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Sad

I was in Bondi today. I saw the sign below.” Equality” was “NO WAY”

Ok, so this sign was actually referring to the debate we have right now in Parliament with regards to same sex marriage, but the word really doesn’t say that, it is just implied or assumed.

I think it is really sad, that one word, which expresses that we the poster wants everybody to be treated equally, not just gays seeking marriage, but the concept that “All men are created equal” , therefore deserve to be treated equally can be disputed. It is not just gay people who are treated differently in Australia. It is the disabled, it is the asylum seekers, it is women, it is people who have different colour skin, earn less money, etc etc.

Where do people get off thinking that their own ideology, their skin colour or sexual orientation is any better than someone else’s. Someone doesn’t agree with you? they are not as worthy as you of such privileges that your life deserves. I’m sorry, but that makes me sad.20171102_132450

 

The second sign I saw was a stencil (after Banksy). Lest we forget 1788.

This of course refers to the colonisation of Australia. When Captain Cook declared this country as belonging to England. Did they ask the indigenous people whether they could stay. No. Did they perhaps compensate the aboriginals for land taken, as one would do when they buy land. NO, Not that the aboriginals had a choice to sell it anyway. English Settlers used to abhor squatters who would live off their land, rent free, using the resources without paying. Truth be told, the settlers were squatters themselves. The English sent people to Australia from Britain for stealing as little as a loaf of bread. What sentence did they get for stealing a country?

My family arrived after the first settlers, so I, and many like me are not to blame for what happened over 200 years ago. We live in an enlightened time though, when we can look back and say, ” the way the aboriginal people were treated was wrong”. Saying sorry now does not admit wrong from my family, but we can say that we are sorry that this happened. We can try and make recompense and ensure it never happens again.

Other countries can’t poke a finger and say it was terrible what happened. It happened to so many countries in the world. The British, French, Portuguese, Spanish and others invaded lands and claimed that land as their own without consulting the people that were already there.

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I dont have legs to march in protest rallies, but I have fingers which can type, and a heart that can feel. I will not be silenced until we have equality. Jesus said Love One Another. Lets start now.

Dave

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A house divided… Conversations at Curlow Creek

I have chosen this blog as my best critical blog for this course.  I believe it provides an accurate representation of what occurs in the novel, and highlights some ambiguities and metaphors which are cleverly used by David Malouf. By the way, David wouldn’t speculate on the ending of the book either. This is after all, a fiction book, isn’t it?

 

Conversations at Curlow Creek is a novel set in the early days of the colony of NSW by David Malouf. The novel that talks of an officers duties to hang Daniel Carney, a bushranger. Prior to the hanging though, he spends a night in a cottage with the prisoner. The novel is of the conversations between the two.

The Officer, Adair, is of two minds. It is not only a moral paradox that he has but a personal one. Adair has come to Australia not merely to be a trooper, but to find his lost step-brother, who has reportedly become a bushranger in NSW. It seems that the head of the bushranger gang  that the condemned man was a part of, could possibly be Fergus, the lost sibling; although the name being used by the leader was Dolan.

No conclusion is reached about the true identity of the gang leader. Adair had not resolved the matter. At the same time, the enemy had become known, and perhaps loved.  Adair and Carney have many parallels in their lives. Both grew up in Ireland and both were orphans.  The difference comes in the opportunities presented to Adair as a boy. he was taken in by a friend of the mother, whom he had never known, and educated by a landowner who took an interest in the lad.

So it is that Adair builds a rapport with Carney. It is with a heavy heart that he must carry out his duties to hang the man. He allows him to wash in the creek, to prepare himself for death, and is reminded of a dream that he has in a moments sleep during the night. He wants the man to feel comfort in his death and provides him with hot tea.

No man can serve two masters, Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Adair is in a dilemma. He must remain true to himself, his heritage and do in his heart what is right, or obey those who have employed him and provide his wages.

The last page of the epilogue tells us of Adair breaking and eating bread. This reminded me of the communion celebration in the Catholic church. One is not able to partake of the communion without first seeking reconciliation with God through the forgiveness of sin. Has Adair then forgiven himself for the sin that was committed? Is the sin committed that of taking another’s life, by way of hanging, as was his duty? Or was his supposed sin allowing the escape of Carney, and therefore the sin is against the community and authorities that have hired him to do the job? The issues remain unresolved. I hope to ask the questions of David Malouf when our class meets with him in two weeks time.

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Inside Out, seeing through someone else’s eyes

I was asked to submit to a social justice awareness competition at my Uni. I could not stop at one cause. I submitted these 3 photos with the commentary to appeal to people to look through another’s eyes before judging and to feel some compassion. Maybe these will touch the heart of someone with the ability to make a difference, whether that be a person with the financial ability to help, or someone with the right contacts to make a change in the way governments and leaders see things.

Is it right to ask you, as I normally do, to enjoy this post?

Dave

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I saw this site and took the photo during the Syrian Crisis, when people were dying and buildings being blown up. This site reminded me of Syria. Sometimes people who don’t understand, tell immigrants to go home. With this photo, I hope to open their eyes. Sometimes immigrants have no home to go back to. The war rages still in Syria. Many millions displaced. Will we show compassion and offer a home to the homeless?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

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Freedom, so close

I took this photo to represent the plight of asylum seekers who are in detention, not only in Manus Island or Nauru, but also community detention centres right here in Sydney. Having endured the bombs, death and terror of war in their destructed homelands, they risk everything to come to a new land, where they hope they can find freedom and enjoy the dignity that should be afforded to every human being. Instead they are treated like animals, kept in detention for an indefinite period. They are so close to freedom, but so far.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25

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Feed me

I sat down on the pavement next to a young homeless person. He said to me: “I watch people with bags from expensive brand name stores. They walk past and turn their noses up at me. Even though they wear their fancy clothes, they are poor. Sometimes I think I am richer than they are”.

I was with some people in a group a week later. A man was complaining about homeless people looking at him eating in a restaurant and that they shouldn’t be allowed on the street like that. I asked him if he thought the street person looked bad, how do you think you look from his point of view, when he is sitting on the ground.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25

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TRANSCENDENTALISM IN AMERICAN LITERATURE

The American writers who coined the term transcendentalism were of the belief that one has more to learn from one’s connection with the earth, and nature, than in schools or books. These writers were anti-establishment, and therefore anti capitalist in thought.

Related image   Image result for thoreau

Studying Emerson’s “Nature” and “Self Reliance”  reminded me of the following story. It is a story that asks the question: Why is money so important?

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An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos.  I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Our capitalist society builds the reliance on money. Where does it takes us. Jesus said “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his soul?” When we strive after money and things, we can sell our own soul. We can give up that which is important to us.

I can bring back here the question of if colonisation was good for the native people of a land. People seemed content with what they have, until they are told they can have more, better, faster, stronger things. How often do you update your mobile phone? Native people who are not westernised, are content until the west interferes.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson and Thoreau ask us to be individual. To have our own thoughts and ideas, to forget what has come before and reinvent new ways to do things. But is anything original anymore? Emerson and Thoreau were of the same school as Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth before them. Blake became disillusioned with his mentor/pastor Swedenborg, but Emerson and Thoreau embraced the man’s teachings; primarily because Swedenborg was also against establishments, particularly organised religion.

We should all think for ourselves. If one is to follow Jesus, it should not because others have told you that is the correct things to do, but that you have a personal revelation; you discover for yourself that a Messiah is for you.

One person in Australian culture from the 80’s that was truly an individual who thought for himself was Mark (Jacko) Jackson.

Jacko called himself “A genuine original”. I am sure that nobody would argue with that.

This post is my attempt to put a little fun and interest into what is a dry topic in literature. I hope you have enjoyed it, and it has gone a little way to helping you understand transcendentalism.

Dave

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Face of Christ

Acrylic on Paper. Template for a large oil.

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The Lamb and the Tyger, William Blake. John Tavener.

The poem called the Lamb by William Blake was first written in his collection of works called Book of Innocence. This book later became part of Songs of Innocence and Wisdom.

The book shows the benefit of Naivety and Experience. This was highlighting another aspect of the teachings of William Blake. Contraries. Without Innocence, wisdom would have no use. The overcoming of innocence brings wisdom and experience.

The trick is to get the balance right. We need to remain innocent in some aspects. For example, I have no experience of drug taking, nor do I ever want any. I don’t think I would benefit from taking drugs of any kind at all . But at the same time, I have benefited by the experience of others in this area. I have seen what drugs do to people and desire to remain innocent of ever doing it myself.

The Lamb poem was mirrored in the  Songs of Wisdom, by The Tyger. On one hand, you have the innocence of the Lamb, who knows nothing and is happy to go about life just…being. The Tyger however is manipulative, always looking for opportunities to devour those not as smart as himself. Blake sees the Tyger as evil and cruel. But the Tyger cannot exist without the Lamb. If there were no innocent created, the Tyger would not have anything or anyone to prey upon.

Blake also reminds us in the poem, the Tyger, that the Tyger was made by the same hands who made the Lamb. Good and evil by one hand. Since the bible tells us that all things are created by God (John Chapter 1), then God made good and evil alike. Without Evil, there is no good, or we wouldn’t be able to discern between the two.

Such a paradox for one, such as me, who always thought that all good came from God and all evil came from Satan.

I have been contemplating this since studying William Blake this last semester (semester 2, 2016) when I studied Blake at University. It was again brought to my mind when we sang The Lamb (words by William Blake, Music by John Tavener) on the Australian Catholic University Choir tour to Rome.

John Tavener obviously studied the poem and its context well before writing the music for this  a Capella piece. The song starts off with the purity of a soprano line, and is joined in along the way by alto, tenor and bass sections. The soprano is beautiful but haunting as the singers ask… “Little Lamb who made thee? dost thou know who made thee?”

As the different sections are added, you can hear the discords or the clash of notes between two or more sections. In some parts the clash is quite pronounced as natural notes come against sharps, which are sung at the same time as flats. It really is confusing for a singer. The timing also is varied throughout the song, as is the volume. But in the end, it all comes together , when the child says…”I’ll tell you who made thee… he is called by your name”. From  then on harmonies bland well, united under one God. It truly is a remarkable piece of music. Copyright prevents me from sharing the written music with you, but here is a YouTube clip from King’s College, Cambridge of the song so you can hear the discord harmonies for yourself.

enjoy.

Dave


“The Lamb”
from Songs of Innocence

Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed.
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing wooly bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:
Little Lamb who made thee
Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb I’ll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

“The Tyger”
from Songs of Experience

Tyger Tyger. burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes!
On what wings dare he aspire!
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water’d heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger, Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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2016, The year that was.

 

This year has been one where I have focused mainly on my studies, with work and relationships thrown in. It has been a year of accomplishments.

In January, one of my paintings was chosen for 2 special exhibitions representing the best of works for students of art at ACU. While this was not a sale opportunity, the recognition of my work made me feel wonderful.

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So too I felt wonderful when one of my photos won the National Photo Competition with the theme of The Year of Mercy.mercy

My University results have been consistently high. I achieved 2 High distinctions this year in Communications. I received distinctions in Sculpture and Literature, and credits for all other subjects.

 

The Strathfield choir had a change of Music Directors this year, with the introduction of the wonderful Claire Mc Fadden. We sang at many concerts and masses, including a special one for the Sisters of Mercy in North Sydney. We sang a suspice for Catherine McKellar which had never been sung before. It was written by Mr Graham Press, who also wrote several other pieces that we sang this year. It was a pleasure working with Graham as a guest of Claire. Peter Kneeshaw also worked with us as accompanist.I was also involved in the Australian Catholic University National Choir, singing as a bass. We had a masterclass in July, then met briefly before going to Rome to sing.20161202_185501

 

The trip to Rome was incredible. We sang 3 concerts and rehearsed together well. We bonded closely under the baton of Fay. It was incredible how so many singers from three or four different local choirs were able to sing together so well. We had some very special people listening to one concert including Cardinal George Pell and the Ambassadors to both Italy and the Holy See (Vatican City).

Mid-year I had to change cars. The Tarago which had served me well for the last few years finally died, and I bought a Mazda MPV. I like this vehicle but it loves petrol too much, and I fear I will need to change again purely for economy reasons very soon._20

 

I have had a few health issues this year but overall, I think I had a better year health-wise. I did manage to split my head open in Rome, but that did not stop me from enjoying myself, and I now have a ‘Harry Potter’ style scar in the middle of my forehead.

 

I continue my work as a Mystery Shopper for three different companies, and have just been employed by two more. Hopefully that will bring me enough income for me to continue my studies and living in Earlwood. I have done it tough this year, at times wondering where my next meal was coming from. Thankfully, I have friends who were quick to lend me an extra dollar until payday, and others who shared a meal with me.

Besides still having contact with Mission Australia, this year saw me do a volunteer placement with The Big Issue magazine. I loved working in the office and meeting some of the vendors and other volunteers. I was invited to share a Christmas Lunch with them and had a great time.20161215_152717

 

I am also still volunteering at Polly’s, doing the photography at the drag shows and dances, however I missed a few due to choir commitments and illness.

Sam and I are still enjoying each other’s company, but with both of us working multiple jobs, our time together is precious. Sam was granted Citizenship this year and is just waiting for a date so he can attend a ceremony to get his certificate and passport. We intend to take a week off later in 2017 to go to Thailand to visit some friends there.20161122_134614

Christmas was a quiet event. I sang carols at the university chapel on Christmas eve, and shared lunch with a wonderful mentor Br. Jude and his community.

I have neglected meet up groups recently as I spend more time concentrating on my studies. I do hope to become more involved next year as I find it a good distraction from the busyness of Uni and the stresses of everyday life.

2017 will see me continue with my studies, and I will finish my BA in November. I am starting a Diploma of Languages next week and will study Italian. This will help with any future tours to Rome with the choir and with the pronunciation of Latin and Italian words in some of the songs we sing.

I am also looking to do a course on editing and proofreading at TAFE to help me look for work in the literary world. I have applied to audition with the Christian Arts company Artes Christe and hope to perform with them when I can as well.

 

 

 

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Mother Teresa

Blunt HB pencil on paper. Not for Sale, sorry I did it for a dear friend.

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Blake, Contraries, and the modern day.

A while ago I wrote a story about a farmer finding God. I reread it today and thought how it ties in with what we have learnt this semester about William Blake and Contraries. About black and white, good and bad. This story shows that but also shows a man seeking God on his own terms, finding God where he is, not in a church. I think the nearest church to this bloke would have been a few hundred kilometres away. Read it for yourself and see if you can see the connection. Please feel free to comment ( or peer review if you are in my lit class)

Dave

Prayer from the heart of the land

©Dave McGettigan 2 August 2011. Edited version may 2013.

 

Well God, I really don’t know how to start. I have heard of praying before but I have never done it, so I don’t know the right words to say. I will just say what’s on my mind.

I never believed in you before. You were never mentioned in my childhood home, except when dad lost on the horses, then he was heard to yell out your name.

I just got on with life here on the station. There was work to be done, so we rounded up some of the hands and did it. We rode the boundary fences, and sometimes didn’t come home for weeks if there were repairs to do.

Every once in a while, we mustered a few hundred head, and sent them off on trucks. A few weeks later, our bank account swelled so we could pay our tabs and workers, and save a bit for a not so rainy day.

The stationhands had their own ideas where we came from and how everything came into being. There was a story for everything; including how we got the space between the clouds and the Earth when Yondi pushed up the sky.

Some of the tales I found quite credible; but I always thought there was more to it.

When the droughts came, I heard other farmers over the UHF cursing you. Men would sob over the airwaves telling us how they didn’t have enough feed and the bank wouldn’t extend their credit any further. I listened while they unashamedly wept because they had to shoot cattle so emaciated that their legs wouldn’t hold them up any longer. The women would do wonders with what little food they had in the pantries; and cry when they didn’t know where the next meal was coming from.

More than once I had to tell the aboriginal workers that they were free to wander the property to search for food and water and to take care of themselves and their families as they could no longer rely on me. I would tell them they could shoot a bull or cow if they couldn’t find any other tucker. We couldn’t afford to feed the cattle anyhow. Often during these times, I would open the door to an unexpected knock, to find a slaughtered kangaroo or emu, given as a gift from a grateful farmhand.

We couldn’t go to the city. We wouldn’t survive there. We don’t know the ways of the people in the cities, and growing beef cattle is all I know.

I was thankful that the kids were in boarding school. The school offered the boys a full boarding scholarship so I didn’t have to worry that they would starve. They would also have hope and wouldn’t see the despair in my eyes. At best, with the learning, they could get work and live in the city; if the station failed and they couldn’t take over.

Then the rains came. The station flooded, but we were prepared and had dug extra dams in anticipation of promised rains. All the creeks and rivers overflowed and dams that had been empty for quite a while now broke the banks.

The stationhands returned and claimed credit for the rains stating they had been to see Uncle Bert and he calls water from the sky. There was dancing in mud puddles by all and sundry. The men all stripped to their shorts, grabbed some soap and had a welcome shower. The women dressed in summer frocks also welcomed the drop in temperature as the water began to cool everything by a couple of degrees.

The grasses grew, and trees sprouted new shoots. The birds were quick to return. Their songs once again woke me each morning and I was grateful that I had no further need for that wretched alarm clock.

I rode out to see the extent of the damage the drought, then the floods had caused. When I was a couple of miles from the homestead, I saw no living cattle. White bones were the only evidence that cattle once roamed these plains.

I realised I would have to take the chopper out to do a major muster. Then we would know exactly what financial position we were in.

We had to buy more stock from the south and with the rains, the banks would extend us credit and our accounts would swell with the rivers.

Last night I looked up at the stars. There is no possible way that they were all set in place by the ancestors of our stockhands.

I think about all the beauty in the world around me. The red earth, the green grass and the blue sky and I know there has to be someone responsible. My wife says a bloke on the telly talked about you and how even when we stuff up, you still look after us. I think that’s great. Fair Dinkum.

Well, I just wanted to say thanks God, for everything. You know, I think without the hard times, we wouldn’t know how good we got it. I reckon that when I am out on the land, fixing fences or whatever and I get a bit lonely, I can talk to you because you are always there.

So… well, see ya. Talk soon.

 

Oh yeah…Amen.

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How Studying William Blake has affected me

I used to be religious. Well, not religious as such, but fervent in my belief of and evangelism of God. Then I got honest with myself and others and disclosed my homosexuality. I felt disengaged with the church as it were. I was excluded from some churches because of my sexuality. The churches that did accept my sexuality, I felt compromised on some vital areas of doctrine.

William Blake was also disillusioned with the church or organised religion, but he had a deep understanding of and relationship with God. This is evidenced by his writings and engravings. When I studied the plates that Blake made for The Book of Job, I got a greater understanding of Job, than I ever had before.

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Studying William Blake, and studying in a Catholic University as well as being part of the University Choir, has developed within me the passion to again live a life that is more in line with the gospels and with the tenets of Christ.

Being part of the University has encouraged me to be socially responsible and aware of human rights abuses both in our country and in the world in general. It has pushed me to be active in my faith and not just talk about it but do something about it. I have increased my volunteering where I could, helping those less fortunate than I.

I use my God-given talent of singing for the glory of God. I use my other talents of art, writing, and photography to promote and advance social justice issues, and to fight against human right injustices.

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Studying Blake has helped me to separate the Church from the Word; to follow the Word of God where I find a discrepancy between the two. It made me feel that I am not the only one that is disappointed with organised religion, but seek to follow Christ separate; but also with others in the University choir.

In short, I am more of a Christian now, than before when I was a “Churchy, or God-botherer” as some of my friends described me. I hold true to the teachings of God through Christ but admit I do fail. I don’t beat myself up when I do fail.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths”.

 

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