My Pope Stories

My Pope stories…..

I have lots of stories about my wife, her antics are a mine of interest and humor, let me share a couple with you.

Story one  – Who is he

 Some years ago I had a friend, let’s call him Scott (not his real name), he was South African.  When we were in South Africa we stayed at his home and consequently got to know him well.  He even used to lend me his car so that we could explore the country.  Some years later my rather famous friend was appointed as a special representative to the Vatican, speaking on behalf of his religious denomination.

As Scott was attending many meetings in Rome on behalf of his denomination it became very newsworthy, and one day, on the front cover of an international magazine, a photograph was published of Scott with the man who was Pope at the time; inside was a large spread all about the work he was doing.

My wife and I and a group of friends were in central London and we walked past a newsagents; the window display was of this same magazine, along with the photograph of Scott and the Pope.  Pauline scrutinised the picture, then turned to our friends to say, ‘We know him, that’s our friend Scott, but who is that man with him, the one in the funny dress?’

Story two  Ignorance is bliss

A couple of years ago my wife kindly treated me to a trip to Rome as part of my birthday celebrations.  If you a doing the sights in Rome, you must, or course, visit the tiny nearby country called ‘Vatican City’ which, as it happens, is the smallest country in the world. We wandered around taking in the sights and sounds and inspected the Swiss Guard.  Pauline noticed that there was a meeting of some kind taking place in the chapel.

She was keen to go in, I was not, but as she had treated me to this trip I thought it best to tag along.  It was obviously some sort of celebratory mass, not that I understand much about Catholic ecclesiology. There was a crowd of people at the front of the chapel and we watched as a procession of men moved down the isle, one of them had on a very large pointed had.  Pauline asked ‘Is that the Pope?’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘but he might be one day; I think he’s an archbishop judging by the special hat.’

We found a couple of empty seats and sat down.  Pauline then decided that if they were doing communion then she was going to join in at the front.  I told her, ‘it’s for Catholics’, but she was having none of it, saying ‘I follow Jesus so I’m sure I must be included.’ She headed off to the front.  I sat tight.

There was a large multi-national crowd at the front, the man in the big hat was moving along the rows of people with a container of wafers, which he was placing on outstretched tongues.  As he placed each one he said, ‘bless you my child’.  Pauline wanted to return the favour, so she put her hand on him in order that she could bless him back. In a trice, the plain clothes security squad was at his side, to protect him from perceived danger.

Once the members of the crowd had received communion they began returning to their seats, whereupon I found that Catholic love and grace does not extend to someone who has pinched their seat, I was swiftly ejected from my perch, and was made to feel I had committed a heinous crime.  I managed to squeeze in at the end of the row just as Pauline returned.  The procession now weaved it’s way out of the chapel and Pauline noticed that the man in the big hat was waving at her (or so she thought, he was, in fact, pronouncing a blessing on the assembled crowd) and she began waving back frantically at her new found friend.

I perceived rapid, shadowy movements out of the corner of my eye, so I put my hand in the small of her back, began propelling her to the exit and hissed, ‘It’s time to leave, NOW!” before it’s too late and the plain clothes security squad arrested you as a trouble-maker.

Adrian Hawkes

For Blog Spot

W.750

Editor A. Brookes

 

 

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Getting Your Hair Done!

Getting your hair done

Black people in my church community, well to be more specific, the black girls, tell me that I need to understand that getting their hair done is:

• Expensive

• Takes a very long time to do

For years I took this on board as fact and sympathised with the money they shelled out and the hours they spent sitting in the hairdressers. One morning I woke up and thought, ‘today I’m going test this fact out, I’m going to take my white man’s hair to a black hairdressers.’

Lunch time came around and I left the office and headed to the local black hair salon. Now I must confess that it was a ladies salon, but that did not seem to bother the hair stylist when I popped my head round the door and asked, ‘can you fit me in for a haircut?’ ‘Yes darling, come in and take a seat,’ was the willing reply.

It was 1pm

I was ushered to a seat by the basin and my hair was washed quite quickly, then, with a towel wrapped round my head I was offered tea; then cake and other goodies appeared and after quite some time I was placed in a chair in front of the stylist who began to scrutinise my hair. She pulled it this way, and then that way, and then back to how it had been, and then it started all over again. All the while chatting away and telling me the local news, the music soothed me, and the cutting and styling went on. And on and on. And on. Eventually it was done, and done very well I must admit. The cost was not that high considering all the food and drink and time spent based on an hourly rate. Being of the male species I’m not sure I want to spend so much time on getting my hair done, I gave her a generous tip and went on my way.

It was 5pm.

Now, when the girls say, we are black and our hair takes time and money. I reply, ‘You can’t kid me, I know all about your hairdressers!’

Adrian Hawkes
For Adrian’s Blog
http://www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
W. 375
Editor: A. Brookes

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Strange Story

Strange story

Some years ago I was invited to speak at a church meeting. My theme was ‘getting involved’, Pauline was with me and she also spoke along similar lines, emphasising the need for people who call themselves Christian to ‘get their hands dirty’ and care for God’s world. James 1:27 (NIV) tells us, ‘religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’ I spoke about the shortage of foster carers in England and Wales, another 10,000 are needed. The people in this community responded in a positive way, and quite a few became foster carers and adoptive parents. 10 years on it’s encouraging to see the fine results that those people have achieved.

I got to know one couple very well, and when I went to visit them I was struck by how small their house was compared to how large was their willingness to get involved. I said, ‘you need more room!’ We sat down and looked through their finances, and they said they couldn’t afford a bigger house. I am an eternal optimist when it comes to such things and so I said, ‘I think you can, but that’s just my optimism, let me send you a financial advisor to see if he agrees with me.’ They agreed and my financial advisor went to see them and came to the same conclusion as me, he even arranged a mortgage for them. All that was needed now was to find the right house and sell their small house. Eventually they found a house and when we saw it we were staggered by the size and the extensive land that surrounded it. The price was a stretch for their finances, but after we had prayed together it seemed that this was the right place and would help this couple to achieve all that was in their heart.

Offers were made and accepted, their small home sold quickly and we were just getting ready for celebrations when there was a twist in the tail. I received a tearful phone call from the couple telling me that their house was sold, the contract signed, moving in date arranged, but the large house they wanted to buy was no longer available, the seller had called them to say he was removing it from the market. Instead of celebrations, commiserations; instead a large house, homelessness. No wonder there were tears and prayer requests.

The next few months were very tough, the couple and their permanent lodger moved in with a relative who had a house almost as small as the one they had sold, they were living a nightmare and didn’t know what to do next. Then one day the wife did something very weird and even to this day she has no idea why she did it.

Her husband cycled to work every day, and she strapped a large sack of salt to the back of the bike, her husband assumed that it was to help him to keep fit, as he was having to push those peddles very hard to propel himself and the huge sack of salt. (It was impressed on me how enormous the sack was). At the time she said she had read in the bible somewhere that people who are followers of Jesus should be salt in his world. A rather mumbo-jumbo interpretation of that concept, but because things were so difficult and stressful at the time, the husband decided to humour his wife and kept on cycling every day, with the sack of salt in tow.

The months went by and then I received another phone call, the wife told me she thought she had heard God speak to her, she thought he told her to take the sack of salt that her husband had been towing around on his bike, go to the house that they had wanted to buy and pour the salt all around the house (outside the property boundaries of course!). To avoid people thinking she was a ‘nutter’ she and her husband drove to the house at around 1:00 am and quickly poured the salt out as they thought God had said they should. The next morning they received a phone call from the owner of the house saying he had decided to put the house back on the market and were they still interested, if they were they could have it at the price they originally agreed. With joy in her voice she told me, ‘He wanted it to happen quickly, we signed the same day and we are moving in.”

I told you it was a strange story, how can anyone explain that! I went to the house warming celebrations, and over the years joyfully watched their many adopted children growing up in a warm, loving and nurturing environment. This story remains a mystery to me, I don’t begin to understand the ramifications, I only know that sometimes when we are a ‘follower of the way’ God asks us to do strange things, and we do well to obey his instructions. I don’t think that gives us an excuse to be weird and off-the-wall, I think perhaps there are enough people around who are like that without you and me joining them. But the moral of the story is how good and pleasant it is when a follower of God is obedient to His request.

Adrian L Hawkes
For Adrian2526 Blog:
http://www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
W.928
Editor: A. Brookes

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Faith Schools

Faith Schools

I note that the atheist religious evangelist Richard Dawkins in on Channel 4 again complaining about faith schools and telling us in superior and somewhat condescending tones about how divisive they are to the community.

I also note that in these presentations and debates there are underlying assumptions that are never mentioned, and I therefore suppose do not exist, at least that is the conclusion to which I am expected to be drawn.

But think about it for a moment, not about the premise of whether Richard Dawkins might be right or wrong, but consider what he does not tell us in his programme, or does not allow us to ask. He simply makes the bold statement, ‘faith schools cause community division’, as if that is the root cause of all division.

Where I live, post codes cause community division; there are young people I know that won’t move from one post code area to another as they fear they will be beaten up.

Then there are people who live in ‘posh areas’, who divide themselves from those live in the ‘not so posh’ areas. Is that community division?

I did not go to a faith school, I went to an ordinary secondary school, we wore green blazers, the school up the road wore red blazers, and the two groups had fights and divided the community. There are many things that divide communities, money, housing, blazers, music, clothes, skin colour, accent, language, post codes, and I’m sure you could add to my list. Whilst it suits Mr. Dawkins spurious agenda to highlight faith schools as divisive, the division of community is a deep and complex problem, and his opposition to faith schools is, or course, deeper and more complex. If his proposed atheist schools go ahead, will they be divisive?

During his Channel 4 programme he states, ‘these faith schools indoctrinate children’. He makes it sound like a wicked thing, to indoctrinate children. It is implied that we have no right to give children a view on the world, to tell them things are right or wrong. The manner in which he says it leaves us with the impression that we have all agreed that indoctrinating children is wrong.

On the subject of indoctrination, which I have thought about a lot because people like Mr. Dawkins would always accuse me of doing it, are you really convinced that non faith schools don’t indoctrinate children, about anything? That all teachers have no world view, no opinions, and pass on to the children pure, unadulterated, unbiased teaching on every subject. Please! Whatever areas children are exposed to there will always be an element of indoctrination, it’s unavoidable, and none of us have the privilege of a totally blank sheet.

In schools you often hear the phrase ‘the hidden curriculum’ this refers to things that are not written down, they are not in the year plan, not on the lesson plans, not in the text books but nevertheless are real and apply to the ethos, values and world view of the staff and administration, and will be evident and filtered down to the children.

I’ll give you a couple of examples, these are from my own experience with my own children, from two of their schools, and both were English grammar exercises, with the request to ‘re-write this sentence correcting grammar, spelling and punctuation.’

Sentence one – jesus went around doing good and healing the sick in irael for around 3 years.

Sentence two – when i got home from school i found my boyfriend john in bed with another girl

No hidden curriculum there then, and no indoctrination.

In my opinion, Richard Dawkins is a religious atheistic fundamentalist, and he wants to indoctrinate us all to his point of view. I strongly believe that he should have the right to try, but I know from my email post bag that there are those who share his view, who if they had the power, would not want to extend that right to me, they would, as one of them put it, ‘silence me’ if they could. I wonder why they do not want me to have the same right to speak out and indoctrinate and influence as they would want for themselves, and I, of course, want them to retain.

Adrian Hawkes
For Adrian’s Blog:
http://www.adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
20th August 2010
W. 732
Editor A. Brookes

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Asking the Wrong Questions

Asking the wrong questions

When you ask the wrong question of course you will not get the right answer.

How can the question be wrong, I hear you say.  Sometimes people just don’t think; let me show you what I mean.

London Evening Standard Tuesday 27th July 2010 P ippa Crerar says ‘I don’t want to find God to find a good school’.   It is, perhaps, a rhetorical question, and she goes on to say she doesn’t want to go to church to get her child into a good school, but she is obviously worried about the local schooling.

Here is a question that she doesn’t ask, and maybe she should, ‘Why are Christian schools or church schools better than the others?’  Answers could include; selection, size, and parental involvement.

Here however are some other answers, things that perhaps we don’t so easily come up with in our sound-bite, cynical age. How about a comprehensive world view, an understanding of a moral base, an insight into good and evil, an awareness of the essentials of not just ‘knowledge’ but ‘character’ and even more than that ‘wisdom’, where does that come from?

Interestingly, plans to set up atheist schools in the United Kingdom could soon be given the green light by the British government, or so it seems according to a report by Assist News July 29th 2010. It says:

Education Secretary Michael Gove says he is open to the idea as part of reforms to his department.

The move comes after high profile anti-faith campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins suggested the idea, Premier Radio said. Ann Widdecombe, the Former Home Secretary who is also a believer, “said it is not something that should be opposed.”

She told Premier Radio: “If you can set up faith schools, then I think quite obviously you must also be allowed to set up a school that will cater for people whose parents are bringing them up specifically to have no faith.”

Widdecombe added: “I think it is a great pity if somebody is brought up that way, but our job is to win those people over, not to look to the law to do it for us.”

It is interesting to think of atheists setting up schools, I am not aware of many hospitals, orphanages, opposition to injustice groups that they have set up so far.  Perhaps they do not understand the nature of thought, what we think is ultimately how we act, if I think I am an animal does it surprise anyone that I might act like one.  If I think there is no point to life, why should I care, why should I not be depressed and suicidal?  If I think it’s just all mechanical like one great machine, why not treat my fellow human beings like a cog in the wheel.  On the other hand if I think there is a law-giver, an ultimate reckoning day, and a purpose to my being here that will affect my thinking and my dealings with the rest of humanity.

John Newton, the famous reformed slave trader, preacher and hymn writer and of fairly recent film fame, captured the elemental truths of transformation when he penned “Amazing Grace.”  The International teacher and author, Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org) hits the nail on the head when he describes man as “lost and dead.” He explained, “Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He came to make DEAD people LIVE.”
I have met modern people like John Newton, I have a friend who was once a rebel fighter, he could list all the women, children and men he had killed, when I met him I thought he was a mad man.  Then he found God, bit of an easy cliché to say that, but when you see a messy life changed, new thinking found and actually death into life discovered you know the difference. The cynic and atheist can say all that they like, but I say, show me!   When you see their new concern for others, good citizenship, and a life that is progressive and enriched you know something special has taken place, there is this new passion for the life they now have.
Richard Dawkins said to me that he was more moral than me as I needed a God not to pillage and rape, kill and burn, murder and so on.   My answer was “good for you; you need to watch the news more.”
So maybe Pippa Crerar in her future journalism could ask some more questions as to why these schools that have God seem to have better education.  Ask the right questions!

Adrian Hawkes

For Adrian’s Blog

30th July 2010

Editor : A. Brookes

  1. W.784
  2. http://adrianhawkes.co.uk
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PCC FOSTERING AND CARE FOR REFUGEES.

PCC Fostering and care for Refugees.

Pauline was watching the news one day when she saw a clip about a Norwegian ship which had picked up a crowd of drowning refugees off the coast of Australia. The Australian government at the time would not allow them to land and some of them died.

Pauline was very angry about the injustice of it all and wanted to do something about it. To cut a long story short out of that event, with the support of Rainbow Churches, a new company was born called Phoenix Community Care Ltd (PCC). This company then began talking with the local authorities about the possibility of helping with refuges in the UK. We were welcomed with open arms as the need was and still is, great. In our area the Muslims were very supportive right from the beginning, they already had 9 homes, and they were incredibly helpful to us with advice on initial set up.

Ten years ago the PCC began work with its first home, decorated and donated by Carla Mayer. Ten years on we can house 30+ in our own properties with support workers caring for both 16 and 17 year old unaccompanied minors (young people in the UK without parents or guardians). We also care for 18+ year olds who are considered vulnerable, often young ladies escaping from war and rape situations. Alongside this we have added the housing and support care of those who have been in the care system but whom the authority deem not quite ready for total self-support.

Some years ago we recognised that foster care was also needed for youngsters in the country without parents, and after being registered as foster care agency, a long, complex and difficult process, we began to foster a young person of around 9 years old, who could not speak English and had been found by the Police after wandering around in a Supermarket for many hours, now happily placed with good foster parents by the PCC agency.

My cry is can you do something as well? Since the events surrounding Baby P and the latest child death recorded by Birmingham Social Services, social workers are unwilling to take any risks and at the time of writing there are some 4,000 children who need foster carers but for whom there is no foster carer. Could you volunteer? Could you be a foster carer? Many people want to but think they couldn’t do it, well you just might be able to. Usually our first question, as an agency, to a prospective foster carer is, have you got a spare room? That wasn’t a hard question was it? Well can you help? Please phone us on 020 8887 6888 and if not us there is probably another local agency or your local authority. To get a lot done all it needs is for a lot of good people do a little.

Adrian Hawkes
For the Insight Magazine
Editor: A. Brookes
28th July 2010
W.499

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Asking the wrong questions

When you ask the wrong question of course you will not get the right answer.
How can the question be wrong, I hear you say. Sometimes people just don’t think; let me show you what I mean.

London Evening Standard Tuesday 27th July 2010 Pippa Crerar says ‘I don’t want to find God to find a good school’. It is, perhaps, a rhetorical question, and she goes on to say she doesn’t want to go to church to get her child into a good school, but she is obviously worried about the local schooling.

Here is a question that she doesn’t ask, and maybe she should, ‘Why are Christian schools or church schools better than the others?’ Answers could include; selection, size, and parental involvement.

Here however are some other answers, things that perhaps we don’t so easily come up with in our sound-bite, cynical age. How about a comprehensive world view, an understanding of a moral base, an insight into good and evil, an awareness of the essentials of not just ‘knowledge’ but ‘character’ and even more than that ‘wisdom’, where does that come from?

Interestingly, plans to set up atheist schools in the United Kingdom could soon be given the green light by the British government, or so it seems according to a report by Assist News July 29th 2010. It says:

Education Secretary Michael Gove says he is open to the idea as part of reforms to his department.
The move comes after high profile anti-faith campaigner Professor Richard Dawkins suggested the idea, Premier Radio said. Ann Widdecombe, the Former Home Secretary who is also a believer, “said it is not something that should be opposed.”
She told Premier Radio: “If you can set up faith schools, then I think quite obviously you must also be allowed to set up a school that will cater for people whose parents are bringing them up specifically to have no faith.”
Widdecombe added: “I think it is a great pity if somebody is brought up that way, but our job is to win those people over, not to look to the law to do it for us.”

It is interesting to think of atheists setting up schools, I am not aware of many hospitals, orphanages, opposition to injustice groups that they have set up so far. Perhaps they do not understand the nature of thought, what we think is ultimately how we act, if I think I am an animal does it surprise anyone that I might act like one.

If I think there is no point to life, why should I care, why should I not be depressed and suicidal? If I think it’s just all mechanical like one great machine, why not treat my fellow human beings like a cog in the wheel. On the other hand if I think there is a law-giver, an ultimate reckoning day, and a purpose to my being here that will affect my thinking and my dealings with the rest of humanity.

John Newton, the famous reformed slave trader, preacher and hymn writer and of fairly recent film fame, captured the elemental truths of transformation when he penned “Amazing Grace.” The International teacher and author, Ravi Zacharias (www.rzim.org) hits the nail on the head when he describes man as “lost and dead.” He explained, “Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He came to make DEAD people LIVE.”

I have met modern people like John Newton, I have a friend who was once a rebel fighter, he could list all the women, children and men he had killed, when I met him I thought he was a mad man. Then he found God, bit of an easy cliché to say that, but when you see a messy life changed, new thinking found and actually death into life discovered you know the difference.

The cynic and atheist can say all that they like, but I say, show me! When you see their new concern for others, good citizenship, and a life that is progressive and enriched you know something special has taken place, there is this new passion for the life they now have.

Richard Dawkins said to me that he was more moral than me as I needed a God not to pillage and rape, kill and burn, murder and so on. My answer was “good for you; you need to watch the news more.”

So maybe Pippa Crerar in her future journalism could ask some more questions as to why these schools that have God seem to have better education.

Ask the right questions!

Adrian Hawkes
For Adrian’s Blog
30th July 2010
Editor : A. Brookes
W. 784

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