Back in the seventies, or maybe it was in the eighties, I read this little quip in an edition of Reader's Digest:
Mr A: At any foreign airport, you can always tell when a British 'plane had just landed.
Mr B: Oh, how is that?
Mr A: You can still hear the whining long after the engines shuts down.
Maybe Mr A. has a point. I recall the furor when Prince Harry, during his student years, flew to Australia to work for a couple of months on a conservation project. After arrival, he was grumbling over the project - to the extent that Englishmen Down Under, having their reputation as Whinging Poms stunningly verified - happened to be right from the mouth of a Royal.
But isn't it true though, that the British, with their worldwide reputation for stoicism, never grumble? Or am I getting the semantics wrong here? Checking at a dictionary, I found that Whining means to complain feebly or petulantly, Whinging means to complain persistently, while Grumble is to complain in a bad tempered way. Ah! that makes it all right then. When an Englishman complains, he never does it in a bad tempered way. Petulantly or persistently indeed, but never with a bad temper. In that case then, I could classify myself as English, even though I am a full-blooded Italian. It used to be the days I attended a sauna at a leisure pool on a regular weekly basis. Very often the thermostat was poorly set, with scarcely any heat to benefit from. To one friend I went with, I muttered, "Even my (six month old) daughter could sit through this!" So I went to complain to the receptionist to the extent that I finally had two duty managers as an audience. As a result, the quality of the service began to improve to the level of becoming the best over a wide geographical area. Having built such a reputation with both friends and management alike, a new verb was coined by a father-and-son duet whenever a matter had to be sorted:
I need to go over and com-frank about this!
At least I will admit that I am a whinger, but never a grumbler. And yes, despite of that, I spent six weeks in Australia, but still saw nothing to whinge about. Or is that really because, at the end of the day, I'm still an Italian? The kind of a wild-mouth individual who throws his arms around in manic gesticulation? However, this facility has closed down for a year for refurbishment, with the intention that it would re-open as a regenerated leisure attraction with a spanking new roof and upgraded water flumes. As I walk past the closed down facility at least every week for the last several weeks, so far I have seen no sign of any work started. Will this once superb attraction end up derelict? Or even demolished?
So were my thoughts on this matter, until visiting a sauna facility at another venue where a rumor was passed around among those sitting with me in the cabin. Apparently, the contractor who was to carry out the work had pulled out in some unknown dispute. My heart dropped. Money troubles? Will the project cost a lot more than the original estimate? Or could it be that after the contract was signed, the Council suddenly decided that the new dome of the flume tower is now to be blue instead of the original red? It was the same with the Town Centre Development. At present, the new structures which will make up the new shopping precinct are now rising. But that was after a good number of years of disputes and deliberations, causing delays for well over a decade.
And so, in a country where agreements between two or more parties seems hard to come by, the news media is at present constantly spewing out the widening rift within our Government itself whether it's wise for the UK to leave the European Union, or to remain. A referendum has been set in June, and our governing ministers are split down the middle on this matter. According to one survey carried out across the UK, the more patriotic exit supporters tend to live in the affluent South, while the majority wishing to remain in the E.U. are to be found in the North, and particularly Scotland. This is something of an irony, as the Scots have their own Parliament, governed by the Scottish National Party. The irony lies in the fact that many Scots would vote for full independence from the English, yet are happy to remain in the E.U.
Where disagreements goes, how could I ever forget a dispute which arose in 2006 during house-group at the one time I had the privilege to host it, while the leader and his wife were away on their holidays? The Scriptural text under study was 2 Chronicles 7:14, which reads:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The dispute rose because the stand-in leader used the phrase, If my people, who are called by my name, as applying to the people of England. Despite his strong denial of the matter, I could not help interpreting this as a throwback of Blake-ism. That is, from the time when William Blake wrote the poem, And did those feet of ancient times, was later put to song and became a popular patriotic hymn. I was out and out against this interpretation of just one verse of Scripture at a very isolated part of the Bible. Just by reading the whole chapter and it becomes immediately apparent that the people he called his own can only be Israel - the one and only nation in the Bible where God calls his own. God spoke these words as a small part of his answer to Solomon's prayer of dedication of the newly-built Temple, which would serve as a house of prayer for the nations.
History sadly points out that Israel did not uphold the conditions needed to sustain the kingdom indefinitely. By the year 586 BC, the kingdom was so corrupt that God had no other choice but to grant the land to enjoy a seventy year Sabbatical rest by allowing King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to raze Jerusalem to the ground and taking captive everyone, including its king, into exile. But as for the land, it was never "healed" to the level the Bible demands, and remains much as it has always been to this day. History also reveals that no king has ever reigned over Israel since the 586 BC Exile, and even the present restored sovereignty of Israel remains a republic, without the kingdom being re-instituted.
But this did not stop the American couple Jimmy and Carol Owens releasing a musical, If My People, in the mid-1970's, a copy of the tape cassette I still have among my collection. With co-star Pat Boone featuring as the narrator, the recording was centered on the churches in America praying for the health of the nation in order for the land to be healed towards both economical and judicial health. This caused me to believe that the churches in the States had become spiritually flabby, spineless, and compromising, and no longer having the power to influence the economic health of the nation. So it was assumed that if Christian believers were to humble themselves and pray, and to seek his face and turn from their wicked ways, only then will God will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. The same theory applying to England at our house-group. And that despite the threefold pillar of salvation every true believer has:- Forensic Justification, Imputed Righteousness, and Eternal Security.
|Original cover of the Owen's Album|
And here is where I have strongly disagreed with the Owens and with our stand-in leader. As we complain about the European Union, and debate whether we leave or stay, national morality continue to decline, which I think, is linked to the rise of Darwinism as factual history. The concept of Creationism is now held to the point of ridicule. Just the other day an article appeared in the national newspaper about some Chinese researchers writing a Paper about the anatomy and architecture of the human hand. Since English was not their first language, the term to express evolutionary nature was transliterated as "the Creator". The stink this had caused among Western scientists was very remarkable, labeling the Paper as "Creationist crap!" Little wonder that if Creation is held to be so ridiculous to scientific research, so is the wonderful Gospel.
The return to full national sovereignty by exiting the European Union will not turn the UK into a land of ideal living, let alone turn it into a paradise. Neither would remaining in the E.U. would achieve this either. Both national sovereignty and E.U. membership falls short of what God would require for a permanent solution. Only the return of Jesus Christ to take the Throne of David in Jerusalem will enable the land to be healed, not just in Israel, but on a global scale. This healing of the land literally means the restoration of the Earth to its original Edenic state, with humankind living for up to a thousand years in perfect health, and beyond, in the blazing light, love, and holiness of God's presence.
And we won't have anything at all to complain about.