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Religion: The Ultimate Art Form – St George’s Church, 4 October 2016

Religion: The Ultimate Art Form

A lecture first delivered at St George’s Church,
Campden Hill, London, on 4 October 2016

Thank you for coming to listen to a talk on a theme, which on the face of it would have been enough some seven centuries ago to have the speaker bound at the stake ready for burning. When Father James heard of my flash of perception of  ‘religion – the ultimate art form’ from a member of his flock, a great friend of mine, he daringly invited me to be one the lecturers in the series Exploring Faith through Art. Thank you, Fr James. For my flash of perception was somewhat à côté. Continue reading “Religion: The Ultimate Art Form – St George’s Church, 4 October 2016”

On Meister Eckhart – May 2016

On Meister Eckhart

Let us come to Meister Eckhart not as a figure from the remote past some seven hundred years ago, a spiritual phenomenon of a mediaeval Europe whose cultural conditioning was vastly distant from our own experience, but as a fellow human being, growing up to choose his path in life and his priorities amid all the urges and appetites, options and allures that bear upon a young person of a given intelligence and gravity, who might be sitting among us at this table. Let us suppose him drawn, like us, to fulfil the purpose of a spiritual life . . . as could be lived or attempted by someone of his circle or of his family, who were of respectable standing just like us, but in Thuringia in the middle of central Germany, in a horse-drawn era.
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Islam and Its Future – The Dying Dragon

© Tom Stacey 2015 The Probus Lecture ®

ISLAM AND ITS FUTURE
The Dying Dragon

It was a full year ago that I was invited to give this talk, and together we settled on its theme of ‘Islam and its Future’. We could hardly have guessed how intense the issue of Islam would grow to be. Islam, in its various manifestations: what will become of it, what will it do to us? Continue reading “Islam and Its Future – The Dying Dragon”

The All-purpose Bogeyman – The Spectator, August 2003

The All-purpose Bogeyman:
Idi Amin was up to his elbows in blood,
says Tom Stacey, but the appalling truth is
that he had some admirable qualities

THE SPECTATOR — August 2003

One has to be careful of saying anything nice about people like Idi Amin, even when they are dead and gone. It is easy to get a reputation for being deliberately provocative, or for seeking compassion kudos like the late Lord Longford, who befriended convicts for the sheer magnitude of their infamy.
Continue reading “The All-purpose Bogeyman – The Spectator, August 2003”

The Mountains of the Moon – The Spectator, January 2002

The Mountains of the Moon:
Septuagenarian Tom Stacey pits himself
against the glaciers of the Equator

THE SPECTATOR — January 2002

The other day, when it was still summer in Kensington, I was gripped by a compulsion to climb to the snows of the Mountains of the Moon. Such a compulsion was unusual and, I sensed immediately, a little sinister in someone over 70. It was a compulsion to engage in eternity-challenge: i.e., to sidle up to God and mutter, ‘This is me. You’ll take me now?’
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Observer Magazine, March 1992

Observer Magazine
March 1992

Tom Stacey once found himself locked up in jail in India, and the experience marked him for life. Not physically – he was only jugged, as he put it, for a few weeks under the Defence Regulations when he was a foreign correspondent – but in his attitudes. Knowing what it felt like when a steel door banged shut behind him and the man with the key to his cell had power over his whole life concentrated his mind. ‘I thought, this is something I know more about than anybody in penal reform. You can’t simulate it, you can’t invent. You can visit prisons until you are blue in the face but you can’t know what it’s like unless you have experienced it.’
Continue reading “Observer Magazine, March 1992”

Towards A New Sobriety – Daily Telegraph Magazine, March 1974

Towards A New Sobriety

DAILY TELEGRAPH MAGAZINE — March, 1974

The democracies grow increasingly ungovernable. No one now disputes this. Never has power been as centralised as it is today. The immense mechanisms of government can be controlled by switches on the Minister’s desk. Yet the democracies grow increasingly ungovernable. It is a phenomenon of perversities. Governments fight inflation while printing much more money than the value of output. Demands for equality grow in violence in inverse proportion to the narrowing of all discernible gaps. Industrial indiscipline mounts with the affluence of the workers. The shorter the hours, the greater the absenteeism. Contempt for the politicians grows with the people’s power to choose them.

O Lord, save us from ourselves.
Continue reading “Towards A New Sobriety – Daily Telegraph Magazine, March 1974”