A Survival Song

“This desperation, Dislocation, Separation, Condemnation, Revelation, In temptation, Isolation, Desolation, Let it go.” Bono.

I found this old video of U2 at LiveAid performing Bad. It brought back memories. I was there in 1985. The Wembley Stadium crowd reached almost 100,000. The atmosphere was electric. I still have the t-shirt. The event was organized by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine disaster. It was broadcast across the world via one of the largest satellite link-ups of all time. Almost 50% of the world watched it. There was a great rise of hope on both sides of the Atlantic, and in the world. I’d like to see that level of faith, hope and unity rise up today to help us fight back the darkness.

Just for fun the isolated seal in the feature picture appeared on East Strand, Portrush about 2 years ago. Because this is my 153 rd blog post, I’ll partner it with the narrative of the miraculous catch of 153 fish as the third appearance of Jesus after his resurrection. Gospel of John chapter 21 :-).

Wisdom in post-quarantine times!

“Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”
Proverbs 3:15

God appeared to Solomon and gave him the opportunity to ask for anything he desired. What did Solomon desire more than anything else?

WISDOM

He chose wisdom over gold, oil, a NYTimes Bestseller, women, power, popularity, or long life. Why? Because wisdom is supreme. God was pleased with his request too so he granted it to him. It’s great to be intellectual or book smart, but it’s much more valuable to have wisdom AND apply it appropriately.

I’m reading “The Shape of Living” by David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University. It’s a simple yet rich read. It provides spiritual directions for everyday life, including when we’re overwhelmed. It’s really a classic on the spirituality of everyday life.

Living through this pandemic is overwhelming. During quarantine a lot of people were overwhelmed with their hair. A solution, and a funny one, was to just hack off your hair because no-one you knew was going to see it. I was brave enough to just cut my fringe. It costs about 50 Euro for a good haircut in Dublin!!! Growing it out is wise stewardship of my money.

In a season full of loss; movement, community, hope, job, finances, beauty appointments, freedom it’s wise to focus on our GAINS. It doesn’t matter how small they are, reflect on them frequently. Share them here, please.

Did you know there are two kinds of wisdom?

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13

The changing face of Dublin

Dublin is one of the world’s most beloved cities. It welcomes almost 6 million tourists every year. It’s changing rapidly. It has plenty of reasons for being on any architect’s travel list. On my walks I’ve noticed how the historical buildings are being supplemented or blended with modern architecture. The city’s red brick buildings, pretty parks and modest Georgian tenements stand proudly alongside buildings by some of the world’s largest tech firms.

A Principle to live by on July 4th

” We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

— The Declaration of Independence – July 4th 1776.

America was founded on the racial idea that all men are created equal. According to historians and political scientists The Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. However this noble founding principle did not stop southern white men from going to war, almost one hundred years later. The Confederate rebellion failed but the country endured and African Americans, Chinese, Irish, Italians, Indians continued to expand their human rights and status.

As I look out from Ireland to America, my second home, on July 4th, I can’t help but ask the question.

Are you facing a similar rebellion today against that founding principle?

Are you ready and willing to defend the idea of human equality?

The men who signed the Declaration of Independence sacrificed a lot. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

This 150th blog lines up with Psalm 150 in the Psalter. It’s the last of 5 thanksgiving psalms and calls everyone, everywhere to praise God for his mighty acts of power and surpassing greatness. It’s a fitting psalm for today.

Happy Independence Day, everyone, everywhere !!

Saturday in Maynooth

St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth was founded in 1795. It was established by the government as a College for Catholic lay and ecclesiastical studies. As my Czehlak friend Jana and I walked through the grounds, it was fun to watch three year old John blow his bubbles towards the ancient rooftops. The paths we walked date to 1518 when the Earl of Kildare founded the College of St. Mary’s.

How to see

” We all fall victim to being prisoners of our own perspective”  John Rogers

I  love this view of Ireland’s Eye taken on a bike ride last week from Malahide to Portmarnock. The island is the closest point to Howth Lighthouse. Can you see the golden retriever swimming quite far out from the beach?

IMG_20200610_164138

It got me thinking about the points of view we hold in life. Some people hold onto theirs tightly. Others expect you to agree with and live out of theirs.  Why do we think our view is the right view? Is it a blind spot, the ego, manipulation, ignorance?

My friend Mahmmuda lives in Paris. I enjoy talking to her because she has a holistic way of looking at things. She thinks well and sees things from different angles. She found this insightful quote from the book “How To See.” 

“Relatively speaking, there are right views and wrong views. But if we look more deeply, we see that all views are wrong views. Any view is just from one point; that’s why it’s called a point of view. If we go to another point, we have a different perspective, we see things differently, and we realize that our first view was not entirely accurate.

We need to continue expanding the boundaries of our understanding or we will be imprisoned by our views. For example, if we are able to remove the notion of permanence, we may still get caught in the motion of impermanence ; we have to be free from both notions. This is why we say that Right View means removing all kinds of views, including the views of impermanent, non-self and inter-being.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

13TH Documentary

In this powerful documentary Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States and the cruelty and violence people endured to win their civil rights. It’s a good introduction to how systemic racism works in America today and how deep it goes.

Streaming free on Netflix and You Tube.

 

© Jeanette Dean

Dublin can be heaven with coffee at 11

“People are wondering and anxious to get back to normal. A good question really is, ‘was normal that good?’ Can we build a better normal with deeper, healthier and more real relationships?”

General Martin Dempsey

It’s possible today to saunter through the streets of Lockdown Dublin city centre unimpeded by riots, heavy traffic and crowds.  There’s a sense of a Dublin past in the rarest of  times when life had a gentler, slower pace.

Granted it’s not good for business. The iconic Bewley’s Cafe on Grafton Street is closing permanently with a loss of 110 jobs. It opened in 1927.

We are moving into phase 2 of lifting Lockdown restrictions. As I reflect on General Dempsey’s words, I’m reminded of the famous song below Dublin can be heaven with coffee at 11. I’m curious to know:

What has the pandemic done for you?

What type  of healthier new normal would you like to see?

Feel free to share this post with your friends or colleagues. ☘️

©Jeanette Dean

SpaceX makes history

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

Elon Musk

I’m posting this for two reasons. First, my last employer in Sacramento before I came back to Ireland was Elon Musk, and his two South African cousins. Elon is the SpaceX CEO so I’m kinda proud of that. I was on a team responsible for mobilizing the world’s first and only vertically integrated sustainable energy company–Solarcity which became Tesla.

The astronauts arrived at the  launch site in a Tesla car.

Second, these are hard times. I want to show something positive and pure about America, my second home and a country that gave me citizenship, wonderful relationships and gifts.

This is what we can do when we work together.

Before this historic achievement today the only way for astronauts to reach the International Space Station was through Soyuz. NASA was paying Russia more than 90 million per seat for rides to the agency for the last nine years.

For further reading go here:

https://time.com/5842445/spacex-crewed-launch/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_term=science_space&linkId=89787832&fbclid=IwAR2H4QWr2uef142NwRtAH7iSQeYwT57ezBUIyU7pYOX8aHhFzgQNibrxmCo

Or here;

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2020/05/29/elon-musk-is-not-a-lunatic-revisiting-the-dawn-of-spacex/?utm_source=TWITTER&utm_medium=social&utm_content=3382726663&utm_campaign=sprinklrForbesMainTwitter#4e9489646828

Lamenting racism and white supremacy in America

“For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee into the neck of a black man who was helpless,” the mayor said. “For five whole minutes. This was not a matter of a split-second poor decision.” Jacob Frey.

I was hesitant to write about Ahmaud Arbery. There’s enough sadness in the world today. Ahmaud was shy of his 26th birthday when he stepped out into the sun and ran 5,000 steps for the final time upon this earth.

Then a friend in Pomona, California reminded me, after the George Floyd  murder in Minneapolis, WE must speak out against injustice like this. “There was no need to crush a man’s throat with your knee when he’s already on the ground handcuffed.”

I’m a disciple of Jesus. I’m called to speak up for the oppressed, marginalized and vulnerable in our society.

Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday, authorities said, amid protests and outrage after a viral video showed one of them kneeling on the neck of George Floyd who was handcuffed. Floyd cried out that he could not breathe and later died. I have friends in Minneapolis who live right in the neighbourhood where it happened.

I was struck by Pastor Moss’ “The Cross and the Lynching Tree: a Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery” in which he explores historical patterns in US history from a black perspective. Some pertinent questions arise;

Is the cross an ancient symbol of lynching? 

How do we develop a moral economy?

Are we hypnotized by an Americanized form of Capitalism that masquerades as Christianity?