Saturday, January 30, 2010

The meaning and unmeaning of August 1980

Waiting for Lea to finish her shopping I strolled over to the monument to the victims of the Bologna railway station bombing in 1980 and was struck by how very many people in their early twenties had died.

I imagined them crowding the waiting room, where the bomb was planted. There would have been backpacks, books. Boyfriends, girlfriends, friends all heading somewhere – the future still ill-defined but full of possibility…

Continued at UKSpirituality

Monday, January 25, 2010

When pop went down fighting (and what it fought for)

When you talk about choice
As if its something we were born with
This choice is for some, but not for everyone
And the way you talk about money
Like it's the currency of faith…

Waiting at the end of the queue for the shuttle bus between terminals at Gatwick Airport I watched workers laboriously shovel out salt on to the frozen path. I remembered how when I was a kid they used to do the same thing using a sieve so they wouldn’t have to go back to the store so frequently and the salt would fall evenly rather than in patches punctuated by islands of ice. I wondered where the sieve had gone. The likelihood was that it had been dispensed with long ago in the name of savings – a shovel could do many more jobs, after all, only this one not as well.

The lyrics from an Everything But The Girl song sprang to mind: Why does England call… when soon there’ll be nothing left at all?

Continued at UKSprituality

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eight and a half years for Majid Tavakoli

Majod Tavakoli the popular Iranian student leader who was arrested on 7th December, Iran’s National Student Day, has been sentenced to eight and half years imprisonment.

The regime published photoshop images of Majid dressed in a chador after his arrest, with the intention of humiliating him, which only backfired and showed their misogynistic mind set...

Continued at Harry's Place

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Myth moves me

Last year I listened to an excellent sermon by retired Canadian minister Philip Hewitt who was visiting Newington Green before setting off on a cruise around the Mediterranean which would focus on the ancient world.

What stuck in my mind was his observation of how the certainty of youth had given way to the uncertainty of old age. He used the metaphor of a wrapped package of water untied and falling through ones fingers to illustrate the difficulty of truly understanding ourselves. His message chimed with my own feelings: the older I get the more I realise the less I know...

Continued at UKSpirituality

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In praise of the militant moderate

I would like to declare my commitment to extreme moderation.

Times are tough for moderates – we are being assailed from all sides

On the one hand we have secularists, with whom I have always harboured some sympathy, enforcing the will of atheist fundamentalists and over-turning centuries of tradition. For example in Italy, where I live, a Finnish-born mother recently won a ruling through the European Court of Human Rights to have crucifixes removed from all classes...

Continued at UKSpirituality