Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Do You Recognise A Christian?

Recently I heard about two Christians, one from Jordan and one from Iran. Both had to flee their countries, because they had converted from Islam, and had asked for asylum in Germany. Even though our asylum laws include people like them and even though Christians in Germany spoke in their favour, they had trouble being granted asylum – simply because the people involved in the decisions didn’t know whether to believe they had really become Christians or not. They had conversations with them on how they converted, their beliefs etc., but couldn’t really tell if they were telling the truth or just faking to reach their aim of a life in Germany. About the man from Jordan the authorities said he wasn’t telling his story credible enough.

These two cases – two of many, I suppose – gave me much food for thought. First I wondered what I would do if I had to decide on their asylum applications. Would I, being a Christian myself, be able to distinguish real from fake Christians? I’m not sure, but then I could always pray about it and trust that God would show me what to do. However, how is it possible for non-Christians or nominal Christians to distinguish? They are almost unable to decide properly, I guess. After all, it is possible to fake faith – at least for a while. Many oppressive governments send their spies into “illegal” churches in their countries and these spies are obviously able to disguise as Christians, deceiving even genuine believers. So how is it possible to distinguish the true from the false ones?

The other question I asked myself was – if I was in the situation of these asylum seekers, meaning if I had to ask for asylum in a foreign country because of my faith – would I be “credible” enough for the authorities? How could I prove to them that I was a genuine Christian and not someone who just had practised the right words and behaviour? I thought a lot about that, but haven’t found an answer yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Minimalist in Training – Mental Obstacles

In the last post I mentioned the mental obstacles which make it so difficult for me to become a minimalist. Here I would like to show you some examples.

1 Keepsakes 

One of those (and I have got many, actually) is my first teddy bear which I had as a baby. It used to have ears once, but I gnawed them off. Therefore and because it looks so worn I cannot possibly give it away. Throw it away? Impossible! I could just as well tear my heart out!

2 Items too worn to sell / give away, but too “good” or precious to throw away 

This category applies to my old doll’s pram. It’s just as worn as the teddy bear and almost as old, therefore I don’t know who I could give it to. I would gladly give it to someone who is able to restore it, so it can be used again. However, I couldn’t throw it away, because it is too precious to me.

3 Items unused for years, but which may be needed in the future 

The wine glasses fall into that category. We "inherited" them from my late mother-in-law and we took them with us when we moved, but have never used them. I don’t drink wine, Hermann does occasionally, but doesn’t take these glasses, and we hardly ever have guests to whom we offer wine. Therefore we don’t really need them. However, we may one day, you never know…

As you can see, there is till a long way to go!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Intending To Become A Minimalist

I’m used to having lots of items. Even as a child I was spoiled with material things, though probably compared to today’s middle-class children I would have seemed poor. Anyway, I had more than enough toys and more than enough other items when I grew older. I got married to a man who also owned a lot of things, especially books. When we moved house we needed 130 large boxes to put it all in.

I don’t know how or when it started, but during the past few years all this became more and more of a mental burden to me. It became so severe at times that when I imagined our house being burnt down and everything lost, I didn’t have a sense of loss, but of relief (Not that I really want that, after all there is another family living in the house and I’m sure they wouldn’t share my feelings about such a scenario!) I began to sell / give away items, but there was still so much I could hardly see a difference.

A few days ago I saw a young man on tv who had actually given everything away, except for the 118 most needed / treasured items. While listening to him I felt just one big emotion: ENVY! It was then I decided I had to go through with it. However, this is easier said than done, because of some mental obstacles I have to overcome first – which are:

1. Items you might need one day in the future; very good argument to keep an item which you haven’t used for years and which just collects dust in the cellar.
2. Items which are not good enough anymore to sell them / give them away, but which are still too “good” to be thrown away. We have got lots of them.
3. Keepsakes, photos etc. – you cannot just give or throw them away. We have got lots of them, too, especially as Hermann is a passionate photographer and before photos could easily be stored on hard drives, etc. they were all printed on paper. He has also got posters of one of his previous dogs.

I have started to gather items which I will give to charity and have thrown away others, but I’m also still fighting against my weaker self, so that I will be able to get rid of as many as possible of the items I might need one day, the “too good to throw away” items and the keepsakes (most of them). Next time we move I want it to fit all in about three boxes, not more. Still a long way to go, it seems.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

London 2014 Day 13 – Demonstration, Lego Bus Stop, Morris Dancers

On this day, the last day of our stay in London, I felt much better, though the cold was still there. First we went to Café Eterno again for early lunch and to say good-bye to the very kind staff.

Then we resumed our walks.

We came across a demonstration against the government’s austerity measures.

Some of the demonstrators missed the the point.

We went to Regent Street to have a look at the Lego bus stop close to Hamleys.

At the Thames we found this used book market.

Later we passed this group of Morris Dancers and watched them for a while, though the blazing sun on that day was hard to bear for me.


Goodbye, London :°°°( Hope I see you again soon!