The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

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On Being Different

Posted on December 31, 2011

New Years becomes both an occasion to revisit our mortality and also a time when we hope we can experience renewal. Follow any media outlet and you can see this pattern repeated in the run-up to the big event. We are reminded of those we lost in the previous 12 months and what our wishes are for the next year. For many of us there is a familiar frustration with how many goals were left unfinished. For those of us wishing we had more time to complete our resolutions, consider what it must have been like for those two or three centuries ago, when the average lifespan was roughly half what it is now. Put another way, they had roughly half the amount of…

Thoughts On a Birthday and Nobility

Posted on December 26, 2011

Today I turn 61. Up through the night I pondered again that the majority of my years are behind me – the days ahead will inevitably diminish. I have had the fortune of living a remarkable life, both here and out in the vast world, and yet still something churns in me. I am not yet what I need to be. My failures and distractions have guaranteed that a certain unsettling will remain with me until it is overcome. Yesterday I read a blog post from a young man who delighted in the discovery that it was actually in enjoying the small things in his life that he found some happiness at last. The big things had overpowered him, placing expectations on his struggling…

Christmas From Those Who Live It

Posted on December 25, 2011

How do you describe a week in which thousands of Londoners pulled together and donated to the London Food Bank in numbers we hadn’t seen before? Jane and I thought it might be best to let some of our volunteers speak for themselves, their wishes and Christmas and their compassion for those who feel marginalized. What they describe is what we all feel, especially in troubled economic times. To all of you, a deep and abiding Christmas spirit all the year through. Thank you for your friendship and support, and above all for your belief in this country and what citizens can do.

An Extra Special Christmas Gift

Posted on December 24, 2011

It happens each year during this season and it’s remarkable. The unfolding pageant of Londoners expending their time, good wishes and money on needed services and gifts for our community’s marginalized is an inspiring movement. Christmas and the poor are joined at the hip and that linkage is perhaps the most radical of the redeeming gifts Christmas has passed on to us. Think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, assisting the poor in attaining shelter as he slowly slides into poverty himself. There’s White Christmas, where an aging general is about to lose his inn, and A Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrooge learns that even great wealth must bow to the urgent needs of those with little. The best of the Christmas…

Three Christmas Wishes

Posted on December 23, 2011

In most cases communities are at their very best over the holiday season. Generosity to charities can often be overwhelming. Citizens across the board put in extra effort to add to the quality of life in their midst. This Christmas season promises to be hard-pressed, however, as the economy remains moribund, trapped within a convergence of forces that refuse to release their grasp. In a phrase, we need help. While larger trends have played themselves out in ways that have created uncertainty in our future, our communities have watched in concern as the number of our own falling into poverty has escalated. Even worse, we witness those struggling in poverty for some time growing discouraged at their inability to escape it, despite their own…

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