Back in the chilly days of March 2016, the Creative Fool was invited to speak at Q Commons, and event which aims to equip Christians to “engage our cultural moment”. Q Commons is a satellite event to the annual Q Conference and involved events happening in 180 simultaneously across the globe. It was a privilege to be invited to speak for 9 minutes on the subject of my choosing (that’s nine times more than you get on Just A Minute!) and I chose to speak on truthfulness, incarnation and physicality. If you’d like to view the whole nine minutes, you can do so here. I hope it stimulates you to “engage our cultural moment” regardless of your faith perspective! Here’s the video:
Even at 7am the view over the Clyde sparkled with the promise of another glorious June day. The subject of Thought for the Day was less promising. Darker. Chilling. Last Wednesday, Scotland was trying to make sense of the verdict in the Liam Fee murder case. The temptation when asked to write something from a spiritual perspective on such a stomach-churning series of events is to pull a sickie and leave the job to someone better qualified, someone more able to understand the ‘why’. But the privilege of offering some hope, some promise of the presence of God in the darkest of suffering is one that is one that cannot be treated lightly. So, here is some reflection on the matter, form someone who is also trying to make sense of it. As ever you can go to the BBC iPlayer and listen again at around 7.20am.
We’ve been hearing this morning the events surrounding the death of 2-year-old Liam Fee, and the news that his mother and her partner have been convicted of his murder. IT provokes a mixed response, and mixed because, on the one hand, there is relief that the justice system has done its job, but on the other, anger and distress at the disturbing details of this case and the vulnerability of the toddler.
This case perhaps seems especially upsetting because we assume that motherhood always comes with a measure of compassion and nurturing spirit. And unsettling because it occurred in an ordinary street in an ordinary Scottish town. Disbelief and anger is surely a just and right response to such inhumanity towards another human being.
And yet it might be too easy for us to try and make sense of this by blaming systemic failure or individual error of judgement, and too convenient to package up our disbelief in the assumption that by pointing the finger that will prevent future cruelty against the vulnerable.
Important though it is to put in place checks that will help prevent this happening again, in our most honest moments each of us knows that we carry the capacity to behave selfishly and cruelly towards others. We would be horrified at the idea of inflicting this kind of pain on someone else, but we know that we do not always behave with kindness, mercy and love. Amid the mourning for this vulnerable little boy, there can be a renewed determination in all of us to offer protection and security to others.
The Bible frequently stresses the importance of protecting the vulnerable and defending the weak. True religion, says the New Testament writer James, is pure and faultless, and means caring for the widows and the orphans in their affliction. It also gives us the chance even when we’re trying to come to terms with difficult and painful news to reflect and remember the capacity for love and protection for there that we all carry in our hearts.