Peace on earth?

For many months, and especially in the last few weeks, we have been seeing the war in the Middle East and its horrible effects being reported almost daily on our TV screens and in our newspapers. I can barely watch the news now. I feel helpless, angry and even guilty at times, since those images of acute suffering are followed so often and so easily by twenty minutes of politics and sport. And even as I write this piece in mid December, the Ministry of Defence is saying that 'RAF jet pilots are the busiest they have been for 25 years, dropping 11 times more bombs than at the height of the Afghanistan conflict'. It was therefore a huge privilege to be able to be offer a structured response to the evening lecture (sponsored by Contemporary Christianity) on the futility of war which was given by Alan and Elaine Storkey in memory of Sir Fred Catherwood towards the end of November. Their address is available on the Contemporary Christianity's website, and may I encourage you to listen and reflect carefully on their passionate plea for Christian people to be much more pacifist in our thinking and much more active in seeking to bring an end to war. They argued eloquently that Christ deconstructs the fear of those who can kill the body, which is the ultimate threat of the militarists, and on the cross faces that threat in reality. The Apostle Paul replaces the Roman armour, the military kit, with the Christian armour of spiritual attitudes and with our feet shod with the Gospel of Peace. Continue reading

Ain’t gonna study war no more …

The 2016 Catherwood lecture was given by Alan and Elaine Storkey on 24 November 2016.

The accumulation of power by arms companies and the influence of militarism have continued for over a century. The time has come for people of faith to address these issues and to take seriously Jesus' words, "those who take the sword will perish by the sword. Dr Alan Storkey is an economist, sociologist and artist. He the author of War or Peace: The Long Failure of Western Arms. Elaine Storkey is a theologian, philosopher, social scientist and broadcaster. Norman Hamilton (OBE) is convenor for Public Affairs for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and was previously the minister of Ballysillan Presbyterian Church.  

In Conversation With … Warwick Smart

On Tuesday 13 October, Warwick Smart looked at "The Babylonian Myth of Redemptive Violence ... fighting for peace", discussing perceptions of accommodation and compromise as well as pacifism. Warwick is originally from South Africa, where he was a minister in St Columba's Church of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa. He is now the minister of 1st Ballymoney Presbyterian Church.