Immigrants (Nitin Sawhney)

When a nation flounders under the yolk of a morally bereft government more bothered about igniting the flames of a phony culture war to cover up its own jingoistic ineptitude than dealing with racial inequities and massive unearned financial disparities, we’re forced to look elsewhere for guidance. 

Here, on his twelfth album, Nitin Sawhney adds his voice to the fray and adds layer upon layer of ruminations on identity, life as a migrant and belonging. Source

The challenging album Immigrants by Nitin Sawhney is one of my favourites of 2021. You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Parental Challenges in a Digital Age

Parenting has never been easy, but it was much less complicated in the 1980s and 90s (even more so for my parents’ generation). The difference is the invasive nature of the internet and technology.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a geek, but it’s such a challenge setting boundaries and controlling age-related content. Balancing online safety with childhood curiosity and excitement can be a real headache. I’m sure other parents will agree. It must be even worse for technophobe parents. What do you think?

The day they banned kissing

Coming out of the coronavirus pandemic we’re well aware of restrictions designed to prevent the spread of this deadly virus, and we’ve been fortunate to have modern medicine to help us. But in sixteenth-century Europe a second, deadly round of plague was spreading like wildfire and city officials across Europe desperately sought methods of prevention against the fearsome epidemic.

On this day (9 March) in 1562, the authorities in Naples believed that one way to battle against the spread of the disease was to ban kissing in public. They took the law so seriously that couples caught kissing could be punished by death.

It wasn’t the first time that a city had enforced such a strict law on public displays of affection. In 1439, Henry VI banned kissing in England in another attempt to prevent infection from spreading. People refused to accept the ban and it was subsequently lifted. Bans of this nature were also imposed during more modern times. In 1910, kissing was banned at railway stations in France, in the belief that lovers, family and friends saying their goodbyes caused delays to the train service. In 1982, kissing for ‘pleasure’ was outlawed in Iran, and similarly in 1992 students at Qingdao Binhai University in China were prevented from openly displaying any form of affection, including holding hands or sharing earphones. Most recently in 2003, to the horror of the general public, a law was passed in Moscow enforcing a ban on kissing in public, imposed on all members of society. This was intended to raise levels of public morality. People of Moscow defied the ban by kissing complete strangers and the proposed law was eventually abandoned. Source

International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day is a global day for celebrating the achievements of women and raising awareness about women’s equality. It’s an annual event held on 8 March, It marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. You can find out more by clicking here.

A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let’s all choose to challenge. How will you help forge a gender equal world? Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. Source

See also: Franciscan Prayer for Women’s Day

How To Be Right (James O’Brien)

This fantastic book confronts lazy thinking, populist assumptions, and downright lies. James O’Brien forensically and ruthlessly demolishes populist statements and beliefs, opinions which have no basis in fact, but ones that many people cling on to. He seeks out truth in the fine tradition of true journalism. He believes that holding truth to power should be at the heart of democracy.

He adresses the lies people believe about Islam, Brexit, LGBT, ‘Woke’, Feminism, the Nanny State, Liberalism, and the Age Gap, as well as the pronouncements of populist leaders like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, and Nigel Farage.

If you believe any this populist nonsense, then read this book at your peril. You may need to change your opinions. Sadly, many still believe the lies, even when presented with the truth.

An exceptional broadcaster with a peerless ability to calmly point out the absurdity of certain viewpoints. The Guardian.

On the back cover there is some trolling of the very highest calibre: O’Brien is the epitome of a smug, sanctimonious, condescending, obsessively politically-correct, champagne-socialist public schoolboy Remoaner. The Sun.

Anyone who cares about the future of democracy should read this book.

You can find me on Goodreads (click the link) and see all my 2021 books here.

How I Long for Peace

The title of this post is a song from the recent album First Farewell by Peggy Seeger, it’s one of my favourite albums of 2021. I chose to feature this song because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but this is a wonderful collection of songs addressing a variety of issues and subjects.

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

I cannot understand
How the sisters, wives and mothers
Cannot stop the slaughter
Of the husbands, sons and brothers

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

There never will be peace
Till men abandon fighting
As the way to deal with problems
That prevent us from uniting

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The profits made from war
There’s few that can resist them
Hypocrisy and greed control
The lifeblood of the system

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

The world can wait no longer
For political permission
Sit down, disrupt, do anything
To make the whole world listen

O how I long for peace
Among the peoples and the nation
How I long to halt the plunder
Of the wonders of creation
O how I long for peace

You can see all my favourite albums of 2021 by clicking here, or the ones that missed out here.

Everything has changed

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Thursday 24 February 2022) the world has changed, just like it did after 9/11 in 2001. This event will be embedded in the history books; it will mark a new chapter. We can’t go back; a line has been crossed. We all need to adjust, both individuals and governments.

What can we do? We can be peacemakers where we are, in our personal and collective lives. We can be human and show humanity to everyone without discrimination. Love and peace, John.

Racial Justice Sunday (2022)

Instead of my usual Sunday devotional I would invite to explore racial justice issues that are the focus of churches today. Everything you need is in a resource booklet you can download and read here.

The Bible has a lot to say about justice because as God’s Word, it reflects God’s heart for justice. It can be argued that we should love justice because God does! Racism and racial discrimination are justice issues because they deny basic justice and human dignity to women and men who are made in the image of God. Equally, they are sinful because, among other issues, they assume all are not equal before God and are not part of God’s family. Source

It’s a bit like the EU

I’m a member of the National Trust. For an annual subscription I get free parking and free entrance to all their properties and can visit any of them as often as I wish. If I resign from the National Trust, I will have to pay parking and entrance fees every time I visit a National Trust property. The National Trust are not penalising me by imposing those charges, only applying the charges that apply to all non-members, which I chose to become by resigning.

It’s a bit like the EU.