Theme Talk (20th August 2018 at Hucklow Summer School)
Part One: ‘We’re All Going to Die’
The theme of this year’s summer school poses just about the biggest question we humans can ask ourselves: ‘How, then, shall we live?’ I take this question to have several questions implicitly wrapped up in it: ‘How shall we live knowing that – sooner or later – we are all going to die?’; ‘What constitutes a good life anyway, in this troubled and chaotic world?’; ‘What are we meant to be doing in our all-too-brief span?’; and ‘What’s the point?’… Now, I can’t say I feel especially well-equipped to answer these questions… but then, who is? So I’ll give it a go. Seeing as I’m here.
Sermon #31 (5th August 2018 at Essex Church / Kensington Unitarians)
This Sunday is the first tackling our new theme for the month of August: ‘Paying Attention’. And this morning I want to talk about a particular kind of paying-attention – I knew what I wanted to explore today as soon as we set the month’s theme – but, even now, as I stand here… I don’t know exactly what to call it. It’s something a bit elusive. Just for now – just to be getting on with – let’s call it ‘sensitivity’.
The distilled message of today’s service is this: There’s nearly always more going on in any given situation than is apparent at face value and we could – and maybe should – put a bit more effort into paying attention to these subtexts and subtleties, into reading between the lines, listening out for what’s not being said, the stories untold. I reckon it would be of benefit to everyone if we could each cultivate greater personal sensitivity in order to have a better sense of what’s going on around us (by which I mean: what’s really going on).