THIS WEEK REVIEW: ITV Drama Flesh and Blood, filmed on location in Normans Bay

COMMUNITY Life of local campaigner, Jan Barron, to be celebrated in community with new award

LATEST ON JOBSBOARD Bay Hotel and Bar, waiter / waitress to join our growing team



First published in edition 28, Pevensey Bay Journal
Saturday 31 August 2019
image credit: cobbybrook.co.uk [detail]

‘Which team do you support?’ I’ve been asked that loads of times – and never once managed an impressive answer. To say ‘I quite like Bournemouth’ – sounds a bit feeble to someone who’s a passionate follower of Brighton. And what’s even worse – is if you ‘quite like’ more than one team. Even though many don’t manage it in their relationships – when it comes to football, people tend to be fiercely monogamous.

We’re a tribal lot – living in a binary world. A world where things are black or white. A world where the government is good and the opposition is bad (or vice versa). A world where you’re a Brexiteer or a Remainer. A world where differences and similarities are exaggerated. A world where if you support the Cherries – you can’t also support the Seagulls. We have this need to belong to some group or another – and it’s no wonder gangs are so popular among disaffected inner-city youth.

I used to be in a gang – but that was just the name for the group of friends I hung around with. No drugs or knives involved – just a football and a bottle of Corona (which sounds worryingly like the Four Yorkshiremen sketch!) When we’re older, we join organisations such as the Conservative Party, or a church, or the National Trust. It means we improve the odds of associating with like-minded people – which makes us feel less alone.

But doing that can act as an echo-chamber, as the views we hear tend to reinforce ours. Maybe we need to get out more – and have deliberate contact with people and ideas that are different. If we mix only with our own kind (the old with the old, churchgoers with other churchgoers) – not only are we unlikely to grow, but it’s easy to categorise and generalise (maybe even demonise?) those we don’t think are like us.

You can be a football supporter without following a particular team. It means you love the game – and don’t mind who wins. So maybe it’s also possible to value and respect other people – even if they’re not in our tribe?

The work of Father Tony Windross as a writer and author is marked. The Thoughtful Guide to Faith (2003) received interesting reviews. John Shelby “Jack” Spong, a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church and a liberal Christian theologian, said this book will escape the walls of the church and be debated everywhere.