crying in church

Recently more than one person has told me of what invariably happens to them when they go to church. Namely, they cry. I hope the services aren’t that bad, obviously. But no; something is going on and I have been wondering what it is. It could be something to do with silence, prayer and release. Although…

St Luke: love, loss and healing

Today the Church remembers St Luke, writer of the gospel of that name, and of the book of Acts. Luke the physician, healer of bodies, whose subject was Jesus the Healer-Saviour. As a boy’s name, I hadn’t come across Luke much before 1989 (apart from Star Wars, obviously). That year I taught a Luke in…

the stories we tell ourselves

I had a virus on my laptop. To be specific, a browser hijacker. It meant every time I logged onto Google to open any internet page (which is probably in a normal day, about 30-40 times) it reverted to a bogus homepage, pretending to be Google, in Google colours, with weird shopping button and invitation to…

in too deep

From time to time someone asks what is the ‘greatest challenge facing the church today’ or the church of the future, or some other construction of the same kind of question. It’s a fun one to wade into, but the best answer I ever came across was the best, I think, because it was so…

in it together

I’ve been doing “The Exercises” and I don’t mean pilates (I do that as well) but the Exercises of St Ignatius, a sixteenth century saint who founded the Jesuits. Ignatius was a romantic and a knight who dreamt of glory and heroism in battle. (He was probably a 4 on the Enneagram, which is why…

on the rights and wrongs of busy priests

There’s a trend for clergy to decry busyness and I get it. Being busy has become a badge of honour, especially among the middle classes. For some reason, lots of people also want their priest to be busy and they naturally assume that you are, so you go along with it, because it makes you…

staying in the flow

Someone wise said something to me recently that has helped me navigate the sometimes mundane and irritatingly recurrent problems of semi rural – indeed most types of – church life (keys, parking, invoices, emails, damp, heating, grass mowing). It acknowledged that these daily annoyances are never far from the real life of a minister but…

staring down the blank, and finding blessing

Some days it can feel like a brick wall. Life can be utterly obdurate, like an unwilling child dragging their heels along the supermarket aisle, giving you hell in public. We pray to be saved from ordeals, but they mostly come anyway. Thankfully God knows we ‘are but dust’. How true, despite advertising giving us…