Culture and Society

A wall of Sandals in a shop - Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash
If we are going to dedicate ourselves to being disciples of Jesus Christ what do we need, what must we take with us?  What can we dispense with?  He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses.  They were to wear sandals, but, he added, do not take a spare tunic. Simplicity is clearly the order of the day.  Let us get rid of what is unnecessary. Let us cut down; let us retrench; let us detach ourselves...
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
 I hope this will not seem disrespectful, but do you ever wonder what it must have felt like to be Jesus?- to have the power to heal people just by touching them...“Do you feel sick?” – I touch you – and immediately you get better. No fuss, no bother, no drugs, no side-effects, no operations, no clinical commissioning groups, no Health & Social Care Bills – you just get better right away. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to be able to do for people?I often wonder that because, during...
School of art on fire Credit Jeff J Mitchell
Buildings project personalities – whether it be that of Shah Jahan for the Taj Mahal, Michelangelo for St Peter’s in Rome or Joseph Stalin in Moscow. Buildings also incarnate ideas, fears, hopes and dreams.When the flames of destruction touched the Rennie Mackintosh building, it unleashed a powerful destructive force in Garnethill; but it also unlocked a complex ripple of emotions, both locally and across the globe, because the building projects a personality;  it was not just an assembly...
Aloysius de Gonzaga as a boy
AMDGThe patron saint of young people, and of Jesuit scholastics (students for the priesthood), we celebrate the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga SJ in a special way this year with a Jubilee Year to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth. Why is his life worth celebrating?Aloysius, or Luigi, gave up a privileged background to enter the Society of Jesus. While studying for the priesthood, he died while caring for plague victims on the streets of Rome. Rather than flee the daunting realities of his...
Westminster, the river Thames and Westminster bridge
The Windrush scandal signifies more than Ministerial incompetence: it has revealed the shocking inhumanity of our immigration policy.  How can we talk about British values when we deliberately design policies that negate the values of hospitality, compassion, solidarity and justice?  So far so obvious for some, so contentious for others.But where are the ethical principles going to come from that might guide us towards putting things right?  The Christian tradition might be a...
 A young woman gazes upwards. A cross is behind her.
“Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” [John 20.9]“So, what exactly is the point of the ‘bodily resurrection’?”I was once asked this question in a pub by a journalist. And, as always, when I find myself talking in a social environment with a journalist, I hear somewhere off in the background the words of the Police caution… “but anything you do say may be taken down and used in evidence…”But drink had been taken, so I did...
Photo by Josh Calabrese on Unsplash
When I was a teenager, I grew up in Wimbledon – a village in South London that is famous for only one thing – every June there is a tennis tournament that attracts players and spectators from all over the world. It’s supposed to be the oldest tennis tournament in the world – I’m not absolutely sure if that’s true. But it is certainly the most prestigious.And I remember particularly the first day I went there. It used to be that if you lived locally, you could walk up in the evenings, when most...
God made me and God doesn't make junk - Anonymous
“…they discussed among themselves what ‘rising from the dead’ could mean.”One of my patients has a favourite T-shirt which he often wears to consultations with me. In block red capitals (presumably he has concerns about my eyesight) it says, “Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future.”Having lived with quite a few saints in my time, I can heartily attest to the former. But, just in case I have to live with them again, the story I am going to tell you is about the latter….Now, you may...
one beer later written on the cap of a bottle
It is not very often that a persons life is changed in a single day, even in a day of recollection. I have a friend called Chris, he tells me that between the ages of 16 and 22, he did absolutely nothing but play football, drink alcohol, smoke tobacco and other drugs and chase girls, - mostly without success. Every night he came home drunk. After six years of this his mother was distraught. She simply could not cope any longer. She spoke to her parish priest. He wasn’t much help (and she wasn’t...
Photo: © Tonya Fitzpatrick, World Footprints. All Rights Reserved
This week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and it will be marked this Sunday by a pulpit swap, with Richard Fermer from the Grosvenor Chapel coming to the Church of the Immaculate conception to preach at the 11am Mass and myself going across the garden to preach at the Grosvenor Chapel.My first thoughts are to be grateful for what has been achieved.  We live in a part of London where there are reminders of a time when it was very different.  We are conscious of Tyburn and...

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