Saturday 26 March 2022

Come as you are, come find home here, come find acceptance, come find shelter”

Mothering Sunday, Mother’s Day, whatever its actual true origins, and they are many varied and complicated, is at its heart about coming home to a deep, accepting and nurturing love. This may not be with our biological mothers, but it will be somewhere in some state, I hope you find that place of acceptance, love and rest.

Mothering Sunday, Mother’s Day is enshrined in this image of returning home, and this sense of belonging to something more than ourselves. Whether that is actually of children returning to the family home having been working away or of people returning to the mother church. Either way it’s about returning home to a place of safety; it is about returning home to a place of renewal, of re-birth, not only for ourselves but for others too; it is about returning to a place of love and total acceptance of who we are, exactly as we, no matter what we have done or where we have been, we are accepted with open loving arms.

A place of safety, a constant a home, is vital for anyone to build a life. This often comes to mind when I see images of displaced people, of refugees, people who have no home, who are fleeing their homeland, how terrifying this must be. How frightening to be crossing the water or a foreign land just to find safety. In recent times such people have often been vilified and distrusted, how this must feel I cannot imagine. Thankfully this does not seem to be happening with the refugees from the Ukraine, but it certainly has been in the not too distant past. They are the same people as we are, born under the same sun, living on the same earth.

Welcoming the stranger, welcoming the visitor, welcoming the dispossessed is at the core of every spiritual tradition that I know of and yet so often we reject the stranger. By the way the stranger is sometimes people who have become estranged from our lives and even aspects of our own being that we have become estranged from. For me at the core of the love we call mother is this welcome of all, whoever you are, wherever you have been, come home, come home again soon. You are welcome here as you are, exactly as you are in this moment. This is certainly at the core of my understanding of faith, it is certainly the faith I try to live and practice. It sounds simple, but it certainly isn’t easy, far from it.

This brings to mind those wonderful words, I love so much, by Rumi

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

When we return home to “mother” we are a returning to a place of total acceptance. This is the community I believe in. This is the church I dream of. This is how the “Kin-dom of God”, the “Commonwealth of Love” is meant to be like. It is the prodigal son or daughter returning to the loving arms of the “Mother Community” totally accepted as they are ready to begin again in love.

This brings to mind some beautiful words of prayer, a redemptive prayer I first heard many years ago.

"We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love."

For remaining silent when a single voice would have made a difference
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For each time that our fears have made us rigid and inaccessible
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For each time that we have struck out in anger without just cause
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For each time that our greed has blinded us to the needs of others
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For the selfishness which sets us apart and alone
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For falling short of the admonitions of the spirit
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For losing sight of our unity
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love.
For these and for so many acts both evident and subtle which have fuelled the illusion of separateness
We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love

When I think of Motherhood and or the Mother Church, I think of returning to a place of sustenance of nurture where one feels that they can recharge and renew in safety. A place where you are accepted wholly as you are. From here you can begin again in love, you can if you like be born again, be given birth to once again.

Columbian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, wrote in, “Love in the Time of Cholera”, “…human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but…life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Our lives often take different directions at times. We turn down a new pathway, again and again and again. Often, we will go down blind alleys, again and again and again. Often, we repeat the same mistakes again and again and again. We do not always learn from our mistakes. This is so very human and even if we have made those mistakes a thousand times, we can always begin again in love, we can always return home to a place of acceptance.

This brings to my mind the wonderful poem “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson

1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

5. I walk down another street.

We can begin again a thousand times if need be. We can turn down a new path, or we can return home to the very beginning. It is ok.

It is a curious phrase to turn, or to turn again or even to return. Did you know that to turn or to re-turn was the original meaning of the religious word “conversion”. Conversion is rooted in the Latin word “convertere”, which meant to turn around to transform.

Now for a long time I use to think that if a person had been converted that this was the end of a process. Thankfully I no longer live under this delusion. Today when I think of conversion, I think of it as the beginning of something of the start of a journey. Today I see conversion as an ongoing process, not a once or perhaps twice in lifetime experience. We can begin again even if we have broken our vows and made same mistakes a thousand times. We can begin again in love. We can turn again; we can return to a place of re-birth. Look at “Mother Earth”, at “Mother Nature” she recycles, she returns, she begins again and again and again.

Herein, I believe, lays the association with Mothering Sunday and this idea of returning to the Mother Church. I believe that is the purpose of communities such as serve, Unitarian congregations. A place that welcomes the traveller home, to the loving arms of mother. A place of total acceptance, wherever they have been. Not merely tolerance, as I don’t think that that is enough. No, a place of acceptance, where you can come as you are, exactly as you are in this moment. A place of loving nurture where you can either continue or if need be, begin again in love, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.

The purpose of a free religious community is to nurture one another’s spirit. Its purpose is to nurture that love that is present deep within the souls of everyone. To nurture and develop these qualities in each other is not just the responsibility of our mother’s, we all have nurturing qualities, and we can all help to bring out the best in one another.

We can all offer one another unconditional love. We say that all are welcome here. This though must be an active quality, rather than merely words. To love each other unconditionally is to love as a mother love’s her only child. This of course is easier said than done. For those of us who have been hurt by those who were supposed to love us to offer love unconditionally is not easy. Therefore, before we can offer that love to others, we must first of all become reconciled with our own pain and our own suffering. This is one of the purposes of a church that is free, to offer a safe secure space where one can come to terms with themselves and their lives. Security and protection are both nurturing qualities of motherhood. They are also qualities which a free religious community needs to help develop in those who come, so that they will feel safe enough to develop their souls. To be who they are and to become who they are, not just to come as they are. It is the purpose of beloved community to create an environment that is secure enough to enable each of us to explore and in a safe and secure environment.

A free community needs to nourish and feed each and all. This requires us to give and not just take from what we find here. For our souls to be fed we need to give of ourselves wholeheartedly. We need to develop both sensitivity and understanding towards one another. We can also learn from the wisdom of others, from those who have walked these paths before us.

Perhaps the greatest quality that we need to develop is humour, one the most wonderful qualities of motherhood. Humour helps us to deal with life’s trials and tribulations. It also helps us to explore those most difficult and testing issues that as a spiritually vibrant community we need to explore. Humour is something I feel as a community we are very good at sharing. I have experienced a great deal of humour and warmth from the folk I serve.

So, on this day set aside to honour Mother’s let’s remember those who have offered us the unconditional and wholly accepting love of the mother ideal. Those who have offered their unquestioning love to us, even when we have broken our vows a thousand times, those who have offered their nurturing heart and encouraged us to begin again in love. Let us also though commit to living this way ourselves to offer this love to all that we meet. To not just tolerate the people, we meet as they are, but to love them and accept them, even if they have broken their vows a thousand times. Let’s offer to them the nurturing hand of love and to do so with real humour. Let us all begin again in love.

Below is a video devotion based

 on the material in this "blogspot"

Monday 14 March 2022

Do I Contradict Myself? I Contain Multitudes

At the last “Living the Questions” John Poskitt led a really fascinating discussion on his favourite obsession Bob Dylan, on his life, his creative talent even his philosophy. Not that he had singular consistent one. Like all people he was subject to change. John played several of Dylan’s songs, some classics and one I hadn’t heard before, from his most recent album, his 39th original studio recording, “Rough and Rowdy Ways”. The song was “I Contain Multitudes”. The songs theme explores the complexity of Dylan; the complexity of all people actually, suggesting we are a mixture of influences, that have shaped our lives, our attitudes, our vision and our behaviour. This includes the negative aspects of our lives as well as the more positive ones. Human beings, like life, are complex things. Do we contradict ourselves? Yes we do, we contain multitudes.

Now the line on which the song is based comes from the following from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

No human being is entirely one thing or another. The seemingly worst of us have good qualities and the best of us have negative ones. There is no perfection in any of us, in life itself. We all of us contain multitudes of contradictions, people constantly surprise me, I hope I do them.

In “Resurrection” Tolstoy captures this idea when he states (edited using gender inclusive language)

“Every person bears within him or herself the germs of every human quality, but sometimes one quality manifests itself, sometimes another, and the person often becomes unlike him or herself, while still remaining the same person.”

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

How often in life do we say that such and such acted out of character. Well maybe they just displayed an aspect of their character that is rarely seen. We are all complex, we contain multitudes. It is vital that we recognise that in others and one another. To be fully human is to be complex and inconsistent. I have been thinking of this as I have thought of a dear friend and congregant who died this week. A strong, passionate, vivacious character, a person who could get things done and would do anything for anyone. This of course was not all that she was, like all of us she had her own demons and succumbed to them in the end. So many people are feeling the pain of her loss this week. I most certainly have been doing. As I felt constant grief and loss for the world, I would hope we all do. There is suffering everywhere and in everything, but that is not all there is. Life is not suffering, but there is suffering in everything. There is horror and there is violence, but that is not all there is, there is love, there is compassion, there is deep, deep care. People care a lot. Never stop caring. To care of course originally meant “sorrow, anxiety, grief.” From an Old Anglo Saxon word karo meaning sorrow or lament, from a proto Germanic word Kara. The modern German phrase Kairfretag meaning Good Friday shares this same root. Isn’t the whole world lamenting at the horrors in the Ukraine. That said this is not all that is life. I have witnessed and experienced more love this week, than I can remember doing for a long time.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I know myself I am full of contradictions. I am inconsistent in what I believe about life, faith and God. I have been considering that his week as I have felt the grief of the loss of my friend, especially the way her life ended. Grief changes us, it should and each new loss builds into others. Nothing in life is experienced within itself. I have been thinking of profound spiritual experiences I have had, moments that have transformed my experience of life. Some have been the most beautiful and uplifting, some of been the most excruciatingly painful. An agony I experienced like no other, came at the moment of a great loss in my life, one I only discovered had happened much later. A moment that changed my whole life, a moment I wish had never happened, but was beyond my control. Some of these most powerful moments have been experienced alone and in isolation and others shared with others. Some my rational mind has attempted to explain away, others I have accepted. Each contained their own multitude of experiences. What they have done is better enabled me to do the work I have been given, despite the complexities of my humanity. All have enabled me to live a little better from that “Love that passeth all understanding”. They have all enabled me to care more, but not without deep sorrow.

Life is not always as it seems and sometimes this is down to perspective and point of vision. Even light can be a tricky and contradictory thing, as the physicist Niels Bohr discovered when he tried to describe the nature of electrons and neutrons, lights elementary units. He discovered that under some experimental conditions, these units behaved as though they were particles, but under other experimental conditions they behaved as though they were waves.

So which one is correct? Were they particles or were they waves? Surely light could not be both? Surely they must be one or the other? Well Niels Bohr said they were both. He said the observer and the circumstances of the observer make a difference, and so you need a "principle of complementarity" to understand the nature of light. He concluded that under some observational circumstances the units of light must be considered particles, and under other circumstances they must be considered waves. It would appear that the two points of view both compliment and contradict each other. So, by taking both together you improve the picture, even though they contradict themselves.

So, despite the challenge that comes with accepting these complimentary contradictions they paint an enlarging view of the nature of life. I suspect it is the same with us, with our lives, with life in general and certainly the spiritual life. In fact, I would suggest that complimentary contradictions help to enhance the spiritual life, for after all the spiritual life is one of paradox.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

David Whyte suggests an interesting paradox with regards to the spiritual life. He believes that the deeper our commitment to the principles in our lives, the more fluid life starts to feel. True commitment often doesn't mean rigidity, it's more likely to result in flow and movement. Commitment is liberating and contradictions are complimentary.

The world’s religious traditions are no stranger to paradox. Taoism is full, or do I mean empty, of them. Here is one example:

Fullness and emptiness give birth to each other.
Difficult and easy complete each other.
Long and short shape each other.
Tones and voice harmonize with each other.
Front and back follow each other.
Therefore wherever the sage is, he dwells among affairs by not doing.
He teaches without words.
The ten-thousand things arise, but he doesn’t impel them.
He gives birth, but he doesn’t possess.
He acts, but he doesn’t rely on what he has done.
He has successes, but he doesn’t claim credit.
So by not claiming credit, he is never empty.

The teachings of Jesus are firmly grounded in paradox. He said “the first shall be last”; “empty yourself and be filled”; “lose yourself and be found” The epistle Paul wrote “As dying, and, behold, we live”; he said of his fellow Christians “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich, as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”; and he said of himself “When I am weak, then I am strong”

Aristotle saw this as absolute twaddle of course. He is the great grandfather of scientific methodology, of all who pride themselves on their critical faculties and all who claim rationality. He talked of the law of the excluded middle. Put simply something cannot be both hot and cold at the same time. How can anyone argue with such logic? We cannot be rich if we are poor; we cannot be first if we are last; we cannot experience joy if our lives are full of sorrow.

Is he correct? Well, he sounds like he is making sense. How on earth can we receive when we are giving? It does not seem to make sense, when thinking logically and yet.

The religious sages tell us otherwise. As does light at least according to Neils Bohr and his observations on the nature of light.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Of course a paradox does not make sense in a purely logical sense, but to expect it to do so is to fail to understand its purpose. It is the tool that broadens the framework in which we see reality. Things can both contradict and compliment each other.

Paradox stretches the boundaries of truth. Through our imaginations we push truth past its seeming limits. Without imagination, without foresight we would probably never have come down from the trees, or out of the caves. A paradox cannot be solved by conventional truths, it requires unconventional truths. It stretches common sense to the point where it becomes uncommon sense and thus moves our experiences of life forward. It challenges the status quo and the understanding of any given time. This is of course what the great religious sages did, they brought new understanding to their time and place, as does good science.

Our lives are riddled with paradoxes. How often have we heard the following statements? “I am surrounded by people and yet I am lonely” “My life is so full of choices, that I can’t make a decision about anything” or on the more optimistic end of the scale “I am skint and yet I am happy” or “I have so much, because I have so little”

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Life is full or do I mean empty of paradoxes. There are so many contradictions, nothing adds up absolutely. Our ducks will never be truly in a row. This is the nature of existence, both material and spiritual. There are so many contradictions in all of us as there is in life and it is these very contradictions that compliment each other and make far more than the sum of lifes parts, far more. Life contains multitiudes.

So let us keep on contradicting ourselves. Let us share these beautiful contradictions and in so doing we will create something larger than we could imagine, that compliments all our lives. Let us continue enlarging everything by sharing our many multitudes. The more we give it away, the more we will all receive and in abundance.

Let us continue to enlarge our multitides.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Below is a video devotion based
on the material in this "blogspot"

Monday 7 March 2022

“Resting in the Grace of the world: Bearing witness to the horror and finding the courage to do what you can”

“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

This short piece constantly sings in my heart. It nudges me, it comes often when despair begins to grow in me again. Such feelings grow inside every single one of us at times, there is nothing more human, well unless you have become utterly detached from your heart. This poem is often shared back to me by others and whenever it does how it lifts my heart. Sue recently contacted me to tell me that a family had asked for it to be shared at a funeral service she was creating and leading. How it lifted my heart, just as I was feeling the pain of the loss of someone.

I have recently found my own place, where I find a similar peace to Wendell Berry. I often wander down to Stamford Park in Altrincham. I like to walk around but really I like to go and see my favourite duck. The mystery has been solved as to what type it is. It is a Rouen Duck. The only one of its kind in the pond. It is a lonely displaced one, perhaps a refugee. Now while I don’t lie down where he lies down, I do rest in the grace of the world whenever I go there and I feel free.

There is so much grief, suffering and anxiety around at this time. I was talking with a friend the other day who had spent hours staring at the news, at the horror in Ukraine, fixated on the suffering, feeling utterly powerless. I had awoken slowly myself last Sunday, caught up the suffering, both close at hand and in the wider world, despairing at inhumanity. I worked myself into the day slowly and did my job, I always do, trying to carry three groups of people through worship, whilst constantly being contacted about the suffering of many folk, particularly two dear friends. Two more souls died last week.

In the midst of the suffering, I found myself surrounded by so many folk, doing all they can, coming together in love, living by that spirit and resting in the grace of this world whilst finding freedom too. Not turning from life. They were bearing witness to the horror and fear and then finding the courage to do what they could. No, we cannot change the world, but we can do something, we do not have to sink into the utter despair and suffering. The key is the find what that something is; our duty is to find out what that is and to do it.

Last Sunday several folk seemed to go out of their way to tell me how much they appreciated the worship I had created and shared with them. They too had awoken with a sense of despair, they felt lost and confused and were suffering deeply despairing at the world, concerned for their loved ones and due to the horrors they had seen on their tv screens, a horror that has continued. I thanked them and I thanked God for this work. It certainly lifted me out of myself, gave me meaning in the very real suffering, there was no despair. I had an extra service on Sunday, in Dukinfield, I go there several times a year, I have been doing so for years and I love the folk. The last time I was there I had heard of a lovely woman who had given up on life, she had stopped eating. Well this time I learnt that she had died, as a member said, a victim of Covid, but who had not died from the virus. There have been many more and there will continue to be many more. I was talking to her lovely partner, they had both been widowed and had been together these last 15 years. It was beautiful to listen to him, although distressing, I felt deeply his pain and I understood it. I have felt this pain so many times, this deep grief, the loss of love, the sense of being unable to do something for someone you love so deeply, except bare witness as their life slipped away.

Monday, I felt even more tired than I normally do. I awoke and slowly moved into the day, I had begun it in my usual manner. On returning from the gym I noticed a couple of missed calls and a message on my phone. The number read private, and the message was from an obviously distressed woman, who I do not know, asking me to call her back. Sadly, I was unable to do so as her number was withheld. I wonder who this poor lost soul is. It was one of those days when I felt somewhat hopeless against the suffering in this world, both close at hand and in other lands too. There is so much suffering in this our shared world. The horrors in the Ukraine being just one terrible example.

I know that the answer is not to stare at the rolling news all day long, that will help no one. The answer is in find a way to rest in whatever grace we can find in the world, where we can find our solace and then to turn back to life and do what we can. I have been doing that all week; I have been doing that for many years. I have turned and I have kept on turning toward the world again and again. As I find that peace, that love, that strength to do what I can, with what I have.

No one can take away the suffering that is a part of life, but we do not have to fall into utter despair. We cannot do everything, but we can do something, it is our task, our duty, our purpose, our meaning, to do so.

I hope you can find yours and I hope that you can share it with others. I hope you can offer them some of the grace of this world, something that that they too can rest in and share it with the world.

We have entered the season of Lent. I hope you all enjoyed your pancakes on Tuesday. On what some still call Shrove Tuesday, or as many prefer to call it “Pancake Day”, or as I prefer to call it “Flat Yorkshire Pudding Day. How do you eat yours?

The following day “Ash Wednesday”, for Christians, marks the beginning of 40 days of fasting, reflection, penitence and self-sacrifice that lead up to Easter, the day of re-birth re-newal and new beginnings.

Lent is a time of reflection, a time of temptation, a time to observe and find answers. It’s a time of preparation. These forty days or so are meant to be a barren time, where we strip ourselves down of luxuries and distractions to give birth to new treasures that can be symbolically born again at Easter time. Not an easy time and a time to experience a sense of loneliness as we enter our inner wilderness time.

Lent is not just about giving up luxuries. It is also a time of reflection a time to go inward and search out answers to the troubles we face as individuals, but also as families, communities, nations and the world. It is a time for repentance and for re-building relationships with those we share this world with.

Lent shares this focus on repentance with many other religions. Such as Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year. where prayer and fasting accompany acts of atonement. There are parallels with Ramadan in the Islamic tradition, a time for fasting and spiritual engagement as well as charitable works and act acts of atonement. Both have a key focus on putting right relationships with God and the people around us. You see similar rituals in both Hinduism and Buddhism too, where fasting atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation are key components.

You can see clearly two key components in all these traditions that is at the core of Lent. These being fasting, denying oneself of life’s luxuries and therefore connecting with those less fortunate and the other healing relationships with one another and with whatever we believe is at the core of all life. It is a time to go in, but with the intention of going out and bringing healing to our shared world.

Our world is suffering, both close at home and in other lands too. We have all continued to witness the horrors in the Ukraine. It is easy to just despair and to give up, or to become utterly fixated by the suffering that all we can do is stare at our screens, paralysed by the horror. This is of no use. We need to find our way to seek solace in this world, to go and find our own “peace of wild things” and then turn back to the world and do whatever it is that we can. We do not need to wait for Easter, or some hope to be born in the future to do this. We can begin now, we can find our meaning here and now, we can give birth to that love right here and now, no special date in the calendar is needed. We are responsible for our lives and our world. It is up to us. The time is now.

Lent is about attempting to practise love in life. It’s not about giving up luxuries, not really, it’s about giving of ourselves to life each and every day in whatever way we can. It’s about preparing for the new love that can be born again in our hearts and lives and for this we are all responsible. The time is now. And because I cannot do everything

Like Wendell Berry we all feel despair at the world at times. We all fear for our own lives, our loved ones and the lives of others. We all seek to come into the peace of something. We can find that peace. I know this to be true and when the peace comes, provided we do not close down or close in, hope can once again come to life and we can begin to bring healing not only in our lives, but in the lives of those around us stretching out to the wider reaches of this our shared world. We cannot avoid suffering, but we can give birth to meaning in that suffering in the way that we live our lives. We need not despair, we can live in hope, we can live in love.

We can live in love. We can do so in all that we feel, all that we think, all that we say and all that we do.

I’m going to end with following I saw posted on facebook the other day. It is by John Roedel

I can’t make the
world be peaceful
I can’t stall tanks
from roaring down roads
I can’t prevent children
from having to hide in bunkers
I can’t convince the news to
stop turning war into a video game
I can’t silence the sound of bombs
tearing neighborhoods apart
I can’t turn a guided missile
into a bouquet of flowers
I can’t make a warmonger
have an ounce of empathy
I can’t convince ambassadors
to quit playing truth or dare
I can’t deflect a sniper’s bullet
from turning a wife into a widow
I can’t stave off a country being
reduced to ash and rubble
I can’t do any of that
the only thing I can do
is love the next person I encounter
without any conditions or strings
to love my neighbor
so fearlessly that
it starts a ripple
that stretches from
one horizon to the next
I can’t force peace
on the world
but I can become a force
of peace in the world
sometimes all it takes
is a single lit candle
in the darkness
to start a movement
“Lord, make me a candle
of comfort in this world
let me burn with peace”

Below is a devotion based on
the material in this "blogspot"