Friday, 5 October 2007

Light the touchpaper, and stand well back...

"To a woman, it's self-evident. Life is what it is...but guys think there has to be something more. That's why all the leading religious figures are men - they claim that it doesn't make sense for the world to move on without them. Guys never really want to leave the table".

Gregory Mac Allister in Jack Mc Devitt's novel, 'Odyssey'.

It's great when you hear or see something that gets you thinking, like the quote above. A moment of reflection on the realities of my own faith, for example (especially the events of the morning of the resurrection) made me realize how short of every one's needs this particular assessment falls, but it did remind me how often our evaluation of some aspect of life can be simply because we have never settled somewhere long enough to really survey some new territory.

When it comes to the fairer sex, I currently work 'in correspondence' as a photographer with a world where women can often be maligned and stereotyped, and where the human propensity to wickedness illegally mars and marks lives in a fashion which reveals tragedy behind the glamour. It would be easy to conclude that the entire field is 'evil', to seek to jolt the thing down the slipway into a sea of abandonment, but that would be a betrayal of something key to our humanity, and I'll explain why.

Over the last few years, I've encountered many young woman working as models not primarily because they are (or are at least seeking) to make huge amounts of money - that is not the key motivation. They are involved in the field because it has given them a new confidence in their lives, an ability to truly begin to 'be' themselves, and to use their gifts and form in a manner that is creative and artistic. The primary appeal, then, has been to a connection with identity and reality that allows some 'taste' of our true potential - to rise above the stereotypes and become more.

In John's Gospel, Nicodemus, a teacher of others, comes by night to meet with Jesus to ask what he thought was all the right questions. He would 'place' this new teacher in His rightful place and then get on with life, but he came away a very troubled man, for Jesus showed him that there was so much more to understand. As I approach the fifth decade of my life, I am beginning to realize the value of that lesson, and how valuable real discipleship can be.

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