Thursday, 26 July 2012

Wallander Vs Hutch

Wallander vs Hutch
In 1975 I was 17 years old it was the year The Boss Delivered  Born to Run deep into my soul.  TV screen heros came and went with regularity. There were enough detectives on TV to cure all crime. But who was my hero? For instance I never wanted to be Ironside (can you blame me) only flirted with smelly Colombo,(not literally) Kojak was too old like a dodgy uncle but Starsky and Hutch well they were the people to be in the late 70s.
This united pair burst onto the sunny California scean in a Ford Gran Torinos "Bright Red" (paint code 2B). In Aston where I lived there were no hills, no beachs no Bright Red Torinos, but I did have my Austin A40. They ran, jumped into the car without using the doors slid of the roof lounged on the bonnet (hood) and pulled guns and people out of the boot. In my distant days of youth, the days before varifocols and flatulence Starsky and Hutch  inspired Friday night drives in my A40 with The Boss on the cassette player. I looked so cool trying to enter my A40 through the window trying to spin the wheels and stalling.  Their car had an enviable sound (dubbed probably) from a V8, no worries about pollution and tax bands. These detectives had energy and life to the full and an uplifting soundtrack. For me the hero was Starsky with highly fashionable cardy and trainers always trainers so I always had trainers.

2012 Now the soundtrack to my life is Richard Hawley and the detective is Wallander, Kurt is middle-aged. He looks as if he is dressed from anywhere nowhere not even M&S. He is at times a lonely figure in the workplace. No pre-liposuction beach babes at the end of the day for him. Sweden maybe beautiful but it is not California, the low gentle lighting and lack of hills and half-light homes frame him compress him.  Kurts car is an attractive dull Caspian Blue (metallic) Volvo XC70 with a 5 cylinder diesel for efficiency and care for the environment. I have not once seen him jump through the open window of the driver’s door. Is Kurt disappointing? No.    
For kurt’ isolation focus him, his angst clouds his vision to the possibility of joy. His hope is in the dull methodical casework were he craves for an opening. His language visual, to the blind he would be silent.  For me he is the hero of today working against all odds, his reward only in the positive conclusion of the case. He is my Jeremiah. His borderline depression is ok if not almost desirable. He is not newwine or oldwine he is anywine at the end of the day. (as long as it’s redwine) he seems broken yet functioning not triumphant but determined committed reflective. His fear of the gun and death give us who at times are unsure how to live life to the full a man to follow. For the men who find it difficult to be the pumped up hero of the V8 torino Kurt offers a new Jeremiah.    

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Wood for the trees

Wood for the trees
I was in a gathering where the question was asked  “name someone of spiritual strength”. The required buzz among the listeners started with their neighbours and then we were offerd the opportunity to shout out a verbal offering some names.  And so they came; Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Dalie Lama, Desmond Tu Tu and finally The Queen. There was then a short silence.
I wanted to call this blog Pavlov’s dogs but I am aware this would seem offensive. It is not meant to be. But can we not see the wood for the trees?  Are we just conditioned to recite a list of people we have never meet to be our spiritual hero’s. Is it safe to have spiritual heroes we cannot question or hold to account or share our lives with those who are firmly located on another continent or watching us on TV?
There is the cynical situation that whatever the question is in Sunday school the answer must be Jesus.  The list above must be the adult version of Sunday school. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying they are not spiritual giants I presume they are, I have never had the privilege of meeting any of them. There is a train of thought that you should not meet you hero’s as they will or might disappoint you, it is why I have refused all offers to play with Bruce Springsteen, the dream is better that the fear of the reality. But I don’t think that is a good stand to take in spiritual growth. In the gathering mentioned above were three clergy people. All who have given a major part of their lives and their families to live in highly demanding poor communities. These three people who I believe are deeply spiritual but not it seems enough to get on the list above, can we not see the wood for the trees? 
But here is the point. It is one thing for a community not to recognise their spiritual leaders living amidst their community. But if we don’t see our clergy as spiritual people, spiritual hero’s how will we see our fellow believers as spiritual people, spiritual hero’s. Among us are follow pilgrims of faith who have given their lives to sustain local churches people of spiritual strength clergy and lay.  Or more to the point if we don’t recognise local community spiritual strength or spiritual hero’s how we will ever see ourselves on the list of usual suspects above. For at some point in growing up we need to recognise that each of us is called to be a spiritual hero, have spiritual strength in some way.