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John L. Bell

Volume 1

Collected scripts for Radio 4’s Thought for the Day

For four years, John Bell has been a contributor to Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, attempting – as the project demands – to offer a religious perspective on matters of current social and international importance. Sometimes affirming, sometimes controversial but always contemporary, these short reflections represent the prickly interface between faith and politics from the perspective of a Christian believer.

John Bell is a writer and occasional broadcaster, and is a member of the Wild Goose Resource Group of the Iona Community, working in the areas of liturgy and spirituality.




128 pages

ISBN 9781905010417.



The need to speak in tongues    language skills
Consternation in the comfort zone    asylum-seekers
Supping with the so-called devil    dictators
Lust of possession    cultural heritage
The meaning of life    prisons
Sentiment for what is seen    Africa and Iraq
Celebrity incarcerations    prisons
Clocking on before checking in    trust
The advantages of small talk    children
The bondage of busyness    time
Neon deities    religious observance
The affirmation of the unfamous    celebrity

Treasure chest or empty box    memory
A parental quandary    homosexuality
A season to prove who is in charge    Lent
A necessary virtue for a potential president    power
That without which our humanity withers    dignity
Peripheral vision    prophecy
The best of the West    transport
Old-style education    education
Not driving on neutral    religion and politics
A partiality for justice    justice
The proposed enthronement of an old pretender    gambling
Sound bites are for the short haul    Israel
The school nativity play    Christmas
Help or hedonism    junk mail

Owning up to our responsibilities    development
The deception of self-perception    justice
Invented or reported    journalism
A plea for fewer cheers    alcohol
The French Foreign Legion    racism
Celtic connections    faith
Demonstrating principles    press freedom
Corporate judgement    prisons
The divine art of improvisation    science
Becoming what we sing    popular song
Emerging hope in the Emerald Isle    Northern Ireland
Doing the blessed civil thing    same-sex blessings
Charity reallv begins at home    trade justice
Fiscal privilege    tax
Admission of guilt    penitence
The corrective in Christmas    festivals

The third member of the trinity money
Women’s troubles    women
Where ignorance is not bliss    cultural sensitivity
Sex is an anti-social activity    sexual behaviour
Politics, passion and the human soul    a semi-autobiographical reflection



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