Poverty UK, revisited…

A reflection by my friend Chris on recent reports of the increase in poverty in the UK. The comments section is where I chip in…

this fragile tent



image from The Guardian

There have been a series of stories in the press over the past few months, setting an agenda that goes something like this;

Austerity is necessary, we all need to pull in our belts for the sake of the nation

Poverty is avoidable if you work hard. Only those who are lazy live in poverty

We can not afford to continue to pay benefits to scroungers

It is the working ‘squeezed middle’ we need to feel sorry for- those people whose taxes are being used to buy easy lifestyles to people on benefits

This blame the poor attitude is pervasive and seems to play remarkably well- giving us someone to blame, easy scapegoats for the economic woes that assail the nation. Never mind the facts.

We already know that the rich are getting richer.

And that a third of the workforce have held on…

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Father’s Day: we can change the world

this is a reblog from my friend Olly, with my own thoughts.

I have recently thought that our children are sent to transform and teach us how to become better people.

Who else knows how to press our buttons and expose our lack of patience, kindness, self-control…?

Maybe we should see them as our teachers, sent to help us become better people and begin the process of making the world a better place, instead of leaving it to the next generation?

Perhaps learning and teaching works best when it’s a 2-way process?

The P Word

I hate melodramatic headlines. The world is full of lazy newspaper sub-editors who never let the truth of a story get in the way of a good headline.

So, you may ask, why have I gone for such a bold title in the run-up to this Sunday’s Father’s Day?

To put it bluntly, because I believe that parenting transforms families for generations. That’s the main reason why I got into this suff in the first place. Good (encouraging, supporting, loving, present, etc.) parenting helps form children who may well go on to become parents themselves, and much of what they do will (at least in part) be a reflection of what they’ve seen and experienced themselves. With any luck, this will be adapted and built on by their kids and their grand-children. And so on. Nearly everything good that I do as a Dad is thanks to the example set by…

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Was Jesus a fundamentalist?

This is a response to a friend’s blog found here:

I think this is a really interesting topic and one I’ve been thinking about a fair bit since hearing McLaren speak on his latest tour of the UK and reading his latest book, which addresses the issue of pluralism vs fundamentalism.

For a long time I have thought that one of the characteristics of the Christian faith *should* be to be non-judgemental, being aware of the plank in our own eye and all that. As you point out, as soon as you believe that you have exclusive ownership of the truth you elevate yourself above the “other” and becoming judgemental is practically unavoidable, in my opinion. Couple that with a tribal, imperial attitude that the “other” should be feared and our identity is strengthened by hostility to those different to us (McLaren’s observation) and there is little hope, perhaps.

What McLaren asks early on is whether a strong faith identity always has to be associated with hostility to the other and whether acceptance of others has to lead to a watering down of beliefs? He argues that these 2 sit on a spectrum that we move up and down. His hope is that there can be a paradigm shift towards something completely different:

A strong faith identity that is benevolent to the other.

A benevolence that is rooted in a strong faith identity in Jesus (not the church or denomination) because Jesus was benevolent to the “other”.

Was Jesus a fundamentalist?

This from an online dictionary:
1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
a. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture.
b. Adherence to the theology of this movement.

What do you think?

Nature or nurture?

IMG_2775 IMG_2774Elliot, who is 4 years old got to the top of the climbing wall yesterday, and back down again without any problem.

His mum and I met though the University Climbing Club.

So is his ability nature or nurture? Or a bit of both?

I also recently found the following video. A world champion female climber, married another climber and surprise, surprise one of their children is a climbing prodigy.

Where do you place the locus of control for the way life turns out for you? Is it a result of genetics and the hand you were dealt, the way you were treated or the way you melded all those things together with your character?