Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New Labour, New Logic?


At 18 weeks Posted by Hello
Leader of the Conservative Party Michael Howard recently stated in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine that he would accept a reduction in the time limit for abortion from 24 to 20 weeks. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Roman Catholic Church in the UK, has suggested that the issue of abortion is one that should be considered in the upcoming General Election, to which Prime Minister Tony Blair has responded by saying that this issue should not be political, but a matter of personal conscience.

Michael Howard’s position is quite easy to understand, as is that of the Cardinal. But Tony Blair is turning logic on its head. How can it be legitimate politics to campaign for “a woman’s right to choose”, but not for “the right to life”? Whether one takes the Orthodox view that abortion is wrong, or the secular view that it is purely a medical procedure with no moral consequences, it is surely fundamentally undemocratic to banish an issue from the public arena in this way.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hurrah for England!


image: budgetstockphoto.com Posted by Hello
According to this article in The Guardian, former Home Secretary David Blunkett is urging the English to stop being "apologetic about our history" but to be proud of "our history, traditions, about our culture, music and poetry." I agree.

Memories of empire have probably fuelled the tendency to be somewhat embarassed by English culture and history. However, pride in our history and traditions is not necessarily an assertion of cultural superiority any more than love of one's family necessarily implies that we believe our neighbours' family to be inferior.

Bewteen 1990 and 1999, I lived in The Netherlands. Living amongst the Dutch, as well as people from the United States and other parts of Western and Eastern Europe who were my neighbours and friends in Amsterdam, certainly afforded me the opportunity to experience other cultures and to examine my own culture from a new perspective. I returned to England with a sense of homecoming, but with a fresh appreciation of what this meant.

What Englishness means to me may take another article; I am aware that it will not completely coincide with what it means to my neighbour, but will include features which have more to do with my personal history and tastes. Having converted to the Orthodox Church, I have also gained an appreciation of the sacred history of this land which I did not have, ironically, as an Anglican. Especially dear to me is the growing awareness of the many Saints who adorned this land in the first millenium. They are a part of our history and traditions worth treasuring.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

To Begin at the Beginning...

When I joined the choir of my church in London, I had to find my voice. Now that I am joining the blogging community, I will have to do the same for a wider world. I suspect my first notes will be a little rough and uncertain and will, no doubt, be drowned out by more accomplished talents, but I do hope to be heard somewhere in all the din.

As one voice out of the chorus that is the Orthdox Church, my opinions will reflect that allegiance. However, living an Orthodox Christian life does not lead to the dissolution of the unique character of a person, but to its transfiguration by healing the passions that weaken it. Hence, the things I write here will also reflect particular interests: theology, philosophy, history and science, among others. Oh, and music too. Of course, as an absolute beginner at spiritual life, some of those passions will likely creep in from time to time, for which I hope I may be forgiven: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on me!

Finally, let me quote a wise saying of St. Nicholas of Zhicha:
The opinions of intellectual persons may be wonderfully clever and yet be false, whereas the experience of the saints is always true.
Probably a good reason not to write anything at all! Nevertheless, I shall endeavour to write things which are true, hoping that the opinions which are purely my own conceits will be forgotten by the discerning.