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

Homelessness, Social action

A day in the life of one church’s response to homelessness

In the last year, churches and faith groups have played a vital role in the Everyone In initiative which saw over 40,000 people affected by homelessness go into emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs. They helped their guests from communal night shelters into single-room accommodation and then continued to support those guests with food, support… Continue reading A day in the life of one church’s response to homelessness

Book reviews, Poverty

The best book on poverty I have ever read

This book was given to me by a former colleague 3 years ago, but must confess that I only read it in the last few weeks. Being honest, the delay was caused by a misjudged assumption that it would be a grim rant about structural inequality: long on problems and blame, short on hope and… Continue reading The best book on poverty I have ever read

Theology & Church

Construction Time Again

Deconstruction is one of the phrases of the moment within church circles. It describes the process of re-evaluating beliefs you once held dear. Doctrines are questioned; clear boundary-markers of behaviour are replaced with more nuance; black and white is replaced by shades of grey. Many decide to reject forms of faith which they now perceive… Continue reading Construction Time Again

Social commentary

How much is enough?

Indian priest Anthony de Mello tells this story. .................................. "A rich industrialist from the North was horrified to find a Southern fisherman lying leisurely beside his boat. 'Why aren't you fishing?' asked the industrialist. "Because I have caught enough fish for the day" said the fisherman. "Why don't you catch some more?" "What would I… Continue reading How much is enough?

Ethics & Christian living

Martin Bashir and being ‘evangelical’ about the truth

You could say that Martin Bashir is reaping what he has sown. For 26 years his career and reputation has been enhanced by his famous interview with Princess Diana, then the most iconic woman in the world.  He elicited responses from her which are now historic quotes, and won awards for his journalism. But an… Continue reading Martin Bashir and being ‘evangelical’ about the truth

Personal

They ain’t heavy, they’re my brothers…

People's faith commitments can never be completely separated from their experience of family life. Our character, perspectives and world-view are hugely affected by the beliefs which surround us as we grow up. For some, the experience moulds them and provides an enduring framework to understand the meaning and purpose of life. For others, it creates… Continue reading They ain’t heavy, they’re my brothers…

Politics

What’s the point of the Labour Party? – by Alan Bolchover

After the disaster of losing the seat of Hartlepool by a landslide, the Labour Party is doing what it does best: navel-gazing.  The day after the election both the left and right of the party came out, guns blazing...on each other.  Peter Mandelson was on Sky blaming the defeat on the continuing negative impact of… Continue reading What’s the point of the Labour Party? – by Alan Bolchover

Book reviews, Ethics & Christian living

Spiritual resources for social activism

'Everyone thinks of changing the world, but where, oh where, are those who think of changing themselves? People may genuinely want to be good, but seldom are they prepared to do what it takes to produce the inward life of goodness that can form the soul.' Richard Foster Over the last few months, I have… Continue reading Spiritual resources for social activism

Theology & Church

‘Faith is always personal, but never private’

I often reflect on this quote from the American social activist Jim Wallis: 'Faith is always personal, but never private.' Its a pithy way to describe the inward and outward nature of authentic Christianity. Personal convictions are the engine-room of faith. Individual hearts and minds need to be committed. Each of us need to answer… Continue reading ‘Faith is always personal, but never private’

Theology & Church

The grace and truth of John Stott – by Paul Blackham

This week marks a 100 years since the birth of John Stott (27 April 1921 – 27 July 2011) the eminent Church of England minister and theologian. In 2005, Time magazine ranked Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world. The three things that mean the most to me about John Stott are: 1. His… Continue reading The grace and truth of John Stott – by Paul Blackham