Monday, January 14, 2008

Reality TV and Spirituality

On Sunday nights on the Living Channel here in NZ we have showing a reality TV show form the BBC, The Convent traces the experiences of four women who spend 40 days with a community of Poor Claire Nuns, in the UK. It's really refreshing to see a life of order and contemplation and spirituality painted in such a positive manner.

The four women who have been embraced by the community come with issues and the desire for insights but also form wildely different backgrounds. It's great viewing and very uplifting too.

Debi Ireland is 44 and lives in Scotland with her husband and their five-year-old son.


She works as a children's entertainer telling stories about overcoming fears, yet she has spent the past 39 years battling with the sense she is 'not good enough'.


Her parents split up when she was five. As she said goodbye to her mother in Australia to move to Britain with her father, her mother promised she would see her again in six weeks. She never appeared.


Debi assumed it was her own fault, and ever since has been haunted by guilt and low esteem.


She is hoping the convent will help her to overcome her fear that God will punish her and that she will return home as a new mum no longer wracked by rejection.


Iona Maclean is 25 and a singer/songwriter living in Chelsea, London. She is the only Christian in the group of volunteers.


A former 'party girl' she went through a phase of heavy drinking from which she believed she was saved by God.


Nevertheless, she still struggles with the temptations of the modern world, particularly her self-confessed weakness for the opposite sex.


She is seriously considering celibacy and thinks that the nuns might be able to advise her how to go about it.


Angela Dickson is 43, single, a former police officer, former pub landlord and a successful business development manager in Nottingham.


Her career has been her priority and she seems to have it all - a nice house, a second property abroad and a BMW convertible.


But recently she has come to ask what any of her material wealth is really worth. Twice divorced, she has no faith, no children, and feels time is running out.


She hopes that going into the convent will help her to discover if there is more to life – and more to her.


Victoria Bennett is 33. She lives and works as a poet in the Lake District.


Brought up an atheist, she completely rejects the idea of a patriarchal God and tries to live her life free of rules.


She has an open marriage and she feels everyone should be free to express their sensuality however they see fit.


But underneath it all Victoria struggles to reconcile her free spirit with a deep-rooted insecurity


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