Posts Tagged ‘religion’

This is probably being a little tongue in cheek; and it probably isn’t the most serious or important story in the news right now.

But it bothered me enough to want to say something about it. Specifically about Liberal Democrats leader, Tim Farron, resigning. The reason he has specifically given for having done so is the pressure and criticism he has received lately on account of his Christian beliefs. (more…)


This year’s Christmas sermon was originally going to be like last year’s and focus on an element of the Nativity tradition; instead, given current events and the popular reaction to them, I decided to go with a different subject – specifically, Islam and Christianity.

There is now, perhaps inevitably, a growing trend in some sections of Western commentary to see things in terms of a Muslim/Christian divide; or the idea, more specifically, that Islam is a threat or enemy towards Christianity. To some extent, there is a sub-sect within Islam – a radical, extremist ideology – that probably could be described as a threat to Christian interests or ‘Christian values’; but that same sub-sect is also the same threat to mainstream Muslim communities and ‘values’ too – probably more so, in fact. (more…)


Watching the memorial service to Muhammad Ali on Friday was at times, as you’d expect, very poignant.



A magical star leading three mysterious ‘wise men’ from the East across miles and miles of wilderness to a small, obscure town.
And a troubled husband and wife travelling on donkey, social outcasts turned away by one apathetic towns-person after another, desperate for a simple act of human compassion to offer a place for the woman to give birth to an unplanned child who may or may not be magical in nature.



One doesn’t have to be religious or Christian to appreciate the compelling and magical properties of the Nativity narrative, with all its evocative and timeless images and ideas and everything it evokes.
But anyone expecting to find any of that magic in modern day Bethlehem would be disappointed. Because, as is usually the case, reality is no match for myth or imagination.



Queen Nefertiti has remained one of the most fascinating, elusive figures from the permanently enchanting world of Ancient Egypt.
Her final resting place has also eluded Egyptologists over the years, but it’s discovery would amount to one of the most important finds in history, probably even more so than Howard Carter’s discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen in 1922.



The plight of blogger Raif Badawi in Saudi Arabia has garnered international attention, particularly in the context of the freedom of expression theme that became especially prevalent in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo  cartoon.
Badawi is facing a 10-year jail sentence (and I can hardly believe I’m having to say this in the 21st century, but 1,000 lashes in public) for the offense of expressing liberal, progressive ideas on his blog and therefore challenging the status quo within the oppressive kingdom.


So I had been intending to publish a thoughtful reflection on the events of 2014 at the end of the year; however, once I started looking back at what had happened in the world last year, I found it so dispiriting that I couldn’t be bothered (instead I reverted to my comfort-blanket and wrote my top-ten comics pick as a guest-blogger on the excellent dejarevue site; you can check it out here).
That aside, it has been a thoroughly grim couple of weeks to start the new year; which is in keeping pretty much with most of what 2014 was like – a year that saw, among other things, war, massacres, Robin Thicke, Islamic State, Boko Haram, mounting civilian casualties, the destruction of old-world Christianity in its birth-places, Ebola, Ukraine, the War on Gaza, and the continuing polarisation of societies and communities. And Robin Williams died.



I’ve always wondered what treasures sit in the vaults and store houses of the Vatican, gathering dust for years; historical items that may go decades without being disclosed to the public or might even go decades unexamined by anyone.
A recent announcement revealed that in 2012 the Vatican authorities employed historical archivist Ignazio Perrucci to sort through something like 6,000 ancient texts in the Vatican’s possession. Among these was discovered a first-century AD document; even the words ‘1st century document’ are enticing enough, but what excited Perucci further was that it appeared to have been written by the historical Roman Marcus Velleius Paterculus.
And as he examined the text, what excited him even further was that it appeared to include a reference to a certain Nazarene Prophet; more than a reference in fact, but what is now claimed to be the first eyewitness account ever recorded of a miracle being performed by Jesus of Nazareth.