Science-informed, faith-inspired, and hope-driven

By Ann Pettifor
May 28, 2009

I’ve done it at last. It took courage, a stiffening of the spine (and of a range of other joints!) and a couple of hundred quid... but I have finally joined that wonderfully reckless crowd, the London cycling community.

Mainly because I can’t bear being an outsider and everyone at Operation Noah has a bicycle. Michael Northcott turned up on one at the AGM. Had he cycled all the way from Edinburgh? I wondered. Mark Dowd shows off with his fold-up bicycle, which he carries around as effortlessly as a handbag. But I have handbags enough.

It is wonderfully exhilarating. Intoxicating, even. “Stirs up the pheronomes” I said to a pal. “I think you mean endorphins” she quickly corrected me. “Pheronomes are sexual hormones”. Can’t be encouraging too many of those, I thought. Especially as I am just back from the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in Edinburgh, where sex - not climate change or the financial crisis - once again absorbed the energies of one of God’s faithful communities.

When will we get over our sexual hang-ups, stop persecuting God’s people for their given sexuality, look outwards, and start worrying about the really important threats facing creation and society?

After my talk on Calvin and a good dose of Presbyterianism, I re-connected with my old university Professor of Philosophy and expert on Paul Tillich, Ian Thomson and his wife Alison, who live in Musselburgh. On Sunday morning (24 May 2009) we attended a service in a Catholic convent nursing home, where the sermon was preached by a distinguished White Father on John 17:

“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world……..Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.”

That passage encompasses my faith. That God is unknowable, beyond the understanding of our limited categories of rationality. But that God is truth – and our duty, our meaning and our purpose derives from that constant search for truth. For God.

May we at Operation Noah be consecrated in the truth. May we, and all our supporters, be science-informed, faith-inspired, and hope-driven.


© Ann Pettifor, a political economist, is campaigns director for Operation Noah, This is one of a series of reflections Ann is writing for Ekklesia in the run-up to the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009. The first, looking at the recent UK budget and its impact, is here: The second, on the heated climate debate in Iceland, is here:


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