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.

Horsegate – My Confession

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

Moral Purpose in Health Care?

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

The Protestant Paradox

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

To Cope With Hope

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

Can we have a civil society, please?

(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

A Story Worth Living For

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

Ploughshares and pruning hooks – a relevant prophecy?

‘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

Making the Reconciliation Journey.

Reconciliation is a gift and a task, a process and a destination, an experience and a hope. Already there is the sense that this is something big. In Northern Ireland we face the challenge of reconciliation in a society where the old divisions still threaten and where other divisions surface and take form in anger, dispute and disenchantment. As a process we have begun, some say well and others say not, but there is still far to go – the lack of any structured and coherent shared future debate or strategy is evidence of this at the highest levels. Continue reading