During the early part of the nineteenth century coal miners in the UK managed to place fear in the imagination of middle class society. Having these lower ebbed people unifying their kind created an uncomfortable parody in and amongst the learned, and the fictional Dr Frankenstein’s monster was the end result. A bedraggled looking figure with extra physical strength but no soul. Like any culture outside the English upper classes, the working class uneducated were deemed as less worthy, and in some cases they were seen as pure evil. The studies and research that came from within our universities, our apparent betters, was wrapped up in showing how the physical differences of a worker and a middle classer, married up to their intellectuality. While the criminally insane, (who were fished out from the coal mines with a “you’ll do” synopsis, or they were walking home with a loaf of bread and the police officer didn’t believe that they had paid for it, and neither did the sergeant, the magistrate nor the jailer) had proceeding foreheads, short stubby fingers and limited word structure, therefore less valuable in the world that was being transcribed by an up and coming Karl Marx. Evil was kept at bay by fear and class structures that had a firm hold of the financial strings to build higher boundary walls and gravel packed gardens, or so they believed. While all this was going on there were many artists who screamed right up to the point of suicide that society was going in the wrong direction, that we are taking “diabolical liberties” with this splendid world of ours. (DH Lawrence
The comprehensive system was designed to be a far reaching and all-embracing method of teaching that focused attention away from the regular discipline supplied by Christian schooling, and toward a more understanding culture where children had a voice, and of course those of us who went to a comprehensive school used that shout to gain whatever we could. This was hardly guidance from our elders, but more an offering of friendly advice that amounted to secular choices rather than discipline and direction. Here we had, and still have, another area in society that has taken away any potential spiritual ingredient in hope to gain the same results by reinventing the humanist spiritual newness Christianity offered in the first place. Jesus alone made all things new, which could not be replicated by a comprehensive school system no matter how many so called humanist professionals were involved in its creation….
The Storehouse building in Southend is an intriguing place, to me anyway. After spending part of my child hood climbing on its roof I got to know the building well. A few years later at the age of 15 I attended a so called youth centre that opened and closed within perhaps a few months. I remember the grand open evening with the delivery of a wobbly pool table under the gaze of flickering light bulbs that hung loosely by the door, and it wasn’t Christmas. It seemed that someone had made an effort to add light to the place, at last! In my late teens and early twenties I attended a wedding, two birthday parties and a Buff club celebration, and then it closed again. Throughout the years that building has opened and closed more times than I care to remember. The building, I guess, is about 50 years old and looks older. I on the other hand was born a few years earlier in 1960, just a few hundred yards away from this rather shabby old building.
Having been born in the area, I have over the years become familiar with most of the church halls, community projects and landmark buildings in the area. As a local urbanite I am interested in simple, and at times pointless buildings that appear to have limited purpose. Sad hobby maybe, but most would agree nevertheless that local buildings can hold sway if they are within reach of our own culture, and this Storehouse building is part of mine. Many other buildings in the area that were once gripped by my grubby finger prints have been demolished, like the old Greyhound Track and the sweet factory that were both a favourite haunt for any youthful sprout. The building which is now the Storehouse however, of course still stands. Hardly a land mark building, but to me it has a history having climbed over it, walked around it and through it a million times and over the years prior to my urbanite view point taking over I would have, like most people, hardly given the old place a second glance. Nevertheless, my interest has been reignited, particularly over the last few years. The lights have been switched on again and someone is definitely in. The place is busy, and to begin with I was sceptical, because it has never been busy before, not for long anyway. To be sure, all previous attempts to make the building a success have failed dismally. That building had never been a success in any way shape or form so why wouldn’t I think, “here we go again”. Ask the local council for evidence and you will be shown a list dating back decades of half-hearted attempts to add life to the old place. It has always been a white elephant, or mouse perhaps, in the local area. Okay, before starting this blog I found time out to research! “the storehouse”. About ten minutes to be precise. Continue reading
The atheist Godfather Richard Dawkins recently compared morality to the principles of Christianity. During this particular debate with the Christian Oxford Professor John Lennox, Mr Dawkins implied that morality is central to good behaviour, leaving no room for the Holy Spirit. If we are morally sound as Mr Dawkins suggested, we have no need to follow fabricated spiritual nonsense! Ludicrous, deluded, barbaric are just a few words used by Dawkins when concluding his onslaught.
Dawkins believes Christianity is a religion that enforces a specific morality that expects precise and virtuous behaviour from cornered believers who are governed by an omniscient yet invisible power. Dawkins supposes a Christian is one who lives by certain rules and regulations that have imposed upon him or her divine ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots,’ and that behavioral conformity to these moral codes of conduct are what the Christian strives to accomplish in order to please a so called God. Continue reading
A late response by The Rambling Bricklayer.
Do we really believe that condoms can prevent the spread of AIDS? Stephen Fry says yes? The Catholic Church on the other hand suggests that abstaining from sexual relations prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, which could potentially eradicate AIDS. Stephen Fry furthers his point by actually blaming the Catholic Church due to their immovable and historical stance on how we should conduct our sex lives. The problem is not the church, they have had their view on sex long before HIV hit the headlines. The problem is in our intellectuals such as Fry and the late Christopher Hitchens beefing up how condoms are an answer when up against AIDS. The Bible asks where is the wise man of this age, and suggests human wisdom is a distant second to the omnipotent view of God. Please read my view point and leave a comment below. Continue reading