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Showing posts from February, 2018

Forget the gap year: find yourself here and now

People seek to find themselves in all sorts of ways. 
It was once fashionable for the children of the wealthy to go on gap years to India or the foothills of Nepal in search of themselves. Nowadays, possessed by the Gradgrindish spirit of the age, school leavers are more likely to seek themselves in work experience at some bluechip company, eager to devote every minute to useful and profitable endeavour. My sympathies are firmly with the former, but while wealth may be a duplicitous measure of human worth, one need not travel as far as India to find oneself either.
On the second Sunday of Lent, Jesus's words remind us that to find ourselves, we have to deny ourselves: to "take up our cross" and follow him.
This is not just a case of good, old-fashioned Christian masochism. Nor is it a moral teaching: Jesus was not primarily a moral teacher and certainly never spoke in terms of the nebulous fantasy of "Christian values." It is, rather, a teaching about the paradoxi…

Are you a slave to choice?

Patience is a virtue easily lost today. Food, news, replies to email, everything has to be fast. The hunger for the next instant fix seems insatiable: forty days seems a lifetime. Lent is an exercise in patience. Many will dismiss it as irrelevant or ignore it altogether, but perhaps it really is more relevant now than ever, when the world craves a Tweet-length ‘sign.’
The impatience of our age does not seem to be making us happier. Rarely do you see the faces of those who constantly tap out their addiction on glowing screens glow with equal ardour. Generally their faces are harassed and tense, anxious as the little red message count rises, so engrossed in their virtual world that the real world of, say, families and children becomes an obstacle met with frustration. Parents get angry with their children for interrupting the non-stop screen time, then wonder why the little ones grow up incapable of meaningful relationships or even basic social interaction.
Patience is certainly not my…