A friend recently forwarded a link to an article entitled, "Killing Babies, Compassionately: The Netherlands follows in Germany's footsteps." Written in an American political journal called the Weekly Standard (with which I'm otherwise not so familiar), the article raises some pretty serious concerns about Dutch medical policies -- most notably in regard to euthanizing babies with birth defects. And honestly, I don't know what to think of it. (Read the whole posting)My comment:
I read about the classification this Italian minister used. By comparing the Dutch policy with neo-nazist policies, he was "politically incorrect".Netherlands, ethics, euthanasia, politics, current issues
But labelling things like this, mutes all discussion and inhibits self-reflection. True, I don't have a high regard of Italian politics and the associated tone of populism.
However, let that not be an obstacle to really think about where we (Dutchmen) are standing.
Since people associate neo-nazism with everything that is evil, it is hard to recognize that some elements of our way of doing things are really not that different.
Many Dutchmen in this respect lack self-critique and self-knowledge.
They'd typically think it is 'humane' to keep a child from living a handicapped life. But what did social Darwinists think, and Nazis. Weren't they acting 'humanely'?
So rather than stumbling of the word 'nazism', we should reflect on how we (think we) value life. Whether this value is constituted by material and physical possession, or, whether life has an inherent worth. I firmly believe that it is the latter. Logically, the policies that stem from the inherent value of life would never allow for this particular policy.
But I am open for debate.
So I proudly present to you my renewed blog, with extra features, more links, personalised template, and... THREE columns! (Thanks to Thur's templates)
A new season, a new blog. Now I still need some inspiration for postings... But I'm excited... just like the kids in this video...*
*I finally found out how to embed videos in my postings!
blogging, three columns, template, blogger
String of Warm Winters Alarms 'Sentries for the Rest of the World'
By Doug Struck
Washington Post Foreign Service
PANGNIRTUNG, Canada -- Thirty miles from the Arctic Circle, hunter Noah Metuq feels the Arctic changing. Its frozen grip is loosening; the people and animals who depend on its icy reign are experiencing a historic reshaping of their world.
Fish and wildlife are following the retreating ice caps northward. Polar bears are losing the floes they need for hunting. Seals, unable to find stable ice, are hauling up on islands to give birth. Robins and barn owls and hornets, previously unknown so far north, are arriving in Arctic villages.
The global warming felt by wildlife and increasingly documented by scientists is hitting first and hardest here, in the Arctic where the Inuit people make their home. The hardy Inuit -- described by one of their leaders as "sentries for the rest of the world" -- say this winter was the worst in a series of warm winters, replete with alarms of the quickening transformation that many scientists expect will spread from the north to the rest of the globe.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
environment, climate change, Inuit, nature, Canada
blogging, daily life, fun
How many walls? How many walls will come down and how many walls will appear behind those walls? I crave for a better life, a more beautiful, a meaningful life. Sometimes I think I am within reach. The thought of new life fills me with warmth. A wall has come down.How am I today (twelve years later)?
Then I fall back, I do not see any meaning in my life. I find myself enclosed between walls again.
I am tired after a day of work. Yes, I am a working man! I am in the profession I wished for. Surely, this is not the best day of my life. True, I feel weak and sometimes I stumble. (I still have this strange habit to learn it the hard way.) But I have seen a crack in the wall and light is coming through. The walls are breaking down and behind every wall I expect to meet my saviour who is waiting for me.
I believe. Help my unbelief!daily life, hope, belief, depression, Jesus Saviour
Bush to Restate Terror StrategyI wonder how much military and financial capacity is left to start another 'preemptive' war...
2002 Doctrine of Preemptive War To Be Reaffirmed
President Bush plans to issue a new national security strategy today reaffirming his doctrine of preemptive war against terrorists and hostile states with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, despite the troubled experience in Iraq.
Go to Janes.com to read an interesting article about the US' imperial overstretch:
The USA remains the biggest military power in the world, but it is beginning to experience the classic symptoms of imperial fatigue.Bush, preemptive war, politics
Nee, dit gaat niet over het WK.
Goal! is een project voor jongeren die wat extra hulp kunnen gebruiken als het gaat om hun eigen ontwikkeling. Ze krijgen de kans om samen met een persoonlijke mentor hun mogelijkheden en vaardigheden te versterken. Deze jongeren spijbelen of gaan helemaal niet meer naar school. Ze willen aan het werk maar dat lukt niet. De draad uit zichzelf oppakken is vaak moeilijk. Zij missen een positief rolmodel waaraan ze zich kunnen spiegelen. Goal! koppelt een jongere aan een vrijwilliger die bij de jongere past.Het project loopt in Amsterdam. Ik denk dat het een goede manier is om mensen de mogelijkheid te geven zich int te spannen om jongeren aan een betere toekomst te helpen.
Amsterdam, jongeren, vrijwilligers
The theme was worship. We talked about worship as a reaction to longing and short-coming. The sermon was about how worship reflects our perceived shortcomings and our longings. In other words we tend to worship what we don't have and what we long for.
With fresh memories of the our elections on my mind, I couldn't help placing this subject in a political context. Since, people long for a better world, and, accuse the government or particular politicians of coming short. But truth be told, will a Christian or any other party make a better world?
To be quite honest, I don't think any party can save the world. Therefore, it would be wrong to ask Christians to put their faith in a political party, even if Christian. (Anyway, is a man ever good enough to bear the name of Christ, and, is a party ever good enough to call itself Christian?)
But I still believe that Christians should speak up for the poor, the defenseless and the abused, in every societal sphere, including the political. In the Netherlands we enjoy democracy, we get a vote. A vote is a means that God gave us, we don't need to work for it, nor do have to fight for it, so why wouldn't we use it?
politics, elections, Christianity, worship
Unfortunately ChristenUnie came short of 0,5% of the votes to win a seat in the City Council. But I know that someday Christians will be heard in City Council!
Anyway, 76 votes is still more than Jos Brink got (a famous Dutch TV host/44 votes). That sooths my disappointment...
gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, ChristenUnie, politics, Amsterdam
After all, the heavens that speak of God's greatness without words also stretch out over Buitenveldert. And if you are willing you might agree with me that Buitenveldert could well be the most earthly place in Amsterdam.
People say that there are beautiful houses in this neighbourhood. I should tell you two things. First, my taste is undisputed: the most beautiful house is the house of God. Second, I could not possibly know. As a guard of this car park I work underground. The shining sun, wirling winds, and, pouring rains, I fail to see. Instead I see, cars driving in and driving out in unending glaring fluorescent lights.
Early in the morning, when I am on my way to this place, I impress upon myself the 'outside'.
I delight in all weather conditions. This morning, the sun tried to break through the heavy clouds with all her strength. Now I wonder whether the sun shines over Buitenveldert or whether it is covered by heavy clouds. In an hour I will know.
My overground musings chase away the boredom and loneliness in my underground bunker. Alas, subservience seeks no comfort. But soon I will enjoy the good things in life.
I only work once a week. In the bunker my past week runs by like a long train of thoughts, beautiful things and deep worries.
The last couple of days I have seen the full moon while the sun was still setting, that was a beautiful thing... or I remember cycling along the river Amstel, along the parks and under the trees - I do not know their names but they wave just as gently in the soft wind.
Yesterday, it was beautiful to watch over the campus as I studied in the student restaurant: pouring rains, lashing rains smashing on the court yard. Today there was a sunbeam like a pin pricking though the clouds. And the whole week I have been hearing Spanish words in my head.
My worries: my enduring study, my father's health, my lack of discipline, my - sometimes - deaf left ear. But the beautiful things are more beautiful than the worries are worrying.
I have a colleague who loves Jazz. He leaves his CDs in the bunker. Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Matthieu Donarier Trio, John Lee Hooker. I am bored in the bunker, articles about constitutional structures in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania fail to grip my attention.
Then I invite her, a brother and a sister join us. First we hang little lanterns in the willow trees. We spread out the picknick cloth in a shady place on the dyke. We bring wine, a good one for dummies, Californian or South African? Beside the little ditch I read to her my poem. We watch the skies that glow like gold in the setting sun, and the heavens that speak without words.
That was my finest thought. But even this happiness is temporary. The last bird salutes the setting day. We groan under a swarm of mosquitoes. As the shadows grow longer, and, as it turns out to be cooler than it initially appeared, I think 'could it not last just a little bit longer?'. But we have to go on.
As a tree planted by the river, can only be one who is near God. He feeds me incessantly. The perfect day ends, the wirling swarms of mosquitos, the shaky cold, He gives me power to live, He teaches me.
Father let all my thoughts end with you. You are the end of all my thoughts, the end of my life, the end of this day and the end of the last day. No moment will endure forever, but your love reaches beyond death. I love you.
story, daily life, blogging, Amsterdam
On average, between 1 Januari 2006 and today, this page was downloaded 34 times a day, which adds up to an average of about 1000 downloads a month. My first post was 31 August 2005, however, I really became a blogger fanatic when I found out about Statcounter, 'a free yet reliable invisible web tracker'. Statcounter made blogging performance-based, which was just the incentive I needed.
I sometimes think back of the pre-blogging days, when I did not feel the urge to post and to share my life and my thoughts with a wider and virtual audience. In some respects even the blogging days without statcounter were better. I posted infrequently but I took better care for quality.
Perhaps therefore one of my best postings (according to some returning visitors) was from those blogging days. On 20 October 2005 I posted: "Buitenveldert (geschreven in de zomer van 2002)", which I had written in 2002. As a 'special treat' to the non-Dutch speaking world, I will translate this post into English.
blogging, daily life, Statcounter, addiction
Here is the distributor's description of the movie:
"Child of the commune" is a documentary film of director Maroesja Perizonius (32) about her personal experiences as a child in the movement of the Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. As a six-year old girl, Maroesja followed her mother's example and became a follower of Bhagwan. From that moment on, she had the Indian name, Ma Prem Chandra ('moon of love'), she wore a string of beads and dressed in red. Seven years later, her mother decided to sell her house and her belongings and move with Maroesja to the Amsterdam Bhagwan commune, where 240 followers lived. Some time later, Maroesja was separated from her mother. She went to a children's commune in England. In the film, Maroesja asks her mother how she looks back on that period and if she is aware that her daughter has not had a normal childhood.I see people caught up in systems; religious, economic and social. Sometimes it is so visible how sick our world is. In the process of self-seeking we forget about others, even our own children.
It is too easy to think that these people are naive. I am sure that each of us are caught in a multiple of weird systems. As a Christian, I must beware of religious systems. But as a consumer, I am also caught in a sin loaded economic system which causes millions to suffer and leads to lethal environmental degradation.
Belief in Christ sets me free from sins and sinful systems. I do not deny the fact that my reactions to that belief could very well make it in just another fallible human system.
Actually, the very fact that I am talking in terms of systems and structural wrongs, makes me - in political scientists' terms - a neo-marxist analyst...
Osho, sects, religion, documentary, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Instructions: Use the picture you like best from the first (no clicking around for 44 pages) page of the search results on Google Image, and then answer the following questions.
1. The city and state of the town you grew up, no quotation marks.
(Actually, there were so many beautiful pictures of Leiden it was hard to choose)
2. The town where you currently reside.
(Or should I have chosen the picture of a guy smoking a joint?)
3. You name, first and last, but again, no quotes. (I really need to get on the web!)
4. Your grandmother's name.
(I may have misspelled my Grandmother's name...)
5. Your favorite food.
(Maybe I have the wrong taste.)
6. Your favorite drink. (Beamish is my favourite beer, and, also a town in Ireland)
7. Your favorite smell.
(My favourite smell is that of rain after a dry season)
(I really do not know what my favourite song is, but 'lili marleen' came to mind.)
8. Your favorite song.
blogging, daily life, Amsterdam, Leiden
(...) I'm not saying here that everyone should try to become the prime-minister / president, but I am saying that, as a christian, you should at least use every opportunity to make a difference in the society you're trying to reach out to. Voting is one of them. Interestingly enough, that opportunity hasn't been around for a very long time. In fact, an open window of opportunity for Christians to influence national policy has been extremely throughout all of history. Christians throughout all of history would have sacrificed a lot to make use of such an opportunity. (...)
Anyway it is time to move forward now. Some projects I am involved in at this moment are:
- PARTNERS (research on public-private partnerships in global environmental governance)
- The Abraham Kuyper Society (studying the relation between science and christian faith)
- Solis (helping to achieve economic sustainablity in developing communities)
- Perspectief Amsterdam (ChristenUnie's youth organisation)
- Starting a new home group at Zolder 50 (my Church)
Apart from that I think I should also strive for rest and peace. One verse that often think of is 'be still and know that I am God'. Even more important than 'doing things', is to find peace and rest with God.
politics, daily life, Abraham Kuyper, ChristenUnie, Zolder50
I am dissappointed. Nevertheless, I believe that God has other ways to bless this city. And I ask for His blessing for the elected parties. I pray that they will speak for the poor and the opressed and that they will strive for social justice.
Sometimes I wonder how God will awaken this city. But He is wiser than I am. And I will trust in Him.
|Verkiezingen gemeenteraad en stadsdeelraden||dinsdag 7 maart 2006|
Op dinsdag 7 maart 2006 zijn de verkiezingen voor de gemeenteraad en de stadsdeelraden. De ChristenUnie doet mee voor de gemeenteraad en in stadsdeel Zuidoost.
Niet vergeten: vandaag stemmen voor gemeenteraad en stadsdeelraad!
De stembureaus zijn open vanaf ‘s morgens 7.30 uur tot ’s avonds 21.00 uur. Enne, er zijn geen rode potloden meer: er wordt gebruik gemaakt van stemcomputers.
Bij de vorige verkiezingen kwamen we zo’n 1.000 stemmen tekort voor een zetel in de centrale gemeenteraad. Dus we hebben een ieder van u hard nodig, biddend en werkend. Zoals ook Nehemia’s medestanders de muren weer herbouwden van Jeruzalem, zo zouden wij graag in afhankelijkheid van Hem, de geestelijke en morele muren willen herbouwen om de stad Amsterdam. Doet u mee?
De verkiezingen zijn op dinsdag omdat woensdag 8 maart Biddag voor Gewas en Arbeid is.
Er lijkt zowel in de politiek als in de samenleving een consensus te heersen dat alles maar moet kunnen, zolang we maar geen last van elkaar hebben. Zo vinden veel mensen het goed dat verslaafden gratis heroïne en cocaïne verstrekt krijgen zodat zij ons niet lastig vallen. Bovendien geldt 'eenmaal verslaafd altijd verslaafd' dus kunnen we net zo goed onze verslaafden opgegeven en laten gebruiken tot zij er aan bezwijken. Maar God geeft geen mensen op! Hij was zelfs bereid tot het uiterste te gaan om mensen te bevrijden van hun verslavingen.
Niet alleen aan drugs zijn vele Amsterdammers verslaafd, ook prostitutie, kansspelen, etc. zijn grote boosdoeners. Onze economie is ondertussen voor een groot deel afhankelijk geworden van drugs en prostitutie. Dat is niet normaal, al doen sommigen dat zo overkomen, en dat mag niet normaal worden!
De armoede neemt toe. En terwijl de collegepartijen beweren dat het wel meevalt met de armoede, zijn er duizenden mensen aangewezen op voedselbanken. Dit is en mag geen Chistelijke politiek heten, want Jezus brak het brood en gaf aan de menigte totdat zij verzadigd waren.
Dit zijn maar enkele van vele punten waarom Christenen nodig zijn in de politiek. Ik zal de laatste zijn om te beweren dat er geen andere partijen zijn die - in ieder geval op papier - sociaal en rechtvaardig beleid voeren. Ook zal ik niet beweren dat er ook maar één partij is die het verdient om de naam van Christus te dragen. Maar ik weet zeker dat Gods zegen rust op wie hem liefhebben. Ik heb ervaren dat de ChristenUnie een partij is die bewogen wordt door de liefde van God. Ik stem ChristenUnie zodat deze partij een licht mag zijn in deze stad en in de politiek. Ik vraag je niet onverschillig te staan en jouw stem ook te laten gelden!
gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, Amsterdam, 7 maart, ChristenUnie, politiek, Joel Voordewind, armoede, rechtvaardigheid
In Amsterdam politics, as well as in our society, there seems to exist a consensus that everything must be allowed, as long as it causes no nuisance to us.
Many people therefore think it is perfectly OK to provide free heroine and cocaine to drug addicts, as long as they (the addicted) cause no problems. Furthermore, many believe that once someone is addicted, he or she cannot change. They reason that it is better to give it up and let them use until they die. But God does not give up up on people. He persevered until He died on the Cross, just to free people from every possible addiction.
Drugs are not the only problem in Amsterdam. Our city is known for prostitution, gambling etc. Our economy has become dependent on drugs and prostitution. This is not normal, although some contend this, and this should not be normal!
Poverty is on the rise. While the parties in government pretend that it is not so bad, thousands are dependent on food distribution. This is not Chistian politics, consider the fact that Jesus broke bread and gave it to the people as much as they needed.
These are only a few reasons why politics need Christians. I understand that there are other parties who aim at good social and equitable policies. I also would not say that there is any party good enough to be called 'Christian'. However, I am convinced that God blesses those who love him. I know that ChristenUnie is motivated by God's love. I vote ChristenUnie because I believe ChristenUnie will be a light in Amsterdam and in Amsterdam politics.
I encourage you to care for this city, and, that you let your voice be heard!
gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, Amsterdam, 7 March, ChristenUnie, politics, Joel Voordewind, elections, social justice
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Jesus Christ,God,Who is God,evangelism,
'Rapid Warming' Spreads Havoc in Canada's Forests -
Tiny Beetles Destroying Pines
By Doug Struck, Washington Post, Wednesday, March 1, 2006; Page A01
QUESNEL, B.C. -- Millions of acres of Canada's lush green forests are turning red in spasms of death. A voracious beetle, whose population has exploded with the warming climate, is killing more trees than wildfires or logging.
Click here for the full article.