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
Why you should watch ‘The Chosen’
In recent weeks I have loved watching the series The Chosen, a brilliantly produced series about Jesus and his core group of followers. Depth and quality I have always found dramatic adaptations of the Bible helpful. The gospel narratives are very lean and allow for plenty of imaginative speculation about people's back stories, motivations and… Continue reading Why you should watch ‘The Chosen’
The opposite of toxic masculinity
Carl Beech is the founder of Christian Vision for Men and Edge Ministries which builds Christian communities in areas of deprivation. I have been deeply struck by how Carl has shared news of his recent diagnosis of Early Onset Parkinson's disease. I have found his insights an inspirational example of how God's power is often… Continue reading The opposite of toxic masculinity
Burning disagreement: the Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling
In the early 2000s, I worked for a large Christian charity where I organised an optional prayer meeting that started each working week. On one occasion, a colleague used a quote from Harry Potter as part of a reflection. As I recall it was Albus Dumbledore saying: ‘We are protected, in short, by our ability… Continue reading Burning disagreement: the Witch Trials of J.K. Rowling
Inspiration v integrity
The emerging allegations relating to the behaviour of Mike Pilavachi, church leader and founder of the Soul Survivor festival, have sent seismic shocks through the church. The accusations of coerced massages of young interns, along with bullying and an intense favouring-then-freezing-out of colleagues, sound similar to the behaviour of Jonathan Fletcher. I hope all those… Continue reading Inspiration v integrity
A crowning ambivalence
‘VIVAT REX EDUARDUS! They crowned a king this day, and there has been great rejoicing and elaborate tomfoolery, and I am perplexed and saddened… Thus wrote the American author Jack London who came to England in 1902 to write about poverty and homelessness. His visit coincided with the coronation of King Edward VII. The 1902… Continue reading A crowning ambivalence
A gateway to humanity’s deepest needs: security and purpose
Jesus used many ordinary and everyday illustrations to convey truth. But his sheep / shepherd metaphors are probably some of the most well-known. Sheep are vulnerable and need places to gather which provide safety and protection. They are also prone to panic and a herd mentality. They need experienced guides they trust to help… Continue reading A gateway to humanity’s deepest needs: security and purpose
Honour where it’s due: Neil Jameson & the difference between profile & real influence
I am re-posting this article from 2016 because I heard yesterday the tragic news that Neil Jameson, the founder of Citizens UK, has died. Neil’s work and legacy is quite rightly receiving great praise and I wanted to re-post this blog with deep respect to all he achieved for community building and social justice.
For more details see the Citizen’s UK website.
I am not a big fan of the Honours system which awards Knighthoods, CBEs, OBEs and MBEs every year. Again this year there has been controversy over political bias in the awards as the director of the Conservative election campaign, Lynton Crosby, was given a knighthood.
Andas The Times reports, despite only 7% of the country attending private schools, over 50% of the top awards went to people with that background.
But one name stood out when I looked at the list of who had been awarded gongs this year – and that was Neil Jameson, the Executive Director of Citizens UK who received a CBE ‘for services to community organising and social justice.’
For those of you who don’t know, Citizens UK is a network of different community organising groups across the country. They bring churches, mosques, trade unions and other civil organisations together to create…
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Process, protocol & the problem with the Civil Service
Dominic Raab’s resignation as Secretary of State for Justice and Deputy Prime Minister has led to intense discussion about the relationship between Ministers and the Civil Service. This follows similar controversies around the conduct of Priti Patel when she was Home Secretary. In January this year, I completed a 4 year secondment into the Civil… Continue reading Process, protocol & the problem with the Civil Service
‘I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty’
"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the centre and which then ends by being caught up… Continue reading ‘I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty’
A Sex Pistol’s example of true love – by Anne O’Connor
I read today of the death of Nora Forster. I have to admit her name meant nothing to me but I learnt that she was the wife of John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten), lead singer of the infamous 1970s punk band the Sex Pistols. Although she was 14 years his senior, Lydon declared it was… Continue reading A Sex Pistol’s example of true love – by Anne O’Connor