Joy and Sadness

 

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Joy and gladness with the colours of Autumn

This week there was one of the saddest of stories splashed all over the front pages of the newspapers and the lead story on many news channels. And one note of sanity and hope which may have found a brief mention somewhere in one of the papers.

Let’s get the sadness out of the way first.

Terminally ill teen won historic ruling to preserve body

A 14-year-old girl who wanted her body to be preserved, in case she could be cured in the future, won a historic legal fight shortly before her death.

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At the present moment this is how you will wait for up to two centuries or so

The girl, who was terminally ill with a rare cancer, was supported by her mother in her wish to be cryogenically preserved – but not by her father. I’m not sure if I felt more sadness or despair when I read that. I wondered how on earth such a negative, hopeless situation could develop. I suppose it’s easy, really, if you grow up in a world that is lacking in many of the fundamentals of life, awash with virtual reality and with no faith or belief in any sort of hope apart from a fairly speculative science.

For almost half her life this poor child had had no father. I don’t know if he wanted to be involved with his daughter during the six years when he didn’t see her, but for whatever reason, it wasn’t a healthy, loving relationship between father and child. Initially, the father opposed his child’s wish to be preserved which is why the case came to court. In the end he relented, though, apparently, he wasn’t allowed to see her body after she died. Which makes me think the atmosphere around that death bed was as cold and sterile as the ice in which the girl is now preserved.

This reminded me of that earlier court battle over a mother’s right to have a child with her dead daughter’s egg. I feel genuine horror at the thought that there are people around who must see life only through those strange visual reality glasses. We only hear about the ones with enough money—tens of thousands of pounds—to indulge these strange desires but there must be many others.

I feel anger at the whole Establishment that have let this happen. I feel a particularly fierce and righteous indignation at those Anglican clergy who have aided and abetted this. I’m not suggesting that a stable family life and the support and prayers of a church community would have prevented this girl dying of cancer but her end could and should have been much warmer and more loving.

Now for some joy!

I’m an optimist by nature so, despite all my moans and groans and nit-picking, I don’t go out of my way to find misery. On the contrary I am always on the look out for signs of hope and evidence of common sense. Here is one sign that the worms who have been advocating turning are finally being heard.

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*“This requires a move away from the argument that has become increasingly popular, which is to say that ISIS is ‘nothing to do with Islam’,**or that Christian militia in the Central African Republic are nothing to do with Christianity, or Hindu nationalist persecution of Christians in South India is nothing to do with Hinduism. Until religious leaders stand up and take responsibility for the actions of those who do things in the name of their religion, we will see no resolution.

… finally, I want to speak to you about why I believe it is absolutely necessary for us to reclaim religious language for the common good of Europe.

Rather than simply seeking to prevent ‘bad’ religion, however, we have to offer an alternative vision of the role of faith in our societies that is more convincing. That is more profound. That is more satisfying to the human spirit. And where to do we find a better vision than in the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the good news of Christ?”**

We’ve heard enough about re-interpreting the Bible for the benefit of the LGBTI community’s sexual convenience. Please can we now get back to more fundamental and universal needs. Putting the gospel of Christ first and the sanctity of marriage a close second would be an excellent start.

*This is copied from the Archbishop’s website. **My italics

 

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