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What is Christmas? A date in the calendar in winter towards the end of the year to celebrate one of the main religious festivals of the Christian calendar. The Romans replaced a pagan festival with the birth of the head of the, then new, religion. Since then as time progresses, more customs and traditions are added, to make this festival more packed with meaning and importance. The gift of the 20th century’s big corporations was the addition to the date, the red Santa Claus who travels the planet on his sledge from the North Pole in a single day, offering gifts to all the well-behaved kids. The birth of Christ is miles away from the Poles but somehow the story’s embellishment continues.
In schools, kids across the world will re-enact the nativity scene, a romantic version of the birth of Jesus, minus their flight to Egypt and the slaughter of the infants. The nativity, is for many, their first attempt at theatre and most educators’ worst nightmare, as they will have to include all children regardless of talent or interest to this production. The play consists mostly of male characters (usually baby Jesus is someone’s doll) except for one. That of the mother of Jesus. The virgin Mary is located centre stage, sitting quietly, the envy of all other parent’s that their kid was not cast in such a reverent role. In recent years, charlatans tried to add more female roles by feminising the Angels and even giving the Inn keeper a daughter or even a wife. In most cases it was the need of introducing more characters in the play. Most productions now include barn animals (cats and dogs included), reindeers, trees, villagers, stars and even a moon. All castable parts not necessarily with a talking part.
The show usually feels that it lasts longer than it does. The actors become nervous, some forget their lines, others remember different lines, the music is off key and the parents jostle to get to prime position in order to record this show, that very few will ever watch. The costumes will be coming apart almost right after the show and the props are just about holding on with a lot of tape and superglue. The play will signal the end of the school season carrying the joyful message from the carpark to the people’s homes. This tradition carries on regardless of religious sentiments and affiliations. People to commemorate the birth of a man that billions of people consider the head of their faith.
Nativity is symbolic but its meaning changes with the times, leaving me wondering what our nativity will be in the 21st century. Imagine a baby Jesus floating face down on torrential Aegean waters, a virgin Mary hoping that this will be the last client for the day on the makeshift brothel maybe today is the day she gets her passport back; Joseph a broken man, laying by the side of the street on a cardboard; the angel a wingless woman living alone in emergency accommodation, living in fear, the villagers stunned in fear and everyone carrying on . Not as festive as the school production but after all, people living for year in austerity, and a lockdown and post-referendum decisions make it difficult to be festive. Regardless of the darkness that we live in, the nativity has a more fundamental message: life happens irrespective of circumstances and nothing can stop the birth of a new-born.
Merry Christmas to all from the Criminology Team
In all fairness a road trip is a metaphor for life. We live in perpetual motion, moving forward and going from place to place. Our time is spent through journeys in our space, through the time of our lifespan. Alone or with others, planned or unplanned journeys are to happen. That is life as it is.
Sometimes of course a road trip is nothing more than an actual trip in a countryside, quickly to be forgotten replaced by the next one! On this occasion, I shall try to narrate it as it happened, as it is fresh in my mind and the images can be vividly recalled. Maybe in future it would serve as a reminder, but on this occasion, it is merely a reminder of a very odd trip! At this stage, I would like to state that no humans nor animals were hurt during this road trip.
I am driving on one of the island’s country roads, the road is narrow going through the lush pine forest, some sycamore trees on the side. The track is leading up and down the mountainous path. The scenery is scenic and probably the reason people choose it. The road alternates views from the forest, the valleys, the canyons and the sea in the distance. Hues of green, and blue everywhere; and the smell. The pines joined with thyme and other fragrant herbs, a combination that gives the air that scent I cannot describe. The light blue of the sky meet the Aegean blue in the distance.
As per usual, on a road trip I prepare my maps, and plan the route in advance, but just in case I also keep an eye on the road in case there is a change. On this occasion, the public works are working wonders; the street signs are non-existent so I opted out. Interestingly instead of traffic information there were signs but not about the road ahead. Somewhere is the midst of the journey there is the first sign about Jesus. According to the sign “He is the truth, the way and the life”. I am unsure about the destination, but at least Jesus is aware. The next couple of signs involve Jesus and his teachings whilst the last one is making me feel a bit uncomfortable. “Jesus died for your sins” it proclaims! Ok fair enough, let’s say that he did. Any chance of knowing also whereabouts I am and where I am heading. The route continues with further signs until we come to a stop.
Finally, more signs. On this occasion there are some holy sites and monasteries. One of them is of a Saint most revered that apparently most of his body rests in a nearby location, (minus an arm and a shin). Later, I discover the Saint helps sick children and those who suffer from cancer. Admirable, considering that he’s almost 300 years dead. Still no actual traffic information on the road! At least the signs got me reading of a fascinating man long gone. It is fascinating reading on beliefs and miracles. Within them they hold peoples’ most secret expectations, those that under normal circumstances, they dare not to speak about. This is a blog post for another time; back on the road trip and almost two hours on the journey.
At this point, a herd of cows who have been lunching on the side of the road, decided to take a nap on the road. To be honest, it is only one of them who is blocking the way, but the rest are near idly watching. At this stage, I come to a stop waiting for the cow to move. The cow who was napping opened her eyes and looks at me, I look back, she looks away and continues to lay motionless in the middle of the road. I briefly evoke the Saint. Nothing. I am contemplating Jesus and still nothing. After some time, around an hour of cow staring I am going for my last resort. I get out of the car and promise that unless the cow moves, I shall part with vegetarianism. Now I am openly threatening the cow to eat her. This is when nature retaliates. A flock of goats join the cow. They meander around me and the stubborn bovine. The road is now akin to a petting zoo.
I employ a trick I picked up from cowboy films. I raise my hat, luckily, I am wearing a hat, weaving my arms furiously and making sounds. The cow is despondent at first and the goats just talk back. After a few minutes I have managed to get the cow to move and the goats are now at the side of the road. That’s my opportunity to leave. As I turn back, I notice another car behind me; they are also travelers who begin to applaud my efforts at husbandry. The road is clear, and I am on my way.
The next hour is less eventful although the road is still hairpinned; now it’s heading downwards and from the mountains its heading to the sea. I arrive at the sea way over the expected time and I manage to find a spot to park. One the wall, next to the spot someone wrote “you vote for them every four years like cows”. The writing is black, so I assume an anarchist, or maybe the author had a similar driving experience to me, or it’s just an unfortunate metaphor. The sea is cool and the views of the sea and in the distance a group of islands, spectacular. There are hot springs near by but in this weather the sea is more than enough. After all that drive, a stop at a local taverna is inevitable. Speciality dish mosxaraki or beef stew! I think the Saint is testing me!
On the way back, the road is empty. The cows rest on the side of the road. I slow down, I look out…they look away. At a local coffee shop a patron asks for the Covid-special coffee. I suppose a joke about the thing that occupies everyone’s mind. He doesn’t wear a mask and doesn’t seem to believe this pandemic “nonsense”. I was wondering if he is related to the stubborn cow. The trip ended and it formed another of those planned road trips. There was nothing spectacular about it. There is however the crux of my point. Like life, most of our roadtrips are unspectacular on their own. It is what we remember of them that matters. In the last months millions of people went into lockdown. Their lives seemed to stand still; a road trip can also be a metaphor, provided we don’t forget the details.
My favourite TV show - Don't really watch much TV, though I do love David Attenborough and his nature documentaries ❤ I also love the South Park series! My favourite place to go - Ulm; Southern Germany. My partner got a job working in Germany, so I visited him in July 2019. Ulm is a very homely, colourful and picturesque place, home to the Ulmer Münster (world's tallest church) and a beautiful Danube! My favourite city - Birmingham! My beautiful, vibrant home city! My favourite thing to do in my free time - I love writing! I'm currently working on my second Everyday Miracles Book, I have a blog and I write in a daily journal, and monthly reflection 🙂 I also love walking, weightlifting and doing charity work and supporting campaigns My favourite athlete/sports personality -Tatsuo Suzuki; an 8th Dan Wado-Ryu martial artist, who helped spread Wado-Ryu throughout Europe and the world My favourite actor – I love Signourney Weaver and Saoirse Ronan My favourite author - Lorna Byrne My favourite drink - Latte - always love a latte ❤ My favourite food - Roast Duck My favourite place to eat - I have 2 favourite places; one is Blue Ocean, which is Singaporean and Malaysian food, and the other is Bombay Brasserie, which does British and Indian food I like people who - are compassionate, caring, open-minded, loving and respectful I don’t like it when people - are rude, disrespectful, arrogant, prejudiced and wilfully ignorant My favourite book - I've read many amazing books… my favorite at this point has to be The Dawkins Delusion by Alister McGrath, and all of the Lorna Byrne books; ❤ My favourite book character - Not too sure… I've read lots of books… My favourite film - I don't really have a favourite film… I do love The Passion of the Christ though. My favourite poem - "First they came for…" by Martin Niemoeller My favourite artist/band - Tangerine Dream!!! My favourite song - Too Hot for My Chinchilla, by Tangerine Dream. This song always makes me so happy My favourite art - Star of Bethlehem by Sir Edward Burne-Jones My favourite person from history - Jesus Christ ❤ Jesus changed the face of the Earth by demonstrating unconditional love to everyone he met. He preached love, challenged religious authorities, performed countless miracles, and changed people's lives for the better ❤ John 15:12 'My Command is this: Love each other, as I have loved you'
Warning: This is prose is an original work of fiction about an aching and divided world. May we develop a culture that values the strength to love.
Somebody once tried to tell me that we were all God’s children,
That all people were born into His kingdom,
Flesh of His flesh,
And meant to reign over the Earth on His behalf, with His grace.
I never bought that crap.
If people believed in God, would they alter his garden so drastically, that the earth itself is fighting back for life?
How can we say we were put here by Him,
Only to treat this place like crap!?!
If people believed in God, then
Why do so many of us try to rework the image He gave us?
We prick, pull, peel, perm, slim down and slice up our bodies so dramatically, that
We’re often unrecognizable to ourselves.
If we were created in His image, why do we mutilate it so?
I never bought that crap.
If people really believed in God, then
Why do we give in so easily to jealousy,
Riding the coat-tails of others,
Admonishing those who do good, but
We’re still victims of what we consider to be as ‘perfect’.
You can’t be Woke in this word unless you’re Jesus,
And you see what happened to Him.
If Jesus Christ walked into the White House, The Vatican or #10 today,
They’d crucify Him all over again.
Did I mention today’s Easter Saturday…the one day between crucifixion and resurrection…
The one day when Jesus is truly dead…
Only the believers believe that he’ll come back.
But His followers today would be ready to make Him a martyr all over again…
Just to keep their story straight.
I never bought that crap.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d be trying to heal the masses with some universal salve that cures all…
But drug companies saw their profits dive and so they crucified Him.
They were out for blood, and with the strength of their lobbying,
Blood is what they got.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d feed the needy.
But conservatives would see their power draining,
Since they needed to demonize the poor as welfare losers.
Jesus was giving them a hand up, not a hand-out, and
Many had climbed out of poverty,
Too many climbed out to manipulate, so
They labelled Him a socialist.
Conservatives got together and decided to crucify Him.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d rid us of WMD.
That includes guns!
Masses of people are killed by their own guns.
But Jesus wouldn’t want people going around gunning down wild animals for sport, either– Even to the point of extinction.
They called Jesus a tree-hugger because He brought up the near extinction of the North American bison in the same breath as
He gave the stank face to big-game hunters today.
“Hanging the dead corpse of your kill on the wall was death worship,” and
Questioned if such people could call themselves Christian?
He was here to promote Life.
Jesus said anyone was a hypocrite for restricting access to birth control.
He accused those religious zealots of misusing His name in order to control women’s bodies and wealth through meds and policies.
Jesus promoted reproductive choices with the proceeds people always gave Him.
Jesus even invested in birth control for men, including
A pill, an injectable and a scrotum implant.
He claimed He was empowering men to be able to have that choice.
Worse still, Jesus was not only a carpenter, but an avid horticulturist…
He grew His own.
And He had led pilgrimages through forests to hug trees.
He only hugged trees tapped for logging,
Jesus loved hugging trees so much he’d once got several thousand people to go down to the Amazon and chain themselves to the trees high up in the canopy.
He said forests were his Father’s first cities; who were we to tear them down?
Logging was sacrilege.
And as for this tree-hugging crap,
Jesus was a vegan, too.
He said He couldn’t hurt any of God’s creatures, and
Even though He didn’t suggest we all refrain from meat,
He used His YouTube channel to interview more humane animal farmers around the world.
(Oh yeah, there was also that time Jesus went to Davos – uninvited-
He weighed in on fair trade. Isolationists were none too pleased).
He even had vegan cosmetics lines.
He had interviews with His farmers, factory workers, warehousing, delivery, even retailers to show good working conditions and fair pay.
Because of this, consumers said His pricing was fair, and began campaigns to press the other major companies into transparency, too.
LVMH’s sales took nose dive, as did others.
Worse, still, He only marketed His vegan haircare brand, Glory Locks, through
Online tutorials for wooly hair.
His conditioner, Kinky Salvation, became a sensation in the natural hair care community, where
It was discovered that the formula also beat hair loss!
Jesus could regrow hair!
That year, GQ put Him on the cover as The Man of the Millennium.
He caused a bidding war between major cosmetics companies when He agreed to sell His patented mineral foundation, Holy Teint.
There were lines in stores when He released new compact motifs-
The blue dove and the red cross sold out within hours.
Reviews in Vogue, Bazaar, Cosmo and more all said His foundation matched coppery skin tones above all other brands.
His vegan cocoa butter, Divine Skin, had seen sales of Vaseline drop by 50%.
As a vegan,
He was most animate about respecting God’s plants enough not manipulate seed genes that can’t reproduce,
Just so farmers would have to buy more each season.
The giants of pesticides and seeds, beef, logging all got together to take Him down.
Big chicken, Big Fish and Big Pork all joined in the Jesus bashing, too,
For they knew he’d soon come for them.
He’d already posted a nasty comment on a viral video about an industrial chicken farm, for which Netflix had given Him a ten-part special called: Unholy Food, Inc.
He went all vegan, too!
Not even honey was safe,
And the episodes of palm oil and avocado saw those commodities’ stocks dive the day after each debut!
Now, that’s gangster!
Jesus was no joke!
At Michael Jackson’s funeral,
Jesus did an interpretive dance to the artist’s Will You Be There.
At the end of His performance, He suddenly grabbed the mic in tears and said:
“I love my Jackson 5 nostrils, and I believe if Michael had, too, he’d still be here.”
Katherine and Joe Jackson just hung their heads.
‘I love my Jackson 5 nostrils’ quickly became a meme and
Later incorporated into a pop song.
He was accused of being anti-white.
In an MTV interview about the controversial lyrics, He said:
“The clear message here is that…
What we consider beautiful too often has too little to do with our authentic selves.
We do the exact same to mother Earth,
Digging, prodding, cementing over and dirtying up the air and waters of My father’s kingdom.”
Jesus was deep.
He was an avid reader, too.
Jesus wept when He read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
When asked for comment He simply said:
“So few in My Father’s kingdom have the strength to love.”
For the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,
Jesus accepted invitations to lead Pride parades all over the world.
People thought he’d had enough in New York, Chicago, Boston, LA and of course, San Fran.
But many were surprised when Jesus was on the first float at Black Gay Pride in Atlanta and DC!
None were shocked, then, when
Jesus showed up at London and Paris Pride and Christopher Street Day in Berlin.
But no one, and I mean no one,
Imagined for a second
That He’d dress up silly and
Dance with a gay Christian Carnival Crew at Cologne’s CSD Day!
When did He even have time to practice those moves?
Who knew He had such an angelic voice…
Until they heard His rendition of George Michael’s Jesus to a Child.
He brought everyone to tears that day in Heumarkt Square.
Plus, everybody loved the performance He did with Conchita Wurst of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga’s Telephone.
The two bearded men literally re-enacted the whole music video !
Who knew Conchita could do Gaga drag?
They popped-locked-n-rolled in spandex just like in the video.
Who knew Jesus had a black-boy-bubble-butt…
Like somebody cut a basketball in half and hung it off His tail bone.
Both videos went viral.
This was way too much for those in Africa who’d used His name to bash gay people.
They buckled down and passed anti-gay laws,
Nigeria making sure they out did Uganda.
They dismissed this Jesus as evidence of the decay in European values.
When He accepted the invitation to Pride in Cape Town and Nairobi…
Those in the region got ready.
Pride was canceled in Uganda.
Others roused lynch mobs from the pulpit.
They crucified Him all over again.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d heal the disabled.
Jesus wouldn’t heal their conditions by some miracle of making a blind man see, a deaf man hear, or a crippled man walk.
Nah, nothing so simple.
Jesus removed what really hurts – fear and discrimination.
He targeted the stigma against disability.
No longer viewing different abilities as a liability,
Jesus undermined entire industries built around keeping them down.
Suddenly, office workers had to compete with the wheel-chair bound because,
Who needs to be able to walk into an office?
People had already seen how Autistic Savants could
Show us patterns in our lives that unfold life’s mysteries,
But Jesus showed the people how every person of every ability had something to contribute.
Charities for the poor fell because,
There were no more poor people – everyone had enough.
Politicians who’d been shoring-up votes by vilifying the Other as leachers could no longer galvanize their base around these fears.
The people eventually elected politicians who represented the people.
Somebody had to “take the country back, to make it great again,” so
Big Lobbying fought back.
Jesus had removed the control large corporations had over these politicians, so
They crucified Him.
Needless to say, because Jesus intervened,
There was universal healthcare that cared for the whole body – any body.
They resisted calling Him a socialist, but when Corona happened,
Everyone saw that unlike society, diseases don’t discriminate.
More of those who confessed to follow Him could see the sense in universal healthcare.
Insurance companies got together with Big Pharma and crucified Jesus for he’d taken away their monopoly.
Jesus exposed all their tricks, from
Inventing diseases to which only they had the cure, to
Hiding antidotes when they could instead sell us life-long supplies of meds that
Keep us just barely alive.
Jesus was fed up with humanity, but never gave up.
Jesus not only made room for the disabled, but
Made sure everyone got looked after.
He had to die.
He was much too good for this world.
It was clear to them that the only good Jesus was a dead Jesus –
The dead one they’d created in their holy books.
This resurrected one just wouldn’t do.
So, Jesus had gone too far.
War-mongers would vilify Him in the UN, and
Circumvent the authority of the world community, and
Wage a military campaign to track Him down.
For these war-mongers would charge Jesus with hoarding WMD.
They preferred the Iron Curtain to the Prince of Peace, so
They convincingly made the public scared of Him.
Big men wielding big sticks hunted Him down,
During a 40-day Vipassana retreat He’d taken in the Judean desert.
24-hour News spent months replaying drone and Body-Cam footage of His last moments,
Where their bullets crucified Him on the spot.
Just as they’d done for Osama Bin Laden,
Crowds of Christians gathered that night at the capitol to celebrate the blood-shedding.
They were death worshippers.
They even built a statue of Him on that spot to commemorate His sacrifice.
Crowds gathered there each Easter for festivities.