Culture and Society

An older man praying
“when you grow oldyou will stretch out your hands,and somebody else will put a belt round youand take you where you would rather not go.”I think we’ve all had experiences of being taken where we would rather not go…Until about five years before his death, Father – I’ll call him Father John - was not the best loved man in the British Province of the Society of Jesus - not by a long chalk. He was respected certainly, admired even, for his zeal, commitment,...
A farmer on his farm, ploughing
Here in the northern hemisphere, spring arrives around now yet many of us feel anything but spring-like, despite the fact that the Lord is risen indeed and that plant-life in our gardens, city squares and window-sills is burgeoning, even blooming. There just seems too much to sadden, even terrify us, too many reasons to repudiate hope. It feels that our days are darker, not brighter. But the new life is springing; “now the green blade riseth”, as we can sing. We can learn much from...
Parent holding baby's hand
We all know that if something is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. We’ve all been fooled at some time and none of us wants to be fooled again.Most people have more sense than to believe things that cannot possibly be true. Things like, if you have seen a man killed before your own eyes, seen him dead, you are not going believe that he is alive, well and going around doing miracles unless you see at least the same quality of evidence put before you. That’s why all of...
George C Scott as General Patton
Obscure half-forgotten films can sometimes be the source of rare gems of wisdom.One afternoon in the late 80’s, lazily watching afternoon TV instead of writing a theology essay, I became engrossed in a fine little TV movie called “The Last Days of Patton”. It was a sequel to the legendary film, “Patton” and also starred George C. Scott reprising the role of General George S. Patton which earned Scott an Oscar in the original 1970 movie.Patton was a remarkable leader of men; arrogant and half-...
Close up of an older mans' face - by Neill Kumar on Unsplash
A long time ago when I was a hospital doctor – long before I became a priest, and if I’m honest, when I was not necessarily at my most Christian – I once knew an old man called Harry who taught me, if not the meaning of life, then the meaning of his life.I happened to be the doctor on call when Harry came into our hospital very ill with what is called a femoral embolus. That means that the main artery in his leg had been blocked by a blood clot, so that his leg had lost its blood supply and was...
A Man Painting, an Artist - By Eddie Klaus from unsplash.com
There are three kinds of performers: The first, while singing a song or doing a dance, are making love to themselves. The second, while performing, are making love to the audience. The third, while on stage, are making love to the song, to the dance, to the drama itself.It's not difficult to discern who the better performer is. The one making love to the song, of course, best honours the song and draws energy from some deeper place.  And he or she does this by entering into and channelling...
Father teaches his young son to ride a bicycle
I was told this one by one of the fathers in a Parish where I used to work - I’ll call him Tom.He told me that many times in his life, his own father had told him that one of the happiest days of his entire life had been the day he taught Tom to ride a bicycle. A small thing perhaps, but to Tom’s Dad, it symbolised everything that he had hoped to pass on to Tom in wisdom and wealth. It was a symbol - a brief encapsulating vignette - of everything fatherhood had meant to him.Tom loved and...
A man clutches his ice cream
I am sure that, this morning, as soon as we awoke, all of us had just one major concern in our minds – would Ireland beat England at Twickenham this afternoon?When I was very young, my mother’s most annoying favourite saying was: “Offer it up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory”. Usually she said it to me when I was filled with righteous indignation at some major injustice that had been perpetrated against me – such as an unequal division of the ice cream. It is not, you understand, that I could...
Andean Angels credit Cris Fajardo
An increasingly important idea in modern Christian communication is that of religious inculturation, the challenge of making biblical topics and themes meaningful and appealing within differing human cultures. A good example is the different ways in which the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt is depicted in different cultures. Commonly in the West the family pictured as fleeing from persecution is fair-skinned, with Mary and her baby seated on a donkey being led along the road by Joseph. The Holy...
By Nasa on unsplash.com
In speaking of the way we should think about security for the future, Jesus used a curious example - a man who cheated his employer. Luke 16.1-8   But it's the astuteness, not the dishonesty of the steward we are to imitate. Wise people look to the future. They think ahead. Such was the worldly-wise steward. He used his resourcefulness to secure his material needs.Those who try to keep close to Christ must equally look to the future.All the goods of this world are entrusted to us...

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