Peter Volkofsky | Author & Life Coach

Peter Volkofsky is an author, spoken word poet and life coach. In 2017, Peter published his thriller Mia's Magic Wand. In 2015 he published Beautiful Quest as an Ark House imprint. Peter has been married to his wife Penelope for thirty-three years and together they have reared seven children.

Catalytic (cat•a•lyt•ic)

(adj.) a process that precipitates an event

The Vision

Individuals and teams reaching their goals.

PETE'S BLOG

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Dark Nights and Wonders Part IV

Dark Nights and Wonders

'The baiting of bulls, bears, badgers and dogs—with fireworks attached to them—was typical of the third and fourth decades of this century (England in the the 1700's). Most of those tortures took place in public house grounds, on village greens, in village church grounds, or in cathedral closes. The animals were often baited to death to provide greater excitement.'

'And another “sport” was cockfighting with metal spurs. Many eighteenth century clergymen bred fighting cocks and sometimes had church bells rung to honour a local winner. The setting of trained dogs on ducks in lakes was another favourite recreation, as was fox-hunting, cudgel-play and pugilism—boxing without gloves—for men and women, which sometimes went on for hours. Prize-fights between male bruisers who battled bare-fisted attracted mobs of twelve thousand or more.

'Gambling was a national obsession for all classes, bringing appalling ruin to thousands. In London and other big cities, promiscuity became a sport, from court masquerades to fornication in broad daylight on the village green, or selling one's wife at a cattle market.

'There was an abundance of openly pornographic literature. Donald Drew quotes Irish historian William Lecky: “The profligacy of the theatre during the generation that followed the restoration (of the monarchy) can hardly be exaggerated.” Likewise, a judge remarked, “no sooner is a playhouse opened in any part of the kingdom, than it becomes surrounded by a halo of brothels.”9 The bible became a closed book, and the result was ignorance, lawlessness, and savagery. And until the advent of the Sunday School movement toward the end of the century, little of no provision was made for the free education of the poor, except the church system of charity schools, which were invariably a farce: most teachers being half-literate.

'As for lawlessness, thieves, robbers and highwaymen, Horace Walpole observed in 1751, “one is forced the travel, even at noon, as if one were going to battle.” Savagery showed itself in the plundering of ships lured by false signals onto rocks, and in the indifference shown to the drowning sailors. This was regular activity along the entire coastline of the British Isles.

'Into this spiritual and moral quagmire stepped John Wesley ... One of nineteen children, he narrowly escaped death as a little boy when one night the rectory caught fire and was burned to the ground ... He went through school to Oxford, where he was elected as a fellow and tutor of Lincoln College. Devoutly religious, he and others ministered to the poor and down trodden, but their peers despised them for it.'
John was ordained to the Church of England, after which he sailed to America and embarked on an embarrassing attempt at being a missionary. Having failed miserably and even gotten himself into an awkward romance that almost led to a duel, he sailed back to England saying, 'I went over to attempt to convert them but who will convert me?'

This experience led him to conclude that he had misread or even missed something altogether. After talking things over with some Moravian missionaries and attending one of their services in 1738, he wrote, “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust Christ, Christ died for my salvation and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine ... I testified openly to all there what I now ... felt in my heart.”10

See Dark Nights and Wonders Part V on John's second attempt at offering God's love to the world.

9 Managalwadi V. The Book That Made Your World pp: 261-262 – Thomas Nelson 2011

10 Ibid p 263

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If you can’t say ‘Yes’ can you at least stop saying ‘No’?

Infinite Love

Imagine if it it really is true that there's a Higher Power out there that loves you deeply and is hoping to arrange things so you will be happy to let yourself be found by it. And what if, as long as you don't say 'No', this power will keep moving towards your soul every day like a relentless fountain of grace, or even an affectionate old hound? Every delicious cup of coffee, every footstep on this beautiful old earth and every trembling leaf now has the possibility of being filled with the music of infinite love, and you—the curious, occasionally frustrated and not infrequently enraged little hominid—could be stumbling your way towards a dangerous meeting place. The place itself (if there is such a place) would be so drenched in love and sadness that you would feel you have been thought of since time began.

But beware the barking voices that want to turn every sunset and leaf into a moral lesson from a school-teacher god. As enthusiastic and sincere as these guys are, they don't help. They are the stumble at the last minute that ruins your entire quest and leaves you thinking, 'Oh, so that's what this is about: just another spin-doctoring sell-job.' They were 'called on it' long ago by the one who described them as voices speaking out of 'whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones'.1 He pointed out that they are the control-freaks: alarmed by the very possibility of a real, live, infinite love breaking out, they crowd around the gate of heaven and foul it up so much that people like you and me are left frightened, confused and repulsed.

So, if you're already over it, maybe that Higher Power sympathises deeply with your disgust. As one great advocate has said, ' “I hate all your show and pretence: the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.2

On the other hand if you're ready to give this—no longer saying 'No'—quest a try. What might it look like? If you've been in the habit of saying 'No' it might look and feel like a nuisance: a sunrise you don't want to notice, a child you'd rather ignore or even literally a pesky old stray hound at your back door.

A good place to start might be with this Prayer of The One Hoping in a Loving Higher Power: 'I'm not sure you are there. But if you are I want to thank you for chocolate, for music, for that friend who really gets me. And for the sky, the birds and the sunrise. And I ask for forgiveness for saying 'No' to your very possibility. I can't say 'Yes' cause I don't even know if you exist, and if you do, I'm still not sure that I would actually like you—but from here on I want you to know that I'm happy to be found by you. Amen.'

  1. Matthew 23:27
  2. Amos 5:21 -24

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Desert Trek Invitation

Desert Trek 2013

*If you would like to go, call 0412 573 788 or email russell@cornerstone.edu.au*

 

 

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Two Great Surprises

Two Great Surprises

Two Great Surprises

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Voices of Good Friday

Voices of Good Friday

The last part of the story of Jesus is called The Passion. There are at least nine significant moments in it. The first is the voice of hope when Jesus sings a song with his friends, walks out into the night, is enveloped by the power of the curse1a, betrayed and executed.1 This is followed by the voice of desperation when Peter tries to kill a man;2of failure when the rooster crows and Peter goes out to weep;3 and of self-pity when Judas hangs himself.4

Then we have the voice of apathy, when the soldiers—having finished their work—play dice for Jesus' clothes. This is echoed in our world when, having finished our 'life's work,' we cash in our superannuation, buy a big caravan and drive round and round Australia until we die. The next voice speaks to that.5

Number six, the voice of ancient prophecy is present in the memories of all the Jewish people who are gathered around the site of the killing. It assumes that sooner or later they (and we) will all come to this place. It was already in their scriptures and said things like, 'There's an evil that I've seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions and honour, so that he lacks nothing of all he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them: a stranger enjoys them. … even though he should live a thousand years twice told …all is vanity.'5a Then, in the midst of these dark writings the voice speaks of a great hope, 'The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light ... for to us a child is born …'6 Later this child is described as a Suffering Servant, 'The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all ... He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is lead to the slaughter.'


Seventh is the voice of love—of sacrifice and confession—when Jesus is nailed to a Roman cross, mysteriously breaks the power of the curse, unhinges the darkness and causes death to begin working backwards.7

 

Eighth is the scary voice of silence when there is darkness over the land for three hours and Jesus says, 'My God, my God—why did you forsake me?' Many of us, having experienced the voice of love, think that's all we need but love has a good friend and the scary sound takes us to her if we allow it.8

Ninth is the voice of faith: a cry for help, when the thief says, “Jesus, remember me ..!” and what is true of Jesus became real in him because he has surrendered himself. A fact that Jesus asserts when he says, '… you'll be with me in paradise this very day,' and which he later confirmed when he rose from the dead and said, 'Why are you so disturbed? Why do these questions come up in your hearts? Look at my hands and feet; it is really me myself. Touch me and see! Ghosts don't have flesh and bones like you can see I have.'9

Most of us know five of those voices well. The drawn sword reminds us of times when we made a violent effort to fix a problem. The rooster crowing late at night reminds us of when we failed. The suicidal thoughts when we felt sorry for ourselves. The awful silence when we screamed at heaven. The lure of mindless amusement when life seemed a sick joke. But we forget about the three voices embodied in Jesus himself at the beginning, middle and end of the passion, which—according to Jesus—transform ordinary life into eternal life (in the here and now as well as in the future).10

 

These are what make Easter a way of life. So why not stop for a moment and choose to hope even if things look hopeless. Instead of getting discouraged, stoned or drunk, go for a lonely walk along a beach, read a poem or play some music and sing: hoping against all hope. Then, rather than just allowing this to be a pathetic romanticisation of despair, take the ultimate gamble and cry out to your Maker, expecting that if hope means anything it means the love and faith of Easter resurrection!  So admit your pride, nail it to the crucifix and make that your confession and surrender. Lastly, face the fact that you need this saviour to save you, and say, “Jesus remember me!” allowing the unhinging of the powers of darkness and the beginning of his resurrection life in you now.

 

 

1aLuke 22:53 & Galatians 3:13

 

1Matt 26:29-30

 

2John 18:10

 

3Mark 14:72

 

4Matthew 27:5

 

5John 19:23,24

 

5aEcclesiastes 6: 1 – 6

 

6Isa 9 & 53

 

7Matthew 27:33-35 & 1Peter 2:24

 

8Matthew 27:45

 

9Luke 23:42,43 &  Luke 24:38,39

 

10Luke 10: 25 – 37

3Mark 14:72