Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Feminism vs Humanism

I don't understand feminism.

I simply don't.

I learned yesterday that History is a mostly male dominated thing. Written by men, about men, for men! Chauvenistic pigs. How dare they have a primitive culture to us!

But feminists seem to applaud anything to do with female and femininity, anything vaguely woman related, we should push for. Which always comes across to me as positive discrimination.

To me it's a huge turn off. So when we use the criteria of gender and power to determine whether we should watch a film, or read a book, I do question whether "feminism" is the model of equality or equity with which we laud it.

I've been trying to brush up on what exactly feminism is. They say it is about equality first off, as a loose sort of definition. But why call it feminism? Why not humanism? "Fem" = Female = Woman. So already it sets a distinction and puts women apart. Men can be feminists we're told, feminism is all encompassing, but feminism appears to exist solely for the glorification, promotion and appeasement of women.

Another site suggests that feminism is actually quite distinct to equality. It talks about our patriarchal culture and that women have to live up to male ideals to be equal in the world. One feminist writes men live and work in a brutal world surrounded by sexism and ritual practices. Well that's sexist for a start. And it also assumes that's what men wants. It sums up with this lovely phrase:

The equalist debate is one way of preserving patriarchy, whereas feminism seeks to give power to women on their own terms – not mens. This is why I am a feminist, not an equalist.

I get this. I really do. It actually works out that we are different, men and women are different, and women shouldn't compete with men. Quite why I need to promote women specifically Im not sure.

But why are feminists drawing the line there? For some men, the male dominated patriarchal world is absurd. So why should men have to compete with women in a female dominated world?

"Im a feminist and believe in gender equality". Well, why not call yourself a gender neutralist instead?

Sarah Jessica Parker has said she's a humanist because she supports the LGBT people to be able to carve out their niches in this world. But why is it all these groups vs men? Have they got a problem with men? What about the men who are actually more sensitive than you possibly give them credit for?

Whoever we are, woman, man, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, whatever race, religion, why do we need one advocate, one expression of thought - in this case feminism, to promote one subset of society? I think we've got the whole thing ass backwards.

Another site says

"The reason why it’s called feminism while advocating for gender equality is because females are the gender that are the underprivileged, underserved gender," Shives says in his video response. "You attain gender equality by advocating for the rights of the underprivileged gender."

So our focus is on the underprivileged gender. But what about those underpriveleged people in the privileged gender? Do you just forget about them, because in feminism, we are creating a class distinction?

So I will not identify as a feminist, until one of them identifies as a simonist, someone who works for the promotion and liberation of all and the exclusion of none.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We're Busy Too

One of my pet hates, is when someone says "Im Busy" when trying to organise something.

I don't discredit the fact that someone is genuinely doing something, but it doesn't seem that difficult to look through your calendar and find a mutual date and time that works for both. Yes I realise that it can happen that you may actually have a full calendar, but saying "Im busy" to me, is just saying "You're such a low priority in my life, Im not going to even look at my calendar".

I do get the impression though from time to time that some other people, mainly those with children, families, partners - seem to think that us single people, have a load of expendable time.

Just because we don't have a family to spend time on, doesn't mean we're not busy ourselves. Some of us may work two jobs, volunteer, they might have to work longer hours, train for their job. We have no one to share the burden with, we have no one to do our cooking, shopping, washing and cleaning. We have to organise all our own appointments. We may be the ones caring, looking out for others, we may have other commitments you don't realise. Though we're isolated, sometimes it's not by choice. Sometimes we wouldn't mind sharing a nice home cooked meal. Perhaps there's something we can do for you? Let me just look through my calendar? Im busy for the next two weeks. But how about three weeks on Friday?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fedora vs Windows 10

Well I've been running Fedora on my works laptop for a few years. I actually found it quicker to install Linux and install Windows 7 inside a KVM/QEMU (Virtual) system than to install Windows 7 and install VirtualBox and Fedora under that!

Linux has been stable, reliable, it's allowed me to be king of domains and DNS lookups with the dig command. It's been fantastic.

But, and here is where I must point out my current wishlist. Even at Fedora 22, it creaks in the following areas which has now made it unsuitable for work.

1) QXLDOD - the WDDM Video Driver needed for Windows 8 and above. Windows 8 changed the driver technology, and there was no stable driver for Windows 8 unless you wanted a fixed size VGA screen. Finally QXLDOD is available which provides some functionality, but it's still nowhere near being as good as the QXL driver that was available for Windows 7. The old QXL driver would resize the Virtual Guest Screen in accordance with the Virtual Guest Windows. Brilliant! QXLDOD, we're still waiting. This actually isn't good enough for business. I know Fedora isn't aimed at Business, but sort that, and you have me stay!
2) Multi Touch Screen Support - Im not going into all the details, but essentially touch screens don't work properly even in Fedora 22. Fedora totals up all the screen sizes, so if you have three screens side by side all of say 1920 pixel width, that's 5760 total screen area width. What you then have to do is use xrandr and xinput commands and run through a few calculations eg 5760/1920 = touch screen width, and other similar calculations to work out the offset. That this is not supported out of the box is frankly laughable. Ubuntu can do it, but not Fedora.
3) Multi Head Virtualisation - So now I have my multiple screens, I can't however have two video heads for a guest output. Come on! This should be basic!
4) Bridge Network - Finally, despite following all the guides out there, I still can't get bridged networking working properly. I add a Bridge in NetworkManager, it just does not pick up a DHCP address. I need Bridge Network for my guest OS's in KVM/QEMU. Im still not inclined to switch off NetworkManager now, otherwise I lose my wireless.

So sadly, rather than muddle around and fudge things, Im off to Windows 10.

Hopefully one day I shall return to Fedora.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Fragmented Church

I used to think that one of the greatest evils, was homogenisation. I could sense that we were being homogenised in society to think the same, act the same, look and talk the same through laws and even human rights. If someone had a different view to the left, then you're a bigot.

Quite frankly, I like the fact that we're all different, with different skills. I like going to different parts of the world and experiencing a different culture. We are one body, with different functions. Wouldn't things be boring if we were all the same!

However, as a Christian, I am beginning to sense that a bigger problem, is fragmentation.

There is the attitude often given, that you don't need to go to Church to be a Christian and you certainly don't need to be there every Sunday. You can be the salt and light where you are. There are alternative services during the week, so why is Sunday so important? Are you separate from the body if you don't go to Church on a Sunday?

In my last post, I touched on how one of the great things about Christianity is its relational aspect. For one, I love and adore the fellowship with the body. It's where I get charged and energised, it's where others help me learn and grow and where I can help others.

In the old days - and maybe I just view it through rose tinted lenses as a kid at that time, but it seemed there was more emphasis on family and togetherness. The week was for working, the weekend was for catching up with friends and family. There was very little Sunday working.

But now I see the permeation of the 24/7 culture, increased shift work, night shits, different patterns of work, weekend work, sunday working. Shops and services have to be open longer to service the needs of other people. This is a trend that will continue to get worse as our consumption and expectation that we have the right to an available service 24/7. Resources and staff will be spread too thinly to cover all permutations. That will have a knock on effect. If someone has to work at unsociable hours, they will start demanding something they need at other unsociable hours.

At some point, I can envisage our Churches being open 24/7, having to turn into mega Churches so that those who want to come can come any time they want so it fits into THEIR lifestyle (in other words, Church or Jesus comes some way down the list of priorities).

But what's happening here is that our jobs with irregular patterns of work, are carving up our regular patterns of worship, family, andhobbies.

Life is about people. This fragmentation will seriously inhibit our ability to make meaningful connections with other people and achieve the fruit from what comes of a blossoming and loving friendship.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Relational Christianity

One of the most intriguing things that has grasped my attention recently in my Christian faith, is the concept and important of Community. As a single person, it gives me a unique experience into the struggles people can have, and without my singleness, I would not have found other voice who feel lonely and isolated yet welcomed and accepted by their Church.

My bible study and reading over the years has given me a model of Christian living that is rich in community, showing itself in fellowship, support, care and love for on another, in strong bonds of friendship that should be some of the closest we have in our lives.

We have a relationship with God through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are reconciled to him, therefore, as I've said a few times before, we should be reconciled to each other. We are interconnected as one body, there is neither Jew nor Gentile, we are the same in Christ, no division, no barriers. If one of us hurts, we all hurt!

As Jesus said, a new commandment I give you, to love on another.

But how do we go about loving on another if we don't spend the time to get to know one another and walk with each other.

Let me start off by giving you a break down of a typical week.

A week is 7 days, or 168 hours. A typical breakdown of our week, may be as follows:

Work - 5 Days at 8 hours - that's 40 hours, or 24% of our week.
Travel for work, lets say again 5 days and 2 hours, 10 hours in total or 6% of our week
Sleep: 7 Days at 8 hours a day, or 56 hours - 33% of our week

63% of our week is taken up on working, getting to work and sleep.

Lets allow an hour a day for eating, 7 hours in total, or 4%.

That's now 67%

We have 33%, or 56 hours to divide amongst our other things. Shopping, Friends, Family, Socialising, Reading, Scripture Study, other Study, Extra Work, Prayer, Relaxation, Housework, Paperwork

We typically spend two hours a week in Church - if that. That works out to be 1% of our week, or 3.5% of our remaining time. Actually if you take off the time of the worship and concentrate just on the fellowship before and after, it's more like half an hour we spend in genuine fellowship, 0.3% of our week, 0.9% of our spare time - if we even turn up at all. How comfortable are we spending less than 1% of our time in fellowship with other believers?

If we're honest with ourselves, the vast majority of us probably spend very little time in fellowship, in deep friendship with our fellow Christians. Doing a break down like this actually makes me think in some respects Im being unfair - it is difficult to cram in every single responsibility we need to do in life into our week. But could we perhaps prioritise better, cut out the crud, amalgamate the unnecessary, organise better, kill two birds with one stone, and rely on the kindness of others?

Ok, we only have 56 hours left in our week, but if our Church priority is so far down the pecking order, is it any wonder our Church relationships suffer? I feel compelled to write in my next post about why this issue is occuring and look at the issue of fragmentation in our social and Church life which is holding back our progress on Church and fellowship, but for now, lets keep this to relationships.

I love my Church friends. But there is heartache when I realise that all I get to see is a glimpse of them for less than 1% of my week. I see cards, and gifts going around, invites to social events, and feel even more alone and isolated.

I simply like spending quality time with my fellow Christians who I love, getting to know them, learn from them, understand them, building a relationship, friendship, growing community and doing what I can to help, care, love, support, lighten the load and offer prayer when needed. Christianity is relational. As we have a relationship with Christ, so we should have a strong relationship with each other. We have a duty to create connections with each other. Maybe then we can find people willing to lend a hand, help us on our way, support us and encourage us. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

NHS Waste

It is starting to drive me mad everytime I see a Facebook post talking about what the Conservatives are doing to the NHS by signing the biggest privatisation deals in history.

Well no. Not really.

Its a collection of 11 deals with the biggest one at £240 million, at only half of the cost of the £500 million Virgin Care service. And the deal only brings in outside contractors. It does not privatise any section of the NHS. It is not being sold off.

Of course, total all the PFI contracts for hospital building signed under the previous Labour government, where were the complainers then? Where were these liberals complaining about privatisation?

"The high cost of hospitals built under PFI is forcing service cuts at neighbouring hospitals built with public money. For example, overspending at the PFI-funded Worcestershire Royal Hospital has put a question mark over services at neighbouring hospitals"

Anyhow. Until these people agree that there are savings to be made in the NHS and it can be more efficient, then I will continue to disagree that they deserve more money.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All Inclusiveness

I was going to label this post, "Equality", but how about All Inclusiveness instead.

I've been reading this week on Feminism jargon from the likes of Emma Watson and something about Iceland and equal rights. There's a lot going on there, but there's still something that rubs me up the wrong way.

In the name of equality, we ascribe labels to groups and talk about what they do and do not have and what we must do to get that group equality. But then we splinter this group even further when part of that group doesn't agree with the nuances of the other part of the group.

It's quite amusing as a man seeing a group of women bickering amongst themselves about how feminism should work and calling each other names!

It's actually not amusing at all, it's quite sad.

At Church, it sometimes saddens me when I hear about all the different groups and activities for the different sections of community, There are groups targeted for children, for families, for women, for the elderly, for practically every single group.

The Church of England in Birmingham is pushing forward a "Growing Younger" campaign to encourage more families to attend Church. But Church should apply to everyone! Why do we need specific policies and agendas - to attract specific groups, I get it. But being someone who falls outside of these groups makes me feel lost and isolated, in some respects not wanted.

How do we break down these isolationist, cliquey groups, into a system of All Inclusiveness? "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus". Are we truly living out this in the context of our lives? How do we truly love our neighbour as ourselves? How do we truly recognise that we are all reconciled to God, and if we are reconciled to God, then we are reconciled to each other?

How do we respond to those on the outside of established groups? Do we wait for them to make the first move, or do we drag them into the middle kicking and screaming?

There is something pushing me towards breaking down barriers and getting to know, love and care for people irregardless of gender, race, age, sexuality or anything else.