Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Gobbledy-Gook after All?

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Gobbledy-Gook after All?

Article excerpt

TWO days to Christmas and my daughter and her partner have arrived from Melbourne. Perfect! I love Christmas.

I get all sentimental thinking of Christmases long-past when my brother and I were kids and spoilt rotten by the best parents anywhere in the world.

My dad made toys for us; a big red fire engine carefully constructed in his shed when we weren't looking was my favourite.

The special treat in those post-war years was a roast chicken Christmas dinner, complete with brussell sprouts and my mum's best roast potatoes. That was followed by a gut-busting helping of Christmas pudding swamped in custard. It tasted a lot better than it sounds.

There were dinner table debates about the local football team's poor performance, made livelier by my dad's rare excursion into a bottle of light ale. Two ales turned no-hopers into champions despite another record run of losses in the SW Middlesex League competition and little prospect of a Boxing Day cup-tie victory.

Last week I mentioned a report, Living with Difference by the Woolf Institute's Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. Its purpose was to consider the place and role of religion and belief in contemporary Britain, to consider emerging trends and to make recommendations for public life and policy.

It didn't mention the healing value of a large helping of plum pudding or the spiritual insights derivable from a glass of cheap dry sherry.

What it concentrated upon was the development of 12 recommendations implied by the report's vision of a society at ease with itself. I have previously hinted that, in my not particularly humble opinion, some of the recommendations were more sensible than others.

The report has received a mixed reception in the UK with a fair amount of huffing and puffing, not least from Church of England leaders, about its suggestion there should be more official recognition of other religions and secularism in UK public life.

The Woolf Institute was established at Cambridge University in 1998 and is regarded as the UK's foremost think tank studying relationships between Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities. …

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