Christians in Pop-Music, Homelessness in Finland & Fake News.

After I had written a blog post about Homelessness in England I received a very interesting article in the mail about how they have tackled homelessness in Finland. Some of these methods are now being tried out over here which is a good thing! I hope that it will work!

Here is an article that I came across about the increase in Christians in pop-music! Considering how Christianity is consistently ridiculed it is quite staggering to see how many major pop and rock artists considers themselves to be of the faith! I found this to be a very uplifting read indeed! Christianity in show-biz.

I’ve taken a break from reading the news but decided to feature these two articles since they have a positive vibe to them.

The issue at the heart of the negative news-cycle is money I’m sure. I saw a TED talk with Monica Lewinsky a while back where she said that she was one of the very first internet shaming victims. She claimed that everyone threw her under the bus in the name of “click-bait-articles” without any concern for her wellbeing or her future. It was a very interesting speech that I would highly recommend. Her parents were apparently on “suicide watch” since they were so worried about how she would handle all of the negative attention. She couldn’t get hired anywhere either.

You need stories that can sell regardless of whether or not this increases tension and even create conflict. Bad news & scandals sell, and if something sells then people who are “clever” tend to promote this for all that it is worth regardless of what the cultural impact might be or how many lives that are utterly destroyed.

I’m sure that this is one of the reasons as to why there is such an abundance of “fake news.”

How To Help Out!

I’ve never been a huge fan of artists using charity as a marketing tool or as a way to make themselves look nice; yet it is a positive thing if you can inspire your followers to get more active with their own local communities! 

Tomorrow I’ll be helping out again by doing a fundraiser for a local village hall! This is the best way that I can help as an artist so I hope that the event will be well attended!

This is the poster for the concert:

poster village hall

Now follows an entry that I wrote a while back about getting involved if you want to help out but isn’t quite sure how to go about it! 

A major difference between living in a major city vs. country living is that “life” is more “valuable” in a territory where humans are scarce! An interesting and spooky detail to note! Whenever you run into someone in a village you establish eye-contact and greet one another; in addition you have interactions that are based on trust.

If you then go into town and see some of those characters that live in the same desolate territory as yourself you’ll notice that they just blend into the town landscape together with all the other people, creating the impression of a big, unidentifiable, mass. It is even worse in big cities where you walk down a crowded street without ever establishing eye-contact with anyone and where everyone is consumed with their own things.

Last time I was staying at a hotel due to work I thought of it as comical when I passed a young woman in the corridor who just walked past me all glassy-eyed without even looking at me; “how rude” I thought to myself, “she didn’t even say hi.”

Yet it has become the standard that there are thousands of parallel paths that never cross one another as everyone goes about their business.

I’ve been guilty of this myself, because this has become the default setting of human beings in our part of the world.

You can get out of this habit if you move into an area where human capital is a rarity. 

To give you an example of how detached humans have become I offer this tiny story that I’ve never shared with anyone before: 

Some years back when I was travelling with Craig Ogden (my classical-guitarist-partner-in-crime)  I saw a young, female, drug addict, who was stumbling around in the main pedestrian street of Oslo. 

Out of all of the people who were walking down this street, nobody noticed this woman who was clearly in distress. 

She nearly got hit by a car and was clearly a danger to herself.

She was in need of urgent care.

So what do you do in a situation like that? 

First we walked behind her like two baby-sitters watching over a self-destructive toddler…. 

This was obviously not something that could go on indefinitely since we had a plane to catch, nevertheless we “stalked” this young lady to ensure that she didn’t succeed in her suicide mission. 

Second we had to find someone else who could take over since we weren’t going to be there forever, so we started inquiring around asking various security personnel outside some of the shops if they could call an ambulance or some sort of authority figure. 

Some of the people working inside the shops were less enthusiastic; they displayed no empathy at all, and brushed it aside, since “there is a lot of that around here.” Among the other pedestrians there were a couple of people who walked up to the woman and asked her how she was doing, which was very superficial. She was not doing ok at all. Yet once she feigned that she was alright, clearly drugged and/or intoxicated, the individual who had asked if she was ok just walked on. This was just a polite, little hick up in their autopilot, the concern did not seem genuine nor heartfelt. Just superficial politeness.  There was one furious man who came thundering over to the security personnel we were dealing with demanding that they do something to save the life of the woman wandering about. 

One man and us.

In the end I have no idea what happened to her since we had to leave, but it was an interesting experience to observe the general indifference, and the helplessness of the security people who seemed confused and clueless about how to deal with our concern. It was obvious that they struggled to think outside of their own personal pattern and mission statement. They were there to look for shoplifters, not to call an ambulance or the police to take charge of a drug-abuser. They didn’t know how to handle something that was outside of their own perimeter and framework. 

As far as “the people” was concerned they simply did not see her. 

This can explain how little kids can drown in overcrowded pools. People are locked into their own activities to such an extent that a child can drown behind them or a young woman die of an overdose right next to them. 

If more people had valued “life” that day they would have noticed the self-destructive woman stumbling amongst them; several people would have taken action and she would have received medical attention.

So what do you do if you notice an issue and you want to contribute?

Here are a few examples:

  1. A while back I wrote about the “crumbling state of affairs” regarding England’s places of worship. I pasted in links to some churches that were in desperate need of repair work and wrote about the importance of England’s irreplaceable heritage. First I shared my knowledge of the problem since I did not have the ability to sort out the issue myself. I wrote about it several times actually. Then I decided that the best thing that I could do was to do a fundraiser concert in order to raise funds for my local church. Not knowing whether or not it would be a success I did it anyway and was very happy to see the turnout! We raised the money that we wanted and I could say that my initiative had been a success since the goal had been fulfilled!
  2. During the crisis of Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Jose I was asked by a follower if I could shred a riff for my American followers. This gave me the idea that I could help out by writing a song specifically for the victims of the extreme weather, while posting links in the description area of my video to organisations looking for donors to facilitate their volunteer work in disaster areas. I don’t know how successful this venture was, but I thought it was a good idea and helped in the way that artists can help, by using their talents and gifts for a purpose.
  3. After attending a shocking lecture about persecuted Christians around the world I shared the information that I was handed out on my blog. I urged my followers to check out the organisation working to help Christians who are imprisoned, maimed, alienated or impoverished due to their Christian faith. This organisation obviously look for donors and money like all other charitable organisations, so I was wondering how I could be of any use. That’s when I realised that there was one thing that I could do which was to write cards to persecuted individuals. It broke my heart when I wrote individual letters to an entire family over in Asia and then saw that their names had been taken off the website of the charity since I assumed that maybe they had been killed off or imprisoned as well, which was what had happened to the father in the family. I have no idea what happened to my letters, but I hope that it brought some light to the recipients. A little ray of hope in a dark and cold world. Once again I resorted to using my artistic skills in making custom-made, hand-made cards.
  4. I decided to get involved with my local “Village Show” since I know that they are always looking for people. I took it upon myself to do online PR which was a challenge since you need people to spread the word in order to get the social-media snowball rolling. There simply weren’t enough people who signed up for the Facebook page and out of those who did there were only a few who ever interacted with the content that I put out there. I did however write a little promotional text for the event which was printed in the local news-letter, I made a hand-made drawing for one of the promo leaflets as well and volunteered on the day of the show by working in the children’s tent. I also helped with putting up the various marquees before the event. Even though I contributed a little it was obvious that it was appreciated since every helping hand counts when arranging a “Village Fair,” when thinking about all of the people who turned up it is quite astonishing what a small group of volunteers can accomplish. The various stalls and the show looked great.
  5. MicroPlastics is something that I’ve been writing about here on my blog and something that I’ve singed petitions about as well. I sent some emails to local representatives asking about our water but received no reply which is the standard when it comes to these type of things. I championed using biodegradable cutlery, cups and plates at the local “Village Show,” and was happy to see that biodegradable straws were present in the bar at the show, at least. Yet it can be difficult to know how to go about an “eco-issue” as you don’t want to come across as an annoying eco-warrior, in addition you also need manpower if you are to exert any political influence. The good news is that petitions have been flying left-right-and-centre to such an extent online that it has resulted in  governments across Europe taking the issue seriously due to citizen pressure. The quality of our environment is such a pressing and serious concern regardless of race, ideology or location, yet it is one where organisation is needed, with the exception of minding one’s own garbage and/ or picking up the trash after others.

These are just some examples of small things that can be done! It is possible to volunteer one’s time and/or create specific objects/things in the name of charity! When I was going to throw away some old clothes I put them all in a “clothes bank” so that others could get them. If more people engage with their local communities we will gradually create a much better and friendlier world, and I much rather experience that than the coldness that has become so prevalent, in a detached, atomised, modernised, reality!

 

“An Angel Saved Me” by Theresa Cheung.

This is an eye-opening and potentially unsettling/spooky book, I really enjoyed Cheung’s work as it featured countless stories from people describing supernatural experiences. A common thread can be seen when reading these type of stories. The book stand out though due to its many witness accounts; I really enjoyed its style, I would also recommend: The Map of Heaven – by Dr. Eben Alexander & Ptolemy Tompkins.

I’m guessing that spiritual skeptics wouldn’t have much interest in a book such as “An Angel Saved Me,” but if you’ve heard of or experienced anything that resembles what’s within these pages you’ll certainly find it fascinating, like a confirmation of sorts.

I really had no idea that there were people out there communicating with Angels, until I heard that the Norwegian royal princess engages in this sort of activity; I thought it sounded a bit spaced-out at the time, but now I’m not so sure.

I do find it interesting however that all of the Angel encounters described in this work are so positive in nature, it wouldn’t surprise me if there are some vicious celestial beings at work as well; if you believe in the “otherworldly” it could explain the battle between good and evil in our world.

Cheung’s work brings up some points that I’ve certainly come to see as self-evident, something that many alternative doctors also believe in, namely: that we are all connected to a super force and that there is meaning hiding in everything. Some refer to this as “synchronicity.”

Cheung points out the importance of the word and how we can all be angels/helpers to others. I thought a bit about this after reading and my own thoughts about the matter is that: Being the helper of some might make you the enemy of others, but being the helper of some is probably better than being the helper of none.

Let’s say that I pass a homeless person as I’m on my way home. I give this individual whatever change I have and a smile might spread across the person’s face, followed by a “Bless You” or a “Thank You.” It is even better if I then look at the rough sleeper, acknowledging his/her presence, rather than avoiding eye-contact, which is the most comfortable thing to do, as homeless people both remind us of the fragility of existence while maybe giving us a slight sense of “survivors guilt.”

Yet after I’ve done this small act of charity, I walk past another rough-sleeper, and this time I have no change to give. To this individual I represent nothing but another walker-by. Just another one blending into the city-landscape, almost highlighting the beggar’s loneliness and social isolation. Everybody just walk on by lost in their own thoughts about what they need to do, where they ought to be, where they are heading, etc; while ignoring those that they encounter on their way, not even saying “hello,” an act that can only really be seen in villages/hamlets where any human you encounter is automatically special.

This type of scenario or dilemma can be transposed to all political issues as well; I’ll help group A, but then I cannot really help group B, I’ll stand with these people over here, but that will automatically put me in opposition to those guys over there, these people will benefit and a positive change will happen in their lives, but just as this act of good spreads like a ripple effect, there will be a negative one spreading elsewhere within the group that has been ignored or wilfully sidelined.

The power of the word is truly overwhelming if people awaken to it and think about it. This might illustrate why it is complicated:  “I just had a negative encounter/experience and will now share this with another person.”

  1. I will create a negative atmosphere, because something of a negative nature is being discussed, and since human nature is the way it is; then I’ll probably spend an awful lot of time talking about that which annoys me with my friend/relative.
  2. I will potentially create some sort of conflict, if action is to be taken in order to “get justice” and settle the issue with the other individual who has offended me.
  3. A lot of people let bad individuals get away with their misdeeds, for the simple reason that they don’t want to deal with the negative emotions stemming from a potential argument or conflict, hence the bad guy has a tendency of getting away with whatever.
  4. If you ever try to fix a proper issue, there will be a lot of pain generated in the process, which then makes me wonder if it is best to not address issues; there will of course be no solution to whatever problem, in fact matters might get worse, but at least you’ll post-pone confrontations with troublemakers, or hand the issue at hand over to someone else….It is in fact very common to see this.
  5. If you are to walk in Love and deal with all problems like some guru, then what on earth do you do when encountering real evil and individuals who are rude and mean to everyone around them, without ever improving or showing any signs of genuine remorse? Is a loving nature more likely to get you killed, injured, devastated and/or emotionally drained, or can you actually improve the world by spreading kindness? And how far can this ripple effect potentially go, if you think about the dilemma described above?

These are interesting matters to contemplate indeed, since it deals with our own spiritual footprint here on earth. It is also an interesting thing to note how hate can be born out of absolutely nothing, which is something that can really be experienced by artists receiving hate-mail for no obvious reason or bully victims chosen and picked on by other children, without anyone really knowing why.

There doesn’t have to be any reason for hate to take its hold, and regardless of how well-intended and strong the love that meets it might be, it can’t be denied that a gun might be love’s greatest protector when dealing with deep-seated, blind rage, caused by infernal, putrid, hatred. Why some fall victims to such strong negative emotions, is peculiar indeed, as others can live through inhuman challenges and still find love and a light within, helping them to forgive while ascending to new spiritual heights.

Ours is a strange world.

Quotes from Cheung’s “An Angel Saved Me.”

“But every morning when we wake up we have no idea whether we have years, days or hours left to live. In the midst of life we are in death, whether we like it or not, and we may never know when our time is up.”

“… but when you think about the idea that we are all connected and nothing we do or say is trivial,…”

“Perhaps the genius of artists, musicians and writers, or the joy experienced by lovers or first-time parents, or the explorer soaring to new heights, come close to the inspiration of feeling ‘not of this world.’

“So the next time you experience a ‘coincidence’, rather than dismissing it, ask yourself what it means.”

“…remember that coincidence is the language that angels speak.”

“Remember, if you don’t think you have encountered angels, many of the people here didn’t actually see angels. Something as simple as a feather, a song, a book, a flash of intuition or a remarkable coincidence was the catalyst for their spiritual transformation. If you look at the world with ‘angel eyes’, every moment is a chance for you to glimpse the mystery and to marvel at the sheer magic of it all.”

“…everything we say and do, however tiny or insignificant it may feel at the time, really has the potential to make others feel as if they have been touched by an angel.”

Some books recommended by Theresa Cheung:

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.

The Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck.

A couple of books about roughly the same topic:

Britain’s X-Traordinary Files by David Clarke.

Haunted! Scariest Stories from the UK’s no.1 Psychic by Derek Acorah