There’s a parable type of story doing the rounds of social networks at present, it’s all about a couple of old guys in hospital, but more about them later…
It’s strange I know, but I’ve always actually liked these kinds of story, but I’ve never been pious or the God Bothering type, I wasn’t even an average theology student during RE lessons at school.
All parables (religious or otherwise), are designed to make you think, not just about life in general but more importantly, they promote consideration about how your life impacts upon others.
A parable is a succinct story which illustrates one or more instructive principles or lessons… It differs from fables which often use animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as characters, while parables generally feature human characters. It’s a type of analogy…(wikipedia.org)
I mostly like the ancient ones, ones told before the emergence of many of the predominant modern-day human faults and traits. Ones like The Parable of The Cracked Pot from China but also, the fables and sagas from ancient Scandinavian and Germanic history. I like the Native American ones like The Two Wolves parable of The Cherokee Nation.
In short and throughout the history of mankind there have always been story-tellers, people who have passed on their tales, in verbal written and musical form to every generation of every nation. Some factual and some mythical but all interesting; be they folklore or factoid they’re all important, it’s part of the historical information that helped forge our intelligent society.
Ok so now for the ‘old men’ story:
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man in the ward had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked for hours on end each day. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in military service and places where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed. One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital porters to remove the man’s body.
As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed… It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”
We all need to try to make the most of every day - Yesterday is history and despite tomorrow often being a mystery, today and every day is a gift, that’s why it is called the present.
There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy!
The item I refer to on this occasion is the BioLite Stove, it’s a relatively simple idea with several practical plus points and it’s received a mixture of both rave and mediocre reviews.
Nick Small of Gizmodo UK said; “Wilderness lovers and Ray Mears-types who can’t bear to be without their mobile phone/GPS unit or other USB powered devices will love this piece of kit” – but will you?
Stoves have come a long way since the humble primus: turbo flames, jet boilers and ultra-light portables are just some of the options around. But now there’s the BioLite, a stove that burns twigs and charges your phone all at once…(Gizmodo UK)
BioLite is an advanced ‘eco-energy’ company who produce not just a ‘revolutionary stove’ that, whilst making cooking on wood clean, safe and easy, it also generates electricity. This neat product was invented by Alexander Drummond and Jonathan Cedar and the technology behind the BioLite stove was inspired by; “a philosophy of applying efficient design to real world problems” – now that’s the real bit that appeals to me.
It’s the application of their HomeStove in the developing world that I find the most interesting. Using the same technology, BioLite have created a low-cost biomass cookstove that, by converting waste heat into electricity, reduces smoke emissions by up to 95% while simultaneously providing users with the capability to charge mobile phones and LED lights.
A useful resource for the developing world, especially India and Sub-Saharan Africa. This year BioLite have launched a campaign to help build support for the HomeStove.
Yes, I can see the advantages of the BioLite CampStove and I could envisage its use ’in the field’ however; whether or not I could actually justify spending the required c£150 on it is whole different kettle of fish!
How can any human be happy in life without religion? It’s possible but even when you’re not a ‘follower’ of any kind, you’ll still be lumped into a group by others who are/are mot.. You’ll be ‘branded’ as an agnostic, atheist, a humanist, or any form of free-thinking follower of secularism…
As anyone who knows me well enough will no doubt tell you; “Dave doesn’t ‘do’ religion!” That doesn’t mean I think it’s wrong for anyone else to hold religious beliefs, of whatever strain they might be, neither does it mean that I’m unable to see the good in many people, irrespective of their religious following.
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths…(Muhammad Ali)
But I can also take inspiration from various ‘religious’ leaders and/or theological teachings because, irrespective of the religious context, many of those words are actually little more than sensible guidelines for living a good life.
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ…(Mahatma Gandhi)
Previous visitors will know I’ve written on the broad subject of religion several times in the past (see example). Religion has also been the subject of heated debate over a pint down the pub from time to time. Despite being one of the well-known taboo subjects for pub conversation, we have been known to touch upon it during our regular Sunday afternoon office hours sessions at the Fisherman’s Arms.
There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness…(Dalai Lama)
I’m not averse to talking about religion with anyone however; what I vehemently object to is the radical and/or fundamentalist types. The evangelical individuals who almost forcibly ram their beliefs down the throats of others. If you need to pedal your religion don’t try ‘selling’ it to me, I’m likely to get a little fractious. A factor that any Mormon or Jehovah Witness ‘missionaries’ will probably testify to, after they’ve been unfortunate and/or stupid enough to come knocking on my front door!
Often it’s not the religious dogma that I actually find fault with, more the application of those religious ‘beliefs’ by humans. It matters not whether it is Christian theology, the dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, the Jewish principles for life or even the Six Articles of Faith aka the Iman (concept) within Islam. It’s how these are interpreted and applied in life by humans, to their own life and to the life of others, often to their own ends.
No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means…(George Bernard Shaw)
Over the centuries and still now unfortunately, intense religious belief has often been a danger to humanity. It has been the reason (or excuse) for so many conflicts between different groups and nations. Thousands upon thousands of lives have been snuffed out in wars waged in the name of religion. You see the bad part of most religions is actually down to its followers i.e. the human-factor.
No religion has mandated killing others as a requirement for its sustenance or promotion…(Abdul Kalam)
That said, there is a lot of good to be found in many of the religions and spiritual beliefs in our world. Most mainstream religious beliefs start off with a set of rules, tenets or instructions and guidelines for life. Take for example the Ten Commandments of Christianity (which actually dovetail with Islam to an extent), or the concepts of Hinduism or Buddhism, even those (arguably) less ‘main-stream beliefs such as the Rastafari Movement or some Pagan beliefs and elements of the Wiccan Rede have their merits.
We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection…(Dalai Lama)
Having been born with the extremely rare Tetra-ameli Syndrome, Nick struggled mentally, emotionally and physically in his early life but eventually, he came to terms with his disability. I think you must agree, Nick comes across as a person whose words and deeds also show; he’s a valuable motivational member of the human race. That kind of gives him a right to tell others about his experiences, or call it preaching if you will.
Don’t be angry about what you haven’t got, be grateful for what you have…(Nick Vujicic)
Forget about any of the religious connotations in the things Nick talks about for a moment; if he can live a life without limbs and also be happy, what have you (or any of us) really got to complain about? Which brings me around to one of my great maxims for life;
No matter how bad you think things are, there is always someone worse off than you are!
- Education and religion (skyedu.wordpress.com)
- Religion and Its Role in the Promotion of Moral Decadence (poshkidcharming.wordpress.com)
- Religious People that Actually Practice their Religion (expertscolumn.com)
- Why Religion Got It Wrong (druidsanctuary.blogspot.com)
- Dangers of Institutional Religion (jesusonians.wordpress.com)
- Religious Thoughts … (strategiclearner.wordpress.com)