Tuesday, 13 September 2016

My Diary … Dress Code for Our Platforms ... Father and Son’s Day Out ... Keeping Communications Open ... Glasgow Association fills a void ...


                                                                     My Diary…


28th – Falkirk Spiritualist Church (SNU)


5th – The Glasgow Association of Spiritualists.

                                                        Dress Code for Our Platforms.

There are still many in society who don’t look upon Spiritualism as a religion.  Our clairvoyance during a service is the main reason why they think this way.  There are others who feel a paltry Seven Principles with only 47 words is not enough to guide us through this life and make us closer to God.  Or Seven Principles they feel pales in comparison with mainstream religion’s 750,000 plus words in their ancient books of guidance and laws. There will be some who think that the lack of fancy attire of those taking our services don’t give off a churchy, religious feel.  I feel that we don’t need all that is mentioned above apart from the latter, I feel that dress sense – a simple dress sense - is important on our platforms.

In recent years I have heard many older Spiritualists complain that dress-sense on the platform is dropping below an acceptable standard as far as male mediums are concerned.  I have never heard off or seen any female medium drop below a sensible dress sense for the platform, apart from some photos on Facebook showing ridiculous dressing up for Halloween which the churches should not have allowed.  What I am on at here is the dress sense on our platforms at a Divine Service.

I contacted a senior member of the SNU asking about this and here is the reply;

 ‘The SNU has a code of conduct for its exponents which states that 'for men it should be a suit, shirt and tie with shoes suitable for a formal occasion.  However, as an alternative, a semi-formal dress code could be adopted such as jacket, trousers, shirt and tie with smart shoes.'

Several emails to this site over the past year or so have mentioned pullovers and open necked shirts are the order of the day as far as many male mediums are concerned.  Every year a small group of Spiritualists meet for a weekend discussion on Spiritual matters.  This year saw our most heated debate by far and the subject being discussed was ‘proper attire for the platform’.  I was really surprised at some of the comments advocating that almost anything goes dress sense on our platforms these days as far as male mediums are concerned.

Spiritualism is surely the most lax of all religions – we have our Seven Principles, our dress code and very little else.  We rely on our members / mediums to respect Spirit, our religion and the pioneers of our religion.  So, surely it is not too much to ask that a suit/jacket, shirt and tie are worn at our Divine Services and also evenings of clairvoyance within the church?

I decided to do a small poll and contacted Spiritualists old and new.  In favour of the suit, shirt and tie -  54% against 46%.
here are some of their comments and comments from the debate I attended.

Here are some of the comments; -

Tom, life has changed since you came into spiritualism and wearing ties is a thing of the past.  Once old fogies like you pass over a tie will be a rarity…..
Yes, trends are changing, but look at how many men turn up at funerals wearing a tie as a mark of respect.  All I am asking is the same respect in our churches.

“I am with you all the way. I am an old fashioned girl who likes formality, but at the end of the day it is the Church Committee who decides what their dress code will be”.
Being a committee member of a Spiritualist Church is an important position and it is church committees that should enforce the ‘tie being worn’ on their platforms.  They must decide is this a church they run or a psychic Centre.

I really think it depends on the weather Tom. Our church is really warm so some people have to remove their jackets. I personally think that as long as the medium is neat and tidy it does not really matter, but that is a personal opinion”.  I agree common sense can come into play if weather or church is too warm.  On saying that no matter the temperature I stay with the full dress code during the service – but I have already been called an ‘old fogie’.
I think as long as they are smart, it doesn't matter. It's more important in my view what comes out of their mouth. I've seen the smartest of mediums talk a lot of rubbish, that does our movement a disservice, and heard casual mediums do a wonderful job. I personally don't mind”.

I think that as long as the chair has been asked then no not in warm weather”.

“Traditionally men always wore ties and jackets. But now even in high level meetings in the corporate world, they do not wear ties”.

“I absolutely agree that male mediums should wear shirt, tie and jacket and when it is warm in platform, then check in with chairperson to remove jacket”.

I would say that presenting themselves at church smart no jeans no jumpers personally I was told shirt tie and then you ask the chair if you can take your jacket off if the room is warm and the weather so in answer yes”.

I feel they should be appropriately dressed. If it was scorching hot I would perhaps forgo the jacket. I personally would then like a shirt and tie. If not hot then definitely jacket too, and smart trousers if they have no suit”.

“I’ve been told I have to so I do it think it looks better, but when it's summer in our church it's really hot what do you think should be done when church is like that I not sure”.

“Tom, as you know I have been taking services at some of the small churches over the past two years.  I have never worn a tie while on the platform, never been told to do so or chastised for not doing so.  I can take you point about respect and in future will start to dress as you recommend.  Maybe the absence of the tie is why I have not been asked to any of the larger churches”.

“Tom get on the committee of a church and see how difficult it is to balance the books.  Then you will realise that it is not how a medium dress, but how popular he is to draw in a reasonable congregation.  We need money in our collection plates to keep the doors open”.
For the past three months I have been on a church committee and realise the financial issues.  The financial strain on some of our churches is why I have offered to give lectures and workshops free of charge to give churches a boost financially.  Maybe others should start doing the same but that is another topic for debate.
“I think that the dress code for mediums of both sexes is very important. Therefore, in my opinion, a man should wear either a suit or trousers and jacket with a shirt and tie and polished shoes.”

“Personally speaking it is only respectful to the spirit and the religion we are representing to be suitably attired. There is a tendency for men to now wear open necks because fashion dictates that this is ok. Many television presenters have open necks but the news readers always wear ties. There are some shirts that you cannot wear a tie with eg the Gandhi or oriental style. I have seen these kind worn with suits and a waistcoat and they look extremely smart. Smartness is very important; Sunday services especially is a formal service in my eyes.  Demonstrations of mediumship can be more relaxed but I would still expect a shirt to be worn.”

“As I have no interest anymore in Spiritualism I don’t have an opinion about ties or any other aspect of the movement.  The movement we knew has died and gone and the thing that has replaced it has going to hell in a handcart and I want nothing more to do with it?”
Unfortunately, that is the view of many old-timers.  I know many who have just upped up and left never wanting to talk about what they once cherished.


                                                           Father and Son’s Day Out

One of my earlier blogs I commented on an email from Peter.  Peter explained how there was no grieving when his father died or on the anniversary of his death.   His dad had suffered so much in the past two years of his life and could do nothing for himself. “His passing was a blessing” he said.  But, Peter had to admit that there was a tear in his eye each year on the day of the AYR Gold Cup.  The day that was so special to his father.  The only day he went off on his own leaving the family behind and headed to Ayr Racecourse.
Last week I met Peter for the first time and he added to the story…
He said that his retirement coincided with the richest horseracing handicap in Europe changing its day of running from a Friday to a Saturday.  Peter decided in memory of his father to go to Ayr Racecourse each year on the running of this race.  Like his father it would be the only day he would leave the family behind and venture out on his own.  On the track he would keep to his father’s ritual of having a meal, a double malt whiskey and have an each-way bet on only the one race, the main race of the afternoon the Ayr Gold Cup. 
The amazing thing was “said Peter “it was as if my father is with me on these occasions.  I can smell his Old Spice aftershave; I can feel his love all around me on this day.  I am certain my dad is with me on this day each year”.  The only thing is” Peter went on to say “I must not be listening to dad when picking my selection each year.  Dad was successful with the winnings always being given to the children.  My plan was always to give to the grandchildren and now the great grandchildren my winnings, but my only successes since 1992 have been.
1992 – Lochshore  1st - 10/1.  Dad took us camping one year and we set up our tent on the side of a loch.
1997 – Wild Wood Flowers – 1st 14/1.  My father liked walking in the country and loved gardening.
2013 – I could not decide between two Highland Colori  - dad’s love of the highlands - and Heaven’s Guest which needs no explanation.  I halved my bet and backed both of them ew.  Dad must have been smiling that day as Highland Colori won and 25/1 and Heaven’s Guest was 3rd 25/1.  So with my each-way betting I got returns on both of them.
I asked peter what his money would be going on this year and he said “It will have to be once again Heaven’s Guest and if a non-runner I will decide between Piper’s Note, Perfect Pasture or Snap Shots the other three horses in the race where their names have a connection to by Dad.
Let’s hope the sun is shining on the 17th at Ayr and Peter’s father guides him to the winner.


                                                   Keeping Communications Open.

The other evening, I found myself writing; -
Many joke about North Korea’s President Kim Jong-un - but he is by far the most dangerous individual on this planet.

Mr. Putin will only go so far - he will not risk what he already has.

China - although having a vast army and nuclear weapons, yet it has found its more powerful mode of attack is in in the financial sector.

ISIS - has FEAR as its main weapon.  Although this fear has the rest of the world running around in circles it does not have anywhere near the destructive power of NK.

North Korea is an entirely different kettle of fish as decisions made in Pyonyang could cause so much upheaval -  life as we know it could be turned on its head.  Any nuclear release could contaminate the whole region for many years to come.  Nuclear contamination respects no borders and as well as North and South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and other countries could be affected.
Kim Jong-un being replaced is not necessary the answer as that would see millions of North Koreans flood over the borders to China and South Korea.  The Syrian refugee crisis would pale in comparison.
 We Spiritualists should pray and campaign for negotiations never to stop no matter how futile the situation may seem.  North Korea is never going to trust the US or the UK, so let other countries take the lead.   The Scandinavian countries, Holland, Belgium, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand etc. should keep the lines of communications open – keep talking to make the world a safer place.
And we Spiritualists can keep this volatile situation in our prayers – we need more than help from this planet to sort it out.

A few hours after I typed this out North Korea carried out its biggest nuclear test.

The Glasgow Association  fills a great void in Spiritualist in Scotland with ten evenings of Philosophy.