Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Barnet Eye

We wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas. For all of us, there have been ups and downs. As I sit here writing this, I'm listening to Londons Burning by the Clash. Let us give thanks for the the fact that the opposite is true. London, for all it's faults, is the greatest city on the planet. We all get on. We all tolerate each others peculiarities and we don't care what God our next door neighbour worships, just so long as he doesn't mind us.

Christmas symbolises birth and change. Whatever you think of the story of the birth of Jesus, there are a few lessons anyone can take (even if you don't believe the story).

1. Jesus was born out of wedlock. Joseph was not his biological father, but he accepted him and treated him as his son. He comes out of the story with a lot of credit. We should all show a bit of his tolerence and forgiveness. Did he doubt Marys story? He clearly loved her and that was enough.

2. Jesus had to flee Bethlehem for fear of persecution. When we criticise "ASYLUM SEEKERS" maybe we should consider the beginnings of the man who founded the state religion in the UK. Every time you slag off an asylum seeker, you are slagging off Jesus Christ as well (and for you atheists, that doesn't let you off the hook, we all need to be decent people).

3. Three wise men travelled "from the east" to visit the scene of the birth. We all have to "follow our star". If we have to do something, even if the journey is perilous, we must see it through.

4. The Sheperds on the hill also bore witness to the birth. I draw great consolation that the man who many believe to be the messiah was born witness to by ordinary blokes as well as Kings from the east. We all matter.

5. And perhaps the biggest one. Mary and Joseph were given shelter in a barn, where Mary gave birth. An act of small kindness by an innkeeper. Do we have a barn in our hearts, where we can give someone a little bit of shelter to someone who needs it? For the last year I've volunteered at a homeless centre. Is it right that 2,000 years after the birth in a barn of the man who founded our state religion, that people still have to sleep in barns, parks and doorways.

Last night I attended a very nice childrens service at our local church, which was packed to bursting. Christmas is a time when we should remember children. They are the future. They deserve better from us. What sort of a world are we building. Here is a song which always touches me at this time of the year

I wish you all a peaceful, restfull and loving Christmas. For those of you who believe, may God bless you and for those who don't, seasons greetings.


Rosie said...

Merry Christmas to you Rog, and thank you for all the work you've done this last year for the Friern Barnet People's Library, Barnet Council, and the local community. xx

Rog T said...

And thank you Rosie, for all your work as well. I am proud of our community

Rog T said...

And thank you Rosie, for all your work as well. I am proud of our community

Unknown said...

Seasons Greeting to you Roger

my Comment to item 5

It is very good article and ethical and all that, but i can’t help in getting this point of reference across. regarding your comment item no5 about your quote on "the man who founded our state religion"

To understand it.
First of all Jesus was Jewish. He did not create a religion. His followers or disciples made a new religion out of him from his verbal teachings, which became obviously known by his name sake: Christianity.
He was rabbi and well versed in Jewish religious law. Rabbis were/are the ones schooled to interpret the Torah. This was a lifelong dedication, as still is. During the time of Christ, lots of people asked him questions regarding his teachings.
Many years after his crucifixion the disciples recorded Jesus verbal teachings and some of those accounts contained some contradictions with each individual interpretation.
In 311-312 AD, Christianity formed only a small portion of the population but was the new religious movement of the time. Constantine the Great turned history of the world around in a new course of Christianity. (Note the date!!).

(and i have plenty more to say about it. but i will leave it at that for now)
Best wishes for the New Year
Marie S

Rog T said...

Marie, I don't really do theology or religious debates here on this blog, but I do speak honestly about my views and sentiments of life. I've researched the Jewish roots of Christianity extensively and the development from being a Jewish sect to a religion in its own right. There is a very interesting book on the history of this, written by a Jewish Scholar called "The Jewish Roots of Christianity", for anyone who is interested.

I am not one for pulling apart other peoples systems of belief. I am of the opinion that we can learn from all historical and religious texts. They are part of the human experience. We should educate ourselves and then decide how best we should approach our lives.

I take a different view of the Bible/Torah to many religious people. I do not see it as a "work of God", but as a collection of the views of people who were doing their best to interpret and record what they had seen or born witness to. That is why there are contradictions. I believe people who think that every single sentence in Holy texts is irrefutable are deluded. I also think people who dismiss them completely are missing out on the fact that there are important lessons. I tend to follow the important messages of the teachings such as tolerance, non violence and community mindedness.

I've read all manner of books and studies on the subject and discussed the issues with many learned people. I have come around to believe that theological discussion is something for other people. I will stick with trying to follow a set of simple principles and to aspire to be the best person I can. I fail miserably at this much of the time, but I do try.