The Heart of Change

By August 24, 2015 Blog

Sometimes I speak to folks in recovery from different issues.    They’ve made incredible progress – but there’s one question they often ask: “I’ve gotten over X” they say, “but now I have Y! Something else has taken its place! What’s wrong with me?  Will this ever end?” Swapping one harmful behaviour for another.  The anorexia who becomes bulimic. The bulimic who starts to self-harm. The self-harmer who turns to alcohol.  The alcoholic who starts abusing painkillers. Here’s how one blog reader puts it: …Read More

Enough Already

By January 26, 2013 Blog

Get married.  Get pregnant.  Get drunk. Get thin. Get a new job. Get a boyfriend. Get botox. Get a new outfit.   Get a bikini body. Get even. Get rich. Get a car.  Get a life. Get what you want. Get with the programme. Get ripped.  Get laid. Get faster broadband. Get more for your money. Cut your bills.   Cut your losses.  Cut your hours.  Cut your hair. Cut your wrists. Cut yourself a big slice. Cut your carbon footprint. Manage …Read More

Gospel Pants

By October 12, 2012 Blog

Dear Brother, How’s it going?  So good to have you as part of the fellowship here.  It’s a lovely group, isn’t it?   Proper believers. I expect that’s a little different to what you’ve been used to:  I’m not saying St Stefan’s was bad.  But here – well, we’re serious about our faith. Which is why I wondered if I could have a quick word. Don’t mishear me, bro – your heart’s in the right place. Bible believing, involved in evangelism, prayerful and a home group leader …Read More

Running On Empty

By August 16, 2012 Blog

I’ve been whizzing around for the last few weeks, Being Busy. Lots of things are going well and I’ve got loads to be thankful for. But I don’t feel right. I’m pooped. And edgy. And kind-of out-of-sorts. I could say it’s because I’ve been travelling. My stomach’s playing up and I’ve been working.   I’ve been back to Belfast and it’s hard to adjust. Summer’s coming to a close and I’m nervous about the future. Those things are there. But …Read More

Loving Angels Instead?

By June 24, 2012 Blog

What you hear and what you know can be very different. Earlier today, a very plausible stranger informed me that God was either absent or dead.  This came as something of a shock – but I was just talking to God and He assured me that this was not the case. In the same article, I read about the demise of the church … but (barring a cheese-induced hallucination),  this morning it seemed to be in perfect health. Here’s another ‘fact’: …Read More

Safe in the Storm

By June 8, 2012 Blog, identity

This week I forgot the gospel. Instead, I listened to old lies: I’m brilliant. I’m terrible.  Everything is too much. I can do it all myself. I went back to old idols: I went  to bed instead of facing all my feelings. Then I leapt up and tried to prove I was worthwhile. Then my head exploded under the weight of expectation and I retreated back to bed. And then up I popped till it started again… zero to hero, …Read More

Out of Order

By April 20, 2012 Blog

What makes you anxious?  And how do you deal with it?  Here’s a few of my own personal cisterns… Not having enough. Solution: binge-eating, stock-piling groceries, buying new clothes that are exactly the same as the old ones, plotting and planning. Having too much. Solution: giving everything away, clearing out (and binning) perfectly good crockery, books, clothes.  Refusing to open things that people have bought me (they’re too good, so I should save them for some imaginary future day), trying …Read More

Fire-Fighting with a Water Gun

By March 20, 2012 Blog

I’m writing a training evening for church leaders on ‘Eating Disorders’. And I’m not quite sure what to say. Here’s what I think people (including me!) want to hear.  A short explanation of what eating disorders are and who they impact.  A description of the warning signs.  The names of specialists who’ll deal with the messy bits. A list of practical suggestions on how to support those affected. The problem – and then the solution. I’ve got these things in …Read More

Worship at the Morgue

By March 5, 2012 Blog, identity

We become what we worship. And we’re all worshippers. So if I worship a block of wood, then I’ll become unyielding and dumb. And if I worship food – I’ll always be hungry. It’s creation turned upside-down: instead of us imaging God, we make him in our likeness. We distort his gifts and  look to them to provide us with meaning, identity, purpose and life. The shape of each person’s idolatry looks different – but the same dynamics are at …Read More

Manmade God

By March 4, 2012 Blog

What kind of God do we trust? Is He Personal or a cloud of divine stuff? If Personal, then in what sense? An angry Father, selfish and demanding?  A foreman, under pressure and understaffed? Does He wake us with a divine to-do list, drumming his fingers impatiently whilst we mess up our tasks? Does He need us: to bolster his ego, to do stuff and supply what He lacks? Do we need Him: or is salvation just a synonym for …Read More