Sunday, 19 February 2012


On BBC Radio Leicester this morning with Monica Winfield, talking about forgiveness. John Florance phoned me last Wednesday morning to ask if I'd take part in the show, speaking to the topic from a Bahá'í point of view.

I walk down to St Nicholas Place from home in Stoneygate (my 11-year old son Harry comes along to keep me company - and to continue our ongoing conversation about DC comicsnew 52). That little stroll takes us about 45 minutes at this time of the morning. It's cold, of course, but pleasant enough.

I'm the last of the three guests to arrive, just after 0800. Already there and ready to roll are Allan Hayes, Trustee of the British Humanist Association and past President of Leicester Secular Society and Daud Sameja, Chairman of the Leicester Christian-Muslim Dialogue Group at St Philip's Centre for Study and Engagement in a Multi-Faith Society (in the photo above with Rebecca Bryers, the show's producer).

I haven't met Monica (photo above) before. She keeps us going for a quarter of an hour or so, asking two questions, which all three of us get to answer in turn. Then she allows us each a final thought. It's all very agreeable and matey and a genuinely enjoyable experience.

As well as putting across some of the ways in which I'd say the Bahá'í principle and practice of forgiveness converges and diverges from how it's seen and done in other traditions, I get to use one of my favourite quotations: "Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person dies." This is attributed to Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) - although personally, I heard it for the first time uttered by Tim Bayliss an unusually spiritually-centred detective (played by Kyle Secor) in the classic police procedural Homicide: Life on the Street. The quotation came up in connection with our agreement that an important aspect of forgiveness is how it allows us to draw a line under the past and make personal and collective progress.

This is the third time that Allan Hayes and I have sat together in this studio. He remarks (off-air) that he and I will have to put our minds to engineering a public spat of some sort before long, since most people expect the two of us to disagree with each other and we're constantly surprising them that we agree on so much. Thankfully, Monica is not of that opinion and is glad to promote harmony and cooperation on this slot. The programme can be heard on BBC Radio Leicester's Listen Again facility till midnight, Saturday 3 March (our chat begins just after 0810).

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