Reflections & Poetry

Barabbas’ Good Friday

by Martin Kuhrt When Pilate was addressing the crowd, with Jesus standing before him, he was sitting on the judge’s seat, just outside the Praetorium. This contained both his own Jerusalem residence and a Roman military barracks. It was strategically situated next to the Temple mount. It is likely that Barabbas, who had been convicted… Continue reading Barabbas’ Good Friday

Reflections & Poetry, Wellbeing

Showing love online on Valentine’s Day

If I blog with sparkling wit and powerful prose, but do not have love, I am just a blaring horn or a screech on a blackboard .  If I tell great stories, show brilliant intellect and can shine light on the mysteries of life, but do not have love, I am nothing.   If I make myself look… Continue reading Showing love online on Valentine’s Day

Reflections & Poetry

Saturday – by Cathy Westby

And here we standAnd here we liveStillShell shocked, heart bruised, exhaustedBy the losses we have witnessedAnd the pain we have felt. We hold tight,White-knuckledTo the promise of tomorrow.We declareThrough gritted teethThe faithfulness we know to be true And tomorrow will comeWith its bright new freedomsAnd hope for aheadWe will sing, and laughAnd dance together again.Even… Continue reading Saturday – by Cathy Westby

Reflections & Poetry

Refugees – a poem by Brian Bilston

They have no need of our helpSo do not tell meThese haggard faces could belong to you or meShould life have dealt a different handWe need to see them for who they really areChancers and scroungersLayabouts and loungersWith bombs up their sleevesCut-throats and thievesThey are notWelcome hereWe should make themGo back to where they came… Continue reading Refugees – a poem by Brian Bilston

Reflections & Poetry

We cannot pretend this violence has nothing to do with religion

After the terrible events last night in Paris, I thought I would reblog this post from earlier this year as it seemed more relevant than ever.

Grace + Truth

islamic-violenceMy next door neighbour is a devout Muslim and he is the best neighbour that it is possible to have. He recently replaced the fence between our gardens. Not only did he refuse to accept any contribution from us for the cost of the new fence, but while we were away he came round and coated our side of the fence too.

Over the years, I have got to know him and we have talked about our different faiths and what they mean to us.  There is no way that his generosity, kindness and essential decency can be separated from his faith. His beliefs and action are integral to each other.

Religion that leads to violence

In an attempt to stem the flow of anti-Muslim sentiment after atrocities such as 9/11, or the murders of Lee Rigby or the Charlie Hebdo staff, it is common to hear people say ‘this has nothing to do with Islam’…

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Reflections & Poetry

The secularisation of Martin Luther King

Ahead of Martin Luther King day tomorrow in the US and the release of the film ‘Selma’ in the UK, I am re-posting this article from 2013.

Grace + Truth

MLKThere has been a huge amount of coverage in this last week about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’sI have a Dream speech which was delivered at the 1963 March on Washington.

The speech is widely considered as the most inspirational of the 20th century.  However, alongside the appreciation there is a consistent tendency of commentators to downplay or eliminate the Christian faith in King’s activism and the wider civil rights movement.

A Baptist Minister

So frequently is King is referred to as a ‘Civil Rights leader’ that many people don’t even know that he was and always remained a Baptist Minister until his death.  Despite the campaigning, the marches, the imprisonments and the Nobel prizes, almost every Sunday he would preach at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery or later on at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta.

It was because of his role as a Minister that, aged 26, he was asked to lead the boycott of…

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Reflections & Poetry

‘The Great Reversal’ – a poem by Kester Brewin

Walking with the crowds, Carried along by the pressing forward. Each one eager to get ahead, but each one starting the same – born as a baby and from then on struggling towards meaning, power and influence. Be someone, Be remembered, Make a big impression; leave some indelible mark in your 3 score years and… Continue reading ‘The Great Reversal’ – a poem by Kester Brewin

Reflections & Poetry

Pray in the tension

TodayMany of us liveA nation of strangersAliens in cities,Trapped in societiesOf rapid, social change.ConstantlyWe face new problemsWith no clear answers.It's not happenedTo us before.Nobody’s behaved like that before.We’ve got no tailor-made pattern. It’s an itsy-bitsy life.Let’s be quite clear,No comprehensive lifestylesNo grand, universal designsLet’s not look for them. RatherLet’s get clear the tensionBetween heaven and earth,Between our… Continue reading Pray in the tension

Reflections & Poetry

Niall Cooper

Are you looking forward to the New Year with a feeling of foreboding or a spirit of hope and optimism?: An Advent Reflection

To be sure, there are many reasons to feel hopeless as we enter 2013:  The continuing threat of unchecked climate change; the countless children going hungry each and every day – at home as well as abroad; the impact of hikes in energy and food prices and squeeze on incomes; the imminent housing benefit cuts for three quarters of a million households; the seeming war of attrition against almost anyone struggling to make ends meet on benefits; the forced eviction of thousands of families from London.

On a more domestic note, will 2013 be yet another year of declining congregations, continued division over sexuality, theology and much else, and ever greater financial pressures on many local churches?

In the face of all this, do we still believe…

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