Homelessness

The need for grace and truth: the complexity of compassion #1

When I was in my twenties, I lived in Kings Cross in London and was a member of a local church. There, I got to know a man who was a former crack addict. We'll call him Ian. He was doing his best to put his life back together and get work as a painter… Continue reading The need for grace and truth: the complexity of compassion #1

Social commentary

‘The Hill We Climb’: a new expression of an ancient message

In the past few months various high-profile ‘Christian Prophets’ confidently predicted a Trump win. Some have apologised, some cling to conspiracies which they believe prove they were actually right.  All of this nonsense does the Church no credit. But God works in mysterious ways. And in the heart of the inauguration ceremony, we witnessed a… Continue reading ‘The Hill We Climb’: a new expression of an ancient message

Politics

Possessed by a cult of ‘Christian’ nationalism

For many people the Christian support for Donald Trump is one of the most mystifying and worrying aspects of US politics. It was no surprise to see Jesus banners amongst those carried by those who stormed the Capitol building. Four years ago, an old school friend, Nick Miles, wrote a guest post on why he,… Continue reading Possessed by a cult of ‘Christian’ nationalism

Social action

How HUSSO volunteering changed my life

HUSSO 1994: launch of a new football coaching project. Jon Kuhrt is next to Mo Cookson (front left) I arrived at Hull University in the Autumn of 1991 to study Social Policy and Social Work. I signed up to join HUSSO, the student community action group, at the Freshers’ Fair after hearing the Chair, Martin… Continue reading How HUSSO volunteering changed my life

Ethics & Christian living

The Queen gives us a model of how to talk about faith publicly

Over the last 10 years the Queen has been increasingly open about her Christian faith in her Christmas Day message. This quote particularly struck me from her speech this year: "The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light." Whatever your views on the Royal family, I think everyone can learn from the way that the Queen speaks… Continue reading The Queen gives us a model of how to talk about faith publicly

Ethics & Christian living, Films & music

Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character George Bailey faces bankruptcy and scandal. After a life of service and sacrifice, someone else’s negligence takes him to the brink of ruin. On Christmas Eve, in the midst of his angst and desperation, George goes home and sees his family. His young daughter, Zuzu,… Continue reading Zuzu’s petals and the pandemic: reminders of what is most important

Theology & Church

Fishin’ 4 Religion: the Arrested Development of faith

Way back in 1993 when I was a student, the band Arrested Development released their first album 3 years, 5 months and 2 days in the Life of... It sold 4 million copies and was pretty much the only hip hop album I ever bought. Part of what I liked was how spiritual many of… Continue reading Fishin’ 4 Religion: the Arrested Development of faith

Personal

My friend Stuart Ryland, 1969-2020

Today was the funeral of my friend Stuart Ryland.  Stu was a great friend and Christian brother and his passing has devastated me. Stuart’s younger brother Andrew has been one of my best friends since I was 7, so for many years I saw him mainly as ‘my mate’s big brother’.  Stuart was always nice… Continue reading My friend Stuart Ryland, 1969-2020

Ethics & Christian living

In Honour of Mary’s Song – by Dave Andrews

At my church this week, I am speaking about Mary's Song from Luke 1. The German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, wrote: 'This is not the gentle, tender, dreamy Mary whom we sometimes see in paintings… This song has none of the sweet, nostalgic, or even playful tones of some of our Christmas carols. The… Continue reading In Honour of Mary’s Song – by Dave Andrews

Ethics & Christian living

Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid?

Rembrandt 'The adoration of the shepherds' The opening line to Band Aid's Do they know its Christmas? in 1984 were sung by Paul Young: ‘Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid’ Many people may find it hard to sing along to these lines in Christmas 2020. This year there is probably a longer list… Continue reading Its Christmas-time, there’s no need to be afraid?