Tag Archives: Thought for the day

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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Values buried under bullshit?

Candidates ReligionIt’s one hundred days today since January 20th when Barack Obama was inaugurated as the world’s most powerful man-the President of the United States of America. Millions of words will be written today assessing how well he has done at this most inconsequential of milestones after just three  months. He seems to have been a busy man ,although is still short of delivering his promises in relation to troop withdrawals,widening opportunity and social mobility for millions of Americans. What have we come to know of President Obama in this time? On BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, shares with us something of how Obama’s faith was formed as the young Chicago  community organiser sat in Trinity Church. At that time Obama was surrounded by ordinary people rather than sharp suited advisers and media handlers. he worked out his theology amongst a congregation of aspirational African-Americans as a “reluctant sceptic”. Obama writes about that time: “the churches are the only game in town…That’s where the people are, and that’s where the values are, even if they are buried under a lot of bullshit.”

In his Thought for the Day broadcast, Bishop James, tells of a moving account of Obama breaking down in church in tears as he glimpsed something of the power of God at work in the lives of a people he identified with and was working to help. No cameras, no journalists, no political advisers- just Obama, God and the young man who handed him a tissue to stem the flow of tears…and definitely no bullshit.  As for the Presidency so far, keep sniffing and judge for yourself.

Listen to this Thought for the Day at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/

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Hillsborough

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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Whose thought is it anyway?

BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day remains closed to secularists and some non-religious figures are getting a bit hot under the collar. Today’s Guardian newspaper and website has the secularist case put by author and broadcaster Claire Rayner with Giles Fraser arguing that the current slot should be left as it is.

Over the last few weeks or so we’ve had argument around evolution, praying nurses, atheist bus adverts and that old church and state chestnut wheeled out by those who feel that the best way to champion the case for secularism or faith is to embarrass, bash, argue and undermind those who don’t see things quite their way.  We van use up all the newsprint and TV and radio airtime on these issues and we will probably find that those doing the talking are the very worse people to engage the wider public in an open and honest debate. The people who write, blog and broadcast on these matters have usually made up their mind and just use their platform telling  you  why you should see things their way.

Well I’m going to make you a promise right here and right now. On this blog I will tell you what I feel, what I experience and  even what I believe but I will not tell you what to think. I wouldn’t presume to insult your intelligence.

I believe in  a God who  gave you a brain to use it for yourself and think things through; the Bible even suggests the need to work out your own salvation. So, it’s not their thought for the day but yours which counts in my book. What you think is important and interesting to me with all your loves,doubts, fears, joys, and hopes. So go on, make my day and let me have your thought for the day.

 

You can listen to Thought for the Day by following this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/thought/

You can follow the Guardian debate at this link http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/06/religion-another-thought-for-the-day1

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