Theology & Church

The Cross: the ultimate place of grace and truth

This week I went to see a Salvation Army Officer who runs a church centre in London. As I walked in, he and a colleague were speaking with three women.  As I waited, it became obvious that the women had problems with homelessness and drug addiction and that he knew them well. He and his… Continue reading The Cross: the ultimate place of grace and truth

Social commentary

Taking the blog out of my own eye: giving up negativity for Lent

This week, my friend and former colleague Adam Bonner left the charity Livability after 12 years of great work. At Adam’s leaving do what struck me was the impact that his positivity and hopefulness has had on so many people. He has a great gift for seeing the good in people and the opportunities that… Continue reading Taking the blog out of my own eye: giving up negativity for Lent

Recommended books, Social commentary

Head over heart: the case against emotional empathy

In the mid-1990s, I worked in a large hostel for 140 homeless people. One resident (lets call him Brian) had incredibly strong body odour. His lack of personal hygiene and reluctance to wash his clothes became a real issue. It led to snide comments from other residents and frustrations grew among those who shared the… Continue reading Head over heart: the case against emotional empathy

Recommended books, Social action

Is the Church just ‘an NGO with a pointy roof’?

Vincent Donovan was a Catholic missionary who worked among the Masai tribes-people in Tanzania in the 1960s.  He became increasingly concerned about the state of missionary work. After a 100 years of missionary activity in East Africa, the Catholic Church was very busy, running several schools, a major hospital and health outreach over a vast… Continue reading Is the Church just ‘an NGO with a pointy roof’?

Recommended books, Social action

‘For Good: The Church and the Future of Welfare’ – Samuel Wells with Russell Rook & David Barclay [review]

In the 1990s, I used to buy just about every book I could find on Christian social action. Around the turn of the century though, I had to become more selective. One reason was because the number of books published on the subject increased so much. But also I had a nagging guilt about spending too… Continue reading ‘For Good: The Church and the Future of Welfare’ – Samuel Wells with Russell Rook & David Barclay [review]

Films & music, Homelessness

A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Hector is a gritty and moving road-movie about a homeless man travelling from Scotland to London for Christmas. It is tough to watch in parts, but is also heart-warming and brilliantly acted. It avoids sentimentalising the characters or the subject matter. Peter Mullan’s acting is gentle and under-stated in the title-role.  As the film unfolds… Continue reading A little bit of hope can go a long way – review of ‘Hector’ (15)

Homelessness

Faith and homelessness: the further back you look, the further forward you can see…

Almost all homeless charities in the UK have their roots in the Church. Some are obvious, such as The Salvation Army, West London Mission, Cardinal Hume Centre, Providence Row, Emmaus, The Church Army and many others. Less people are aware that organisations like Shelter, the YMCA and Centrepoint were also established by church leaders and… Continue reading Faith and homelessness: the further back you look, the further forward you can see…