The film Trainspotting opens with John Hodges’ cynical poem that uses the same phrase, “Choose life”, that we read of in Deuteronomy, in a bitter rejection of life and its meaningless choices:
“Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a big Television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electric tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage… Choose your future. Choose life.” Continue reading
There is an image used by James May (one of the Top Gear lads) that has stuck in my mind – I may have mentioned it to some of you. He was presenting a series, “The 20th Century”, which explored the changes that made the last century so distinctive. One of these revolutionary changes was the coming of electricity. The Earth, viewed from space, is no longer dark – it is a glowing globe. Our habits, our interests, our occupations, our very world have all been transformed. Continue reading
26th January, 3rd Sunday of Epiphany
As a child I always encountered Christmas in three phases. First came Anticipation and Expectation; then Christmas itself; and finally, The New Year with its resolutions and new beginnings.
As a child, anticipation ran high. Approaching Christmas the atmosphere was fragrant with baking and sweetmaking… the promise of good times. Continue reading
A talk for Contemporary Christianity Ireland
This talk covers a number of issues:
- What is Culture?
- Should we accommodate it or resist it?
- How should we be building the kingdom of God on Earth?
- Engaging with and Transforming Culture.
Further information, including a recording of the talk, is available on the Contemporary Christianity site.
A PDF version of the slides of the presentation may be downloaded here.
We all know the pitfall of extravagant promises. There is a story I think of when I read about the three men who wanted to follow Christ: A young man very much in love emailed his girlfriend a card that said “I would cross the hottest desert, swim the deepest sea, and climb the highest mountain to be with you.” At the bottom of the message was a PS: “It is raining heavily here, so I can’t make it tonight”. Continue reading
28 April 2013, 5th Sunday of Easter
Many years ago, as a student in Nottingham, I experienced something that continues to remind me of Jesus’ words that we read this evening. “Love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love, one for another.”
A vicar and his wife offered me accommodation in the rectory flat. I accepted the offer, because I took an instant liking to David, the vicar, and Pixie, his wife and their four children. I discovered that the flat was rent free but it was also semi-derelict, and completely bare. Its walls needed stripping, and it had no kitchen and no furniture. I returned to Sri Lanka for three months due to family illness and began to worry about how I would sort the flat. Then Pixie emailed me: the church would take care of it. Continue reading
28 April 2013, 5th Sunday of Easter
The news this week was dominated by the tragic collapse of a clothing factory in the Savar district of Bangladesh. Three hundred and fifty people have died– so far. Six months ago, a fire gutted another factory, killing hundred workers. In the past decade seven hundred have died in forty similar disasters in the clothing factories of Savar. The sad truth is that thousands of workers return, day after day, to dangerous factories, to produce clothes for high street brands – for us!
All these things happen in faraway countries, to people of whom we know little. Apart from compassion and pity, how should we respond?
20 May 2012, 7th Sunday of Easter
I wonder if you have watched the series “Rev” – about Alan, a Church of England vicar in London. Alan has an interesting “nickname” given to him by heavy-drinking conspiracy theorist Colin. Colin always greets him with a hearty “Hello Vicarage”, and Alan’s wife is duly addressed as Mrs Vicarage. Continue reading
27 November 2011, Advent
As children, my cousins and I spent time speculating on the “Hows” of Santa Claus. Sri Lanka has an average temperature of 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit, with absolutely no snow, and definitely no fireplaces with chimneys. Come Christmas we started worrying: How would Santa get in when there were no chimneys? Continue reading