THE CALL, THE HERO AND THE CHALLENGE

When Beethoven realised that he was going deaf and that there was little hope of a cure, despair called. He avoided this by casting himself as the hero who would not be deflected from fulfilling his true vocation. For Beethoven this was his art: his music. Although he could not know what posterity would make of his work, he knew that he must continue.

Beethoven’s vision of himself reflects what Joseph Campbell distilled as key elements in the journey of any hero. He believed that when we read the stories of heroes from different times and cultures, we find that they contain the same essential elements. Continue reading

PS…The Holy Discomfort of Being Church

May 2020 saw the release of Dr Gladys Ganiel’s report on a Survey of Church Leaders in Ireland During the Pandemic. It states that many churches have found their viewing figures for online services exceed the numbers of their ‘real-life’ congregations.

Faith leaders have reported an increase of people returning to childhood faith and people new to organised religion joining them. Other Internet statistics show an increase in searches for terms around prayer and Jesus. The Church, as it shows the faithfulness of God and love for our neighbours, is perceived to be a place of safety in a tumultuous sea of uncertainty. Continue reading

And Now For Something Completely Different

The first four weeks of lockdown were revealing. Introverts were as happy as Larry having been given permission to withdraw, with no pressure to mix socially, and commended for their diligence in self-isolating.

Extroverts suffered withdrawal symptoms like drug addicts going cold turkey, counting down the hours before they could get out to exercise and wave across the road to socially distanced friends.  The number of WhatsApp groups grew exponentially and to zoom took on an entirely new meaning, nothing to do with speeding. Continue reading

PS…And your lanyard says in God we trust

Larry Norman’s ‘Great American Novel’ is a classic Christian song, prophetically ahead of its time in its articulation of the United States’ claim that Christian values are at the centre of its national life, whilst a litany of truths about power structures and daily life in the country so plainly contradicted that. The chorus of the song railed that: Continue reading

Valuing our Workers

Over the past few weeks, in amongst all the pain and suffering there have been many very uplifting stories of what people have been doing.    Perhaps the most striking one has been that of Capt Tom Moore, the 100 yr old former army officer who raised £32 million for NHS charities in the days before his 100th birthday.  Yet the words of a 42-year-old supermarket checkout manager have lodged in my mind just as clearly.   She said she felt so proud that she wanted to go back in time to tell her school headmaster about the important job she was now doing during the corona virus pandemic.   "I've never been more humbled to be a front-line worker, it’s a beautiful title’’. Continue reading