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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Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 126 (April 2019)

Sacred Treasure Forgiveness is quite mad says Derrida... what do you think?Pete Williams is Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge and provides one of the highlights of my Twitter feed - this recent thread on the reliability of Bible books…

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Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 112 (December 2017)

Sacred Treasure Former LibDem leader, Tim Farron has been saying some really important things in the last week about the state and nature of western liberalism. Here is his original Theos lecture: What Kind of Liberalism do we want? Then…

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Q Marks The Spot – Treasure Map 110 (October 2017)

Sacred Treasure Good stuff: 7 Differences between Judaea and Galilee - Jesus was Jesus of Nazareth... from Dick France. Chris Green offers a rather unexpected but powerful reason to appreciate really soppy Christian songs once in a while. Emma Scrivener is…

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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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All is not well … in the state of Denmark: George Packer’s THE UNWINDING (USA’s ‘inner history’)

Well, to all my American friends and family, Happy 4th July. I wish you a great day of celebration and fun. That is always a little strange coming from a Brit. After all, you did rebel against us. But I think we’ve kinda gotten over it now (as you might put it). But it’s well-meant. America is a country I’ve grown to love (or at least certainly the bits I’ve visited). And as Bono has said more than once (perhaps explaining why he’s never forsaken his Irish roots despite his love for the US): Ireland’s a great country, but America is a great idea. And that’s what the 4th is all about at its best. A great idea. (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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Q Conversations 3: Spy novelist Charles Cumming

He ate my toast and drank my beer. But that seemed sufficient to put him at his ease and get him talking (good cop routine). And it was a lot of fun. Charles Cumming has managed to craft a very successful career as a spy novelist out of the failure to enter SIS/MI6 after their initial approach. (more…)

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Giving voice to the whistleblower: Le Carré on cracking form in A Delicate Truth

There’s a key moment when the oleaginous Foreign Office chameleon, Giles Oakley, goads his protegé and A Delicate Truth‘s protagonist, Toby Bell, about what he should do with his qualms about government policy in the run up to Iraq War.

You’re exactly what the Guardian needs: another lost voice bleating in the wilderness. If you don’t agree with government policy, don’t hang around trying to change it. Jump ship. Write the great novel you’re always dreaming about. (p51) (more…)

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