Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie Review

I love movies that impact your soul. I've seen some good ones this month.

The Last of The Mohicans is my favourite film of all time. All though it will never be surpassed Apocalyto has a similar feel to it. Set in the end times of the once great Mayan Civilisation, it features Jaguar Paw as it's hero. It's pretty gruesome in parts but a must-see for any men who have a little wildness in their hearts!

Set in the Johannesburg township of Soweto - where survival is the primary objective - TSOTSI traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car-jacking. It's a beautiful story of redemption. A must for lovers of Africa.

On that theme....I had just finished reading The Last King of Scotland novel. An amazing story of the moral corruption of Idi Amin's Uganda seen through the eyes of a Scottish doctor, raising issues of power, greed and poverty. The film was sexed up a bit and a little disappointing. Worth watching but if faced with a choice read the book instead.

If you're still with me then Blood Diamond is the one you must see. An amazing movie combining a great story with some serious social questions. The diamond industry, child soldiers, poverty, war, western greed, african corruption are all targeted. It asks every individual questions about their choices and morality.
I didn't sleep on Saturday night after watching it. I lay awake bombarded by questions and unrest:
-Why is the world so screwed up?
-Why is life so difficult for those who least deserve it?
-Do I really give a shit about Africa? and if so then why do I find myself talking about it much more often than doing something about it? A passion for change has to mean more than giving money and going on summer trips.
-On the big picture can I really make a difference? I understand Mother Teresa (and Jesus!) preaching about 'changing the world for one' but I mean on the big picture. How can I actually change anything?
-I love my job and my new house...could I sacrifice them?
etc etc.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pray for Lins

Go to Al's blog for God's promises and to focus prayers.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Put somemore pics from Norway on flickr. Here's a taster.......

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Benedictine Monks

I spent a couple of days with the Benedictine Monks in Rostrevor. I wanted some time alone to reflect on 2006, set goals for 2007 and pray for friends. This was just the place.

Guests are encourgaed to be silent during their stay. I found this quite difficult but extremely helpful in the end. It was quite amusing at dinner time on Friday. The monks cook up a big feed every night for themselves and their guests. Silence has to be observed during meal-times. It's like the awkward silence that can occur when you're at a person's house for dinner, except it carried on for the whole meal. I noticed that the monks were looking at me strangely and smiling to eachother. I was feeling a bit uncomfortable and felt like asking what the hell the big joke was.
The next day I was at a friends house wearing the same new jumper I had received for Christmas. It says 'Putta Madre' or something on it which she translated as 'Son of a Bitch'. I'm glad the monks saw the funny side!

I joined the monks for their prayers in the evening and the morning. This involved amazing singing and chanting of the Psalms and lots of incense. I immediatly thought of the things in the Catholic tradition that are missing from the Protestant tradition that I was brought up in (though I don't consider myself either now).

We have focused on a personal relationship and intimacy with God which is true and wonderful but I wonder has familiarity bred contempt in some cases. There was a sense of mystery, awe and fear in the monk's worship service that I feel we may have missed.

By the time Saturday morning came the silence was doing my head in so I found Brother Thierry and we had a great chat. I'll write more about this later.

Ciao Putta Madres

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Have returned battered and bruised from my extreme sports trip to Norway. Was a fantastic time. My first 3 days of snowboarding involved many wipe-outs and a lot of time on my ass. By the final two days j martin and myself finally achieved some semblance of mastery over the board.
This was also my first time a snowy mountain climate and I was constantly blown away by creation. One morning we took the lift as high as we could, took off our boards and climbed to the peak to watch the sunrise. I don't recall ever seeing anything as beautiful. Took some of the best photos I have ever taken but proceeded to erase the whole memory card by mistake (any computer whizz out there who can help??).

Can't imagine that a ski holiday can be topped. Physical exertion all day, relaxing in the jacuzzi and sauna then partying with great friends.

I'm hoping to spend a day or two with the Benedictine monks in Rostrevor before I go back to work.

Sing a new song in 2007.