Profit in Peace

There is no profit in peace.  And that is why we are on the verge of going to war once again.

Tomorrow the House of Commons votes on whether we bomb some towns and villages where we are told there is a threat to our way of life.  Yet can we be sure it is not our own previous military intervention  and consistent supply of arms to all sides of Middle East conflicts that has provoked and perpetuated the violence?

Only this weekend our own government lawyers warned that the UK could be prosecuted for war crimes following the sale of arms involved in atrocities in Yemen.  Surely if we are so prepared to facilitate the destruction of innocents in one country we cannot complain when death comes shockingly to our neighbours.

I don’t understand the world out there.  I just know that killing people is only going to breed more hate.  The corporations and governments of the world are not stupid, they know this.  Yet the pull of riches and power are too much and so war must continue.

“When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.”  There is no profit in peace.

Ocean Colour Scene, Profit in Peace

 

 

Nirvana

Like the true bandwagon hitchhiker I can often be, I’m really enjoying Nirvana live on BBC4. The music is truly awesome, watching them is intriguing. I really am neither an expert nor a genuine fan but there is something powerful about Nirvana, 20 years on their legacy lives and I am sure they continue to influence.

The trouble is, although we can all be motivated by a bit of non-conformist showmanship, there is something about the music, the demeanour, the hair, the cardigan, the voice that gives me a chill. I don’t know what Cobain stood for but the guy is a global hero. He is lifted up, his attitude to be emulated. Maybe the point is he stood for not standing for anything in particular.

And what disturbs me is that there are kids these days who may or may not have heard of Nirvana but are still so disenfranchised from society that their anarchy and rebellion oozes out of them. Smells like teen spirit.

Nirvana sound great but they offer no hope. The cult icon is dead. Though his influence lives on it has done him no good.

We have to give the kids a hope. Something to believe in.

P.S. I am totally qualified to pass these sweeping comments because I never owned Nevermind but did have Bleach.

Homesick at Christmas

To be honest I had barely missed the UK for the first two months in Montenegro.  There are a some people I had affectionate thoughts of and it’s frustrating not being able to watch Match of the Day.  But apart from that I was very satisfied being in Montenegro.

But I must admit Christmas time has hit a bit hard.  It hurts to think of friends and family gathering without you.  It’s nice to catch up on facebook but it also reminds you of what you’re missing.

Below you can listen to Coles Corner by Richard Hawley.  The video comes across a bit cheap but the music and lyrics resonate with feelings of loneliness in a way that lifts the soul.  Coles Corner was a traditional meeting point for Sheffield people.  It was before my time but I must have spent hours just down from Coles Corner waiting for buses and friends and watching the world go by.  Would love to spend just 10 minutes there now….

 

Observations from a musical egit

Two Americans, a Serb and a young man from Uxbridge are playing live [*] music downstairs while I’m preparing my sermons for Sunday.  It is very good.

It reminds me that one of the things I love about being in Montenegro is that everything is interesting, unexpected and often has an international flavour.  For example, last night’s prayer meeting was attended by 4 Norwegians, 2 Brits, a Canadian, a Serb, a Macedonian, a Russian and, of course, 3 Montenegrins.  Today we did a drive to drop two guys at the airport then we went into Podgorica and into a bar – I had a beer and did sermon prep, Rada sat at the next table chatting with a friend.  Tomorrow night is a guitar concert at the university – hence the rehearsal that’s getting my feet tapping.

It is a privilege to be here.  And I am not taking it for granted.

[*]  INSERT GENRE OF YOUR CHOICE AS I AM A MUSICAL EGIT WHO CAN’T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BUT ONE WORD I THINK THAT COULD BE USED IS FUNKY AND IT HAS GOOD BASS

Rage Against the Machine swear on 5 Live

I am loving this campaign to get Rage to number one ahead of X-Factor Joe.  Appearing on Radio 5 Live this morning, Rage Against the Machine argue that Simon Cowell has so much control over what people think and what people spend their money on.  I like Rage’s point that, whether it is a small thing like getting someone different to the top of the charts or whether it is something big like war and peace, when the silent majority act together then the world order of things can be turned on its head.

This is such an important lesson for us to learn.  We are so indoctrinated by culture…we are fed values and expectations that tell us we have to have sex to be normal, we have to get drunk to feel good, we have to own ‘stuff’ to be worth anything.  I hate these values…they rip families part, exploit the young and destroy the poor.

But these values will not stop being preached by the media until more people stand up against them.  Whether or not X-Factor lose their chart crown is petty but the concept behind the campaign is devestatingly important. Sheila off 5 Live demonstrated the passive pathetic attitude that is typical of us, the consumer public.  She told the audience to buy Joe’s record because Rage started swearing.  Yeah, it’s ok to say something different until it offends people and then they run to the safety of what they know – materialism, celebrity obsession, self-centredness, escapism……

I’m off to download Killing in the Name!

X-Factor v Sports Personality

I’m really chuffed with the results.  I’m chuffed Jessica Ennis was voted 3rd – she’s a great athlete and she’s from my club so I guess I’m biased.  Must have been an incredible event for her in Sheffield.

I’m pleased that Jenson Button didn’t win, he’s done amazing things this year but no way near deserving to be the winner.

And it was great watching Ryan Giggs receive the award.  I loved the humility that he hadn’t bothered to rehearse a winner’s speach.  He was utterly stunned!

In my opinion, in comparison to X-Factor, Sports Personality is one of the most inspiring moments of the year.  When you look at the collection of sports stars, what they have achieved, what they have been through to achieve it and the legacy they leave, it really makes Olly and Joe (as good as they may be) look like an over-hyped pair of karaoke wannabes.

But to be honest, that is my opinion.  I have always loved sport and disliked pop music.  What is important, whether you watch X-Factor or Sports Personality of the Year, is that you are inspired by normal people who have taken their opportunities and achieved their dreams.  That is something we can all do.

Minutes to Midnight: Part 3 – The Little Things Give You Away

It doesn’t matter how hard you try, what level of deception you can attain, or even how deluded you are.  There will always be things that give you away if you try and make out you are something you are not.

This haunting, damning song leaves the soul bare.  Written about New Orleans and hurricane Katrina it could be a slur on Bush and his political stance to the disaster although the line, ‘as a nation simply stares’ suggests a wider accusation.  The truth of the matter is, for all our huffing and puffing, most of us are apathetic and stand by as others suffer.  I yearn for a compassion that is not held back by pride, laziness and a lack of perseverance.  A compassion that actually takes action.  I can say I love but inaction gives me away.