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Thoughts
Monday 9th July 2018 @ 10:19 am / 0 comments

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world …” When I was a teenager,  I thought by the time I was the age I now am I would have things figured out. Have life figured out. I really did think so. I’m properly middle aged now. I had always thought by the time I had these wrinkles, these bags under my eyes, these grey hairs and these exquisite love handles, I would also have things figured out to the extent I would not be caused undue stress by the state of the world. I ...

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Catholic Jools
Tuesday 12th June 2018 @ 2:50 pm / 0 comments

Well not quite … but I was interviewed recently by a really interesting site on Catholic profiles … I share it for your five mins!   You can read the interview on Profiles in Catholicism here         

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Taizé 2018
Monday 4th June 2018 @ 5:53 pm / 0 comments

Nature does it better. The annual pilgrimage to Taizé run by the ecumenical chaplaincy in Trinity, is one of the markers in my year. Admittedly it is getting harder for me to live in the midst of some of the more ‘rustic’ circumstances of a week that can feel like you’re living in Germany – the time of the year we go always seem to coincide with German holidays, and really there are only so many times I can handle a 15year old German stare at me scandalously and say ‘NO. You can only have ONE roll!’ What makes it ...

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Faith and Modernity
Saturday 12th May 2018 @ 9:44 am / 0 comments

Last week I sat in a committee room in the Palace of Westminster. I actually sat in the chair where people get questioned! Thankfully, I was not under government investigation, but rather celebrating a book edited by Lord Alderdice and Dr Mohammad Shomali, which contains papers to a conference I was honoured to be at in Oxford a couple of years ago. The book, “Faith and Modernity – A Muslim–Christian Conversation” will be on Amazon shortly. Here are the few remarks I made last week:         Faith and Modernity  I don’t wish to appear morose as I ...

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Love Poem
Wednesday 2nd May 2018 @ 3:08 pm / 0 comments

As often happens, when preparing for a thing,  something of old, once found jumps afresh. And sometimes you catch it, and sometimes it catches you. I am caught. This is one of the most beautiful piece of love poetry ever written in English. Thank you Carol Anne Duffy       Syntax   I want to call you thou, the sound of the shape of the start  of a kiss – like this, thou –and to say, after, I love, thou, I love, thou I love, not I love you. ...

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Easter sermon – well, the last bit
Thursday 5th April 2018 @ 10:55 am / 0 comments

Below is the last part of my sermon on Easter Sunday morning this year … which for me is the most enjoyable day of the Christian year to preach. I always start with the words … “This is it, this is the reason we do what we do. This, today, this is the reason we do what we do. This is it.”   Rather than write out the whole sermon, which in quite a Presbyterian fashion has 3 points that all start with the same letter (!) Life from death Light from darkness Love from hate ...

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Thanks Stocki
Friday 16th March 2018 @ 10:45 pm / 0 comments

My old friend Stocki has written a brilliant blog on things which coincidentally, happen to have been swirling around in my head this week. For the last few days I have been thinking about David Howes & Derek Wood – and how hard it is to believe that the killing of these two British army corporals at the funeral of Caoimhin MacBradaigh was 30 years ago.  Those were dark days.  Tense days. Fear and mistrust roamed the streets alongside their companions aggression and violence.   Northern Ireland is a small place, and in the intervening years I have experienced ...

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Palestinian Report & Futuring II
Thursday 15th March 2018 @ 10:00 am / 0 comments

Following on from the last post – here are 10 interesting conclusions for ‘futuring’ the next number of months in Middle East.     Ten conclusions of the Palestine Strategic Report By: Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh   First: The peace process, in its current form, and in keeping with the Oslo Accords, will not lead to a “two–state solution,” and the Palestinian Authority (PA) has no prospects of developing into an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty over the West Bank (WB) and the Gaza Strip (GS). The peace process on the basis of the Oslo Accords has been a kind of ...

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Palestinian Report & Futuring I
Tuesday 13th March 2018 @ 9:33 am / 0 comments

I regularly have conversations that accuse me of being a normalizer in the terms of the Middle East – the claim comes because some of the work I am involved in which brings together Palestinians and Israelis. Having Israelis present creates the critique of doing nothing to break the occupation of Palestine and end the violence for all sides by normalising everything.  There are deeper critiques and longer conversations available, but my usual (and honest) response is that I was brought up in Belfast.  Belfast would not have experienced any progress had people not taken brave decisions to sit with ...

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For Christmas
Sunday 24th December 2017 @ 5:25 pm / 0 comments

 I have been trying to think of the right thing to share … a poem, a hymn, a soundbite of spiritual insight … and nothing has been there. But I can’t resist.Because, like the Borg, resistance [to sharing myself] is futile. That is the joy and delight of the world we live in under the infotech revolution. Binary realities of black or white are gone, and we don’t live in a world of grey, we live in a world of glorious new colours, shades, shapes and sizes. Standing at the precipice of another Christmas, and peering round the corner ...

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Henri Nouwen thought
Sunday 19th November 2017 @ 6:26 pm / 0 comments

A thought from Henri Nouwen  – taken from ‘The life of the Beloved’ … a book written as a letter to ‘real’ friend who was not of the same tribe or thinking as Henri, but with whom a deeply meaningful friendship developed, challenging the faith perspective of both.   What, above all, does Henri want his friend (who does not share his churched faith) to know?     ”Listening to that voice with great inner attentiveness, I hear at my centre words that say: ‘I have called you by name, from the very beginning. You are mine and I ...

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Robert Peston
Sunday 19th November 2017 @ 6:17 pm / 0 comments

I have always admired Robert Peston’s ability to communicate with emotion – given that he is a financial journalist, I find it inspiring! I will read his book ‘WTF’ with interest as soon as I can …  but in the meantime, here is a very small snippet. He begins his book with a letter to this late father – a powerful opening. And in that letter, he writes the sentences below: I hope you like it too … read it slowly a few times …he’s talking about UK first, then the entire Western worldview.     “These three ...

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Wars, Mothers + School tests
Sunday 12th November 2017 @ 8:49 am / 0 comments

My friend Kate wrote the words below, and they are worth a few minutes of your time. It seems mildly serendipitous that I first read them on Remembrance Sunday – a day that always massages my emotions, pulling them in different directions.  I have the deepest admiration for those who have laid their lives down for their country – and I have deeper anxieties about a country that would ask them to. I have an overwhelming sense of respect for those who fight for anything of behalf of anyone else – and an overwhelming sense of sadness that humanity is ...

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Sex, Saints and Sacks
Friday 3rd November 2017 @ 8:51 am / 0 comments

 Today in the BBC news. Egyptian female TV host given jail term for commenting on sex before marriage. Religiously conservative Egypt has ruled that Doaa Salah is having public conversation that threatens the fabric of Eqyptian life, fined her, and she now faces a jail term.   A Russian film on an affair between Csar Nicholas II & dancer Mathilde Kschessinskaya

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The things you don’t see
Sunday 1st October 2017 @ 5:04 pm / 0 comments

Recently, I stood behind a very average human, on an escalator on the London underground. He had long, shaggy, unkempt brown/ginger hair. He was average height. Average build. He wore a loose fitting cardigan – kinda hipster. And he carried a small rug–sack strapped on his back. But something was amiss. Something was special. Something was happening that I couldn’t account for.   Every female (almost, every female), and many males coming down the escalator toward us, were looking at him. And a second or two after they looked at him, their face burst into a smile. ...

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