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  • That challenge...

    Social media, and even broadcast media is currently preoccupied with the 'ice bucket challenge' whereby people pour (or have poured) over themselves buckets of iced, or at least cold, water.  This isvideoed and uploaded to a social media site, with a donation to charity and a challenge to three or more friends to 'go and do likewise'.

    The challenge began in the USA for their ALS charity, and was picked up by its UK equivalents MNDA and MND Scotland.  Copycat challenges have emerged either directly from big charities (such as MacMillan) or individuals deciding to donate elsewhere.

    Comments are wide ranging but seem to include the following...

    • it's dangerous - well yes, but so is skydiving, pier-jumping and even marathon running.
    • it's a waste of water, what about all those poor people in such-and-such a land - well yes, but I seem to recall someone wasted a bottle of perfume once and the response was that the poor will always be with you...
    • it's 'ours' - well yes, and no, I don't think there's any copyright on pouring water over your head
    • it's not planned or regular - true, but then neither is the giving to those TV phone in things, or any of the other random challenges that appear

    The criticisms are valid, I'm not disputing them.  But there is a fair deal of missing the point going on here, at least in my opinion.

    MND is an especially cruel disease for which there is no treatment and no cure - raising money for this 'cinderella' condition is important, and this challenge seems to be doing that very successfully.

    If people are really concerned about the waste of water, there are any number of charities working alongside the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people to sink weels, install taps, clean toilets and so forth.  WaterAid, Oxfam, Save the Children, BMS, TEAR fund,... the list goes on and on...

    Does it matter if some other charity copies a good idea?  I think not.  The rise of marathon running as a charity fundraising enterprise indicates this... the cancer charities alongside the homlessness charities alongside the animal charities...  Whoever is not against us is for us, I think.

    And of course planned giving is good, most of my giving is planned, but I also give a lot of money spontaneously in bucket collections, 'flag' days (not seen an actual 'flag' in decades) and text in donations.

    So no, I didn't pour icy water over my head, but I don't see anything wrong with it either.  I did make an 'ice bucket challenge' donation to MND Scotland in memory of K whose funeral I conducted last week.


    One final thought... as we arrived at church last night for a meeting, members of one of the user groups of our premises were using the pathway as a place to do the icebucket challenge... these are people with multiple problems and who did not stop to think what a nuisance doing it there was, both in terms of safety and mess, but their hearts were 100% in the right place.  Most likely they aren't in a position to plan giving, most likely the niceties of pious middle-class people would pass right over their heads, but they had something totally right... they were having fun and giving generously.  I kind of think that Jesus smiled.

  • Autumn Colours...


  • Mellow Yellow???

    beatson track.jpg

    Saturday 30th September is my "legal" fourth anniversary of diagnosis... and I will be putting on a yellow teeshirt to walk 6.5 miles for the charity linked to the hospital that treated me back then.

    Despite yellow being a terrible colour for me this photo has not come out too badly!!

  • Turn of the Season

    There is a day that rises each year now in my personal calendar.  A day that has no tidy numerical descriptor.  It is the day when I notice that the trees on the bank opposite my house are turning from green via red to gold.  It is the day when I silently thank God that I am at the start of another autumn and that 'all is well'.  The subtle change in the light, the faintest hint of a nip in the air, the goldeness of the moment. 

    Four years now.  Five times I have watched the leaves turn to gold and tumble to earth as autumn quietly grips the earth. 

    Five times means four that I feared I would never see.  Means that a certain red duffle coat will enter its fifth winter.  Means that I am, thus far, in the good part of the not so great statistics.

    Today has turned out to be a long day one way and another.  Mostly good and nothing nasty.  A whole raft of stuff to get done on a day that I noticed the trees begin to change.

    Because of the way I'm wired, I guess my personal calendar will always have its memorable dates, even if I no longer choose to mention them to others long-tired of it all.  But the turn of the season is precious and beautiful... and as the fifth autumn begins, I quietly rejoice just because I am here to see it.

    As I reached the end of a long-ish evening at my laptop and lifted my eyes to the window the sunset with golden glow filled my horizon with fleeting ethereal beauty... blessing are always there to be found if we make or take the time to notice them.

  • Home...

    I had a lovely week away visiting places that used to be 'home' in past seasons of my life and am really happy now to be home in the place that for the foreseeable future is home.  I did find myself wondering though, would I, will I, visit those places when those I know no longer live there (or anywhere), and what it is that defines 'home'.

    I think the older I get the more my 'wandering Aramean' genes show themselves... I am happy and content to 'bloom where I'm (trans)planted' but with less and less sense of overall rootedness.

    I have a suspicion that's why I find some aspects of identity, especially national/patrioitic identity, confusing and bewildering.

    Home, so the saying goes, is where the heart is... which in my case is pretty much always where I happen to live, even if bits of it (heart not home) get left behind when I move on.

    Now, lest anyone is unsettled by this waffle, I have no more intention of moving from where I am now than of flying to Jupiter... I think it's more a growing realisation that there are places I now visit that will one day be off the 'list' because the home-ness for me is defined not by place but by people.  And within that, not be races or groups but by individuals...

    Perhaps this is something of what it means to be 'in the world but not of it'?