Friday, 5 July 2013


This morning I'm in the studio at BBC Radio Leicester, to record a Thought for the Day with John Florance. This one's for broadcast on Jonathan Lampon's breakfast show, Monday 8 July - and here's how it sounded on the day:
JL: It's time for Thought for the Day, which comes today from George Ballentyne, a local Bahá'í.
GMB: Good morning
If you were to make a list of things that religious people do, fasting would be one of the first that comes to mind.
Fasting has always been one of the central practices of people who have religious beliefs – and this remains so in the modern world. Fasting is taken seriously by people of faith everywhere. 
Of the eight member religions represented on Leicester Council of Faiths, for example, seven have distinctive periods and methods of fasting at some time during their own calendar year.
On any given day, a sizeable number of people in Leicester and beyond will be fasting for religious reasons. Others will be fasting for different purposes: under medical instruction, as an aid to losing weight, or so that they can detox. And, sad to say in this day and age, more and more people find themselves going without food against their will, because of difficult personal or social circumstances.
Muslims everywhere will begin fasting tomorrow for the month of Ramadan – more than 60,000 people in Leicester, almost one in five of our city’s population.
For Muslim listeners, I hope you have a good fasting period, that the experience helps affirm and strengthen your faith identity for this month and the rest of the year.

For those of us who aren’t Muslim ourselves, but have Muslim friends, colleagues, co-workers or neighbours, why not ask them why they fast during Ramadan? Hopefully that should help us see fasting as part of a shared life experience – and that may come as a pleasant surprise.
JL: Thought for the Day there, which came from George Ballentyne, a local Bahá'í

I thought (without checking on it) that I was doing this with my Council of Faiths hat on. If I'd known I was going out on air as "a local Bahá'í" I'd have spoken about the commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Báb, that takes place on Tuesday 9 July. Still, it's perfectly in keeping with the Leicester way to have a Bahá'í comment on Ramadan - and have no one remark on it!

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