Social commentary

Blokes, beer & banter. But can we talk about things that really matter?

Covid-19 has ruined many things. It has taken loved ones, destroyed livelihoods, damaged mental health, disrupted education and suspended much of the family and community life we hold precious. But there has been some silver linings. And for me, one of these is how much more time I have spent with my oldest group of… Continue reading Blokes, beer & banter. But can we talk about things that really matter?

Ethics & Christian living

The responsibility of the least segregated place in my community

“I think it is one of the shameful tragedies of our nation that 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours in Christian America…any church that stands against integration, and which has a segregated body, is standing against the spirit and teachings of Jesus Christ.”  Martin Luther King, 1960 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q881g1L_d8… Continue reading The responsibility of the least segregated place in my community

Recommended books, Social commentary

‘Beware of Pity’: an old story with a timeless message

"There are two types of pity. One, the weak-minded, sentimental sort, is really just the heart’s impatience to rid itself as quickly as possible of the painful experience of being moved by another person’s suffering.” The novel Beware of Pity was first published by Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig in 1939. I have just read the… Continue reading ‘Beware of Pity’: an old story with a timeless message

Films & music, Recommended books

Recreating Narnia: an open letter to Netflix

Dear Netflix, Congratulations on acquiring the rights to The Chronicles of Narnia. I am writing to share five thoughts on what Netflix needs to bear in mind to make the series a success. I cannot claim to know anything about producing films or TV series. But I do know about Narnia. Like millions of others, the… Continue reading Recreating Narnia: an open letter to Netflix

Ethics & Christian living

We rarely know the impact of what we do (for good and bad)

In the late 1990s, I was the manager of a hostel for young people in central London. One of the residents, I’ll call him Will, had serious mental health problems. These manifested in paranoia and bizarre delusions about religious conspiracies and plots. Sadly, his health declined and the extremity of his behaviour increased. The worst… Continue reading We rarely know the impact of what we do (for good and bad)

Theology & Church

‘The Cross and Shame: speaking of atonement to a shame-filled society’ by Rebecca Winfrey [review]

A continual challenge in Christian community work and social action is the connection between the practical work being done to the actual message itself.  People can pour into church buildings for toddler groups, foodbanks, lunch clubs, youth clubs and night shelters. But often these social action programmes become detached and disconnected from the message which… Continue reading ‘The Cross and Shame: speaking of atonement to a shame-filled society’ by Rebecca Winfrey [review]

Social action

‘Make the community livable’: Shaftesbury’s legacy of Christian social action

Livability is a Christian organisation which is now focused on providing services and support to people affected by disability. But the organisation also has a rich history of community action and urban mission which should never be forgotten. The name Livability came into being in 2007 when the disability charity John Grooms merged with the… Continue reading ‘Make the community livable’: Shaftesbury’s legacy of Christian social action

Social commentary

The petrol station Samaritan: how ‘Namaste Man’ saved my birthday

It is my birthday this week, so with lockdown easing, our family all got in the car to visit my parents yesterday. It was our first trip together for months. My three children were especially looking forward to a slap-up (if socially-distanced) Sunday lunch cooked by their Granny. As a bonus, we were also going… Continue reading The petrol station Samaritan: how ‘Namaste Man’ saved my birthday

Ethics & Christian living

‘Hopelessness is the enemy of justice’: personal belief & social change

Bryan Stevenson graduated in law from Harvard University and went to work for men on death row in Alabama. He established the Equal Justice Initiative to provide legal support for those who had not received fair representation and whose convictions were based on weak evidence. Just Mercy is a great film about the story of… Continue reading ‘Hopelessness is the enemy of justice’: personal belief & social change

Poverty

How I learnt about structural advantage

In my summer holidays between the ages of 19 to 23, I volunteered on a holiday club for kids run with local churches in Islington in London. Growing up in more suburban areas, going into the ‘inner city’ was like venturing into another world. I helped run a group for 11-14 year olds who lived… Continue reading How I learnt about structural advantage