Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Church of England rector hands out 10-pound notes to parishioners to invest

And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. John 2:16

A clergyman whose name I don't recall has referred to the Church of England as "the natural spiritual home of the Queen and Mr. Bean." Submitted for your approval as evidence is this article by Tom Whitehead of the London Daily Telegraph on November 19, 2012, as published by the Canadian newspaper National Post:

A U.K. rector has handed out 10-pound notes to his parishioners in the hope that they can turn them into a fortune.

The Rev. Richard Steele has challenged his congregation to invest the cash wisely to help boost funds for repairs to Kirkheaton parish church in West Yorkshire.

The church needs 73,000 pounds, and the Rev. Steel hopes the 450 pounds he has handed out will return a profit.

He said he hoped his congregation would not use the money to gamble on horses or lottery tickets but hinted that he would accept any winnings.

“I rather think that it is not the kind of thing my people would do but I have not laid down any rules,” he said.

“It would be an interesting ethical debate that would have to be had if they did win.”

The Rev. Steel took the idea from the Parable of the Talents in the Bible, in which three servants are given the task of investing their master’s money.

He said: “Not everyone in the church has money to give so I thought I’d offer them some ‘seed capital’ to invest—maybe in baking cakes for sale, buying a car-washing kit, material to make cards or a woolly hat to keep warm when offering a dog-walking service. I’m not entirely sure what people will do but I’m looking
forward to hearing about all these great investments.”
For another article on the same subject, go here. The parable of the talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mayas in Mexico aren't expecting the end of the world on December 21, 2012

My rough translation of an article in French by Judith Lachapelle that appeared in the Montreal newspaper La Presse on July 7, 2012:

CANCUN--"I don't believe it will be the end of the world. The Mayas likewise say that it will be the end of a cycle, or something like that. So, no, I don't think it will be the end of the world."

Mariana was there to extol the charms of Cancun, celebrated spa of the Mexican Riviera. She wasn't dodging the famous question on the imminence of the end of the world on account of December 21, 2012, it is believed in certain interpretations of the Maya calendar.

"You say "I believe." Aren't you sure?"

Mariana appeared disconcerted for several seconds. "It's true that many things happen since the beginning of the year, she candidly reflected in a high voice. I was in Mexico in March when there was an earthquake. I tell myself after all, maybe it's the end of the world, or "of one" world...No?"

Why not? Everything is sold, even the end of the world. The promise is based on a strongly doubtful interpretation of the Maya calendar, but business and tourism in Cancun leapt to the occasion. Talk about it for good, or talk about it for evil, but talk about it, as they say...

So, tour operators have found a "spiritual" message to transmit: end of the world or not, it's the ideal occasion "to make the point, to reflect on what we want to change in our life, and on the planet," recites Paula Gomez, representative of the tourist association who drew in May a group of journalists to extol the Maya Riviera, end of the world version.

The Yucatan peninsula evidently has all that's necessary to wash and purify the human spirit before the final Judgment. To start lots of of salt water and good temperature.

But it's not only on the sea that one surfs: spas now offer "Maya care," spectacles of grand unfolding and Maya ceremonies, and "Maya gastronomy" is repeated on the tablecloths.

And the Mayas inside there? They haven't disappeared--famines and diseases drove away their venerable cities before the arrival of the Spanish, but the Mayas, their language and their culture are still present in several regions of Mexico. But to find the authentic Maya in the carnival of the end of the world, it is necessary to go back to the sources.

A trip in the ancient cities of Tulum, Chichen Itza and especialy Coba, allows for better understanding of the roots of this advanced civilization which had--like many others of its contemporaries elsewhere--devised its own calendar. A calendar that has previewed, thus far, the end of a cycle of 5300 years in December 2012.

And after the end of the cycle? Herculano Kuyoccan, our May guide in Coba, lifts his eyes to the sky. And it's not to invoke Bolan Ok Te, the deity who is supposed to come at the end of the year. After December 2012? "Another cycle begins again. That's all."