Sunday, February 02, 2014

From the Twilight Side of the Hill


The folks on the BBC morning programme the other day promised me that humming or singing the national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, would chase off any persistent earworms. An earworm is music or refrains from songs that your mind insists singing or humming over and over again.  I am still humming and it’s not the national anthem.

 My current worm is “Morning Side of the Mountain” sung by Donny and Marie Osmond.  I am sure that if I wasn’t a Donny fan I might have hurled myself under a bus by now! There’s a DJ on a Saturday afternoon who takes his listeners down memory lane.  1974 might have been the year and Donny and Marie were number five.  As an avid fan of Donny, if I had known he was living on the morning side of the mountain, I would have promptly sold my house on the twilight side of the hill.  I wouldn’t have just sung about a destiny that never came to be.

“They never met.  They never kissed.  They never knew what happiness they missed…”

I am thinking about people or groups of people who never meet or never kiss not in the physical sense, but in the sense that they never find common ground and they never strike up a proper conversation.  One group cannot understand where the other group is coming from.   One group is firmly on the morning side of the mountain and the other is on the twilight side of the hill.  The trouble comes when the morning side of the mountain inhabitants would like to demolish the twilight side of the hill. They insist that the morning side of the mountain is the only place to live!  Those that live on the twilight side of the hill are just as bad. They think the hill is the place to be.

I might be taking the analogy too far – but stay with me.

Those that live on the morning side of the mountain are humanists and secularists.  I have been developing a unit of work that has required me to read up on humanists.  My twilight side of the hill are those that believe in God.  The two groups seem to have almost no common ground – they don’t meet and they don’t kiss.

The morning side of the mountain takes a scientific view of the world.  What cannot be seen, cannot be tested in an objective way, cannot be reasoned out with the mind doesn’t exist. What we don’t know right now, we will know some time down the line. Man is the most highly evolved species and if you happen to be watching the new series of “The Tomorrow People” we are still evolving. Any other way of observing the world is about clinging to superstitions and nonsense.  We have moved away from that and “grown up”.

The twilight side of the hill doesn’t ignore science but interprets the world in a different way. Science may answer the “how” questions but doesn’t address the “why”.  Built into the fabric of humanity is a need to worship something greater and not just as an attempt to control or make sense of the world around us. There IS someone greater – Jesus.  We are not dealing with science and these things cannot be tested objectively.  Faith is not objective fact.

I can’t live on the morning side of the mountain.  I wouldn’t want to.  God has woven Himself so thoroughly throughout my life.  I don’t see myself as incapacitated or disabled, mentally or emotionally, because of my faith in God.  Faith for me had been about enabling me to do some very spectacular things – things I would never have considered without faith in God. 

There are times when I would rather not live on the twilight side of the hill either.  I don’t always like what my neighbours get up to.  They can be an obnoxious bunch of people at times.

It is the determination to demolish my hill that I object to.

The Secular Society is almost evangelistic in its aim to push out men and women of faith from their places of influence.  Religious observance should become times of reflection.  Church ministers should not be on committees deciding how schools are planned or how the curriculum is to be developed.  Faith schools should operate an opt-in policy as regards RME and assemblies not an opt-out one.  They seem to be so informed about so much and determined to change things.

The hill dwellers, in comparison, seem to be so passive.  It worries me that we are not as much on the offensive as we should be.  We don’t always know what is going on in the world.  We don’t seem to have the discernment to know what is important and what isn’t and we often lack passion. 

“The hill dwellers need to move to the mountain”, says God who looks over my shoulder as I write.  “Faith life needs to be lived out in close proximity to those who haven’t yet seen authentic faith – otherwise those that who have never seen authentic faith will never see it.  Authentic faith is strong enough to stand firm in a faithless world – it’s not so easily demolished.”



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