REV DAVID FAREY: We’re called to act as total human beings

David Farey SUS-160113-102615001
David Farey SUS-160113-102615001

It was this week back in 1944 on D-Day that troops landed on the shores of Normandy to push back the Nazi aggressor.

It was a desperate time when it could easily have meant the end of civilisation as we knew it if the Allied Forces had failed to achieve their objectives.

In a few days’ break recently I was able to visit the Imperial War Museum in London and view the exhibits to realise just what an awful time it must have been.

In a TV programme about the landings a Chelsea pensioner spoke matter-of-factly about how all the soldiers were trained and conditioned to fight to the bitter end.

He said that they were so keyed up that if his grandma had walked by wearing a German helmet he would have shot her!

Museums have become far more than simple depositories of artefacts providing a cold retelling of history, but much more the presentation of an experience that engages the emotions and not just the intellect.

One of the galleries we visited in the Imperial War Museum was the Holocaust Gallery.

Outside were signs warning that children under 14 were advised not to enter and that there should be no phones used.

Inside it didn’t just tell the story and show the materials, but it led you on an emotional roller coaster to experience if only in part exactly what the Holocaust and the Nazi Final Solution was all about. It was not for the faint hearted!

But there is a balance to be struck. There is a danger that what we are exposed to simply generates an emotional response.

As human beings we are complex and multi-faceted. We are more than simply our intellect or our emotions. We are able to absorb a vast array of stimuli and cues from our environment that impact upon us.

Each of us should be able to learn to ingest the information coming at us from all around and be able to reflect upon it all in order to have a considered response.

What is notable about the EU Referendum debate is just how much is aimed at appealing to people’s emotions.

In reported speeches hard facts often seem in short supply. In making this momentous decision each of us needs to seek out the facts as best we can and reflect seriously that we may know not just what our heart says, but also engage our minds to make a considered decision.

So whether it is about the EU or anything else we are called to act on may we behave not just on heart or intellect but as the total human beings as God has made us.