!” is painful to my ears, almost offensive. Especially in the times we live in. If a person is apparently advantaged at the point of saying this it can easily seem arrogant and vulgar, conceited, even violent. If in calamity or suffering we hear someone say, “It’s fair!” our thoughts can easily tip towards thinking that that person is depressed, manic, or unnecessarily negative, especially about themselves.

For me fairness is a difficult thing to come to terms with. There’s so much happening all around us, so much suffering, so much apparently obvious unfairness. For one to say things are fair to me almost appears extremely insensitive, unfeeling, wilfully blind, even cruel.

I must confess that I have mostly avoided speaking of this. It’s too sensitive a topic. The issue of fairness brings up all manner of turbulent emotions in me. I am often overwhelmed by just thinking about thinking of it, let alone dealing with it.

However, I feel that there are some things we do need to tackle about this issue. There are some questions we do need to ask and perhaps not of others but of ourselves. There are some things we need to take into account and at least for me, none of these are easy.

One of the big and troubling issues for me is that perhaps we need to see our perspective in terms of the greater context we are in as best we can. I don’t claim to have it all sorted out in my life, but it is of major significance to me and it just doesn’t seem to go away.

As I see it (at least for now), everything we have around us from the universe, the earth, the economy, our country, global warming, conflict, ourselves, even our deepest opinions have all taken a very long time to get to where they are right now. Often we are taken by surprise when things happen locally and/or globally. But if we take a step back perhaps we need to acknowledge that we really don’t see totally new and unique things suddenly bursting out of nothing or out of nowhere. There is no real evidence to even suggest that new things are being ‘created’ out of nothing all the time or even at any time.

When we analyse things they often make sense in hindsight and we often wish we’d seen it more clearly before it happened. We do not see things very clearly from our perspective so it’s no wonder we are caught by surprise so often.

From our point of view it sometimes seems that things happen suddenly and out of nowhere but that is often because we can only see what’s in front of us and even then we don’t nearly see it all. To add to this limitation of perspective often the emotions or even wonder of the moment prevent us from shaking off subjectivity.

I think that we need to consider the possibility that it might be more reasonable to say that things happen because other things happened before them and still other things before that … . and so on. The universe around us seems to scream this out. As far back as we can imagine it seems logical that something happened and over vast expanses of time other things happened as a result of what had happened and this has resulted in what and where we are right now. Very little seems to have happened suddenly and out of the blue (or darkness) except for the very beginning which we can only speculate was quite explosive and instantaneous …. but only because we have no idea what happened even a trillionth of a nanosecond before whatever happened actually happened.

Suddenly’s therefore seem to be merely an illusion. Sometimes the things that contribute to a ‘suddenly’ event are so small that it takes a vast number of smalls to make a suddenly. Usually the build-up of the vast number of smalls can take extremely long and sometimes not so extremely long. Sometimes the suddenly seems so huge because an immense amount of smalls gathered substantial momentum and the suddenly was only the aftermath of the ‘tipping point’ that was reached.

Things may seem random or chaotic some of the time, and maybe even all the time because we often are not able to see the whole picture. But they are all as a result of a whole string of events leading up to it. All these apparently random and chaotic events are huge clusters of smalls working towards a state of ‘release,’ balance or equilibrium. At any given point it may seem totally inexplicable, but over time history always points to the present and the present points towards the future. The present also points towards the past. Our ability to reason and learn from history helps us to make sense of the events leading up to a suddenly but this is almost exclusively in hindsight.

As difficult as it is for me to come to terms with it also seems apparent to me that everything is therefore balanced or at least it is in a state of transition towards balance which to us may very well appear like turmoil until it reaches a state of balance (and even that can feel very much like turmoil).

In hindsight it all seems fair to me. It all seems in time, in order, and in process towards …. balance?

If we can agree with any of the logic of this can we apply it to ourselves and to the events that cause us such confusion, turbulence, pain? or joy? or frustration? loss, devastation? peace? … . . balance?

Is it possible therefore that as emotive as our situations and circumstances may be it is all indeed consistent, just … . . fair?

What of our pain? despair? suffering? triumph? success? …. . .

Some believe God is just. Some reject, even hate God or the concept of God because of the rampant injustice apparent in our world.

Is this fair?

Is all of this unfair?

Maybe it is neither … . .

perhaps it just is

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