Tuesday, March 04, 2008


My diary is packed with events and meetings at the moment so today is a nice change with a relatively clear day ahead of me. This means I can get on top of the endless emails and reports that have to be written ahead of our Church's AGM later in the month. Last night, I had a School Council and Church Council meeting. Both thankfully went well. So I am going to enjoy a day of quiet today and hopefully open a bottle of wine tonight before it all begins again tomorrow.

Wine, when I came here 8 years ago, was quite expensive and became even more so when the then Financial Secretary seriously increased the duty on it. Last year, a different Financial Secretary reduced it and now this year another one has abolished it altogether.

Watching Sky News from the UK on cable TV earlier, I was interested to see that there are calls for the British Financial Secretary to increase the duty on alcohol in the UK to combat under-age drinking. As if that would make the slightest difference in a culture where the young see getting blind drunk as a normal part of a night out. Anyway, it's nice to live somewhere where you can afford to drink wine and where you can walk the streets at night without fear of being the victim of anti-social behaviour. Long may it continue!

For many years, I used to wake up to John Humphrys. Humphrys is a presenter on Today, a current affairs programme on BBC Radio 4 in the UK. I still try to grab a listen to TODAY online, but it's very infrequent. TODAY is one of the best current affairs programmes around. In 2006, John Humphrys also did a series of programmes on Radio 4 interviewing represenatives of the major religions about God. I am reading the book that he has written based on the series.

Humphrys is not himself a believer, but nor is he an atheist. He describes himself as doubter. The book is interetsing, stimulating, balanced, and fair. Definitely the sort of book that those of us who believe in God should read. It shows where many people in the West are at when it comes to faith in God. It's not that they are against belief in God, they just have genuine difficulty in believeing in him. Indeed, many, like Humphrys himself, wish they could believe. If we are going to avoid simply talking to ourselves in Church, we need to find a way to engage with people like Humphrys at an intellectual and spiritual level. Well done, him for taking the initiative.

At one point in the book he quotes Niles Bohr, the Nobel prize-winning physicist. I thought it a brilliant quote so let me share it with you here. Bohr had a horseshoe nailed to the wall over his desk. Bohr was asked, 'Surely you don't believe that horsehoe will bring you luck?' Bohr replied:

'I believe no such thing, my good friend. Not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense. However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck whether you believe in it or not!'

Have a good week everyone!

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