Showing posts from January, 2013

Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

'Communities together: Build a Bridge' is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2013. 

Since 2001 in the UK the 27th January each year is designated as a day to learn lessons from genocides, with the aim of creating a better future and challenge hatred and persecution in the UK today.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust chose 27 January because it is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 1945. Has humanity learned the lessons from the genocides of Nazi persecution? It seems not: consider Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur and many more tragic destruction and persecution of communities of people.

Remembering is important, but it is not enough.

What can any of us do to prevent repetition? Take a look at this video 'Lessons Learnt?' 

To show your support you can 'build a bridge' for Holocaust Memorial Day Trust site here. 

Burns Night

It's Burns night and in an hour I expect friends to arrive for a celebration of the birthday of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.

This is the day when my Scottish genes start asserting themselves. We will of course be eating haggis. Haggis actually tastes much better than it looks. Earlier today I went out on a successful haggis hunt and the beast is prepared and getting hot, knife is sharpened, 'neeps' prepared to boil and mash, whisky and Burns poetry lined up ready. We may just manage the 1st stanza of Burns' 'Address to a Haggis'.
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the pudding race! Aboon them a' yet tak your place, Painch, tripe or thairm: Weel are ye' wordy o'a grace As lang's my arm.Just for fun and if you want to know more about haggis take a look at this post (with a pinch of salt).
10 things your never knew about haggis

If you are celebrating the Conversion of St Paul today, here's an attempt to link tha…

Homosexuality and Christians: a matter of integrity

What does the Bible say about homosexuality? The February 2013 edition of Christianity magazine tackles this topic and presents a range of views from evangelicals in the UK. 

What caught my eye especially today was the article by Steve Chalke which in my view is much better argued than the article by Greg Downes in the same magazine. Perhaps I think this because I agree with Steve Chalke. More of this in another blog post to come.

Steve Chalke is a Baptist minister and founder of Oasis. In 2004 he was awarded the MBE by the Queen for his services to social inclusion. I recommend reading the full version of his paper A Matter of Integrity which you can download to Kindle or read on the Oasis website. Tell me what you think.

Update: In response, Peter Ould has some relevant Questions for Steve Chalke here.

Image Credit: suenosdeuomi on Flickr, CC License

The Baptism of Christ

I love the way Ian Burt has captured the light seen through the dove's wings in this photo and then snipped the dove's outline and placed it on a dark background.

A dove is a powerful symbol, perhaps most universally recognized as a sign of peace.

For Christians the dove is also one of the many symbols of the Holy Spirit of God, the Life-Giver. The reason for this is because of the gospel accounts of Jesus' baptism in the River Jordan by his cousin John the Baptist. The Baptism of Christ is celebrated today, the Sunday following the Feast of the Epiphany.

Here is what Luke writes about Jesus' baptism:
 "Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Luke 3: 21-22Something mysterious is revealed in Christ's baptism. It is much more th…

Food Waste

Did you know that an estimated 30 - 50% of all the food produced on planet Earth is lost before reaching a human stomach? There are 2 ways to waste food. One is to eat more than needed. The other is not to make good use of what has been grown for food.

I often eat more than I need. I'm now starting an effort to put that right. This means food is rather more on my mind than I'd like it to be just now and I certainly didn't intend to blog about it. 
Then I heard a statistic that shocked me. It was that 30 - 50% of the world's food produced for human consumption is never eaten.
Put that alongside the fact that millions in the world can't get enough to eat and it looks like a crime against humanity. It is sinful and one way or another we are all caught up in the systems that perpetuate this.

I don't usually read reports from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, but this morning I read Dr Tim Fox's report Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not. It's not long, take…

Feast of Epiphany

Today the wooden figures of the magi have completed their arduous journey across our living room and reached the crib on the mantelpiece. Yes, the crib is still there. The other Christmas decorations are gone, but the 'wise men' have only just found what they seek. I think they should be allowed to remain in wonder for a while, before they return home "by a different way", don't you? Even though, some years ago our dog ate the wooden baby Jesus, so all the magi can see is a wooden cross resting on Jesus' coffin-shaped crib. Maybe there's a message there.

Today the 12 days of Christmas give way to the start of Epiphany. The celebration on 6th January focuses on the strange outsiders from the east, the magi, people obsessed by study and interpretation of the movements of planets and stars. They followed the direction of a new star, expecting to find a new special king. What they found was a toddler with his parents, in an ordinary house in Bethlehem, on what…

New Year, New Beginning

Happy New Year to you all!

This is the time when many people make resolutions, or at least fantasy wish lists of what they want to change about themselves or the world in this new year. I've actually made one, but won't announce it here. Most such resolutions fail and wishes turn out to be fantasies after all. There is something very seductive in the idea of being able to turn over a new leaf, make a new start, throw out the old and bring in the new. 

What if we could learn to live each moment and relish its pregnant possibilities for change? Henri Nouwen wrote about living spiritually in the present in his book, 'Here and Now: Living in the Spirit'. Here's a short extract which seems especially applicable at the start of a new year, or any new moment:

"A new beginning! We must learn to live each day, each hour, yes, each minute as a new beginning, as a unique opportunity to make everything new. Imagine that we could live each moment as a moment pregnant with new…