Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not sentimentality - science.

Someone told me years ago why orphanages were closed down, and foster caring became the way of caring for children without parents. It was a bit of a shock! The mortality rate was higher among children brought up in orphanages than among those raised in family homes. The reason was, children need to feel loved. This is not just mush and sentiment - it is actual health science. Just having a balanced diet, a regime of exercise and all the material stuff was not adequate. To live, human beings need to have a reason to live. And the best place is in a proper home.
Now for a slightly different angle on the issue. An article I read told of a people complaining that they were lonely and could not find a partner. There just (they said) 'wasn't anyone out there.'
Right, so I can't claim to know all about them. But I've heard said, by someone who runs an introduction agency, that some of those searching for partners are just too hard to please! If male, they want a cross between Cleopatra, Queen Guinevere and Miss Universe. If female, they want a cross between King Arthur, Romeo and Superman. The expectations are not just unreasonable, they are plain shallow! The idea is that you draw up a set of specifications and the partner has to match them. They have to be what you want, like the man in "Pygmalion" who made a statue of his 'ideal' woman.
So to get to the point, is that approach really loving someone?
Love does not mean you have to be a doormat. It DOES mean that you care about someone for themselves, and not just because they please you. Loving a wife or husband does NOT mean they make a good trophy to be seen with, or a good social connection. It means you value what they are, warts and all. Because we all have some crinkles and imperfections. And if you get too picky and critical of others, you invite them to say, 'look in a mirror. Aren't you only human too?'
This is the frightening bit. It seems some people really do not know what love is. Now there is an irony! The word 'love' gets thrown around like a confetti at a mass wedding. People talk, sing or joke about it all the time. Do they really know what they mean? Mushy stuff all aside, love is something people need to live. And it is about giving to someone one, not just enjoying them for yourself. But some people do not seem to realize that.
So what is a good example? Try this. The human race has nothing that Jesus Christ needs, because He can make anything He wants any time He chooses. As He said, God can turn stones into bread, or into people, if He chooses. So why did He bother to go through Hell (literally!) to save us? Because He cared enough to suffer that, for us not for Himself. To give, not just take.
Humans need to get that. Loving is giving, not just getting what you want.
And I need to remember that too. To coin a phrase: lecturer, learn thyself.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

You should see us now!

In some ways life is good in the 21st Century. I love hearing about new discoveries in medicine, and new treatments for sickness and injury. I also like being able to travel several hundred miles or kilometres in a day, in a car. Horse powered travel might seem quaint but not everyone wants to take a week to cover the distance that takes a day with a powered vehicle. Some modern things are precious. But there is another side to it, maybe.
Centuries ago, even decades ago, more than half of the world's people lived on the land. They grew crops or raised livestock. Or they worked at trades. In each case, they actually made something, to use or to consume. Or they provided a service, for the direct benefit of others. Today, in areas like finance and investment, people do not actually make anything new, they manipulate things to their own advantage.
Tell me if I'm wrong. I'll stand corrected if need be. But is that right or not? Thousands of people do not actually make, grow or gather anything. They just mess about with what other people have made. They make huge salaries messing about with money, buying and selling shares or arranging loans to make their own profit without actually producing or value-adding.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not a communist. It is quite legitimate to work as a trader making things available to people who want to buy, and providing a service to those who need to sell and haven't the time to do their own marketing. I've got some small business ventures going myself. But it seems a huge amount of commercial activity is about getting hold of some money, thinking up things to do with it and getting a profit without making anything new. Nobody's car gets repaired. No new food crops are grown. No clothes are made. No person's health is restored. No new medications are discovered. No new houses are built. If you saw the film "Greed", that's what it showed. Find new ways of doing things with money to make more money, instead of making any new product or service.
Have I got this right? The world's financial wizards built this huge Tower of Babel out of paper wealth, and then it collapsed and caused shocking damage to millions of others. The ones who put it there were not the only ones to suffer.
Is this the heart of the problem? Instead of growing something, making something or providing a service the clever thing is to buy what is there already, transport it three times round the world, get others to buy shares in it and sell it for heaps more than it cost - without the ones who provided it getting much of the proceeds. Is this another way of getting further and further from the way God intended us to live and communicate with Him?
If this is wrong, I'll learn from anyone who can show me how. I need to learn, not just lecture to others. Now I think of it, when there is a recession going on people might have more important things to do than read my scribblings. But any and all comments are welcome.