Thursday, February 18, 2010

‘Christ-centred, Bible-based and Church grounded.’

For those of you who are interested Channel 4 is broadcasting a programme presented by this Blog on Sunday evening at 6.55pm. The programme is called ‘The Bible: A History – Jesus’.

For reasons beyond me my role as presenter is causing a little controversy among the great and the good. And that’s even before the programme is broadcast. It’s a bit like condemning a book you’ve never read.

For my part it was an interesting project. The technical and artistic side of film making, and all the others bits and bobs that go with that, was educational. But the opportunity to immerse myself with the Jesus message and to visit places that he had lived in, as well as the access to scholars was mighty.

So, I am happy with the programme. And I thank everyone who was involved in putting it together.

I learned a lot about the historical figure of Jesus during this project and also about the Jesus message of peace, love, forgiveness and repentance. One of the interesting little side issues was that some of the people involved in making the programme from Britain saw the conflict in Ireland as a religious one.

This obviously wasn’t a thought out view. In fact it was very superficial and I found it very interesting that every Irish person I spoke to, regardless of their political allegiance, dismissed the description of the conflict here as religious.

So, the education in the making of this programme wasn’t just good for me it was good for everyone.

Religion or the exploitation of religion and sectarianism is of course part of the backcloth by which the conflict in Ireland was created and sustained by the establishment. Sectarianism is a direct symptom and a tool of colonialism. It is a device to keep people in their place and to divide people who have a lot in common with each other.

Which brings me to the issue of the Orange Order. The Orange proclaims itself as ‘Christ-centred, Bible-based and Church grounded.’

There are over three thousand orange marches in the north every year. Generally speaking they pass off without any great fuss, not least because of the tolerance of everybody else. There are a small number of contentious parades which for years caused considerable difficulties.

One of the big problems incidentally touched on by a loyalist leader, Jackie MacDonald this week, is that the orange would march into an area where they were unwelcome and leave everybody else to deal with the consequences in the weeks and months afterwards.

That the lid was generally kept on some of these areas is down to local residents and Sinn Féin representatives. But there has also been good steady work done by others on the unionist side, including sensible people in loyalist and community organisations.

All of these matters are currently the subject of a working group set up by the First Minister and deputy First Minister, as set out in the agreement at Hillsborough. It comprises of 6 people with experience of parading issues. They are charged with bringing forward agreed outcomes with the potential to create a new improved framework for the management and regulation of public assemblies, including parades and related protests.

Irrespective of the differences between us there is clearly a need to focus on how to resolve the remaining handful of contentious parades in a spirit of mutual respect. As a society, we cannot afford the negative and unsustainable political, financial and social costs from parading disputes.

But we have to go beyond settling contentious parades. We need to build a new relationship of tolerance and respect. Irish republicans want to understand and appreciate the position of the Orange. We accept the right of the Order to parade and to promote its sense of Orangeism. But this has to be on the basis of equality and mutual respect and tolerance.

The Orange Order and Orangeism is a part of who we are as a nation. We recognise that Orange is one of our national colours, and republicans and nationalists need to be continuously reminded of this. Mutual respect is required all round. If we want respect for our views then we must also respect the views of those who differ from us.

Some commentators have said that the working group on parades has its work cut out. That’s only true if there’s a lack of political will. In my view the political will is there. It might need encouraged and developed but I believe we could well see the ushering in of a new atmosphere and a new willingness by everyone to create tolerance and greater understanding of the differences between all of us.


Anonymous said...

Hear hear.

Follow my blog-

which will provide the point of view of a young republican.

Paul Doran said...


We don't want Marches, In Newcastle were I was brought up these orange men would stop outside a Catholic Pub or Church and by God they would let us they were there.Pure hatred that what it was and still is.I cannot abide by them.Let's put a stop to all marches for about 10 years, Catholic or Protestant.

Micheal said...

Christ himself caused no little controversy amongst the Pharisees and the Hypocrites when he walked among men and women, so you're following in the best of footsteps there Gerry.

I wish all the best of recovery for you're wife Collette Gerry. You and your wife and indeed all the Adams family are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope that Collete will beat this illness, with Gods help.

I'm looking forward to the programme on Sunday and to the Irish Unity Conference on Saturday at TUC Congress House in central London. 9.30am-5pm. TCR tube station.

Spiritual pride is regarded as one of the deadlier sins because it betrays an unrepentant heart and this runs to the core of what "the great and good" are really about on such matters of moral controversy.

If you think about it, condemning someone else on grounds of morality indicates an attitude of indifference towards one's own wrongdoings.

E.G.White wrote a terrific book about this called "The Great Controvery". It can be construed as being offensive to the Catholic Church, but, a useful contribution nevertheless. The premise begins to weaken, however, after the umpteenth rehash.

Linda Coleman said...

In the U.S., we're inundated with politicians who claim to be Christian, yet cast their votes to benefit big-monied corporations instead of "the least of these."

That's why we originally started our local organization (see link); at our first organizational meeting, we were asked to name any politicians who actually put religious views into political action. Nobody could think of anyone, except for me, and I said, "Gerry Adams." The other people were kind of surprised, 'cause they haven't read all your columns like I have, Gerry! I told them about your advocacy of the Year of Jubilee, your essays on poverty around the world, your speeches about how health care is a human right, your activism as a young man in the anti-apartheid movement, your efforts at peacemaking at great risk to your own life, and how you always think of political solutions for lifting people out of poverty.

So I wasn't surprised at all that Channel 4 picked you, Gerry. To me, it's the least controversial, most obvious choice they could have possibly made.

Unfortunately, we can't get it online in the U.S. I'd like to watch the whole series, but when I click "play," it says, "The service is not available in your area." I used to watch Channel 4 online all the time, so I don't know what's changed. So, I'll have to wait for the DVD, I guess.

sam said...

Maith thú Gerry,
Christ-Centred,Bible-based and Church grounded indeed.
As a Bible reader myself, I can only see Pharisees in the Orange spokesmen and their apologists.
Much patience and humility is required to deal with them, may you be blessed. I hope you don't have to sit in the road, but well done for making the line clear. Respect must be mutual, impossible without self-respect.
Dia dhuibhse go léir, agus go háirithe do bhean Colette.

Timothy Dougherty said...

Seems to go in like parts,to create tolerance ,A Jesus message ot the frist order. I know that you have make effort last year to meet with the Orange Order, mybe that is still in the works. History will teach us that in the name of God, bad things and good things are said and done in his name. I do what to say that my hope and good being is sent you and your loved ones, during this medical problem. I my hope is that the media will give you and your loved one's some real time space.I do give Prayers for Healing/Recovery, and my best for the coming Irish Unity Conference in London tomorrow.

Linda Coleman said...

Well, my fellow Americans who want to see this program, it looks like we're out of luck.

From Noah Sinclair of Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries in response to my email: "With regard to viewing our programming on the Channel 4 website, 4oD on uses geo-blocking software. This detects where your computer is
located when it connects to the internet.

"The programme rights we hold are limited to the UK and Ireland and we are prohibited from allowing them to be viewed elsewhere...We are sorry for any disappointment this might cause."

Peter said...

Mutual respect is fine provided that either side is not asking too much. Wanting to walk where you are unwelcome and have no support is not only being unreasonable... it is provocative and asking for trouble. It only happens in a very small minority of cases and these cases should be banned permanently and forever, for once and for all!!! No-one regardless of who they are or what they represent has a God given right to parade, march or assemble where ever they want. This needs to be made clear to all.

Ardoyne Republican said...

Whether we like it or not Gerry, the Loyal Orders are bigoted organisations who are only interested in maintaining British imperialism in Ireland...

patmikemurphy said...

agree with everything that has been written on this subject ,but I'm sure this will take time to sink in to these bigoted people but with God's help it will come to pass and maybe one day a united country also our prayers are with you and Collette's speedy recovery

Anonymous said...

I am a protestant who lives in a loyalist estate, yet where I live does not colour or influence my strongly held Christian beliefs, I say that because I have yet to find in the Bible anything at all that resembles the orange order much less going to or " walking " in places where you are not wanted. To demand your rights and to celebrate war on whatever side is not the spirit Christ " turn the other cheek " but the spirit of the world and not of God.

I do hope and pray Gerry that your wife does make a speedy recovery and that you and your family do find in Christ Jesus the Son of the Living God forgiveness, peace and eternal life .

Just one more thing, I have just watched the channel 4 programme, and one of the presenters a lady, on ocassions indicated that the gospels or part of the gospels were not authentic, and yet the lady had an absolute faith in the writings of Josephus and Philo, to her they were authentic, how does she know that certain historical writings are not authentic and some are ? what kind of test did she use ? anyway Gerry their is a very important test that can be used to prove that every act, word and deed of Jesus in the Gospels is authentic, all we need to do is go back into the Old Testament and read the prophets, like Micah which was written hundreds of years before the Birth of Christ in c5 " But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. " This scripture has been fulfilled although it was indicated in the programme that it was not. Their are literally hundreds of prophecies written hundreds of years before Christ came into world which find their perfect fulfilment in Jesus of Nazereth, like Pslam 22 which speaks of Jesus on the Cross suffering under Gods Judgement for our sins, see vs16 " they pierced my hands and my feet " that is cruxifiction, or read Isaiah 53. I do ask Gerry that you would consider these verses in the light of the gospels !! do not listen to what men or women have to say listen to God`s word. How is it possible for unlearned and ignorant fishermen to write about the life of Jesus, to write in such a fashion that if we go back into the OT we clearly see that God told us all about the life of His Son many hundreds of years before he came into the world, how about Zech c9 vs9 " Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." All of the Gospel writers tell us about this. How could these men be deceivers or loose with the truth ? how can they be accused of fabricating aspects of the life of Christ when that life is presented to us by God in the OT. The oldest surviving manuscript we have of the OT is something like 2nd or 3rd Century before Christ and it is the book of Isaiah the very prophet who so vividly presents the life of Jesus to us in c53, Gerry this is real prophecy about a real person, the very person the disciples saw and then wrote about, it was not something that was made up after the event. Can you not see the uniqueness of Jesus a man above every other man ? God manifest in flesh, the Saviour of Sinners. I write Gerry as one who knows His present love and forgiveness, and one who no matter from what side has no time for nothing that cannot be confirmed from the Bible. My Faith is not blind.

I am sorry for the length of this and I hope that you would bear with patiently me.



GerardConeryAdamsJr said...

I would like to know something of your genealogy. My name by chance is Gerard Conery Adams Jr and while we thought Adams was English or Scots, my Y-chromosome says I am of the Laigin tribe of Leinster. I found only one Adams mentioned in 1689 Leinster Army but all others seem to be English visiting Dublin. Our family records only go back to 1785 and there the Adams have German given names. First recorded marriage is to eldest daughter of a Hannoverian Captain (but Catholic) who fought in Waterloo. A strange search indeed. Do you know of any ancestral Adams of Irish Catholic indigenous heritage?
Well, I suspect you are living more in the present history....but if something here brings up any ideas, p;lease let me know.
Best regards
Gerry Adams

Red_Maggie said...


I watched the programme in my snug little home in England last night and I have to say I was impressed. As a socialist and an atheist, albeit having been brought up as a Catholic, I approached the programme with what I feel was a healthy dose of scepticism. What I saw was a well considered, reasoned and thought provoking programme that took the teachings of the Bible and applied them to the 21st century. Congratulations to all involved. I should also say that a certain relative of mine seemed very impressed as well, and let's just say her views and ours do not exactly tally.

It is a tragedy that some people cannot recognise that the troubles had a massive effect on all of us who witnessed them in whatever way. These are people who would have no trouble with a programme fronted by Margaret Thatcher. They are also more than happy to see Binyamin Netanyahu on their TV screens, despite the atrocities in Palestine. The poison of war contaminates us all. It is time these people judged you, and others, on their words and deeds rather than their own prejudices.

Unknown said...

The big boot was for centuries in Ireland on the boot of the incomers to he great detriment of the native population.
There is much imo in Orangeism which commemorates this circumstance in a spirit of
triumphalism and hostility. I imagine most readers of this blog would agree.
However, the big boot on a European scale was for centuries generally on the boot of the RC church and/or RC despots vis a vis the Protestants and the events of 1690 can also be seen as part of the long struggle for Protestant liberty (I know the Pope was a supporter of William, but the tyranny of Louis of France against his own Protestants put him firmly in a long line of religiously motivated RC tyrant rulers with or without Papal approval). This should also be be noted and remembered.
I think the Protestant rebels of 1798 might share my analysis, but it is rarely heard among modern Irish Republicans.It might be worth a thought.

Linda Coleman said...

Gerry, I never could bypass Channel 4's geo blocking software to see the show, so I'm reading reviews--filtering out all the political blather, of course--to find out how it went.

I'm curious about one thing I read, about how you had to go with the archaeologist into one of those narrow, dark, claustrophobic passage ways. Did they tell you beforehand that you'd have to do that? I've seen other shows on TV about those tombs and catacombs, and I'm pretty sure there's no way anybody could convince me to go into one of those places, even with a camera crew and trained archaeologist! According to the review, you were pretty cool about it, but someday you'll have to tell us what it was really like. I remember reading your story about trying to tunnel out of prison and how unpleasant that was; hopefully, you didn't feel too claustrophobic doing that part of the documentary!

Paula said...

You can see it on you tube.
Enjoy. !

Linda Coleman said...

Thanks, Paula! But I'm still getting the message "This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

I just got an email from a Methodist Church that's interested in showing it as part of their Social Justice Movie Night series, so I'm emailing Channel 4 again to see how soon we can get it on DVD.

And I'll try a few more "work arounds" to see that YouTube video. Thanks, again, Paula.

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