Sorry, folks, about the silence, signifying not very much. There have been times when I've thought I need to write about that, like the interview Joan Bakewell did with the screen-writer, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, articulate Liverpudlian and cheerful Christian (Catholic) apologist. His darkest work, I guess, is 'God on trial', the TV drama where Jewish inmates of Auschwitz put God on trial in absentia, trying to make sense of the holocaust, in the tradition of the dark psalms of complaint. In the end, their verdict is 'Guilty', God has abandoned his people. Which you'd have thought was a blasphemous or faith-shattering conclusion. And yet, as he observed, the Jewish faith has not died out and for many the suffering deepened rather than destroyed their faith. Paradoxically, in the end, the conclusion is a profound statement of faith, affirming that God IS God and nothing lies outside his responsibility.
On a trivial level, by comparison, I was interviewed about my book and having MND by UCB Radio a few weeks ago and was asked about what I'd learned from my illness. One was the goodness in people. Another was the mystery of the love of God. If this can still be within the love of God, which I have evidence to suggest it is, then that love must be a whole lot darker and bigger that I've previously conceived. As Frank Cottrell-Boyce implied faith is open rather than the closed system of rationalism (Only believe what can proved - which of course is an unprovable principle). Someone who recently read my book wrote: 'I shall try to remember your holding on to the belief that somehow things will turn out to have a purpose, even though it is difficult to do that often - at least I find it so.' So, to be honest, do I. I suppose the astonishing truth of this time of year is that God is not in absentia. He's there in the ancient Roman equivalent of the gas chambers, and because of who he is it's universally true. And yet it's not the whole truth, because it doesn't end there.