“I am not a criminal” Guilt, shame and decriminalisation

There were some notable moments of passion in the House of Commons emergency debate on abortion in Northern Ireland last Tuesday.[1] Notably these included the contributions from Sammy Wilson and Maria Caulfield who challenged MPs to focus exactly where they did not on the life of the unborn baby.

There were also passionate and moving speeches by supporters of the motion including Heidi Allen and Jess Phillips who both spoke as women who had been through abortions. From their point of view, access to abortion was part of a woman’s right to control her own body, a right they had been able to benefit from but denied to women in Northern Ireland. Continue reading


Slander without slandering

Thabite Anyabwile writes:

“…I passed along that suspicion and doubt to others in my pastoral care. I didn’t say much about you with words. I can’t recall saying anything about you as a person. But with a raised eye brow, a shrugged shoulder, a “hmmm” before a redirecting sentence, I passed along what was in my heart, the sinful attitude rooted in the very misogyny and chauvinism you describe in your post. If we communicate most in non-verbal ways, then I’m afraid I’ve “said” a lot about you, and I have slandered you. Continue reading

You’ve got me there (Sorry seems to be the hardest word)

One of the reasons why I think the Jordan Peterson interview is not the all out unmitigated disaster for Cathy Newman that a few people think it is, is the point where she says “You’ve got me there…” I think that statement actually puts her and her approach into a whole new light. Continue reading

The Greatest Gift (Christmas Day Message 2017)


Presents carefully chosen weeks or even months ago, presents quickly bought at the last minute before the shops closed on Christmas Eve, presents searched for that will be just right for a loved one, presents hastily bought for the person who surprised you with a gift, presents hidden away in cupboards, presents wrapped and sitting under the Christmas Tree, Continue reading

Faithful Servants and #Churchtoo #MeToo

When I first wrote about handling the difficult Bible passages in 2 Samuel about David, Bathsheba, Amnon, Absalom and Tamar, I identified 3 types of person in the narrative. The first two are

Culprits – who are causing harm to others through their sin and carry specific guilt.

Victims – who are hurt by the sin of others often subjected to shame and a sense of defilement.

However, I don’t want us to lose sight of the third category. There are those we identified as faithful servants.  These are people seeking to be obedient to God and faithful to his word and promises even in the face of intense provocation. Continue reading

Temptation, Power and Sin (2 Samuel 11)

Why we need to talk about Sin

We need to talk about sin. It’s the last thing we want to talk about, especially in church. Church is where we sing happy songs and talk about how God is love and we are saved by grace.  Sin encroaches on our safe space. Continue reading

Why do you follow Jesus? (John 12:12-19)

Why do we come to church?


–          Escapism, get away from the terrible things in the world and the hardness of life

–          Tradition

–          A social exercise

The reason will affect/shape how we go out into daily life – does what we do here relate to work/family/community? Continue reading