Waiting and hoping

The wise Maya Angelou offers us a solution to the tension between patience and very justified impatience. “Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.”

Our passion and our patience must go hand in hand. When we act solely out of passion, we leap before looking. We act without sufficient reflection and care. We are driven to do something -anything. And, most importantly, our agitation and anxiety can lessen our effectiveness. 

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What's your story?

What's your story?

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it's the other way around.” Terry Pratchett’s words are true not just in fantasy worlds of witches and magic. They are true here in this world of reality. The stories we tell as individuals, as communities, as tribes, as companies, political beings, as cities, and as nation shape us.

It matters what stories are told and what stories we grab hold of. It matters how women are portrayed. Can we have fairytales where women are strong and rescue the weak but handsome man? 

It matters how LGBT people are portrayed - can there ever be same-sex love in a film that ends with happily ever after? 

It matters how Muslims are portrayed. Must they always be the terrorist villains?

We need other stories. We need stories that exemplify values of compassion and decency and justice and love. We need stories that reinforce the belief that there is goodness in everyone. We need stories that help to change hearts - our own and those we consider opponents.

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Faith without God

Faith without God

The great 20th century theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr reminds us that - looking at the span of history - everything is confusing, mysterious, and unpredictable in its own time. His words: “Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any im­mediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith.”

And this is essential. If we were to decide to act in the world only when we were certain of the consequences - absolutely confident of the future effects of our current actions - then we would do nothing at all.

Faith is necessary for acting in the real world - in the reality that nothing is certain and that everything is far more complex and mysterious than we can understand.

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God of the Gaps

God of the Gaps

It is said that there are no atheists in foxholes. I’ve been assured by people who know that this is not true, but the message is clear enough. When we are terrified and distraught - when all seems dark - we find ourselves in need of something to hold onto - something that will assure us that somehow everything will be alright - or at least something to give us the strength to face what we must face.

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Believe in Good

2016 is, for many of us, the year when hopes were dashed that the world would inexorably become more just, more peaceful, and more decent.

In this time of shock - this time of grief - this time of remembrance - we will perhaps begin recognise that the struggle of our time has come - the struggle for what kind of societies we will live in and what kind world we will work to create for future generations. 

The struggle will not be brief. It will not be easy. It will not be completed in our time. It will not be without great sacrifice.

But we cannot give in. We cannot give up on good.

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10 years at New Unity

In ministry, there is never a time when the present and the past do not tug on you. People become comfortable with the way things are...I always think to myself when there are opinions expressed ‘who is speaking for the future? Who is speaking for those who could be transformed by this place and make a better world because of it?’ It is hard to speak for that future when we live with our present needs, but we must.

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What do you know?

The following words have become embedded in our culture thanks to The Matrix:
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.”

That is the moment when Neo is given the choice of whether he wanted to return to the false virtual reality or face the world as it is. Neo chooses the red pill - chooses to know reality as it is. If he hadn’t, there wouldn’t have been much of a film and we would have been left without some amazing special effects and a few sequels that were nowhere near as good as the original. But, was Neo’s choice sensible? Would he have been happier if he had chosen the blue pill and returned to the illusion? Was his world better off released from illusion into a bleak reality?

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