Surviving Coffee Time

By February 21, 2016 Blog

I love church.  And I love coffee. But post-church coffee? Terrifying. It’s not the people.  Individually, they are LOVELY.  But there’s something about a group. In a small area.  Trying to talk to one another at once. Something that makes me want to stuff my fingers in my ears and lie down in a darkened room.  On an island. In space. You’re trying to connect deeply/make small talk but Billy is practising on the drums and you can’t remember that lady’s name even though you’ve …Read More

Not Just A Head Truth

By February 16, 2015 Blog

What makes you you? Perhaps it’s something obvious.  A physical stamp, like the lettering that runs through  a stick of rock. A shock of flame-red hair. A birth-mark. The way you tilt your head.  Your laugh. Your funny, loping walk. Maybe it’s something hidden.  Something the cashier at the supermarket can’t spot, and even close friends might miss.  An event in your past. Or words that have lodged, deep below your skin. “You’re special.”  “You’re a disappointment.” “You’re fat or useless …Read More

We Are Family

By November 20, 2014 Blog

Churches are full of humans.  Humans who mean well, but also make mistakes. This means they’re places of blessing; but sometimes also of hurt. If you’ve tried church in the past and had bad experiences there, I’m sorry.  But please – don’t give up on the family that God puts you in. If you don’t go to church, then now’s a great time to visit – or revisit – somewhere new. If you do go, and see someone you don’t recognise, …Read More

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

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

The Limits of Blogging

By September 9, 2014 Blog

One of the things I love most about blogging, is being part of an online community. It’s given me the chance to talk with an incredible group of people; to share life and develop my thinking in ways that I’d never have predicted.  There have been many times when I’ve relied on the wisdom and prayers of people I’ve never met; and I thank God for you and your encouragement and support. Plus, it’s not just me. For those who are sick or housebound, …Read More

Competing with Church

By July 23, 2014 Blog

Interesting… From The Guardian A letter to My husband, who ‘found God’: You weren’t religious when we met and married 10 years ago. Your Catholic upbringing and strict schooling had understandably put you off. I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body, preferring to believe that people can be kind and help each other, without the church and its many downsides. But then you started secretly reading and thinking, and didn’t talk to me about it. You started going …Read More

The Church Blanket

By May 29, 2014 Blog

Sometimes it feels like nothing we do or say can make a difference.  Turn on the TV and it’s a wave of suffering. Open the newspaper and sadness spills from every page.  In our relationships and in our lives: we see people hurting and we want to help, but don’t know how. We’re scared of reaching out in case we make things worse. This is one reason why church matters.  Individually, we’re weak, isolated and afraid.  But together we’re strong. …Read More

Bad Day

By May 1, 2014 Blog

your iphone has cracked 33 Christians have been sentenced to death in North Korea. Starbucks have messed up your order again The believers are thought to have been working alongside Kim Jeong-Wook, a South Korean missionary who was arrested in October 2013 and was also said to be carrying Bibles and other Christian literature. your computer has frozen Violent attacks by militants  from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. you’ve had a really boring day at work On one day of violence at …Read More