Tag Archives: BBC Radio 4

Shame and embarrassment

A Day of shame and embarrassment for the Catholic Church in Ireland. That’s how Roy Jenkins described the impact of stories about Roman Catholic run institutions who failed the children and young people in their care. A day of pain and anger for survivors too, who recounted nightmarish, horrific stories of how they were treated- and the burden and scars mental and physical that they carry to this day. The church is ashamed ,and rightly so,  and the whole Christia movement should be grieving about the way these young people were abused. We share in  the rebuke for trust breached. It is simply not enough to say sorry and expect to retain any respect and credibility when claim to love and care  for all people. We have a very real duty to protect those in our communities who are most vulnerable and at risk. We have shamed the Christ we represent. We have let him down and true repentance is what is called for.

This issue should not just be dealt with by our courts. I would like to see some sort of truth and reconciliation framework set up to help address the needs of these broken people and our broken faith. We need to show remorse and do what can be done to confront the pain of the past head-on. May we  be brave enough to cope with the consequences.

This week is one of  broken and failed institutions being found out for letting the people down. The people will have their say and their day. Who knows where this will all lead?

I share Roy’s view that In the tears of the  abused children Christ was weeping too.

Hear the full broadcast at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/


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Our Muslim neighbours, our friends, our shared hope for community

In this morning’s  BBC Radio4 Thought for the Day  Abdal Hakim Murad shared that a new survey by the Gallup organisation has revealed that Muslims are much more likely than the general population to have confidence in British institutions such as the judiciary, the political process, the media and the police. 77% seven percent of UK Muslims say that they identify with the UK, compared to only fifty percent of the general population.

As politicians fret about social cohesion, and worry that our national identity is at risk. Some commentators mistrust religious and ethnic minorities, with their continuing desire to be distinctive. Yet if the concern is about our sense of belonging, the Gallup poll suggests that the Muslim minority is more part of the solution than part of the problem. Difference does not have to undermine cohesion. It is clear that one important part of being British is that there is no single way of being British. Pilgrims in Mecca, a city where the English language was never heard only a couple of generations ago, can now be heard speaking with the most perfect Glaswegian, Liverpudlian, or  London accents.

Both Jesus and the Prophet outline the importance of  loving  for your neighbours what you love for yourself. Abdal says that ” for me, that means more than sharing an occasional cup of sugar. It means affirming what is best in their own heritage. Religion, at its best, allows us to be different, while helping others to be true to themselves.”

To hear the Broadcast in full see http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/

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eternal-flame-at-anfieldAt 3.06pm today, silence will be kept in the cities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Liverpool to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster where 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives for simply going to watch a football match. For a preview of the day  from the BBC news pages see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7999279.stm. On this morning’s Thought for the Day slot on BBC Radio 4, the Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, spoke about the raw sense of loss and grief that is still very tangible in Liverpool as he prepares for this afternoon’s memorial service. A few years ago one of my favourite bands of the day wrote a song about the tragedy of Hillsborough and they were very clear about where the blame for this lay. The song was entitled South Yorkshire Mass Murderer and singled out the Senior Police officer running operations for that day, with lyrics including “There’s nothing I could ever say that could really take the pain away”.But today is not a day for blame but a day to remember and commemorate the lives of those lost. But that sense of raw grief and emptiness is what many people will feel today- players, supporters, survivors, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives. Sometimes as Christians we feel there is so little we can say or do in the face of what seems unjust, genuine tragedy- but when can pray. To see the names and faces of those lost in the disaster to help you  pray for them by name click here http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/news/drilldown/N163964090414-2356.htm

Today the great hymn abide with me will be sung at Anfield and our prayer today surely is that the 96 will indeed be abiding in and with God as they are remembered . their deaths changed the face of football and, like the eternal flame burning outside the stadium at Anfield, their memories will never fade.

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A godless society?

What are the consequences of a society operating outside acknowledging the guidance and direction of God? In yesterdays BBC Radio 4 lent talk Frank Field MP reflected on a society that chooses to root its moral behaviour apart from God.  The MP bemoans the failures of modern Britain in losing God and thethe rhythm of life that the Christian faith gives us. He feels specifically that lent reminds us of another stage in the year and in our lives when we can reflect on the need to take stock and make new beginnings- to rediscover  the purpose of our being. Field looks at how the moral and ethic framework of Christianity has been secularised- the service ethic without the dogma, just another  way of achieving the best in ourselves without being beholden to God. He talks about the complex reasons behind society fallingout of love with the christian highway code guiding our lives, and moving more towards individual freedoms and choices outside the influence of a religious framework- church and Christianity became  irrelevant  to so many in our society. Frank calls us to look across what religions offer to help society to develop a new social highway code backed by contracts which impact on many areas of our lives including parenting and social services.  “lent has a real role to play and we need to stir up a passion again in all of us  to help us become  first class citizens again.”

Listen to the full talk at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jd6xx

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God sees right through us

In last night’s Lent talk on BBC Radio 4 George Pattison,Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, reflected on positive the benefits of God’s absence when humanity no longer feels scrutinised by the eyes of God. 

He talked about how unsettling it is thinking of God like this, with every move and dubious motive scrutinised from birth to death.   Such an approach only  gives us two responses – to choose between letting ourselves be crushed by this cosmic gaze or pulling down the blinds and shutting him out. It’s impossible to pass into adulthood without at least one moment of abandonment – and many of us only want God back  when the going gets rough. Yet St Augustine reminded us that God is not a spatially extended being- a here ,there and wherever metaphor. Where we really see the face of infinitely distant God is in those who cry out for better justice, the  immigrant, the widow, the oppressed. All mens face yet no mans face.  We need a God who helps us make something better from ruins of what might have been. Someone who invites us to reflect on what we are doing with our lives, and if we could be  doing better – a true soul friend. A God who may be absent or present in ways do not know.

To listen to the talk follow this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00j7526

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Children…does God make mistakes?

In this week’s Radio 4 Lent broadcast Sister Frances Dominicatalks movingly and sensitively about her work with the children’s hospice- Helen House of which she is a trustee and founder. She doesn’t have much truck with religion, but sees church as an expressions of her need, and essential to her relationship with God. She sees God as allowing suffering in ways we cannot understand or explain, and accepts there are aspects of childhood suffering she finds unfair, yet knows deep in her souls that  there is no evil out of which good cannot be brought. “Not in our time but in eternity all will be well, we have the questions but only God has the answers.”

Sister Frances talks about how she sees miracles daily as people who don’t have the comfort of faith react in amazing ways when faced with worst imaginable tragedies,  discovering  reserves of strengths they never believe they had.

Sister Frances adds; “God hasn’t left any situation however tragic it seems- I can’t get my head around it but often  say to parents I don’t know, I don’t understand. I have  fewer answers to the big questions than I had 20- 30 years ago , but I know this  ago doesn’t spell  the absence of God. My faith has moved from my head to go deeper into the gut, not tangible in any way I can  reason or feel it but it is the very ground of my being and I thank God for that.”

What an amazing women and what amazing work our hospices do.

Six more days to listen to the broadcast from today here at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j4hk6/Lent_Talks_Does_God_Make_Mistakes/

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Back- craving for more

As I promised I did not blog on Wednesday, so I’m back after a day off and it really has been hard not to blog about something! So, I return to the BBC Radio 4’sLent talk- this time Richard Holloway on Lent- Crave for Less. Richard explores the absence of God presence and the invention of transcendence- beyond human understanding and experience. He suggests we are not verygood at living with uncertainces, and so have to try to invent explanations and facts the fit the vanishingly complex. If the universe came out of this, where did this come from and is God the name we have given to that hypothesis?

It’s a bit more challenging to listen to than Martin Bell’s broadcast,  but you judge for yourself.

Listen again at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j0ndf/Lent_Talks_Crave_for_Less/

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