To Eleanore --For your confirmation 2011-05-22

Eleanore, you have spent the best part of a year now in this process of, in the Swedish Luthern church, together with your friends, trying to understand the connection between basic Christian values, religion and your life. You have undoubtedly found, as many of the rest of us have, that this coupling is not entirely simple!!

These 'soft' values in life that make up our moral understanding are the basis of many of the other decisions that will help us to navigate through the many 'grey zones' and winding stretches in day to day life. Things that are important in the task of finding and maintaining fullfillment and happiness. This is a very important concern for us all.

I want to remind you that religion is only one of the many different resources that exist for us in the task of discovering and developing these 'basic moral values' that are so important for us as we live our lives in our search for the 'very very best'.

Another resource is our school system that has begun to take upon itself the admirable task of teaching some of the things that religion could sometimes seem to have failed quite miserably in. Simple things like 'respect for others that are unlike ourselves' the Christian principles of non-violence empathy for the down trodden the capacity for equal value for us all -- simple honesty -- transparency and openess etc etc. Religion sometimes would like to claim a monopoly on moral truth My advice to you Eleanore is to, as well as in religion, keep your mind open to the many of the other sources of moral guidance that exist around you. The folks around you that you love, and that  love you, are also an invaluable resource to find inspiration and to develop these so important  moral principles  -- This will of course include your many friends and relatives.

When I was a little child 6-7 years old or so, we used to sometimes spend time with my grandmother (moms mother) who lived in Calgary. She had a little old record-player/gramaphone in a little case under her radio in her living room, that my sister Helen and I would sit on the floor and listen to. We found it extremely facinating, as this source of music was sort of 'out of bounds' in our home in Kindersley. Grandma only had 10 or 15 records I remember one of them, and I have found the original words to it that were written long before 'Danny Boy' -- the lyrics it is most known for. It expresses some  wonderful moral values in a quite non-religious way. I know they were principles important to your wonderful great-grandmother and they are  also important to me. I want to share them with you as a wonderful example of  a quite non-religious song filled with the kind of wonderful moral truth we all do well to allow ourselves to be enriched by.



This link is to a 8Mb MP3 music file that may take a few minutes to load.

AirFromCountyDerry  an old Irish song sung by Helmut Lotti a popular Belgien singer.

Your mothers brother Emil from Brussels gave us  a CD with this song on it, one of our first visits to him.



I would be true for there are those that trust me
I would be pure for there are those that care
I would be strong for there is much to suffer
I would be brave for there is much to dare.

I'd love to do the perfect thing for everyone
but though I try to do the best I can
I do not know if it's that good a job I've done
'cause after all I'm just an ordinary man.

I would be friend of all the weak and friendless
I would be giving and forget the gift
I would be humble for I know my weakness
I would look up and laugh, love and live.

But if I fail I need someone to guide me
'cause though I try to do the best I can
I'm not a hero when no one's beside me
Forgive me, Lord, I'm just an ordinary man.

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