This is the text of the Radio Times article which caused a bit of irritated response in some quarters. It will be obvious that it is not critical of the BBC, but congratulatory and ‘encouraging’ of how things might develop constructively.

A couple of years ago, before X-Factor ‘popularised’ it, I contributed to a BBC Radio 2 documentary celebrating the 25th anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s great song Hallelujah. Covered by more than 120 artists, Cohen the Perfectionist ended up writing and re-writing around 80 verses or versions. The lyric, full of biblical allusions, breathes some human realism into a word that would normally be seen as purely religious (and, therefore, rather suspect).

During an interview with Guy Garvey, singer-songwriter with Elbow and presenter of the documentary, he put it to me that “Cohen had hijacked religious language”. “No,” I replied, “Cohen has understood it.” By this I meant that Cohen had liberated the word from some assumed compartment called ‘religion’ and given it back to real people living in the real world and with real stories to tell. The song speaks of the ‘holy and the broken hallelujah’ – a phrase that encapsulates the torn nature of human beings who long to be ‘holy’ but usually manage just to be ‘broken’. Cohen’s point is that God is not surprised by this.

Leonard Cohen refused to allow ‘religion’ to be stuck in a compartment from which everybody else is spared any engagement. Religion and its place in the public discourse are much misunderstood.

Mention ‘religious broadcasting’ in polite company and you might well be faced with finding someone else to talk to. Either that or it’s assumed you’re really wanting more Songs of Praise on the television to keep the Christians (who haven’t gone to church) happy.

Yet, this isn’t the case. Religious broadcasting simply takes seriously the indisputable fact that religion is a phenomenon that has to be acknowledged and understood, if we are to understand the world in which we live. This doesn’t presuppose a religious commitment, conviction, practice or adherence any more than doing a programme about Marxism demands that only Marxists produce it.

The BBC’s Easter programming looks increasingly imaginative, finding creative and engaging ways of telling the Easter story, questioning the implications of the Easter story, capturing the experience of Christians celebrating the Easter story. The Preston Passion follows on from the superb Manchester Passion of several years ago, taking Easter out of the church and onto the streets. This enables everyone to be part of it and be confronted by it. A bit like… er… the original Easter events.

However, go beyond the BBC (and the odd bit of Channel 4) and religion has been dropped as if it were a toxic contaminator of decent culture. This ideological knee-jerk sees religion as an embarrassing problem (for which there is obviously no audience) rather than part of a solution (one lens through which to tell stories and understand people, their lives and motivations). ITV sees no need to consider religion – despite the fact that more people shape their lives around religious conviction and practice than attend sporting events. Now look at the relative budgets given to sport and religion…

The point here is not that religion should be privileged or protected. It is not to argue that religious propaganda should find space in the schedules of broadcasters. But it is to maintain that we can’t understand people, events and the way the world is if we don’t take religion seriously.

The BBC has a sports editor, an economics editor, a political editor and editors for other areas of life. It has no religion editor. Yet, if an economics editor is needed to help explain and interpret economic decisions and events in order that the public should be responsible citizens in our democracy, why on earth isn’t there someone to explain, interpret and communicate the phenomenon of religion as it influences people, colours political and economic decisions, questions values and shapes both individual and corporate behaviour?

There are two issues here. First, how does the BBC fulfil its public service remit by challenging the ridiculous assumption that the ‘non-religious’ world view is neutral? Second, how do other broadcasters get beyond their own prejudices and see religion as an indispensable lens through which to see and understand the world?

There are some shining examples – despite the problems of encouraging imaginative commissioning – of good religious broadcasting. Some are on the Sandford St Martin Trust Radio Times Readers Award shortlist: the humanising Rev, the powerfully questioning Forgiveness, the affecting re-telling of the Life of Mohammed, to name but three. But, the need is for a change in assumption and perception of religion as phenomenon, motivator and shaper of human stories.

Good media need good stories. Religion is not primarily about mere ideas; it is about people, communities and the stuff of human existence. It is rich, ripe and fertile soil.

Several years ago I was at the Royal Albert Hall for the annual Jools Holland gig. Support acts are sometimes a bit hit and miss, but that year it was stunning.

I’d never heard of Imelda May, and this was her first performance on the big stage. From the moment she walked on she had the audience of 7,500 people eating out of her hand. Not only was the music fantastic and her voice immense, but she commanded the stage with a charisma that, I think, took everybody by surprise. It’s not every support act that you want to keep going at the expense of the main act, but in this case she could have done another hour.

I’ve just (finally, and after meaning to do it for a year) got her album Mayhem. It is superb. The songwriting ranges through love and loss to eternity and sadness via a psycho and a prayer. Even a waltz finds its way through the energetic rockabilly and her voice is perfect. But, what struck me (as it would) is the insight you get from one song into spirituality. Proud and humble is a prayer, a confession, one that stands in its simplicity with the openness of a Leonard Cohen. Here’s a stripped down studio version of it:

Like Cohen, she holds together the honest reality of human living in which we try to be godly, but get it wrong a million times. It’s Cohen’s ‘holy and broken hallelujah’ – the two held together in a confusing life that drives us through passion and prayer to some sort of muddle. But, again like Cohen, she doesn’t make excuses for ‘living’ and all that’s involved in milking life’s opportunities for love and laughter – even when they lead to pain and tears.

Oh, I made the most from what I knew then / But if I lived it over I’d do the same again / I try, I try for You to please / But you know I’m only human, You created me.

She recognises humility at failed attempts to be holy, but can look God in the eye and say, “But, at least I lived.” There’s something here about the parable of the talents in which the guys who risked losing their deposits got praised and the one who buried his in order to protect it from harm got damned. The song concludes:

Well I’m humbled by You and thankful oh Lord / Istudied Your life and Your holy word / But I hold my head just a little high / ‘Cos I’m proud that I got on with this given life.

That’s not arrogance; that’s honesty. Life is for living. And Imelda may have understood it better than some of us.

Whatever. The whole album is brilliant. Not one weak song. And Marc Almond’s Tainted Love is painted in fresh colours while Johnny got a Boom Boom just makes you want to dance.

All around the world is going mad. Regimes we have armed, funded and cosied up to are now being threatened with war crimes trials. The victors always implement the ‘justice’ and write the histories. So far, anyway. And the prophets warn that justice will one day be done.

Not for the first time, the epic lines of Leonard Cohen penetrate the fog of misery. Having growled his way through the list of drugs he had taken over the years, he concluded with a mischievous light in his eyes:

I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through… There ain’t no cure for love.

Like Cohen’s ‘cheerfulness’, beauty has a habit of breaking in when the darkness and ugliness of human cruelties seem to dominate our consciousness. Today, for me, it has come through two wonderful albums.

I once wrote of 19 year old Alexandra Burke‘s X Factor version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that such a young person can’t possibly sing such a song. The depth of experience beneath the lyric and the haunting loveliness of the music demand the lived-in voice of someone more mature – someone who has lived and lost and loved and longed and languished. (Sorry!) I got heavily criticised for voicing such a heresy – mainly by 19 year olds. But today I have listened properly to Adele‘s 21.

Like with all the great poets, it is the agonies and losses that seem to produce the most beautiful art. Her acoustic performance at the Brits showed how exposed a musician can be – nowhere to hide and all the intimacy laid bare for all to see. I don’t know how she does it. But this stripped-back perfomance of one of her most moving songs just gives a hint of what lies in the rest of the album. And when you have listened to this, try Don’t You Remember.

The second album is categorised as ‘folk’, but it is more than that. Again, the lyrics are infused with the yearning for love and the pain of loss. Yet, they also reach out for the idea of ‘grace’. Like Leonard Cohen’s grasp of ‘true religion and virtue’ (Book of Common Prayer) – when he sings in Hallelujah:

Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…

Mumford & Sons depict the reality of life for most people who live and love and mess it up a million times, yet long for redemption – for the freedom to start again. They touch on the difficulty of being grasped by the notion of grace despite not being able to comprehend its scandalous generosity – a generosity that transcends even justice.

In the title track Sigh No More we hear (with a confident and defiant accompaniment):

My heart was never pure
And you know me
And man is a giddy thing
Oh man is a giddy thing
Love it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you,
It will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be.
There is a design, an alignment, a cry,
Of my heart to see
The beauty of love as it was made to be.

Later, in Roll Away Your Stone (with its obvious biblical associations), we hear:

Roll away your stone, I’ll roll away mine
Together we can see what we will find
Don’t leave me alone at this time
For I’m afraid of what I will discover inside

‘Cause you told me that I would find a hole
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals

Darkness is a harsh term don’t you think
Yet it dominates the things I see

It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the restart

This beautiful album shows that – again, in Leonard Cohen’s words – the cracks are where the light gets in. The well-armoured or self-righteous person is ignorant of grace; the cracks are covered up for fear and nothing will break in – not love, not light and not grace.

Adele and Mumford & Sons open the gaps in the darkness and let the shafts of unmerited beauty drift in.

There hasn’t been much time this week for posting. The return from Wittenberg landed me with a pile of work and appointments – all good and all encouraging in one way or another.

Apart from the total and unmitigated misery of Liverpool’s abysmal performance against Northampton Town – which silenced me for a couple of days simply because I couldn’t bear the mockery from my ‘friends’ – I have met great clergy, helped judge an interfaith award, read an excellent book and got up to date with correspondence of all forms.

However, I missed the 76th birthday of the great Leonard Cohen. How sad is that? If you follow the link, you get to a site from which you can download the Radio 2 documentary (in which I took part) on the 25th anniversary of Cohen’s song Hallelujah.

And my quote of the week? Terry Eagleton writing in the Preface to his wonderful and funny Reason, Faith and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate (which I will post on more fully when I get time):

Religion has wrought untold misery in human affairs. For the most part, it has been a squalid tale of bigotry, superstition, wishful thinking, and oppressive ideology. I therefore have a good deal of sympathy with its rationalist and humanist critics. But it is also the case… that most such critics buy their rejection of religion on the cheap. When it comes to the New Testament, at least, what they usually write off is a worthless caricature of the real thing, rooted in a degree of ignorance and prejudice to match religion’s own. It is as though one were to dismiss feminism on the basis of Clint Eastwood’s opinion of it.

Eagleton goes on to challenge Dawkins, Hitchens et al, but is also profoundly challenging to the Christian churches. The language he uses is very funny as he penetrates through the superficialities of much of the contemporary debate. More anon.

Leonard Cohen performed in Berlin last week, the night before we arrived for the weekend. The Berliner Morgenpost on Friday had a rave review of the gig, using language that was both critically appropriate and affectionate. Describing Cohen as “one of the most moving singer-poets of our time”, the reviewer maintains that “seldom today is it possible to experience such an emotional, definitive, truthful concert.” What better conclusion could any artist wish for than this:

We cannot thank the venerable old man enough for subjecting himself to the exertions of such a long world tour. For standing on a ‘live’ stage again and letting us share in his great art.

At the age of 76 Cohen did six encores for his overwhelmed audience. I’ll be happy to still have a pulse at 76.

There is something about this generous appreciation of Cohen that exemplifies the spirit of Berlin. Walking around the Museuminsel or strolling down Unter den Linden towards the Brandenburg Gate, it is easy to forget both the agonies that were born in this city as well as the high culture that characterises German arts and music.

This is a city that bears the scars of the last century’s brutalities, divisions and inhumanities. On Friday and Saturday we visited the Reichstag as guests of the former German Bundesminister, Frau Dr Irmgard Schwaetzer, and saw in the bowels of the restored building not only the thousands of bullet holes that riddle the walls and give some idea of the slaughter that this building witnessed, but also the graffiti written on the walls by the Soviet soldiers who took the Reichstag and ended the war.

Generously accompanied by a retired German Ambassador, Dr Alexander Arnot, we visited some powerfully moving and challenging places:

  • Topographie des Terrors (the newly-opened exhibition on the site of the Gestapo HQ and Main Office of the SS – which is overlooked by what was Goering’s Ministry of Aviation and a remnant of the Berlin Wall)
  • the Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand (in the Bendlerblock where Stauffenberg had his office to which he returned thinking he had just killed Hitler on 20 July 1944… only himself to be taken out and shot along with other officer colleagues: Hitler had – incredibly – survived the bomb)
  • Gedenkstätte Plötzensee (where several thousand people were executed by the Nazis).

One of the powerful reasons for visiting these places is that they resonate not only with horror and terror, but also with heroism and sacrifice. They remind us that Nazi terror was not only directed at the Jews, homosexuals, Communists, mentally ill or handicapped people, but at Germans at every level of society. People were executed even for thinking the ‘wrong’ things – see, for example, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke.

I have no idea how I would respond to the threat of a regime such as the Nazi dictatorship. None of us does. It is shameful when people who live in relative security pass judgement on those who compromise or give in to intimidation and violence – especially with the marvellous benefit of hindsight. Talking to Dr Arnot I was reminded of the story I was told years ago about cattle on the prairies of America and how they manage to get hit by trains when there is only one train track for hundreds of miles. They don’t set out to get killed by a train. Nor do they have a strategy for roaming over the plains. They just put their head down and nibble a bit of grass. Then they nibble the next bit and then the next bit after that. They just keep nibbling and sometimes find themselves where they shouldn’t be – in front of a speeding train. They just nibble their way to destruction.

Evil takes hold because people compromise a little, then a little more. Then it is too late. But, frankly, if I was asked to sign a piece of paper in order to ensure that my children were able to be educated and not be excluded (as happened in the GDR), I would probably have signed. None of us knows until we are there.

Two other striking elements to the day’s visits and conversations:

1. Language is key to all this. The concentration camps were built on the need to take certain people into ‘protective custody’. Corrupt language and you corrupt the soul, opening us up to all sorts of miseries. (One of the points made by Rowan Williams in his book on Dostoyevsky.)

2. The Bible can be used to justify all sorts of appalling things. The Nazis quoted Paul: “Those who do not work shall not eat.” We know how that was used to justify systematic barbarism.

I was in Berlin this last weekend to preach at the Dom (Cathedral). The extremely generous Domkirchenrat and their wonderful pastor, Dr Petra Zimmermann, were wonderful hosts. Yet, standing in the Dom I couldn’t help but notice the gold lettering in the ceiling which quoted from the Lord’s Prayer: “Dein ist das Reich” – “Yours is the Kingdom” – and wondering how that was read by Christian worshippers while the Nazis were corrupting, terrorising and brutalising their society.

I must go back before long. Berlin is – to my mind – the most fascinating, moving, challenging and demanding city in Europe. So much history is held there for those who wish to see it. Questions pour into the mind – for example, how did a society that experienced the fear generated by the Gestapo and SS so easily accustom itself to the Stasi in the GDR? Berlin is not just a place of horror, however; it is also a place of amazing culture, remarkable reconciliation, astonishing reconstruction, formidable hope and the courage to look not only to its past glories and crimes, but also to shape a better future. It is inspiring as well as sobering.

Well, not me, actually. I am quite happy and enjoying a rare day off.

I’m even not unhappy about Damian Thompson’s silly spoof on his Telegraph blog about bishops and nuns – although I did respond to one enquirer (as to whether I would respond) with : “I’m too busy climbing every mountain…”. Mind you, I also added my own question: “What does Damian Thompson want to do when he grows up?” I thought his spoof quite amusing (despite the fact that I don’t think I have seen Sister Act), but was rather shocked to see how many people clearly think what he said was true. What price credulity? Soon the story will be reported across the world as if it were true.

Anyway, back to the real business. I don’t get to hear much preaching, so it matters to me that what I do get to hear is good and gets my mind working as well as my spirit inspired or challenged. Last night I was hugely encouraged. I attended the tenth anniversary Choral Evensong of the Southwark Cathedral Girls Choir. Apart from the glorious music and wonderful congregation, the sermon was superb. It won’t be quite the same written down, but it was rivetting, funny, moving, inspiring and challenging.

Canon Lucy Winkett, soon to move from St Paul’s Cathedral, preached – the first time I have heard her. Perhaps the more important fact is that the young people there appeared to give full attention to her, too. It was a model of communication and excellent preaching. The Morrisey lyric (the title of this post) was one that summed up Lucy’s feelings on her cycling pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela:

Music is itself a language of the human spirit and as such teaches us about God.

Music  expresses the “otherness” of God.  It is somehow over us, beyond our analysis or understanding,  calling us out of where and who we are.

Music is also immanent; that is expressing truths about this world as well as the next.  The creation of music almost always involves a patron, an agreement; The heavenly language of music is that of gift and grace, but it is created in the worldly context of contract and exchange.  Sacred music sung in a sacred space – invites us to claim liturgy as a de-tox against the sickness of consumerism, a unique activity of the believing community that cultivates wisdom, rehearses justice and gives us a foretaste of heaven.

This brought to my mind the Leonard Cohen poem I blogged on some time ago, Thing. Human beings are made to sing, made for music. No wonder the Psalms are full of songs about the whole of human experience: lament, complaint, questioning, love, praise, wonder, etc.

Lucy’s sermon deserves a wide read. But it is half-naked without the person and the voice and the silence and the moment.

I am heading towards study leave starting in a few days time. First time ever and I can’t wait to get my head and heart refreshed in some space. So, on my way into meetings in London today I picked up the book of Leonard Cohen poetry I started ages ago – Book of Longing (Penguin, 2007) – and thought I’d dip into it. I think my attention span is reducing by the day at the moment.

Then I came across his poem Thing. It starts like this:

I am this thing that needs to sing / I love to sing…

It concludes as follows:

I am this thing

that wants to sing

when I am up against the spit

and scorn of judges

O G-D I want to sing

I am

 THIS THING THAT NEEDS TO SING

What is it about human beings that makes us want to sing? I remember Jim Wallis saying that when he and his colleagues were arrested in Washington DC they used to annoy the police officers who jailed them by singing all night. he said that you just can’t stop Christians singing. He is right (and not just about Christians).

 

One of the fallacies I grew up with in church was that God wanted to hear our praises at all times – even when everything is rubbish, we must praise God. When I grew up two things bugged me:

 

(a) I began to wonder what sort of God it was who urges his friends to lie through their teeth about what is going on in their lives and in their head. So, the worship leader would urge us to ‘leave the business of the day/week at the door of the church and bring our worship unencumbered by all the worries and troubles of life’… and I would think that was stupid.

 

(b) I read the Psalms and found expressions of regret, complaint, lament, shouting at God, questioning, whingeing, praising, asking, and just about everything else that goes into real life in the real world with real people in real relationships. Psalm 137 (‘By the rivers of Babylon’) wasn’t exactly a load of laughs.

 

Again, it is the poets and artists who put their finger on the truth. Human beings are made to be honest with God and each other – singing different songs at different times of life and not worrying about whether God can cope with our complicated emotions.

 

Tonight I feel like repeating Cohen’s lines. I’m just not entirely sure which song I want to sing.

I had an early start this morning as I had to be in Bristol by 9.30am to preach at the Valedictory Service for students leaving Trinity College ahead of their ordinations in the next few weeks. I think the job of the preacher at such a service is to encourage and to warn. Whether or not I hit the mark is not for me to judge, but I enjoyed the experience – and good to be back 22 years after I left the same college.

After the service and a good lunch I went to visit a friend and we sat talking for a couple of hours before I had to hit the road back to London again. Feeling tired, I had to choose between Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello or Bruce Springsteen to keep me alert. Cockburn won.

I kept replaying Pacing the Cage – a wonderful song with wonderful poetry and wonderful guitar playing.

The thing about Cockburn is the beautiful and raw honesty. He moves from describing the sunset to describing the experience of being worn out by an itinerant performing life:

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it’s pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you live too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

I’ve proven who I am so many times
The magnetic strip’s worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in…

I wonder if it is only artists and performers who feel this. The danger of a ministry like mine (as a bishop) is that every day brings a different group of people (audience?) and it is possible to lose your self by becoming public property. This isn’t a complaint; rather, just a musing on the expression Cockburn brings to what might be a common experience for people who appear before ‘new’ audiences all the time. But the most poignant bit comes next:

Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can’t see what’s round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend.

This morning we sang a popular worship song: ‘Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord…’ I suggested that clergy will find as the years go by that ‘waiting on the Lord’ does not guarantee feelings of renewal or strength – that sometimes we are led into dark places and shouldn’t try to run from them. Cockburn reminded me that life is more complicated than we sometimes suggest and that the retreat into solitude/darkness can be welcome when you feel wrung out by people.

This is the song that runs around my mind when I get tired and long for space. But, like Cockburn, it doesn’t stop the next appointment coming…

With great relief I have just finished writing the final draft (from my point of view) of a new book. If the publisher doesn’t like it, I am well stuck because I don’t think I have anything else to say on the matter.

leonard-cohen-live-in-londonIn the course of editing it I was listening to the newly-released double CD of Leonard Cohen’s Live in London, recorded on 17 July 2008 at O2. It is wonderful. The music is beautiful and the uniquely deep and expressive voice of the elderly man is utterly compelling. When he sings you hang on every note, every word. When he recites his poetry he sounds like he is exposing his soul – and mine and ours. Everyone should buy this album – the bloke deserves to have his stolen pension replenished. At one point he thanks the audience for being kind and for keeping his songs alive; but he had to write songs worth keeping alive in the first place.

Coincidentally, I am also reading his book of poems (Book of Longing, Penguin, 2006) and I find myself jealous of his facility with words, rhythm, language and experience.

There is a point early in the London gig when he recites the names of many of the drugs he has taken over the years (some for medicinal purposes). Then he says this: ‘I’ve also studied deeply in the philosophies and religions, but cheerfulness kept breaking through… There ain’t no cure for love.’ Cohen spent a decade up a mountain in a Buddhist monastery and much of the tension of this experience is evident in the poems from that period of his life. But I wonder about his conclusion!

I think many people unthinkingly think that religion is cheerless and philosophy unswervingly serious in a humourless way. Perhaps Cohen’s pursuit of self-fulfilment (or however he might wish to express it) in isolation form the world lay at the root of his dissatisfaction with its elusiveness. Christians, on the other hand, believe that the individual can only be ‘fulfilled’ in the company of other people whom we don’t choose (Jesus does). There can be no fulfilment in isolation; we need one another and the community preserves us from selfishness and narcissism.

I know exactly what Cohen means, though. The Christianity I grew up with through my teens and twenties was one that emphasised sin, failure, inadequacy and the need to please God (as a means of gaining his favour?). Cheerfulness broke through when I realised (over a long period of time) that the whole creation belongs to God and that we are free within it to enjoy (together) what God has given us. The world became bigger as God was liberated in my mind from the miserable tyrant, obsessed with any tiny naughty thought I might have, to being the creator and lover of the cosmos. Rather than this leading to a woolly denial of the brokenness and damaging elements of human being, it set it in its right place: God is not surprised by my failures, but loves anyway and invites people like me to walk with him and others who have also discovered that forgiveness is liberating and hope infectious.

Cheerfulness kept breaking through and still does. Or maybe faith is annoyingly cheerful anyway and it is the darkness that keeps breaking though. But, as John says at the outset of his Gospel, the darkness cannot overcome the light that has come into the world.

Thank God for Leonard Cohen!

I spent a couple of hours on the train this afternoon and it gave me time to catch up with what the newspapers are saying about Jade Goody. The kindness is evident in most of what I read – and the recognition that she wasn’t able to be anything other than ‘in your face’. You could never accuse her of being a hypocrite.

leonard-cohenThis reminded me of some lines in a Leonard Cohen poem from 1996 called Better. He writes:

better than poetry

is my poetry

which refers

to everything

that is beautiful and

dignified, but is

neither of these itself

 

There are people who shine a (not always welcome) light on the world and place question marks about what we think is ‘normal’. This is the task of the poet. But it is also what I think has happened and is happening through the Jade Goody phenomenon: her transparent imperfection and other people’s treatment of her exposes the snobbery and prejudice we would rather not admit to. Stephen Fry on Twitter called her something like ‘Princess Diana from the wrong side of the tracks’ and he was right: much of the judgment piled on her during her notoriety phases appears to have been rooted in a sneering looking down the nose at someone ‘not like us’.

 

Cohen recognises that most of us are imperfect at how we express our lives as well as our art, but it is still the same beauty to which we point.

 

I just wonder what the atheist commentators actually mean when they say ‘Jade is at peace’. Genuine question.