The Idolatry of Politics

As the posters go up for the elections in our streets, and unwanted bits of paper are thrust through our doors, I ask the hardly new question: Why does nothing seem to change? There are doubtlessly passionate commitments from all parties to various concepts: Unionism, Republicanism, Environmentalism, ‘Shared Future’ and so on. But it all seems so incredibly negative and oppositional, and progress is almost entirely absent. Switch on coverage of Stormont, and it is always the same old, same old. Why does such passion not seem to translate into action? Continue reading

Justice, Mercy and Walking with God: The mission of the church and the future of reconciliation in Northern Ireland (David Porter)

On Thursday 10 October David Porter gave the 2013 Catherwood Lecture

Justice, Mercy and Walking with God: The mission of the church and the future of reconciliation in Northern Ireland

David Porter is well known as a co-founder and then Directorof ECONI (Evangelical Contribution on N Ireland). He has served on the N Ireland Community Relations Council, the N Ireland Civic Forum and the independent Consultative Group on the Past (Eames/Bradley). He represented N Ireland on the Evangelical Alliance UK Board, for three years as its chair. Since 2008, David has been the Canon Director for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral and in February 2013 was appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Director for Reconciliation. In Lambeth he is one of three advisors supporting Archbishop Justin Welby. A response to the lecture was given by Rev Dr Heather Morris, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland. Below you can download the text of the lecture and the response, or listen to a recording. 2013 Catherwood Lecture Catherwood 2013 - Response Rev Dr Heather Morris

What did Mrs Thatcher ever do for us?

‘She saved the country’. This was just some of the hyperbole evoked by David Cameron following the passing of Margaret Thatcher last month. Well I’m sorry, Mr Cameron, I must have missed that! Mrs Thatcher is largely remembered in Northern Ireland for her misjudged response to the hunger strike and for the much reviled Anglo Irish Agreement, which some now say paved the way for the eventual success of the Good Friday Agreement. But her economic legacy in Northern Ireland has been largely overlooked. Unfortunately, it was even less successful than her political interventions. Continue reading

A Story Worth Living For

In a recent book, War and the American Difference*, Stanley Hauerwas explores why it is that Americans have a distinct lack of unease with war. War, he says, 'is America's central liturgical act necessary to renew our sense that we are a nation unlike other nations.' In other words, the war on terror means that Americans have a common enemy that unites them nationally. War is a moral good. It is the pursuit and defence of 'freedom'. Continue reading

Making the Reconciliation Journey.

Reconciliation is a gift and a task, a process and a destination, an experience and a hope. Already there is the sense that this is something big. In Northern Ireland we face the challenge of reconciliation in a society where the old divisions still threaten and where other divisions surface and take form in anger, dispute and disenchantment. As a process we have begun, some say well and others say not, but there is still far to go – the lack of any structured and coherent shared future debate or strategy is evidence of this at the highest levels. Continue reading

The ‘Twelfth’ 2012

In the days after the Twelfth this year a perusal of the different media gave a variety of different perspectives on how it had been. Unionist-leaning websites gave evidence of a happy family day out, in the sun, at Keady, Ballymena and elsewhere. More nationalist-inspired media made much of an ugly incident outside a Catholic church in Belfast. Above all, of course, there were those horrible scenes of mayhem, that could have included murder, at the Ardoyne shops. Continue reading

In Conversation With … John Kyle

This season our 'In Conversation With ...' events are on the theme of faith and politics in Northern Ireland. In the first of the series John Kyle spoke on the theme:

Where Faith and Loyalism Collide

17 January 2012
John Kyle is a General Practitioner in East Belfast.  He was an elder in Christian Fellowship Church for several years with responsibility for building bridges with other churches and denominations.  Since 2000 he has been a member of the Progressive Unionist Party, serving for a time as interim Leader.  He is a Belfast City Councillor representing Pottinger Ward in inner East Belfast.
A recording of John's talk can be heard using the player below.

2011 Catherwood Lecture: Money, Magic, Greed and the Power of Illusions

Money, Magic, Greed and the Power of Illusions:

A Christian Critique of our time

The 2011 Catherwood Lecture was given by Bob Goudzwaard on 1 December 2011. Economics is a major issue of our time. The economic system operates at an international level. Each one of us is also part of the system as consumers or investors. As Christians we should be actively considering one of the most pervasive aspects of our world. Bob Goudzwaard brought a Christian critique of our current economic situation. Philip McDonagh, a local economist with over 30 years experience and currently a Charity Commissioner, gave a response to Bob's lecture from the local perspective. Click below to hear the lecture and the response: The text of the lecture can be downloaded by clicking here: Catherwood_2011_text   Bob Goudzwaard is professor emeritus at the Free University in Amsterdam. He was elected to the Dutch Parliament in the 1970s and served for a time in a Christian policy research institute in The Hague. He is the author of numerous books including ‘Idols of Our Time’, ‘Capitalism and Progress’ and ‘Hope in Troubled Times'.