Making Church ‘Safe’

By September 30, 2014 Blog

Following on from yesterday’s post, some thoughts on making church less scary:  Expect that folks in your pews will struggle.  Model weakness and beware of a leadership model that says that ‘proper’ Christians have to be strong and together.  Talk about mental health issues – even in sermons: and not as something ‘unusual’ or ‘weak’. Avoid using loaded words e.g. ‘mad’, ‘crazy’ – especially from the pulpit. Invite speakers in to talk about specific issues, including testimonies from …Read More

When the Safe Place is Scary

By September 29, 2014 Blog

Recently I was talking with a friend, when she started to cry.  ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  It’s just that sometimes I find everything so hard.   I don’t have any confidence in myself. I look at other people and no-one else seems to struggle the same way. Silly things – like just going to church – make me really anxious.’ Later the same day, I received this email from someone else. “I don’t want a life without Jesus, or …Read More

Spot the Difference

By September 28, 2014 Blog

What’s the difference between the hope of the gospel and the hope of a bumper sticker, (‘smile: it may never happen?’)  I ask, because sometimes, they look like the same thing. Here’s an example. In a section on emotional health, this month’s ‘Essentials’ magazine says ‘don’t worry – it’ll all work out’.  Turn to Matthew 6 and you’ll see Jesus saying the same. Or think of a book like Proverbs.   ‘A good name is better than money.’ ‘Iron sharpens iron.’  ‘Get wisdom.’ Insight straight from the Lord? Or a …Read More

Living Dolls

By September 25, 2014 Blog

When I was younger, one of my favourite ‘toys’ was a cut-out doll. She came with a paper wardrobe: from tracksuits and gym-wear to sequins and feather boas. But it wasn’t just her clothes you could change: it was her: her lips, her eyes, her hair, her nose and her shape. Whatever you wanted, she could become – and her identities were as disposable as her hairstyles. I thought I’d grown out of dolls. But in fact, I grew into …Read More

Tough Love

By September 24, 2014 Blog

Talking with a friend recently about marriage.  And the times when it’s tough.  ‘I should never have married you!’ tough. ‘I can’t see a way forward’ tough. ‘We need a miracle or I may kill you’ tough. I thank God for my husband and the blessing he is to me. But we’re fallen, which means we both mess it all up – sometimes in spectacular ways. I don’t think we’re alone. So when it gets to this point, what’s to stop us …Read More

Change Your Life! Take Our Test!

By September 23, 2014 Blog

Ever  wondered what kind of person you REALLY are? Or how you can unlock your HIDDEN potential? Up to 99% of us are not living our dreams. And as Research shows, it’s because we’re not focusing enough on ourselves. If you’ve ever felt a slight sense of discontent, this blog post is FOR YOU. Don’t waste any more time.  Take our FREE survey and discover how to live your Best Life NOW.   Q1. Have you ever struggled with mental health issues? a. Don’t be …Read More

Bible for the Bruised

By September 22, 2014 Blog

I have an enduring love for Gideon bibles.   Especially the section at the start, where they list verses according to topics. When I first became a Christian, that wee red book was like a road map: What to do when you’re: depressed/lonely/doubting/angry. How to find help when looking for a job/tempted to despair. Where to turn when people slander you or mock you for your faith. It’s not the best way to read the Bible, but God used these headings to bring me comfort. (‘Longing for …Read More

Better Questions

By September 21, 2014 Blog

Questions that aren’t worth asking: How many retweets have I got? How can I improve my serve? Are my toes normal? Has Jennifer Aniston found true love? Does this make my bum look big? Questions that might be: What is God up to in your life, right now? What moves you?  What makes you excited? Who is your inspiration? What gifts has God given you – and how are you using them? What are you dreaming about? Who are you comparing …Read More

Slinkers and Strollers

By September 18, 2014 Blog

In a survey of Christian students, 97% reckoned Jesus was an extrovert*. Now, given that He’s the model of real and perfect humanity, what do we make of this? Blessed are the sociable? Thou shalt Mingle More? I’m not convinced. On the one hand, Jesus was utterly outgoing – ministering long after the rest of us would have jumped into our pjs and locked the doors. But so often we define extroversion and introversion in terms of what works for us:  for example: do people invigorate you?  Or do they sap …Read More

In His Words

By September 17, 2014 Blog

When it comes to your identity, you can’t rely on other people and you can’t rely on yourself. I was reminded of this a few days ago when Glen and I bumped into some old friends. It’s the first time they’ve seen me since I’ve been pregnant, and the conversation went like this: ‘Aaaaah – there she is! Show me your tummy!’ Bump was duly squeezed – which would be fine, were I not a sociopath who require 2 meters of personal space. As it was, I smiled …Read More