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Posts tagged ‘religion’

But he’s definitely a Canon

Reverend* Shaw, aka ‘Dad’: I went to church this morning.

Me: Really?

Dad: Yes. Eight o’clock service.

Me: Gosh, early start. You evidently take this whole religion thing pretty seriously.

Dad: Well, em. Yes.

*I’m not sure whether dad’s a Right Reverend, but he should be since he is often accurate especially when discoursing on fauna.

Train please, God

I called my cousin Michelle, and arranged to meet her at Green Park.

“You’re dragging Michelle and her baby in to the center of London?” said Róisín in disbelief.

“What are you on about? She’s used to it.”

By the time Róisín had finished with me I called Michelle in a torment of guilty anguish, and accepted her invitation to lunch at her home in Northfield.

Michelle still doesn’t look a day over fifteen; her two year old, Cormac, is already twice her density.

A couple of weeks ago, Michelle took Cormac blackberry picking. Cormac is a big fan of lorries, trucks, trains and anything that produces large quantities of carbon monoxide or, preferably, cement. So you can imagine his excitement when a train chuffed by beside the field.

Upon his strident demands for ‘nother!, Michelle advised him to pray to God to send a train his way. And so, her three year-old spent possibly the most passive two hours of his short life, sitting on a dried cowpat with his hands pressed together, intoning: “Train please, God. Amen.”

After two hours, Cormac started to get tearful, whereupon Michelle apprehended a passerby and desperately asked when the next train was due. Turned out there was only one a day.

“I can’t believe God couldn’t have sent the little fella a train,” muttered Michelle darkly.

With such promising capacity for pure evil, it may be hard to believe Michelle worships and praises the Lord on a regular basis. But indeed she does, and is otherwise a lovely, wonderful woman.

Long after lunch was over and Michelle and I had talked ourselves hoarse, Michelle asked if I would like a tour of their new house.

“I’d love to-“

“You can go to the bathroom,” she said.

“Oh. Er, do I have to?”

“Well, you want to, don’t you?”

“Actually, yes,” I said, surprised. “How did you know?”

“These days, I can sense these things.”


I’m not sure whether her newfound ability is similar to bowel-whispering, or more psychic and applicable to horse racing and blackjack.

“Poo poo?” enquired Cormac.

“No, wee wees,” responded Michelle. “That’s right, isn’t it?”

“Yes. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to keep my options open.”

I love this stuff! WOO!

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual

– Albert Einstein


Much of The Message preached by Breakthrough to Success was that, if you have enough self-belief, enough faith, if you WANT IT ENOUGH, all that you desire will be yours. Forget education and intellect, personality or circumstance.


Guru Howard had a number of illustrative examples:-


“I remember this guy, Dave was his name – probably still is his name – Dave came to one of our seminars, ‘Performance Revolution’ – there are forms outside if you want to sign up for that – this guy had Alzheimer’s, real bad – see the back of the auditorium there? It would take Dave 15 minutes to make his way from that exit door to the stage right here – it was that bad. But over the course of the seminar, his Alzheimer’s – it disappeared! Gone! Once Dave released those limiting beliefs, his body HEALED ITSELF.”


I think skepticism set in when, after two days, my arse had got no smaller.


“There was this woman, Mindy, came to ‘Breakthrough to Success’. She was living in a trailer park. Fallen on hard times – she didn’t always live in a trailer park – but her partner had died – Mindy was not in a happy space – what was she not in? A happy space. Again, at level 10: a HAPPY SPACE – that’s right – Mindy came to ‘Breakthrough to Success’, and her whole life changed. She came up to me after and said, ‘Chris, Chris! You changed my life’. Mindy wanted to go on ‘Fast Track to Success’, but she had no money. Maybe two weeks later, Mindy got the exact amount deposited in her bank account by an anonymous donor! Awesome, huh! And Mindy went on to do our ‘Billionaires Bootcamp’ course in Hawaii, and she’d always- her lifelong dream was to own a house, to do good stuff, you know, charitable works – and this guy on the course, he BOUGHT HER A HOUSE! How awesome is that?”


It is arguable whether Guru Howard is a better trainer or salesman – probably depends on one’s individual perception of reality. Many of the participants were attending the seminar free, and Guru Howard has to make his millions of dollars somehow.


“Now, ‘Performance Revolution’ – can I tell you about ‘Performance Revolution’? Thank you! Turn to person next to you and give ‘em a high-five and say: ‘I love this stuff!’ Yeah! ‘Performance Revolution’ is if you want to have leadership skills for influence and persuasion. Now, it’s normally $6500, but we have a special offer for you, folks – if you bring a friend, we’ll let the two of you attend for $6500! Is that good or good? It’s FANTASTIC! All right!”


Here’s MY perception of Guru Howard’s reality:


“You can make millions – if you pay me lots of money.”


“Now, special offer, ‘Passion for Profits’ – first book I ever wrote – it’s $47 – and you might think that’s a lot for a book, but I’ve gotta question for you: if it makes you $20,000, would you say that’s worth it? Of course you would! ‘Passion for Profits’ – it’s on sale outside – we’ve only got a limited number, folks – and I’m sorry about that – and I guarantee the books are going to sell out in minutes – so I won’t be offended if you want to leave now to get your copy-”


There was a stampede towards the door, people punching each other in the face, crushed bodies littering the aisle. I was only grateful the chairs were bolted to the floor.


If you’re interested, ‘Passion for Profits’ sells on for NZ$25. The thirty customer reviews say it is ‘awesome’.


Now, it would be remiss of me to let you think Guru Howard is primarily concerned with achieving his own potential. Part of living a fulfilled life is philanthropically giving back to the world and helping those in need. To demonstrate, he showed a slo-mo clip of himself playing with street children in Peru. This was after the photo of himself draped over Richard Branson, who looked vaguely bemused.


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former

– Albert Einstein

Fugitive cows

My father used to spend a lot of time in the mountains, but hadn’t done any serious climbing since he had his second hip replaced this time last year. On the top of Carrauntoohil and Cumín na Péiste, I got wistful text messages from him asking me what it was like and to pelt rocks at tourists for him.


There is nothing wrong with Dad’s fitness and he is particularly steady with a walking stick, so I worked on him to try something a bit more challenging. He seemed reluctant; at least, he came up with any number of reasons to put it off. Really: he says a few prayers every now and then – it’s not as if he’s tied to a desk.


I was thrilled when Dad said he’d like to walk up to Curraghmore Lake, just underneath Carrauntoohil, and suggested the following Monday.


The drive the Bridha Valley is stunning: a single-track road winds its way up a gorge and tops out at Bealach Béama with sheer rocks on either side. Unfortunately, halfway up we got stuck behind a Bentley, which in turn got stuck behind a herd of cows. After a while, it became evident that the cows were fugitives; there was nobody driving them.


Half an hour later, I was fed up with the Bentley jamming on the brakes every time a cow chewed cud aggressively. He was obviously nervous about having his gleaming car licked by a cow, or lashed with a tail. When we came to a narrow(er) stretch of track, I applied the handbrake and dashed up to the Bentley. I knocked on the window.


“Hi, ah- oh, how are you? Nice weather we’re having. Where you off to today? Just here for a holiday, eh? Oh, Glenbeigh is lovely, yes. Listen, I was wondering, would you mind pulling in when you have a chance and letting me go ahead? My husband’s an expert on passing cows.”


“Oh, no problem,” said the driver. “I wanted to do that myself, but missus wouldn’t let me.”


The Bentley pulled over and I nudged through the cows, instructed by Andrew: “Ok, zoom up behind them really fast and then swerve to the left.”


We eventually reached the head of the Bridha Valley and got ready to go. Dad did a couple of creaky squat-thrusts.


I was terribly nervous for Dad, but he set off strongly. Every few hundred metres I checked to see if he was ok, but it seemed superfluous when I had to catch him up to pose the question. The man leaped from rock to rock and forded streams in single bounds. I was tremendously proud.


“This is my dad. He has two false hips,” I said to everyone we met.


“Er Niamhie, maybe your father doesn’t want you telling everyone,” said Andrew.


It took us shortly over an hour to reach the lake. As we ate our lunch it started to drizzle, but we had waterproofs and a flask of coffee, and Dad wouldn’t have considered it a Walk if he hadn’t battled headwinds.


We were back at the car, when a man pulled up and wandered over. He was waiting for three people who had set off from the other side of the saddle two hours before. Andrew managed to pick out the group as they passed the bottom of a rock face.


“Why don’t you go and meet them?” I asked the man. “There’s a clear track.”


“Oh no, I don’t do that kinda stuff,” he said. “Ah have a false hip.”


“Well, I have TWO false hips,” said my father, and maybe only I could hear the ‘na na nana na’ hanging unspoken in the air.


I considered The American’s size more an impediment than the false hip, but inspired by my father’s restraint, I resisted saying so

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