Preposterously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, I’ve been to the pictures. I saw “Nomadland” and it was really good. It reminded me of various things about the Invisible Magic Friend.

5 thoughts on “Preposterously Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Lord Richard Harries, Baron Pentregarth, Gresham Professor of Divinity, Baron, Bishop, Professor, Lord…

  1. So, even a former Archbishop, and senior cleric of the Church is prepared to say no more than ‘some religious people believe that only their IMF knows who they really are.’ There was the tiniest quote from the BBOMS, which if you’d coughed you’d have missed; and Harries had to admit that the Fern character in “Nomads’ Land” didn’t have the reassurance of believing in an all-knowing IMF. Dietrich Bonhoeffer (whom Harries did not identify as a Lutheran Pastor) was a bit iffy as to who he really was, and his tentative self-reassurance that he was known to his IMF (presumably the same IMF who had observed the rise of Hitler and other fascist dictators with equanimity) was less than convincing.

    All that we learned that was at all verifiable amidst all this speculative waffle was that the former AB of C had recently been to the picture house (and we only had his word for that).

    Meanwhile, in Cornwall….


  2. I saw Nomadland at the cinema recently; certainly it’s a worthy film, just not Oscar-winning-worthy, in my opinion. But trust a member of the professionally pious to find some pious angle on it, despite it having no hint of piety whatsoever.


  3. The way in which the question ‘who am I?’ was posed this morning implies that the speaker believes in an eternal essence of Richard Harries – a soul, if you like – which he is trying to find out about, and which is fully known only to the IMF. The closer he gets to what he thinks is that eternal essence, the better. One day, he hopes, he will come face-to-face with what he thinks is the source of that essence, and all will be perfect.

    Another way of looking at it is that ‘Richard Harries’ is a label given by other people to one specific child of two human parents. The question of who ‘Richard Harries’ now is can really only be answered by Harries himself, on the basis of what he knows, feels and has experienced, and possibly by consulting other human beings. There is no eternal essence, and no final authority; and there is only this one life in which to try to work out a few answers.


  4. “Who Am I” is a question that I, and I imagine everyone over the age of 25, remember thinking about a lot when I was a teenager. Gradually, I learned more about the way the real world worked and my place in it, but not from following the likes of Harries and his soul searching types, but by realising I had never existed before my birth and wouldn’t exist after my death – I was a human with one life to live. The existential question of “Do I have a soul?” faded away very quickly along with all the supernatural bunkum that goes with it.
    Empathic human stories, like Nomadland, give us the chance to think about our place and worth in the world by being shown another person or culture’s way of life that we can all learn from. Director Zhao said of the film that “….I wasn’t raised religious, so for me the concept of God, in a traditional sense in an organized religion, doesn’t speak to me, but there’s something out there that’s bigger than us that is in nature, that you can find and feel in nature, speaks to me very strongly…”. You don’t need Harries’ speculation on the existence of god to add anything more to the story.


  5. We humans, as PaulT says, expend vast amounts of time & energy during our teens wondering who we are. The question goes away eventually – seems like part of growing up. There need not be an answer.
    But religionists seem to believe there is an answer though, being created unable to find the answer on their own, they must wait for their IMF to tell them what’s inside their soul. This is odd because when the big reveal happens (as far as I can guess from listening to what believers, by their own admission, don’t know) after death by which time they’re nothing but a soul anyway. By this stage, though, whether they’re in the overwhelmingly wonderful presence of the IMF or ‘the other place’, they won’t give a monkey’s about teenage introspection.


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