Two or three times each week, I listen to “The Daily Service” on Radio 4 LW. The programme is a fifteen minute Christian service consisting of prayers, hymns and a message. My reactions to the broadcast are often mixed. I don’t like it when I don’t know the hymns (having a hymn sing-a-long is definitely part of its appeal). Furthermore, I often feel a sense of alienation from the kind of god that the presenters (ordained ministers from various churches) talk about. As a Quaker, I’m not sure whether I identify as a Christian or not. The term is loaded with such baggage & assumptions. Listening to “The Daily Service”, I struggle to relate to the understandings of “God” & “Jesus” that they articulate. At the same time, though, the programme often contains interesting thoughts, little snippets that get one thinking about life – just as “Thought For The Day” does. This week, the theme for all the services has been about public figures & our attitudes towards them – a timely issue with all the current debates about privacy & expectations about standards of behaviour. One of the messages I heard on the programme suggested that those in the public eye serve as a distraction from our own weaknesses; that we judge them harshly against standards that we do not maintain ourselves. Rather than fixating on footballers or politicians or any other “celebrity”, maybe we should reflect on what our expectations & views say about us. What weaknesses of our own do we project onto them? I certainly know that I can be a harsh critic of perceived vulnerability in others – well known or not. As much as I’m loathed to admit it, I sneer at their fallibility as I place unrealistic demands on myself. I seem to expect that I can do everything, all the time, without needing any assistance or support from others. But sometimes we all have to admit that we can’t manage. I find it hard to say that I need help.

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