|the river at Meanwood|
'Everything flows, nothing stays the same.'
My heart sank momentarily the other evening, while enjoying an evening out with my dearly beloved, Ray Gaston. I had just popped out to the ladies - before I got up, he and a couple we didn't know, sitting alongside, were harmlessly chatting about living in the Midlands. I came back just as the guy leaned over, purposefully, and said to Ray, 'so what do you really believe?' How they made that jump in the space of a few minutes, I don't know, but I felt it would have been better to stay with nice easy subjects, like football. For people whose whole life and work is wrapped up with questions of theology, philosophy, and the dynamics of engagement with the diversity of faiths in the world today, it's not an easy question to answer lightly on an evening off, over a curry.
|reflections, Meanwood park|
My feeling is, that people who start by putting one on the spot with such a question, actually, often unconsciously, really want to talk about what they believe, and there's often a chip on the shoulder or a frustrated need for a soap-box in there somewhere. perhaps there is sometimes an insecurity, a desire to check for conformity too - 'are you safe for me to associate with? Are you going to help me stay in my comfort zone or are you going to disturb me and make me have to rethink everything?' It's a different phenomenon, a different game, to the one played by people who don't even bother to ask, and start out with the massive assumption that there is already a shared understanding: 'We believe ...' which of course almost invariably elicits the response, 'please speak for yourself.'
|sycamore trunk under the bark|
|water droplet, Meanwood|
|sunlight through a leaf|
|river at Meanwwod|
You cannot step twice into the same river.