At the beginning of the month, a Bishop wrote that Advent is not meant to be comfortable and warns that a totally blanket use of the greeting ‘Happy Christmas’ can trample on those for whom there is no chance that it will be so; he is castigated in the press for liberal trendiness and being out of touch with the celebrations around him.
Since then, a teacher sent into the home of ill children is reported as being sacked for offering to pray, something offered as further evidence of anti-Christian bias; her own account reveals that she actually took the opportunity of being in one vulnerable non-Christian home to give her testimony about Christian healing two visits running.
This morning, the objective BBC’s flagship radio news programme reports the SNP’s case that any broadcast election debate in Scotland should not ignore the fact that there are four main parties in Scotland; the item concluded that the BBC is unlikely to wish to unpick the agreement it has made with ‘the three main parties’.
Today, it does seem a fair cop that a priest is reported suggesting that the most vulnerable should shop lift; he turns out to have been talking about the impossible situation those who fall through the benefit net are in and was encouraging them to avoid prostitution, burglary and mugging, and says ‘the observation that shop lifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim inditement of who we are’.
But, while spotting these things, I find strangely that my main reflection is about being in the same boat, and how difficult it is to observe, think or write objectively myself.
For example, how honest and open or self deceiving and spin laden is a blog like this?
Does it manipulatively seek the admiration of any readers there might be? In this way, does it share the unreflective implicit boastfulness of many Christmas circular letters?
Does it unconsciously betray less admirable things this innocent writer doesn’t even suspect? In this way, does it share the distorted selective reporting of the media accounts I've spotted recently?
Would any published column, public speaking or parish pewsheet stand any better chance of avoiding these traps?
Would any private diary, personal conversation or formal confession do so?