Friday, 24 February 2017

A Culture of Honour

As a resident of Leicester, I’m shocked with the sacking of a hero. Claudio Ranieri worked against the odds to produce the upset of the century in football terms, with Leicester City winning the English Premiership last year. According to the BBC, the season ‘ended with a success that defied history, logic, the odds and the game's natural financial order, as he turned a Leicester team that narrowly avoided relegation into champions.’

Yesterday, after a run of bad results, he was fired.

He didn’t deserve that and it was done for the usual short-sighted reasons of money and politics.

There seems to be such a culture of dishonour nowadays. We see it in the Brexit debate. These are important decisions and it seems reasonable to discuss them, but the moment a former Prime Minister raises those issues, there’s a dishonouring of him as a person- nothing to do with the debate.

Sadly it seems the same with the comments and tweets of the new President in the States. It’s not whether he is right or wrong, it’s to do with honouring the other point of view.

Back to Leicester. I don’t want to be part of something that is so short sighted and ruthless. I want to honour a man that in sporting terms did the impossible. Manager of the Premiership winners, Coach of the Year in the BBC awards and with the same award from the official body, FIFA.

I don’t expect he will read this, but Claudio, we honour you. There will be many in Leicester today who want you to know we have nothing to do with this decision. We choose a culture of honour, not dishonour. We trust you will remember Leicester fondly and will be able to forgive this crass dishonouring of your accomplishments.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year Resolutions

As we approached the New Year, I posted the following on Facebook. Its simple statements obviously hit a chord as many 'likes' and 'shares' followed.

So, with thanks to the original author, Julie Baumgardner, it's posted here. May it be true for all of us, all of the time.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Sheltering the Poor

Here are some verses from the Bible:

“Give counsel;
grant justice;
 make your shade like night
at the height of noon;
shelter the outcasts;
do not reveal the fugitive;
let the outcasts of Moab
sojourn among you;
be a shelter to them
from the destroyer.
 
When the oppressor is no more,
and destruction has ceased,
and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
then a throne will be established in steadfast love,
and on it will sit in faithfulness
in the tent of David
one who judges and seeks justice
and is swift to do righteousness.” (Isaiah 16: 3-5)
 
The second set of verses are often quoted. They refer to the day when Christ returns. The day when all is put right on the earth.
 
But they need to be read in the context of the verses before them. These speak of sheltering the outcast, the fugitive. We are called to rescue the refugee, the support those who have lost everything.
 
I'm aware of the politics that suggests we should close our borders in the UK. But the cry for mercy is central to the Christian faith. So, for me, I will support, shelter, welcome and care for those who have nothing. Even if the borders of my country close, I choose to open the borders of my life.


 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

And God is Bigger.....

This is where you live. This is Earth. This is the Solar System. This is the Milky Way. This is the universe.

And God is bigger........

 

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Thoughts from a Developing World

There was a big smile on his face. Almost as big as the rip in his jumper and the holes in his shoes.

‘Excuse me sir… are you Miss Turner’s father?’

I assured him I was.

‘Please say hello to her!’

And with that he was gone and I was back to mixing an endless supply of concrete.

I’ve been working in the orphanage town of Bulembu, Swaziland for the last two and a half weeks. Swaziland has one of the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. A poor African country by any measure, it would be called ‘developing’ in our ‘PC’ world.

But maybe it’s more developed than we give it credit for? Life there is simple – and poor. But the joy in that boy’s eyes as he recognised me as Lois’ father (Lois used to work there) was wonderful. We can help build, help finance and more, but one thing they don’t need is the joy of living.

As our team of 20 from KingsGate Church return to the ‘developed world’, there is much to reflect on. Contrast the openness of the children and their joy of life with our selfishness and desire to accumulate (I am immersed into a season of Christmas adverts upon my return). Contrast the love and care shown sacrificially by the Bulembu staff when compared to the jingoistic, racially motivated rhetoric of many politicians in the ‘developed’ world. Contrast the smile on the boy’s face with the anger and language I witnessed last night from the man in the passport queue.

Is the developed world still developing? I’m not so sure. The real meaning of Christmas soars above the tinsel and the ads. Let’s be big hearted, giving, inclusive and welcoming this Christmas.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Human Population Through Time

This is a stunning graphical illustration of the growth of the human population.

It took 200,000 years for the population to reach 1 billion. It took just 200 years for it to reach 7 billion.

'And God said to them,“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”' (Genesis 1: 28)

Let's be careful how we interpret that command.

 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

I Still See Her Face

I still see her face. An innocent one-year old. Such trust as she climbed onto my lap and fell asleep. She had no idea as to what had happened to her and her family.

I’m so pleased that Amena’s story has made it into print. You can read my article on life in the Syrian refugee camps in the latest issue of Christianity Magazine.
By God’s grace, Amena and her family will find their way home to a peaceful country. In the meantime, let’s continue to pray.