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  • Mike

Sins of Omission?

A friend and reader of our blog wrote recently to enquire why we had not commented on the developing catastrophe in Gaza. It is a fair question. It demands some kind of response.

First and foremost, we recognise that most readers will have heard, seen and read a great deal about the horrifying humanitarian disaster which is unfolding following the atrocities committed by all sides. It would be foolish for us to pretend to be able add anything significant to all that commentary. We have found these two links helpful in understanding: and

Our friend’s comment did prompt us to ask ourselves why we choose the topics that we do when so many other issues demand attention? We choose one topic and automatically exclude a hundred others. Our blog seems to attract most readers when it in some way relates to ourselves and our family. That may suggest that our readers want some respite from the daily diet of alarming news and comment offered by the mainline media. It may also suggest that many readers want some fragments of insight into how life is going for us just now amid the struggles great and small. It further prompts us to ask whether we simply give readers what they want. It is easy for blogs to become comfortable echo chambers.

One of our aims is certainly to encourage our small circle of readers, most of whom are known to us in some way, to spend a few minutes reflecting on issues we consider to be important to ordinary people such as ourselves. We seek to make a gentle connection between the wider context and our own often relatively comfortable domestic circumstances.

I remember once relaxing in some resort in some Spanish costa and thinking airily that if I simply took to the water and kept going eastwards across the Mediterranean I would eventually arrive in a very different place. At the time my imaginary destination was the scene of some bitter fighting though not quite the all-out war we now witness. I remember on another occasion watching the police recover from that same Spanish beach the body of yet another migrant who had failed in his attempt to cross from northern Africa to the shores of Europe, hoping to find greater safety or a small taste of prosperity. In each case I made a vague connection with my own life…before I successfully put it to very back of my mind.

Nowadays it is much more difficult to ignore such a disquieting prospect. The geopolitical alliances are such that our own country could very easily be drawn into conflict raging a long way away. The horrifying developments in military technology are such that nowhere is entirely free from the threat of attack. And many would agree that any early 21st century air of optimism about the future, not least the futures of our children and grandchildren, has evaporated.

We both find that such a grim prospect is difficult to live with in some moments. A cloud lingers. How to react or perhaps how to cope with our instinctive reaction of horror, fear and anxiety?

We have no brilliant answers. But it does seem to us that the cultivation of some inner quietness does help. We choose to seek that through a Christian understanding of life. There are other ways. One thing is sure that the more we seek a measure of quiet within the better we will be able to face the endless noise without. We owe it to ourselves to find a quiet corner of our lives in which to seek balance.

Photo: Reuters

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Oct 28, 2023

Today it requires courage to give out an answer such as you folks provide. We have a need for quietness—not complacency—to know our own limits and to realize that in the great scheme of things our own opinions, limited as they are, really only matter to ourselves and patient friends. As you say, understanding the long history of this conflict helps keep us from quick and naive judgements that shape our actions toward others.

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