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Friday, 13 November 2015

Malcolm Muggeridge: Accurate prophecy in many areas

Sally Muggeridge, our curate at St Stephen Walbrook, has written an excellent comment piece for the Church Times this week about her uncle, Malcolm Muggeridge.

Sally reviews her uncle's life and thought suggesting that: 'The legacy of the writer, journalist, and Christian apologist Malcolm Muggeridge can be viewed in retrospect as one of accurate prophecy in many areas. Although he did not always get it right, he expressed legitimate concern on many of the issues of our time: sexual permissiveness, immigration, ethical questions over advances in medical science, the spread of Islam, lowering of standards in the media, the fantasy world introduced by technology, and others.'

'Writer and broadcaster Malcolm Muggeridge died 14th November 1990 at the age of 87. To mark the 25th Anniversary of the passing of her uncle, Sally Muggeridge will be leading the 10.30am service on Sunday 15th November at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene, Whatlington, Sussex.

As President of the Malcolm Muggeridge Society, Sally will review the life of her uncle and his spiritual journey as a twentieth century pilgrim towards faith. All are welcome. A display of the extensive literary legacy of Muggeridge will be made available to view.'

John Stott once characterised the Prophet Muggeridge as courageous, perceptive, awkward and exaggerated. Intended as a compliment after Muggeridge's London Lectures in Contemporary Christianity entitled Christ and the Media, Stott's summing up captures some of the complications that made Muggeridge fascinating as a journalist, broadcaster and writer. Stott characterised him as a prophet while the then Director-General's of the BBC and the IBA who also chaired these lectures, in order to neutralise what they thought to be his attack on them and their work, preferred to characterise him as a jester. 

He was first and foremost a journalist who, in the course of his life, reported from the key continents and ideologies of his time - Imperialist India, Communist Russia and Capitalist America. He documented his dissatisfaction in his memoirs, Chronicles of a Wasted Life, and in his novel, In a Valley of this Restless Mind.

His life took a new, and to his mind, more purposeful direction when his dissatisfaction with the transient waste of what he until then done and seen, led to conversion and a commitment to Catholicism. His new commitment was expressed both through and against the new media of television. 

As a broadcaster he was involved in programmes that allowed key figures such as Mother Theresa and Alexander Solzhentitsyn airtime to communicate. Yet he also viewed television as a shallow, superficial medium. This, in itself, would not be incredibly harmful if television was not presented or viewed as the ultimate reality - the window on the world. It was this that Muggeridge argued was so damaging and which ultimately meant that television, rather than mirroring reality, was actually creating fantasy. For these reasons he argued, in the lectures collected as Christ and the Media, that, if offered by the devil, a fourth temptation of a primetime television slot Jesus would have rejected the temptation because his reality could not be conveyed using the fantasy medium of television. 


Malcolm Muggeridge - Face your Image.

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