Monthly Archives: May 2015

THE MAGIC OF WORD POWER

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Word Power – That is not a reference to the computer application MS Word. Microsoft is powerful but not as powerful as what I am thinking about. Although, I will come back to computer programmes later. I have been watching a new serial on BBC TV  about magic called ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’. In the first episode Norell performs an astonishing piece of magic by making statues come to life and speak. He utilises all the knowledge he can from ancient books and says some form of incantation to make it work. That set me thinking about how powerful words can be and why. I am not just talking about words spoken to wound someone’s feelings; although I have often thought that some people don’t need a sword when they have a cudgel for a tongue but that’s another subject on its own. No, I mean mysterious, ritualistic words that promote great power.

We all probably know the start of John’s Gospel, ‘In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. That is some word! This ability to change something by speaking a ritual or using so called words of power has been sought after through centuries and purported to be used by magicians throughout ages. Even the children’s party conjurer often says ‘Abracadabra’ to give the illusion of real magical power being exerted.

(Which reminds me of a Tim Vine joke:  if you come across a dead body floating in the sea or river, wearing a pointy hat and magician’s clothing, what do you say?…. ‘Aqua cadaver!’ of course.)

However, have you ever really, really thought how just saying something can make it happen? What force is harnessed to activate into deeds what has been simply spoken? How can anything just happen at the whim of an all powerful being? But isn’t that what happens when we use a computer? Is that really so different or difficult to understand? These days we are able to command things to happen that long ago would have been regarded as magic. Millions of instructions per second are carried out when we ask our PC, laptop, phone or tablet to run certain programmes, or Apps as the buzz word is now. We can alter situations in a computer universe just by a click or a key press. Are we all in the virtual world of a supreme programmer that just by ‘saying’ something can make it happen? I would like to believe that it is more the Spirit of God that permeates everything and has the ability to react to situations and alter things, just like the computer.

Jesus was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he could perform amazing miracles either by touching someone or saying something. Lazarus who had dead been a few days in the tomb, was called to ‘Come forth’ and he did. {How many of you are now thinking of the old joke about him coming fifth instead?} Also, in another incident Jesus brings a little girl back to life by saying  ‘Talitha cumi’. These words are then explained by Mark, the writer of the Gospel,which gives rise by some to comment that if these were normal Greek or Hebrew words, why explain them? Were they part of some heavenly language spoken by the Lord?

There is a similar example in the Acts of the Apostles by Peter when he tells a dead girl quite simply ‘Tabitha arise’. That’s all he said, we are told, and she came back from the dead. (Not quite the same situation that Mr Norrell experienced when he was instrumental in resurrecting  another young woman in the TV series.)

Going back to those lines from John’s Gospel, it is interesting to note that the ‘Word’ being mentioned is in fact Jesus. The passage goes on to explain that ‘The word was made flesh’. So, that kind of explains things a lot for me. If God was the Word and the Word was made flesh in Jesus then clearly Jesus was God. That’s why we talk of the Holy Trinity, The Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is crucial to the resurrection of Jesus after being crucified. If Jesus is God and God died on the cross, who had the power to raise him from the dead? For me that is the clincher of proving that God exists in more than one form, i.e. the Trinity.

Of course, the exact nature of God is unknown, unfathomable, enigmatic, incomprehensible and baffling. Hebrews 11:3 states, ‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.’  Additionally the prophet Isaiah says that ‘God made all things visible and invisible’.

So, apparently, there are some things that exist that are invisible. Some we know about. Electricity, magnetism, gravity and even the wind we cannot see; we can only feel or see their effect. But what about Dark Energy or Dark Matter that exist in Space? No one seems to know quite what these forces are but scientists know they exist because of the way they affect other planetary objects and stars.

In conclusion I don’t believe anyone can rule out things they don’t understand which is why it is worth keeping an open mind about things spiritual or supernatural. As the X-Files programme used to say, ‘The Truth is out there.’

 

WINNERS or LOSERS?

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If there is one thing I have learned from the recent UK General Election it’s that you cannot air political views on Facebook or other web sites without finding you are suddenly in a battle.

Now, I am no stranger to a frank exchange of views or sometimes giving a robust defense of my position but the amount of vitriol  expunged from people liking opposing Parties was at times frightening. ‘Victors’ were crowing and ‘losers’ feeling ill.

I suppose it is hard to see an opposite view and accept it. Some were accused of being ‘bad losers’. I always think that’s a bit strange as if you were a ‘good loser’ that would imply that you lost so often you were quite accomplished at it. What they mean is that some people are ungracious in defeat but that would depend on the nature of the defeat and the respect for the opponent, I assume.

If you were uncharitable you could think that people who are writing with a poison pen about you are using up precious moments of their life dwelling on yours.They will never get those moments back. Is that a comfort?  Far be it from me to think that it is…..although I am sure I can reach it if i try.

It is so different than a face to face discussion. There is no compensatory twinkle in the eye, grimace or smile to soften the verbal blows. Although someone may write, ‘No offence’ after a statement, there is always an offence.In legal terms there has usually been mens rea, or guilty intent. The barb has been thrown and often sunk deep in the psyche of the recipient. On newspaper web sites it seems the anonymity gives the ‘courage’  to be as hostile, foul mouthed and bad mannered as anyone likes. Often you hear or see  the expression, ‘It’s a free country and I can say what i want’. No, you can’t, not if it causes deep offence to another. Or, the other favourite is, ‘I know my rights.’ Do they really? If they do, they certainly don’t know their responsibilities, which usually appear absent.

That is why it was heartening to see and hear the speeches of the deposed Leaders and various politicians who lost office. Both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg gave speeches without rancour and at times I thought were quite moving. David Cameron did not rub salt in anyone’s wound but was polite and almost conciliatory in victory. Even the Scottish M.P. who lost his seat was courteous and kind to a young woman only twenty years old and who could not possibly have his experience of life and politics. (What he thought privately might have been different though.)

Whatever the result meant for you though, it is obvious we need opposition in politics. It is not good for one Party, whoever they are, in my opinion, to always rule unless inter alia they have these aims:

1) Have a desire to help the poorer people keep healthy, fed and sheltered, even at the expense of an elite small percentage that have everything and think they are superior because they have more money; and that if others haven’t any it is always their own fault.

2) A proper acceptance of Human Rights and not just the rights of rich corporations.

3) Make a real attempt at keeping our planet from dying through the excesses of our greed. Showing love for our fabulous environment that anyone can enjoy for free by just walking or being  in it.

These are my ideals. If you don’t share them, why not? Surely the morality is unassailable.  Yes, good housekeeping is important but not at the expense of people’s lives.

To anyone who feels that the Election did not go their way and feel they lost, remember the words of Marilyn von Savant – ‘Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.’

It is said that Time is a great healer. Let’s hope he’s a fast worker.

 

ARE YOUR HORNS COMFORTABLE?

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Well, the big day is tomorrow for voters in the UK. That’s the surmise, anyway. I wonder just how many people are really still interested in the event. It seems a lot of citizens can hardly contain their indifference.

Is that really so surprising with so many conflicting statements and opinions floating around? For example, if some reports are to be believed then should Labour form a new government our traditional greeting of ‘Hello’ will be changed to, ‘See you, Jimmy’.

That’s a not so subtle reference that Labour might form a pact/coalition with the Scottish National Party. The spin doctors of all the parties are placing suggestions in our minds.Most of them are not even subliminal. They are liminal. Or should I say, LIMINAL.  They are in our faces, without even the slightest nod to our sensory threshold. Each Party tries to outsmear the others.

It’s amazing what the power of suggestion can do. We have a neighbour who is always the first to put her waste bins outside for collection the next morning. Everyone knows when the collection day is due by her action. However, The other week she threw everyone a curved ball by putting her bins out  a day earlier than what I thought it should be. Our other neighbours all followed her lead even though it was not the correct day. I calculated that because there had been another Bank Holiday the collection was a day later than usual. The rebel in me challenged it. I said as much to another neighbour but was reassured that as Edith had done it I must be wrong. She always put the bins out  on the right day and allowed for Bank Holidays even when, like now, there had been a succession of them in the last few weeks. She always had, always would.

Another neighbour called over to me. ‘Where’s yer bin?’ I was tempted to reply with the old Music Hall joke,  ‘Mind yer own business – not telling you where I’ve bin’. I did not but was finding it hard to resist the peer pressure. Although we didn’t have a timetable to check collection dates, I held out. Everyone else said Edith would be right. She wasn’t.

And the moral of this? Sometimes you have to do what you believe is right no matter what others may tell you. The problem arises when you have a very good local M.P. who you want to carry on serving your local community but who is In a different Party to what you want for national government ambitions. That’s the trouble with the first past the post system we have.

Do you vote for the Party to govern the country or do you vote for the best person in your constituency?  It’s a dilemma as they are not always the same thing. Still, as a wise man once said, ‘If you are sitting on the horns of a dilemma; ask the dilemma to use lubricant.’

You need something to help you decide, to grease the wheels as it were.

Perhaps that thing might be what the Green Party Leader said in one of the TV Leaders’ Debate. ( for clarity that is Television, not transvestite, although the latter would be interesting.)  To paraphrase  what she said, ‘We should all use our vote to do what we know in our hearts might be right. not just for us but for the country.’ May our hearts be guided by the real Spirit of truth.

Am I interested in the outcome? Hell, yeah!

K. L. Freeman.