Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm a Triolet...

If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
I'm the triolet, bursting with pride;
If they told you I'm mad, then they lied.
No, it isn't obsessive. Now hide
All the spoons or I might get convulsive.
If they told you I'm mad then they lied.
I'm odd, but it isn't compulsive.
What Poetry Form Are You?

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Pope and the European Union

The Pope has criticised the European Union for not including at least a mention about Europe's Christian roots in the Declaration for the Future of the European Union, signed on Sunday.

In one sense he is right, for if we study the history of Europe, and even the Enlightenment, Christianity has played an enormous part in its development and character. It would be foolish to deny, or dismiss, its influence. Should it therefore have a place in this document? Maybe. I only skimmed through it quickly, enough to see that it wasn't of particular importance to me, so I can't say.

It is understandable that the Churches want to be included into the European public sphere, for everything we do have moral and ethic component. We act according to our beliefs, and we reap the consequences of them too. Judging from the results (for example, decreased mental health), we're not doing that well as a society. We would therefore profit from a change of perspectives. But why?

The secular state is not (as many believe) a neutral repository of a diversity of beliefs, but advances its own values, beliefs, and goals. It needs to be challenged, for it often does not work for the benefit of all people, or for achieving peace. It therefore should be challenged and kept on its toes. And the Churches has all the right in the world to do so.

However, the Churches do need to acknowledge that Christianity is also the cause of secularism and atheistic humanism (that's btw why the humanists are so obsessed by Christianity - read the New Humanist and see for yourself). A lot of the conflicts, wars, bigotry in the 16th and 17th century were based on doctrinal differences. The violence defied all human logic and sense, and therefore led to what we today call the Enlightenment. The influence of the Churches was gradually restricted to the private sphere, and for very good reasons.

I would personally like to see a more open Europe today, where religion and spirituality is part of its varied landscape; I would like to see the Churches acknowledged for its thoughtful contribution and wisdom - but that will not happen unless the Churches acknowledges its part in the rise of secularism and atheism, and more importantly - root out their cause.

Maybe they will then notice that they have allies amongst all the Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and all other spiritually minded people in Europe. If they come so far as to acknowledge their intrinsic worth, and to respect them, the root cause will certainly have dissolved...

God bless!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Radcliffe Camera

Here are a couple of photos that I took today of the Radcliffe Camera as I was leaving the library. It's my favourite space in Oxford to read and study, especially the ground floor area. The colours are warm, the space is round, the 'slices' we sit in are cosy (in their own way). It's a great space. I'm not there that often, for the books I need right now are in the Indian Institute Library. But I miss it.

The photos came out quite well, despite the darkness.

Ok, I've procrastinated enough. Good night!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Give constant thanks

I came across this beautiful piece as I 'randomly' opened a page in Eileen Caddy's Opening Doors Within:

"Give constant thanks for everything. There is much to be grateful for; open your eyes, look around, and see how blessed you are. As you do, you will find yourself filled with an overwhelming feeling of love and gratitude, and the whole of life and living will take on a new meaning. The people around you will mean more to you because your heart is filled with love for them, and you have a deeper understanding and tolerance towards them. You will find yourself grateful for them, for their love and companionship, for just being themselves. Your eyes will be open to all the beauty and harmony around you, to the wonders of nature. You will see with eyes that really see; you will hear with ears that really hear; and you will speak with words pf love and understanding. Life will be good for you because you are taking nothing for granted, but are appreciative of everything and can see My hand in everything."

It was just the perfect message for me today. Thank you!