Unexpected Answers

By October 17, 2014 Blog

God’s time-frame is not ours. And sometimes, He answers our prayers, a little later than we expect. When I was nine or ten, I entered a competition that our primary school was running with Belfast zoo. ZOO!  ZooZooZooZooZoo. I LOVE zoos: and Belfast was the BEST. To enter, you had to write a poem about the new baby kangaroos. The winners would then get to visit them with the class, and – get this – give them kangaroo names. I felt sick just thinking about it. So, I …Read More

Why I Am A Christian

By October 16, 2014 Blog

1. Because Jesus is Lord. 2. Without Him, nothing in my life makes sense. 3. He loved me before I loved Him. 4. He sees me as I am and He doesn’t run away. 5. He forgives me and He’s working redemption through even my mistakes. 6. He tells it like it is. 7. Because I have a bond with my brothers and sisters that defies explanation. 8. Because I see Him at work in other Christians and He changes lives that nothing …Read More

The Prize to Prize

By October 15, 2014 Blog

Just been with Glen at the Jerusalem Awards, where he and some mates won one of the categories (‘Best Short Media’). Hurrah! We – I – am very proud, and you can see the video that won it here. In general however, I find it hard to identify with winners, (though I’ll make an exception for Glen). My heart and sympathy is with the “losers.” The triers. The “ordinary.” Put yourself in the shoes of a finalist. You’re paused, waiting …Read More

The Rights and Wrongs of Anger

By October 14, 2014 Blog

Guest post from Glen: A traffic jam when you’re already late, A no smoking sign on your cigarette break. Ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife What do these have in common? That’s right, none of them are even remotely “ironic” – merely unfortunate (please note, Alanis). But yesterday I came a little closer to a genuinely “ironic” predicament: I parked in a restricted area in order to get the permit that would allow me to park there. I …Read More

Stronger than Sympathy

By October 13, 2014 Blog

What does it mean to help someone who’s depressed or in distress? Do we join them? Or keep our distance? One approach is illustrated in the cartoon pictured. Helping here means making a nest for the hurting person, withdrawing with them and keeping them company in the dark. It breaks down the wall between “sufferer” and “carer” – and that’s a good thing. It’s also a lovely picture of empathy and understanding. But is it enough? Joining the depressed person in their pit pictures part of Christ’s love – …Read More

Demoted but not Diminished

By October 10, 2014 Blog

It’s Friday afternoon.  Woo-hoo!  The radio’s playing party tunes. You and the rest of the world have been liberated to kick back and spend that well-earned salary. Unless of course, you don’t have one. Salary, I mean.  Or er – job. Some of us are employed: but overqualified.  Some are trying to get work, but finding it impossible, despite our best efforts.  Some of us want to work, but can’t – for example, because of ill health. Some of us work, but don’t have …Read More

Feel Your Feelings

By October 8, 2014 Blog

As human beings, we’re made to have feelings.  And, expressed rightly,  those feelings, (even the “bad” ones), are good. But it’s hard to get the balance right.  Do we let them lead us and tell us who we are? Or squash ’em and pretend they don’t exist? How does A Christian process emotion – loud and proud? Or masked and mute? First of all, it’s worth recognising that all sorts of factors determine how we feel about our feelings: Family. Growing up …Read More

The Contract Killer

By October 7, 2014 Blog

If you’re anything like me, your instinctive reaction to depression or addiction or difficulty will be to try harder.  In Christian terms, it looks like this: praying longer, studying the Bible more and generally being a “better Christian.” These things are great – but they are not the gospel. The point of Christianity is not ‘keeping up our end of the deal’. The point is a marriage-relationship with Jesus. We haven’t entered a contractual arrangement with Jesus but a covenant of love. He’s a spouse, …Read More

Christianity for Control Freaks

By October 6, 2014 Blog

Christianity is hard work if you’re a control freak. Something has got to give.  But not me. “Let go and let God?” Let ME, I hiss (when He’s not listening) – I can do it. I need to be in charge. Which means making my world small enough that I can control it.  The tins, facing the same way.  The routines, keeping chaos at bay. No room for other people (in case they don’t follow My Rules). No room for risk (in case it …Read More

Big Questions

By October 5, 2014 Blog

Here are three great questions I was asked recently. They go to the heart of what it means to be human: 1. Can you start again, if you don’t believe things can change?  I really believe that we can start afresh, even if we don’t think things can change. That’s because the truth is not what we think or feel, it’s outside of us and it’s a person: Jesus, who tells us who we are and what we’re really worth. …Read More