Sven on the road

October 29, 2004

Next week is reading and research week so I am going to take advantage of the week off to go and visit my parents back in Germany and get some work done in peace and quiet. Fortunately, my Dad is over in the UK at the moment so I can get a lift back with him which means an epic 6-hour drive and a ferry crossing to France followed by another 6 hour drive through France, Belgium and Holland before I finally arrive home.

Might sound exciting, but driving through Belgium is perhaps the most monotonous experience a man can ever have.

The long and short of it is that I won’t be able to blog a for a coupla days until I am safely back in the Fatherland. Even better, my parents have digital TV so I can watch the real live Pat Robertson on television and then write some more Dear Pat letters hurrah (Sixlegged, I have not forgotten you :)).

In other news, 58,000 postal ballots have gone missing in Florida. Oddly enough, they were due to be sent to an area that gave the democrats 67% of the vote in the last election. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Something smells fishy, and I don’t just mean the entire downstairs of my house.

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Smells like chicken

October 29, 2004

I came in from work tonight to be confronted with an odd chicken-esque smell in my house. My first reaction was to assume that Matt had been cooking:

Steve: Matt, you been cooking dinner?
Matt: No.
Steve: So what’s that smell then?
Matt: Your goldfish is dead. It’s floating in the tank, I think the strip-light in the tank has started to cook it.

And so it had. I will never eat chicken again without wanting to vom wildly.

I think my other fish are going to snuff it as well. The tank filter broke whilst I was out so basically they have been swimming in their own poo, which is fatal for fish, yet somehow ok for the thousands of people who use British beaches every summer.


For people who give out flyers…

October 29, 2004

Every day when I go to work, I have to walk about half a mile down the busiest street in Manchester to get to the restaurant where I work like a galley slave all day. Work is stressful enought, but what has begun to irritate me is the sheer number of people I have to walk past on my way to work who seem hell-bent (odd expression isn’t it?) on giving me armfuls of flyers promoting various events.

To counter this menace, I am devising a series of counter-flyers to hand out to the people that try and ram various adverts and free drinks promotions down my throat. My work thus far:

1. “No thankyou, I have not had ANY accidents or injuries in the last three years, and even if I had, why would I want to sue someone jsut to make you rich in the process? I walked past a Zebra carcass a few streets back, perhaps you should go and circle that instead.”

2. “This may surprise you, but I am not interested in a free drinks offer. Especially for a club night called ‘SPANK’.”

3. “I kindly decline your offer to say ‘Gouranga’, buy a copy of the Bhagvadgita, change my name to Gnishuk and eat nought but lentils and drink nought but salt water all the rest of my life.”

4. “No I will not join your gym. I already feel bad enough that I have spindly arms, and I am not about to pay you £50 a month to make me feel bad about myself. Did you know that steroids make your testicles shrink?”

5. “No I will not boycott Marks and Spencer just because they are a jewish company who import some products from Israel. Neither do I want come and play ‘pin the swastika on the donkey’ at your Nazi party.”

Actually once I saw someone was about to hand me a flyer so I hid my arm up my cost so it looked like I’d lost a limb or something. When she tried to give me a flyer I told her that I’d lost my arm fighting in the Vietnam war and so couldn’t take a flyer sorry thankyou very much. In my mind, this was absolutely the funniest thing I had ever conceived, but in reality she just looked at me as though I was a total weirdo. Out of guilt and embarrassment, I took a flyer anyway. Dammit.


Blog admin

October 28, 2004

Gotta work in the morning so need some sleep but equally need to do some blog admin. New links to be added include my joint blog with Jonny and Pete, called Idiotwatch, although thus far is largely devoid of idiots, and a link to Valancy Jane’s blog, which is always a good read, and has a picture of a cat with a sniper rifle on it.

I also felt the need to add Kieran’s blog to my list of links, though I can’t remember if he actually exists or if Jonny made him up in about 1998. Anyhow, here is a fascinating true story about me, Jonny and Kieran, told in the words of the greatest living Englishman and our former Politics teacher, Mr J F Clay:

“Well class, it’s come to that stage of the year when I am supposed to give a prize to the best students over the two-year course. The candidates for the prize are Steve, Jonny and Kieran.
Unfortunately, I have had to disqualify Kieran and Steve from the prize due to the fact that neither of them has handed in any work for at least 6 months. So by default, Jonny is the winner, well done.”

I could in fact devote an entire blog to Mr Clay and how great he was, but suffice to say he was the closest to all-knowing that any human being has ever come. I remember when he spent TWO HOURS answering someone’s question when they asked him how the troubles in Northern Ireland started: “Well it all started back in the Middle Ages when Henry II declared himself Lord of Ireland…” etc etc. He gave a blow-by-blow account of almost 800 years of history without realising that he had taken 2 hours to do it and thus avoided teaching us.

Actually, we English have been pretty unkind to the Irish over the centuries. As well as massacring them on many occasions, we also steadfastly refused to help during the Irish potato famine when over a third of the Irish population died of starvation and another third were forced to emigrate.

Now I think about it, the English (as opposed to British) are a pretty awful bunch, I’m not sure if there is actually a country we haven’t fought against, oppressed or conquered at some point in history. Still, chin up and all that sort of thing eh what?

COMING SOON:

*Sven declares himself Lord of Ireland
*Bloodshed
*Peace talks
*”My colleague Gerry Adams has absolutely no connections to the IRA. He has never even heard of Ireland, and any anyone who disagrees with him is nothing but a beardist.”
(M McGuinness)
*Motorhead are crap.


What are you?

October 26, 2004

I took a test to find out what political persuasion I was. Not surprisingly, I came out as a left-leaning libertarian.

Take the test yourselves here.

In other news, it turns out that Therese and Krystle are somehow connected, as I had long suspected. For the full sensational story, go here and here.


Things Pete has said recently

October 26, 2004

Pete, the world’s most quotable man:

1. “I was listening to Rage Against The Machine earlier, one riff was so great that my nipples actually got hard. Seriously they actually did.”

2. “Don’t care what they do to try and improve it, you can’t polish a turd.”

3. “Fulalaalalafugugugulala.” (Whilst pretending to be a zombie and moving to grab my man-boobs.”

4. “Bog off, basically.”


Environment

October 26, 2004

It seems to be quite a well-known and established fact that the whole of Nature is basically being systematically destroyed at a rate that is unsustainable, and this will have terrible long-term effects for all of humanity, starting with the Third World first and then as we realise that we are actually absolutely all mutually inter-dependent on each other, it will then be the turn of the richer nations to realise that they cannot destroy the environment indefinitely.

So where do I as a Christian fit into all this? Jesus doesn’t say anything about the environment and recycling household waste, but then he doesn’t mention it because it wasn’t a problem in rural first century Palestine, but the huge effect that our broken relationship to nature has on all of humanity means that we have to have an appropriate theology of creation.

Problem: No one really seems to, for various reasons.

Hmm.

Tony Campolo, who is a top dude and hated by the Christian Right in the USA (possibly a good sign) once began an address to a conference of middle-class Christians here in the UK with the following statement:

“Last night whilst you all slept in your beds, 30,000 children dies of hunger and preventable diseases, and most of you could not give a shit. Even worse is the fact that you are more upset by the fact that I just swore in a sermon than by the problem I am describing.”

Good way to put it. Nobody actually really cares in the church as far as I can discern, though I am willing to accept that this is largely out of ignorance, over-urbanisation but also probably due to a bad doctrine of creation and a preoccupation with ourselves.

It is now after midnight so I’m not about to write a systematic theology of the environment, but here are some ideas I’ve had tonight whilst at work:

1. Incorrect Christian ideas about eschatology (future things) give legitmacy to our complacency in the face of massive social and political issues.

2. This is because war, famine, injustice, nuclear proliferation and environmental damage etc point towards a final cataclysmic disaster where the world will be annihilated. Perfect conditions for Jesus to return then, right? Well no, not really. The result of this kind of thinking is that in the face of disaster and annihilation, the Church stops engaging with the world and looks upwards in anticipation of its own redemption and the end of history.

3. There will not be an end to history, but rather history itself will be transformed. This is actually a Christian idea. Why? Because the death and resurrection of Christ is eschatology in a microcosm. The bringing to life of what is dead and sin-damaged in this present age, and so transforming the future possibilities for history itself.

4. History is not as Nietzsche imagined, to be the ‘eternal return of the same’, yet many Christians believe this to be so. If the resurrected Christ is the prototype of everything that is be made new, and history moves towards the fulfillment of this goal, then to wish for and to maintain the sameness of the status quo and a cyclical view of history is to deny the future opened up by the resurrection.

5. Of course, if you’re a comfortable well-off Christian, the eternal return of the same is probably a very comfortable idea. This is why the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor and is very difficult for the rich to enter. The thrust of history is towards the Kingdom of God, where there is an end to sin, suffering and injustice, and it is this future hope towards which we are to face. To long for the eternal return of the same is to deny this and to wish for the status quo of injustice, sin and darkness to reign forever.

6. There is no Eternal Now of God, where time stands still and he views and relates to history as one single moment. A God who only ‘is’ is then also a ‘he who is no longer what he was’ and ‘he who will no longer be who he is now’. The past and the future are wholly nullified if God is only present in the Eternal Moment He is not simply ‘I AM’. Neither is God ‘he who is, was and shall be’, rather the risen Christ is ‘he who was, who is and is to come.’ (Rev 1:4) God himself has a past, a present AND a future coming, and he distinguishes between these phases in his history.

7. So what does this have to do with Christian social action?

8. Well basically if we accept the truth of the resurrection and that the future transformation of history itself will conform to God, then current world crises are not excuses for us to sit back and worry about our eternal immortal soul. These disasters are the ‘birth pangs’ of the new creation of all things, and the mission of the Church is to prepare the way for the coming of God by living in anticipation of the fulfillment of his kingdom. This means liberating the poor, overthrowing unjust and oppressive systems, healing the sick and preaching the Gospel of the Good News of salvation for all humanity etc. We do not cease to engage with the world in anticipation of the church’s redemption by way of it being lifted vertically out of history and into the eternal now of God.

9. Rather, the Coming God will enter into history and transform it so that it now conforms to the rule of his kingdom of love and justice, but like the resurrection, it is a transformation in and of this present historical age. Thus the mission of the Church is to live and stand in contradiction to an age which is evil and to turn it towards the Coming Kingdom of God by engaging with the world, not by abandoning hope for the world and seeing the destruction of humanity and the earth as unavoidable precursors to ‘Armageddon’ and so legitimising our complacency and abandonment of hope in the face of evil and suffering.

10. Can you see why it is crucial that the Church must now engage responsibly with the environment, if creation is to have any future at all? The messianic hope for redemption is for all of creation, not the lifting out of history of the immortal souls (now that’s for another rant…) of the pious.

11. If anyone understands what I’m on about, tell me. If not, tell me anyway because I need to learn to give clarity to these ideas that I have so that I’m not the only one who understands them 🙂

Night.

P.S Did I mention that I have a new girlfriend? Heehee.