Culture and Society

A Crackling Fire
‘God makes his sun shine on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. ‘ Matt 5.45    We are all energised by the same sacred source. The same energy that fuels the dedicated selflessness of the saint fires the irresponsible acting-out of the prodigal son in Luke’s gospel.  Both are fuelled by the same sacred energy, though for very different purposes.It's easy to misinterpret this.   For example, one of the criticisms made of religion...
What's the load?
"How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"Once upon a time, when I was young, fit and good looking – well OK, about twenty years ago - I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats - from the South to the North of Great Britain – more than a thousand miles. And one day, I met an American tourist who was doing the same. But he was having a lot of problems with his bike and he was making very slow progress. And he asked me for my help. After about nine hundred...
I am the way the truth the life
“There are two extremes that the Christian must avoid,” says Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.*  “One extreme speaks only of personal self-fulfillment and denies the example and words of Jesus about taking up a cross. The other extreme speaks only the negative language of denial and renunciation and does not allow for the proper self-love without which true growth is not possible. There is a middle ground and it may be found only when we reject both extremes and try to combine into one the two...
Where there's tea there's hope
'If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, they will most certainly not lose their reward.'As you may know, I come from Northern Ireland, which is – or at least used to be - a very divided community between two sorts of people who, for very long and complicated historical, political, social, economic and even religious reasons, find it very hard to share one country. One race is called the nationalists - to which I happen to belong...
A Mosaic of the world
I have lived in London for 18 years and to celebrate I decided to walk around it, yes, the city that is! I came to London by choice, as an 'economic migrant' perhaps, but to pursue my career and make my home here. It is a city that I have come to know and love well through friends, politics, culture and community groups. Many of the people I work with now did not choose London, but came fleeing for their safety in search of asylum as refugees. Life in London is a struggle for survival and many...
Kindertransport bronze statue in Liverpool Street Station, London
“Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”If you go to Liverpool Street Station and you happen not to be in a terrible hurry to catch your train (or like me, know that you have already missed it), you may notice, tucked away in an unobtrusive little corner, a sculpture in bronze of two small sad looking children - a boy and a girl - and a large suitcase.And then you can look at it for quite a...
An interfaith banner from the Nichols College Chaplaincy from Sean on Flickr
All world religions are prone to disrespect and violence. Invariably, those acting in this way see their actions as justified by sacred cause.   It would seem that it’s always been so. No religion, has been innocent.Every one of the great religions of the world, including Christianity, has been, at various times, both persecuted and persecutor. So what are the fundamental principles we should try to live out in our relationship with other faiths?What’s best in each of our...
Harvest corn
When I was a child growing up in Ireland, we were the rich part of the family. We lived in the city, both my parents had paying jobs and we owned our own home. And every summer – in August - we went back to my mother’s real home, which was the hill country of Donegal to spend time with the cousins from the poor part of the family. And whenever we went back home, for weeks beforehand, my mother used to go to enormous efforts to go round all the shops and buy all the unusual foods that you could...
Image reads: the hero complex
In Hollywood movies and popular literature, we are often shown a hero as someone who, by going it alone, saves the world. But the ancient myths, and a good number of anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists, tell us that this kind of ‘hero’ is not the mature archetype of the true warrior or prophet. The mature saviour, prophet, or warrior is not ‘the hero’, but ‘the knight’.The difference is that the hero operates off his own agenda, whereas the knight is under someone else’s agenda. ‘...
Cheese and wine gathering after mass
      Finding God in daily lifeI can hardly believe it’s all over after all the careful planning that went into this mission week. However, although ‘Hearts On Fire’ mission week might have come and gone so fast, it will not be easily forgotten, as most of our parishioners have shared with us. We have been truly blessed with all of our visiting J’s, men and ladies, ordained and not, who all helped make this week the success it has been....

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