Calvary

THE GENERAL’S UNANSWERABLE QUESTION

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(April 01, 2021) Robert McQuillan recalls an Easter reflection…

As many know, Maureen and I often relax by watching old movies and TV series. Anyone remember that avant-garde classic cult British series from the 60s The Prisoner?

The late Patrick McGoohan, its creator, played an unnamed secret service agent who for no apparent reason resigns only to be taken captive to a mysterious coastal locale in Wales known as The Village. Here he is technologically interrogated as to his real motive for resigning – with what was then unheard-of equipment.

Consequently the question his inquisitors repeatedly ask is – Why? meaning ‘for what purpose; with what intention, reason, or motive.’

Unanswerable question
Number 6 as he’s referred to – turns the tables in one episode when his interrogators are using The General, an invincible machine regarding any question asked. He requests to type in a one-word question claiming it cannot be answered.

‘Impossible,’ he’s countered, told that there’s no question The General can’t understand, answer.

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But on his one word being inserted the machine abruptly goes haywire, smoke and sparks flying everywhere.

To the inquisitors’ amazement, it totally disintegrates exploding with a great erupting bang.

What was the question that Number 6 then states as being ‘Insoluble to man and machine’? The one unanswerable word – ‘Why?’

Different ‘General’
Some 40 years ago I knew a certain businessman – whose name I can’t disclose – but call the General. Taking me to lunch at a classy restaurant, he insisted on lavishly treating me.

But this was more than a business luncheon… it was his way of thanking me for having gladly stood alongside him for several hours in a private hospital while surgeons preformed a dangerous operation on his wife.

(more…)

LEST WE FORGET

(August 21, 2020) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, challenges us not to forget…

Last Saturday in various countries throughout the world commemoration services were held reflecting the surrender of Japan on August 15, 1945 which signified the end of World War 2.

World War 2
Below is a photo taken shortly after that day back then in which a celebration party was arranged for the children in the street where I lived in Belfast.

I just about remember that day… the street lined with tables filled with ‘goodies’ 
that, because of food shortages had been in limited availability during the war years, yet the mums somehow managed to turn the meagre supplies into a celebratory meal! I do remember the sense of joy in all the mums who, after six years of suffering, were so elated to celebrate this wonderful news with their children.

And what a time of suffering those six years were. My father worked at night in an engineering factory in Belfast and most nights German planes tried to bomb it. When my dad went out to work neither he nor my mum knew if he would be returning home the following morning.  Just before I was born, German fighter planes would try to shoot civilians; my parents described their fear as they covered my brother and the unborn ‘me’ with their bodies as they watched the bullets rip along the ground close to where they were under cover.

World War 2 was the most lethal military conflict in history. Around 75 million people died (that is about 3.3% of the world population in those days) and that included around 20 million of those who served in the military and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate slaughter, mass-bombings, disease, starvation and limited medical services.

We must not forget the horror and the social consequences of those years and the years that followed nor must we forget the sacrifices that brave men and women made to rescue us from ruthless domination.  It is right that we from time to time reflect on those events – lest we forget!

The Covid-19 War (more…)

THE FORGOTTEN TREE

Stephen Hanna
Stephen Hanna reminds us of a great Christmastime truth…

There’s an object that is very much part of the furniture at this time of year. In many homes, it‘s the first thing put up and the last to be taken down. For some, Christmas would not be Christmas without it. I am, of course, referring to the Christmas tree! (more…)