In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Fable 10 – The Pernicious Appeal of the “Strong Model”


The Pernicious Appeal of the Strong Model explores the power and attraction of different forms of idolatry, or fundamentalism, for people in disarray or under unusual stress. But this is not a piece about “true faith” as opposed to “false faith”. Idolatry/fundamentalism is not restricted to the religious ; it extends to anyone who accepts a dogma or joins a mind-set, not primarily because it is true, but because it is comforting and offers something simple and sure, while purporting to be the truth. I think idolatry, or the “strong model,” is especially appealing to people asked to serve at a social fault-line or tense frontier, or to address realities which are complex or arouse strong feelings.

This is the tenth in a series of essays called “Fables and Reflections” which consists of sixteen pieces in all. Each Fable takes just a few minutes to read. I am uploading them one at a time, every month or so.  The idea behind this approach is that people running all day just to keep up, are more likely to read them in short doses and at intervals.

But for those who prefer them all at once, here is a link to the sixteen together.

The series was written in a time of pause after a working life in mental health care. But it is not specifically about mental health. In some ways it tries to offer a few sign-posts for times in which it seems particularly easy to get lost. Above all, perhaps, it explores the issue of what makes community healthy, what secures connection, how are we to live in the world in such a way that neither our neighbour nor our world suffer that we may briefly thrive ?  In a sense you can say that, in exploring the constituents of community here, and at this time of strain and fragmentation, frantic materialism and crude zealotry,  the series asks and discusses what are the binding and redemptive skills of true human connection, the skills of being human, the skills of love.

All being well, the series will soon be published in book form.

If you find value in “Fables and Reflections”, please send word of them to people you know who you think might want to read them. You could simply pass on this blog address, or, alternatively,  I am happy to e-mail them individually as attachments to people who would find that easier. I am already doing that for some people.  I would also be happy to send hard copy versions by surface mail.  If that is your preference, just send me your address.