Storm Centres of History: HMS Victory & Trade and Empire

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Portsmouth.

Last year I returned with my dad, to the dry-dock in Portsmouth that holds a very special piece of maritime history.  

We went for a couple of days to enjoy HMS Victory and King Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose.

Unlike my dad, I’m not a military person; and yet the sight of this magnificent ship – a wonder of 18th century ship-building and engineering, is breathtaking.

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Storm Centres of History: Beirut and the West Bank

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Beirut and the West Bank.

One of my most important objects is a large iron key.

I bought it from a Palestinian Christian shop-owner in Old Jerusalem.

The Key is a very potent symbol for the Palestinians, Muslim and Christian.

It symbolises the right to return to their homes, lost since the refugee crisis of 1948 when 750,000 Palestinians were removed from their land and homes.

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Storm Centres of History: Cambodia

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause for Thought recently, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:  Storm-centres of history.

Today, we will go to Cambodia:

Possibly my earliest childhood memory of TV news, was seeing the unfolding genocide in Cambodia under the Pol Pot regime between 1975-1979.  From that moment on, a strange desire stayed with me that one day I would visit this beautiful land.

 

During the years I was a missionary with international mission agency Youth With A Mission, I met hundreds of people from all over the world; and some mission workers from Cambodia – this reignited my imagination again.

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My 500th Posting!!!! Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star…

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500 posts, and yes, I’ll admit, they are a mixture of the good, the bad and the (very) ugly!  But for this milestone I thought I’d post something short and sweet.

BARTHIt is a comment made after preaching by the greatest Protestant theologian, Karl Barth.  I like this because it mocks reductionist simpleton Christianity with a very clever retort to a man at the door who had just listened to his sermon.  It is winsome and smart apologetics at its best:

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Theology Question: #5 ‘Why do Christians talk about being servants when it doesn’t seem very inspiring to do so?’

To my mind there is no way to conceive of God in a Christian sense without conceiving of ourselves as servants. ‘Even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

 

Since Kant, ‘individuals’ want ‘autonomy’, self-lordship. Since Nietzsche, we want this in a secular, humanistic sense. With the collapse of the biblical over-arching metanarrative, the modernist has to invent for themselves their own identities and eschatologies. This is exhausting, leading to nihilism – an absence of traditions and criteria upon which to build a concept of self or one’s purpose or telos, generating a sense of emptiness or option paralysis. Corporate self-interested bodies are more than happy to supply the needed content – product consumer-driven fashion-based notions of well-being and identity, herding people into homogenized norms of consumption upon which they then define themselves. Seeing this as freedom, people are really often slaves to multinationals and other powerful corporate bodies, and are perpetually weary and busy therein following the blue-prints of socially constructed virtual realities determined by peer-group pressure and media conditioning. Films like ‘The Joneses’ make this point well.

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Theology Questions: #4 Why are real relationship in the church so hard?

First, regarding the description of your stance within the church, then it is clear that you rightly wish to avoid the problem of polarized debates and “positions” whereby partisan factions develop that a priori reject one another’s points of view out of hand in the name of often unexamined interests and agendas that are often more political than doctrinal; in such scenarios, “right relating” typically degenerates into “clique relating” whereby opposing cliques “speak past” one another without listening to each other and where, in any case, a sophist rhetoric of false labelling of the other has replaced any “Roman rhetoric” that seeks a true appreciation of what the other is saying so that debate can be genuinely advanced. We could tabulate some contrasts here, as follows:

 

Right Relating (“Trinitarian” Relating) Distorted Relating (“Clique” Relating)
Authentic Intimacy of Shared Positives that Seeks to Include Outsiders in Community Counterfeit Intimacy of Shared Negatives that

Seeks to Exclude Outsiders from Community

Preserves Unity of the Spirit Degenerates Into Factions
Roman Rhetoric that Seeks Truth through Interrogation of Self and Others Sophist Rhetoric that Falsely But Cleverly Attacks Opposing Factions
True Redemptive Understanding of Others Inauthentic Defamatory Labelling of Others
Dissolves Acids of Suspicion/Hostility Creates Ever-Increasing Suspicion/Hostility
Genuine Expanding Dialogue Between Multiple Traditions with Genuine Listening Inauthentic Polarized “Debates” in Which

Opponents Shout-Over/Speak-Past Each Other

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Storm Centres of History: Parliament and Brexit

BBC Radio Devon – Pause for Thought:  Storm Centres

During the Pause For Thought this week, I’ve been talking about 7 places I have been to:   Storm-centres of history.

Today, on our final visit, we will go to the British Parliament.

On Wednesday 27th March this year, I attended PMQ’s with my father at the Houses of Parliament (with thanks to Torbay MP Kevin Foster and his team for arranging this)!

 

This date was significant.  This was the Wednesday before the Friday of the original departure from the EU.  It was very exciting to be there, which in the end, turned out to be not quite the bear pit I had anticipated.  

 

 

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