Monday, 17 November 2014



Listening to the news coming out of Rochdale I know, as everyone is saying, that this is not the end of the story. For my readers who follow what is happening in the  British news, or those that don’t watch the news, there has come to light the fact that some 1,000 plus young people have been abused, prostituted and beaten, giving them lifelong problems.  Yet they were under the care of the authorities and had allocated social workers.  Police were also aware, but no one did anything in case political correctness was interrupted or their carers where put in jeopardy.

When I look at the regulations governing social work, fostering and the care of young people in the UK so much of it is good.  Good regulations, good intentions with an emphasis on good practice.  However it’s not so much the regulations that are at fault, rather the culture.  A culture that from many social workers is a culture of, I must protect my back at all costs.  I must make sure if something goes wrong then I don’t get the blame, and if it does go wrong how I can make sure I do not take any responsibility.  I must protect my career and my income my salary my job!

I have some sympathy with the approach, not a lot but some. I know that Social workers are often criticised for doing and criticised for not doing.  It’s a no win situation. But there is a huge cost to that culture, and who pays the cost of that, well as we can see in Rochdale it is of course vulnerable young people and children, the very people that the social workers and the system is there to look after and protect.

I wonder if it’s the training that puts this culture into the system.  Or is it Mrs Thatcher’s fault with her ‘look after number one’ that was promoted in the 80’s, or is it that we fail to think in terms of good and bad.  Even the word evil has become politically incorrect.  Often I will say to people when in those difficult situations ‘we need to ask what is right’ not what protects me or defends me, or my interests.  It can be that I lose out by doing what is right, it’s still wrong not to do it.

I’m also sympathetic to the ‘whistle blowers’ don’t tell me that they will be fine, legislation assures them that they will be protected, it’s too ‘under the carpet’ for that, I  still think they need to blow the whistle, even if being right puts them in the wrong place.  I do know what this means, we had a case whereby I encouraged a young person to take a particular authority to court for the wrongs being done to them, the authority used our service, I did think, they won’t use us after this, (I.E. encouraging the young person to take them to court) the young person won the case, rightly so, the local authority did not use our service again, can I prove that it was because of this case, of course not, it’s just one of those things.  Would I do it again, unfortunately yes, I say unfortunately because the moral imperative is more important than the consequences that I might suffer.

What do we need to do going forward, well maybe we should make sure that would be social workers foster for a year before being approved to start with, but what is really needed is a change of culture, that is not easy, usually it means a change of heart and many people don’t think that is possible, and certainly don’t know how it can be achieved.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Gena Areola

W. 634

Monday, 6 October 2014


I like words, actually trying to speak French gives me great frustrations as I know my vocabulary is incredibly small, which it is not in English.  I remember telling a story to a young lady in French, and at the end I said do you understand me, “yes” she replied, and then I asked “then why are you laughing?”  She replied, “Because it’s like listening to a five year old!”

I used to think that words where just how you expressed things, and so got irritated by those in the equality lobby who wanted to change expressions like chairman to chair person or manhole to person-hole.  It seemed to me to be picky and stupid.  I no longer think that way. I recognise that our words come from our thinking and actually re-enforces our actions.  So if we are sexist, using sexist expressions just enhances our bias.

For those of us who are followers of Jesus language is such an important element, words are important.  The great thing is that John, in his book in the New Testament part of the Bible, in the very the first verse says a very interesting thing about words; he says ‘The Word, became Flesh, and dwelt amongst us’.  He is of course talking about Jesus, and powerfully presenting the fact that God puts his words into action, in flesh and bones, so that we can really understand what is being said by a physical being in a historical setting in our time/ space/ world.

So then we as followers of this Word go on using words wrongly, and though we profess to say we think/believe something we, usually because it’s easier, use words that say the opposite.  Let me give you some examples.  We say we believe in the Priesthood of all believers but then refer to clergy and laity, which sort of in action tell you the opposite to what we have said we believe.  We say where you go to church, implying that church is a place or building, yet we profess to believe that we as people are the body of Christ, i.e. church.  I know it easy shorthand, but it is actually in action saying something opposite to what we say we believe.  People get irritated with me when they ask where do you go to church, and I reply, “You can do that?”  Puzzled look, what do you mean?  Well you can’t go to church you can only BE church – sure lots of the church can gather together, but you cannot go somewhere when you are it.

A friend used to ask me with a smile when I used to ask what time is the Service, do you mean for the car or do you need a service station. What do we think ‘divine service is anyway’ I guess if it is as scripture would have it ‘present your body a living sacrifice’ then I can understand?

Of course we use words in language to cover up the seemingly unacceptable don’t we so ‘Collateral damage’ ‘Friendly fire’ what we are really talking about is dead people, people who have been killed, but that sounds a bit harsh doesn't it.

Words are important, let’s try and say what we mean and mean what we say.

Adrian Hawkes
w. 556

Edited By Gena Areola.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

Some time ago, before the tribal troubles in Kenya I was speaking at a conference.  I was using for my talk the story of the Good Samaritan.  Knowing a little about the tensions of the area I used as my illustration one of the tribes, who in the area where I was, was not very popular to say the least. I chose this least popular tribe and used the tribal name instead of a Samaritan.

At the end of my talk, and the meeting over I was taken on one side and told how dangerous it was to speak thus. Much better to tell the story with the Samaritan as the good neighbour, as I did not understand the culture of tribal enmity, and by putting one of the ‘despised’ tribes in place of the Samaritan I was living dangerously, and people would not like it.

I wondered how we might tell the story today, maybe in the streets of London or New York perhaps, and some poor Christian guy has been mugged and beaten and is lying in the gutter.

Along comes a good Charismatic Pastor, who knowing that he has to preach to his good congregation hurries by on the other side of the Road, must protect himself to deliver the sermon.

Then along comes a worship leader par excellence, boxed instruments over the shoulder, ready to lead the people in Praise and Worship, very necessary that he was on time to tune the sound and check “1,2, 1,2, 1,2”, shame for the man in the gutter but there are people to lead, to stand, to raise holy hands; Very important that he was early to get it all ready.

Finally, a young Muslim guy saw the man from his nice new car, he stopped and lifted the mugged young Christian and put him, dirt and all, on the back seat of his new car and drove very quickly to the nearest hospital, phoning the police on his mobile.  He then visited the poor guy every day he remained in hospital until he was well again.  Which one I wonder was the man’s neighbour?

You can read the original story in Luke 10:25-37 I have put some of it here for you from the New International Version (NIV)

Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind ‘and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Gena Areola
w. 666

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Progressive Humans

Progressive Humans

A few of my friends have commented on this subject of late, which has set me thinking.  Every so often we have this flash of how progressive we are today, how clever we have become and how sorry we feel for those older or past that did not have our knowledge and so progress, and oh how civilised we have become.
I think that was the sort of zeitgeist around 1913 particularly in Europe and then of course came World War One 1914 - 1918 with all the civilised countries of Europe and then the world trying their best to annihilate each other.
Then of course the talk was that this was the war to end all wars, we would then become civilised. The progress of the humans could continue, we know so much better than those throughout history our forefathers and the like.  The dream was of course shattered by World War 2 1939 to 1945 with its mayhem and destruction and inhumanity to mankind by very ‘civilised progressive humans’.
It doesn’t take long for things to settle down, and I would guess that there was positivity in the 50s and certainly, there was ‘peace and love man’ in the 60’s and we are back were we started, the accident of the universe allows us to get better and better, we after all know so much more than those who went before.  Yes we have access to information at the touch of a button, we can get it on the internet, not that we always remember what we learnt or even had the wisdom to use what we know, but surely we are getting so much better, so much more civilised?  Perhaps we should not mention the Stalin regime, or Pol Pot or maybe Iraq, Syria, Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovinian, do I need to say more?
As I think about the propensity to think that we are so much cleverer, wiser, knowledgeable than those who have gone before us, they didn’t know much did they, very superstitious, often using God to explain those things that they did not understand, at least that is what some would have us think. I am reminded, as I think about this ‘clever us now’, of an argument or was it a discussion between C. S Lewis that he relates in one of his essays.  The question is put that how silly it would be to imagine that if there is a God he would be interested in this tiny place Earth, of course the argument goes, in history they looked up and saw the sky and they did not know how large it was therefore it could seem that the Earth was the centre of the universe, now of course we know better.  I imagine Lewis pulling a book off the shelf and reading as follows, and perhaps saying “is this the sort of thing you mean?” and reading from the book he has pulled “in relation to the distance of the fixed stars Earth must be treated as a mathematical point without magnitude” “is that what you mean?”  I am sure the protagonist would reply “yes, that’s just what I meant, that’s what we now know”. Then Lewis checking, as if he needed to, saying “Oh this is from Almagest, Book one Chapter five and it was written by Ptolemy 2,000 years ago, so they obviously knew that then!”
I can hear the protagonist saying, “Well what about the nonsense of the virgin birth then? We certainly know how children are produced, and maybe Joseph didn’t understand”.  “That would be strange,” Lewis may have replied, “for then I wonder why if Joseph did not know the normal course of pregnancy he would record that on discovering his wife’s condition he was ‘minded to put her away’  Mathew chapter 1 verse 19.

 We really must stop thinking that those ancient people did not have knowledge were stupidly ignorant of normal processes of life and therefore were duped by what the Bible would list as miracles.
So are we really progressive humans, infinitely more knowledgeable, wiser and definatly more civilised?

Adrian Hawkes

Edited By: Gena Areola

Friday, 11 July 2014

Culture - Challenge - Change - Conform

Culture – challenge – change - conform
One of the things that I ask audiences who say that they are Christians is, if you are one have you changed and what methodology do you think, you or God uses to change you.
I get lots of answers usually things like:
  • ·         The Bible
  • ·         Prayer
  • ·         The Holy Spirit
  • ·         Meeting with other Christians
  • ·         Love
  • ·         And others sometime a bit more obscure

Of course all of those things have a bearing on change, if change is necessary, however that is not actually how we change. In fact the funny thing is that the Bible does tell us what the method of change is, and more than that it tells us how to maintain and continue with the relevant and vital changes that are needed to become a new kind of person. The Book of Romans starts us off...12:2  Don't be conformed to this world (allow the world to squeeze you into its mould), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Thinking is what changes us, what we think.  So often we don’t, think that is.  When I was a teenager I used to hang out in what was euphemistically called coffee bars, the place where young people could legitimately go. You went there before you went out, and came back there after you had been out, if you see what I mean.  It was the place you met your date before you went on the date… Bit more like a house front room with frothy coffee and the very required juke box.

One of the things I noticed is, and that hasn't changed much in 50 years is that the music had to be very, very loud. In fact so loud that you couldn't think, I asked a few of my friends back then why they like the music so loud? Most of them answered the same, well they said “It saves me from having to think”!
The trouble is there are many times that we think we are thinking but we are not; rather I would say we are conforming.  We conform to our culture our peers, those we feel we need to impress, be the same as, want them to like us, feel part of the crowd, and be accepted.  All of those things going on inside of us but often without much thought.

I have been to a lot of parties of late, most of which I have to say not my age group, but even when occasionally it was my age group I note the attempt to conform to the group is very strong.  Our cultures, that we don’t think about puts us into a box where we act, do, be, just like everyone else but without much thinking.

Let’s be honest it’s hard to change culture, not that we shouldn't try particularly when culture has it wrong, which often it has.  When you change your thinking you can change your behavior, but changing others thinking is not that easy, even if your thinking is right and their’s is wrong.  Think about Ignaz Semmelweiss, don’t know him, well in 1847 he discovered that if doctors washed their hands before attending women in childbirth it dramatically reduced deaths from puerperal fever.  His views were ridiculed and eventually drove him insane – not that he was wrong but it took some 15 years for Pasteur and Lister to develop their germ theory of disease which explained why Semmelweiss was right.

Going back to those parties, why is it that we have to have so much Alcohol, so much ‘same’ music, so much ‘same dress style’ so much conformity.  Are we thinking or just culturally conforming, and if we are just peer pressure conforming, are we right to do so? Are we that different to my coffee bar era, ‘well it saves me from having to think?’

To quote Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in ‘The Spirit level’ they said, It is a remarkable paradox that, at the pinnacle of human material and technical achievement, we find ourselves anxiety-ridden, prone to depression, worried about how others  see us, unsure of our friendships, driven to consume and with little or no community life.  Lacking the relaxed social contact and emotional satisfaction we all need we seek comfort in over-eating, obsessive shopping and spending, or becoming prey to excessive alcohol, psychoactive medicines and illegal drugs.
So why am I going on.  Well because I want to provoke you to THINK!  Think what about?
  • ·         Why are you here in this world?
  • ·         What is it that needs changing?
  • ·         What is it that you could do to effect change?
  • ·         Why are you just being one of the crowd?
  • ·         Where are you going anyway?
  • ·         When are you going to do something constructive?

Sometime the problem starts by what you think about yourself, again to quote the Bible it says in Proverbs 23:7 Paraphrasing “as you think in your heart so you are”  So what do you think about you, are you insecure, unsure, do you think of yourself as not so good.  Well to start with that would need to change if you are to tackle the thinking above.  And of course it can and should change.

 What should you be doing?  Shouldn't you be the person to change things, by first of all changing your own thinking?  Why be a ‘samee’ why not be a change agent? You could be a world changer, but first you probably have to change, personally I do that by firstly becoming a follower of Jesus, then trying hard to ‘not conform’ and putting on the mind of Christ, thinking about good things rather than bad, in fact seeking to renew my mind.  Not got there yet, but trying and on the way.

How about you, wouldn't you rather be here to change things rather than just be one of the crowd?  Think about it!  There’s a challenge!
Adrian’s Blog
Edited by Technicolour Text
W 1009


Friday, 6 June 2014



I don’t usually write anything about Politics, but the recent elections at which I did vote, seem to me to be setting a trend that require lots of us who, maybe think differently, to say something.
An Iraqi friend of mine recently said to me, maybe there is a problem with democracy in that stupid people get to vote; perhaps we should have an exam before people are given the franchise?

Recently listening to the debate in a ladies’ hairdressers, waiting for my wife, who had just commented on the problems for the kidnapped girls in Nigeria, I was staggered to discover from about 10 plus people there, she was the only one who knew that girls had been kidnapped.  They moved on in conversation to various other world shattering events, but it seemed to me that my wife was the only one who had a TV that showed any news programmes.  The world affairs, local and national politics seemed at such a low level of interest to them I wanted to scream argh…

It isn’t that this stuff isn’t out there it is, but as most of the main three political parties are saying the message has not got through, perhaps that is because they shy away from the real facts to try and be popular to those who don’t listen to them anyway.

The big issue over the UK and actually many other European countries has been immigration, immigration, immigration!  There have been lots of rhetoric but not many facts; Facts that are easily findable, such as:
1.       London, one of the most prosperous European Cities, owes much of its prosperity to the fact that it is such an international, diverse city due to immigration.

2.       When questioned about what percentage of immigrants that go to make up the UK population; people had wildly wrong numbers, usually way, way too high. In fact out of the 15.4 million refugees in the world currently, due to war, bad government and the like in 2012 the UK only had 193,510 of these people in the countries that go to make up the union and that represents just 0.33% of our population, did you know that? 

3.        Over a quarter of our NHS Drs are immigrants, I did not hear that fact quoted, maybe it was and I missed it.  Did you know that? I wonder where we would be if they all downed tools?
4.       When talking about immigration we don’t talk about emigration do we? Yet something like 5.5 million British people permanently live in other countries other than the UK, I wonder how those countries responded to those immigrants.

5.       Nasty one here, immigrants are 60% less likely to claim benefits than a UK born person, Oh dear what shall we do about benefit tourism?

6.       Oh and those pesky EU immigrants, taking all our funds, did you know that between 1995 and 2011 EU immigrants made a net contribution of £8.8 Billion more than they gained from being here.

7.       It seems for all the cries, most studies suggest that immigration has little or no effect on overall employment or British workers unemployment. I am pretty sure that often immigrants are job creators rather than job takers, and that they often end up creating wealth and employment on a grand scale. Think about companies started by immigrants, like Marks and Spencer’s, Burtons, Mumtaz Khan Akbar turnover £85 million, James Caan  Turnover £250 million, you probably know him if you watch Dragons Den. Sir Anwar Pervez who set up his first corner shop in London in 1963, expanding to ten convenience stores by the early 1970s and now head of Bestway which has the second highest turnover of any cash-and-carry in the UK.

8.       14% of start-up businesses in the UK were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs, according to a newly released report. The report says that there are 456,073 immigrant entrepreneurs working in the UK who have founded 464,527 businesses which employ 8.3m people.

And just for fun have you ever been to an ODEON cinema, very British, why call it ODEON I wonder well actually his immigrant name didn’t seem to have the right ring so he thought up the acronym ODEON and in case you are wondering what it’s an acronym for, it stand for Oscar Duetsch entertains our nation.  Very English!

Enough already I hear your cry! But if we are going to have this debate lets have the other positive side of what make places like London so prosperous.  Yes there are problems of immigration I have some solutions to that too if you do not want the people to come and make us richer, but that’s for another day.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Gena Areola

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Negative - Lukewarm - Self Obsessed

Negative - Lukewarm – Self Obsessed
I don’t like to be negative but it is my imagination that in the UK there are lots of people who are living in a small bubble.
Isn't it great to be with passionate people? People who have vision, enthusiasm, Mission, concern for the big things?  Such people are attractive to be around, they draw like magnets they are not boring they are challenging, inspiring, and usually ‘life full’ and often fulfilled people. None of that is negative is it?
Yet around me I see lots of the alternative. Conversation, both in person and of FB is of the small talk kind. Latest dress, shoes, entertainment; usually fairly inconsequential, never going to change the world much less the small space where they dwell.  Often the pressure of life is the things that affect them personally, the things that they believe will bring them happiness.  Joy would not be something understood here.  Sadly the things they want are usually the ‘me’ kind I guess that is the spirit of the age ‘you are number one’!
The trouble is that this is not true; you are not number one, those things you aspire for you are really not important. The trouble also is that if you get them, hold them, usually they, like soap bubbles, will quickly leave you with just a wet palm. You will be left saying what is the point of it all? Why? Where? How? What is it for?  So sad!
It is quite interesting how much God does not like lukewarmness, listen to this from Revelation 3:16 So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! In other words God does not want that stuff.  God likes passion!
The reality is that God comes to give ‘real life’ not boring, self-obsessed, lukewarm, negative life but real life. John 10:10 says this  
What those who live just for the ‘me’ or are content with the lukewarm, the selfish life do not understand is that to really live, have life, we need to be followers, not only that but when we follow the Son we find that love, meaning, reason to live, purpose in life, lack of boredom, lack of he question ‘what is the point?’, is replaced by care and concern for others. We discover that love is expansive (as of course is Evil) in fact we tap in to it to receive,  for the very reason we are here, the love of God flamed out and it expanded to you and me. 
It’s very strange that parents often say I can love my child but how would I love another one if I had one, and that’s the funny thing love expands, where there is need of it there is more of it, especially for the followers.
Being loved is satisfying, purposeful, meaningful and joyful. I want life I guess, I want others to have it too, and when I observe those around me who opt for the ‘me’ life I am angry at the robbery I know they are about to experience. My observations are that they do experience it, it is such a cul-de-sac.  The only way is to turn around from dead ends; they are just that, a dead end! Turn around and follow the Son, he will allow you to participate in the Father’s purposes, and even empower you to see it happen. Why stay in such a self-obsessed, rut.
Adrian Hawkes
w. 611
Edited by Gena Areola


Tuesday, 22 April 2014



I have thought about this a lot. It is one of those words that the English have borrowed from the German, but which in its usual dictionary explanation does not express all that the word implies. Some words are just like that, aren’t they?

The dictionary definition of the term is; “the spirit of the time and general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time”.  Well yes, but the thing is when you go into the background of the word from a German perspective, it has many layers to it.  This is perhaps why we don’t have a good feel of its translation or its common English usage. The word in German carries the idea of being in a fog, so the ‘spirit of the age’ is not recognised by you or me, because we are so influenced, affected, controlled by, engulfed by, our eyes covered by the fog of the spirit of the age that we do not know there is such a spirit nor can we see any alternative.  From a German perspective you can only assess zeitgeist in retrospect; looking back or, better translated, the ghost of the past age.  Then we can see what it was and know where they went wrong or how they could have done better.  Hind sight is a wonderful thing.

I often think it’s funny as politicians seek to correct history, and pardon this or that from the past, or say how the government was so wrong seventy or a hundred years ago and their party got it wrong then, let’s put it right.  As if we can put what we see now into history and make it different to what it was they saw and understood. I think that process is daft.

Why am I going on about this? Well one of the reasons is that I teach a class of senior students in our school and am talking them about entrepreneurs, and how to be one.  As I have talked with the class I am very aware of how often both in history and now, people cannot see certain things. Clever people like Albert Einstein, who said in 1932 there could never be atomic energy, or Thomas Watson the head of IBM said in 1943 that he could only see the need for about 5 computers in the world.

Even funnier to our mindset today was the president of the digital equipment corporation as late as 1977 said “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home!”  In 1927 H.M. Warner of Warner Brothers quipped “who the hell wants to hear an actor speak” as the possibility of ‘talking movies’ were coming on stream. David Sarnoff's associates, in response to his urging's for investment in the radio in the 1920 said of Radio “it has no commercial use and will not catch on”. Sir William Preece, Chief engineer of the British Post office said of the invention of the telephone: “Americans have need of it, but we do not we have plenty of messenger boys.”  Why did they say such things, is it zeitgeist?

I have often spoken to audiences about the problems Moses had with the children of Israel after they left Egypt. The thing is, if your next door neighbour is a slave, and your friend across the Road is a slave, and in fact everyone you know is a slave your vision of ‘freedom’ is a nonstarter. Zeitgeist has you; sadly you don’t want this ‘freedom’ thing what you want is more onions, leeks and cucumbers (The Bible, Numbers chapter 11 verses 4 to 6).  Can you blame them for the fog?

So are we suffering from zeitgeist now? I think we are, but how do we know? How do we break out? How do we change the future?

Cairine Reay Mackay Wilson was one of those people who broke zeitgeist, she wanted to become a senator in the Canadian parliament, the problem was that the zeitgeist of the time was that woman were counted as a non-person, therefore you could only have a person as a senator, so a woman could not do the job. From the point of view of the zeitgeist this was obvious.

Cairine did not accept the obvious and appealed to the UK Privy Council, Canada’s highest court. The ruling given changed the ‘nature’ of person-hood and Cairine became the first Canadian female senator.

So are we in the fog of our zeitgeist?  I think we probably are, and there are things we should see, things we could do, a better way to live, a better way to be, a different paradigm to be in.  What we need is to listen to the seers, and see what they see.

Maybe we need someone from the other side to come and tell us that there is a better way to live and be, and then we should listen to them.  Oh, He has already spoken.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Robyn Heather
Sunday, 23 March 2014

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Nutty Newspaper Nonsense

Nutty Newspaper Nonsense

I reached the ultimate in surprise this week when I was asked if I knew that black people are able to receive a free oyster (bus and tube pass) if they live in London.  Come on all my black friends if you did not know this – get one – problem is I do not know where from.

The young lady who was telling me this story went on to tell me that the person who had told her this great piece of news, when told, “No, that is not true”, looked at her with that knowing look that says “Oh, that’s what you think”.

It really is nutty nonsense from people who read certain types of newspapers that come out with this stuff, and then when you tell them no it’s not true, prefer to believe their fairy tale rubbish rather than any real facts.
Some of the other apocryphal stories I have been told are as follows, usually by wide eyed people who when, like my friend who told me the story of free travel, are told “no, it’s nonsense”, look at you as though you are the stupid one.  Here are just some of them.  ‘Did you know that they now give foreigner’s free cars’ ‘It’s terrible that you can only get a house on the council if you are not English’  ‘Did you know that immigrants get £120.00 per week unemployment allowances’ and so on, I have heard lots more, I must admit that I had not heard the one about black people getting free travel until this weekend.  Nutty stuff or what?

Here are some of the real facts, problem is I guess, is that if you read certain newspapers so called, then even though you tell me you don’t believe everything you read in the press you will nevertheless not take note of these facts because it does not fit with what you want to think for whatever strange reason or ‘because you read it in the press’! But anyway:

A single adult asylum seeker receives £36.62 a week thats just £5.23 per day

A single unemployed UK citizen of the same age would receive £67.50, plus other benefits they may be able to receive.

Asylum seekers cannot claim mainstream benefits.

Asylum seekers do not qualify for council housing tenancy or housing benefit.

When questioned about what percentage of immigrants that go to make up the UK; people had wildly wrong numbers, usually way, way too high. In fact out of the 15.4 million refugees in the world currently, due to war, bad government and the like in 2012 the UK only had 193,510 of these people in the countries that go to make up the union and that represents just 0.33% of our population, did you know that? 

In 2011 UK did not feature in even the top ten of receiving countries for refugees, in fact the country that had the most in 2011 was surprisingly Pakistan . Jordan with its own population of around 6 million hosted something like 550,000. How does that compare with UK population of 70 million or thereabouts and the figure above?

Now my big problem concerning these nutty things, wrong as they are is not so much the people who put them into my face as though this was the truth about life and the universes, which is bad enough that people think these things, and fail to check it out.  I guess its worse that papers produce stories with very little fact around them, that beguiles such gullible people, and stirs them up, but the most frustrating thing of all is when government responses to this nonsense popularise by trying to pass legislation that says such things as we wont allow asylum seekers or refugees to get driving licences in this country, we wont allow them to get any health care for free, and of course we wont allow them to work. They already cannot.

 So then we put in that law of unforeseen consequences, what are desperate people to do, who have run away from danger in their own countries, have tried to feed their familys or themselves.  What should they now do, steal?  Become criminals?  Come on let us be reasonable and look again at those facts and figures.

*Most up to date good facts and figures can be obtained from:

Adrian Hawkes
Edited by Gena Areola
28th October 2013

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Pick and Mix

Pick and Mix

Follower of Jesus

I am slightly puzzled by various people I meet up with of late, and some I hear speaking publically, who seem to want to stress to me that they are ‘people of faith’, that they ‘love God’, that they ‘are Christians’ or that they ‘are followers of Jesus’.  I suppose some of those statements could be understandable, but ‘follower of Jesus’, seems a bit harder for me to swallow.

Is it the Jesus who says ‘do whatever you like as I don’t mind’? I don’t know that one.  Is it the Jesus who says ‘whatever values you think fit you, that’s ok, as long as you say you are following me, that’s fine’?  I don’t know him either.  Is it the one who says ‘we are all going in the same direction and it does not matter what you believe’? I've never met him.

You see the Jesus I follow says ‘I am the way’. He says ‘take up your cross and follow me’. He says ‘if you love me then keep my commandments’. He is the one who says of some, especially those with power, and especially the religious; ‘Don’t expect that if they have hated me that they won't hate you because they will’.
We love the pick and mix that our culture wants to persuade us is the norm, a bit like the old Woolworths sweet model; ‘I would like to choose this but exclude that’.  It seems ok when we are choosing sweets, so why not when we say we are choosing to follow Jesus? ‘Oh I am happy to follow you down that path Jesus, but you want me to follow you down the next one too? Sorry I don’t like that direction so we will connect later’.  Is that how it works?

I don’t think so.  Becoming a follower of Jesus requires repentance first of all, and that word suggests a turnaround of direction.  In other words we go in a new direction, the Jesus direction if you will; and this new direction is very contrary to much of the world we live in.  It has a whole new set of values to start with, such as ‘love your enemies’ and ‘do good to those who use you badly’.  There are other things that give us problems too in this following, such as ‘deny yourself’.

 Oh dear, I thought my happiness and what I want, my emotions, my feelings, my particular leanings or desires, i.e. ME, was the most important thing in the world.  Well actually, following Jesus includes that difficult part of [dying to self and living to Him]. Oh dear, this pick and mix is such a problem, and this ‘I am a follower of Jesus’ is such a problem too.

 Let’s be honest, I like the idea of following Jesus, but not giving up on my wants, my personal desires, what I think is best for me, my choices; that’s a bit hard, maybe I will give it a miss and be a bit more honest in future and not say I am one of those people, maybe I will just say I like them but am not ‘following’.  A bit like some of those people right at the start 2,000 years ago; this is what happened then.

Acts 5:13 But even though people admired them a lot, outsiders were wary about joining them. On the other hand, those who put their trust in the Master were added right and left, men and women both.

Perhaps those admirers where just a bit more honest, what do you think?

Adrian Hawkes
12th January 2014
Edited by:

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Yes or No?


Our sound bite age is impatient with answers that take more than two minutes.  We want it simple and we want it quick and we want it to be correct and all encompassing.  Our culture may be in that ‘want’ position, but it’s unrealistic, unhelpful, untruthful, unfulfilling and just does not work.

I am reminded of the story of the old farmer, with a horse and cart riding through the country lanes with his dog by his side and a load of hay on the back.  A sports car came around a bed far too fast and crashed into the old farmer causing considerable damage an loss.  Eventually the farmer and the driver had their day in court and of course the farmer was trying to get compensation for his loss; on the other side the defence for the insurance company were trying to settle for as little as possible.

The lawyer defending the insurance company against the farmers claim had a last chance to cross examine the farmer in the witness box and he started by saying, now please sir please just answer my question with a yes or no answer, it very simple, did you or did you not when questions by the police officer at the scene of the crime answer the constables question, when he asked you are you all right, yes thank you I am fine. The farmer did not want to answer yes or know and began “well my Lord it was like this” he got no further as the lawyer interrupted with, now please just answer yes or no! Again the farmer tried,  ­­­I was lying in” again the lawyer stopped him, please sir I have already said a yes or no answer. The farmer tried a third time “when my horse” again the lawyer interrupted and said, please sir what is it that you don’t understand about yes or no?

Fortunately at this point the judge intervened and stopped the defence lawyer and said, I know you want a simple answer, but I am going to rule that we let the farmer answer the question in his own way. So please do not interrupt him again, we will hear what he has to say.

The Farmer thanked the judge and proceeded with his story “when the car came round the bend very fast it hit my horse and cart, the horse was knocked to the ground, my dog was flung over the hedge on one side of the road and the impact through me over the hedge on the other side of the Road.

I was lying in a ditch groaning with pain when the police quickly arrived.  Being in a farming community they looked at my poor horse lying on the ground and said this horse is in great pain and defiantly cannot be helped, as I say being in a country area the police are used to animal problems and one of them went back to the car and brought out a gun and then I heard them say this animal is really injured we need to put it out of it misery, and they shot my horse.

They then found my little dog who was whimpering in the ditch the other side of the Road from me and I heard them say again this dog is so badly hurt we need to put it out of it misery and they then shot my dog.

Finally the policeman carrying the gun found me in my ditch and looking at me with his gun in his hand he asked are you all right to witch I replied I am fine thank you”!!!

So what am I going on about, I have just watched on of those question type programmes on TV with all its discussions, trying to track the big issues of the day, but expecting people to give good summaries of complex issues in sound bite answers and reach helpful conclusions?

They never do because the sound bite, yes no answer does not really give us the depth and breadth of the understanding that often these questions need.  So what do you want, the easy yes or no, or something that is more meaty, accurate and really addresses the issue.

Adrian Hawkes
Edited By Gena Muoria
W. 721

24th February 2013

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Report from Assist News Service (1)

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

London Calling
How the action of an Australian Prime Minister so angered us that my wife and I started
 a ministry to Asylum Seekers

By Adrian Hawkes
Special to ASSIST News Service

LONDON, UK (ANS) -- I had been pastoring a church in North London, when my wife
Pauline and myself were shocked as we began to discover the plight of Asylum Seekers
who were flooding into London from war zones like Sri Lanka, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Kosovo, Iraqi, Congo, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, to name just a few.
These were men, women and children who had escaped the violence of their homelands to
make the long and dangerous journey to the British capital.                                                                               
Iraqi Asylum Seekers in London

Pauline and I moved to North London in 1974, after ministering in a church in Middlesbrough, a 
large town situated on the south bank of the River Tees in north east England. While there,
we had also had taken up the responsibility of leading two local church communities in the area.
Now settled in London, and through a long series of events, we had taken the local authorities training course and began to foster children on the council's behalf. After many years of doing this, and getting somewhat older, we decided bringing up teenagers should be for others.

Refugees packed onboard the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa after being refused permission to enter Australia

Then one night in 
August 2001, while watching the news on
BBC TV, we were horrified to see a story that a Norwegian freighter had picked up a group of would be refugees to
Australia and they were caught in sweltering temperatures at Christmas Island and some were injured and I believe others
 died in the incident.

The John Howard Government of Australia had refused permission for the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa, carrying 438 rescued refugees, predominantly Hazaras of Afghanistan from a distressed fishing vessel in international
waters, to enter Australian waters. This
triggered an Australian political controversy
in the lead up to a federal election, and a diplomatic dispute between Australia and

When the Tampa entered Australian water, the Prime Minister
John Howard, who refused to let the 
Norwegian freighter into his country
ordered the ship be boarded by Australian special forces. This brought censure from the government of Norway who said the Australian Government failed to meet obligations to distressed mariners under international law at the United Nations.
Within a few days the government introduced the Border Protection Bill into the House of Representatives saying that it would confirm Australian sovereignty to "determine who will
enter and reside in Australia". The government introduced the so-called "Pacific Solution",
whereby the asylum seekers were taken to Nauru where their refugee status was considered, rather than in Australia.

When the report ended, I had to protect the TV from being attacked by Pauline, who was by
now boiling with anger, and I explained that the TV was "not guilty" and the reporter was just explaining the facts of the story. She then said, "I will go to Australia then and punch that man."
After she calmed down, I told her that there were "loads of refugees coming to the UK
because of wars in their countries; so why should we not try and help them?"
Pauline agreed to ring the local authority and talk to them about this, especially as we were
quite well known to Social Services having fostered for them and led their foster team for
many years.

Pauline makes a plea for help
I was surprised, though, when listening in to Pauline's phone conversation, as I heard a man
at the other end say, "Yes, I am the manager of the authorities' asylum service, is that Pauline
I am talking to?" It turned out that Pauline had worked on training other foster parents for the department with this man who had now been promoted to manager of this service.
I heard him also say, "If you want to help in this area, tell us how you will do it and we will
fund you. We will have you on board tomorrow." Wow, what a response, and that started us
our incredible journey.

Following the telephone conversation, we put together a program to help Asylum Seekers. It involved housing, support and care, and just being there for especially the young people. So
we set up a company called Phoenix Community Care.
The name came about after a man I did not know came to me at a conference and said, "I am calling you Phoenix, because you are about to lose everything, but God will restore it many fold." Hence the name Phoenix. He was right. I did lose everything but God restored it back to us, but that's another story.

My youngest daughter donated her house to the work and moved out.  We started off with our first client, a young Muslim girl from Congo, who had been
Another group, Women for Refugee Women, supports Women Asylum Seekers Together London, a self-help group of women who have sought asylum in the UK
raped and frightened and was looking for help. Pauline collected her from Social Services and placed her in the house, which we had given a "wow factor" by furnishing and decorating it as 
we wanted it to be really special for our shell-shocked clients. This young girl went into the first room and climbed into bed without even taking off even her outdoor coat and dropped off to
sleep and did not wake up for a couple of days.

Pauline, having finished the "I'm a professional placement manager" part, drove around the
corner and phoned me. She wept as she said, "Get more houses. There is a great need here."
The work has continued to this day, and you can find out more by going to our website which is:
I will be telling more stories in the week's ahead and I ask you to pray for us as we bring the
love of God to these many needy people who have seen so much hate and violence in their

Adrian Hawkes is married -- Dan Wooding was best man at his wedding -- with three children, 10 Grandchildren and two Great Grandchildren. He is still part of the Rainbow Church North London which he used to lead and he also works with Sri Lankan churches in France,
Switzerland, Norway, Canada and Sri Lanka. as well as a church in Norway. He helped to form Phoenix Community Care Ltd, which looks after some 30+ unaccompanied minors, and 
vulnerable adults in housing in North London; alongside his wife Pauline, he established PCC
Foster Care agency and recently launched London Training Consortium Ltd., which trains
refugees and asylum seekers with ESOL, IT, and Literacy. He has also written various books including: "Leadership and.," "Attracting Training: Releasing Youth," "The Jacob Generation," "HELLO is that you God?", "Culture Clash," and his latest, but first, fiction book, "ICEJACKED.
"He can be contacted by e-mail 

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