When I was a small boy living in a rural County Down bungalow in the 1960s, the question posed by the gospel narrative, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ seemed easy to answer. The Ferguson family lived a field away, the Rooney family had a farmyard which was visible from our living room window and the Lowries and two other families lived in the nearby terrace of houses known as Calvert’s Row. 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

Faith in the Future …

According to a BBC news report two Japanese government ministers and dozens of lawmakers recently visited the Yasukuni shrine on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. The shrine is a testimony to Japan's past militarism under a 'divine emperor' including the colonisation of the Korean peninsula and the invasion of China. It commemorates Japan's war dead but also honours 14 convicted war criminals from World War II. Today its history museum continues to peddle a version of World War II history that either ignores or denies the crimes committed by Japan in Korea and China. Visits to the shrine by lawmakers anger and offend Japan's neighbours.    Continue reading