Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The beautiful game shamed...

I am the only one left scratching my head in bewilderment as the world of politics and tribal warfare is increasing played out on the football pitch?

Last nights news of another Arab royal family buying a football club, pledging their unlimited wealth to make it the biggest club in the world, immediately signing a player for an unspeakably obscene amount of money was breathtaking in its speed.

Premiership football is arguably one of the biggest world stages and on it we find that battle lines have been drawn for world domination....Arab royal family v's Arab royal family, Arab royal family v's Russian oligarch, Arab royal family v's USA businessmen... Wake up people to what is happening here.

What has happened to the beautiful game...what of your average fan turning up faithfully each Saturday to support their team, squeezed out by corporate 'hospitality'?

The only winners in this seem to be the players who sell themselves to the highest bidder. When women do this they are called prostitutes.

Mixing with prostitutes and accepting hospitality was something that Jesus was famous for. There was always sting in the tail however....prostitutes had to go away and sin no more, ceasing what they were doing because it was devaluing them as human beings. As for hospitality...well, when the rich and the famous were bored or no longer had the time to come to the banquet, the beggars off the street are given pride of place.

Monday, 1 September 2008

New beginnings....

Each August, there is the great Methodist tradition of the annual game of musical chairs, but without the music and involving houses not chairs. It goes like this....the removal van turns up at the Manse (home of the minister and family however one might want to define family) and the residents - minister, family, cats, dogs, etc. all decamp to another Manse somewhere else in the country ready to begin a new appointment and ready to begin the new Methodist year which runs from September to August. This is called ''itinerancy' - another great Methodist tradition in which ministers submit themselves to a process around every five years which could see them working anywhere in the country. When our golden years are upon us, retirement some call it, we cease to be itinerant and seek permission from the Methodist Conference to 'sit-down'.
A quaint tradition which means new beginning are always just around the corner.

I am conscious that the new Methodist year is now upon us...new staff are in place, newly painted homes occupied, new telephone numbers remembered and there is much change afoot as many ministers consider whether they want to remain in their current appointments or travel once more, and other having made that decision wait upon their Lord (and the stationing committee!) to direct and guide them to new appointments.
Yet more wait, anxious because this is the first time they have entered this process and do not know quite what to expect.

I am reading a volume written by the Irish poet John O'Donohue called 'Benedictus' and in it he offers a timely reminder to me, to us all about new beginnings.

He writes...'Beginnings often frighten us because they seem like lonely voyages into the unknown. Yet, in truth, no beginning is empty or isolated. We seem to think that beginning is a setting out from a lonely point along some line of direction into the unknown. This is not the case. Shelter and energy come alive when a beginning is embraced. Goeth says that once the commitment is made, destiny conspires with us to support and realize it. We are never alone in our beginnings as it might seem at the time. A beginning is ultimately an invitation to open toward the gifts and growth that are stored up for us. To refuse to begin can be an act of great self-neglect.'

God bless our endings and our beginnings