Monday, 15 August 2022

THE WORLD SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A NEW QUAKER ATTENDER - PART TWO: MARK'S ACCOUNT OF THE CHARISMATIC PREACHER CALLED JESUS

Thank you to all those who have read last week's blogpost, the first in this series of six. It was exciting to get around a dozen direct responses and to see that the blog spot site is showing eighty views in the last seven days. If you missed it, here's the link:

https://robdonovan.blogspot.com/2022/08/the-world-seen-through-eyes-of-new.html


When I studied history as an A-level student, the 17th century was my period. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the explosion of ideas and the turning upside down of the world in the Civil War. Out of that turmoil, came a new church: the Quaker church. One of the  fundamentals of the Quaker faith is a rejection of war and violence. Quakers are following the teachings of Jesus. 

In this week's blogpost, I explore the teachings of Jesus about money. If we were to follow those teachings, we really would see the world turned upside down. 

I am realizing, as I reflect upon my own writings during the month of July when I put these six blogposts together, that my research and the ideas I share do point in a radical direction. That, I think, is just as well, given the state of the planet.         


                                               .....................................................................

  


My encounter with the words attributed to Mark in his gospel has been shaped by my training as a historian. 


Well, that's a good question! I wrote a doctoral thesis called "Drink in Victorian Norwich" (2003) to get my qualification as a proper historian.   


There is an academic consensus that this book written by Mark: 

  •  is a testimony to Jesus of Nazareth being the long-awaited Jewish messiah.  
  • was written between 66 AD and 74 AD, a generation after the execution of that charismatic preacher - and contains authentic detail about the sayings of this man, Jesus.
  • contains substantive evidence that Jesus, who was brought up to become a carpenter like his father, became a preacher convinced of his own mission to follow what he saw as a path set out by the transcendental power that he, as a Jew, called the one and only God. He was certain that he and others were all, in a sense, children of God.

Monday, 8 August 2022

THE WORLD SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF A NEW QUAKER ATTENDER - PART ONE: MY THOUGHTS AS AN ATTENDER AT THE MARAZION SUNDAY MEETING

 One of the joys of creating a website in which you are the subject is that you can tell your own story with complete editorial freedom. I decided back in 2016, when Steve McIntosh, my IT consultant, and I began developing the website, that I would present myself to the world through the different personae that I have found myself displaying in five decades of adulthood. Here is a link to my website and the page that opens up these personae:  

http://www.robdonovan-author.co.uk/AboutRobDonovan.html


You will see there that I have been a scholar and academic, a teacher, a runner, a political activist, and a man with a metaphysical side.


Being part of the St Ives Salvation Army community - Tuesday evening, 23 July 2019. The coronavirus pandemic was to close the door for me on that kind of joyful togetherness. 


It's that metaphysical dimension I want to explore in this blogpost series I am planning where I will seek to explain my thoughts as a novice Quaker, at the beginning of a journey. My spiritual path - which I share with Louise, my wife - has led us into the world as seen through Quaker eyes. We feel very grounded in this venture.


Louise had already experienced the Quaker way when she attended the meeting house in Beccles in Suffolk - see my webpage, using the link above. As we planned the year ahead, back in December 2021, our medical unease at attending the Anglican church service at St John's, the local church, increased. Before the pandemic, we had very happily become members of the congregation as my battle with prostate cancer played out, although I remained in the cancer closet. The local Salvation Army leaders, Nathan and Helen, were friends with Nick and Claire, our Anglican vicar and his wife, and there was some overlap in the membership of the two churches. I cheerfully attended the Sally Army meal and worship on Tuesday evenings and the Sunday service at St John's. And then came COVID.  


The Church of England is an establishment institution at its core. As the rush to lift restrictions was being orchestrated by the man in No.10, we became more aware of the Anglican entrenchment in an establishment system that as a Christian socialist I opposed. We were also anxious about our own health as

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

IN MEMORIAM - PETE RICHARDS (1960-2022) AND DAVID SIGGERS (1960-2022)

Our spiritual journey - Louise's and mine - has taken us this year into the creative silences of the Quaker church - see my forthcoming series of six blogposts about life seen through the eyes of a new Quaker attender. Quakers have a handbook called Advices & Queries that has stood them in good stead for over 350 years. It was last revised in 1994 and below is No.30 of the forty-two insights of the Society of Friends, the formal name for the Quaker church. I begin my post with this Advice and Query because it is concerned with death and mourning and their meaning - and I have been moved by the death of two of my friends this year.


30. Are you able to contemplate your death and the death of those closest to you? Accepting the fact of death, we are freed to live more fully. In bereavement, give yourself time to grieve. When others mourn, let your love embrace them. 



RIP - Pete Richards and David Siggers


In this blogpost I pay my respects to two men, Pete Richards and David Siggers, who have died this year. They were aged 62 years. It seems a telling coincidence that they were both born in 1960, the year I started my secondary school education aged 11 years. Their importance for me can best be understood once you know that they were both in their lifetime the subject of my laudatory blogposts. If this blogpost were to carry a subtitle, it would be the title of my schooldays' award-winning essay: 'Courage in adversity'. A little old-fashioned, but still apposite.   


For the record, Pete died on 14 April this year; David died last week. 


Here is the link to press for my tribute to Pete in his lifetime. It was published on 11 March 2019.


And here is the link to press for my tribute to David in his lifetime. It was published on 17 November 2017.


Pete, you will understand if you read the post, was a retired award-winning publican living in London who had a passion for progressive rock music and related genres. He was already well into that musical

Sunday, 24 July 2022

UPDATES ON THE NATIONAL HEALTH - LATE JULY 2022

 Those of you who follow my blogposts will know that there have been two categories into which many of my blogposts can be placed: the threat posed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the threat posed by Boris Johnson. There has been some overlap, of course. I have noticed that the viewing figures for my blogposts about the dangers of the coronavirus have been declining since January of this year. That was when the man who is still PM decided that we would all learn to live with COVID. I referenced such sad evidence of people turning a blind eye to the danger that has cost almost 200,000 British lives in the title for the last but one blogpost I published on 26 June: 

THIS IS A BLOGPOST THAT WILL ATTRACT ONLY A SCORE OF READERS - IT'S ABOUT THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS - (here's the link, if you want to risk the read)

I was more or less right. Almost a month later, it has picked up only 27 views.


The link with National Health is a little indirect - but a dog is good for you well-being - and it will be the presenting picture on the blog and on Facebook - so an image of Ella, our dog, who is now a healthy 25 kilograms having lost 6 kilograms in six months and has a certificate from the vets to prove it, does seem justified


The last blogpost I published, only a fortnight ago, has, however, already had 51 views. The upbeat title: 'THE POWER OF HOPE' may have helped. It is the illustrated version of my talk at the Penzance Literary Festival about my latest book, Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic. (Here's the link to a risk-free read, although of course I would love to see my sales figures rise as more people buy

Sunday, 10 July 2022

THE POWER OF HOPE - MY TALK AT THE PENZANCE LITERARY FESTIVAL - 7 JULY 2022

                                     Here is the text of my talk at the Penzance Literary Festival.

                                                                      My gift to you.


Delivered in the Penlee Coach House in the Morrab Gardens - image courtesy of the Festival team of photographers


                                       I hope you find the read worthwhile and stimulating.



Rob Donovan’s talk at The Coach House, Morrab Gardens, Penzance on Thursday 7 July 2022, 3-4.30 pm

Good afternoon.

The theme of this talk is ‘The Power of Hope’ – what better day to deliver this talk than the very day that the man in No.10 resigns. I checked this morning on my website. I have written and published 171 political blogposts, nearly all of them critical of this very man. They start on the 14 December 2019, the day after the Tory triumph in the General Election. My blogpost then carries the title: ‘The resistance begins – still nailing Johnson.’. At the end of the blogpost, I provide a link to my previous blogpost, published on 11 December just before the election. That blog post carries

Sunday, 26 June 2022

THIS IS A BLOGPOST THAT WILL ATTRACT ONLY A SCORE OF READERS - IT'S ABOUT THE SARS-COV-2 VIRUS.

 The disease is called COVID-19. The virus that spreads the disease is known as SARS-CoV-2. There have been a number of variants of this virus (Alpha, Delta, Omicron) and sub-variants of these variants (such as BA.4 and BA.5 that are at present the dominant sub-variants of Omicron). 


The SARS-CoV-2 virus - image used under licence from Getty Images - see Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic, my latest book.


In explaining all this, I am identifying what has become the elephant in the room. So many of our population of nearly 70 million are following the lead provided by the man who is still in No.10 Downing Street. Back in January this year, he ordered the lifting of all the restrictions that had been imposed to limit the spread of coronavirus. He did so without the support of most of the scientific and medical community. It was essentially a political gesture to secure the support of the hard-core of so-

Thursday, 23 June 2022

PLEASE COME TO MY TALK AT THE PENZANCE LITERARY FESTIVAL - THURSDAY 7 JULY 2022, 3-4.30 PM - THE COACH HOUSE, MORRAB GARDENS

 A fortnight to go, and the pulse begins to beat a little more excitedly. This will be the first time in my life when my audience will be paying to hear me speak (don't be too concerned; at a cost of £5 per ticket it's less than the price of a coffee and cake). I shall do my best to make it a worthwhile 90 minutes - and remember the title of my talk is Dying to Know - The Power of Hope. I will be delivering a message shaped by my natural optimism. Here's a link to the online ticket office: press here


Penzance Literary Festival Fringe - Redwing Gallery - summer of 2017


I don't want to give too much away, but the talk is shaped by my latest book that was published at the end of February this year: Dying to Know - Running through a Pandemic. When I first became aware of the threat of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in January 2020, I was concerned but had no idea of what lay ahead. The consequences of misgovernment in the UK had yet to take shape. Today, as we approach the end of June 2022, around thirty months later, I know that very nearly 200,000 British citizens have died with COVID-19 on their death certificate. That, per head of population, is about the same awful death