Showing posts from August, 2013

Saturday Supplement

As I write this up, the news is dominated by the vote on Syria and the death of Seamus Heaney, but neither have produced much by way of blog comment yet... Watch this space next week... Instead this week's trawl through the internet is dominated by one event...

This week saw the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's "I Have a Dream" speech, spawning a range of columns, blogs and events the world over. Most interesting for me was this piece by Gary Younge, arguing that the remembrance of King's speech and overall message is very selective... He railed against 3 major evils in contemporary American society: Racism, economic inequality/poverty and war... Has the dream been achieved? The removal of formal segregation may have gone some way to address the first of those 3 issues, but have the other 2 disappeared off the radar? They are certainly live issues here... And I wonder what MLK would have made of the whole firearm…

St Lubbock's Day

Today is one of the days when we should give thanks for St. Lubbock. Never heard of him? Well there's no point going to look in a dictionary of saints.
Sir John Lubbock was a banker and politician, which in modern eyes might doubly exclude him from sainthood. But in 1871 he introduced the Bank Holidays Act, providing for additional, so called “bank” holidays on top of the existing holidays of Christmas Day, Good Friday, November 1st and May 1st. Until then, holidays were invariably holy-days, linked to church feasts… Sir John was, unlike myself, a fanatical cricket enthusiast and wanted bank employees to be able to participate in and attend matches when they were scheduled. So, the new bank holidays included the dates when cricket games were traditionally played between the villages near where Sir John was raised. The people of England, whether or not they were cricket fans, were so thankful that they called the first Bank Holidays 'St. Lubbock's Days' for a while.
The l…

Psalm for Sunday

A responsive Psalm based on bits of todays Psalm in the Revised Common Lectionary, Psalm 103, which we will be using in Belfast South during our 11 am worship.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all that lies within me, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul: Don’t forget all that he has done for us; He forgives sin He heals illness and injury; He lifts us up when we find ourselves down in the depths; He crowns us with love and compassion; He satisfies our desires with good things So that in him our hearts soar and our spirits are renewed. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. The Lord is compassionate and gracious He is slow to anger, Overflowing with love. He does not stand in judgement over us forever; He does not nurse his anger eternally. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay in full for all our wrongdoing. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as one side of the universe is from another, so fa…

Saturday Supplement

A bumper bonanza issue of the supplement due to a two week backlog of stuff I'd compiled... (you can save some of it for Bank Holiday Monday if the weather's bad and you have absolutely nothing better to do!)

Ongoing Fun and Games ...not a reference to the World Police and Fire Games, which seems to have been a great success, but to the fact that after the fun over the flag at Christmas and the annual riot-fest around the Twelfth... this year we had the added bonus of a right royal ruckus in Royal Avenue in response to a Republican Internment Parade... This has led (among other things) to much activity in the virtual sphere... A few of the more interesting pieces include:

"What does the Outside World Think of Us" - this is a question I ask myself all the time given that I have spent a fair proportion of my ministry interpreting the Northern Ireland situation to visitors from the US and elsewhere, and my FB is usually filled with questions and concerned comments in the…

Beyond the Grey Sky

A meditation based on St Francis of Assisi's Canticle of Creation/the Sun:
Beyond the grey sky sits brother sun but his heat drives brother wind and draws the waters into clouds.
Those clouds, our sisters, that shield the sun bear the water,  sustaining sister water,  to the parched earth; mother earth.
From earth we came;  to earth we return, but all through our lives we are watched over by you, our Father God; unseen, all seeing.
Grey sky may loom over us but brother sun shines on, and your love for us is more constant than the sun, with no beginning and no ending. Praise you.

Do We Measure People by their IQ, Bust Size or Bank Balance?

Well, I'm back in harness this week after a short period of aestivation, both in the real and virtual realms. This morning saw me start the day at BBC Radio Ulster doing Thought for the Day (if you didn't catch it you can find it approximately 26 and 86 minutes into Good Morning Ulster on the iPlayer for the next week) and this is that thought, more or less in written form...

I’m not very athletic… I can’t play a musical instrument… I’m useless at arts and crafts… and I’m never going to be offered a modelling contract… But I am supposed to be moderately intelligent, if IQ tests and exam results are to be believed…

So I was interested to read a report last week suggesting that religious people, tend to be less intelligent than self-professed atheists. This led to some crowing by atheists on social networks, although the study emphasised that it probably wasn’t a simple case of cause and effect. Rather, as well as asking more searching questions than those who are less intellig…

Saturday Supplement

I fully intend being as far away as I can be from a computer this morning, preferably with a nice cup of coffee and a book in my hand. But here's a quick link dump on related themes for those of you not in such halcyon surroundings:

Wonga-World and Beyond
Following on from my own piece earlier in the week, I came a cross a nuanced look at the regulation of pay-day loan companies by former head of Church Action on Poverty, suggesting that Credit Unions alone are an inadequate response to the banking needs of the poor.Then I came across this piece by Bishop Nick Baines responding to an editorial in The Independent written in the light of the AoC's pronouncements, ably defending the place of the church in the public square.Then there was a piece looking at the moral-murk behind ethical-consumerism - are companies getting more ethical about their production practices and effective use of slave-labour, particularly children - or are they just getting cleverer in covering it up? And …