How does the king get things done?

king-character---14Put yourself in the shoes of the king. You want to see things done in the world but the people you want to do them are just not listening. So what do you do, you find people who will listen and get them to help you see the world change in the way you want to see it changed.

Umm it is not the first time people have spurned the king’s invitations. There is a story about invitations being given to people and those who received them making all sorts of excuses why they could not respond to these invitations.

Maybe that is a bit unfair as they were more like reasons that sounded really good in the context that they were given. However as those who were originally asked to attend the banquet did not respond to the king he told his servants to go out and invite anyone who would respond.

In fact it turned out to be some very unexpected people who came to the banquet. These were people who quite honestly would have not been seen as being worth bothering with by the original guests.

As in the way of such stories they are told in such a way that the people telling them make themselves look good. They forget that it might be possible to use them to put them in the shoes of those who did not accept the invitations.

What do you mean by invitations?

The problem with a story like this is that so often we are taught a way to think about such a story. However, there are often principles hidden in the story that can be used in more than one context. When we only apply those principles to one context we can limit the effectiveness of the story.

There is more than one way that the king can bypass the people who he wants to see do things if they are not doing what he wants them to do. What if those people are not growing food in the way that the king wants them to do? Sounds strange but I have started to see this in action.

You see what has happened in the world of growing food is that we have learnt that various things work and have added fertilisers to the point where the water supply has been impacted negatively by them. We have grown food with short term benefits in mind. We have used chemicals that were developed for use against enemies in war time because the people who made them wanted to continue making them in peace time. It is as if we have wandered away from the king’s way of growing food in all sorts of ways.

So what has happened? Some people have heard the king say please look after the land better. Stop doing this and start doing that because it is better for the planet in the long term. However not all of those you would have expected to receive the invitation to reap the long term rewards for using the land have responded to it. Some of them have simply not heard or ignored the king.

What can the king do? He can ask the people who he would not ordinarily ask to work with him to improve the situation. The people who are dusty and dirty. The people who make those originally invited uncomfortable. They are the ones who are not held back by the traditions and old ways of doing things. They are the ones who are able and willing to give the new ideas a chance to work.

Who then is working with the king?

Anyone who will listen to him. Yes even those who have not made the choice to develop a relationship with the king and be adopted as his child. In fact some of those who are willing to work with him seem quite strange and have ideas and ways of doing things that are really unacceptable to the king. Crumbs they may be running away from a relationship with him or have no understanding of how to relate to him yet because they responded to the invitation to work with him they are doing what he wanted them to do.

The problem is what else was the king supposed to do. He had to find a way to get around the objections of the people he wanted to improve the world for him. He could not let their deaf ears stop the world benefiting from those ideas.

We see people using the principles of permaculture and stop and think if there are any underlying principles that makes it harder for the king’s children to get involved. Sadly often we see people whose form of spirituality is nothing at all to do with that promoted by the children of the king.

Seeing that sets warning bells ringing. We don’t want to get involved with people like that. It is scary. We don’t want to rub shoulders with people who don’t understand the spirituality of the king and who only know about spiritual experiences that make the children of the king cringe and that they shy away from.

Believe it or not the children of the king can then run further away from doing things the king’s way. This is because they now have two issues. One being that they do not understand that the king wants them to do practical things like growing food in ways that takes better care of people and of the planet. The other being that they struggle to accept these ideas because they are unsure about the spirituality of the people working hard to spread them.

One of the natural things that happen is that once people think negatively about an idea they will do everything in their power to protect others from that idea. It makes sense as if you think that something is negative or will harm people then you will want to protect them from it. That can be tough, especially in situations where people see something that is in reality good as likely to have a negative impact on others. In that situation, discouragement offered in the hope of protecting them could stop them doing something that is in reality good for them.

The sad thing about this is that it is like history repeating itself. There were people who rejected the way the king’s son did things. People who objected so vehemently that they arranged to have him killed. We have been taught by those who have the advantage of hindsight that these people got it wrong.

If we simply stepped back a little we might see that we are the ones who are rejecting the ways that the king wants things to be done. We are the ones that are continuing to do things in a way that is not acceptable to the king while those that we reject are actually doing things in a way that is acceptable to the king.

The difference between the different forms of the good news

Many of the king’s children think that the only form of the good news is the good news that the king wants them to be his children. This is the best good news of all as once you are the king’s child he will never change his choice to adopt you. OK if you decided that you no longer wanted that adoption to be recognised then he loves you too much to hold onto you against your will. The impact of that adoption goes on beyond the end of life on earth so it is not something to be handled lightly.

It sounds somewhat alien to many of the king’s children but there are other forms of good news. For example the good news of growing food in such a way that it does not harm the planet. Somehow it does not register with them that this is good news as far as the king is concerned. Such good news that he is determined to spread it even if his children reject it and then reject the people who spread it for him.

The king’s children concentrate on helping others become God’s children. It is as if they often have a one track mind. Anything else that they could do to improve the world around or the lives around them falls off their radar. Changing the world and improving the lives of those around them is too unimportant to bother with.

The sad thing is that by doing this and sticking to the ideas that seem to contradict what the king wants to see they are making it so much harder for some people to become children of the king. You see if some people could understand that they could keep these ideas in the forefront of their lives and still be a child of the king then they would be more interested in the adoption process. If they understood that these ideas are in line with what the king wanted to see done in the world then they would be interested in getting to know him better.

It is not an either or situation. The best thing is a both and situation. May the eyes of the children of the king be opened so that they can see things the way that the king does and may they do and be all that the king wants them to be and do.

Laziness is not always what it seems

On the face of it this looks like a very obvious statement. Laziness brings on deep sleep and the idle person will go hungry. Proverbs chapter 19 verse 15Yet I think that there is a deeper meaning that it is easy to overlook.

Remember that what comes before doing something is making the decision to try and do it. We have to wake up and acknowledge that something needs to be done before we chose to do it.

What happens when we get lazy and stop trying to do something? We fall asleep and simply do not realise the need to do anything.

A strange (and possibly gruesome) example

Britain in the 1830s and 1840s saw towns grow at an unprecedented rate. There literally had been nothing like it anywhere in the world ever before. A village of a few hundred people could become a bustling town of tens of thousands of people just 20 years later. Houses were literally thrown up as fast as they could be built to accommodate all these people and as you might expect the infrastructure of the area groaned at the strain.

One of the stranger outworkings of this situation was the problems that arose when these incomers died. I said it might be gruesome. You see something had to be done with their bodies. The obvious thing was to have a funeral in the local church and then bury them in the churchyard.

The backdrop

Problem was that Britain was and still is divided into parishes. Often there was only one church serving an area. The way that the religious and political turmoil of the Reformation was settled in Britain left one dominant church in England that overpowered the opposition. At the beginning of the 19th century the stranglehold of the parish system was diminishing and some alternative church networks like Methodists and Baptists were starting to grow. Well at least they could open churches and not face imprisonment!

The problem with the parish system is that it is difficult and complicated to rearrange. It was worse at that time. To create a new parish took an Act of Parliament. The parish system was part of the infrastructure of the country that could barely cope with the strain of a country that was experiencing such rapid urbanisation.

Some parishes were huge with mile after mile of small villages and fields. Imagine if one of those villages suddenly started growing exponentially. What had been one field became packed with houses where hundreds if not thousands of people tried to survive in very unsanitary conditions. There might be one toilet per street and a water pump every two or three streets. The sort of place where it was really easy for disease to take hold, and it did at times with cholera epidemics like that of 1838 in Sunderland.

The problem

How does the parish church cope with all the extra funerals and all the additional burials? It is not easy extending the churchyard, especially once houses have been built all around it. To build a new church with a new churchyard means going through all the fuss and palaver of splitting up a parish into two or more sections with an Act of Parliament. That did happen sometimes, but it was a struggle.

The answer that some urban parish churches came up with was to squash as many burials into the churchyard as possible. One way this was done was to literally have layers of burials. When the burial plot is already occupied at the standard depth the next layer could only be shallower.

This is here the really gruesome bit comes in. If people are buried in shallow graves and there is a heavy rainstorm what happens? Some bodies are at risk of being unburied by the rain. There were stories of this actually happening and even stories of once buried dead bodies floating down the road. I said it was gruesome.

The solution

Understandably there was a public outcry. The government’s response was to set up Burial Boards. Board in this sense is basically a group of people who come together to achieve a specific purpose. In this case to make sure that it was possible for anyone who lived in a particular area to have a decent burial when the time came.

These Burial Boards organised and ran new cemeteries in their area. They provided an alternative to being buried in the churchyard. This alternative might be a short walk away from the church because that was where they could find the land. However, at least it was possible to arrange a decent and honourable burial for everyone in the community. I am not sure if anyone realised it at the time but it also made it easier to protect the community from infectious diseases.

The reaction

If you look around Britain today you will find large numbers of churches that do not have churchyards. Some churches are surrounded by churchyards that are closed i.e. no longer allow people to be buried there. They have allowed the churchyard to fill up and not bothered to extend it.

The curious thing is the date when these churches were built. Most of the churches that do not have churchyards were built after the introduction of Burial Boards. In the 20th century it was more likely that a new church building would be surrounded by a well-maintained and pretty garden  or a practical car park than an area where people could be buried.

Thinking about it that says something about how the attitude of the church has changed. A churchyard provided for the needs of the community. A garden looks good and shows an example and even provides a pleasant view for people.  A car park provides for the practical needs of those attending the church and does not necessarily look  good or help others.

Why is this story an example of this proverb in action?

One of the reasons why the church stopped providing places for people to be buried is that it is not an easy task. There are records to keep. Graves need to be dug. Provision needs to be made for memorials to be erected and maintained. There is no doubt about it, maintaining a burial ground requires work, sometimes a lot of work.

What is laziness? It is the avoidance of work. OK it might seem a bit unfair to say the church has been lazy in this respect given the number and range of activities it has been involved with but this definition does seem to apply in this situation.

We think of lazy people looking for a way to avoid work and to be honest that is what many 20th century churches have done. It is so much easier to leave the work to the town cemetery than to have your own churchyard.

What is the second part of this proverb? “the idle person will go hungry”. Umm what is the church hungry for, people to come through the doors. OK what do people do now when someone dies. Some contact the funeral director who finds someone who will take a service at the local crematorium. That someone may or may not have any connection to the church at all.

They don’t need to go to church to have a funeral it can be done elsewhere. Their loved ones are not buried in the churchyard so why go near the place. In fact that pretty garden around the church might be fenced off as private property and not be a place for anyone to walk round or appreciate at close hand. It does not even serve a purpose in the sense of providing food for the needy or just a place to gather a few flowers to give to someone to lift their spirits.

This proverb suggests that laziness brings sleep. In other words you stop working and fall asleep so you cannot even see the work that needs to be done. Oh my when I have tried explaining this idea to people it has been like giving them a wake up call.

It has simply been so long since their church has been involved in providing that kind of service to the community that they have stopped thinking about it as a possibility. They are hungry but just have not realised why their needs have not been satisfied.

There are other sayings like “give and it will be given back to you” or “you reap what you sow” that express this kind of relationship in a different way. The basic concept is that if you are hungry and want something to happen then you need to do something. Ouch!!

The future of the wicked is…

On the surface this seems a fairly simple comparison. It is fairly obvious what the contrast of the wicked and upright is. The household of the wicked will be destroyed but the tent of the upright will flourish. Proverbs chapter 14 verse 11The classic idea of the wicked is the person who uses black hat methods and is unethical even cruel. Compare this to the upright person who wears the white hat and is moral and kind. The other fairly obvious contrast is the idea of being destroyed or pulled down compared to flourishing or being built up. But a household versus a tent what is that all about?

A household is often seen as something that has a level of permanence especially in ancient wisdom. It is seen as comprising of a number of generations. Some times the word house refers to a generational line that does back 500 years or more. That fairly permanent!

We hear today about the idea that families (or modern households) are the building blocks of a secure society. They are often the first port of call in times of hardship or struggle. They are a mutual interdependence network that strengthens society as a whole. The younger ones supporting the older ones until the older ones need to be supported by the younger ones. Households are supposed to be solid and permanent as they support each together.

Contrast with a tent which is a fragile thing. It provides some protection from the winds the rain and even the sun. However, when things get tough it does not stand up to the elements. It may even blow away in a storm if it is not secured firmly.

Tents are often seen as temporary solutions to the problem of where to live. They can be gathered up and packed into what transport is available. (Try doing that with a house!) They can then be set up in a new location. Tents are not known for their permanence of stability.

Why these pictures?

It is the contrast between the stability of the wicked being destroyed and the fragility of the upright that is supposed to make people sit up and take notice. You would expect the stable thing to flourish and the fragile thing to be destroyed. Yet it what is upright that flourishes even if it is fragile or temporary and the wicked thing that is destroyed even if it seems stable and permanent. Quite a turn around!

One way we express the idea of making mistakes is to throwing good things down the drain or flushing money down the toilet. You can see the connection between being wicked and making mistakes. Of course not all mistakes are wicked but many would say that being wicked is a mistake.

Another link is the idea that a good man i.e. one that is not wicked uses their money to support their family. It is a bit difficult to do that when you have done things that waste your money. If you fritter your money away by gambling or drinking then you don’t have the money to support your family and you may find yourself being called wicked.

The strange thing is that the first thought that I had when I chose the picture of the man carrying something was that he could be carrying gold bullion or other precious metal. It was only later that I realised that those boxes could contain his tent. What he is doing he is a man on the move. He is someone who is able and willing to make something of his life.

How does this apply to Lily’s Place (or even to you)?

The vision of Lily’s Place was so extensive it was crazy. The dream was to provide for just about every need someone in mental distress could have, even those that are currently paid for and provided by central government. It seemed crazy to have been given a dream of what the end product was going to be like, especially one that did things that were already being done.. I mean why would something like lily’s Place need to be raised up to provide things that were already being provided. See what I mean about sounding crazy.

This was when I started to see the possibilities of the future. The economy started to sink. Austerity measures kicked in. The idea that the UK government had borrowed so much money that it would never be able to repay it started to generate real concern.

I had seen the idea of borrowing more and more on a personal scale. People started comparing government borrowing to personal borrowing saying that the same rules and expectations applied to governments as they do to individuals.

That is when it got scary. Could it really be the case that the country could go bankrupt? Could it be that the government would not have the money to pay for the things we once took for granted? Could it be that the  government was counted among the wicked because it had debts and did nor pay them back?

We think of governments being like households and lasting for generations. What if they were classed as wicked and destroyed? We would then need the upright to set up tents to help those left unprotected by the major social and economic changes that this would bring.

No one can accurately predict the future. We can take some good guesses though. After that we can take actions that make the future easier no matter whether the future is better or worse than today. The dream of Lily’s Place is to do things today that will make tomorrow easier whether or not it turns out to be disastrous.

Who is in charge?

Diligent that is an old word. It is not one that we hear very often these days.  The diligent person will rule but the slothful person will become a slave. Proverbs chapter 12 verse 24I knew it has something to do with hard work but there had to be a slight difference in meaning or there would be no need for another word.

To make sure I knew what it meant I checked my dictionary. It also includes the idea of being careful. So a diligent person is someone who does something with care and by putting serious effort into what they do.

A sloth is an animal. A sort of primate that you usually find in South America. To be honest some of the pictures on Wikipedia show cute faces. Why compare a person to an animal? Looking at the dictionary it appears that it was the other way around. Sloth is the desire to avoid all activity or exertion. Well these are slow moving animals so the word fits their behaviour.

Someone who is slothful is inactive and avoids exertion. We might also call them lazy or idle. Another old word used for this attitude is indolent. Gain this is someone who avoid work and exercise. In this case, the word comes from the Latin meaning not suffering pain. So they did not want the pain of work or effort so did not do much if anything.

A diligent person has a very different approach to life than a slothful one. There again becoming a ruler or someone who controls someone else is a very different outcome to becoming someone who is controlled by someone else. Of course like many such sayings it is using opposites that express the differences between the statements either side of the but.

What does it mean in practise?

It is a wise saying that is supposed to act as a warning. Many people want to be a rockstar but not everyone wants to put in the hours of careful practise in order to achieve that goal. It is not just the performance on stage that makes a rockstar but the hours spent behind the scenes to develop those skills.

One of the ideas Malcolm Gladwell made popular in in his book Outliers is that it takes at least 10 000 hours of practise to develop the skills needed to truly succeed in a particular field of endeavour. Umm modern research seems to be supporting ancient wisdom.

There are  many reasons why people succeed or climb to the top of the tree in a particular field. One is that they are prepared to put the effort in to build the skills, build the networks, make the connections and generally do what is necessary to achieve.

The alternative is not to put the effort in to avoid the pain of doing what is needed to succeed. The result of this is to become a slave i.e. someone who works for another but does not have the freedom to do what they want to do. You might not end up being actually owned by someone but they will control what you do. What you want to will not matter. The only thing that will matter is what those in control want to see done.

No wonder it is given out as a warning.

An example from history

This story goes back to the 19th century. Britain was changing and changing fast. In order to run an Empire and managed the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution it was necessary to have an educated workforce.

It was possible for children to access education but there were gaps in what was provided. There were also various challenges for parents who wanted their children to go to school.

The government finally passed an act of parliament in 1870 with the intention of enforcing universal education. The idea was to fill in the gaps and build new schools so there were enough school places for all children aged between 5 and 13. There were no excuses they had to go to school.

Prior to this many school places were provided by churches or just the clergy working from home. Thirty years later there were far fewer schools associated with churches. In fact it was mostly Roman Catholic churches that had kept their schools going. They were prepared to put in the effort required to provide education for their young parishioners.

Other church groups did not put the effort in. They allowed others to provide schools. They pulled back from their efforts to educate the masses. Today when you talk about faith schools in England and Wales those that have survived from the 19th and early 20th centuries are usually associated with the Roman Catholic church.

What  has happened to the others? They were not willing to put the work in to keep their distinctive approach to education. Today they hardly have any say in what happens in schools. Often times they are horrified by what ideas children are subjected to. Ideas that are not in line with their principles and values. They have lost control  and it seems at times as though they are like slaves.

This is just one example of things being too hard and then the government providing alternatives. The church then retreated from helping society in that way. As a result they have lost their influence and there are times that it is hard to do what they once took for granted as others are in control.

Who then is in charge?

It is those who work hard and carefully. They are the ones who over time have moved up the ladder of achievement. The higher up the ladder they go the more control they have over those who have not managed to climb the ladder.  Those who are afraid of hard work don’t climb the ladder or achieve anything.

Imagine two people who started in the same situation early in their working lives. One worked hard and carefully and the other was fearful of hard work. It does not take much imagination to work out how the one who worked hard could end up controlling the destiny of the one that did not.

The thing is your destiny is in your own hands or rather as this proverb says is in your willingness to work hard and carefully. No work no effort no achievement and others will control your destiny.

Give your life a boost

We often think that life is unfair and in a way this quotation proves it.The righteous do not encounter any harm BUT the wicked are filled with calamity Proverbs chapter 12 verse 21 It compares what happens to the righteous and what happens tot he wicked. The righteous are those who are virtuous or free from guilt and sin. The wicked are those who are immoral, evil or just mischievous.

It is one of those well crafted sayings that express a principle. There are literally hundreds of such statements in this book of proverbs. The amazing thing is that this book was written over 3000 years ago yet it still resonates with people.

What could this idea mean in practise?

The first thing to notice is that there is no sense of people being judged about whether they are righteous or wicked. People make their own choice of what category they fall in as a result of their actions. No one is saying you are this or you are that.

What it does support is the idea of if you don’t hurt anyone else then other people will  not hurt you. I suppose that we have learnt that by experience. What it seems to say is that there is a sort of reciprocation arrangement in the world so that if you hurt someone somehow you are going to end up in a mess yourself.

It does not say what kind of misfortune someone might have. Or what kind of loss or damage they may experience. Or what has caused their misery or serious unhappiness. It could be anything. It might not even be directly related to the unpleasant  things that they have done. The idea is that if someone does immoral things they will have so many problems as a result that they will end up having a miserable life.

Something else it does not say is that bad things do not happen to good people. What it says is that if bad things do happen then good people are not as likely to come to harm as bad people do.

It depends on how you see things

Two days before I wrote this I discovered that there was a problem with my car. I was going to do into town but when I tried moving it off the drive it made the most horrendous noise. When the wheels turned there was such a banging noise that I did not dare move it very far.

As I was checking the car I found a piece of metal I was not sure if it came off the car or not. However I later discovered that the springs that formed part of the suspension on the off side front wheel had broken. Umm that piece of metal was the same shape as part of that spring.

I had driven home from a church meeting without a problem but when I tried to go out again the car was very unhappy. I discovered another problem while trying to work out what had happened as I could not undo the spare wheel. The jack that came with the car is stored in the same place as the spare wheel. The last time the spare wheel had been checked the compartment had been fastened so tight that I could not open it.

Brilliant I was stuck. But do you know what I ended up rejoicing when I realised what had NOT happened. The spring had not broken while I was on my own driving along a lonely cold dark road. I had managed to get home safely before it broke. The spare wheel was inaccessible but I had not needed it in the many months since a garage accidentally made it in accessible. Things had gone wrong but I had not come to any great harm as I could have done.

OK I could be annoyed by having to go over so many humps in the road that it had damaged by car. Or I could cross be with myself for struggling to position the car so that I went over those humps in such a way that it took less of a toll on the car. Both of these things are true but I am choosing to focus on being thankful that the things that I feared could happen had not happened.

The other amazing thing is that I managed to get it fixed relatively easily and within a short period of time. I found a way of getting it to a garage without driving it that was not that expensive. The garage was able to fix it quicker than I thought they would be able to do.

Oops that sounds as though I am claiming to be righteous. I know that sounds a bit big headed in ways but what is true is that I am trying to avoid being immoral. What this proverb suggests is that this attitude is what had helped keep me from harm.

How does relate to this idea of the Kingdom?

One of the lovely things about being part of this kingdom is that those who have done what is needed to be seen as a prince or princess are counted as righteous. It is not that they are perfect or good enough in themselves but the fact that they are counted as as a prince or princess means that they are seen as the righteous ones who the king protects from harm.

I was trying to think about what were the benefits of being part of the kingdom and to be honest I was struggling to come up with a list. It seemed to be a list of things that I took for granted. It is not usually easy to see the things that we take for granted simply because they do not stand out to us because they are so “normal”.

Here was something that seemed normal to me but when I looked carefully at what had happened it was one of those benefits I had taken for granted. Yes things had gone wrong but I was kept from harm when they had. Of course it depends on how you interpret what  happened, but I chose to interpret events as being protected from harm.

How does this apply to you?

Events happen and often it is how we see them that influences how we react. When I have seen how much better things have been than they could have been it has brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. Tears are only an overflow of emotion and you can cry if you are thankful.

When was the last time you cried tears of thankfulness because you were kept from harm?

You too can give your life a boost by being grateful for the things that have gone right. Even in the times when they might look as if they have not gone to plan. It will also have a boost from trying to do things in a way that does not harm other people. You see if you are trying to avoid hurting others then you will reap a harvest. This harvest will comprise of situations not being as harmful to you as they could have been.

Now what good are you doing to others? Good that might somehow become a harvest of good things coming back to you.

Are we doing what the king wants us to do?

The king’s son was angry. He was speaking to people who were supposed to be doing what the king wanted but they weren’t. They were doing what they thought was right because they were frightened at he consequences of making mistakes.

The reason why they were not doing what the king wanted

Many years before in the history of their community some people had not done what was right. Although the king was merciful and reminded them of a better way of doing things they did not listen.

Eventually that community suffered a huge disaster. It was attacked by enemies of the king who killed some of the community and most of the rest were taken prisoner. These prisoners were taken away into exile to a country far far away. They had made the king so angry that although he could have protected them he didn’t

It was not the first time this had happened to a community. Other communities had just disappeared without trace. They never went back to where they called home and stopped being a distinct community.

This time though it was different. Even as he was allowing them to be carried away the king sent a messenger to them called Jeremiah. Jeremiah told them that they had a hope and a future because the king had plans for them.

This new future did become reality. A few decades later many of the descendants of these people came back to their land. They were encouraged by Nehemiah to rebuild their homes and Ezekiel to rebuild their worship centre. They were back in the land and were able to make a fresh start.

What they were doing instead

Look at it that way and you can understand why some people now looked at the king’s instructions and became extremely zealous in their attempts to make sure that they were followed. Their fear of not doing what the king wanted led to them doing extra things so it became harder to do things that they knew the king did not want them to do.

You know the sort of thing. You have to make sure that something gets done by 7 pm so you aim to do it by 6 pm. That way even if you have a few problems and you don’t get it done by your deadline you can still meet the real deadline.

The problem according to Matthew was that the king’s son was annoyed with them as they had all these extra rules. Keeping all these extra rules was really hard work so the community split into two groups, the goody2shoes group and the ordinary group.

Some of the ordinary group were quite hurt by this goody2shoes group. After all they kept being told that they were not good enough and had to do better so that the same bad things didn’t happen to the community.

This did not please the king at all. He loved these ordinary people. He did not like the way they were told that they were not good enough. He loved them and he wanted them to do things for him, special things.

What did the king’s son do

The king’s son did not just have arguments with the goody2shoes people and tell them how wrong they were he actually did something to change the situation. That something was to gather some of the ordinary people together who wanted to hear what he said and teach them to do special things for the king. They learnt how to do things in the name of the king that changed the lives of people for the better.

It was a long time a go when the king’s son came to do this. The king’s son did something even more special as he made it possible for everyone to be seen as the king’s child. (That’s another story for another time). Suffice to say that a child has a special relationship with their father. They are cared for, given all that they need and enabled to do special things for their father.

What could this mean to us today?

That is where I started thinking about all of this. You see Matthew says that one one of the mistakes the goody2shoes people made was that they did not do what the king wanted them to do because they were frightened of doing the wrong thing. They had developed so many traditions and ways of doing things that it stopped them doing what the king wanted.

Ouch. The rules passed down through the generations of goody2shoes people had stopped them doing what the king wanted them to do. How many times do we hear things like the king wants me to do this but my family or my teacher or other people in the community say that it is wrong therefore I won’t do it. In other words the rules, the traditions and the expectations of others stop us doing what the king wants us to do.

That is radical. That is seriously uncomfortable for everyone. Personally my most recent challenge has been standing up to those who uphold tradition to say that this is the new way that I believe that the king wants to see this done.

This means getting on and doing what the king wants done no matter what others say, even those who are the king’s children. Of course that does not mean being obnoxious or unnecessary difficult. That to be honest just upsets the king as he sees the pain of the arguing and fighting.

It does mean being in a close relationship with the king in order to hear his commands clearly and to get his back up and support. You see it is only when we move forwards in the name of the king doing the things that he wants us to do in the way that he wants us to do that that we will succeed.

What was the fate of the goody2shoes people?

They had lost the plot. They were written out of the king’s story. You see their plan did not keep them safe. They still managed to upset the king. In fact in some ways their attitude made them into enemies of the king. leading them to do what they could to silence the king’s son. However, that plan did not work for them. In fact you could even say that it backfired on them. This is because it only made it possible for the king’s son to do all that the king had asked him to do.

The king stopped seeing them as the main ones who told his story and spread his message. He gave that responsibility to the ordinary people trained by his son.

The community sort of split into two camps. Those who followed the king’s son those who did not. The king did not forget those who didn’t follow his son.

The goody2shoes people lost the plot in a different way as well. They were kicked off that plot of land that their forefathers had been promised that they would live for ever.

Today their descendants have gone back to the promised land but life is not easy for them. Amazingly their main supporters are the descendants of the ordinary people trained by the king’s son.

More about what this means for us

The king does not forget his chosen people, even if they do wander from him. That is why despite listening to what others have said rather than doing what the king has commanded I have survived. If I had done what he commanded though, I could have thrived and things would have been very different today.

The thing is that we cannot change the consequences of past actions. We can change what we do today so that we don’t have to face such dire consequences tomorrow.

A new law is shutting down little businesses – help them stay alive

If this sounds mad or crazy you might well be right. But you are unlikely to be as mad and even downright angry as those who run small online businesses.

You see many thousands of people have set up small businesses to supplement their income. Nothing fancy just little money making projects like those envisioned by the Money Making Parlour website that we were going to invest more time and effort in developing during 2015.

In November 2014 a bomb was dropped on them. It was suddenly realised that the changes in the VAT regulations that were due to come into force a few weeks later would have a severe impact on them.

We really did not see it coming

Many of us in the UK had an inkling that things were going to change but for OTHER people, surely we were too small to be affected. We were wrong. No one was too small. Sell a single product for a few pence to someone in one of the 28 countries in the European Union after the clock struck midnight and the New Year started you had to collect VAT on it.

Well it is difficult to charge 20% VAT on a product that is less than 5p. But sell an image or a knitting pattern or a variety of other online products to a buyer in the EU and the law  says that starting from 1st January 2015 the seller has to collect VAT and give it to the tax authorites in the country where the buyer lives.

What is worse that 20% rate I mentioned is only the UK rate. Each of the 28 countries has its own VAT system that divides products up into different categories and that has different VAT rates. So the same product might need to have anything from 17% to 27% added to it. Any whole number that is from 17 to 27 but not 26 for some reason.

What do we have to do?

Work out where a buyer is before they actually buy something so that the right amount of tax can be collected from them. In effect this means having 11 different sales pages for a product. Well maybe more but this is taken from one particular example product I found online. One would show the price without VAT and the other 10 would show the price using 1 of the 10 possible rates of VAT.  Gulp!

Most small business websites are incapable of this kind of mindreading ability.  They could, with some help, work out where someone was after they bought something. Knowing where they were beforehand is far more difficult to work out, if it is even possible.

Then they have to gather enough information about everyone who buys something from them to keep the tax man happy. Tricky one that as they can be very precise about what they will accept and what they won’t.

Then every three months they need to use that information to submit quarterly reports about how much VAT was paid and where the buyer lives. So you might sell a 5p product and have to charge 1p VAT and spend a few hours dealing with the VAT. BTW this tax collecting lark is all unpaid work.

On top of all that they need to keep that information for 10 years so that the tax man can come and have a nose around and check everything has been done correctly.  Of course it has to be stored in such a way that it stays accessible to the right people when needed regardless of technology updates. And kept safe from prying eyes who might want to use it for malicious purposes.

How do we do all that?

To be frank God only knows! Seriously!

Some say  why not just stop selling things to those in the EU. This has been happening and the cartoon below is a response to those who have taken that option. us- uk trade cartoonBeing on the receiving end of such behaviour I know how uncomfortable this leaves a customer. Yes you are not rejecting someone for who they are, but for what their government is doing, but it is still rejection.

Others say find a third party marketplace or sales platform who will either gather the information you need or even take over the whole responsbility for dealing with VAT for you. To be honest this is far easier said than done.

Some of these third party providers have looked at the work they would need to do and said sorry we do not want to get involved in this. It is too much work. We would rather discourage people from selling things to people in the EU than do all that it takes to comply with the law.

Thankfully a handful have tried to make it possible for those in the EU to comply with the law. Some do all the work themselves and others do part of it and leave the seller to complete the rest. The problem is finding a third party supplier who does not charge the earth and who will enable you to make the best use of what you have already done.

There is a silver lining

It is surprising how many new marketplaces or sales platforms I have discovered as a result of working through this situation. I have looked at some I had never heard of before and realised I had missed out on some that were worth using.

It is interesting to see how different organisations have responded. Some have done so quickly after customers asked for help. Others have developed selective deafness. Those who have been helpful have definitely gone up in many people’s estimation.

At least those who sell digital products in the EU will be ahead of the pack. There are rumours of other countries doing the same thing i.e. expecting  sellers from overseas to act as unpaid tax collectors for them. There are rumours that the same change in the way VAT is collected will be applied to physical products in 2016 so everyone who sells something to someone in the EU will be impacted. By the time those future changes come into those affected by these changes will be in a better position to cope with them and to help others cope with them.

In the meantime it seems that darkness is encroaching upon us

Remember that cartoon I included earlier, do you know what it reminded me of? The horrors of protectionism of the 1930s. A time when various governments tried to protect their own economies using customs duties or import duties i.e. a form of taxation on things that moved from one country to another.

Another thing I thought of from the same period was how certain groups were demonised and seen to be in need of special attention. The 1930s was the era of eugenics when many were talking about cleaning up the population by stopping certain bloodlines. Often this involved surgery to stop reproduction but this was only the forerunner of the horrors of Auschwitz in the 1940s. It started as an excusable drip by drip effect but ended up in a torrent of virtually inexcusable behaviour.

Why this association? The reason given for this taxation change was that some of the big companies needed to be brought to heel. It did not matter that they had followed what was sensible business advice, some of which seems to have actually come from sources within the EU itself. They were made to look like the bad guys and they needed controlling.

Umm wasn’t that exactly what happened to both disabled people and the Jews in the 1930s and 40s. Made to look bad and then special mesaures taken against them. Things happened to them that we now look back at with horror. This scares me as who knows where this demonisation of business will take us.

Moving forwards a bit, at the end of the 1980s the old men of the church used to tell me that there would come a time when buying and selling would become harder because of the amount of control it was subjected to. They are dead now but I can almost hear them say I told you this would happen.

The idea of killing off some of the little guys and gals and directing those who are left to go through a limited number of channels looks suspiciously like the early stages of this kind of process. It looks like the explainable even excusable drip by drip process happening again and who knows what the torrent  will look like in the future?

How do we stay alive and help others stay alive despite the darkness?

Its tough. In fact looking at the whole VAT scenario is very depressing. It is squeezing the life out of many micro-businesses.

  • Some are doing things in a different way so that they can survive for a bit longer.
  • Some are have not been able to find a way forwards. Some have stopped trading completely or just selling certain products.
  • Some are going to sleep for a while and expecting to wake up when the darkness has eased a bit and the way forwards seems more obvious.
  • Some are taking on the challenge of trying to comply with the law.
  • There are even some who have tried explaining the problems to those administering the new laws in an attempt to lessen the impact and have made life easier for everyone as a result.  People like the team at EU VAT Action

There is a fighting spirit in many business owners that will help them overcome in the end but they need your support. Those who run them need a friendly shoulder to cry on and once they have done that they need strong supporters beside them to help them stand tall again.  Surely you can do that can’t you!

PS If you don’t know anyone personally who is affected just continue to buy the knitting patterns and online courses and ebooks that you used to enjoy and support them that way.

What is going on at Lily’s Place?

I was thinking about how to explain what the aims of Lily’s Place then I was sent an email with some free graphics that they said that I could customise before using. lily's-place-chasm

What does it mean?

In some ways it is obvious in the sense that the idea is for Lily’s Place to become a bridge that helps people move from misery, turmoil and distress to a new life. A new life where the things that once seemed as though they were shaking so hard it was distressing have become stable again. A new life where they have made all the transitions need to become comfortable and therefore escape the distress of the past.

Distress what do you mean?

The header gives one big clue i.e. it is mental distress. No I don’t mean mental illness it is mental distress. Not everyone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness is suffering from mental distress. In fact, they might be blissfully unaware of their situation.

On the other hand many people facing a variety of trials would describe themselves as suffering from mental distress. Those trials could include being around someone who has been diagnosed with a mental health issue, or even another health issue.

The problem with mental distress is that there are probably as many possible practical causes as there are people. Those causes could change over time and between locations. At one time or place it could be losing their job and the financial struggles that they face as a result. At another time and place it could be becoming a victim of criminal behaviour or a natural disaster or a family breakdown. See what I mean about there being as many possible causes as there are people.

To be honest this range of possibilities is what has made it very hard to know what to focus on. There are just too many. Too many for one organisation to cope with and too many for anyone who stops to read this website to get their heads around. After all if you came to this site to read about one particular topic and then it wanders off the track you want to go along then you are hardly likely to come back.

The starting point

With so many things to think about it has been my personal interests that have become the starting point. There are two main ones and to be honest they seem to have very little in common. They are:

  1. broadening the base of financial support
  2. being better prepared to face an uncertain future

Even they seem too broad. The idea of finding alternative ways of financially supporting a project could include all sorts of things. I realised this when I thought through the idea of an online book that I now call Financing Kingdom Work. This is a collection of ideas that I put together as I have tried to work out how to do just that.

Developing a means of financial support

Of course there are a number of different directions that could take people. One of those directions is covered by the concept of the Money Making Parlour The aim here is to help people develop small money making projects so they become apprentice entrepreneurs. That is why the tag line is “Use the best room in the house to make money in an honest legal and decent way”

Ouch that idea in itself is overwhelming. Many people have businesses that do not attempt to cover the range of ideas involved in this concept. A classroom teacher has many textbooks they can draw on for ideas if they know where to look. The same is true here as there are many resources it is possible to draw on to develop this concept. So many that it is proving difficult using them all as they could and should be used. Yet another source of overwhelm!

Becoming better prepared for an uncertain future

It gets worse. Remember that idea of being better prepared to face an uncertain future. There are loads of ideas about this in the Manifesto. If you have not got your own copy then maybe its time you downloaded it.

One of the earliest websites I created was all about Surviving a Household Emergency It started life as a textbook for an accredited course and is now an online book.

How does that fit in? Well if you compare that to the Manifesto the first step in surviving an uncertain future is being prepared for household emergency e.g. a power cut that only lasts a few hours. Once you can do that you can build on it until you can cope with increasingly difficult problems. Once the home front is more secure it is easier to reach out to help others.

Mixing the two

On the face of things they do not seem to make sense together. One of the reasons to develop business skills is to broaden your skills to better survive and uncertain future. In other words if you have already tested a small business idea you can build on what you have learnt. You have a head start on starting a new life without that job.

This was one of the strands of thinking that I picked up on when people were getting wound up about Y2K. To the point of gathering of gathering stock beforehand e.g. toilet rolls so they could barter them once the hard times came.

Yikes there is even a prequel

A prequel? This is the opposite of a sequel i.e. the film that tells the story of what happened before the first film. There is a prequel to this whole series. It is another website that is up and ready to go. It includes another online book. This time it is called Find your Purpose Love your Life

This one does as the title suggests. It looks at the consequences of not being in your purpose, how to discover your purpose, how to recover from being out of your purpose and finally there are some ideas on how to move forwards.

Where does that leave Lily’s Place?

Basically trying to do so much at once in terms of updating and developing websites that there is no time left to tell others about what has already been done.That leaves the problem of how do other people join in with me because they don’t know or understand.

There is a crazy number of partly completed projects and ideas. You can read about just some of them if you go to About Lily’s Online Place. Yes that ends with a list of the websites associated with Lily’s Place. The problem is that some of those websites could easily have many sub-sections for other things like courses or online books.

Susan’s influence

This is typical Susan, setting targets so high that they are impossible to reach and then verbally beating herself up for not reaching them. I suppose even the Manifesto is a reflection of me beating myself up, i.e. this is what needs to be done so why have I not done more about it.

Quarantine mentality

Not only that but it is not easy breaking through the quarantine mentality that has dogged me since childhood. It is a self imposed quarantine. It is particularly poignant writing this at a time when a deadly but untreatable disease is rampant in some parts of Africa. The only way of stopping Ebola spreading is separating victims from potential victims with quarantine or personal protective equipment (PPE).

Quarantine is hiding away behind closed doors. Any essentials come in through some kind of safety mechanism designed to protect those bringing help. The idea of PPE is normally to protect those who are healthy from those who are unhealthy.

How it works in practise?

The analogy that works for me is that I am leaving quarantine but still wearing PPE. No longer hiding but it is still difficult to see the real person behind the overalls, mask, goggles etc.

I have seen the pictures of medical staff dressed like this and have imagined how frightened their patients are when they saw them. They cannot see a real human just PPE with someone inside it.

What is my PPE? Part of it is lack of focus leading to confusion.There will be more but that is the most obvious at the moment.

What is the effect of approaching people while wearing that PPE? They cannot see the real person or get to know them or relate to them.

No wonder it is said that building an organisation is probably the biggest personal development programme that you will ever embark upon. Whatever you build is a reflection of your personality.

Moving forwards

I have spent two days trying to think my way out of this conundrum. It feels like a maze. I put together this diagram (and another one) in an attempt to find the answer to this puzzle. Then I have written this post which is more like a journal entry.

The problem is that I have such a huge all-encompassing vision that it is like looking at a forest from a distance but knowing that I need to plan a route that will take me between the trees. Yet as i cannot see the individual trees never mind the obstacles on the ground around them it is very difficult to work out what the best route is.

The problem with that is that if I cannot work out the route I will never to the other side of the forest i.e. not reach the destination and therefore the vision cannot be fulfilled.

Any suggestions or advice?

Training others II – relationships

I started thinking about when I read about how Jeremiah pointed out to those who were about to go into exile that they had trained tyrannical foreigners to be head over them. The more I thought aobut it the more I realised that this idea has huge implications for how we live our lives.

Within the home

Ever thought that we train others how to treat us in the home. If parents accept poor standards of behaviour then children will keep on behaving badly. This is something that is often seen on the real life programs where struggling families get help. Those who help them are experienced in what is probably better called child taming rather than child rearing.

I was strongly impressed upon me that one of the reasons why many marriages got into difficulty was that the wife did not submit to the husband. If he did something and she did not like it then she had to accept it and stop arguing about it. It did not matter if he was stupid enough to object to her using a light to help her make her way safely downstairs, she had no right to argue. If the husband said do it then the wife had to do it no matter how unreasonable the request.

After seeing this at first hand, I know that this is how men are trained to treat women badly. If it is wrong to question what he is doing then his behaviour can get worse and worse. It can even get as outrageous as spending the night away from home without telling her where he is and who he is with. She is left in the dark because she has no right to question what he is doing as that is not what a submissive wife does. He then knows he can do exactly what he wants without taking into consideration his wife’s feelings. In other words, she has trained him to become a tyrant.

Outside the home

We see this again and again as well. The employer who behaves badly and then wonders why the employees are difficult to handle. The employee who behaves badly and then finds that they have trained boss after boss to treat them badly.

One sad example I saw recently was the man who lived in a home that to be honest was unfit for human habitation. It was so bad that it was on a TV program about housing enforcers, that is people who go around making sure that landlords provide tenants with homes fit to live in. The person trying to make sure he had a decent home was trying to get through to him just how bad it really was.  He did not mind that his landlord treated him badly. He was prepared to live in a home that was better described as being wet than just damp and mouldy. He was so thankful to have an address that meant that he could claim benefit that he was prepared to let his landlord treat him badly.

Why talk about this idea?

Well if Lily’s Online Place is supposed to be finding Kingdom solutions to help those in mental distress then this is going to be one of the things that will have to be addressed.

It is distressing living in a home that is damp, if nothing else it can affect your physical health. Not only that it can reinforce the idea that you are not worth anything more than that kind of home.

It is distressing not knowing where your spouse is and fearing the temper that could erupt from asking the simple question where were you last night.

It is distressing being forced to accept things that make it hard to do things that others take for granted like switch the light on to come downstairs.

Of course those are extremes, but they are very real examples. It is not easy breaking out of that kind of captivity. It is possible but it is not easy. Everyone is different as is every situation. However, this needs to be one of the principles that is borne in mind when helping people in mental distress.

Keep in touch

Lily’s Letters look at all sorts of ideas that are aimed at helping people in mental distress. Some of the topics covered look ahead to issues that could cause distress in the future and some of them are linked to resolving issues in the present. Whether you are interested in ideas relating to the past present or future you will be able to understand more of the why behind Lily’s Online Place if you read The Manifesto.


The importance of training others

I had sort of known this idea for ages but recently it hit me really hard and in a way that I did not really expect. It started when I was looking in ancient wisdom at something Jeremiah had said.

I will set the scene a bit first. The people whose story is told in ancient wisdom were facing a few problems to say the least. They were being attacked by enemies that seemed to be coming from every direction. There did not seem to be any escape. In fact what ended up happening was that quite a chunk of the population ended up being carried away to another land. When this had happened to other nations in the past they had never returned. However, they did return. But it was 70 years before their descendents were able to go back and re-establish themselves in that land again.

Jeremiah  speaks about cities that are shut and that no one can enter them. People being held captive and being taken to a foriegn land. There is a hostile army that has overwhelmed them. It doesn’t sound a great time to be alive.

The bit that really hit me was that there were tyrannical foriegn nations who were now controlling them. Nations that were once allies but that they had taught to be the head over them.

Life with a tryrant as head over them

What does it mean to be the head over them? The head is the one who is in charge. They are the one who calls the shots. They are the one who tells the others what to do. Jeremiah is saying that these people have taught these outsiders to be in charge of them.

What is a tyrant? These are some of things I discovered about tyrants when I checked a dictionary. These are people who are powerful, commanding and domineering. They have absolute power that is exercised unjustly and things get done in the way that they feel like it at the time. They are often harsh and merciless.

What is life like with a tyrant at the helm? It is often painful. The tyrant does not care if others are tormented or treated inhumanely. People suffer pain, grief and distress. There is no justice. It is oppressive. You don’t know what to do for the best because what the tyrant wants could change by the time you complete the task that they asked you to do. Of course, if you do exactly what they say to do, and they then change their mind and don’t want you to do whatever they said last time, you will be in serious trouble.

What has this got to do with us here and now? Are there some things that control you rather than you controlling them? What about sugar or chocolate or alcohol or money?

Food can be a tyrant

I knew that I had an issue with sugar. It had become an addiction. I was always looking for some kind of sweet treat. If I bought something sweet it rarely stayed uneaten for more than an hour or two. Yet every time I went out shopping I had to have a cake or biscuits or some sweets to feed the addiction.

Things started to change in 2013 when it became necessary to monitor what I was eating in an attempt to stay comfortable. Various foods seemed to generate pain in various places and just generally make me feel out of sorts. Doctors tried a variety of different tests to try and find the root cause but found no obvious reason behind these symptoms.

It was not sugar that was the main issue at this stage. I had to be very careful to stay away from acidic food. This included tomatoes, carbonated drinks, dairy products, vinegar, citrus fruit and of course anything with those things in them.

Then I realised that this was not enough and that I had to be very careful to stay on an extremely low fat diet. This meant no oil or fat or anything made with oil or fat i.e. nothing fried or roasted. It also meant being very careful with processed food and baked goods as they often contain a lot of hidden fat.

It was soon obvious that there were a number of other things that I needed to avoid. I could no longer tolerate some high fat foods like chocolate, nuts or seeds. Then as if that was not enough there were also some other things that proved a problem like mustard, fish, eggs, red lentils, grapes, cauliflower and mushrooms.

It became hard work shopping for food. Ever noticed just how much space confectionery and alcohol take up in shops compared to fruits and vegetables. I can now go into a shop and find that I can only eat a tiny fraction of their so-called edible products. I am doing well if I can eat 10% of the things that they are trying to sell me to eat.

See what I mean by hard work. They kept on trying to offer me stuff that I could not eat. It finally dawned on me that for years I had been part of the training process that had encouraged them to offer me this kind of food.

I had seen them as allies and supporters as they had made it possible for me to buy food. Over the years I had trained them to give me the food that I had craved. The cheese with apricots in it that I could no longer eat, the chocolate, the sugar laden biscuits, the processed meat, the ready meals, the jars of sauces to add to chicken.

These and many more things I had bought again and again. They wanted to sell me stuff so they had learnt what I liked to eat and gave me more and more of what I wanted. They tried encouraging me to buy things so offered me vouchers for things that I could no longer eat.

I had thought them to be my allies but over time they had taken charge and become the head. It was their choice of what to sell that dictated what I bought. If they sold a new kind of choloate I would try it and they would be encouraged to keep on selling that kind of chocolate.

Escaping captivity

I suppose that when you read the list of things that I no longer eat that you thought that this was a form of captivity. I could see how you would think that but that is not how I see it. For me it has been a wake up call to recognise all the things that I have been eating that are not necessarily good for me. I sort of knew it but I did not have the motivation to change my eating habits. Now I do and it has reminded me just how hard it can be escaping captivity.

These days I can go into a shop and see the things that I once trained that shop to sell me and see things in a very different light. Imagine walking down an aisle and seeing shelf after shelf of things that you know will hurt you. Things that you once would have bought but now that things have changed you see them as harmful. There are some shops that sell things that they expect people to be able to eat that do not have anything in them that I can eat.

It is not as if I can avoid going into one type of shop or avoid certain parts of a shop to stay away from the things that I now see as harmful. There are still things in the health food shops or vegetarian section that I cannot eat. Crumbs I can look for vegan recipes only to find that many of them use tomatoes or citrus fruits so are unsuitable for me.

It starts with a wake up call

I knew I was being controlled by food rather than being in control of it. Yet I was in bondage and struggled to escape form it. One of the hardest things with captivity is recognising that you are in it. Somehow it sort of creeps up on us step by step unawares. The effects start small and then they grow and take over until it is hard to escape from them.

A saw a quotation that really spoke to me. “If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves I could have freed thousands more”. I had to find out more about the lady who is credited with giving the world that quotation. I found that Harriet Tubman was someone who lived through the era of the American Civl War and wanted to see slavery abolished.

Imagine being a slave on a farm and not realising that you were really a slave. After all you have never known any other way of life. It is normal and natural to you. Others can see that you are in bondage but you cannot see it yourself.

Yet your willingness to stay in bondage encourages others to determine how you live your life. They are not keen on letting you do your own thing because they like things the way that they are. If you change then you will upset them and force them to make changes that they may not want to make.

After the wake up call things change

It took a while but eventually I got the message. If I wanted to be comfortable then I would have to avoid eating certain things. It took some time to realise just how bad for me some of the things I stopped eating had been.

It was as if something drastic had to happen to turn around my eating habits. In some ways I am thankful that this has been a relatively gentle wake up call. There are many who are forced to reassess their lives after a more severe set of circumstances have arisen. Some are even encouraged to agree to surgical mutilation to reduce their food intake because it is the option with the least worse consequences.

I finally realised just how much I had contributed to my own situation. I have literally eaten so much bad stuff that I have nearly worn out my digestion and now have to take extra care of it so that it does not get any worse. The problem is I don’t just have to retrain myself but all those around me who supported me as I got into this mess in the first place.

Like the people Jeremiah was talking to, I am the cause of my own problems. My choices have led me into this situation. It will be my choices that will help me progress from here forwards.

Like what  you have read?

The best place to start is with The Manifesto. This lays out the background behind these ideas.