Heroes: Fallen Or Pushed?

By July 2, 2012 Blog

It’s dangerous to have heroes.  Well, living ones anyway. Even the dead ones are fraught with dangers too. That’s one reason why I find it hard to read  biographies of people I admire. Either they come across as saintlike and unreal, or they’re brutally exposed.  They rarely survive scrutiny and my hopes mingle with the dust of their reputations. Not that it’s stops me.  I’m a hero-seeking missile.  As soon as one is toppled, I find another. I’ve got a …Read More

Stuff I’m lernin.

By April 25, 2012 Blog

Church myths: 1. That everyone else has got it together. Yes, some do.  But most don’t – they’re just good at wrapping. And instead of judging you, chances are they’re worried that you are judging them. 2. That we need to keep hold of Jesus – especially in the hard times. Yes, we need to prioritise and nurture our faith. But there are times when it’s all you can do to lift your head.  And more important than the fact …Read More

Can You Help?

By March 16, 2012 Blog

It’s tempting to assume that churches are full of people who’ve got it together.  The Sunday morning freshly-scrubbed faces and starchy smiles that disguise altogether murkier and choppier depths.  The argument  that’s tidied away along with the breakfast dishes – or at least until the final hymn. Everyone else is fine.  You’re the only one with any issues. Of course, this is a nonsense idea.  Church is for those who recognise their need of a Saviour – not those who …Read More

Gospel for the Healthy

By October 21, 2011 Blog

‘God so loved the world that whoever has their life together should not perish but have eternal life’. Ridiculous, huh? And yet…how often is this exactly what we practice? As a church, our mission is to care for the broken and to point them to Christ. But what areas do we designate as ‘off limits?’  How, for example, do we tackle the issue of eating disorders? Do we even try? Yes, medical care is important.  But what about emotional, spiritual, mental support? It’s …Read More

Jesus Doesn’t Need You For A Sunbeam (Or Anything Else)

By September 28, 2011 Blog

‘Ministry’  is a somewhat loaded term. What exactly is it? Where does it start and end? Our pews are filled with people. Often people with problems. There’s always more you could ( and should?) be doing. Especially if you’re a natural carer and thrive on feeling wanted. We hate seeing others in pain and know in our heads that we aren’t the answer. But self-worth quickly becomes entwined with self-giving. We make ourselves indispensable. Instead of pointing other to Jesus, …Read More

Holy Burn-Out?

By April 29, 2011 Blog

Why do so many church workers and vicars burn out after just a short time in their ministries? You can probably think of hundreds of reasons. But here’s a few starters; We value gifting over character. In theory, we say we want holiness – and we do. But in practice, we’ll prioritise skills over maturity. We place immature Christians in positions of leadership and then act surprised when they come crashing down. What’s that? You can sing and play guitar? …Read More

De-Clawing The Lion

By April 10, 2011 Blog

I wonder if, like me, you sometimes point people to safe religion.  A system of morality, with a  domesticated, pocket-sized Christ at its head.  It’s not necessarily intentional and it can be for what seem like good reasons.  But as Bonhoeffer observed, cheap grace is no grace.  A little god is no God at all. What are some of the processes behind this? Well, I can see myself as the Lord’s one-woman press office.  He needs me you see, to …Read More

ED + Children

By April 3, 2011 Blog

As a church, we are rightly concerned with the needs of the wider world – particularly the young, weak, oppressed and poverty-stricken. But as reach out and pray for those suffering across the world, are we missing the pain on our own doorsteps? In our youth groups or Sunday schools? The contexts and causes may be worlds apart, but it seems that it’s not just children in Africa who are starving to death. More and more children under the age …Read More

Crazy Ladies?

By March 11, 2011 Blog, identity

Here’s a question. Are women victims of their biology? And do certain events in a woman’s life such as childbirth or menopause, predispose us to mental health disorders? Cards on the table, I’m not sure I go with this one.  Absolutely, hormones and stressful events can trigger all kinds of physical and mental problems.  But don’t major life experiences also affect men? (Or is ‘Tiger blood’ Sheen a glorious figment of my imagination?) Gender differences may predispose us to certain …Read More

Great Expectations

By February 17, 2011 Blog, identity

I’ve been reading about an interesting book by historian Stephanie Coontz on the long-term impact of Betty Friedan’s feminist classic, ‘The Feminine Mystique’.  Although pro-marriage, Friedan’s argument was that many of the traditional values and roles given to women were oppressive and harmful. Her book created a storm of controversy and Coontz argues that the ripples of this are still being felt today. Whilst I don’t swallow all of Friedan or Coontz’s arguments,  they both make some  interesting observations.  Coontz …Read More