12 June, Year of Mercy: Falsified Mercy

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It is not unusual to let spiritual curiosity lead us. We may drift fairly casually through what seems like a new religious doorway, assuming that we are well equipped to sort out the genuine advice from delusions. We talk cheerfully with ‘Christian Scientists’ about quirky theories of healing which have little genuinely prayerful support to offer. Here is an even more extreme example, a shop just across the road from Forest Gate Station in East London.

There is something alarming about the calm assurance of the message spelling out a way of life on which the owner will give advice. Preparing for marriage is indicated as an available service, requiring consultation with an astrologer and ‘new age’ remedies against whatever might go wrong.

Most troubling, though, is the overriding motto: “Only Luck is Powerful – Neither Education nor Hard Work”. What place does this fatalism have, in an area of London where the cultural mix of recent arrivals, many with a poor grasp of English, will severely stretch the abilities of any teacher to guide their children towards educated competence? This outlook struck me as both sadly lacking in the advantages of faith and irresponsible. Promises of emotional ambiguity and mental failure are being promoted as ancient wisdom.

What chance would a couple have, of setting children out on a life of creative achievements, or even sympathetic and supportive friendships, if they trusted only horoscopes? Prayers for the floundering youth of East London are sorely needed!



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