About Me

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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Viewing the world through quirky vision (aka, if these stones could talk)

Since I was a little boy I have had a quirky habit. I will look at a scene and pick some aspect of it and then ponder just how laden with stories that aspect is.

This might be singling out a person at random and wondering where they are from, what they love, what they do, what stories they have to tell.

Or it might be looking at the meal in front of me and wondering where in the world the different ingredients came from, who farmed them, who designed the baked bean tin, where the metal in the frying pan was mined and how much the miners got paid.

It might be walking down a street and wondering how many people would be included in the set of all those I can see in the street right NOW, plus all the people they have seen in the past day, plus all the people that they have seen in the past day. And where would they all be right now? - all over the world I don't doubt. And what % of the world's population would be included in this set?

It's all such fun. My youngest daughter groans when I start yabbering on this way. After all, if you're not going to know the answer why bother asking the question.

I ask these questions because I like to remind myself that the world around me is shaped by countless people who I will never know about.

The human stories intersecting in some way with the laptop I am now using are almost countless. I don't want to know what they are (my brain is not big enough and my time is too limited) but I do want to remind myself from time to time that they are.

This is why I have been so enjoying reading Larry Kreitzer's magesterial historical investigation into some 17th C Baptists in Oxford (entitled Seditious Sectaryes). Last night I was reading all about Richard Tidmarsh the Tanner at whose house the early Oxford Baptists met. We know little about him and he was not an exceptional man (though he put up with a lot of hassle over the years for his nonconformist convictions). He was not a man I had ever heard of. Indeed he is a man who very few people alive today have ever heard of. But he has a story to be told - a story that intersects and overlaps with so many others and so weaves itself into a grand tapestry that overlaps my own story in more ways than I yet know.

So I can put up with a little mockery from my Jessica and will keep on viewing the world through quirky vision.

4 comments:

Terry Wright said...

I do something similar, Robin, though I restrict myself to the dearly departed.

My father-in-law is the minister of two churches in Bath, one of which is a quaint small village church that is around 800-900 years old.

The list of past incumbants goes back almost as far, and in one period - I think it was around the time of the English Civil War - there were as many as three different incumbants in the space of one or two years. What happened to them?

And for those incumbants who were around in the 13th or 14th centuries: What were they like?

Sometimes I think about the parishoners themselves. I don't think any of the existing gravestones go back much beyond the 18th century, if that, but it's reasonable to assume that people were buried in the parish long before then. What were those people like? What relationships did they have with one another? How was the Christian faith celebrated among them? And so on.

So thanks for confessing this quirk of yours, Robin; it made for interesting reading. Just don't make a back-story up for me!!

Robin Parry said...

Terry

Respect man! That's great.

I won't invent a back story for you but don't get me started on that little photo of you by your comments. So many quirky possibilities there.

Robin

Terry Wright said...

The truth is far more mundane: it was a hot day, I drenched myself with water, and my wife thought she'd style it for me.

I'm far more reserved, of course...

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