The Winner of Strictly X-Factor Factor Idol is Hilary Benn

I call this blog ‘The Cost of Living’ because I see within all we are and all we do a value and a transaction that enables us to be who we are and to do what we do. Perhaps that transaction is nowhere more profoundly demonstrated when the reality of death is raised.

After all, arguably, the ultimate cost of living is death. As a Christian I hold fast to the idea that my life is somehow sacred, somehow valued ultimately by God. Holiness is a notion of being separate, being made special, being valued, and so our holy lives are valued. All of them: without question, without exception. In valuing all, the humanity of all, we have to accept the enemy. And once we accept the enemy there is no enemy.

It is hard to remember this when someone wants to cut your head off. But, perhaps, by then, it is too late anyway.

I can’t help thinking that, whilst Mr Benn’s speech was certainly powerful, it has been put on a pedestal more for its rhetorical quality than for its message. Seems that the X-factor generation of poltiical correspondents can only hear the style and not read the substance. All they seem to desire is performance rather than reason. Performance is important, but only when the reason is in place to begin with.

What Mr Benn said he said with energy and passion. He invoked fascism, which is bound to get every journalist excited. He spoke of the Second World War, which doubles the excitement. But he stll missed the point: we are NOT fighting a single, named, tyrannical person such as Hitler, Mussolini or Franco, nor even their armies nor nations. Daesh is headless, faceless and almost without substance. It is an infection rather than a wound. Who would treat influenza with a sticking plaster? Shooting rats in a barrel may be fun, but Daesh are not in a barrel. Treating an infection requires something more subtle, more long lasting, more focused than bombs.

Peace comes when we want peace, and see it as not simply a valid direction to travel, but the only direction to travel. It is not something that can be imposed. It is something that must be found: it is the treasure buried in the field, it is the Kingdom of God. It is a way of life that cannot be ignored and it comes from a realisation that competitions must be kept in perspective. The Earth has limited resources, for sure, but our attitude to seeking them and exploring them is founded, sadly, on a reluctance for others to share in them.

The Cost of living is that we need to be able to share the cost, give the value to others, and not worry for ourselves. It is communism, yes: but then, so is Christianity.