It’s all about love…

Image result for love god love neighbourI normally just use this blog for things pertaining to books, movies, sport, and other daily kinds of mundane fun things, but I feel the need to do something different today.

I think that the events in Manchester this week, along with the aftermath, have probably brought me to this, although it’s been on my mind for much longer.

It all boils down to this – our world needs more love. There is too much hatred and it comes from all sides everywhere and is not monopolized by any one group, nation, religion, or whatever tribe people align themselves with. There are fundamentalists everywhere, who will do anything, to the point of killing innocents, to make themselves heard. History repeats itself over and over again with the same results. I don’t pretend to understand everything, or have the solution to all the woes of the world, but our world could definitely use more love, along with some understanding.

Each day I read posts on Facebook and the social media platforms where people argue about everything and everything, where there often seems to be too much shouting and very little listening. Things often turn nasty when someone doesn’t agree with another person’s thoughts or ideas. It would be a boring world if we always agreed with each other, but why do differences of opinion often have to cause cessations of friendships or resort to name-calling, or worse. People often try to hide behind freedom of speech, but this freedom comes with responsibility and doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to continually put down others or destroy their character. It’s not wrong to disagree with another person over something, but it is crossing the line when the disagreement takes a personal turn. C.S. Lewis always enjoyed a good debate and had no problem disagreeing with others on a variety of matters, but he never allowed such disagreements to lead to personal acrimony (for a good article on this read C.S. Lewis and the Art of Disagreement).

It seems lately, though, that some issues have become more polarizing than others. One only need to mention the name ‘Trump’ and things can soon get out of hand. Some claim he is God’s chosen man, others say there’s no way he can be, and then the barbs start flying and things often get out of hand. By the way, from where I’m sitting, I can see no evidence that he could have been specially chosen by God. First of all, such a claim doesn’t seem scriptural to me, and secondly, his life certainly does not reflect it, in my opinion. Nothing that he has done so far as the leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth has persuaded me otherwise. In fact, with each passing day it seems like his actions take him further and further away from the possibility of there being any reflection in his life of being a follower of Jesus. Even this week at the NATO meetings in Europe Trump has shown himself to be an ignorant boor, as he pushed himself to the front like a spoiled schoolboy, in the process shoving Dusko Markovic, the Prime Minister of Montenegro and leader of NATO, aside, then beaming like an imbecile when he got to the front. This shows a severe lack of respect and dignity, and is behaviour that belittles the position he was elected to. It’s hard to imagine Jesus behaving like this.

There are two key passages in scripture which point to the conclusions that I have come to. The first one is in Matthew 22 where one of the experts in the Law asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. Jesus replies: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If someone fails to follow these commandments then everything else they do negates any claims they may have to be a follower of Jesus. There is very little love for anyone but himself in the way that Trump shows himself on the world stage.

The second passage that comes to mind is in Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about the separation of those who have fed the hungry, given water to the thirsty, clothed the naked, looked after the sick, and visited the imprisoned from those who have failed to do that. To those who did these things he says: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Then he invites them into their inheritance. However, to those who have failed to do this things he says: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Later he adds “I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Most of the proposals Trump has made so far will do little or nothing for the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, or imprisoned (i.e. the poor), so how can he be God’s chosen if he fails to follow the commands of God?

Basically, what I am saying is that it’s all about love, but not love of self before all else. If you are in doubt about the importance of this love thing, then take a few minutes to read the first letter of John. There’s enough in there to confirm, and add to, what I’ve already said. It’s not easy and I know there are times when I’ve fallen short in the commands to love, but I have to pick myself up and try again.

We live in a very broken world, but let’s not add any more hatred to it. Instead endeavour to follow the commands to love. In the end love will win. It may not seem like that at times, but it will.

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 25)

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1. It has been a difficult week to concentrate, since news came through of the suicide bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday. It’s awful to think that a person can go too something as simple and enjoyable as a pop concert and not return alive. Words fail me, especially as I think of the young lives cut short by such a cruel and senseless act. In the midst of all the sorrow, there were also some uplifting stories, such as the homeless man who, after helping some of the victims, has been offered six months free rent and assistance with putting his life back together.

2. Last Monday was also the Victoria Day Holiday here. I had planned to sort through some of the boxes we haven’t unpacked yet, but that didn’t happen. Instead I spent the day reading and playing video games. Maybe I’ll get to the boxes next holiday!

3. Rangers (awful) season came to an end last Sunday with a fairly routine 2-1 victory at Partick Thistle. The less said about the season the better. There are lot of rumours going round now about who will be leaving and who will be coming in over the summer. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

4. I’m almost finished the #NRBchallenge on Instagram and am looking for something similar for June. If you are interested, I’m @wcs53 on Instagram.

5. My reading is going well again and, according to the 50 Book Pledge, I’m on course for 82 books this year. Currently I’m reading Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which I hope to finish over the weekend.

WWW Wednesday (May 24)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

I’m currently reading the above three books, which are:

  1. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. One of my book challenges this month is to read a book that was made into a movie. I bought this one round about the time the movie came out, but am only getting around to reading it now. Once I’m finished it I’ll try to check out the movie.
  2. Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth. This is one of three books I received from LibraryThing for review, so I need to get on with this one as well.
  3. Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass. I started this one last year and never got it finished. Now that I’m back to it again I’m really enjoying it and should be finished it soon.

Recently Finished:

I finished the above two books during the past week:

  1. You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris. I borrowed this little book from the library. It was written by the husband of one of the women killed in the Bataclan Theatre terrorist attack in Paris in late 2015 and is his account of the days following the loss of his wife, and how he will not let what happened cause either himself or their 17 month old son to hate. It was a fairly emotional read, but well worth reading.
  2. Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue. This was one I had been looking forward to reading for a while and it did not disappoint me. I’ve been listening to a couple of podcasts that Mike is on – ‘Ask Science Mike’ and ‘The Liturgists Podcast’ – for a while now and it was great to finally be able to listen to his story.

Up Next:

I have a couple of review books to get to, as well as a graphic novel I borrowed from the library, so it could be any of them. I’d also like to get into Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance. So many books and not enough time!

Teaser Tuesdays – Grounded (May 23)

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

groundedThe ground is the earth’s body, water its lifeblood, and the atmosphere its lungs. And the planet is sick.

From page 114 of Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution by Diana Butler Bass.

Musing Monday (May 22)

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker, that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favourite place to read in?

I think I’m just going to answer the random question this week. Currently my favourite place to read is anywhere. Since we moved here a couple of years ago I haven’t really found a favourite place to read. I like to read outside, so now that the weather is getting warmer I might try sitting out on our porch to read. The only drawback is that it’s at the front of our house and we live on a fairly busy corner. I can see right into Tim Hortons from our porch, but we’re far enough away that it might not be a problem. I’ll see how it works out anyway.

Bookmark Monday – Queen Victoria (May 22)

bookmark-mondayBookmark Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Aloi from guiltless reading. Take a picture of one of your favourite bookmarks, post it on your blog, and head over to guiltless reading to share a to your post.

Today is the Victoria Day holiday in Canada, so I thought I’d share this picture of a souvenir bookmark that dates from 1897 and was issued to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It is on display at the British Museum.

queen victoria

Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – You Will Not Have My Hate (May 19)

This week I have chosen You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris as the book for my weekly meme combo. It’s a short memoir by a French journalist whose wife was among those murdered in the Bataclan Theatre attack in Paris in 2015. I borrowed it from our local library yesterday and it looks like it will be a moving, but inspirational, read. GoodReads has the following description:

you will not have my hateOn 13 November 2015, Antoine Leiris’s wife, Hélène, was killed, along with 88 other people at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, when three men armed with guns and suicide bombs opened fire on the unsuspecting crowd at a rock concert. Three days later, Leiris, a young journalist, wrote an open letter on Facebook addressed to his wife’s killers. Leiris refused to be cowed or to let his 17-month-old son’s life be defined by Hélène’s murder. He refused to let the killers have their way. ‘For as long as he lives, this little boy will insult you with his happiness and freedom,’ he wrote. Instantly, that short Facebook post caught fire. It was shared over two hundred thousand times and was reported on all over the world. In his beautiful and moving defiance of the terrorists who had killed his wife, Leiris became an international hero to everyone searching desperately for a way to deal with the horror of the attacks.

You Will Not Have My Hate is an extraordinary and heartbreaking memoir about how Leiris, and his baby son Melvil, endured after Hélène’s murder. With courage, moral acuity, and absolute emotional honesty, Leiris finds a way to answer the question, how can I go on? This is the rare and unforgettable testimony of a survivor, and a universal message of hope and resilience. Leiris is guiding star for us all in perilous times.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

bb-buttonBook Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of You Will Not Have My Hate:

Melvil fell asleep without a murmur, as he usually does when his Mama isn’t there. He knows that with Papa, the lullabies are not as soft and the hugs not as warm, so he doesn’t expect too much.

This opening doesn’t give too much away, but I think with the events that are just going to happen in Melvil’s life, he’s going to have to settle for Papa’s lullabies from now on.

friday-562.jpgThe Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

Page 56 of You Will Not Have My Hate is blank, so I’ll go to the next page where there is text:

The doorbell rings.

I am not expecting anyone.

I’m not sure if this is as ominous as it sounds, but it can be disconcerting when someone turns up unexpectedly. We have to go out of town tomorrow, so maybe I’ll take this little book with me, because I’ll probably have plenty of time to read on the way (if I’m not driving!).

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts (May 18)

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‘Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts’ is hosted by Christine at Bookishly Boisterous. It’s just a round-up of bookish and other things from the previous week. Share a link there if you want to participate.

1. Last Saturday was the first time I took part in any kind of readathon. As I pretty much had a clear day (for once), I signed up for the SavvyReadathon hosted by The Savvy Reader. I probably only managed about 9 hours of reading, due to a couple of interruptions – I had to watch the TFC game and I had to go out shopping with our daughter for Mother’s Day – but I still managed to read three books. I also got a third of the way through a fourth one. I’d like to sign up for more of these kinds of events in the future as it was a great way to get some much needed reading done.

2. Speaking of TFC, we’re on a six game winning streak at the moment and are sitting top of the standings. Hopefully we can keep the streak going tomorrow night at the New York Red Bulls. We have a couple of bad injuries to contend with, both Giovinco and Hagglund will be out for a few weeks, but there seems to be great depth in the squad this season, so we should be able to contend with this.

3. Next Monday is the Victoria Day holiday. We’re finally going to sort through some of the boxes we haven’t opened yet since we moved here almost two years ago. Include in these boxes are at least half a dozen boxes of books. Our 15 bookshelves are totally full, so we will have to decide whether to get some more shelves or shed a few books. I’m not that keen on the latter idea, so I may have to check out IKEA soon!

4. The school year is almost over, which means that our daughter has less than 2 months left in her high school career. It hardly seems possible, but she’ll be heading off to university after the summer. Speaking of school, I’ve been given the go-ahead to explore my further education options. I’m currently exploring the possibility of doing a MTS at Tyndale in Toronto. It seems to be the one that would work best for my current situation. Most of it can be done by long distance, which suits me fine. It’s been almost 6 years since I did my last course, so hopefully I can get back onto the swing of things again easily enough.

5. U2 have started the first leg of their Joshua Tree Tour 2017 in interesting fashion. During the three shows so far they have only played songs from All That You Can’t Leave Behind or earlier. I’m looking forward to hearing The Joshua Tree in its entirety live and hearing Red Hill Mining Town live for my first time, as this tour is the first time it’s been played live. I’m also looking forward to hearing the new song, The Little Things That Give You Away.

6. I’m still managing to keep up with the #NRBchallenge on Instagram. Some days have been more challenging than others, but it’s been fun taking pictures of some books I haven’t thought of for a long time. If you are interested, I’m @wcs53 on Instagram. I’ve enjoyed this one so much that I’m going to have to look for a new challenge for next month. I’m open to suggestions.

7. Just in case anyone who knows me is worried, the picture at the top of this post is not a cup of coffee. It’s tea. I gave up caffeinated coffee almost a year ago and I think it has been good for me. I do drink decaf most days, but no more caffeinated coffee for me!

WWW Wednesday (May 17)

www-wednesdayWWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Here is what you have to do to participate:

Answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments section the host page for others to look at.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading:

Afinding god in the waveslthough, as usual, I have quite a number of books on the go at the moment, the one I’m focusing on and have almost finished is Finding God in the Waves: How I Lost My Faith and Found It Again Through Science by Mike McHargue. I’m really enjoying this one. McHargue is well-known as ‘Science Mike’ and I listen to him weekly on a couple of podcasts: The Liturgists podcast and The Science Mike podcast. If you’re looking for something different to listen to then both of these podcasts
are worth checking out.

Recently Finished:

I finished the above six books during the last week. Three of them I read for the SavvyReadathon on Saturday. The six books were:

  1. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (Illustrator), Matthew Wilson (Illustrator)
  2. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living – Rob Bell
  3. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter – edited by Plough Publishing House
  4. The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novels Adaptation #1) – Ian Edginton (Adapter), I.N.J. Culbard (Illustrator), Arthur Conan Doyle
  5. Pride: You Can’t Heal If You’re Hiding from Yourself – Ronald Holt
  6. A Letter of Consolation – Henri J.M. Nouwen

They were all fairly decent reads, although Paper Girls was a little disappointing. How to Be Here was probably the best of the bunch.

Up Next:

I haven’t really decided yet, but I have a few to choose from. I might try to get my hands on the new Rob Bell book and if I do, then that will be my next read. If not, then I might try to finish one of the other books that I still have on the go.

Teaser Tuesdays – Hidden Figures (May 16)

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Ambrosia at The Purple Booker. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my teasers for this week:

hidden-figuresStar Trek landed in American homes on September 8, 1966, an NBC network prime-time program. While NASA and the Project Gemini astronauts worked their way through twelve missions in the 1960s, in the fictional 2260s, the starship Enterprise set off from Earth on a peacekeeping and deep-space exploration mission, manned by a multi-national, multi-racial, mixed-gender crew.

From page 242 of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly.

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