Rev. Dr. Scott Peddie

Conjectures of an Eclectic Christian

“If you ask for grace to realize who you are, ask also for the courage you will need to do so. To realize who you are, you will have to walk through all the shadows in your inner landscape. It is not easy. You will need to give up all your views about yourself again …

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The question of how we best use our time, and the direction our energies are focused on, are not new. Yes, the pace of life has changed, but the core principles are the same.  The biblical narrative – in both the Old and New Testaments – bares witness to this.  There is, for example, the …

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Christmas Reflections with Bonhoeffer & Merton My Sermon from Cliftonville Moravian Church, Belfast, 25th December 2016 We come here this morning, in the midst of a hectic time of commemoration and celebration, to sit in this sacred space – a place of calm and reverence. This year has been a tough one – it is …

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Since today is world poetry day, I thought I would post one of my poems – God In All Things – published in ‘The Other Side of Light’: The great dialectic, Immanent, yet transcendent, mysterious, yet knowable, God in all things.   God within, God without, God above us, God before us, ever about us. …

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Paradox And Interconnectedness: Seeing The World Through New Eyes

September 17, 2013


As the musician and activist Kathy Mattea once sagely observed: ‘That’s the great paradox of living on this earth, that in the midst of great pain you can have great joy as well’.

Nowhere have I observed this paradox played out with such thought-provoking beauty and profundity than in the experimental non-narrative documentary by Ron Fricke entitled ‘Baraka’.  Fricke’s extended cinematographic meditation explores themes via a mesmeric compilation of nature, everyday life and human activity shot in twenty-four countries on six continents over a fourteen month period.

The existential paradox is presented through poignant images of grinding poverty, monotonous work, factory farming, prostitution, economic exploitation, pollution and the crushing of individuality. The contrast with the beauty of creation, the peace of meditation, thoughtfulness and self-transcendence tells its own story. It is at this level of transcendence, whether it is expressed through the world’s major religions or philosophies, or through some other means, that humanity comes alive and radiates beauty and hope.

I find myself drawn to watch and meditate on the message of ‘Baraka’ when I am in reflective mood.  Like any good film though, each time I watch it I see something new and emerge with a different perspective. Notwithstanding that ever-changing landscape, as I watch, I consistently turn over in my mind those very famous words Thomas Merton uttered during his ‘Louisville Epiphany’:

‘Yesterday, in Louisville, at the corner of 4th and Walnut, suddenly realized that I loved all the people and that none of them were, or, could be totally alien to me. As if waking from a dream — the dream of separateness, of the “special” vocation to be different. My vocation does not really make me different from the rest of men or put me is a special category except artificially, juridically. I am still a member of the human race — and what more glorious destiny is there for man, since the Word was made flesh and became, too, a member of the Human Race!

Thank God! Thank God! I am only another member of the human race, like all the rest of them. I have the immense joy of being a man! As if the sorrows of our condition could really matter, once we begin to realize who and what we are — as if we could ever begin to realize it on earth’.

Merton, in his epiphany, calls on us all to explore our radical interconnectedness and to reflect on what it means to be human.  Intriguingly, ‘Baraka’ does just that too, although this time through the highly effective medium of film.

I’d highly recommend ‘Baraka’.  Once you’ve watched it once you’ll almost certainly want to watch it again….and again!

In the meantime, you can watch the official trailer here (and you can also view the entire film courtesy of Youtube):

“I liked the solitude and the silence of the woods and the hills. I felt there the sense of a presence, something undefined and mysterious, which was reflected in the faces of the flowers and the movements of birds and animals, in the sunlight falling through the leaves and in the sound of running water, …

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Looking Inwards: A Bipolar Journey is a collection of abstract art, photography and poems by Scott Peddie, a minister and scientist who, after years of suffering from depression, has recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder. The poetry, which is often agonising, always tender and thoughtful, reflects Scott’s experience of living with this complex condition and …

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The stunning video below  (posted courtesy of Youtube) features a series of time lapse sequences photographed by the Expedition 30 crew aboard the International Space Station. Set to the song “Walking in the Air,” by Howard Blake, the video takes viewers around the world, through auroras and over dazzling lightning displays. Watching it brings to …

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Reuben Margolin is an incredibly talented  kinetic sculptor, crafting beautiful pieces that move in various patterns, including raindrops falling and waves combining.  Margolin’s installations are as dramatic as they are mesmeric, reflecting an art-form that is meditative and almost spiritual, inspired as it is by maths and nature. Amazing. You can see Margolin talk about …

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