A Parable for Preachers

I am looking across the Sea of Marmaris at mountainous islands. It is spectacular.

The water is pretty much the same water I could see from my childhood home in Bournemouth. In fact if I rented a boat here and sailed it far enough I would get there. It's all the same water, right?

So why do I find it so much more enticing here than there? And infinitely more than the Irish Sea where my wife grew up. Tough types those Irish. They visited the beach at all times of year just because it was the beach. It didn't have to be warm or anything like that.

If you want to get me in the sea it has to be a step up from Bournemouth. Bournemouth is my baseline. It isn't bad, it's just blandly over familiar and a little chilly. Not a single palm tree, rock pool or interesting fish.

While it's all the same water, there are sea and seas, beaches and beaches. Some are just more delightful than others. Some you don't want to get out of, others you want to avoid getting in.

Swimming in the sea is to be enjoyed not endured. There ought to be interesting and arresting things to see. It ought to be challenging too - it's not a paddling pool for infants. And it should be tempting. People ought to be thirsty for more, to go a little further out of their depth. Maybe even learn to go diving.

But they won't if the sea is bland and uninviting. They might live beside it but it won't delight them to try swimming for themselves.