The Problem with Dreams

If we are to reimagine the future, we must allow dreams of a different future to penetrate our subconsciousness and impregnate our thoughts and subsequently our actions with new possibilities. As many across theMartin Luther King world have reflected on the remarkable life of Martin Luther King in these past days, and read again his phenomenal speech of his preferred future, his dream of a different life ahead, of justice, forgiveness, togetherness, friendship, equality and love; I have been struck by the power of the actions that began to make that dream a reality. The kind of loving actions which are tough and unwavering in the face of injustice. The kind of loving action which does not lie down and take it, but turns the other cheek, demanding love on an equal footing.

I have been thinking about what our dreams might be for the future. After all the debate in the USA over gun control, we find it easy to make crass judgements about a culture we don’t fully understand. We happily point the finger, whilst the UK government continues to make appalling investment in the arms trade and nuclear weapons. It makes us feel better to focus on ‘the other’ and their problems. But which of us dreams of a future of violence? We say we want peace, but do we? Is enforced peace really peace, or is it a fear based behaviour? True peace involves taking our weapons and transforming them into tools for goodness.

Martin Luther King 2If we dream of a different future, how many of us are willing to change the way we vote around that issue? How many would refuse to vote for a party which supported any arms agreement or nuclear armament? How many more of us could rise to the great protests on the streets? Why do we not hear more political debate on real alternatives to the armed forces and to war? The problem is, deep in our psyche, we still believe peace comes through control, violence and dominance rather than through violent love. We may believe this is how God operates and so if we’re the ‘goodies’ built on ‘good foundations’ it justifies our violence…….

The gun lobby argument that the weapon makes no difference is ridiculous. The more we arm ourselves with weapons of violence, the more likely we are to use them to do violence. I don’t just dream of  people laying down arms in the USA. I want people everywhere to lay down their arms. I believe this is a dream of most people. I think the challenge to us is this: what are we going to do differently to make the dream a reality?

Roger Haydon Mitchell's Blog

Perhaps the most common adjective for describing God among Christians has been the word ‘sovereign.’ This has been exacerbated over recent years by what was, in my view, the catastrophic decision by the translators of the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), to use the phrase ‘sovereign Lord’ to translate the Hebrew for ‘Lord God’ (ādônây y’hôvih). The word ‘ādônây’ is the plural for the word ‘adon’ deriving from a Ugaritic word meaning “lord” or “father,” and emphasises the fulness of Godiness, but tells us little about how God uses his fulness. That, from the Christian perspective, waits for the incarnation to reveal. The word ‘sovereign’ on the other hand, now carries all the hidden baggage of the dominating power of empire, law and hierarchy.

It may be possible to de-toxify the word, but so deep is its baptism in the domination systems of this world that…

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Healthcare Politics 3a

3a) Healthcare is diverse

We are in danger of making healthcare too narrow in our understanding. Here are a couple of posts on its vast spectrum!

Healthcare is in part about curing people.

Cure involves quick access to urgent care for all people of all backgrounds and need. I know of some great emergency departments and I know of some that I would never want to be admitted to (and some of those are ones I have worked in!). And the difference is not usually to do with levels of expertise (although sometimes this is the case), but far more to do with the morale, ethos and culture within the department. Where the staff are cared for, nurtured and supported, I guarantee the care they give is excellent. Where there is a  top down, bullying approach to management with a culture of lying and blame, I promise you, the care is less than good……We need those departments to be filled with caring, patient-centred professionals, who are able to hold compassion at the fore when pressure and circumstance squeeze them from every side, so that people receive excellent care.

Cure is also about having access to affordable drugs and other treatments like surgery – and not just here, but everywhere….in the USA, where the pharmaceutical industry holds far too much power, and uses it to dominate, rather than serve and benefit others, especially the poor, many drugs are inaccessible. Surgery is too expensive, due to corruption in insurance. I love the way people movements, like those spoken of by Shane Claiborne in the ‘Irresistible Revolution’, are providing alternatives to the greedy insurance companies and challenging the ethics of these often appalling empires, who crush the very ones they are trying to help. Surgery made possible, by the generosity and sharing of others. If you haven’t already done so, get involved with #nicsfight, here in the UK.

And then there is the minefield of cures being deliberately withheld from the developing world because they do not make financial sense…..I listened to a fascinating talk by a lady called Landa Cope recently who challenged this concept head on. She said that the areas in which to invest, if you want to see the biggest growth and return are actually among the poor…….but our motivation must be love not financial gain……but for those motivated by money, the health impact fund and a rethink of international development policy could help!

When Jesus ‘healed’ people, there are 2 different words used. One of them is ‘Iomai’, meaning ‘to cure.’ He took time with those who needed it most to cure them. Where we have medical or surgical cures available, how can we withhold them from people who want and need them? If healing others is part of what it means to be human, as Jesus, ‘the human one’, demonstrated, again and again, then we need to make cures available to everyone. A cure is not earned, it is given! Let’s take the gifts of a cure that we have and make them available to everyone, everywhere…..