The Reality of Diversity



You might have hoped that we had got back to reality by now. REAL reality not the virtual kind or the bizarre variety offered up on TV. Britain’s got Talent may be over for another year, but we’ve still got the denouement of the Apprentice this week, "Celebrity" Masterchef returns next week and on Friday Big Brother is crawling out from the stone it’s been hiding under.
I loathe Big Brother, and most other "reality" shows, although I am a big Apprentice fan and got sucked into BGT this year, but with all of these attention hungry behemoths, there is a tendency to get things totally out of proportion. Last week, in the run up to the final of BGT, despite plenty of other news to report, we had headlines about Susan Boyle cracking under the pressure (which sadly seem to have come true), while the tears of one (undeserving) child finalist prompted much wasted airtime about the cruelty of putting children in for such competitions. We need to get a grip… It’s ONLY a TV talent show. An Opportunity Knocks for the noughties. A Gong show with added buzzers and pizzazz.
But then, how can someone from Northern Ireland lecture others on keeping things in proportion. People could easily say to us that Rangers v Celtic is ONLY a football game… But last week, Bill Shankly’s tongue in cheek comment about football being more important than life and death came true again with the death of Kevin McDaid. Whatever the European elections bring this week, we need to put the politics of division behind us. We need to see greater efforts at eradicating the evil of sectarianism in our midst, that only needs the wrong football result to set it alight…


Ironically Britain’s Got Talent may offer us hope. Contrast the mob of young people who attacked Mr. McDaid because he was different from them, with those who danced their way to victory in that competition: Diversity.
We’ve got to stop fearing and attacking difference here, and embrace the diversity around us… Accept that others support different football teams, follow different political parties and have different national loyalties. Embrace those of different faiths, cultures and languages. And use the diverse gifts that God has given us to make this a richer, fuller, more mature society.
I wonder how many people watching Britain’s Got Talent knew they were using a Biblical term…
For those who don't know, a talent was an ancient measure of weight and hence money that made its way into the English language because of the translation of a story that Jesus told, about servants using their "talents" wisely…
Not only Britain has Got Talent, but so has Northern Ireland… a vast array of diverse, God given talents… Let’s celebrate them as we use them for the benefit of all who live here.
This is an adaptation of my final Sunday review for Downtown Radio's "Dawn Reflections". I (together with the other religious advisors) have been "credit crunched."
ps. Personally I wanted Stavros Flatley to win BGT, but Diversity will do at a pinch...

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