Archbishop A Novel By Michele Guinness - Book Club Discussion Of Media Hysteria

Posted at 12:03pm on 12th January 2018

MEDIA HYSTERIA & PUBLIC EXPECTATION

One of the things my Book Club loved about this book, was the way humour was used to hammer home the truths we all need to know.  With the enormous pressure upon her, newly elected Archbishop Vicky is all too aware of how little time she has to give to her husband, Tom.  In conversation, one day, he reflects upon this.

‘If the Archbishop’s husband is allowed his conjugal rights from time to time. . .  On high feasts and holy days.  Oh, sorry – that’s when you’re working.’

And, on another occasion: ‘Crucifixion by media seems to be the lot of Archbishops: using a spouse as the means of knocking in a nail or two.’

APPORTIONING BLAME NOT MERCY

With newspaper stories exerting such influence on today’s society, we reflected on one of the issues raised in the book, namely the secularists who are calling for stringent measures against all forms of religious indoctrination.  Tim Farron's (Christian MP and once leader of the Liberal Democrats) recent encounter comes to mind, when he was hounded to pronounce on his views on gay sex.  Bowing to pressure, he caved in and resigned his position.  More recently, however, he has renounced his original stance.

Taking the words of a Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, Michele Guinness points out that: ‘Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’

How true that is!  As is another statement: We live in a society that apportions blame, not mercy; that makes no allowances for our common humanity. Never is that more so than in the press.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Sadly, social media has much to answer for in this respect.  How easy it is to write in anger, press the return button, and publish without due thought.  The ‘choice of attitude’ cited above is thus lost.  We have become mere minions, slaves to the demands of our emotions; sycophants of our time.

Yet, as this wonderful book reminds us: We cannot sit passively waiting for the day of the world’s ultimate liberation and restoration. Instead we must actively pursue it by bringing healing, hope and forgiveness into our world now.

Easily said.  Not so easily accomplished.  As we’ll see next time.

NEXT TIME: Homophobia: The Christian Voice – or the Quelling of It
PART ONE: Gender Equality: The Subordination of Women

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