And in the Big News today from a Faith Perspective, isn’t silence wonderful? If only there was less pointless chatter. Wouldn’t it be nice if some people would just stop talking rubbish?
4 thoughts on “Martin Wroe, Writer, Journalist, and oh yes incidentally, Assistant Vicar of St Luke’s Church, Islington”
Hear hear these so called writers are parasites on the body of an ever redundant religion. They would do well to remember Wittgenstein saying Whereof one cannot speak thereon one must remain silent rather than say such things which you call so rightly rubbish. I hate to think what they write in their books after contemplation like this. It makes The Sound of Silence into unfinished music and John Lennons Nutopian International Anthem and is as boldly nonsensical as Derek Jarmans Blue if you can remember that.
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“Derek Jarmans Blue if you can remember that”
I don’t remember that, but I do remember Jarman constantly trying to pick up my boyfriend. Was never a fan of his, particularly as he never tried to pick me up.
Well, silence can certainly be restorative, and I am rather taken by English Heritage’s initiative in asking visitors to turn off their mobiles and appreciate the silence during the last hour at some of their sites. It would be nice if some of them kept their mobiles off throughout their visit.
Martin Wroe suggests rather casually that we can use such periods of silence to access our innermost thoughts. I’m not so sure: there is some evidence that we are no better at reading our own minds than we are at reading other people’s. At the very least, if we have any Grand Thoughts about Life, the Universe and Everything while we are sitting in silence, we should try to test them against reality before acting on them. This is, of course, more difficult with some Thoughts than with others.
I think few would contest the restorative effect of silence; being still, walking in woods or beside water (the BBC, I think on the One Show? did an excellent piece last week on the value of woodland and nature generally as an ‘escape’). Some may view it as a ‘spiritual’ experience, whatever that is, but religion cannot claim to have invented isolated contemplation or to have a monopoly on peace and calm as being good for one – I don’t remember any passages in the BBOMS recommending tree hugging.
The only difficulty is that those who might most benefit from withdrawal from the relentless business of life are those who generally cannot. Those with children; who are carers for elderly relatives or neighbours; who work long, irregular shifts including over weekends or at night; who spend hours week by week on tedious commutes to and from work; who toil in busy or noisy factories, warehouses, call centres, offices, schools or construction sites. All these people are those who keep the country going, maintain manufacture, transport, retail and services. But they are the last to have the opportunity to spend an hour in silence, or have time alone. That privilege falls to the lot of the likes of Roe, who live comfortable, undemanding lives, which are in their control, well-paid and with few of the niggles and worries that dog most working people. Roe didn’t acknowledge that this morning, and rather callously ploughed ahead with the assumption that everyone else was as fortunate as himself.
It was the Methodist Thatcher whose government pushed through Sunday trading, thus blighting the lives of many workers who relied upon that day of rest to spend time with their families and to relax. Since then the rights of the same people have been further eroded with zero-hours contracts, low pay, and emasculation of unions and union power. I haven’t noticed the likes of Roe or his ilk standing up against this reversal of so much hard-fought for protection for the lives of ordinary people. He may like to reflect on that next time he’s engaged in his Fotherington-Tomas “hello trees, hello sky” routine. Chiz.