Medieval Castles of Dalkey

“God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.”
Psalm 18:2

This summer I took the Dart out to Dalkey. It’s a lovely fashionable suburb to the south of Dublin. The name Dalkey derives from Delginis (Irish) and Dalk-Ei (Norse) meaning Thorn Island and it’s origins date back 6, 500 years to activity on Dalkey Island. In the early Christian period, St. Begnet’s Church on Castle Street was built. Later, the Church on Dalkey Island was constructed. In the Viking period, there was a thriving slave trade on Dalkey Island. During Medieval times, Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin, as large ships could anchor in the deep waters of Dalkey Sound. It was at this time that seven castles were built, mainly for safe storage. During the 16th century, Dublin port was developed and Dalkey’s importance declined.

Ireland is known as a land of saints and scholars so I’ll align blog 163 with psalm 16:3;

“As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”

Celtic spirituality and feature film in Killarney

When we visit an inspiring place like Killarney in Ireland or see something beautiful it plucks at our heart strings. What is this feeling?

It’s the voice of the Divine Creator speaking with us through our senses. It’s this ability to see God everywhere that marks Celtic Spirituality as the distinctive capacity in all people to touch the Divine in the ordinary.

I was lucky to get a tour of Killarney with the man who pitched the idea for a feature film chronicling one of the most historic chapters in Killarney’s history. “The production team spearheading the project has signed a location agreement to film in Muckross House and the surrounding gardens and traditional farms and the period drama movie will tell the story of the Herbert family – who owned the property – as well as charting the visit of Queen Victoria to Killarney in 1861.

A number of household names from the world of film and television have been lined up for key roles, including Patrick Bergin who starred alongside Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy and in the western horror Gallowwalkers with Wesley Snipes.

High-profile composer Sacha Puttnam – son of legendary movie producer David –  has written the score for the film and it is to be recorded by the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra.”

Killarney Today

St. Patrick’s Legacy, Irish influence and scholarship

Patrick is the best remembered Christian missionary to Ireland. His name has come to represent the many unknown clerics who worked in Ireland before and after him. The influence of the Irish missionaries, carriers of classical learning and disseminators of theological and philosophical thought cannot be overemphasized. Vast collections of Irish manuscripts are to be found in all the great libraries across Europe. I brought a theologian friend to see the amazing Book of Kells at Trinity University recently. He wasn’t disappointed.

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This Church below is the most ancient ecclesiastical site in Ireland. St. Patrick built the first Christian Church in this land right here in 432 A.D. This is the cradle of Irish Christianity. The Church has continued to worship God through the centuries, holding fast to the Faith which Patrick taught.

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Below is a picture of friends and visitors from America outside St. Patrick’s first Church in Saul County Down;

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This prayer was on a wall inside the Church:

Go forth, traveller, in the Name which is above every name: Be of good courage: Hold fast that which is good. Repay to no man evil for evil; Strengthen the faint-hearted: Support the weak; Help the afflicted: Honour all men: Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day !

“Untitled” on International Women’s Day

” The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.”
Piet Mondrian

The starting point of the “Untitled” which is comprised of 440 pairs of women’s shoes, is the increasing number of women murders in Turkey. 440 pairs of shoes, arranged in a regular grid on two walls, rises up as a femicide memorial, while pointing out to the number of murdered women by men in 2018 in Turkey; in different ways and for different motives.

Pointing a finger to the tradition of leaving the shoes of the deceased in front of the door of their houses, this work carries the memory of violence against women to the street; and it acts as a mediator for public debate and awareness.

shoes juxtaposition

Focusing in his practice on the power, reckoning with power and taking positions according to it, Tuna looks at the basics of violence, especially in this geography, in a world where, today, one in three women is the victim of physical or sexual violence.

About Vahit Tuna:
http://www.yankose.org/vahit-tuna-hakkinda-en.html

Source:
http://www.yankose.org/isimsiz-en.html

Compassion – what is it and have you got it ?

The dictionary defines compassion as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

Henri Nouwen was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. He said that Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

The picture above is of two women I met yesterday in Dublin from Iraq and Sudan. The Iraqi Irish poets event was a great bridge builder. Although not without serious content. More on that later.

In the US, I worked for Compassion International for a season. Compassion International is a child sponsorship and Christian humanitarian aid organization headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado that aims to positively impact long-term development of children living in poverty, globally. I was surprised and impressed by how efficiently this humanitarian organization was run.

Compassion is needed in all areas of life. Its a trait worthy of attention in Churches, government, leadership, the workplace. There is growing evidence that leaders can LEARN to be more compassionate. Companies are putting the “human” back into human resources and work with a renewed focus on showing care for others who are suffering.

Now you know what it is, do you think you have it?

How might you develop it more ?

Magdalene survivor takes case against Ireland to UN’s Committe Against Torture

The word “remember” appears no fewer than 169 times in the Hebrew Bible – for memory is the constant obligation of all generations.

Today I pause to remember this particular Magdalene survivor and Irish profile in courage — Elizabeth Coppin.

Read about her amazing story below;

http://www.thejournal.ie/elizabeth-coppin-un-5010344-Feb2020/

Speaking out about radical Islam

It’s easy to feel paralyzed by the rising wave of terror attacks today. Global politics have kept me on my toes. They have also inspired me to speak out more. Sexy photos, funny statements, angry memes and kittens on social media are somewhat cute but what will it take to penetrate apathy ?

As a survivor of terrorism in my native Ireland, my recovery journey has been long and difficult. Facing denial. Finding my voice. Speaking truth with love. Finding courage to share my experience strength and hope. Talking and writing about the dynamics of terror, in an increasingly, politically correct world.

This Christmas I’ve enjoyed seeing the beauty of lights strung from trees, homes and places of worship. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The Irish statesman Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Remaining silent in the face of evil is not an option for me. Leaders have failed to educate us about the real threat we face today as a nation. I’ve lived through bombing campaigns and atrocities committed in my community. I feel I have a responsibility to warn the public about a threat that is even greater than what I experienced.

The threat and the enemy is radical Islamic terrorism.

Many of my European sisters and brothers feel like a Muslim invasion of Europe is underway. Genuine refugees who should be protected are no longer welcome because of the rancid rape culture of criminal elements who are seeking refuge too. My heart aches over Sweden which has become the rape capital of Europe. Half of the women in Sweden are afraid to go out after dark.

I’ve read reports that say Judges, the Police and the Media are conspiring to keep the depravity hidden and rapists are not being held accountable for their crimes. Progressive politicians in the name of “equality” have been accused of  making it (rape) the female’s fault.

In Germany just this week a suspected radical Islamic attacker – a bogus asylum seeker who came to the country in February under a false name – murdered 12 and injured dozens gathered at the Christmas market.

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Across the pond, here in the USA president-elect Trump continues to build his team. Some are encouraged by his selections while others are outraged. His language, behavior and tone alienates people. His demand that all Muslims need to register alienates and may have the opposite effect of what he intends. Instead of containing a threat, it may  encourage Muslims, out of fear, to radicalize.

However Trump IS consistent in calling radical Islam what it is. He names the enemy. Many leaders have failed to educate us about the real threat. I’ve been talking about this threat for fifteen years in and out of Church circles, and I feel that my words have fallen on deaf ears.

We need to get the politics out of threat assessment. Rule # one of war is to understand and name your enemy. If you’re not allowed to speak truthfully about the enemy, it’s going to be very hard to win the war against them.

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I am mindful of the generation born just after the end of World War Two. Or in the words of Prince Charles, “those who fought the battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and an inhuman attempt to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe. That nearly 70 years later we should still be seeing such evil persecution is, to me, beyond all belief. We owe it to those who suffered and died so horribly not to repeat the horrors of the past.”

In my opinion, the problem is not with Muslims who make up 1.6 billion of the world’s population. This just happens to be about the same population of Russia. About 90 % of Muslims do not have a radical perspective. The problem lies with the seven to ten percent around the world who do have a radical perspective. This ten percent believe they should use violence to create a Global Islamic Kingdom.

I see three dynamics at play;

1.There are ruthless radical Islamic leaders, and an enemy who is trying to bring about the end of the world as we know it.

2.There is a rapidly growing rape culture. In many Muslim cultures women are considered less than human.

3.There is an eternal aggressor who manages to be the eternal victim.

Noteworthy too are the strategic and tactical differences between the way radical Shia (Persian, Iran) and Sunni Muslims see the arrival of the 12th Iman, and the ushering in of the end of times. Theologically, radical Sunni Muslims believe that you can accelerate the coming of the 12th Iman. If you have a sword and an A-47 you can create carnage and chaos and usher in his arrival of the Global Islamic Kingdom. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS believe this. 

Radical Shia Muslims have a long-term view. They focus on nuclear power, inter-continental ballistic missiles, and want to launch global thermonuclear war.

In a nutshell radical Islam says we will use force and violence to drive infidels out of holy land places. Their goal is to totally eradicate infidels. If we don’t convert they will kill us.

But fear not friends for Christ has come! The light of the world came to bring people out of darkness and into His marvelous light! And he commands us to Make Disciples of ALL those who know him not. Together we can complete the task. I’m encouraged by the unprecedented amount of Muslims coming to faith in the Middle East. Many are seeking truth though satellite TV, radio and the Internet. Some are reading the Bible and examining the claims of Christ for the first time. Others are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus. And they are coming to faith in numbers we’ve never seen before.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

Team building for Tesla in Sacramento

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2).

I live on Vineyard Road which is about an hours drive from the fruitful hills and wineries of Napa Valley in Northern California. I’m intrigued by the wine making process, and there is no better place to taste and grow wine.

My physical location is a reflection of an even bigger spiritual truth and call to Make Disciples. Jesus gave His followers a command: “Follow Me.” And a promise: “I will equip you to find others to follow Me.”

Good vineyard owners examine and take care of their grapes. Inspection ensures the grapes are transformed into the choicest of vine. Bad, sour or bitter grapes are consistently removed from the vine.

Jesus and His father were the original fruit inspectors. Being a disciple of Jesus means we are being transformed daily into His image. We learn from Him, fellowship with Him, and obey everything that he commands us. Acting on and abiding in the truth seekers words from two thousand years ago, “Follow me” creates the fertile soil that produces good fruit.

In the same way that the Napa Valley intrigues me, God wants to change us so much that it intrigues others. This is what gives us the opportunity to tell others about the God who is transforming us, and changing us into the choicest of vine. Teaching others about Christ is essential to being one of Jesus’s disciples.  When good teachers, leaders, and followers of Christ teach others how to love and obey Jesus, we are fulfilling His command to make disciples.

Weak or bad leaders like bitter or sour grapes do not help us to grow. Defective leadership leads us astray and contributes to chaos and destruction. Examples of this type of leadership were notable during the United States Election. When leaders, including the media fail to inform and educate us, in an ethical and objective way, we must examine the fruit of their leadership and spot for ourselves prideful, deceptive and charlatan leaders who offer quick pat, hollow answers, or paint over complex issues with broad brushes. This leadership style causes chaos and division. It also makes us vulnerable as a nation. We loose sight of reality, are left ignorant to current threats, and open to attacks from the enemy.

In the same way that Jesus and His father are fruit inspectors, we as the Church must examine the way we are called to live together. We follow the example of the Savior of humanity caring for one another in the faith community and inviting sinners, or those living on the margins, into our community. Just as grapes are intertwined on the branches and protected under a canopy of leaves, we must protect each other and teach people what Jesus commanded. We intertwine our lives with the Christians around us for the common good.

Good vineyard owners know how to treat and take care of their vines. God too cares about the way we love each other and the way we pursue his mission. Discipleship is not a canned program, and we are not called to have a spectator mentality. Jesus invites all of us to be a part of his plan. He commands us all: “Go into all the world and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19).