Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney 5 May 1999
Yesterday, the little Baptist chapel at Stocking Farm was vandalised. Bibles were torn up, glass and furniture was smashed. The church is too poor to be able to put things right. So the people who have been worshipping there for the last 44 years will have nowhere to meet, all because someone’s idea of fun is to spoil things for other people.
A different attack on the church came yesterday from, of all people, the Broadcasting Standards Commission. They have said it is offensive to non-Christians for broadcasters to use the expressions “AD” and “BC”. Instead we are supposed to say “CE” (that’s “Christian Era”) instead of AD or Anno Domini, and “BCE” (that’s Before the Christian Era) for BC or “before Christ”. Well, let me tell the Commission that I’m offended by their patronising attempt to throw away two thousand years of our cultural heritage in their pursuit of political correctness.
But perhaps this is symptomatic of society as a whole. Here’s some trivialities that tell me that standards of behaviour are slipping:
v v v Look on the pavements of our towns and cities (not to mention your shoes): there’s chewing gum casually discarded.
v v v Look at the walls of any unguarded building in our towns and cities and you’ll see graffiti sprayed all over them.
v v v Look outside any fast food outlet in our towns and cities and you’ll see plastic and paper wrappers thrown onto the floor, often with an empty litter bin a couple of steps away.
v v v Hold a shop door open for the person following you and you hardly ever get thanked.
v v v When was the last time you saw someone giving up a seat on the bus for someone who really needs to sit down?
v v v I’m deeply offended by the casual use of God’s name as an exclamation. Have you noticed, in that TV programme “Changing Rooms”, when the refurbished room is revealed to the owner, they almost invariably shriek “Oh my God!”
I guess this is all part of the tendency for human beings to sink to the lowest common denominator. At its worst, we see it in the people who set off nail bombs and the depths to which the Serbian militia has sunk in the atrocities repeatedly reported from Kosovo.
Truly, “There is no health in us”.
But Jesus offers us a way out. He said, Love God, and love your neighbour. With more care for our neighbour, and more consideration for our neighbour and, yes, more love for our neighbour, the world would be a better place. And that starts with you and me.