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.

Sticks and Stones

Whether politics is an art or a science may intrigue the academics, but for many of us in Northern Ireland it is a deeply dispiriting and often quite ugly spectacle.  Let me balance that by saying unequivocally that our leaders deserve a great deal of respect and support, for they are in the public eye and often have to make tough choices – sometimes between the bad and the very bad. Continue reading

Why Ireland Needs Answers

Notoriously, some generals have prepared to win the battles fought by the previous generation. British armies from 1939 to 1941 used the tactics of 1918. As a result, UK forces were routed by the Wermacht in the Battle of France. Two years later, General Percival repeated the mistake in Malaya and Singapore. He failed to appreciate the importance of air-power, armour and a lightning advance. 120,000 soldiers surrendered to a much smaller Japanese force; millions of civilians were left defenceless before one of the most brutal and cruel forces unleashed on civilization, the Imperial Japanese Army. Continue reading

Unfair Trade

(This article appeared on the blog PeoplePlanetProphet on 1 November 2014) Christians of all stripes should be concerned about the proposed free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US). In the book of Exodus we read of the Israelites’ suffering at the hands of Pharaoh, especially when Moses began agitating for their freedom. Pharaoh suddenly decreed that the Hebrew workforce had to produce the same amount of bricks as they had previously but without straw being provided. What had been a difficult task quickly became a torturous one. Continue reading

Elections 2015: any hope for an elusive quality?

The Virgin airlines 747 pilot who this week had to make an emergency landing said he was just doing his job and had expressed a preference not to be named. When reporting this fact, one radio presenter commented in a tone of admiration that he was also “obviously a very humble man.” Jack Kyle who was named Ireland’s greatest ever rugby player and who passed away recently was also recognised as a very humble man. Continue reading

Cultivating Still, Small Voices

"After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." (1 Kings 9:12)

In October Mark Driscoll, the outspoken Pastor of the Mars Hill "Mega-Church" in Seattle, sensationally resigned following accusations of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his followers.

In the same month Rory Alec, co-founder of the God TV Network, announced he was stepping down from leadership of the network citing "moral failure" in his relationship with his wife Wendy. Continue reading

P.S. – Assumptions

As part of preparation for teaching a module on 'Faith and Contemporary Culture' I’ve been thinking about the myriad number of assumptions inherent within our Western ‘way of life’. By 'assumption' I mean an expectation of normalcy: something that has nothing remarkable or unusual about it and is therefore not even consciously thought about. So I started to jot down assumptions of daily western life. It’s a simple exercise, yet it quickly becomes clear that our location within the West carries a truckload of assumptions that do not apply in most of the world. Continue reading

Is being judgemental the deadliest sin?

I recently heard a sermon on Romans 14:1-10. The preacher spent most of the time giving examples of  how judging others, very often for trivial matters, had harmful consequences for the persons judged. The sermon ended with a brief discussion of Romans 14:10, exhorting the listeners to refrain from judging others because the apostle Paul says that we will all stand before God’s judgment seat (verse 9) and each of us will give an account of himself to God. Continue reading

Meant to Mentor Men?

I once heard it said that there are two great learning institutions in Belfast: One being Queen’s University; the other Queen’s Island – the East Belfast shipyard megalith that built the likes of the “Olympic” and “Titanic”. However, if you are a young Protestant man, the door to both institutions seems difficult to push open. During the same week in April 2014 that the latest peace monitoring report from Community Relations Council highlighted that Protestant boys from poorer households are chronically falling behind their female and Catholic male counterparts, posters appeared in the shadow of the shipyard fuelled by outrage that foreign workers were being employed seemingly at the expense of locals. Continue reading

Who is my neighbour?

We are watching scenes of suffering, devastation and despair on our TVs, and in our living rooms. And we respond in different ways. We might switch off the horror or change channels (being spoilt for choice). Or we grow immune, moving into a “death with dinner” mode as we watch suffering over a meal. We may feel depressed asking “Where is God?”, “How can we make sense of this”? Or we may wonder if we should, as God’s people, respond to this suffering in our world? The suffering of “our neighbours". Continue reading