Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ham & Spam

Who decided to use the word browse when it comes to using the Internet? I may browse in the library, a museum, a park or a shop where the intention is not to buy; but I would not regard the Internet as a place to leisurely browse. Mostly it is a place to be on your guard, watchful of wrong turns and misleading quotes. It is packed with information, which should be verified and used with discernment. The World Wide Web - remember Shakespeare's words "Oh what a tangled Web We Weave when first we practice to deceive" (meaning) this spills over into our email Inbox and out into our daily conversations, affecting our values and belief structures.

My main motivation being that of a teacher is therefore not to criticise this amazing phenomena. The ability to share so much through words, pictures, sound and movement is awesome, as something barely dreamed of half a lifetime ago. I am reminded of the words of a famous super hero "With great power comes great responsibility." From the security of our anonymous keyboard interface we can choose to accept that responsibility or perpetuate distractions and blame it on the Internet. Come on guys! we know the difference between Ham and Spam (with no intention of belittling such a wonderful thing as spam fritters). There are real people out there and we all know very little, despite the WWW. Many of us use Facebook, My Space, MSN and Blog sites, communication has never been easier but much is lost in translation.

My thanks to Henry for allowing me to use the photo from his website: Flagstaffotos.Com.Au

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Open diary - Empty head

A page in my diary void of text, indicating a quiet week without engagements; "Not on your life!" This may well have been a totally manic week of unplanned urgent events, a chain reaction of people, needs and support. Can we be too busy to be effective, too attentive to notice or too talkative to hear?

I always regard my memory as poor and unreliable, often letting me down in the worst ways. We laugh and joke about it being an age thing but I wonder about that. Just as any data base, the more information we have the longer it takes to search. The difference between us and a PC is that we get to choose the answer, which may or may not be correct. My head by now must be overflowing with fact and fiction, no wonder I get confused. I manage to backup my PC to storage discs and file somewhere till I need them; I hear there is a great PC in the clouds providing online data storage that you can access from the web or your mobile...

Just like my diary, the data needs to be put in first; more time in what is already a busy day/ week. If only there was a way to download my thoughts, archive my ideas and store my engagements. My perception of the way things used to be, was more time to do the things that matter and less busyness. Often it is good to look back and see how others coped with what I am sure was the same as today. Time was always found to share, tell stories, listen, teach and learn; a time for emptyness, to recolect and reflect; make plans and dream. If these precious times are squeezed out of our life, no wonder we struggle to cope.

Note to morning office: Lord find me in the emptyness of the day, that I may share the things that are important to me. Draw me into that secure moment in time, that I may need nothing but you; and be compelled to return, time after time.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Habit is Habit

The word addiction often calls up negative images of drink, drugs and self destructive ways of life. Yet addiction is a behaviour, an action; something we become dependant upon and cannot imagine living without.

The use of drugs, alcohol and substances are intended for a high, when in reality they take us to a low. I began to wonder (as I do), if it is our intention to reach a low state, a state of vulnerable incapability; to remove our inhibitions, to cast off our worry and concern for tomorrow, to enter into an emptiness - void of feelings, conscious thought or movement.

I stretched this thought a little further, is it the substance or the induced state that becomes the drive to the habit and what is the need in us that draws us to find this state in so many ways? In the search of these ways, we are found wanting; they are not life giving. Our need is not escapism but an emptying of self - to become self with our creator God, to recognise our vulnerability and incapability in relation to this immense universe. To place our worries and concern of he who formed us; this is life giving. When we find a reason for doing things, sometimes the will and the way to change becomes easier; one step at a time.

Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. Mark Twain.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Retreat & treat

This weekends retreat was quite amazing, so much went into it and much deep stuff came out. I should not be surprised by peoples creativity, depth of thought and profound statements; for are we not all part of the glory of creation. The part that touched me most were the letters from a friend; four letters, which as individuals, we opened one at a time. It took us through a journey of relationship with someone who knew us intimately and loved us unconditionally; something I cannot describe (it had to be experienced).

The labyrinth laid out under the trees with fir cones raining down and the sunlight glistening through the branches, a time of quiet reflection as we draw close to the centre, into God - to be sent out. Later in the day we chose a picture, mine was of two hands, joined together, holding each other and we were to write a Haiku. These were indeed profound:

The purpose of existence is an existence for eternity.

To hold tight to what you know is the way. To touch in, to feel, to be.

Perhaps we did not adhere to the rules of Haiku but that was not important. Evening prayer saw us up on a hillside where we lit lanterns, that filled with hot air went soaring into the evening sky. This was not without some sense of concern for local campers, trees and sheep; however, they rose swiftly in the still air, drifting one by one into the distance. Much laughter, good sharing, supporting and caring; special times with special people.

I found this weekend also, a quotation to go with my contribution to the art project (Creation). This will be four photographs; Air, Water, Fire and Earth and the quotation from Nicholas Cusanus (14th century mystic)

The celestial realm is no purer expression of God than the terrestial. In fact, the created order in its entirity consists of God's unfolding what he is "enfolded".

Monday, 6 July 2009

Strike the Flag

Brother Michael knows a thing or two about computers and is apt to tell you all about them, given the chance. It seems the word flag comes up in the realms of programming, a flag is set waiting for something to happen and responds within nano seconds. Other terms are used such as If, Then, Else and electronic devices called Gates. This is all very interesting but at breakfast? Br M went on to give lots of examples of everyday things, just to make sure I understood; I took my coffee and went for a walk down the garden.

These flags I thought, have only one task and that is to respond in a certain way to to a particular event, which may happen many times or only once. I had a picture in my mind of the world, full of flags, every person had a number of flags, many flags set and waiting; no-one seemed to be aware of these flags and they did not hinder their movement. Each flag had been carefully set to respond in nano seconds to a given situation, event, word or action and each response could be justified by its owner.

In programming a computer we have a set way of working, there can be only two choices, therefore the flag system works well. Our lives and how we interact with each other has many choices and to adopt the flag system sets only one response to a given word, action or situation. Is it that we can't be bothered to think through our responses before setting in motion our reaction?

Note to morning office: What would the world look like without flags?