Some New Year Good News
A Happy New Year!
And now for some unexpected and very welcome good news: Aston Villa football club has foregone the possible £2,000,000 it could have made in shirt sponsorship to advertise the work of a local children’s hospice (www.acorns.org.uk) for nothing! There you have it. In the midst of one of the most rapacious and money fixated industries in the world, a little ray of community minded compassion has penetrated the sepulchral gloom of £75,ooo a week wage bills for players and multi-million pound transfer deals. It gives one the hope that this little chink in the armour of the dominance of international finance might cause a revolution in how we think about money. The international markets have, for too long it seems to me, pursued profit for profit’s sake. They have had no loyalty to nations, communities or individuals, moving ‘their’ capital around the world to the cheapest labour markets and fastest buck. There has been no sense at all that, in some way, financial matters have any responsibility to be one of the factors that create community cohesion, underpin the stability of family and social life and contribute to the health of society. No, we are all consumers and here merely to provide further, irrelevant, profits for those who already have more than they know what to do with. Wealth does not equal profit and profit is not wealth. Wealth, suggests a shared part in the good things that life, work, industry and social intercourse have to offer. Profit is merely the accumulation of ever more money for the sake of having ever more money. Good old Aston Villa I say! And may their example spread.
Last night I went to one of the final performances of the travelling show: the Mighty Boosh(www.themightyboosh.com): some of you may have watched this cult, surreal comedy on television. Basically, it is the innocent and mysterious meanderings of two comic minds: Julian Barrett and Noel Fielding, which burst out in the theatre into lush backcloths, crazy characters and wild, loud music: it is not for the faint-hearted, but it is very, very funny. Sat, with my new grandson of six months old on my knee, I mused as to how the players were creating an intricate and spell-binding fantasy. The baby on my knee was as captivated by all the bright lights and swirling noises as I was: together we were visiting-or I re-visiting-a the magical world of wonder and awe, a world we are much more familar and at ease with when we are young. I thought about the excellent little article by Giles Frazer in last week’s Church Times in which he muses on the loss of innocence as we grow older, and how the fairy lights and trimmings of Christmas re-awaken, in we jaundiced older people, some of the unnalloyed sparkle of our younger years: days when life was not all dull and understandable, but full of promise and hope and, yes, mystery. I believe, of course, that this is why Jesus told us that we should become as little children, because it is only when we re-cover that childlike sense of awe and wonder at the world that we can discern the mysterious God who is the Ground of it.
What a dull and uninviting world the realm of high finance is. What an attractive and powerful world is that which contains the compassion and love which would forego £2,000,000 sponsorship to do right by a children’s home. The one reeks of the cynicism and disillusionment of old men: the other of the hope and expectancy of the child. The one lacks mystery or any sense of wonder: the other contributes to creating it.