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Showing posts from May, 2014

Not in my name...

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I took an extra day off this week in lieu of the couple I missed in Easter week due to one thing or another, and by the time I got back to work and the world of facebook I discovered that a self-described "progressive" political party had pressed the self-destruct button, probably jaundicing young political activists of that ilk for a generation, and that Pastor James McConnell had lit the blue touchpaper on a whole heap of inter-faith fun and games.
I had intimations of the latter before my couple of days off, when I got one of those closing "what do you think of...?" questions at our midweek Bible study, but not having heard/read the Pastor's comments or seen/heard the Nolan Show (given that I avoid it like the plague for the sake of my health), I was relatively circumspect in my comments, at that point. Some of those in the room had serious concerns about aspects of Islam in the light of the recent story regarding Meriam Ibrahim, the pregnant woman sentence…

Where is the Kingdom?

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After a brief, pink-tinged diversion from politics, it is back to a recent recurrent theme, this time in the form of a dialogue we used in worship this morning while looking at the phrase "may your Kingdom come" in the Lord's prayer... It is particularly pertinent at present given the run up to European and local elections over the next week or so and bundles up a lot of the stuff I've been saying recently in a slightly different form, with thanks to (or should that be apologies to) John Bell and Graeme Maule of the Iona Community for the format if not the content... Peter:Eh... Jesus...? Jesus:Yes, Peter? Peter:Have you ever heard of democracy? Jesus:Where’d you hear about that Peter? Peter:Oh, I heard some Greeks talking about it... They said it was some sort of government. But it's all Greek to me... Jesus:Well Peter... Democracy is government by the people... Peter:Sure we’re always governed by people... People with crowns called kings or emperors... Jesus:Yes, but i…

In the Pink and Politics-Free

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Here is an amended version of the politics-free Thought for the Day that went out on Radio Ulster on Thursday morning... It was recorded before news came out that both Cathedrals in Armagh have altered the timing of their services to accommodate the Giro or I may well have commented on that (if that was permissible...) Well, with the beginning of May the run in to the Giro D’Italia is picking up pace, with pink-tinted bicycle themed events popping up all over Northern Ireland… even in places the peleton will go nowhere near… For example the Donaghadee lighthouse is turning pink as part of their Giro DEE Italia event, and the Navan Centre’s website that says that this coming Monday the Celtic warriors there are going to swap their traditional blue woad for pink in honour of the coming Giro… And there was me thinking that the Ulster Cycle was a series of Celtic stories and ballads… When it was actually a bronze age bike! I also got a leaflet for a shop having an event celebrating vintag…

Towards a New Model of Political Engagement

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With the upcoming council and European elections I've been reflecting lately on the nature of Christian citizenship insofar as it applies to this corner of this island. My thinking is partly shaped by a series of Bible studies I'm leading at church based around the 25 year old, yet still painfully relevant, ECONI document, 'For God and His Glory Alone', partly by reading I've done around a sermon for this Sunday on what we mean when we pray 'your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven', partly by some of the ideas in my ''banned'' Thought for the Day and partly in response to the attacks on the Alliance Party Offices in East Belfast on Tuesday night, and again last night.
Whilst I do not believe that democracy, as we know it, is especially endorsed by God - indeed the Bible has nothing specific to say on the matter, I am worried by any state where it seems to be acceptable that the offices of a democratic party, and a …

Nationalism, Denominationalism and Idolatry

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What follows is a "Thought for the Day" that was "banned" by the BBC... Actually, that's a bit of an exaggeration. It is a revised version of one that I pre-recorded during Holy Week to go out today, but I had only gotten home from the studio when I got a call from the producer to say that there had been a mix-up and the script that I had submitted for approval would not, unfortunately, be suitable for broadcast because of its political tone, given the upcoming local elections and the Scottish referendum... I have to say I wasn't that surprised... indeed I had been more surprised not to have received a phone call BEFORE the recording, especially given that the original script was much more partisan than this one (I'll leave you to guess in which direction)... Anyway, even after a swift revision that produced the following it was decided that I needed to avoid politics in general and the Scottish referendum in particular, so I had to go and write somethi…