A famous storyteller once wrote of an exceedingly clever cat that terrified all the mice, as she was always a step (or paw) ahead of them. Suddenly and unexpectedly she would surprise them, causing chaos and pain. So the mice appointed a committee to find a solution for the sake of their communal health. The recommendation was this: a bell should be hung around the cat’s neck, to give advance warning of her arrival and so keep the mice safe. The idea was approved unanimously. However, as no mouse was prepared to put the bell around the cat’s neck the plan came to nothing, and violence continued to stalk their lives. Nothing was going to change without the courage to act; no protection could be offered until an effective means of monitoring the threat was implemented.
There has been news recently of planned changes to the law, to try to deal more effectively with family violence and domestic abuse. Although this is a timely acknowledgement of a widespread and complex problem, and it is good to see a positive step being taken, legislation in itself does not curb such violence, nor can it create the kind of society where there is respect and freedom from fear. To state an obvious truth, the kind of world we live in is made by the kind of people who live in it. We need, therefore, to avoid speaking of violence in human behaviour as if it were a force in itself: violence only breaks out when it finds a place first of all in people’s hearts and minds.
It is disturbing to see how violence has become regarded as normative in society in so many ways, and so it comes as no surprise that it has been an influential driver of many unfortunate incidents and actions. We all need to ask ourselves searching questions about how inured to, and accepting of, violence we have become. Words from the Roper Report many years ago have constantly come back to challenge me:
‘No one can afford to be complacent about the problem. Violence occurs by acts of omission and commission and we are all responsible.’
May God bless you all.
Canon Craufurd Murray
- S. Michael’s School is on holiday until 17 October.
- Michaelmas Flowers: thanks to all who donated for this special occasion.
- Parish Trust: Wednesday 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.
- Reverse Greed—Banking and Finance: Sheena Dickson and Ekant Veer. Second of four seminars Thursday 5:30 pm at Knox Centre. See poster.
- Justice on the Margins—Child Poverty: Rose Hodgson. Thursday 7:30 pm at Petersgate. Details Theology House (341 3399).
- Bible Study Group meets next on 17 October, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- Anglican Care AGM: 18 October, 5:30 pm at S. Peter’s Upper Riccarton.
- Feast of S. Luke: Festive Eucharist 18 October, 6:00 pm at the Community of the Sacred Name, 300 Tuam Street. Light supper to follow.
- Laidlaw College Open Night: 18 October at 7:00 pm.
- Outreach Committee: 18 October, 7:30 pm in the parish lounge.
- Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
- Sales Table: Sundays in the hall. Anne would like to hear from anyone who could occasionally contribute baking. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
- Marmalade available on the sales table. Empty jars to the box in lounge please.
- Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in lounge.
- Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.