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P.S.Welcome to p.s., an email and web discussion forum from Contemporary Christianity.
We issue p.s. every every month. In line with our aims, it seeks to "provide informed, credible and practical comment and analysis, rooted in biblical reflection and theological thought" on contemporary matters of broad public concern in Ireland.
We are aiming to engage Christian minds with issues in the public square, to inject new perspectives and provoke discussion.
Click on any of the issues raised, think about what is said and leave any comments you wish.
‘She saved the country’. This was just some of the hyperbole evoked by David Cameron following the passing of Margaret Thatcher last month. Well I’m sorry, Mr Cameron, I must have missed that! Mrs Thatcher is largely remembered in Northern Ireland for her misjudged response to the hunger strike and for the much reviled Anglo Irish Agreement, which some now say paved the way for the eventual success of the Good Friday Agreement. But her economic legacy in Northern Ireland has been largely overlooked. Unfortunately, it was even less successful than her political interventions. Continue reading
The horseburger scandal started in Ireland and as a meat-eating Irishman I need to confess that I am at least partly responsible. The drama unfolded when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland tested a range of ready meals and beefburgers from a number of supermarkets. These DNA tests found that there was pig meat in 85 per cent of the ‘beef’-burgers and horse meat in 33 per cent. The web of contamination quickly grew to Northern Ireland, England, Holland, France, Romania and it continues to grow . . . Continue reading
The recent scandal about hospital care in the Stafford Hospital has not shown the NHS in a good light and, although not on such a systemic scale, there are recurring media reports about failures of care locally. Last week the Health Secretary (England and Wales) urged the NHS to find its moral purpose. But what is the moral purpose of a health service? It seems to me that it is inevitably related to the issue of what promotes good care. But what does good care look like? Continue reading
Not again! I thought we’d got beyond all that. Are we going back to the old days. Are the jobs going to disappear? Do they not realise what they’re doing? Day after day of protests, riots, stone throwing, petrol bombs, attacks on the police, illegal parades. It’s all so very familiar if you were around at the beginning of the troubles. And the places are the same: Albertbridge Road, Lower Newtownards Road, the Short Strand. The slogans may be focused on something different, the controversy over the flying of the flag on the City Hall in Belfast, but they expose the presence of familiar attitudes. Continue reading
In Northern Ireland, there has been a big increase in suicides since the early-nineties, before the first ceasefire in 1994, rising particularly throughout the period after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Many are concerned about the trend, which is often seen when peace comes to a country - whatever side people are on, the cohesiveness that being involved in conflict brings to communities is weakened post conflict. And the situation may actually be worse than people think. Continue reading
(Note: This article first appeared on www.eamonnmallie.com on 2 Dec 2012, and is distributed with the author's permission)
Is it just me, or is there anyone else out there getting more and more dispirited about the quality of public discourse? Arguments on an ad hominem basis; speeches with barbed phrases, and interviews that both lower the tone and lessen understanding of the issues apparently under consideration. Continue reading
I stood bedside a person paralytic on their sofa covered in blood and bodily fluids. The Emergency Service could not take this person to hospital as they became conscious and refused to go.Social Services could not work with them due to their addiction. Continue reading
In a recent book, War and the American Difference*, Stanley Hauerwas explores why it is that Americans have a distinct lack of unease with war. War, he says, 'is America's central liturgical act necessary to renew our sense that we are a nation unlike other nations.' In other words, the war on terror means that Americans have a common enemy that unites them nationally. War is a moral good. It is the pursuit and defence of 'freedom'. Continue reading
There was a hint of specks and planks (Matthew 7: 2-5) in recent statements in the Northern Ireland Assembly by unionist political representatives. Demanding apologies from the Irish government about their predecessors' undoubted ambivalence towards IRA activity in the border areas in the past rings a bit hollow Continue reading
‘They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks’ Isaiah 2:4; Micah 4:3 Recently I heard it stated that ‘…creatives, artists, have responsibility to define the vision of the future (of what peace might look like in N Ireland), and that ‘…only creatives can see the way’. Given that God’s people have His ear and He has ours, we are also in a very privileged position to define what peace looks like and how it might be achieved. This is where Isaiah’s (and Micah’s) prophecy comes in with its powerful counterpointing of destruction caused by swords and spears and abundance resulting from ploughing and pruning. Continue reading