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.

Please note that the statements and views expressed in this articles are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Contemporary Christianity.

Click on any of the issues raised, think about what is said and leave any comments you wish.

The Idolatry of Politics

As the posters go up for the elections in our streets, and unwanted bits of paper are thrust through our doors, I ask the hardly new question: Why does nothing seem to change? There are doubtlessly passionate commitments from all parties to various concepts: Unionism, Republicanism, Environmentalism, ‘Shared Future’ and so on. But it all seems so incredibly negative and oppositional, and progress is almost entirely absent. Switch on coverage of Stormont, and it is always the same old, same old. Why does such passion not seem to translate into action? Continue reading

Sunspots, floods and souls

‘Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness met together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.’ Psalm 85: 9-11

Human civilisation and the conveniences of everyday life in technologically advanced parts of the world are founded on the conversion of fossil fuels into energy and other resources of our planet into ‘stuff’ we buy in shops.  The by-products, carbon dioxide and other ‘pollutants’, are overwhelming the inbuilt recycling processes of our planet, leading to subtle changes in the behaviour of our atmosphere.  That we are spewing out carbon dioxide is indisputable, the effects on climate and on weather continue to be disputed.  Which is where sunspots come into the picture. Continue reading

Facing our Fears- A Gospel Imperative?

Last year I was involved in facilitating an introductory peacebuilding course in a Protestant church in Belfast. We invited members from other churches to come to a meeting that did not involve worship and share their experiences in building peace. I later found out that not everyone was comfortable with members of a Roman Catholic Church speaking in ‘their’ church. This surprised me and I discussed it with the minister. He explained that many people in his congregation like to ‘feel safe’ when they attend church; having people from a different faith tradition was uncomfortable for some as the perceived ‘safety’ in being with your own was challenged by different views and experiences. Continue reading

Lawyers: Who Needs Them?

I found myself asked recently to give a talk to Christian lawyers entitled: ‘Does God Love Family Lawyers?’ The title hinted at the anticipated ambivalence of the likely analysis. The short answer – ‘yes, but not all your fellow Christians may be so sure...’, set me thinking (not for the first time) about the degree to which a calling into contemporary family law practice is likely to prove a God-honouring, Christ-serving, neighbour-loving way of spending forty-odd years of working life. Continue reading

Wolves and lambs stories

Each Sunday Renata Hughes sings in the choir in First Armagh. She is 83 years old. On the surface Renata appears as the typical Presbyterian choir member. However Renata grew up in Germany before the second world war. She was a member of Hitler Youth. Her father served as a doctor in the German army.  It is difficult to imagine the loyal church choir member in a uniform attending indoctrinating mass rallies in the Olympic stadium in Berlin. The last funeral I conducted was that of Jack Parks. He grew up in Markethill, Co Armagh. During the second world war Jack joined the RAF Bomber command. He was a rear gunner, surviving 37 daylight sorties over France, Holland and Germany. Continue reading

Are Evangelical Men Ready for Reconciliation?

October’s re-launch of For God and His Glory Alone reminded us of the key role that evangelicals have played in promoting reconciliation on this island. But only a few short years ago, when I surveyed faith leaders (clergy, pastors, and ministers of various religions) and laity on the island of Ireland, I found that amongst all expressions of Christianity, evangelical men were the least likely to have a ‘high’ view of reconciliation. Continue reading

All storied out: an appeal for greater diversity in our use of metaphors

I recently attended the Catherwood lecture hosted by Contemporary Christianity and with around 130  others enjoyed and benefitted from David Porter’s beautifully crafted address. Alongside the mainstream, my mind was drawn to a back eddy of musing on the number of times the word ‘story’ was used and how this seems to have become a preferred metaphor in Christian circles. Continue reading