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August 2013
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One of the double edged graces of my life as a missionary is that of diving and delving into different cultures – that disconcerted sense of feeling the ground move beneath your feet: ‘the way things are done around here’ is not quite the same as where I am from, and yet not very different… especially when the language is the same! That the Spanish or the Italians see the world diversely  seems normal – language is a lens – but that Ireland and England be so very, very different, surprisingly (I know!), was a shock for me. The US was fun: we have a history of liking each other across family, friends and fights about English spelling.  And now that I am in Australia, forewarned that it would somehow be a cross between Ireland and the United States, here I am once again finding my feet, or rather learning to swim!

So I am looking out for keys of comprehension, and as I teach a course on “Signs of the Times”, I try to lead students to listen for God (also) in and through music, in the hope of discovering something of Australia’s sensibility as I do so.

My thoughts move in the following direction: sometimes I hit on a song that paints a culture, and in particular how they ‘feel’ , or otherwise, God, faith, Christianity (before and/or underlying how they think it).

One of the clearest expressions of English culture, for example, for me, has been this one: a song about a guy dealing with the death of his father, (more…)