Here is a mailing which is good news:

Juliana shared an update on Paul Dacre: Living Wage for cleaners at the Daily Mail Check it out and leave a comment:

PETITION UPDATE

VICTORY for cleaners at the Daily Mail! Living Wage to be paid! Strike cancelled!
We have some amazing news. We have now been informed that our demands have been met and we will be paid the London Living Wage of £10.20 per hour. Thank you all for your amazing support. We couldn’t have done it without you! We really hope that our victory inspires other workers in our position to join a union and fight for a living wage. Our union is United Voices of the World.

Yes, this is marvellous success to which I only contributed my name and a few bob through change.com

1. It will mean an increase of up to £6000 per annum for the people who clean the offices at the Daily Mail.

2. It defeats the opposition of their employer who refused their claim and threatened them with loss of jobs.

3.It is  a success for a fairly new union which represents mainly workers in London who are from minority ethnic groups.

4.It is a splendid riposte to Paul Dacre the editor of the Daily Mail who is opposed to immigrants because they bring down the wages of working people! In this case it is clear that wealthy employers try very hard to keep wages down.

5. It’s a victory for public support – a public petition gained 100,000 signatures.

I am gladdened by this victory, and I’m convinced that Jesus is too. The boldness and humour of the cleaners will have made him chuckle; he will have admired the inspiration by the Holy Spirit of this common enterprise for justice, and he will report admiringly to the Father another success in his perfecting of his creation.

Some readers may feel this language is over the top and beyond anything that I can rightly claim to know. But surely the whole aim of the gospel is to make us sure that human beings are pleasing to God, whenever they turn towards his justice. The real reason we don’t often depict Jesus as delighted with an industrial action, is because our usual media tell us that these are political matters, which are not in good taste and certainly not for inclusion in worship or prayer. As if our silence were not support for the status quo which is often unjust and offensive to Jesus our saviour, who came to save us from unjust employment amongst other evils.

The church likes to think it can remain relevant in a changing society: the national churches of England and Scotland are going to provide terminals in their buildings for card and electronic payments, spawning newspaper headlines such as “Let us pay.” This news comes ironically at the very time of year when we remember Jesus hoofing the traders out of the Temple. I reckon this plan indicates institutions in terminal decline….

I am sure that committed involvement in the struggles of citizens for economic justice and personal dignity is more “relevant” than computerising our tithes, and more likely to enjoy the blessing of Jesus.

 

 

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Native throughout much of Europe”

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In the Czech Republic you are lindushka luchni

Reti Pityer in Hungary

Estonians greet you as Sookiur

Venetians as Fista

In Lithuania they say Pievenis Kalviukas

but you are Niittikirvinen to the Finns

Swedes call you Ängspiplärke

varied to Heipiplerke in Norway

Thufuttitlingur is Iceland’s name

Skootfink the Frisians’

As Pispola you are there in Italy

Pipit Farlouse in France

The Spanish are formal, Bisbita Pratensis

the more homely Portugese, Petinha Dos Pratos

Negu- Txirta is your Basque name

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You are Graspieper in Holland

but Wiesenpieper nextdoor in Germany

In soft Welsh they say Corhedydd y Waun

The English limit you with Meadow Pipit

but in Scotland, where you and I are the only

obvious creatures on the bare moor

you dance ahead of me on foot

then flutter off when I come near

sounding your name like a small bell

Titlin, Titlin, Titlin.

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During the 2nd World War, citizens were convinced that the Russians were coming to our aid, indeed they’d seen Rusiian troops arrive on London. They could tell they were Russians by the snow on their boots….

Theresa May’s evidence that the Russians have carried out an attempted murder by nerve chemical in Salisbury, is about as good as the foregoing. The chemical is known to have been produced by Soviet Russia, the victim had been a Russian spy turned double agent for the UK, and everyone knows the Russians are evil, so it must have been them. Indeed she has already decreed their punishment: a  diplomatic rap on the knuckles, which will doubtless be reciprocated; and all this in an atmosphere of hysterical patriotism in Parliament,  where Jeremy Corbyn foolishly tried to talk sense.

My own guess is that it probably was a Russian crime against a man who had betrayed his country, and probably caused the deaths of some of his country’s spies. Doubtless his daughter, who has also been struck down, is blameless, but Mr Skripal  himself is not. Whoever carried out this attempted killing is a savage criminal and those who commanded it are worse, especially if they are officials of the Russian state. But contrast the British response to this dubious murder, with our response to the Russian murder of thousands of innocent Syrian citizens, about which we have made almost no noise at all.

Well, after all they were Syrians, which means it is their own fault that they are ruled by a vicious tyrant, their fault that people rebelled against him, their fault that IS got involved, and well, basically their fault that a great power whose land is distant from Syria decided to support their tyrant in killing a fair slice of the population. So it would be childish for any nation to denounce what the Russians have done in Syria. After all, it’s what we did in Libya.

On the other hand, if the same power dares to eliminate a British citizen, we can make hysterical shrieks of horror and stamp our wee feet and tell those big bullies they better not do it again or …. or….. terrible things will happen (we’ll burst into tears).

”Why do the nations so furiously rage against the Lord and his anointed?” asks the old psalm, imagining that the Lord and his anointed stand for wisdom and justice. The answer is that in playing the game of power politics a nation has to roar like a lion even if it’s a mouse, because otherwise it might have to admit its weakness. The Lord and his anointed on the other hand, refuse to play this game but take shelter in the truth that all killings are evil, and that we should start by admitting our own complicity in thousands of them.

Jesus reckoned with the power of lying tyrants. When told that King Heod was seeking his arrest, he referred to him as an old fox and indicated that he would be available for his arrest in his own good time. Jesus was peaceful but not respectful of the posturing of a powerful politician. The churches of the UK should show their patriotism of God’s kingdom, by mocking the pretensions of the government, while criticising all acts of murder. This persistent, unpopular duty unites present day believers with their Lord, while separating them from the folly of their politicians.

 

 

 

 

I heard a contributor on Thought for the Day (BBC Radio 4) this morning compare the recent severe weather to the experience of being  subject to the majesty of God.  This kind of rhetoric seems to me to fall into the error which Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined as “The God of the Gaps” by which we locate experience of God at the margins of human ability, in weakness, ignorance and sin, risking the discovery that God is irrelevant when humanity succeeds in dealing with these problems by its own means. God, said Bonhoeffer, has come to dwell with us in the midst of life we don’t need to go looking for him/her at its edges<> on December 7, 2010 in UNSPECIFIED, United Kingdom.

Severe weather that disrupts our normal existence is not an experience of our weakness before God but of our personal and societal weakness before nature. Our common attitude towards nature is that while it may provide glimpses of beauty, grandeur or solitude, it is basically there to be controlled for our use and benefit. When therefore it steps out of line to cause difficulties for us, we are aggrieved, expressing our feelings by names like, “The Beast from the East.”

In fact we are part of the system we call nature, obliged, as the poet Ezra Pound once wrote, to “learn of the green world how take our place in scaled invention and true artistry.” We cannot rule nature but can learn how to cooperate with it in ways that are beneficial to us and life on this planet. But we must allow nature to teach us: a snow storm reminds us that our road system is congested, dangerous and unloved; and that we could develop an integrated travel system that respects ecological norms as well as economic convenience. Such an approach involves treating nature as neither slave nor God, but as our partner in fostering life, if indeed we want, as a species, to foster life, rather than to dream of domination. We are after all the “beast” which has unleashed the global warming whereby this week the Arctic was unsustainably warm, while we shivered in the snow.BB01FD92-3E27-4FCC-90A5-D73C5ADFB1D9

Another effect of the severe weather has been to remind people that their lives are frail and shared with other people, other creatures. Decent citizens have invaded the inhuman space of gridlocked motorways bringing food, drink and other comforts to stranded drivers. Concerned people have made efforts to persuade rough sleepers into shelters. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, a terrible storm forces the King to see himself as a “poor, bare, forked creature”, and to feel compassion for the homeless people also caught in the storm. “I have ta’en too little care of this,” he admits.

Ecological intelligence allows us to see ourselves as part of an evolving creation working with, rather than against, nature; while recognising that we need to protect ourselves, as all creatures try to do, against nature’s indifference to our welfare.  If  we are people of goodwill we will want to  extend this protection to our neighbour, so that this indifference, already balanced by the instinctive protection by animals of their own kind, is countered also by us.

When we act to help others we call it kindness, which means choosing to extend to anyone in need the care we naturally give to our own family/ children (German kind = child). This is a truly human contribution to nature because it is a decision of free will rather than a natural instinct; and is the best way of asserting our humanity in the face of nature’s indifference. There are natural processes, events and creatures which have no apparent relation to our concerns. The book of Job instances the lives of Ostriches, Wild Asses, and Hippopotami as aspects of God’s creation which are nothing to do with human welfare, revealing that human happiness is not God’s only responsibility; and that therefore there will always be events that resist human understanding. In such a universe, kindness is our legitimate human protest against the apparent indifference of the universal ecosystem. I say apparent, because we too are the product of that ecosystem, and our kindness may be a crucial contribution to its life. 9CF93D82-5EBA-4B60-BEE2-593EC57ED1BD

This week as all weeks the City Mission in Glasgow opened its doors and its caring programmes to more that a hundred homeless people every day. It is devoted to the  gospel of God’s love and expresses it by its practical, skilled, kindness to people in desperate need. Human knowledge of kindness led to us attributing that kindness to God. This was not revealed to us from on high  but rather in human interactions such as the distribution of food to stranded drivers. Jesus characterised God’s kindness in the words, “Not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Father.”

In the light of Jesus, Christians have come to believe that the astonishing process of unversal evolution, even including its winds and  snowstorms, is an expression of the kindness of God.

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