James’s Blog: We Don’t Believe in Jesus Anymore. We Believe in Colouring-in.

The title of this post is a line that I’ve had floating around in my head for a couple of weeks. It feels like it wants to be the punchline to a poem, but that sounds like too much hard work at the moment.

What does the line mean? It’s my response to the whole ‘mindfulness’ craze. Mindfulness is about trying to enjoy and focus on the present moment, and acknowledging your current emotions while not letting them control you. I’m not actually opposed to that. I think that being ‘mindful’ is a good thing, as attempts to live deliberately often are. Actually, between you and me, I think that it’s actually a spiritual discipline, with a fine tradition in Christian spirituality, and that’s where my problem lies.

It’s like people have finally realised that there’s something deeply wrong with the country’s soul, and have correctly identified that a big part of the problem is the poverty of the average Westerner’s inner life. Man shall not live on bread alone, and all that. But the problem is that we can’t acknowledge that religion might have something to contribute to this discussion, so we try mindfulness. It works for our society because you don’t have to believe in anything to be mindful. You can even offer it in schools without offending anyone – and that’s the most important thing about education, after all.

So now, the solution to the stress and alienation of twenty-first century living is to go down to The Works and buy yourself a mindful colouring-in book. That’ll fix it. As Roy Walker, of Catchphrase, used to say – “It’s good, but it’s not right!”

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

St. Augustine

4 thoughts on “James’s Blog: We Don’t Believe in Jesus Anymore. We Believe in Colouring-in.

  • December 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm
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    Love this! Thanks James

  • December 30, 2016 at 9:15 am
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    I have noticed at new wine conventions last year my teenage daughter engaged in ‘colouring in’ with our group.It gave us time to engage in free flow talk and since then my daughter has asked for her own colouring books….this christmas she asked for scripture books(though her words were ‘the ones like sandys that have nice words in them’) and so she now makes time to focas her mind on not just coloring but engaging with scripture.my role as her christian mum is to draw along side her and answer any questions she has or even tease some gently from her.its so encouraging…..i could think of worse things than mindful colouring.

  • January 4, 2017 at 11:01 am
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    Hi James,
    Thanks James for supporting my own blog. I will do the same for you. I can see we have several common themes. Mine is firstly designed for those who share my interests in the seasons in the natural world in the UK, poetry, plants and gardens. I’m gradually introducing Christian themes as I go on. Your blog on Canterbury as a ‘thin place’ and mine on Iona are similar.
    On your comments about colouring books, I share your concern, but I wonder if Denise’s children might go on one day to do ‘Bible Journalling’. My own (artistic) daughter is keen on the idea and has a friend who runs a blog on this. Take a look:
    https://drawcloseblog.wordpress.com/

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