Fish

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Oldest policy ever

When I was a young man the question which dominated my beloved Tory party was Britain’s place in Europe. Indeed the first general election I can remember saw the then party leader William Hague run on a “save the pound” ticket. Now with much talked about the “rise” of UKIP and the rampant stagnation of the Euro zone Britain’s relationship with Europe is centre stage once more.
The title for this piece comes from an international diplomacy lecture I had some years ago. In this lecture the professor argued that Britain had, had one single foreign policy ever since Elizabeth the first. It was to ensure there was never a single power in Europe and to be separate from Europe. This policy he called in Europe but not of it.

Britain has since this time bled on every European battle field.  From the; war of the Spanish succession, to the wars against Napoleon, even against Russia over Crimea and finally the first and second world wars.  Britain’s eyes and soul was never focused on the continent but to the sea and trade, Britain stood always alone (which is untrue) and always involved with Europe but looking elsewhere. The fall of empire and the rise of the EU has, however, forced Britain to come to terms in some way with an end to the old idea of Europe and Britain place within.

Here dear reader I must confess a slight schizophrenia towards the current incarnation of Europe. I both hate (and hate is the right word) the idea of becoming a province within a single European nation (a national nightmare since old Liz 1) and cannot really say I believe Britain could survive as well as we do outside of Europe. So I really believe we must be part of Europe but apart from it and I want to tell you why.

Frist Britain is not European, thanks to our seaward gaze, are involvement with Europe since the fall of the Plantagenet’s has been one of suspicion not brotherly co-operation. Our culture and history is not wholly tied to the continent, even the dominate Anglo-American political thought  is opposed to the more corporatist European model. Simply being in the EU will not change this, our gaze remains more to the Atlantic then it does the channel.

Secondly the European Union is a fowl undemocratic, unfriendly, badly run, technocracy. Even if it is reformed without being burned down and stared from scratch again, we British know that the organisation will retain some of these feature. I have serious reservations that democracy can practically function at the transnational level and if it can be aggregated to majority votes amongst national leaders and still be called democratic.

I could go on for far longer about why I loath the EU so but I do not wish this piece to degenerate into a rant because whilst my heart screams an anti EU message my brain whispers another. You see I recognise that the nature of Europe has changed, whether the British like it or not a single power has emerged and that power cannot be ignored or denied. Indeed, look at aura the vast majority of our clients come from this power and we are but a microcosm of British commerce the vast majority of whom are focused upon the new Europe.

So why love the EU, well for one it does guarantee the free movement of trade and the British do love us some trade and freedom. The EU and the free trade it offers has been good for post war Britain. As I said the Empire is dead and we need someone to trade with. We tried in the 70’s turning to the common wealth but are trade links are far weaker and the governance of trade within far weaker, so we are left with the EU.

The EU is many thing but it is not the national sovereign eating monsters popular in the British nightmare. We have to accept that Europe is not trying to concur us, despite how the media portray the EU.  Yes the EU is not perfect but a great deal of her harmful effects are due to British interventions. Yes dear reader it was the UK who pushed for eastern European nations to join and for membership to expand (in an ill advise attempt to weaken the union) and now we complain that their citizens are coming over here and largely doing jobs we don’t want to do.


So where are we now, well right back where we started? In the 70’s Britain undermined the commonwealth by ending the free movement of people’s within but I don’t think we can pull that rabbit this time and even if we do we are still left with the paradox of Britain’s, nay the world’s oldest continual policy. That of Britain’s foreign policy towards Europe, we cannot remain both in it but not of it. We have to reconcile are hearts with our head, we have to be British and pragmatic about it, the empire has gone, globalisation is here and the EU is a fact; whether we like it or are a member of it or not. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Oos For remembrance day

Order of service:


Call to worship:

Hymn: Stf 456 And are we yet alive

Prayer of adoration & thanksgiving

Reading: Psalm 25 1-7 & 16-21

All age address: being led by God’s mercy

Hymn: StF 18: Be still and know that I am God

dismissal

Reading: Acts 16 22-34

Reading: 1 Peter 2 1-2 & 9 – 25

2 min silence

Hymn Mission prays 757 When peace like a river or StF 421 Empty, broken, here I stand

Sermon:
  • WW1 is a great national scare
  • All wars scare nations
  • All of us our scared
  • Jesus Heals all wounds
  • Scare join us together
  • Let us remember our scares
  • Let us be reborn
Hymn: 705: it is God who holds the nations / StF 445 He came to earth, not to be served

Collection

Prayer of confession and forgiveness

Intersession

Lords prayer

Hymn: StF 94: To God be the glory


Dismissal 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Why can’t English MP just vote for English matters?

Why can’t English MP just vote for English matters?
Well there is nothing of course stopping it and never was anything preventing this. Even under the post Glorious Revolution settlement you could have easily had a convention (or a tradition) of other MP abstaining on such issues but then you’d have a power paradox.

You see the Prime minister must a majority of MP, so a PM could have a national majority but not an English minority. The trouble is England represents 80% of the UK.  Worse still they could have a UK majority but not a majority in any of the devolved nations. In the last election, had we had such a system, labour would have had a UK majority but not one in any region except wales, this would leave you with a lame duck PM passing national policy at odds to the polices being passed in the various nations .

Of course the reverse is currently true and a cause for nationalist pressures in our union. The current PM does not have a majority in Wales, Scotland or NI indeed the Tory party has no MP’s in Ni and only one in Scotland yet he “rules” over all of the UK. What this had led to is Tory government ignoring these areas as they don’t matter to them electorally and this situation is untenable as well.
So what can we do?

·        Go back, row back devolution: Though technically and legally possible any such move would at best lead to years of bad blood and protest and at worse to the end of the Union and the alienation of our brothers and sisters.

·         Break up the Union: This would require a mass referendum and as none of the “main” parties would support it, it would be unlikely to pass. Also the end of our country is like killing a person merely because they have a tummy ache

·         English votes for English MP and hang the oddness. Whilst this could be done without a formal constitution but would most likely lead to one and once you give politicians legal power they tend to use and expand them. Again leading to UK Vs National power struggles  and lame duck PMs

·         A formal federal UK based on the existing nations where the PM had to be elected by all 4 parts. This would lead to at best collations of the vaguely willing and at worse endless elections

A Federal UK with sub national federal regions for England but federal region at nation level for Scotland, NI wales. The biggest issue of this is that the English always vote against it and see it as another layer of bureaucracy and politicians which it is but is a workable and respectable system of governance.

·         A federal UK replacing the devolved region with a wholly sub national federal system. This is my ideal, it would greatly strengthen the Union and end the threat of nationalism, however very unlikely ever to be voted through

What we can’t do


·         Nothing

Friday, 1 August 2014

Assisted dying

Genesis 22 9-10:
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’

I support euthanasia; I want it made very clear. I support not only the current assisted dying bill but I would support any bill that gives people the ability to end their lives and I do not believe this to be incompatible with my Christian faith.

I can hear the howls of objections about the sanctity of life which is expounded in scripture. God after all has; counted the very hairs on our heads, he has formed our hearts, adopted us as his children and even taken to the cross to suffer and die for our redemption. How can any self-respecting Christian not rejoice in the sanctity life?

Well this view is a false one. The crucifixion did not end mortal death; it ends the separation between God and man. Christ did not end mortal death he simply ended it being forever. God’s main focus is leading his people then all people back to him. It is not to ensure that everyone eked out there existence for as long as humanly possible regardless of suffering or pain.

 But murder is a sin, yes it is and life and I mean full human life full of both pain and sorrow and trial and tabulation but also joy, relief, victory and celebration is a gift from God. It is after redemption probably the best gift from God but we have corrupted it. God set a limit of human life and through medicine and in my mind overly intensive “care” we have enabled people to live to an age where the body is crumbling around them.

They are no longer theological prisoners of the flesh but Actual prisoners. At the moment such peoples are either forced to receive this “care” until there body collapse or they themselves or those around them starve them to death. I am sorry to use such blunt words but those who oppose my view accuse us of supporting murder, whilst they themselves support the withdraw of support (aka starvation) pretending this is some natural and God ordained method of killing someone.

Yes shooting someone so full of morphine so they die is killing them but so is denying someone food or water whilst you shoot them up with slightly lower levels of the same drug. We allow this and as far as I know there are few safeguards or informed consent of the sick person. What is so very odd is we do this and consider it; one natural and two to be a kindness. Both are untrue, assisted dying and doctors are already implicit in its administration. We have in short cross the Rubicon and build a motorway bridged.

I have chosen the passage from Genesis because at least Abraham was going to kill his son quickly because that was and is the merciful thing to do. I have not got time hear for a full argument merely to contrast what is with the ideal and then contrast what is with what I would have. Yes I would have people choosing to be killed and I am sure this is far from the ideal of God but I am sure that starving people to death without their consent is also far from His ideal and to me it is simple a question of mercy and I believe deeply that assisted suicide is more merciful then making and ideal of an empty pain filled life.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

A new communion service

Communion for Service 4

Bold text is spoken by the whole congregation 

17 the peace:

By the spirit of God we are all one family, we join together with Christ to share this meal, to drink from his cup of crucifixion and salvation,we do so gladly and freely

when Christ was risen he stood among the disciples and said “Peace be with you”
They were glad to see the lord and welcomed each other saying: “Christ be always with you and also with you Alleluia!

Let us as one family greet each other now by shaking of hand and saying: 

“Christ be always with you and also with you Alleluia!”

19: The preparation of the gift

When Christ met with the disciples before his crucifixion they shared a meal, during which Christ took a loaf of bread and broke it saying this is my body broken for you

Overseer takes the bread and breaks it

Christ is the bread of life, he who believes in this will not hunger
After this Christ pick up a cup full of wine saying: He who drink from my cup will never go thirsty

Overseer hold up grail

We drink happily from the cup of Christ for this us the cup of our salvation, we do this in remembrance of the blood Christ given for the forgiveness of us all

20: Thanksgiving

We have been joined together by the spirit of our heavenly father; we have been joined together by the love of his Son Jesus Christ so let us say together

The lord is with us
We lift up our hearts to you lord
We gladly give you our thanks and praise
Blessing and honour glory and love are yours our heavenly shepherd

When we wandered from you in our sin
You sought us with you steadfast love
And did not give us up.
In the fullness of time you sent your Son
To be our Saviour and Deliverer.
Made of flesh and blood, he lived our life
And died our death upon the cross.
All of this was done to save us
All of this was done to call us

Blessing and honour glory and love are yours our saviour

When Christ was at supper with his friends,
He took bread and broke and gave thanks to God
and said: Take this, all of you, and eat it.
This is my body given for you
eat this in remembrance of
me

Blessing and honour glory and love are yours our eternal host

When supper was ended,
he took the cup and gave thanks,
gave it to them saying
Drink from it all of you
This is the blood of the new covenant,
poured out for you and for everyone
It is split for the forgiveness of thins
Drink this in remembrance of me
Blessing and honour glory and love are yours great redeemer

We find ourselves sinners once more collected at that holy table
we celebrate that in Adam all people shall die
So in Christ all shall be made alive once more
We come to be forgiven, we come to bead fed and watered
We come to sit with Christ and to share his mission with him
We come to be saved and to be healed and remade
We come because you still in your glory call us
Sinners though we are


Saturday, 7 June 2014

Meditation / confession

MATTHEW 11 28-30
28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1) We have seen others and not them brought comfort.
Let us think of those who are broken hearted.
Let us hear their crying.
Let us see their tears. (bigger pause)
Some look at an empty chair
Some bleed from wounds that none have tended. ( bigger pause)
Where have we been?

REFRAIN look at our hands Romans 7 The good that I would, I do not, the evil that I would not, those things I do. Wretched person that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death.

2) We have seen others suffer under the yoke of this world
Sometimes we have put food in the foodbank
Sometimes we give to charity
But haven't we often denied food to the hungry whilst overfeeding ourselves
Sometime we have chosen to feed our own egos with trinkets
whilst others have nothing whilst other go without (bigger pause)
What have I done?

REFRAIN look at our hands Romans 7 The good that I would, I do not, the evil that I would not, those things I do. Wretched person that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death.

3) We have seen the weary and not given them rest.
Sometimes we see victims of abuse and offer them naught but pity
Sometimes we see the weak and see only self advancement 
Sometimes we see the old and the unemployed and all we see are problems and numbers
Who am I helping?


REFRAIN look at our hands Romans 7 The good that I would, I do not, the evil that I would not, those things I do. Wretched person that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Prayer to the hurting

No matter how sad you are
No matter how much you weep
No matter how much your curse and swear
I shall be with you  

Even when you’re angry
Even when you’re cruel
Even when you’re not your best
I still love you

Even when you’re screaming
Even when you’re fighting
Even when you’re bleeding
I shall be with you  

For you are my family
For you have I called
For you have I adopted
And I love you

This life is full of hardship
This life is full of pain
This life is often hard and cruel
I shall be with you  

I suffered on the cross for you
I came into the world for you
There is nothing I will not do for you

Because I love you