A EUROPEAN LIVING IN NORTHERN IRELAND WRITES…

The first time I stepped foot on Northern Irish soil was a few days after our wedding almost 25 years ago. We had spent some days in London after getting married in my native Sweden, and having previously lived in London, I thought Belfast couldn't be that different. Sweden had joined the EU just a couple of weeks prior to our Big Day, which meant that I didn't have to apply and pay for a visa to stay in the UK. Continue reading

A CHRISTIAN FROM THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WRITES…

So it looks like one of the world's most significant political and trade borders is going to be drawn across the leafy lanes and modern motorways that join the two parts of Ireland. At present you are able to move back and forth without noticing apart from being careful about speed limits, and having some "foreign money" in your pocket. (And no you can't drive at 120 mph on our motorways! And ok they will not take your Sterling coins at the M1 toll-booth but try getting them to take Northern Ireland notes in a Turkish fruit shop in North London! I have - they don't!) Continue reading

A CHRISTIAN WHO VOTED LEAVE WRITES…

We should be very cautious when someone tells us that they can interpret history’s direction. Nevertheless, events over the centuries suggest large multinational political units have not fared well. That intuition is reinforced by the warning that humanity’s quest to achieve greater political centralisation is ancient and sinful- a reasonable interpretation of Genesis chapter 11, verses 1 to 9 and especially verse 6. Continue reading

A CHRISTIAN WHO VOTED REMAIN WRITES…

 

On 23rd June 2016 I celebrated my 28th birthday. On the same day I also voted to Remain in the EU. My wife and I celebrated another year of life with a good old fashioned Northern Irish chippy, followed by French cheese, Spanish wine and Italian bread, and I went to bed really hoping I would get the birthday present I voted for. Alas, it was not to be and the contentment of an evening of good food and company soon passed away to be replaced by a feeling of unease. Continue reading

Resisting without imposing

In the 1980s Lesslie Newbigin argued that the modern multicultural worldview simply did not have the resources to stand up against absolutist worldviews. Sadly the rise of radical Islam and the results of the EU referendum and US presidential election seem to be proving him right. As postmodern thinkers have often pointed out, worldviews come at a price. Because they are comprehensive in scope and because they depend on a particular narrative of the world they have a tendency to become absolutist ideologies. They tend to negate all other visions, describing them as deviant or disruptive. Continue reading

EU: In or Out?

In or out; stay or leave; in favour of Brexit - or not?  The complexities and the unknowns of the forthcoming referendum on EU membership will, unhappily, be boiled down to simple a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ vote on this question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? We are not used to voting on such a momentous and complex issue.  Nor are we even sure what the key issues really are for those of us with a Christian conscience.   And we will struggle to hear what the scriptures might be saying.  Yet we must try, if we are to vote wisely. Continue reading