Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Why are roots important?

Do roots hold us back?
A podcast gave me some wisdom: when a firm is taken over, previous history goes out the window. There will be pruning, and new patterns for a fresh start in a competitive market. Or if you're [Sir] Philip it might be milking to finance your latest yacht! Sometimes mistakes are made when history is ignored.

Over the years many have told me of their traumatic start in life. For some, it was when they discovered that they weren't really wanted; for others, that they have been manipulated. Surely these roots in personal history hold us back. We can feel trapped by our past.

So why are roots important?
They help us with long term evolution. If we have felt fossilised by our past, we can be determined to make sure our successors are free. Otherwise we make the same mistakes all over again, and unfortunately I've seen that too often.

Weymouth and Portland used to be the second highest borough in the country for unwanted teenage pregnancies, for unwanted children. A huge effort has changed that through educational opportunity, empowerment, and aspiration. The pattern which had repeated itself from one generation to the next is no longer so strong. A fantastic shout of thanks to all involved for such amazing good news.

And then of course there is the staggeringly good news of peace. Europe, from ancient history until last century, has been in a state of rolling warfare, culminating in such ghastly and intense strife that it spilt across the rest of the world twice over. We need our roots to make sure we never take peace for granted, and that we do all in our power to avoid warfare.

Middle Eastenders
The Old Testament makes up 3/4 of the Bible, and covers the time before Jesus birth. Why is it important? It spans thousands of years, and helps us understand how nomadic tribes chasing good pasture settled down and learned to share. We witness the birth of the first nation state Israel, which was called to be a beacon role model for others.

Unfortunately the accounts are not always pretty. There are family squabbles, tribal rivalries, and unbridled nationalism. Every story line in the long running Eastenders can be found in the Old Testament. Yet there are huge successes too: an exiled community without any roots but faith in one true God rediscovers its identity. It's not about buildings, infrastructure, and geography ~ no it's about God. When they put him first everything else falls into place.

Laws that liberate
It's understandable to retaliate for an injustice, but if it's disproportionate then it's likely to trigger a backlash ~ and so an endless cycle of violence is born. The Old Testament records some of the first crude laws: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. Justice was to be proportionate and then a line should be drawn. Crude, but an effective check to endless feuds.

Later the Ten Commandments emerge: respect above all for God, for ourselves, and for neighbours. They speak volumes today. We need these living roots today.

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