An Explanation

By March 19, 2014 Blog

So this is what I want to tell you. Those moments when you look at me and ask ‘what?’ and I don’t say anything back. This is what I think when all the words become stuck: I want you to know I’m not ignoring you.  I’m just feeling overwhelmed. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk but my head is full and there’s no space for more questions.  When I don’t say much, it’s not that I’m distracted. It’s …Read More

Counselling and Church

By March 18, 2014 Blog

When someone comes to us with pastoral issues we often put them into one of two boxes. 1. Church-box: for spiritual issues and small to medium-sized relational problems. 2. Expert-box: for mental health struggles and big-sized relational problems. The former can be dealt with in-house: with prayer and fellowship, friendship and gospel. The latter needs Professionals. And in between we ask: ‘have you thought about counselling?’ But it’s not quite that simple. Counsellors, especially Christian ones can be hard to …Read More

The Sex Issue

By March 17, 2014 Blog

(Given the topic, I thought I’d do this post with Glen): Recently, Glen was chatting to a guy with a serious girlfriend.  ‘Man,’ said the guy, ‘I’m really struggling with purity issues. I’ve got all these pent-up feelings and it’s hard holding off’. He took a sip of his pint, ‘Y’know?’ Glen did know.  And so did his wife.  But Glen asked a question: “Do you think marriage will solve those problems?” “Yes! Wait: you’re saying it won’t?” This time …Read More

Call Your Mother: She Worries.

By March 13, 2014 Blog

My parents are off to Barcelona for a few days, so I phone to wish them well. Me: ‘Hi mum. Just phoning to wish you a safe journey.’ Mum: (choking over her words in excitement)’ WELL. Safe is the word. Apparently Barcelona is a CRIME CAPITAL. Your father had no idea when he booked’. Me: ‘Don’t be silly: The Spanish probably think that about Belfast’ Mum: ‘I’m not joking Emma. We are extremely worried. I’ve been grinding’ (she grinds her …Read More

Praise Him

By March 12, 2014 Blog

Shout for joy to the Lord Come before Him with thanksgiving Praise Him in the dishes and the rumble of the bus Praise Him in the stillness and praise Him in the fuss Praise Him in the sounding of the car horn and the kettle Praise Him with the plastic and the nylon and the metal Praise Him in the muesli and praise Him in the Marmite Praise Him in the sunshine and praise Him in the firelight Praise Him …Read More

Two Kinds of Fast

By March 11, 2014 Blog

Lent is traditionally the season of abstinence.  We ask each other, ‘what are you giving up?’ But the real question is this: ‘who are you giving it up for?’   I say this as someone who’s very good at self-will and saying ‘no’. But I’m learning there’s a world of difference between fasting for the Lord and fasting for yourself.   Both look religious, but are centered round very different gods. One is Jesus.  One is me. If you’re not …Read More

What God is Not

By March 10, 2014 Blog

God is not: holy Berocca: extra-special energy for extreme situations, or a pick-me-up for bad days your homeboy a lunch date for Sundays a policeman waiting to pounce a prankster: tying your laces and giggling when you trip a portable teddy bear:  wheel him out for cuddles when you’re feeling sad. a provider of parking spaces lonely and in need of mates a hole that fits between your pancreas and kidneys Gandalf divine disinfectant: to be sprayed into tricky corners …Read More

LOVE this.

By March 9, 2014 Blog

Our vicar played it this morning at church. Brilliant. From Worship House Media Share…FacebookTwitterTumblrPinterestGoogle+StumbleUponDiggemail

Mental Health and Sin

By March 7, 2014 Blog

Mental health struggles are not sins.  When I was obsessively checking door handles and washing my hands and counting cracks in the walls and repeating phrases in my head – it was not because I enjoyed doing it. It was exhausting and demeaning and debilitating and painful and I did it because I felt compelled to; because in my head if I didn’t, the people I loved might get hurt. I wanted to stop, but I didn’t know how. When …Read More

Feel the Feeling

By March 6, 2014 Blog

Emotions are like muggers.  They creep up on you from behind.  They steal your lunch.  They’re knock you to the floor and cling to your neck. Anger ‘overcame’ me. Anxiety ‘attacked’ me.  Guilt ‘ate me up’. Fear ‘paralysed’ me with its scary laser gun. The trick with feelings,  is to squash them before they squash you.  Sit on them or poke them in the eye.  Stuff them in a drawer and ignore the rattles. But whatever you do, don’t give …Read More