Modern life - Evolution did not make us for THIS!

Modern life - Evolution did not make us for THIS!

Learning about evolution was - for me - one of those special moments in life where things just clicked. It was like that moment when riding a bike or driving a car becomes natural rather than a shaky set of directions to remember. It was like having the code to understand what had previously seemed mysterious. Suddenly, it all makes sense.

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I don't believe in God, but science is not enough

I don't believe in God, but science is not enough

I have been immersed in science and a scientific outlook for most of my life. That is a part of who I am and how I understand the world. For a long time, I did have the sense that science was enough. It seems amazingly naive to me now - how I could have dismissed the things I now hold so dear - community, compassion, justice, universal love...

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Beyond Fear and Courage

Beyond Fear and Courage

We recognise that all of us have fear in our lives. We are afraid of small things and large. Some of our fears seem irrational to others and some are more universal. Some are sensible and keep us alive. Others are dangerous in themselves.We know that fear can hold us back from being the people we want to be, from doing the things we want to do, and from making the difference in the world that we want to make.

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Fear, Courage and Fathers

Fear, Courage and Fathers

On this day set aside for celebrating fathers, I hope that we can point to and be glad of everything that is or was good and helpful about our own fathers. I hope that we can also know that their failings as fathers were not a reflection on who we are, but on who they became through the influences that surround their own young lives.

And, whoever we are, with the influences we have upon one another and especially on young people, I hope that father’s day can help us remember that human being thrive on love and acceptance. I hope that we can grow to give these in ever-greater amounts to one another, to our parents, and to the young people who will create a more loving future.

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Fear and courage: Choosing Courage

Fear and courage: Choosing Courage

I am twenty-four years old, and for half of my life I have been battling against the horrible demons that are depression and anxiety. If you do the maths you will realise that that means my battle started when I was only twelve. It may even have started earlier than that. I can't say for sure. During my relatively short life I have been in and out of depressive episodes more times than I can count.

But here’s the thing: I’m still here. At twice the age I was when it all started, I’m still here...despite the countless times I thought I wouldn’t make it, I’m still here.

And it’s no magic. It’s no miracle. It’s a choice.

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Fear and courage: The greatest power is fear

Fear and courage: The greatest power is fear

"For if we think of this existence of the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and down...we, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us..." 

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Fear and courage: Courage in the face of power

Fear and courage: Courage in the face of power

And yet - importantly - effective action does not require tremendous courage. It does not require risking life and limb. The vast majority of people who have made change happen walked away from confrontations unscathed. Most student protesters were not killed or wounded. Most civil rights movement activists were unharmed. 

We do not need to be at the front lines facing the guns and the attack dogs. There is a need to fill the ranks that fall in behind. And this is how community is so essential in the struggle for justice. We all play our parts, whatever we have to lose and whichever of ourselves choose to emerge

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Fear and courage: Half Remembered Fears

Fear and courage: Half Remembered Fears

The problem with fears that come from events in your childhood is that, often, we feel the need to limit the impact that those events have on who we’ve become as adults. These events then are simple things: they have a beginning, a middle and an end. They become a story we tell ourselves, and perhaps others, at the end of which we say, ‘But I’m fine now, it’s all in the past.’

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Fear and courage: Who will catch me when I fall?

Fear and courage: Who will catch me when I fall?

If you climb this way, with a partner who is your belay, there’s something a bit funny – in fact, a bit alarming - that I’ve been taught to do at the beginning of a session. When you have climbed up high enough that your feet are above your belay’s head – around two metres - you are supposed to fling yourself from the wall, without warning the belay.

Why would you do that? 

You fling yourself from the wall to prove to you both, the climber and their partner, that they will hold you. And the beautiful symmetry of the partnership means that as soon as you are back on solid ground and have wiped the sweat off your hands onto your trousers, you swap over and belay your partner as they make their way up the route they have chosen...

 

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Fear and courage: Easter Sunday

Fear and courage: Easter Sunday

These are the many miracles of our lives. They are not miracles in the sense that some supernatural power carries them out for us. We accomplish miracles together for one another. Whether or not we believe that ‘he is risen’, we must know and believe that ‘we are risen.’ We have fallen and risen time and time again. We must know that we will fall again and - through our own power and the power of relationship - we will rise.

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Fear + Conviction = Courage

Fear + Conviction = Courage

I used to think that fear and courage were polar opposites. You’re either fearful or you’re brave. In fact, one of the attributes of courage is feeling fear and yet choosing to act. And learning that made me think of all the people who i consider brave and wondered what made them choose to act despite their fears.

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