A government minister has got into trouble for using the phrase 'green shoots' when describing the present state of the economy
However, little green shoots are emerging from the dark soil of our garden. And - as if in parallel - there are also some other small signs of hope in these terrible times.
For a start, Faith Leaders, including the interfaith advisor to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, have signed a strongly-worded statement against religious hatred, as pointed out in this blog by Ruth Gledhill of The Times:
I understand from Lambeth Palace that more Bishops will be signing this document in the near future.
In her blog, Ruth links to my own blog about the feelings of the Jewish community in Manchester at this critical time, which has been somewhat attenuated by the tremendous support received from the Christian communities.
But from one Rowan to another: The Times is as objective as one can get in its reporting of the Israel-Gaza situation. However, this morning (no doubt completely unconsciously) they have - in my view at least - contributed to the latent anti-semitism present in this country by gracing their front page with a horrendous picture of Rowan Atkinson.
Rowan is currently featuring as Fagin in the new West End production of 'Oliver':
Rowan has himself stated that he is deliberately playing up the Jewishness of Fagin, but the picture on the front page has him looking Satanic and devilish - a mixture of Shylock, Svengali and Fagin all rolled into one. What on earth is the point of this?
Funnily enough, Dickens actually apologized to his Jewish friends for the depiction of Fagin in Oliver Twist
But pictures tell more tales than a 1000 words. And that photo will probably come back to haunt The Times if they don't take immediate action - of what sort I'm not sure.
Finally, another little green shoot: it has been announced that Dr. Denis MacEoin has been appointed editor of the Middle East Quarterly.
And I am looking forward on Sunday to the fourth in our fortnightly theological dialogue meetings. This week it's on the role of women in our respective traditions. Certainly in Judaism, women are supposed to act as a challenge, which the description of Eve as ezer ke-nigedo makes clear:
These dialogical groups should be encouraged. For I believe that they are the only way in which the current sombre situation might be transcended. Yes - truly a Tale of Two Rowans: