We have a choice

March 26, 2019

We are one, we are united.

That was the strongest message seen and heard in response to the shootings in the Christchurch mosques and it came with many heartwarming and uplifting displays of support.

But there was another message from some – a diatribe of blame aimed not just at the shooter but more widely at New Zealanders in general.

As Karl du Fresne wrote:

. . .  in the days following the shootings, an alternative narrative emerged.

According to this alternative narrative, we are a hateful nation of racists, white supremacists and Islamophobes.  . . 

It’s a narrative of self-loathing that wants us to think the worst of ourselves. It’s a narrative that shamelessly seeks to politicise the killings and create a moral panic in the hope not only that we’ll tighten the gun ownership laws – no arguments there – but far more ominously, that we might be persuaded to discard such democratic niceties as freedom of speech. . . 

They were only words, and most didn’t get to the mainstream media,  but they weren’t words that sought to heal or help.

They were words that upset and divided.

The speakers were motivated by anger and politics. They made accusations of intolerance in such a way that showed they are intolerant.

They failed to see what they were expressing was not far away from the bigotry that blinded and drove the shooter.

I am not suggesting they were inciting violence.

I am not suggesting that there is none of the racism and xenophobia against which they were railing.

But they were opportunistically using the massacre to advance their own political agenda – one that doesn’t follow the example of the victim’s families who showed immense grace in the face of immeasurably grief.

Given their politics, these angry people might not have listened to Simon Bridges when he said:

. . . we all have a choice following the violence that tore through their community. To choose fear, hate or anger. Or to choose compassion, love and forgiveness.

Martin Luther King put it so well. “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” . . 

It doesn’t matter whether blame and hate come from the left or right of the political spectrum, they are still blame and hate which at best solve nothing and at worst create more.

If these people want positive change they must seek to reconcile and repair, leave the darkness, seek the light, lose the hate and work for love.

 


Power of love

May 20, 2018

Episcopalian bishop, Michael Curry, gave the address at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

He began:

And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

From the Song of Solomon in the Bible: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it out.”

The late Dr Martin Luther King once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. For love, love is the only way.”

There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. . . 

He continued quoting the Bible, Martin Luther King and towards the end quoted French Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin:

. . . he said, as others have, that the discovery or invention or harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. Fire to a great extent made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and provide sanitary ways of eating which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat, warm environments and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into colder climates. Fire made it possible, there was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good. . . 

And de Chardin said fire was one of the greatest discoveries in all of human history. And he then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it will be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

Dr. King was right. “We must discover love the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.” . . 

You can read about de Chardin here.

 

 


Sunday soapbox

September 18, 2016

Sunday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.

Image may contain: cloud, sky, text and outdoor

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. – Martin Luther King.


Rules, rights, responsiblities

June 25, 2014

Where the right of a school to set, and enforce, its rules stands in relation to a pupil’s right to long hair is being addressed by the high court.

I was siding with the school and the boy’s lawyer likening his cause to that of human rights defenders  Martin Luther King and Kate Sheppard reinforced my view.

Fighting against racial and gender discrimination is light-years away from flouting school rules.

As Nigel Latta says:

Haircuts and ‘human rights’.

I just have to say that I am appalled at the behavior of the father who took a school to the High Court to ‘defend’ his son’s ‘right’ to have long hair – in direct violation of an existing school rule. It seems clear from the newspaper reports that, despite the family’s lawyer presenting the young man as somehow being a human rights crusader on a par with historical figures like Martin Luther King, the young person in question doesn’t see himself like that.

The boy’s father is quoted as saying: “It was about Lucan’s right to express himself”.

In my opinion it wasn’t about that at all… it was about that individual father’s total loss of perspective. This Court action is, in my view, completely irresponsible, and may end up hurting us all.

It’s a very simple issue really. If we expect schools to look after our children then we need to support them and we need to make sure our children follow the school rules… even the ones we may not necessarily like. If you decide to join the school then you sign up to their school rules. If you don’t like the rules then go to another school.

Giving your kids the message that they only need to obey the school rules they like is dumb.

If this legal action opens the door to kids/parents taking schools to Court whenever they don’t like some school rule then we’re all in trouble. The money we should be spending educating kids will get spent on lawyers. Teachers should be in classrooms, not Court rooms.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

One of our most important responsibilities as parents, I believe, is to support the schools our children attend. If I expect my kids’ schools to be responsible them during the day, and to provide them with a high standard of education, then their schools should also be able to expect that I will support their right to set rules.

It’s a shame this father didn’t think a little more about the larger ramifications of his actions. His boy isn’t Martin Luther King, he’s just a kid with long hair.

POSTSCRIPT IN LIGHT OF SOME COMMENTS BELOW:

Just to be clear… my issue is not about the boy’s hair per se. I’m sure he’s a fine young man, and if he wants to have long hair then good for him. My point is that if we expect schools to look after our children (and educate them) in our absence, then they need to be able to set rules, and we need to make sure our kids know they have to follow all the rules and can’t pick and choose the ones they like. If you don’t like the rules then go to a new school where you do like the rules. Don’t go to Court. That is a dangerous precedent that has the potential to impact on all of our children’s education. This is about far more than one boy’s haircut.

This is about a lot more than one boy’s haircut.

It’s about rules, rights and responsibilities.

If a pupil and his father have a problem with the rules they should take their case to the board which sets them, not force the school to waste its time and money in court.


Tuesday’s answers

July 14, 2009

Monday’s questions were:

1. What is this crop?

algodon

2. Who said “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject”?

3. Who wrote the Alex quartet?

4. Which is the highest state highway in New Zealand?

5. What is an anaphora?

Tuesday’s answers follow the break.

Read the rest of this entry »


Dream come true

December 3, 2008

 

dream

 

From The Australian


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