The light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.

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I heard the Kurdish version of the story of the wisemen while working in a refugee camp. Kurds are the descendents of the Medes (I didn’t know that either!) So, Daniel (of lion’s den fame) worked for the king of the Medes and trained a school of wise men to follow in his footsteps after he was gone. According to Kurdish tradition the wisemen were “descendants” of Daniel. That’s why they knew about the star and the coming king!

I love it when I discover a new piece of the puzzle. Just wanted to share this little known one. It seems powers that be have long been trying to eradicate much of Kurdish literature which sheds light on their ancient Christian roots. The friend that told me this tale hoped to one day make it to London to search the texts in the British museum, the only remaining sanctuary of these ancient books.

 

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The “ministry of truth” is at it again.

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The “ministry of truth” is at it again. I went to see “Churchill” last night expecting an exciting and invigorating movie. I’ve read some of his memoirs and he led an incredible life quite apart from his role as prime minister in world war II.
This movie was awful though and seemed to me blatant lies for the most part. I came home and double checked and sure enough the whole premise of him opposing the D day landings was totally untrue, as was the depiction of his character as a petulant relic getting in everyone’s way (I believe it to be true that he had a drinking problem – who wouldn’t with the weight of responsibility he carried).
It seems some like to pull down the representation of great men and this isn’t the first attempt at Churchill. For sure he was no saint, but he was far from the feeble, petulant old man portrayed by this movie. The problem is the younger generation (unless history nerds like me) may well swallow this interpretation grrrrr – OK rant ended!

Britania

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The bow breaks the waves as a vessel of ancient oak clefts the breakers for one last voyage of adventure and discovery. As winds of adversity blow away the cobwebs, she leans into the breeze seeking far flung shores of trade and commerce. Breaking with convention she sails, not knowing what strange waters she will encounter, what storms endure.
Folks look on in speculation. Why not stay in port, rust away in safety, secure in harbour? Yet she sets her face to the sea choosing to venture forth in strange uncharted waters, perversely seeking her own destiny, a heart of oak craving the freedom of the open sea even at great peril, for this has always been her role, she cannot depart from it.
They do not understand her heart, the call of the gulls the heady scent of freedom on the breeze. Will the strong old beams withstand the voyage or are they rotted away with corruption and greed. Who can say?
Her crew, long at anchor, scramble to hoist the rigging, to catch the prevailing breeze, startled by this sudden about face. Confusion on deck as the ship itself seizes the opportunity to cast off the chains of her anchor and set sail one more time for parts unknown.

I’m impressed!

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I haven’t been to the cinema in years but my curiosity to see this one enticed me to make the effort (I much prefer to watch movies at home). I’m so glad I did. I have to give this one 5 stars (despite the  expected groans of the critics).

Why?

  1. It lacked the weaknesses and “churchy” atmosphere often plaguing Christian movies. (There are so many great stories in the Bible that could enrich our diet. I think Christian directors do a great job on a limited budget, but these stories could be so much more.).
  2. It had a great plot and for the most part was well acted.
  3. It was historically accurate as regards, costume, sets etc. quite a convincing portrayal of Roman Palestine, dirt, mess, warts and all.
  4. Jesus was not portrayed as handsome or outstanding, but with a wonderful smile and sparkling eyes that lit up during conversation – perfect casting and acting.
  5. The disciples also looked and acted like very ordinary.characters, confused, excited, human.
  6. I could identify very much with the tribune and his doubts, my mind worked in a similar way.
  7. Jesus is portrayed as very personal in his interactions, the miracles only a backdrop to his love for each one.
  8. I’m very picky about movies, and hate the same old predictable plots etc. but this one I believe stands on its own as a mind provoking  quality film even for non Christian  audiences, good viewing for Easter!

Great nautical day.

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My sister made one of her seasonal London day trips today. We had a great time together with a topical cruise down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich narrated in traditional style by one of the crew.  I grew up and worked here for quite a while when I was young, but I was surprised to learn quite a bit from it . We then looked over the Maritime Museum and had lunch in the little cafe there before getting the boat back . It amazes me how you can think you know a place yet have missed a very obvious facet of it.

I’d not really thought much about London’s history from the point of view of the river, but really the river began it all in the first place!

Some fun Thames facts for foreigners.

  1. I know its spelled Thames but it’s said Tems (how we cringe when we hear its name mispronounced).
  2. Though originally a beautiful pure river teeming with wildlife it became so smelly (due to its use as general sewer and dumping ground) that Parliament was unable to function for the stink (that’s when the London sewers were created). Happily it’s now once more one of the freshest rivers in the world.
  3. From the river you can see “Traitors Gate” the notorious river entrance to the Tower of London (few ever made it back out).
  4. With London’s old muddy clogged roads, the river was once the fastest way to get around and abounded with small craft ferrying folks here and there.
  5. The previous London bridge (there have been five!) was found to be sinking in Thames mud so was sold and transported to the USA.
  6. A river cruise is a great way to see London passing lots of famous landmarks, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Shard, St. Pauls, and Big Ben, to name but a few.
  7. The Thames is a tidal river rising several meters, so the current changes in different directions throughout the day (making it tricky to navigate).
  8. Pirates were once executed by being chained to a post against a wall of the river for three tides.
  9. The Thames police were the first British police force (even before the Bow Street Runners).
  10. On the celebratory opening day of Tower Bridge the bridge failed to open and the first ship crashed into it.
  11. These are just a few items to wet your appetite. So if you are ever in London take a cruise. You can go anywhere between Henry VIII’s Hampton Court in the west to the Thames barrier in the east on anything between a speed boat and a leisurely wine and dine dinner cruise. It’s all great fun!

Are we being manipulated?

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“Only the farmers are free because they are not dependent on anyone else,” says father to son in “Farm Boy” (part of the “Little House on the Prairie”series I long ago read with my kids). The statement stayed with me. I love this series as a historical how to, survival guide. “Pa” could do everything, build a house, barn, furniture, grow crops,smoke bacon, hunt, trap and generally survive in the wild (Bear Grills has nothing on those 19th. century pioneers!) Many of the books explain just how he did it too. (If you thought they were just old fashioned kids stories think again – packed full of social historical detail)
Why has this statement stuck with me? The elder brother wanted to go into business where life was easier and more lucrative. Father was explaining to his younger son (Laura’s future husband) why he felt farming was better.Farming has changed a great deal from those times (and seems under attack from big corporations)yet I think there is a kernel of truth still in Pa’s statement. There are few professions in which we can be truly free to live according to our conscience without manipulation from the powers that be.
Living most of my life as a private tutor and children’s entertainer I had a large measure of freedom but not as much as these early pioneers. Of course a great factor is is our being greedy, the more we want the more we are open to manipulation.

Celebrating volunteering!

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Yesterday I took a sunny appreciation canal trip down the nearby Grand Union Canal with other sailing volunteers.

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(One of our crazy volunteers – there are so many great folks involved!)

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Passing through some of the 18th century locks (the wood etc. has of course been renewed over the years).

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This canal was a means of transporting goods during the industrial revolution till later replaced as railways took over. It’s now more of a recreational heaven and home to many travelers and retired folks that wend the waterways enjoying the natural lifestyle.

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I often walk or cycle this route enjoying the scenery and exchanging a few words here and there with some of the many colorful characters that populate it (England is well known for its eccentric characters lol!)