Snorkelling amongst the coloured fishes of the reef was a delight and then I had the chance to try scuba diving too. But you know, I didn't really like it. I preferred the freedom of snorkelling.
So does freedom really exist anywhere? I'd say it depends on your definition. Ultimately the universe can only spin around one centre and we would all like that centre to be ourself. If you have more than one centre you have conflict, and me exercising my 'freedom' will, at some point, infringe on you exercising yours. But I have come to have a view of freedom as 'freedom to choose'. If all we are is a product of our genes and moulded by our experiences then it someone knew us well enough, all our actions and reactions would be predictable because we are contained by who we've become. So we have no real choice in how we react, it's a product of who we are - we are our 'father's son' and 'the apple didn't fall far from the tree'. But if we join a different family we will have a new heritage and for the first time the opportunity to really choose. This is something I wrote more about in my parable of 'The Crab'.
So there is true freedom in this world, if it's freedom to choose to be something better than what we've become.
Unless you manage to avoid the TV, radio and the press you canít escape it: Our society is obsessed with the cult of celebrity. Has it always been this way? I think that it probably has. But with rolling news and the internet, we experience news, as it happens, like never before, including celebrity news.. Significantly, the modern celebrity doesn't need to have done anything noteworthy to require celebrating. In particular, reality TV throws up 'stars' who have, as yet, shown no noteworthy skill or achievement. It's now well know that in surveys children no longer want to grow up to be teachers and doctors, like they used to, but to be sports stars and pop stars. On talent shows you can regularly hear the same words tumble from the lips of gifted and dreadful singers alike: "Itís my dream", "Singingís my life", "I really, really want this". Is there really such a fine line between genius and delusion, or is there something more going on here? Read More »
I found it mildly surprising that many of our friends had our family down as the last people they would expect to get a dog. I grew up with a dog. Admittedly I don't like being licked by them, I feel a little uncomfortable when people elevate them to human status and I definitely don't like the smell of 'wet dog' but otherwise ... I like them.
The rest of my family had wanted a dog for ages but I was holding out - I knew who would have to walk it in the cold, the wet and the dark. But then my wife found a photo of 'Scrumpy' on a dog rescue centre's website, and I caved in. There was little chance to go back on the decision as, only 5 days later the dog was with us. All we know of Scrumpy's story is that he was found as a stray in Ireland, he had wire wrapped around his mussel and had lost some teeth and skin as a result. When he first arrived we hadn't known if he even had a bark. Read More »
Of course there was one man above any other associated with parables. Jesus was the master of the medium. In fact the Bible says that "he did not say anything to them without using a parable"(a). Now here's a curious thing: It seemed that most of the original hearers of these parables did not understand them. Even those closest to Jesus had to come and ask what they meant!(b) What Jesus spoke to that first audience was radical and completely different from anything they had heard. So why would he choose a form of communication that the people didn't understand? The answer is surprising, but obvious - he didn't want them to understand; Read More »
Whilst reflecting on what makes the beach such a special place for me, the thought occurred that the best of the beach is not what it is, but what it isn't ... Picture this :
The sand is criss-crossed by ropes that form an orderly grid. Some of the plots have 'Reserved' signs in them - these are for the season ticket holders. Visitors are queuing back into the dunes waiting for the next 'day-plot' to become available, each one clutching a credit card ready to pay (family discounts are available). An official patrols Read More »
Sometimes I see things before they arrive but other times it can take a while before the important point dawns on me. To make the point another, more recent, memory comes to Read More »