Tag Archives: evolution

30 May: Sunrises


I love watching for sunrises

I mean surprises

proclaiming without fanfare that

we are not selfish

pre-determined muddles but have

at least a sky’s worth

of space in us just waiting for

that warm sunrise of

empathy and so here is one


Mister Darwin sir


fossils prove Neandertals cared

for the weakest ones

in their tribe and didn’t leave them

to die oh surprise

for love loved the most fragile and

not just the fittest

and survives from barely biped

to barely upright

humans God I love sunrises


Sister Johanna sees more sunrises than most of us. If I got up as early as she does, with a ladder and some glasses I could see to Minster marshes – if it wasn’t for the houses in between. Let’s enjoy her sharing the blessings of sunrise. An appropriate image to ponder when we have the feast of Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth tomorrow, a truly ‘warm sunrise of empathy’ and a neat challenge to Darwin.



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More about Playing

We talk about ‘playing’ a musical instrument, using the same word as for a children’s game. The evolutionary biologists would tell us that play in animals, including humans, has survival value: for the individual, for the pack or family, and for the species as a whole. Players need to know that their play partner or opponent is friendly, even when what the game looks aggressive. They also need to learn how to temper their playful aggression: nipping gently, not biting, for example. All that makes sense.

But music? We know that birds use it assertively to define their territory, though to my ear a well-tuned, innovative song thrush takes his singing a step further than ever he needs to.

Human music seems to be another gratuitous gift. The variety today is beyond measure, but so much of what was played before us is forever lost, no recordings, not a written note from so many of our ancestors.

The act of playing depends on so many other people: woodcutter, instrument maker, electrician,  composer, architect, hall cleaner, printer … the list goes on, whatever genre of music. And how it can move us! And it needs to be practised, solo and in a group. How many groups started as friends, playing – the operative word here in many ways – at school or in each other’s homes?

L'arche procession1

I leave you with a spine-tingling moment as L’Arche communities from around Britain and Europe entered Canterbury Cathedral last summer for their 40th Birthday bash. I was glad to be there!

See The Independent Catholic News story at: http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=25097

For animals, in particular dogs at play: John Bradshaw, In Defence of Dogs, Penguin, 2012, pp202ff.

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Divine Design or Love Divine?

2nd June

Our regular Jehovah’s Witness visitors do not see God as a loving Trinity and their way of interpreting the Scripture is quite different to what I am used to.

The back page of their magazine carries a story about an animal that has taken the editor’s fancy. It will describe ways in which this creature is remarkably well adapted to its niche in the world, and then challenges the reader to look at the electric eel or the great tit or the flying squirrel and decide – was this creature the result of chance evolution or design?

I want to scream out loud: that is the wrong question! The Good Lord is not a designer, he is a lover! He creates through evolution, which is a cadenza from his shared love, unpredictable to mere mortals. A note is struck by the Father, spoken by the Word, spread across the face of the earth and the galaxies by the Spirit, and becomes a great tit, a blue tit, a crested, coal, or willow tit, a chickadee or a long-tailed tit. Such an abundance of little insect-eating tit-mice is over-the-top generous. Calling God a designer risks diminishing God the Lover.

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