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Just by a strange coincidence at the same time I was mostly through that tedious but famous read Frankenstein – the news broke that Newcastle and Durham’s collective University project has worked out how to manufacture sperm… As I mused on the wild silliness of that old feminist idea that men [as in the male half of the species] are not really needed and this can only add to that strange and destructive argument…

Of course one thing is that as they’ve worked out how to make a sperm from a skin cell – How long before they can make an egg? And then who will be needed? Alright – so that’s science fiction at the moment but last week making a sperm was as well. I’ll stick my neck out and say How Long Before Pregnancy Is A Luxury For The Rich Or Something The Poor Cannot Avoid?

In the late eightees I remember there was some interest in a ‘wet incubator’ that was having some success and how much more interest in developping a wet incubator will there be when sperm and egg can be manufactured, vetted and then wed… why not let them develop slightly longer in the lab… and if possible would the rich spend money on not being pregnant, would folk investigate a full term ‘artificial womb’ or incubator as it would relieve the poor from having to work hard and carry their child?

Frankenstein in his pride wanted to make a creature better than he – We in our pride are content to manufacture ourselves… and make ourselves redundant?

Will we abandon sex completely for the sake of  descandants? Will we automatically turn to contraceptives so that we need never worry about what could occur outside the Lab? Could this be the road to Barbarella where only the eccentric or the rich [possible only the rich eccentric] carry their babes?

Barbarella is a vision of a future without sex – could we turn towards sex as nothing more than fun and then for prudes to allow us to worry about diseases and dirt to say that we should refrain?

I don’t think the future is sexless or genderless, even though that might become possible by design… but I do wonder how wise we’d become in a world where hardship is having to go to the shops… How could we relate to another’s pain when all pain is striven to be discarded?

Now I’m sure there are some who have problems with the old ‘plumbing’ and that given that I’m not against an incubator that could help – I’m against what the widespread use of such could mean… Ordered children? Frozen embryoes to be thawed out at a given notice? Just come along at the appropiate appointment and take your child away and here’s some drugs to get you to lactate [if you so desire]… Male or female there could be a drug for either… [Men can lactate given real hardships… for more ask or be bewildered.]

Don’t want a screaming infant? Well, we could use a new and not quite tested method for allowing them to develop a bit more… yes, nutritional supplements and programmes for languages…

Why don’t you just say how old you want them and perhaps take one off the shelf?

If this were to pass over the years [at least two decades I think but I could be wrong…] would we notice any diference in how we related to each other, would we just say that we had come into some Golden Age? and what would we lose?

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I am currently training to become a professional… No really but this post isn’t about that. You see at the moment the profession is not regulated. It has bodies that can be appealed to if the practitioner in question is one of their members – of course not everybody is a member and that’s why they got suckered so badly…

At the beginning of the course we were informed how great regulation would be for us – the biggest professional body was going to fight for the right regulations and protect it’s current members’ practice… of course this was not because they could see a way of swelling their ranks and gaining even more authority within the profession and to be able to crush all other competitors out of existance… sorry – that should read: gaining more members who joined because they saw how affectively that particular professional body stood up for them and their profession… and thus migrate from the other professional bodies to show their gratitude.

So, it’s about a year later and the government still wants to legislate the profession but it’s decided that it’s taken enough advice and can now carry on with it’s policies without any more help… and the professional body now argues against the proposed legislation – which is now bad and draconian… I’m afraid my tutor seemed to be a mouthpiece for that body and as Orwell said about faithful communists  – as the body the tutor owed their allegiance to changed it’s mind, so did the tutor…

And the moral of the story?

Well, governments and groups are drawn to power [to exercise it only for the Greater Good, you understand] and then jealously guard it from others. The government was never going to wave a magic wand for one particular professional body when there are at least three other bodies large enough for me to think of off the top of my head… Never…

What happened was similar to what happened to the hospitality industry – pubs/hotels/etc. they got into talks thinking they could influence government and then when the government said it would proceed [re the smoking ban] irrespective of their actions or advice the hospitality industry kind of threw it’s hands in the air… and so it is repeated…

If you think you can change the system by using the system first and foremost think about how much leverage you have in comparison because most folk when they are at the top of a union or professional body think ‘We’ve got x amount of members to represent therefore they cannot ignore us…’ The trouble with is that the government thinks that they represent those folk in the first place and that they represent everybody else as well. [Even if they don’t like it.]

And so the government sticks to its ideas – whatever they might be and carries on regardless, but thanks for coming round for the chat – it’s been interesting hearing your point of view…

A genuine and real threat of complete non-compliance from the outset could have done a better job of representing the profession and before you say that can’t be true – well, it couldn’t have made things worse… Government has always relied on compliance – non-compliance means having to exert effort – deploying police and lawyers, even court rooms and judges… whereas we’ve been conditioned – individually and as a society – to comply from the first day we set foot in school or nursery and so want to.

Therefore the government has the whip hand in any dealings except with rebels willing to be problematic but that’s not enticing – it is the vision of hard living and protest and possibility of jail and fines… being invited into tea at Downing Street, well now, that’s comfort and appreciation – but only for as long as the government’s whim lasts.

and it’s more problematic than a walk in a dark, bear infested forest…

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To start with a provocative statement – I know folk who have so much faith in the ‘democratic process’ that they were reduced to idiocy when I told them I had not voted; claiming that I had no view worthy of debate…

So why spoil your vote?

In a representative democracy, which is what the U.K. and the E.U. has, you vote for folk to represent your views. If no-one represents your views the question becomes do you vote for someone nearest your point of view, do not bother to vote at all or go along and ‘spoil’ your ballot paper? and if you choose the latter – why bother?

The First Reason is that you can foil any argument that you do not hold your views so lightly that you did not bother to turn up to the polling station. Thus you do have views worth debating.

The Second Reason is that this is a completely peaceful protest and without ‘them’ getting a judge’s permission to go through the ballot papers and their coding it is also completely anonymous.

The Third Reason is that this is a fundamental challenge to the system. Either you do not agree with representative democracy and want to be able to vote on stuff issue by issue or you refuse to endorse candidates you do not agree with… There is the argument that you vote for the best candidate for your aims – this allows for a political consencus over various views with differences being at fringe areas over whatever the parties think will make you vote for them as opposed to the other fellow/s.

Some parties say that a vote for them is a vote for change and that is true depending on who you vote for but should we vote for folk when the rest of the stuff they say we do not agree with?

The Fourth Reason rests on every political party having bought into the system enough for them to stand candidates. Despite the varying degrees of discontent they have with the ‘system’ they wish to use that very same system to change it. Of course once the system empowers them enough to actually change things the first thing they would want to do is to get their ideas implemented and then change things in a way that would allow them to be able to do so again…

The Fifth Reason for spoiling your vote is that every political party wants your vote and if we turn up in a time which has seen a constant decline of folk willing to turn up to the polling stations – then a spoiled vote is something that they would give their eye teeth for if enough folk do so…  It is a fundamental declaration that you are not satisfied with the status quo.

If enough folk spoil their vote in the same way they would see it as a way of gaining votes. Therefore it may shock the political consensus enough to shift it in a direction we want.

If that’s not democracy in action – I don’t know what is…

On another note it could also show how dissatisfied we are with the system we have and therefore make them think about how they could reshape the system for our votes… It might, and I can’t stress the slimness of this chance, make them think we could actually deal with issues and gain ground towards a system which is more issue driven democracy – with referendums and stuff…

Personally, I’m for consencus politics in that if someone is willing to stick their thumb up at tens of millions of people then they either have a very strong reason why they do not agree or they have been allowed (by the system) to be ignored enough that they are now willing to do the same back…

I’m not saying I think that would bring about an utopian society just that it would be a better one than we presently have where tens or hundreds of thousands of folk are left completely forgotten by either the present system or would be even by democracy ran on issues…

So vote ‘Liberty!‘ and hope for the best – whatever reason/s you agree with.

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A lot of folk would believe that the family should be, primarily, private and that any interference in family matters should only occur at clear and present danger to family members. Some however argue that folk should have to get a licence to have a child…

Well, they are on the right side of the corridors of power…

Absent parents could lose not only their driving licences but also their passport, according to a report here.  Now I’m not in favour of folk abandoning their children but if someone is so intransigent as to not pay up – how does taking a driving licence [which could then destroy whatever employment they have] bring them into the fold? Docking a proportion of pay is already a power the courts can wield so what need is there for the power of depriving someone of their driving licence and/or passport except to allow government bodies to be able to directly bully and coerce us?

On it’s own this move may seem reasonable and, to some, fair. My reply is that this is merely indicative of The State coming more and more into our lives as a whole. We may think it’s fair to deprive an absent parent, for whom we have not even the feeling that we should be sympathetic to their plight – but then once this goes by the board who else would we say deserves the bus or to be constrained within the boundaries of one country. Does this not make the case that the state is a huge form of tiers of felony – we, that is those who have not yet broken the law, can choose to wander around, virtually at will and if we have enough State Tokens through good honest labour [or otherwise] we can travel to other States, given that the particular State doesn’t mind. Then there are those who are limited, not by breaking any criminal law, to the one State, then there are those deemed to be a greater felon, having broken a criminal law or gone dangerously mad which have to be constrained within a fortified complex – we call them prisons or asylums and within these inmates we grade them to what level of liberty they should be reduced to.

Of course folk who wish to use their granted liberty of driving are being bled by cameras, which is a good way of making money for The State and to filter some drivers out of the loop. Which explains why the number of fines and prosecutions due to cameras has grown to such a high level, sevenfold is the number by which it’s risen. And if you’re a careful driver and keep a check on your speed but don’t wish to be smashed on the motoway so you travel at 80mph for a good length – then you could in future be caught out on an average speed camera system. This system would have to be even more sensitive than the present ‘eyes’ on the road. To start with they’d have to be able to read and identify the number plate…

But to get back to the family thing. Apparently, Edinburgh council has decided that a couple which were 57 and 44 were too old  to raise their grandchildren in leue of their daughter who is fighting her drug abuse/dependency.  Of course now they are two years older as the fight has dragged on leaving the kids, which were three and two in the limbo of foster care, which I’m going to just assume was loving and caring. Has not the fact that this ‘elderly’ couple was able to put up a two year legal fight show that they have enough pluck and stamina to care for their grandchildren? Has the fact that they were grand parents given the social services the necessary chink in the armour of the family unit to take the kids away? Does this mean that if they were the parents, lucky enough to have two bundles of joy in their ‘dotage,’ they would have been stripped of their children? They had the legal defence of guardians at the beginning of this traversty but so what? So nothing is the plain answer. And where was Legal Aid? Dare to Fight The State… On the rather odius detail that the press has decided to disclose about the homosexual couple who have managed to gain custody and adopt these pawns – no couple is rock steady in these days of divorce and seperation so all we have is speculation about this particular couple’s relationship. The Other Thing I’d say is that the whole thing about same sex ‘parenting’ is an interesting social experiment I’m sure folk will examine and until those results are in – we won’t know what effects or affects same sex ‘parenting’ has on the children.

[Why do I use the ‘…’ because until we get cloning off to a grand start – a same sex couple cannot produce a child on its own.]

Of course if we start off with The State being able to take children due to age – what’s to stop them from deciding on other factors – income, social standing etc etc… To get back to the beginning – one argument made in exhorting by any means to get absent parents to fork out for their children is to raise a significant number of children out of poverty – but then so would taking the children away and giving them to middle class families who are on the adoption list… Where should liberty end?

Apparently it should end where sensitive inquests are to hand, which was, thankfully squashed, but then liberty for folk to choose who to inform of a loss of a loved one should be taken away, by, yes Dear Reader, you’ve guessed it, The State. No box to tick if you’d like some services to know, just a blanket selling off of the data of grief.  Of course this is being considered to make our lives easier… And this information would not have to be kept confidential because its meant to be shared in the first place… But this piece of legislation is also an attempt, another one I’d add, to try to keep sensitive or embarrasing inquests quiet. Don’t the families have a right to know how their loved ones died?

And whilst we are talking about liberties there are a couple of bills going throught that would see my old issues of 200AD being deemed by the thought police to be illegal… One issue I purchased all those years ago had Judge Dredd sitting in a flat reviewing the illegal collection of comics of The Lawbreaker… which were, ironically, very much like the one I was reading in my own hands… It’s not so much that I think pornography should be/shouldn’t be restricted but that a police officer with a search warrant and an elastic view of the proposed legislation could find their ‘perp’ guilty of breaking these laws by using their kids collection of comics if they couldn’t find anything else…

We have had cencorship laws in the past and there were celebrated causes that were used to fight them. Now the government wants to return through a dingy area and re-establish cencorship that no-one may actually want – depending on who uses their view – or rather, how badly they want to find their ‘perp’ Guilty.

Some Hope Liberty.

And talking about cencorship – whilst I’ve been writing this an article has been pulled from the Telegraph’s website. It doesn’t conform to the norm re the evolutionary debate here is the link that doesn’t work anymore [just in case it suddenly reappears…] – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/4368715/Blushing-biggest-gap-in-evolutionary-theory.html where problems in evultionary theory were mentioned. And whilst we are talking about cencorship we should also mention responibility – the telegraph still lists this page where Sir David Attenborough speaks of how badly some of my brothers and sisters treat him. Hardly responsible behaviour but then is that an excuse for cencorship? Attenborough is, and let’s not mince words here, one of the best naturalists that we have on tv and his view is an informed one – whether or not he ‘credits’ God or not. Attenborough gave me a love for the study of nature alongside Gerald Durrell and I shall be grateful for that no matter what else…

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or is it just from somewhere nearby that hallowed place.

Yes, as the storm rumbles on around Westminster I decided to have a look at Christmas in today’s world. I will, however, pre-warn you to say that I’m a bit of a ‘humbug’ would be a drastic case of understatement…

It doesn’t matter if you are a christian or an atheist or even believers in Other faiths – You Will Not Escape The Crushingly Good Cheered Adverts To Focus Spending On Your Family and Friends…

As I was passing through an internet site I saw an advert for gadgets at a reasonable, or even cheap, £50. This is itself a terrible message in that it tells us that spending £50 should be considered norm or cheap for a present and in today’s crisis of debt and recession!

But not to worry the tv tells us that we can get ever cheaper deals and that we should all be One [especially on BBC One] – and that means presents in today’s world – if you don’t believe me, for you who love christmas just try to imagine what it would be like if you had christmas with the old family and what the reaction would be if you merely forgot the pressies, nevermind making an idealistic stand against making relative judgements of worth of family members, friends and associates…

And here at the idealistic end we come to what Christmas should be about [and for the historians who argue that it’s just a pagan celebration that the ‘church took over’ – the slaves and servants took 25 Dec becuase in Rome, before christianity had managed to swim to The West, it was the equavelant of a bank holiday and so they could gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth together… ] it is about God entering Life as We Know IT and putting up with all it’s messiness, especially in poverty…

Those Three Gifts? Well, unless Joseph and Mary had great discipline they would have probably made use of them as they became exiles in Egypt. As we know how we still care for the stranger who passes over borders for a better, or safer, life. Possibly rather than buying presents we should be lobying government to treat immigrants, for whatever reason they are here, with more understanding and less judgement. The planet may be small and we might feel there’s not enough space left ‘around here’ but in the face of the Christmas message we should defend our ‘neighbour’ – no matter where they come from.

Christ did not come from the North Pole, nor did Saint Nicholas who gave presents out. Father Christmas did not dress in flamboyant red until Coca-cola ‘pimped’ him up in the 50s/60s… There was, and still exists, in some places in the UK, the odd tradition of ‘First Stepping’ where on New Year’s Eve you’d go down the street and spend time with everybody… if that’s not nearer Christmas I don’t know what is – the ability to welcome all-comers and see everyone within the community as being one…

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Just to say outright I predict that this posting will be long and rambling filled with many examples in all sorts of places but I think I should start close to home…

I love books and it won’t come as a surprise [at least I hope not] to any reader to know I’m a christian – so this bit is about that strange but quite interesting range of bookshops known by the initials SPCK, well it was up to fairly recently… One thing I liked was that they were all different – the managers could have different bees in their respective bonnets – one might like to offer a large range of music and somewhere to sit, have a drink and listen to it before bought, others might think that obscure and interestingly challenging theological texts was the gap that needed to be filled. Well that’s no more, not since SPCK was sold off to St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust… Since then, apart from going bust in the US of A, the Great Charitable Trust has flexed its muscles and denied managers their once so unique authority and turned them into lackeys at the check out. As a roving wanderer I managed to visit the shop in Worcester and saw how the policy changes were stripping the manager of the fullness he had brought to his branch. He talked about how he would try to order things he thought folk would like as he also tried to get to know his clientèle. He was far from happy with the view of shelves that were being slowly stripped of any freedom to re-order as they weren’t on The Great Charitable Trust’s list and so they became bare as he wasn’t resupplied and couldn’t re-order. The branch in Worcester is now shut and the former manager has committed suicide. It is more than possible that the two things aren’t related but it does show the demeaning factor of stripping an individual of his freedom when he has been so aware of it before and used it constructively.

Not content with leaning on branches The Great Charitable Trust has also been busy legally, as noted by Bishop Alan here, he also gives a link to yet another post here at The Wardman Wire which has some articles on this. The cowardice of this is due to a very thorough and painfully objective campaign by Dave Walker on logging what has been happening, well at least until the Cease and Desist notice came through – with the interesting threat that they would legally haul Dave off to the State’s for his innocent ramblings… so the question arises – How long oh Great Charitable Trust before you send me one for this? One thing I find disappointing is that The Church Times has not decided to pick up where their cartoonist was rammed off the road… [His post about why he couldn’t fight any further was subject to another Cease and Desist order…]

So, apparently, speaking the truth is no defence against a wily crocodile lawyer. Trying to limit what one might publish and therefore limit another from reading it is a crude form of Mind Control – just ask the Chinese Government if they think it works…

But at this time there is more than enough mind control to go around…

There has been the story of a soldier refused his room at an hotel. Now under laws I’m aware of because of the film 1408 [which I reviewed here, in a purely self-centred plug] in the USA due to prejudice would not be legal – here in the UK we have a more interesting situation. Anyway, the story, in a nut can be found here. The thing that has stuck in my craw was the Defence Minister, Derek Twigg, has then spoken out saying that there are no reasons for this type of behaviour. We have a long and honourable tradition of pacifism here – the conscientious objectors in the First World War went over the top into no-man’s land armed only with stretchers to bring back the wounded. Personally, I’m in a dilemma in that after reading Sniper One I am aware that the military job can bring good things but also that I have sympathy and understanding for those who do not wish to support those who’s job actively involves training and then carrying out their training to kill or directly to support those on the front… My own thoughts on the blip of the British Love Affair with the Armed Forces is here. So do we then condemn folk for having a dislike of an uniform or should we try to understand each other… As a postscript to this bit the hotel in question has denied that it has any policy on uniform wearing individuals – so are they trying to do a media u-turn to limit damage or was the desk clerk a principled [no matter how misguided you may think] individual? Where in this is the freedom of thought and principle?

Unfortunately the state does not wish to stop there. Oh no. It has come to the notice of the Telegraph that some as young as eight years old are being recruited by local councils to spy on their neighbourhoods. It reminds me of the policies of Nazi Germany just as much as the Stasi of East Germany. The whole thing reminds me of the controversy over the now widely accepted ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ which was criticized as ‘Shop your neighbour’ and shows strongly that once you start down this path – Where does it stop?

Well for one thing it doesn’t stop prejudice, in fact it could be seen to support it – if we are right then we can censure those who don’t agree. I was listenning to Any Questions last night and was surprised to find that the two female panelists [Bea Campbell and Dame Liz Forgan, in no particular order] felt freely able to say of Sarah Palin, the now running mate of John McCain, that due to the fact that she is a ‘creationist’ and only believes the world to be 5 or 6 thousand years old she must be crass and stupid and if not illiterate does not read… Alright – she might be wrong but as Dawkins noted [and I somewhat provocatively posted] we should not use evolutionary theory to determine how we should live and treat others – So What? So she won’t use evolutionary theory to help her decide policies, which is how Dawkins wants it. The problem is that if we are smart then we can condemn those who aren’t smart, the problem being how do we determine who is smart…

I may think that Sarah Palin is ‘on the ticket’ as the saying goes because they want to try to appeal to as many dissatisfied Clinton supporters as possible – that makes her a politically expedient choice, it does not make her stupid. I don’t think that how old someone believes the Earth is will alter their personal political beliefs – ok she’s pro-life, and whilst I’m also pro-life I would not make abortion illegal as those who are in the predicament of wanting to choose abortion have enough demons to face without anybody else on their backs… So, the problem is that the panelists are unquestionably right and therefore Palin is wrong. And the only way those panelists can square that circle is to denigrate Palin and those who, like her, disagree with them. So much for open debate – more a moblike mentality of a witch hunt by, oddly enough – rationalists. This, make no mistake, is another attempt at thought control – whether or not you agree with Liz or Bea.

Is there any hope?

Well, oddly there is still the possibility of ‘cheating’ the system. In this post the ‘hero’ is a prisoner who is desperate not to be repatriated and as his last stab at not going home – he’s kept his mouth shut. Not only did prison make him a criminal it’s also proved better than the prospect of ‘going home.’ In a reverse of The Prisoner who rebels against his number this one has decided that keeping his number is the best way to hi-jack the system for his own ends. If only the thought of what terror he is avoiding did not cloud his stance.

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I wouldn’t have started from here…

Up to now I’ve been having a go at folk who throw stones – which is a self-serving task if ever there was one – from liberals like the Inclusive Church to conservatives such as those from Forward in Faith – and because I’m more aware of one side (the one I happen to agree with more) it could be seen that I’m actually against what they stand for…

Lambeth has finished and folk with big hats and long sticks will be going back to whence they came – from all over the world and it is at this point I’ve decided – some may say at long last – to try and give a positive view of what I think ‘The Church’ should be like. Which from a standpoint where you don’t actually own up to a tradition is more difficult than you might think – the only point I can stump up is that I’m a contemplative christian. If I were an anglican I could easily point to ‘my‘ church and say that this is what it should be like except for this bit or we’re far from where we should be but we are traveling in the right direction and it should take us over there somewhere. This is true for whatever denomination or tradition that has a readily recognizable set of creeds and structures that I could have picked.

But first – a couple of points [surprise surprise] some are defining the problem as being irrelevant to modern society as the church does not embrace ‘our’ modern cultured views… The inclusive church would say that about the issue of gays and lesbians and that we should just accept them… reading around blogs though and we find that folk from other places in the world are using the same argument for opposing ends – folk think that to allow gays as bishops is despicable and they laugh at us – where we come from… So how do you decide on which is right. Well according to utilitarianism – You Don’t Have To! They are both right for where they come from. This, to me is unacceptable and I found an interesting short as I plunged the cobwebs of the Telegraph‘s site trying to find an article about something else I recommend that if you feel the church should be ‘in step’ with the ‘host’ or general media created cultural idea check this out for the obvious flaws…

Secondly, the problem as I’ve tried to point out is also about theological differences – when one bishop says you must believe in x, y and z and the other bishop says ‘why don’t we think about that…’ you’re in for a battle of wits where both can only stay if they each feel respected and valued despite the differences.

Well, I’d start by saying we shouldn’t have priests and bishops and folk with even longer titles. This does cause a ripple of ‘Shock! Horror!‘ when I normally drop this in and then the old chestnut – That could never work! If we took just a moment to have a look around – Sikhs don’t have priests and that does not seem to have done them any harm – they have a book by their guru and they read that and sometimes ask a learned sikh they know to interpret meanings so they can go off and think about it… If we are going to stick to our guns as christians then we should feel rich in comparison – not only have we the bible but Jesus said that we would have the Holy Spirit, in person, to help and guide us as well. Not that the sikh’s don’t believe in a god as they too are monotheistic (according to the BBC… here) and just as a note before I leave this bit – If any sikh reads this and wants to correct any information or just plain add to any debate (including starting one) then please feel welcome to post a comment.

I was heartened to read Bishop Alan‘s pieces on how the Indaba process picked for Lambeth works and this is a good model… Here‘s a post which describes how a ‘session’ worked. At least I think it’s a good model as described. There are points I’d make such as making sure that the ‘leader’ was a rotating post – not held by any ‘special’ hands.  So for those who haven’t clicked through – the indaba process involves a group which share their views together – not overly large but far from being mono-idea’ed. Being able to share a view and to know that you are listened to as the group sees you – which is a far cry from saying things in print or crying from a media stand for others to merely hear or see the words…

How would this feed into an even larger group to form a unifying tradition/collective?

Well, from that I’d hop to the tribal representative system as described by Pete Ellis Beresford in ‘The Celtic Empire’ where one indaba group would appoint someone that they trusted to represent them – those representatives then meet in groups and send a representative and once you reach the ‘highest’ group they could pick someone to be a spokesman for the whole shebang… The question is then ‘Haven’t you just instituted a hierarchical structure? Well, yes – temporarily because as soon as the representatives go back to their group and report – they are done unless they are picked the next time and if they haven’t represented the group well enough – there’s a good chance they won’t be picked next time.

And any work which is out of step of enough of folk will get winched back next time around. Well, that would my hope and my idea for how the church should operate. But the whole thing about the small group is that they can worship God together and be known for who they are and hopefully respond to each other’s needs.

Of course this does throw out a heck of a lot of traditional institutions from virtually all the denominations – the Quakers would be the one’s left most unscathed [as far as I’m aware]… but for those who say that these precious traditions – and there is no doubt that some of them are good and even the ones that aren’t that good were mostly started for good intentions – all started from the false premise that we should accept what the holy men of the early church and beyond decreed – even in the Book of Acts we can see if you compare it to the teachings of Jesus – that the earliest churches we have a record of were beginning to go ‘off track’… Not that we shouldn’t value it for what it was but why compound error upon error?

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