When Beethoven realised that he was going deaf and that there was little hope of a cure, despair called. He avoided this by casting himself as the hero who would not be deflected from fulfilling his true vocation. For Beethoven this was his art: his music. Although he could not know what posterity would make of his work, he knew that he must continue.

Beethoven’s vision of himself reflects what Joseph Campbell distilled as key elements in the journey of any hero. He believed that when we read the stories of heroes from different times and cultures, we find that they contain the same essential elements. 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

Church and Culture: Down with that sort of thing!

Culture - should we accommodate it or resist it?

How should we be building the Kingdom of God on earth - engaging with and transforming culture? This event was held on 17 September at 2013. Dr Maithrie White-Dundas After completing a multidisciplinary doctorate, in Cultural Studies, Critical Theory, and Literature at the University of Nottingham Maithrie was Head of the Department of English at one of the National Universities in Sri Lanka. She is the Chair of Transforming the Mind (Annual National Christian Postgraduate Conference, UK) which she founded in 2003. She relocated to Belfast  and is the Editor of the International Journal of Ethnic and Social Studies (Sri Lanka) . She is pursuing an MTh, for ordination in the Church of Ireland.

The Redundant Church?

The church's services as chaplain to this democracy are no longer required. You've been given your P45; your severance pay is in the mail.

This is roughly what Walter Brueggemann said to a Presbyterian audience in America.* It is perhaps how the church in the UK feels when we hear, for example, that it is unlawful for prayers to be included on the agenda of council meetings. Continue reading