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Christians do not fall out.

Commotion and laughter, tears and much merriment, disorder and distraction: they are all there in our annual family photo. We use a camera timed-shot: the ten second delay doesn’t help. So the exhortation to stay still and look at the lens invariably produces the opposite result, and not just with our grandchildren. Iris insists on crying, Bella the dog disappears, someone pulls a face, I blink. Andrew is working on a video to be entitled the making of the Moughtin Christmas photo. It won’t be pretty. But that’s family life and it is how God has made us. As Desmond Tutu observes “You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.” Of course,

The gift of being able to receive a gift..

“God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving,” observed Pope Francis. “If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.” Strangely we can find it so difficult to receive. Children don’t. Certainly in two days time my grandchildren will give me a masterclass in how to receive. Sadly it’s something we grow out of all too quickly. But Mary knew how to receive. Maybe the main reason why God chose her. This week, in my preparations for Christmas I have been using BRF Guidelines, which follow the theme of the spirituality of motherhood, written by Sarah’s former Director of St Mellitus NW, Jill Duff. Excellent.

My bruised heal – what a pain.

Me this morning: ouch, right, ouch right, ouch right. And my question – how does this injury I picked up at last Saturday’s Ormskirk ParkRun relate to the first reading at this Sunday’s service of Nine Lessons and Carols ? (You have sufficient information) For the record, I was doing okay – although just 1k out I began to feel my left heel. A familiar pain to most runners – it’s come and gone over the years. No big deal. But then just 300m out it became very painful. For a moment I considered dropping out but it’s something I’ve never done in 53 (!) years of races. So I hobbled to the finish – and am now paying the price. Plantar fasciitis. And it’s a pain – although thankf

Welcome to the age of anger?

Is this the end of Western civilisation as we know it? Well, from the way Everton are currently playing, it probably is. Actually, this is the contention of Indian essayist and novelist, Pankaj Mishra, who submitted a long article in yesterday’s Guardian entitled “Welcome to the age of anger.” The byline summarises his argument: “Seismic events of 2016 have revealed a world in chaos – and one that old ideas of liberal rationalism can no longer explain.” The problem, as he outlines in considerable detail, is that we are not behaving as our culture says we should; we are not living as “the freely choosing individual in the marketplace. “ There is an irrationality, even an urge to self

When gesture politics go wrong.

It hasn’t been a good year for Zac Goldsmith. First he fails in his bid to become the Mayor of London. Well, that’s politics – these things happen. But then he chooses to resign his safe Richmond Park seat in protest at the government's decision to back a third Heathrow runway. A dramatic move: it was meant to be. And altogether unnecessary. However, as we found out this morning the voters of Richmond Park were unimpressed and have elected a political unknown, Liberal Democrat Sarah Olney, to represent them at Westminster. “This by-election was not a political calculation” Goldsmith insists. “It was a promise that I made and it was a promise that I kept.” Clearly you have to b

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