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Happy Rosh Hashanah
Friday 7th September 2018 @ 11:24 am / 0 comments

I vividly remember the first time I listened to a Rabbi blowing the Shofar (A rams horn) for the first time. A haunting calling, like nothing I had ever heard. A durge? An alarm? A creeping awareness of a danger? All of these things went through my mind. The Rabbi asked the students present what it sounded like to them? There was similar reaction … a discomfort at something unfamiliar yet instinctive.   During these days of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) the Shofar will be blown many times (I am led to believe over ...

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Separation
Tuesday 7th August 2018 @ 4:42 pm / 0 comments

Separation anxiety is a real thing. Children and parents. Parents and children. Changing home / city / work / country. Deep loss. [Seemingly] Trivial loss. An attempt at lifestyle improvement, or a coarse rip in the fabric of everything known to be true stable and purposeful.  Being separated from the things, which to this point, have made us who we are, requires the ability to stop, take a breath, and look around.  Looking over the shoulder invites us to see (and learn) where we have come from. Looking all around us invites us to really see where we are. And ...

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Goodness in OKC!
Friday 3rd August 2018 @ 6:29 pm / 0 comments

Yesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of attending a lunch given by Be The Change – Oklahoma. They work amongst some of the city’s most vulnerable and needy – primarily homeless at risk youth. They do an incredible job of providing services and hope to kids on the street … Over 80% of which have been forced to trade sexual activity for food / shelter / drugs. One of the standout realities to me was the number of LGBTQ+ teenagers on the streets, a significantly high percentage of which are there because Christian families have distanced themselves from them ...

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Brian Zahnd on atonement theories
Wednesday 1st August 2018 @ 12:28 am / 0 comments

 One of the most enjoyable things about getting oder is that I eventually find writers & thinkers who say the stuff I’ve been considering for years but didn’t have the correct words or writing formulas. Brian Zahnd in his last book ‘Sinners in the hands of a Loving God’ writes about atonement in a way that I find refreshing – simply because this is becoming mainstream Christian thinking. Gone are the days when a questioning theology of the cross is mocked as leftist liberal BS. for decades I have struggled with traditional protestant (minority) theologies of the cross, because they ...

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Hopeful Encounters
Saturday 28th July 2018 @ 12:18 pm / 0 comments

There is no doubt when you spend time in Palestine it changes your perception of what governments will allow. The Israeli government has a hold on Palestine in a way that few other western styled liberal democratic government would get away with. It’s a mystery how they do in fact get away with it.   Which is why it was vital when I was with a group 4 weeks ago to have them sit with my good friends Rabbis Gabby & Naama and educator Jonathan. Proud Jews and Israelis. They live in the everyday of what we glimpse over 10 ...

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Church Land Program
Thursday 26th July 2018 @ 7:17 pm / 0 comments

Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. And we need the eyes to see that.   The Church Land program in Pinetown, South Africa, is a great example of pushing back some of the injustices of this world hectare by hectare. It was established in 1996 to help face some of the injustices from the years of colonial rule and apartheid.   Historically when a colonial power steps in, it usually does so with superior military might, and that superiority is used to forcefully take what has not been theirs, and hold it by force. In a ...

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Silence and Shouting
Wednesday 25th July 2018 @ 10:11 am / 0 comments

The public worship of God can be a strange thing. It can be wild and enthusiastic, energizing and enlightening  – with jumping and singing, moving and swinging. It can be dreary and dull, depressing and demeaning to God and to us. It can be silent and still, precious and precarious. It can be life–changing and liberating, and it can be monotonous and miserable. I think I’ve experienced it in all those ways over the last eight weeks.   Really.   I have been elated by grannies of Pinetown South Africa singing and dancing around a church as if Jesus was ...

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Wanderings
Tuesday 24th July 2018 @ 8:59 am / 0 comments

It’s been a busy eight weeks of travel. And good.   Two weeks ago, just before I left for South Africa (with some great young leaders from the world of Irish Methodism) my dad said an unusual thing. He is a man who dedicated his entire working life to the service of others – as a minister of the Christian Gospel he taught his family and his flock that faith was a practical thing. Your Christian life was about your decisions, your actions, your practical loving. Prayer was also a practical thing – “remember that very often, you are ...

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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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