Saturday, 26 April 2008


That's my brother...
on the Harley...
Cool or what !
Soar Like An Eagle

Something about the warm summer air
Riding my bike .. feeling so free
I wish you could understand
What it does for me

Friends we all gather
Set for the road
Sharing and caring
Sharing the load

The breeze in our faces
The sound of the roar
Life is so good
Who could want for more

Comrades on bikes
A long distance run
Anxious for summer
We all have such fun

Everyone has something
They love and enjoy
The Harley for me
Is my ultimate toy

I soar like an eagle
The world I do see
It is my way
Of being me

Angel Kat

Friday, 25 April 2008


Emma Gough on her wedding day,
two years later she was dead
after refusing a blood transfusion.

UNBORN JEHOVAH’S TWINS TO GET BLOOD scream the headlines from this mornings Daily (Irish) Mail referring to a story of human interest that has gripped the nation over the last few days. Doctors attending a 32 week pregnant mother went to the High Court to get legal clearance to give a blood transfusion to the twins after delivery, when the woman ,a Jehovah’s Witness, objected to the procedure on religious grounds. The mother wrote to the judge pleading for her wishes in this matter to be respected… “I am of sound mind and I was born and raised in Ireland…We love our children with all our hearts and we have a healthy four-year-old. We don’t want our children to die or cause them any harm…But I have had firm belief for 20 years,and my husband for 15, as a Jehovah Witness…We do understand that the doctors feel they have no choice but for blood products in this situation, all we ask is for a bloodless alternative to be tried first.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have many doctrines and practises peculiar to their denomination but none more controversial and high-profiled than the prohibition on blood transfusions based primarily on a verse in Acts 15:20..."Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood." Many Witnesses all over the world have stood by their conviction based on this Scripture even to the point death. In 2007 in England , Emma Gough, 22 a young mother died hours after giving birth to twins because her faith prohibited a life-saving blood transfusion. She was able to hold her son and daughter after the natural delivery, but suffered a sudden hemorrhage and lost a great deal of blood. As a Jehovah's Witness, Mrs Gough had signed a form before the birth insisting that she should not be given blood. So does the Bible proscribe the use of blood transfusions as the Witnesses believe and are we to admire their steadfast conviction as a matter of obedience to Gods word or see it as a blind adherence to a tradition that does not originate with the Creator?
There are two issues at stake here, what the Jehovah Witnesses teach about blood transfusions and what the Bible has to say on the subject. Firstly the Witnesses position is a bit more complex than it might appear as there is not a total prohibition on all blood products. While separate components of plasma are allowed, plasma itself is forbidden the reasoning being that as these factions pass through the placental barrier during pregnancy and God allows these blood components to pass from mother to child, it is logical to conclude that God wouldn't break his own law. This might seem reasonable were it not for the fact that medical science has shown that practically all blood components pass through the placental barrier. So even though the Witnesses believe that the Bible has a total ban on blood they only promote a partial ban.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter, what does the Bible actually say on the subject of blood transfusions? Not surprisingly the Bible has nothing to say on this medical procedure as it was unknown in Biblical times ! Even by the Witnesses own admission whenever the Scriptures speak of a ban on blood it is in the context of consuming it as a food.. “Each time the prohibition of blood is mentioned in the Scriptures it is in connection with taking it as food, and so it is as a nutrient that we are concerned with in its being forbidden. (The Watchtower 9/15/58, p. 575...The official magazine of Witnesses) What a tragedy for all concerned when the plain meaning of the Bible is wrenched out of context and imposed in a misleading way into a restriction that can have such tragic and devastating results.
There is no doubting the sincerity and conviction of the parents at the centre of the present case, but I would call into question those who lead the Witnesses and formulate their doctrines. It seems to me that any Bible teacher worth his salt could not stand by and witness the needless deaths of two infants on the basis of a glaring misinterpretation of what the bible plainly says. There is already much dissent on this issue globally by members of the Witnesses , one such group The "Associated Jehovah's Witnesses for Reform on Blood" [AJWRB] describes themselves as
"a diverse group of Witnesses from many countries, including elders and other organization officials, Hospital Liaison Committee members, Doctors, and members of the general public who have volunteered their time and energies in an effort to bring about an end to a tragic and misguided policy that has claimed thousands of lives, many of them children. promoting change within the WTS on the topic of blood transfusions."
Hopefully in the Irish situation some good men and true from within the ranks of the Jehovah’s Witnesses may step forward and speak up. Such a move would inspire some hope in the future of that movement where dissent is allowed and individual conscience under God is respected and tolerated. I recall the Lord Jesus admonishing the Pharisees of his day for their mind-numbing allegiance to the letter of the law while killing the spirit of it with their rituals and traditions. Indeed on the subject of the Sabbath He had to remind them of the Divine order of Gods Laws…The Law was made for man not the other way round !

Gerard O'Shea


Monday, 21 April 2008


With a strong forearm, the apron-clad blacksmith puts his tongs into the fire, grasps the heated metal, and places it on the anvil. His keen eye examines the glowing piece. He sees what the tool is now and envisions what he wants it to be--sharper, flatter, wider, longer. With a clear picture in his mind, he begins to pound. His left hand still clutching the hot mass with the tongs, his right hand slams the two-pound sledge upon the moldable metal.
On the solid anvil, the smouldering iron is remolded.
The smith knows the type of instrument he wants. He knows the size. He knows the shape. He knows the strength.
Whang! Whang! The hammer slams. The shop rings with the noise, the air fills with smoke, and the softened metal responds.
But the response doesn't come easily. It doesn't come without discomfort. To melt down the old and recast it as new is a disrupting process. Yet the metal remains on the anvil, allowing the toolmaker to remove the scars, repair the cracks, refill the voids, and purge the impurities.
And with time, a change occurs: What was dull becomes sharpened, what was crooked becomes straight, what was weak becomes strong, and what was useless becomes valuable.
Then the blacksmith stops. He ceases his pounding and sets down his hammer. With a strong left arm, he lifts the tongs until the freshly molded metal is at eye level. In the still silence, he examines the smoking tool. The incandescent implement is rotated and examined for any marks or cracks.
There are none.
Now the smith enters the final stage of his task. He plunges the smouldering instrument into a nearby bucket of water. With a hiss and a rush of steam, the metal immediately begins to harden. The heat surrenders to the onslaught of cool water, and the pliable, soft mineral becomes an unbending useful tool.

"For a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed."
(I Peter 1:6-7)
Max Lucado

Thursday, 17 April 2008


Evening falls beyond Barrington's Pier
These evenings have lent themselves to much activity in the great outdoors as winter seems belatedly to be releasing its grip and the sun has taken on a warmth to match its light . So this evening I re-discovered the delights of walking down by Barrington's Pier and beyond it along the Shannon's grassy bank. Apart from the relentless hum of traffic on the Condell Road, as far as the eye can see is green and pastoral and the river my majestic companion, this could be the deep deep heart of the countryside rather than a twenty minute stroll outside Limerick city. I felt a Kilvert's Diary moment coming on as I ambled along this rugged path with a stiff breeze blowing against me and the brilliant sun preparing to set in the distant west. Just the job to broom the cobwebs of night-duty from my sleep addled brain!
Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


O'Briens Bridge ~ (T Carey) ~

There is a stillness here trapped by water
A place where time hangs suspended
Caught like a dragonfly in frozen elevation...
Pressed like a precious flower
Between the pages of a yellow book...
Every bush and tree and jumping fish
Performing to a symphony of calm,
And the ochred furze on riverbank applauds
As the swan and water hen lithely skim
Their silent, graced ovation...
And every breath and bough that stirs
Cranes a neck to see the ebbing light
Of such a sweet and pleasant April day.
Gerard O'Shea



A man walks out of a bar and sees a man begging on the corner. The beggar says, "Mister, can you spare a euro?"
The man thinks a minute. Then he asks the beggar, "If I give you money, are you going to use it to buy drink?"
"No," says the beggar
The man then asks, "If I give you money, are you going to use it for gambling?"
. Again the beggar says, "No."
So the man says to the beggar, "Do you mind coming home with me so I can show my wife what happens to someone who doesn't drink or gamble?"

Thursday, 10 April 2008


And now the Pulitzer Prize !


Bob Dylan has been awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize at this years New York ceremony, being the first rock artiste to receive the accolade. The award citation spoke of his "profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power".I came late to Dylan and for years had been badgered by a friend who raved about the American folk singer with the whine in his voice. Anytime I casually listened I could hear the ‘whine’ clearly enough but little else. That was until one Sunday morning when I heard a track from a new Dylan album on the radio, The song was ‘I Believe In You’ and the just released album was ‘Slow Train A Comin’.The song stopped me in my tracks as the lyrics were so powerful and relevant to my own situation at the time. Dylan had converted to Christianity and in the song he espoused the difficulty of walking by faith in an unsympathetic world, but his own belief sustaining him through it all. The voice angelically whined from the radio set…’I Believe in you even through the tears and the laughter, I believe in You even though we be apart…I believe in You even on the morning after, Though the earth may shake me…And my friends forsake me….’ For the first time Bob Dylan had my complete and undivided attention as song after song poured out like prophesy doing my soul good. That was back in 1979 and it opened up the door to a whole back catalogue of music that had escaped me, each album confirming Dylan’s status as the supreme wordsmith of the folk and rock genre. Another favourite is ‘Forever Young’’May God bless and keep you always, May your wishes all come true, May you always do for others ,And let others do for you…May you build a ladder to the stars, And climb on every rung….And may you stay forever young.’ I connected with the majesty of songs like ‘Mr Tambourine Man’ and ‘The Times They Are Changin’ and the gentle and evocative love ditty ‘Sarah’. Not to mention the mysterious ‘Isis’ and that number from his post Christian period ‘Precious Angel’Precious angel, under the sun, How was I to know you'd be the one, To show me I was blinded, to show me I was gone, How weak was the foundation I was standing upon ?Now there's spiritual warfare and flesh and blood breaking down, Ya either got faith or ya got unbelief and there ain't no neutral ground, The enemy is subtle, how be it we are deceived, When the truth's in our hearts and we still don't believe ?’ Later I learned that as a young unknown singer in Greenwich village Dylan spent a lot of time listening to an Irish folk group ‘The Clancy Brothers’ and had adapted many of their traditional ballad tunes for his own compositions, like ‘The Patriot Game’ becoming ‘With God On Our Side’ In fact only recently I listened to the last surviving member of that group, Liam telling yarn after yarn about those heady days (and nights!) in Greenwich village. So I salute Bobs Pulitzer Prize award and long may he reign as the Chronicler of Wasted Time.

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 7 April 2008


There are few among us who relish a trip to the dentist and I am one of many procrastinating dental attendees, putting off that visit until pain gnaws away at tooth or gum ! My last dentist was fine in every respect except one - his breath stank. I can still vividly recall his heavy mouth-breaths blowing into my defenceless open mouth as he drilled a back molar. As I repeatedly gagged he kept reassuring me that it would only be another few minutes, guessing that my discomfort had all to do with his drilling. How wrong he was, as the problem was not in my mouth but his and each rasp of his halitoxic breath did nothing to indicate that this physician could heal himself.
So when I experienced that irritating first pang of pain at the back of my mouth about a fortnight ago I knew that a trip to dentist was imminent. A friend had recommended a lady surgeon that he had found satisfactory and pleasant and I arranged an appointment last Thursday. After an extensive x-ray taking a panoramic view of my ivories I found myself in the dentists chair as she examined my teeth. I basked in the sweet-breathed wafts of feminine fragrance that seemed to puff on my face and immediately realised that my previous bad experience was well and truly behind me. When she told me that she would have to extract the offending tooth, becalmed by all the freshness and light I demurely nodded and let the procedure commence.
After the local anaesthetic had kicked in the tooth was whisked out in a minute without any discomfort. I was feeling rather chuffed leaving the surgery with the cause of my discomfort now once and for all removed. I realised that after the anaesthetic wore off there would be some pain and had painkillers at the ready for this eventuality. However when by Saturday the pain seemed to be intensifying I went to a G.P. who confirmed that I had picked up an infection and prescribed a double dose of antibiotics and more painkillers. My dream-like visit to the fresh-breathed dentist had now turned into another nightmare and the initial cost had by now quadrupled. In the light of all this my deep deep reservations about the dental profession continues, and I am faced with a return visit to ensure that she hasn’t left anything behind that might be causing the ongoing infection. People say there is nothing worse than a pain in your tooth, I know this to be untrue having experienced far more excruciating pain without the tooth than before! Is there a moral to my tale…not really, like most of the events in our lives these things just happen.But why oh why do they happen to me ?
Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 4 April 2008


This tiny Bible (probably the worlds smallest) was discovered in 2007 tucked inside the boot which was hidden in the cavity of a cottage chimney at Ewerby in England. Apparently it had been placed in the chimney 104 years earlier as an amulet to ward off evil spirits ! What a sad waste of the precious Word of God whose power is in its truth and whose blessing is in its practise and not merely its possession as a good luck charm.The little book is only an inch wide and less than a half inch thick, and contains the complete text of the Bible. The book, published in 1901 by David Bryce & Son of Glasgow, at the time was nicknamed the "mini mite" or "thumb Bible." It was packaged in a metal-hinged case, part of which is still with the recovered Bible. Included in the case was a magnifying glass to help readers decipher the miniscule print. The poem below attempts to sum up the entire Bible in just 50 words, I would encourage all to go on to read the ‘small print’ of the Scriptures and discover the wonders of Gods revelation throughout the 66 books.

The Bible


50 Words

God made

Adam bit

Noah arked

Abraham split

Joseph ruled

Jacob fooled

Bush talked

Moses balked

Pharaoh plagued

People walked

Sea divided

Tablets guided

Promise landed

Saul freaked

David peeked

Prophets warned

Jesus born

God walked

Love talked

Anger crucified

Hope died

Love rose

Spirit flamed

Word spread

God remained.

Author unknown