Archive for November, 2015

You can learn a lot from children.  Our three-year old grandson is currently teaching us concept modelling.  Surprised, despite all his parents’ best efforts beforehand, by the appearance of a baby sister, he is finding it difficult to express the feelings he has about this unlooked-for event.  Above else looms the question, am I still loved?

So now he behaves like a baby again.  This is not altogether easy to do when you’re three.  So he borrows voices and scenes from Peppa Pig videos he has seen with us and deploys them again and again in front of his parents, to show what he’s feeling. It is experimental modelling: a search for reassurance – for a restatement of love – through the mechanisms of mining the discourse of a TV show to find the right language in the most appropriate registers: trying to identify what works, in other words.  Model after behavioural model is tried out and discarded.

Over on the other side of the gulf his parents do what they can to hear and understand him at a difficult time.

Is religious belief any different?  We know the pain of love withheld: “Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled” Psalm 30:7  In the rich soil of human guilts and fears we plant and hope to reap some reassuring reconnection with the Power (however we picture that parental persona). And because this is a search that never ends, we try and try again, creating and amending our modelling as we go along.

In the Abrahamic religions at least, it will always be thus, for ever and ever.  Sometimes it works and we feel ‘God with us.’ Often it does not.  That is the pain of faith.


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