Saturday, 7 February 2009

Thought For The Day

For once, I actually enjoyed TFTD this morning. I normally reach over at lighting speed to switch off the set when it comes on, especially if its Rabbi Lionel Blue, or even worse that dreadful Ann Atkins woman. Today though, it was some woman from St. Paul's cathedral talking about the spiritual dearth in our lives brought on by this hectic rush we're all in. She used the metaphor of light, and how our cities have thrown the natural rhythms of the world upside-down, so that a poor confused blackbird trills loudly at 3am in February, thinking he is greeting the rising sun, but is in fact (like a poor relation to Oscar Wilde's nightingale) flogging a dead horse. There was also a nice comparison with the enervated City trader, sitting up through the night to catch the latest on the foreign markets, stealing a march on those less able to stand the intensity of a 24/7 lifestyle.

Overall, as I said, it was a good piece, well crafted and thoughtful, but I wonder what was really at the root of it? It was one of those soft Christian things (so soft that you might even struggle to discern a religious message in it at all) and the fact that a female member of the clergy delivered it only served to emphasise this softness. But (as any good semioligist kno) what is not said is as important as the words which are uttered. And of course, she was saying, we are all lost in this brave new world, where god has been taken from us, leaving a huge vacuum in our souls. If we took a little time to listen to the message of god in our hearts, we might go some way to making the world a better place. There is also a harking back in this message to the arcadian days of 100% church attendance, a time of true faith, when we were all far less confused because our moral compasses were all fixed firmly on magnetic north. Now all we get are disparate groups slugging it out sloganeering on the sides of buses.

Given that there were far fewer surveys asking children if they were feeling generally content in the middle ages, I think it's difficult to say. I think she has something to say about disruption of the natural rhythms of day and night, summer and winter, though. No good will come of it, and as I've said before, the world can only be a better place without a 24 hour Tesco or a McDonalds (like the one at the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street) which - ridiculously - closes for 45 minutes a day.

That's my thought for the day. Now I'm going to listen to us giving that nice young man Gareth Southgate a much needed fillip. Bless you all!

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