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.

 
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.

Non accidental deaths of children: observations on damaged perspectives.

In discussions of emotive issues the first casualty is often perspective. There are few more emotive issues than the death of children at the hands of their parents or carers. If headlines in the media were to be regarded as proxies for truth then we might think that children were being abused and murdered at an ever increasing rate. Thankfully this is not the case. Child deaths in general have decreased dramatically in developed societies in line with social and economic developments. One effect of the decrease in child mortality rates has, however, been to draw attention to the circumstances leading to deaths in particular groups of children.  Since the 1970s, much of the effort within developed nations has been concerned with research and intervention to decrease mortality in certain sub-populations eg campaigns to lower child death rates in car accidents by the introduction of seat belt laws. There has also been progress in understanding the antecedents of abuse and neglect leading to non accidental deaths with the result that the child protection system has had some success in this difficult area. In England and Wales, between 1974 and 2006, the annual number of such deaths fell by 38%. Continue reading

Honesty

Last year there was a news report about a taxi driver in La Plata Argentina who had spent 3 days searching for an elderly couple who had left $25,000 in his taxi. When his eventually successful search and return of the money came to the attention of the Argentinian public through a website set up in his honour by some business acquaintances, hundreds of people sent in messages of appreciation and donations of money amounting to $15,000. People said in their messages that they wished there were more people like him. For those used to corruption at all levels of society this was clearly an extraordinary story. Dishonesty is endemic in all societies and sadly we are all prone to it - from the proverbial "man in the street" to investment bankers and to politicians. We feel indignation when we see it in others and guilt when we face up to it in ourselves. In contrast honesty is both refreshing and attractive. It is like a light shining in darkness and it rarely gets the publicity which the taxi driver's action so deservedly received. Continue reading

Sharing in the Past

In the approach to Remembrance Day, Many people in the north of Ireland begin to think about all those men and women who died in two world wars and in subsequent conflicts. One of the most dramatic of all locations for solemn remembrance in the whole of Northern Ireland is the recently restored monument on the heights of Knockagh, where the war-dead of County Antrim are honoured each November, overlooking the waters of Belfast Lough and my home town of Carrickfergus. Continue reading

Harmonious living

‘Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers and sisters, be compassionate and humble.’ 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) Peter urges the readers of his first letter to ‘live in harmony with…’ What does ‘harmonious living’ look like? Harmonious living is partly explained by Peter’s next phrases - being sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble - but is Eugene Peterson’s ‘Be agreeable’ sufficient? Continue reading

How the local church is contributing to dealing with the horror of Aids?

I've travelled across much of sub-Saharan Africa for the purpose of meeting families and communities, described as living in "absolute poverty". Each time I expect to be confronted with images of despair and hopelessness I could not be more wrong. Children giggle uncontrollably at "the westerner" trying to say hello in their local dialect, and women living with HIV radiate hope and faith for a better tomorrow. Continue reading

God’s Story and Earth’s Story

All good stories have a beginning, middle and an end. The Earth’s story is no different. The bible begins with God’s creation of the heavens and the Earth, in Genesis, and ends with the new creation, in Revelation – a new heavens and a new Earth. This is part of God’s story – which is what the bible is all about – who God is and what he is doing. Our story is intimately involved in both God’s story and the Earth’s story – we are living in the middle of the Earth’s story. We are part of God’s creation (Genesis 1) but because of the fall (Genesis 3) we know that the Earth is not all God intended it to be. To a large extent that is because we have not looked after our planet very well. Continue reading