Saturday, January 13

Walking in the shadows of the Fisherman

Just for the sake of clarity, can I introduce Jesus as a stranger, (since I’m not at all  keen on the idea of a personal saviour ) just as I imagine he came to those fishermen so long ago. Also it seems to me, for the most part, so he remained to a large degree, even to his disciples.
So I think we can say in essence Jesus (as opposed to the crucified Christ) is only known to us by way of a collection of his remarkable sayings and principally the loose narrative of his brief ministry.
But how can one not be drawn to his words. For me they resemble explosive bullets which shatter the conscious minds status quo and invite a new form of enquiry. So I might posit at the outset, from my perspective, the higher self gets a high dose of adrenaline to shape that ongoing creation of which we are a part. At least I would like to think about it like that as one ponders the relevance to day of those ancient thoughts.   
Many passages come to mind but none more so than the parable of the “Good Samaritan”, etched as it is into everyday language. One can imagine then the shock of the audience as Jesus attributed the noble act to the much hated Samaritans. That would have been extraordinarily radical, given the deep seated tribal animosity ingrained in society then. Even today, don’t you agree how easy it is for racial prejudice to bubble up in conversations of fear expressed by otherwise remarkably fine people.  And so it was with many of his sayings and parables.
For the scriptures (NT) talks of an extraordinary teacher, one who does not indulge in abstract ideas, or engage intellectually but rather is focussed at a practical level on the expansion of good works and compassion in preparedness for the long awaited messianic kingdom. One can’t help but notice this thematic, in his exhortation to show compassion, in forgiveness and in not being judgmental. Notice the judgemental aspect only creeps into the narrative due to its unmistakable eschatological roots. This is evident in the warning bells prior to a soon to arise messianic kingdom. This new world order is defined in the Sermon on the Mount.  
But I think one must acknowledge this eschaton was never possible as we understand the cosmos today. However this does not detract from the wisdom and practicality of his teachings. Nor does it preclude us from proclaiming “the Christ” as in his divinity in death, to add another vital link to our spiritual self. Nor does it lessen in any way his impact on humanity as the guiding light out of darkness we attribute to “the Christ”.  
In fact I believe the opposite is true. As a fully human Jesus, this complements the divine risen Christ as a cosmic force for the greater good and a telos for ongoing creation.
But the ideas of the second coming and all that entails as in judgements needs to be jettisoned in my view from mainstream thinking. Surely the idea that GOD needs to return or indeed such event occurred in the first instance can be jettisoned. Such an event seems entirely unnecessary with what is visible and known in the Universe and how the divine or greater good can co- exist independent of supernatural events.  Of course I am not ridiculing such concepts, only questioning why we need to believe such things, and posit that their origins in my view arise from mistranslations.              
Hence over time I feel one can anticipate the dismantling of such unnecessary rituals and so called statements of faith such as reciting the current Creed, with its reference to such things as the 3rd day, right hand side, judgements and so forth. This idea of judgment, as I outlined previously (as a forewarning to the imminent messianic kingdom) has led, I believe, to many bad sermons.
So it is, that the Christ comes to us today as the lone stranger, executed with few around to lend any support, but continues on now for ever in divine cosmic memory as an extraordinary man. So I see that extension to the kingdom is now being realised and expressed as an extension in humanity’s higher self. So that his divinity, I posit, is after his death and not before. For my question is how could it be so essential that we must believe he was God on earth? One again I am not ridiculing those who do. But he talks about his Father and even at times his brothers and sisters. What I find puzzling is that we go to these extraordinary efforts to maintain credence to this idea, even though paradoxically in the first early Christian communities such diversity of views were common place.
So in summary I see room to relax dogmas with more emphasis on what you do. I think it means we can talk about Jesus, the extraordinary Man, who was not GOD on earth, but became the risen Christ. But a counter view to that is fine, so long as we don’t make that a prerequisite of calling oneself a Christian. I have deliberately refrained from mentioning the Trinity, but by now I think you would have gathered my views. The more we seek to complicate the wonderful legacy of Jesus the greater risk we have of failing to walk in his shoes as the great fisherman for humanity he remains.  

Wednesday, January 3

Rays of sunshine

On January 2, 2018 – we reached Earth’s closest point to the sun for this entire year at 11:35 p.m. CST (central U.S.). It occurred the morning January 3 for Europe and Africa … later in the day for us at 3.30pm down under.

Whilst the longer days are relevant to the closer proximity of the earth to the sun our longest days are two weeks earlier in December.  Hence although the Earth is closest to the Sun presently (said to be its Perihelion) we have a December Solstice.   When the Sun is furthest away (called the Aphelion) that event is 2 weeks after the June Solstice.

The reason for this is principally the moon and planets interact  with both the Earth and the Sun at the same time, being drawn by the additional gravitational effect of the Sun.

Interestingly enough from the 1970’s US Astronauts and probes have also revealed the moons recessionary rate = 3.8 centimetres per year as it gradually moves further way from the earth. In the far far off future our days might conceivably stretch out to be a thousand hours.

But for the present a warm welcome to 2018 from Melbourne where it is foceast to be 42 today with a gusty northerly. Prior to today it has been it has been remarkably cool. During December we continued to enjoy early morning showers and bouts of heavy downpours.  Amazingly we have just had one of our wettest Decembers with a third of annual rainfall falling just in December. The green landscape this year contrasts with the words of Wheelers Christmas Carol where we sing “The north wind tosses the leaves as the grass in the paddock is brown”.

Thursday, December 21

Catalan and similarities to past WA succession proposals

In Australia West Australians have been reported to have some sympathy for Catlin separatists as distinct from those in other states.  A brief history of both regions is helpful in demonstrate similarities. In the case of the Catalonians they no doubt rally around their countries past when Spain was the leading powerhouse of Europe during the 16thand mostly the 17th century. However in the latter half of the 17th century, Spain went into decline, surrendering territories to France and the Netherlands; with a diminished but still vast overseas empire until the beginning of the 19th century. The 20th century brought little peace. The Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, led by General Francisco Franco and supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

It was only after a peaceful transition to democracy following the death of the dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, that economic and modernization proceeded. In 1986 Spain joined the European Economic Community, which became the European Union. Some would say this move was premature since it was still recovering from her dictatorship past. The country subsequently borrowed large amounts at low rates of interest and clocked up deficits accompanied by some reckless lending. What the Catalonians say is this reckless behaviour didn’t apply to them. The end result for Spain following the GFC was to expose Spain’s fragile position and to enter a severe economic recession from 2008.  The austerity measures have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

Against this backdrop it is hardly surprising old loyalties by Catalonians boiled over in a desire to form a separate sovereign state. Catalonians claim they disproportionally contribute to the economic pie whilst receiving lower returns from the central government and were not responsible for the economic mess.   

But Secessionism was also on the minds of Western Australians just after British settlement in 1829 who raised the same sort of arguments.   Petitions emanating from the WA Legislative Council were presented to London in 1865 and 1869. This was granted in 1870 but maintained a Governor's veto.

1933 referendum
On 8 April 1933 a referendum on secession was held in conjunction with the State parliamentary election. The Nationalists campaigned in favour of secession while the Labor party had campaigned against breaking from the Federation. 68% of the voters voted in favour of secession, but remarkably at the same time the Nationalists were voted out of office. It was only the mining areas, populated by keen Federalists, voted against the move. Today some west Australians feel they disproportionally contribute to Australia’s wealth because of mining but get back unfairly a diminished proportion of GST. Past history indicates just how close they came to secession.

Friday, December 8

Understanding Cryptocurrencies and Block Chain technology.

Jamie Diamond caused a stir in September when he claimed bitcoin as a fraud although he did commend the block chain technology which facilitates not only the use of Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but has many other applications. 

Block chain is regarded by many as a brilliant technology which will revolutionise the way business is conducted.

Someone asked me yesterday at a luncheon celebrated with former workmates how to explain it and although I am no expert here is how I would attempt a simple explanation.
Maybe the first thing you need to understand is how the age old universally accepted Double Entry Accounting concepts work. In a nutshell the principle of double entry recognises the reality there is always two sides to every transaction, so there is always a seller and a buyer, a receipt to add to one account and a corresponding reduction in another’s indebtedness and so on. 
Now replace that double entry principle with double entry block chain accounting.  That’s because block chain accounting at the outset facilitates transactions between two pairs, a buyer and a seller or a receipt and payment or one virtual wallet increasing whilst another deceases. It happens virtually instantaneously because those in the encrypted chain using cryptocurrencies to record the transactional effects at the same time. Think of it as giant ledger in cyber space where all the debits equal to the credits of the linked parties from the aggregate of parties’ transactions at any given time in the block chain.  Parties hold the Cryptocurrencies in so called wallets and the largest of these is Bitcoin.
Hence, there is no need for 3rd party clearing houses or back office staff to facilitate large numbers of bundled same type transactions for subsequent settlements which mostly occurs to day.    

I think financial institutions will eventually begin to use more of the Block chain technology which will mean the adoption of either a digital cryptocurrency or a similar substituted means to do that. After all cryptocurrencies are no more than bits of code. But eventually such facilities will have to have some form of regulation for what it is as an alternative more efficient system of settling business transactions. But even given eventual regulation not everyone is going to be happy trusting in the integrity of a new technology and we all will have to have a new breed of technologically savvy auditors to check the integrity of the Block chain providers. 
In relation to Bitcoin there are currently several Hedge Funds which have bought large holdings which of course have gone up exponentially due to the rapid rise in this Cryptocurrency. Such rises are underpinned by pure speculation as no one can put a value on this Cryptocurrency which is responding to a rapid demand when there is currently only a limited supply.

But Cryptocurrencies are no different to traditional currencies which appreciate or depreciate according to supply and demand.   But the important distinction of course is currently they are unregulated by any central banks and have attracted criminal activity as it is much harder to ascertain transactional records.

The question of trading in Bit Coin is facilitated by on line platforms such as Coinbase which provides a market. The facility allows for buying, selling or transfer of digital currency between online wallets involving merchants or individuals. Currently the facility is free of charges and such facilitators claim they provide both security and backups.
Nevertheless there has already been some bogus websites where the holdings of digital currencies have vaporised without trace.  

On the question of Bitcoin being a bubble set to burst that in turn depends more on whether or not merchants will continue to accept them. Microsoft and Pay Pal already accept Bitcoin under their platforms.

The total size of the traditional market dwarfs that of the Cryptocurrencies suggesting it may well have further to run. But when it finally crashes don’t rule out another version rising from the ashes.  

Thursday, November 16

Britain's Got Talent 2016 ...Adiemus

Adiemus is the title to non-lyrical vocalization’s featuring a harmonized melody. It might be thought of as a made up language. It is the invention of Welsh composer Karl Jenkins who created this new age concept designed not to distract an audience’s attention by changes in pitch or timber so that syllables rarely end in consonants. Remarkably, it was first written to support an ad for Delta Airlines.

This welsh school choir would have had a lot of fun learning the music and what a great presentation. Just to illustrate how it works here are some extract of the Lyrics

A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we a-ka-la...
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we a-ka-la........
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we a-ka-la.....
A-ya doo a-ye
A-ya doo a-ye

A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we a-ka-la...
A-na-ma-na coo-le ra-we a-ka-la........

It’s quite easy to sing once you get used to it and sounds great in a big choir as you can appreciate. 

Wednesday, November 8

Getting under your skin

Should it be of interest Anglican Minster and scientist Rupert Sheldrake gives a fascinating interview on his very credible theory on Morphic Resonance hosted by Under Your Skin.

Dubbed “the most controversial scientist on Earth” Rupert Sheldrake joins the host to discuss the dogmas within conventional science, the evolving laws of physics, memory in nature, and how science validates and improves spiritual practices.

For anyone interested in an alterative to the materialistic mind set this is a must read.

However, I should make the point Morphic Resonance is not accepted by large sections of the scientific community who claim it is pseudoscience. Notwithstanding, I find his approach refreshingly engaging and his arguments are all well supported. It has long been my objective from the first time I began blogging to discover credible links between religion and science which were oft seen as having irreconcilable differences. These discussions help bridge that gap.
Increasingly his views, I believe, will gain traction because they represent a more credible philosophy than those predicated purely on a materialistic world.      

Saturday, October 14

Golden oldies

Our next concert for the aged care centre involving just the five of us will include medleys with a musical wild west theme whilst others have a repetitive chorus we hope will entice the residents to join in. It only seems like yesterday  I was in the Musical "Calamity Jane" (pictured above) nearly 40 years ago. 
The program is:
Oklahoma Medley
Calamity Jane medley
Walking in the Air
Darling Clementine
Campdown Races
My Bonnie lies over the Ocean


Saturday, September 9

Farewell to Scotland 

Today was our last day in Edinburgh visiting Holyrood Palace. Since we head home tomorrow morning, as a final posting, I thought it appropriate to attempt a brief history of the kingdom.

 Prehistoric  Scotland was dominated by the Pics which I commented upon in the post on St Andrews and whose people originally migrated from Central Europe. In AD 83 the Romans defeated the Pics but their rule was never consolidated and after their withdrawal Scotland reverted to tribal rule. The Pics ruled the Orkney islands and down to the Forth, whose current archeological diggings indicate a rich heritage and considerable influence as depicted in the earlier posting on the Island. But it was the Scots who emerged to shape the nation as it is now known. It was an Irish Scot, Columba,who brought Christianity to the nation and conversion of the Pics. But a battle ensued with the Dalriadic Pics until the warring tribes were finally united under the house of Alpin.