Monday, July 31, 2006

Calling all ladies - do your bit for science

Can any women reading this blog complete this survey about HPV and cervical cancer. I know the student running the survey will really appreciate your taking part.

Come on, do it for the greater good :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Classic Kids TV

Rainbow was my favourite program when I was a kid, but somehow I see it in a whole new light now...

***Warning - lots of sexual innuendo, so pls don't play if you're easily offended***

View other funny videos at Very Funny Downloads

Monday, July 24, 2006

Well would you believe that...

My PhD supervisor has just put his stamp of approval on my final chapter.

All that is left is proof-reading. I say all, but it is extremely labourious and time-consuming. Still, it looks like I'm nearly there.

If anyone is willing to take a chapter and give it a second proof-read after I have done so, I will mention your name in the acknowledgements and if I pass, your name will be in print in the British library ;).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

AUTISM - getting the truth out!

Thanks to Alice, I've discovered a fantastic website about autism called Getting the Truth Out.

Its a wonderful reflection on power, rights, choice & disability.

However, what is really quite shocking, is that it is in response to this to website, run by the Autism Society of America. How much we need to be careful about ever presuming to speak on behalf of another person. How much we, especially people like me who work with people with autism, need to learn how to listen.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Little Friend

Little Friend

Mentally Ill

It took a long time
Little friend
For you to say a word

It took a long time
Little friend
For you to smile

It took a long time
Little friend
For you to laugh

It took a long time
Little friend
For you to say

You fear the people
Who send you letters
To say its time for you to go

To another facility.
One better equipped to meet your complex needs.

I wish that the people who send your letters
Who make plans
The great "them" who sit in offices
And discuss finances

Could hear you singing in the bath.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

We - Arundhati Roy

This is a free documentary based on the words of Arundhati Roy.

Find out more or download a better copy at

If you don't know who Arundhati Roy is, find out more on wikipedia

And if you've not read The God of Small Things - get a copy, it is a wonderful novel!

Monday, July 03, 2006

A story

Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked: "What do you seek?"

"Enlightenment," replied Daiju.

"You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?" Baso asked.

Daiju inquired: "Where is my treasure house?"

Baso answered: "What you are asking is your treasure house."

Daiju was enlightened!

Ever after he urged his friends: "Open your own treasure house and use those treasures."

(Two blog entries in two days - can you tell I'm trying to write the final chapter of my thesis and failing miserably?)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The beautiful heresy

I have discovered a new blog

Brian asked why people hope for, but don't cross over to believe in universalism. I thought about my own journey and my first time at an interfaith meeting.

I had either just left, or was in my final days at evangelical church and I plucked up the courage to attend an inter-faith group I had seen advertised. I remember tentatively walking up the steps into the church building where it was held, with a certain degree of nervous anxiety. I felt naughty - looking over my shoulder almost in case someone who knew me from church might be passing by. I might as well have been walking into a seedy sex shop as into a church building. That same sense of doing something forbidden and dangerous was there.

A terrorist attack had just happened in Istanbul and there was a massive furore about Islamophobia and Islamic fundamentalism. People felt threatened and under attack, fearful of their neighbours. And there I was, standing side by side with Jewish people, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddists to remember what had happened and to witness our togetherness and our commitment to one another as people of faith in seeking peace in our world.

It was exhilariating, liberating - I could be truly and wonderfully open to those around me. Not just in the interfaith group - but with everyone. I didn't have to worry about the eternal destination of those around me anymore. It was like I was coming home to what I always recognised but never dared to believe that whatever "God" was, it/he/she/they were present everywhere - in all cultures and in all faiths.

I didn't tell my Christian housemates for quite some time - I slipped out and in quietly, like a naughty school girl with a secret romance. And, I admit it, I really enjoyed the secrecy and the tremendous sense of doing something really naughty.

I flitted between feeling free and feeling scared. Perhaps, I was going too far. Perhaps I might find myself stepping outside the circle of salvation. What if God was not as generous as I hoped? If hell does exist and believing in it is a pre-requisite to avoiding it, maybe most people will take the safer option. Afterall, if universalism is true, no-one has anything to loose (in the sense of their eternal destiny).

I'm pleased to say, I'm not so worried anymore! I have taken my place in public acts of witness with the interfaith group, feasted with people of other faiths and I am not afraid anymore. This same group, by happy coincidence also introduced me to the Quakers.

Maybe it is a bit dangerous to dare to believe that the light, truth and love that we find ourselves longing for might be lurking deep within us and within our neighbours. But if we cling to beliefs we don't really believe in or we hope aren't true out of fear of offending some diety, how much we and our communities stand to loose?

To recognise that of God in all people (or at least attempt to) is a tremendously liberating way to live. It allows us to approach our neighbours, no matter how different they may be from us, with a sense of deepest respect and sincerity, with no agenda, simply to recognise and treasure that which is good, true and loving within them and to invite them to treat us in the same way. It allows us to love without fear that our neighbours may one day find themselves destined to eternal torment. It allows us to surrender pride and fear and live in friendship and seek peace with our neigbours.

There is always something that seems to hold some people back from realising the universality of love. Perhaps universal love is almost too good to be true. But it is the universality of love, which recognises, values and includes all people(s), that we will heal the fractions within our society and create peace within and between communities.

"There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human mind, which in different places and ages has different names; it is, however, pure and proceeds from God. It is deep and inward, confined to no forms of religion nor excluded from any, where the heart stands in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows of what nation soever, they become brethren." ~John Woolman 1762