Q Marks The Spot: Treasure Map 129 (July 2019)

Sacred Treasure If you've not clocked this great little radio series by Nick Spencer, then you must: The Secret History of Science and Religion.Some very surprising realities about global Christianity (esp for those who only follow secular media) - HT…

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On MLK, #MeToo, and the possibility of Pride in the Flawed

Does the legacy of a heroic struggle for justice cover over a multitude of sins? Or does the iconic hero’s fatal flaw render him and, perhaps even his legacy, leprous? Is it 'one strike and you're out' or might the twitteratti just possibly permit nuance and, dare I say it, complexity?

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Q Marks The Spot: Treasure Map 127 (May 2019)

Sacred Treasure This is great - a constantly updated list - Biblical references in U2 lyrics!Tom Holland is on cracking form here - Thank God For Western ValuesIan Paul outlines the issues well for the perennial questions at this time…

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Coming Soon: Why on earth do they think THAT?!

In a couple of months, I'll be leading a study day here in Maidenhead on postmodernism and stuff, revamping and updating old material that led to writing A Wilderness of Mirrors. It's been a while since I worked on it,…

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The flicker of a smile from the unsmiling man

Shostakovich is a personal hero of mine. He walked a tightrope between the Gulag and compromise in the vortex of Stalinist Russia. But more than that, his music has brought me consolation, invigoration, provocation, and perplexity. Sometimes all at once.…

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Some thoughts on leaving BookFace

I wouldn't call it panic or even alarm, exactly. But we could call it mild perturbation. Nearly a fortnight ago, I finally departed the life known as Facebook. I gave a week's warning of this revolution, and it provoked quite the…

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back to spying… Charles Cumming’s A Colder War

It hardly needs saying, but spying did not stop with the collapse of Communism. But if spying continued, it naturally follows that so did betrayal. The haunting question provoked by every betrayal is, “Why?” Perhaps it was easier to understand during the Cold War. The globe’s ideological map was drawn all too clearly. However flawed the enemy might be, believing in their ideological stance always made it forgiving those flaws much easier. But what about today? (more…)

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Václav Havel’s 1978 warning to the West

I’m trying to understand power – what it means, how it’s wielded, how it affects us. Big topic. But I’m increasingly convinced that we can’t understand the culture of suspicion without grasping the power of power (and itsabuses).

This has drawn meto someone who has been a bit of a hero, but whose writings I’d only dipped into. Reading Václav Havel‘s masterly and vital 1978 essay The Power of the Powerless has blown me away. Written in the dark days of Czechoslovak communism (only 10 years after the false dawn of the Prague Spring), it is a profound analysis of what it was like to live under a regime built entirely on lies. The only response, the only subversion of the regime, therefore, is to live in truth. (more…)

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