What's Love Got to do with it?

What if we've missed the point? What if Love Wins is enough? And why Rob Bell may just be right.

Right On our doorstep

Think that slavery is a thing of the past? Think that the UK is too civilised to be part of trafficking? Think again

5 reasons why being married to Brit is great (or 5 reasons to marry an American)

5 things you will never know until you marry an American

Masturbation Month

Giving up masturbation for a month. Why we need to save the kittens.

XXXchurch! Whaaa?

Why I love porn (ministries).

19 Dec 2010

Take Your Pick

You were made for more.

Not for less or for just enough, but for more.

You have a dream (don’t tell me you don’t) and you have a desire to live for

But that isn’t real.

It’s only real when you start to live it out.

It’s not about whether it’s successful or not. It’s about whether you start to
pursue it.

The same exists for porn.

You have a desire and a lust and it lives in your head.

The only difference between lust and your God given dreams is that when you
start to pursue lust, it goes nowhere. In fact it goes back.

When you start to pursue your God given dreams they start to come alive. They
start to breathe. Which mean you start to come alive and you start to breathe.

Today you have a choice. Today you can pursue something that leads to nothing
but heartache and inner turmoil or you can follow the life that comes from
something bigger and more incredible than you could imagine.

It’s that simple.

Take your pick.

12 Dec 2010

Why Frankie Boyle should be allowed to say what he likes.

So Frankie Boyle has done it again. He's gone and upset someone. This time it happens to be Jordan. On his new show Tramadol nights he made a joke that Jordan deemed too far, a joke about her and her family.

I watched the show on Wednesday night and even though I am a big Frankie Boyle fan, a lot of it was pretty close to the bone. I laughed at some jokes and I didn't laugh at others (even though I wanted to).

But it raises the question. How far is too far? How far is a comedian allowed to go in the name of comedy? Should there be some sort of comedy regulation, the comedy cops if you will? And this raises a wider question about free speech in general.

Jordan's reaction to the joke was hurt and to make a complaint to Ofcom and even get her lawyers involved. Frankie Boyle's was to stay silent. The publics' was a mix of disgust and a desire to see his show banned all the way to ...well to be honest I haven't seen many people (except Channel 4) come out publicly to support Frankie Boyle, most notably including himself.

But that isn't really the point.

When it comes to what people are allowed to say or not say I am firmly in the 'you are free to say whatever you like' camp. So Frankie Boyle is free to make jokes about whoever he likes, religious nuts are allowed to condemn and picket whoever they like and right wing groups are allowed to say whatever they like about other groups of people.

I've heard and seen a lot of people say that Frankie Boyle's show should be cancelled. But why?

If we take away free speach then where does that leave us? A lot of the time we focus on the negative stuff that would be wiped out. No free speech and we don't have to worry about groups like Westboro Baptist (I intentionally left out the Church part) because they are suddenly breaking the law and we can do something about it. People wouldn't be hurt because a comedian isn't allowed to say something mean about them.

But what does no free speech mean for the good stuff? It would be arrogant for Christians to assume that they could still go on evangelising for example. That could be offensive to Atheists and to people of other religions.

If free speech is stopped then we can't just assume that we can go on preaching about God's love or tell people about Jesus. We will inevitably offend somebody.

But a lot of the time as Christians we can't see this. We can't allow ourselves to seem weak so we fight it. We fight the right of others to free speech, others we see as 'wrong' and champion our own right to free speech because we see it as 'right'.

Sometimes there is clear wrong or right. Sometimes there are groups who are racist and prejudice (unfortunately some 'Christians'), there are people who just want to cause hurt and pain and who want to see a world where some people are seen as inferior (mmm, some Christians again?) and sometimes we just don't want to face up to people who are different than us (I think you can see where I am going with this).

But our job is not to take their right away to say what they like. Our job is to highlight injustice and to act differently. Our job is to not attack but love. Our job is to highlight the absurdity of some people and listen with love to others with whom we differ.

So Frankie Boyle should be free to make as many 'offensive' jokes as he like.

Because if he isn't then we better keep our mouths shut too.

5 Dec 2010

What Wayne's World Can Teach Us About Faith

One of my favourite movies, not just comedy but of any type of movie is Wayne's World. It's a Classic. But if I have to be honest it's probably the sequal, Wayne's World 2 that has maybe the most influential scene for me in a movie ever. 

Ok that could be pushing it considering all the incredible movies that have changed the way we think and have shaped cinema as we know it. I'm thinking more the Halloweens and the L'assassination Du Duc De Guise's of our time here (yeah look it up) than the Troll 2's (rule 1 of titling a movie- make sure there is at least an element of the title in the movie) and the Glitter's.

But still, there is one scene or more precisely, one line in Wayne's World 2 that has changed the way I think about my life and how I live it. Let me paint the picture.

Our hero Wayne and his best friend Garth are planning to put on a huge rock show. They need a venue, money and of course most importantly bands. But they don't know how to do it. They have their doubts and they don't think it is possible to get the bands. Then Wayne has a dream and in it 'Jim Morrison' along with a a weird naked indian, delivers the line that changed my life.

"If you book them, they will come"

It seems so simple. Book the bands and they will be there. No sweat.

It's so sure. There is a command and  a result. No beating about the bush. Do this and this will happen. You don't need to worry because it will all fall into place.

But when I remembered that line I realised how often I don't live like that. And I guess that is what faith is all about. We have a God who promises to take care of us and we don't need to worry about a thing. No really, not. a . thing. But we still doubt and we still wonder whether we are good enough, or fast enough or capable enough. We have a God who says, "If you act, I will come."

There is a moment in the Prodigal Son story which is often overlooked but it's so important. It's the point when the son makes the decision to return to his Father and his home. Not an easy thing to do considering you just ran away and wasted everything you were given, but still he did it. He returned home.

Because he needed to. He had nowhere else to go. He had no other friends to scrounge off. His bridges were burnt.

But probably also because he had faith. It probably wasn't much but it was there. Maybe he knew somewhere deep down that if he returned home his Father might be there will open arms. Maybe he knew he could return and all would be forgiven. 

He did and he was.

How often have we felt God asking us to do something but we get scared and turn away? How often do we know for a certain we are being called to something but we ignore it anyway? For me a lot. But sometimes faith is all about taking risks. But in fact they never are risks because God is in control. 

Having said that,

Faith is not easy. Sometimes we follow the 'rules' and God doesn't show up. Sometimes we take a step and we fall. Sometimes God feels distant. But he never is.

When the Prodigal Son left, God wasn't anywhere but by his side the whole time. When he was eating food even pig's wouldn't eat, God was by his side.

But sometimes I think we need to have more faith in a God who loves his people enough to split the sea so his people could escape persecution, or defeat armies that far outnumber theirs, or will heal your friend because you took a risk and lowered him through some poor guy's roof ( that's a nice story, but seriously that guy must have been livid).

Or even a God who loves us enough that when we don't have enough faith he doesn't give up on us.
So the next time you feel God calling you to something or you want to be creative and put your work out there or you have an idea for a ministry or a dream or someone you need to tell something to, remember

'if you book him, he will come'


22 Nov 2010

The Lost Art of Affirmation

You remember how as a kid you would do something. Maybe a blob of paint on a page that you passed off as art on par with anything Monet ever produced. Or you wrote your name on a page, even though it looked more like those puzzles where you follow the fishing lines to find the treasure rather than the old boot.

But it didn’t matter. Because in your eyes it was the greatest thing since…well at that age, ever.

You were so proud of yourself and all you wanted to do was show someone. Anyone. Just to show them that you could do something. That you had learned a skill you didn’t have yesterday. That’s an important step in our development I think. To show another human something we created and have them tell us how good it is.

But somehow we lose that. Instead when we grow up a little we like to keep stuff from people. We get more and more used to hearing criticism or having people laugh at our 'crappy' attempts of being creative. So we decide to hide what we produce and we decide to keep it to ourselves even though it was made for the world to see/taste/read/feel. (not smell..what are you making that you want people to smell?!)

It seems that when you are a kid, adults need to keep telling them that they are smart and bright and can walk a few steps. Most adults can do those things pretty easily, but we know and recognise that kids can’t and they need encouraging.

But is it just children who need to be affirmed?

In the last week or so I have received two separate messages from people who I didn’t even know read my blog. And they liked it. They were genuine and they were sincere and I didn’t expect those two people to be readers. But they are.

And quite frankly it made me feel great.

At first it felt a little wrong or even egotistical to feel great. But then I realised that was crap and I enjoyed the feeling.

It made me happy and I felt like what I was doing was at least a little bit decent.

But most importantly it made me want to write. It made me want to create and carry on and not give up.

Which made me realise something. That it doesn’t matter how old you are, we ALL still need to be affirmed and encouraged.

From a young age I have been told that I need to be more like Jesus. I never really know how to go about this especially since the one time I tried to walk on water ended badly and I still need to fork out at least fiver if I want some wine. But I’ve been told to love others, to give to the poor, to turn the other cheek. All great things, but I think that one thing has been missing. There is one way in which we can and should be like Jesus that somehow we miss or deliberately ignore.

Talking of walking on water. Remember the time that Jesus told Peter to walk towards him….on water?

The disciples were on a boat when they saw Jesus on the surface of the water walking towards them. Then Jesus said one simple word to Peter.


So Peter started to take a dander towards Jesus...on water. Then at some point it must have hit him what he was doing and he freaked out a little and this happened.

'But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying,

Lord, save me.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.'

Instead of Jesus laughing at Peter he encouraged him. Instead of telling Peter he had let him down he gave him hope. Instead of telling Peter he would amount to nothing he helped him stand up.

He affirmed Peter. Can you imagine what it must have felt like for Jesus to pick you up and show you that you can do it. That you can walk on water for Pete's sake. But he did.

How often do we look at other people's lives and take a swipe at them? How often in Church, in work, in life do we put down people who are trying to create something beautiful?

A lot more than we should.

But how often do we follow Jesus' lead? How often do you, without being asked, encourage the people you know and love in what they are doing. In their work, in their music, in their writing, in their art, in their life?

Probably a lot less than we should.

Because when we do they will probably want to create more or create better. They will probably want to encourage someone else. They will want to keep challenging themselves and the people around them to give that thing that they know they can.

When Jesus told Peter to walk all he said was "Come"

Maybe we just need to hear Jesus tell us "Come" or sing, or write, or mould or begin.

Maybe then we can find affirmation again.

6 Nov 2010

Quitters Anonymous

I'm a quitter.

There I said it.

I don't like seeing things through. When something gets tough I take the easy route and bail. It's easier. It means no emotional involvement and it means not having to face yourself. Which may be a good thing short term but not so much in the long term.

Take writng for example. Already I have started to write something three times and deleted it all because I thought it was rubbish. Which it may have been. But the truth is I just wanted to stop. Close my computer and go and do something else. Not have to deal with the part of me that tells me I need to write.

Does that happen to you? If you are a human reading this then I am pretty sure the answer is yes. Maybe not writing but maybe following a dream, or an opportunity.

How often do we give up on the first sign of trouble. Or even the second or third. The first time something we are working on doesn't quite work out the way we hoped. Or had in mind. The job interview we ballsed up or the song or the book. In our head we had this idea that it would be amazing first time. That it would come together the way we imagined right away.

But that never happens.

We want to find our own individual voice but we feel like we are speaking for someone else. That's how I feel most of the time I write. I am still searching for that. I am still searching for what will make how I write, my writing. Most of the time I feel like I am just rehashing old ideas. Even my own ideas.

So I want to quit. I don't want to be fake or copy someone. I pretend that quitting is noble. But it isn't.

But if I give up I will never find my voice. I will never find out what it is I was meant to do. Sure going ahead may mean I will sit and stare at a blank screen frustrated and confused. But if I give up I will never get through that. If I walk away I may feel better, but sooner or later I will be called to write again. And when I do I will go through the same motions.

So how do I stop that cycle?

I write.

I have to. I have no other choice. If I don't I will grow more and more frustrated. And if I do keep going?

Eventually I will get there. There may be a lot of typing and deleting. But I will get there. I have to. You have to. We have to.

The alternative is not worth thinking about. Or maybe it is.

What if Shakespeare had given up? What if Michelangelo didn't push through his sore neck painting the Sistine Chapel roof (what a pain that must have been?!)

There are two people who would have missed out.

First, themselves. They would not have experienced the joy that fulfilling their purpose brought.

Second, everyone else. Their work brought and continues to bring happiness, inspiration and motivation to the world.

Don't deny us your work. Don't deny yourself.

3 Nov 2010


More and more recently I have been considering poverty.

A thought occured to me that there must be enough resources in the world for everyone; it just isn't being distributed well enough. I mean if one footballer can earn himself £250'000 a week and is playing terrible, there is something gravely wrong. But it can be easy to blame the world's poverty on the insanely rich.

I work in a shop and we throw food out all the time. Whenever bread has reached one day before its sell by date we throw it out. And that's its sell by date, not it's use by date. Think about the last time you had a meal with a lot of people. Did you finish everything on your plate? Then think about the last time you had a big feed. Did you get to the end and then feel full or could you have stopped a lot earlier?

There is enough.

So why do billions of people not have enough?

None of us really want to think about people who live in Poverty. It's an issue that we are just tired of hearing about. In some ways we have come to accept it. Poverty is a fact and no matter how much we give we can't fix it all. So we don't do anything. There was a time when images of starving kids around the world on the news really effected people.

Last year $300 million dollars was donated voluntarily in the USA to charities. That's a huge amount of money. But when you consider that 95% of that was given to charities based in the USA then the 5% remaining which was dontated to International work doesn't seem so large.

So when $300 million dollars is being donated in one year and most of that is staying in one country, a country which just happens to be the wealthiest in the world, it makes eradicating poverty seem like a lost cause.

But Jesus didn't think so and neither should we. For Jesus, doing something about poverty was a central focus to his message. If we are to take his message seriously we just can't ignore poverty. Doing so is ignoring Jesus.

So what do we do about it?

Well writing a blog about it won't do a thing. If I change my eating habits or my buying habits it won't change a thing. But what about if WE all changed our eating habits?

The truth is it takes all of us to do something. We all need to take action. We all need to give generously. Not just as a group of individuals but as leaders and Governments and Churches. Only then will extreme poverty come a thing of the past.

A impossible dream? I don't think so. Daunting? Maybe. Impossible? Never

30 Oct 2010

5 reasons why being married to Brit is great (or 5 reasons to marry an American)

Just over 3 months ago I got married to a wonderful woman.

This is her

A woman who makes me laugh and apparantly thinks I am funny. She cares about me and she puts my needs above hers. She puts up with my constant attempts to get her to watch the Simpsons which she has never seen. ( Finding someone who has never seen the Simpsons is the equivolent of discovering there are some dodos left i.e. not likely). She also lets me express that part of me that loves Take That. That is true love right there. Every now and again she will drop a bit of information about my beloved Spurs and it makes me smile so much. I think I am pretty lucky anyway.

She makes me happy. There are a thousand different ways Brittany makes me happy every day but I thought I would share my top 5 favourite things about being married to Brittany.

5. Being American Part One

Even though Americans sometimes have a bad reputation in Europe, we have to remember that America is so much bigger than Northern Ireland. So if even only 10% of Americans were awesome that is still more awesomness than we could handle. My point is Brittany is American and therefore is statistically more likely to be awesome than not.

And she is....Awesome that is.

4. Washing Dishes

I thought I knew how to wash dishes. Ha. I did not. I thought you do not need to rinse the soap off. You do. Now I can wash dishes with the best of them. As long as I am not dropping them that is.

3. Shoulder Dancing

There are two groups of people in the world. The lucky and those who have not seen Brit's shoulder dance. Make sure you are in the former. It has to be seen to be believed. Thankfully I am a believer.

2. Being American Part Two

Being American had to be split into two because this is my favourite thing about Brittany being American and deserves a category of its own. The food. Americans know how to do food. They have great restaurants and they have Thanksgiving. But without Brit I would never have known about the Corner Bakery brownies, Slurpees, Peanut BUTTER m and m's, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Fig Newtons and Chilis. I could list many more but I am just getting depressed how I can't have any of these things and my keyboard can't handle the drool. Christmas can't come early enough.

1. Love

All those things are great but this is the best. She loves me. She has a lot of reasons not to but she does. And that makes me love her all the more. She thinks what I need before what she does. She asks me how I am doing every day. She cares about every aspect of my being. She surprises me with 15's from college. She lets me listen to Take That in the car. She prays for me.

I am glad I am married to Brittany because she loves me unconditionally and makes me brownies. So if you go away with one thing from reading this let it be this....

Make sure you marry an American

27 Oct 2010

Sticks and Stones and the c word

Today I got called a rude word in work.

It's so rude I'm not even going to print it here. Let's just say if I was to say it I would probably be picking the negative comments off my blog for months. It's that bad. Definately not PG.

Now I don't really mind being called names. Sticks and stones and all that. Though now you mention it (or should that be now I mention it) what kind of sticks are so strong they are breaking people's bones. Anyway.

What made this particular name all the more bizaare is the reason I was called it.

So I'm innocently enough serving a customer when in walks a man, who without introducing himself (very rude) asks or rather yells at me, why we let people sit outside the shop and sell the Big Issue? I tell him that they are allowed to sell the Big Issue if they like.

But apparantly he doesn't agree with it. And when he asked me whether I agree with it, my reply of "I don't have a problem with it" really sent him cuckoo.

Which is what provoked him to use the nasty "c" word to describe me.

I have a feeling this may become a regular occurence, where he will come in and quickly put me on the spot to find my stance on a particular issue of the day. He'll jump out from behind the tills and shout "Euthenasia!" and I'll very quickly have to think of all the pros and cons. I can only imagine the fun we will have. Today "Should people be allowed to sell the Big Issue?", tomorrow, "Woman Priests". (wee Father Ted reference there for some of you)

I better start reading up.

I want to do better next time.

5 Oct 2010

Church Sex Scandals

First Ted Haggard was accused of having sex with a male prostitue, then the whole Roman Catholic Church abuse issue. Now, not to be undone, Bishop Eddie Long of New Missionary Baptist Church in Georgia, USA has found himself in the middle of allegations of abuse from young males of having sex with them while they were under his leadership and care in his church.

It seems that every few months the Church is due another huge sex scandal and right on cue it has happened again. And I think that there are so many issues that will arise from the Eddie Long situation. From Everything that has happened to Ted Haggard and what is going on in the Catholic Church right now. How we deal (and how we have already dealt) with these scandals is important.

1/  Baby Steps

First off, all these allegations and cases of abuse begs the question, how do certain Church leaders get to this point? Well as Jon Acuff points out sin doesn't just come knocking one day. Especially sexual sin. We don't just start looking at porn. It is a culmination of lots of baby steps. If any of these allegations against Eddie Long turn out to be true, you can be sure it wasn't like he just woke up one day and decided to sleep with these young men. He would probably have been struggling with sexual issues for a while. Maybe even started looking at porn leading all the way up to sleeping someone. Sin comes to visit and before we know it is sleeping on our couch and wearing our clothes. Which leads to the next question..

2/ Why can't leaders feel they can talk about their sin?

If our Church leaders won't or don't feel they can talk about sexual temptation, what hope is there for the rest of us? Maybe the pressure of being seen as perfect and then admitting that we aren't is too much to bear. Why is the Church environment not conducive to talking about our sin? Because keeping our mouth closed is easier than dealing with the fall out. We have groups for AA and drug addictions but we don't want to talk about, whisper it, S.E.X.  Maybe pride tells us that we can beat temptation, that we can stop it before it goes to far. More often than not, we can't. We need help. The sooner as a Church we can start being free and open with our struggles to each other the better. The sooner leaders get this, the better. 

3/ Homosexuality isn't the isssue, hypocrisy is.

Sure there is an debate in the Church right now about how we view homosexuality, but is this the real issue? Or is the real issue that some of our Church leaders are condemning homosexuality on one hand, while on the other are engaging in the very acts they talk of being abonimable? How can the Church claim to lead the way in moral issues if we don't really believe what we say? I think the simple answer is we can't. Too often Christians are seen as high and mighty and as looking down at others. The reason? Because so often we act that way. We contradict ourselves and when we so publicly do, we are killing ourselves and each other.

4/ Hiding behind the sins of others.

Right now the easiest thing in the world for me to do right now would be to condemn people like Ted Haggard or Eddie Long. But the truth is if I did, I would simply be hiding my own sins behind theirs. We love to see huge, famous people fail. We love scandal because it makes our own sins seems pretty ok. They aren't. The truth is I'm not much different than them. The moment I start saying I am, I lose sight of Grace. Sure they have forgotten the whole removing the plank from your own eye, before removing the splinter from someone elses, by their actions. Not just because of their sexual sin, but by condemning others for theirs. But as soon as I start condeming them, I am doing the exact same thing. It doesn't matter if my sin isn't exposed so publicly to the world. It matters because it effects my world; it effects my relationships with the people I love and who love me. (This doesn't mean their sins should be looked over. They need help and love and grace and discipline as we all do. The whole point of removing our planks is so we can effectively help others with theirs, not that we can be perfect.)

These recent sex scandals should serve all of us to look at ourselves. How we put leaders on pedel stools. How we need to match up what we believe and what we do. (Let's not just think this is about sex, it's about what we do with our money, whether we gossip, whether we literally help the poor everyday, it's about being truly transformed by God's love so it permeates into everything we think and do).

Imagine the hurt that could have been saved if Ted Haggard had sought help before things got out of hand?

What do we do now?

We find places and people that we feel free to be honest with completely. We don't hide behind a facade any more.

That's not easy. Which is exactly why we need help.

Who will go first?

10 Jul 2010

Short but sweet.

Before you ask, no the title of this post doesn't refer to Michael J Fox in the awesome Back to the Future Movies.

It's more important than that. Simply these guys are doing great work and giving hope to those who need it.


If you are struggling with addiction to sex then do yourself a favour and get sex addiction help. Or maybe you know someone who needs help with their internet addiction. If so then help them get internet addiction help. 
Or maybe you struggle with other depression or suicidal thoughts. You don't have to beat it alone. There are others who know how you feel.

31 May 2010

Its always funny until someone gets hurt then its just hilarious A Comical rant

I love comedy. It's funny how much I love comedy actually.

You see I just made a joke. I used a word (i.e. funny) that is synonymous with comedy to describe my feeling about humour and all its connotations.

OK it wasn't the best joke ever, but it was still a joke. You can't deny that. Or maybe a joke to be defined as a joke must have at its very core one simple element...it needs to be funny. And since most people won't have found my joke funny would not then label it as a joke. So me referring to it as a joke in that previous sentence was a lie and so you can't trust anything I write and should therefore stop reading this right now.

But that's the thing about comedy. Everyone is different. Everyone has different tastes. Some people think the Office (UK version) is funny. Other don't (I like to call them idiots). Some people think Laurel and Hardy are funny. Others prefer Abbot and Costello. Some people are offended by shows like Brass Eye. Others see past the controversial topics and focus on what the show is trying to tell us. Some people think a joke is enhanced by the f word. Others think it is unneccessary.

But the thing that is true about all comedy is that it will either make you laugh or it won't.

But are there lines that we shouldn't cross? Or is every topic fair game?

I am going to admit right now that I love dark humour. I love jokes where you go "ooooooooh" after. I love Brass Eye. I love Blue Jam. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. I love people like Ricky Gervais and Frankie Boyle. I love comedians that have balls to say something they know will be offensive. I heard Ricky Gervais say once in an interview with Larry David that sometimes comedians just have to say things and not worry about the reaction.

Part of me likes that. I like the risk that entails. 

But all this talk about what is appropriate to laugh at leads to an important question.

How should our faith and beliefs affect what we laugh at?

A few years ago a huge controversy arose after a cartoon of Mohammed appeared in a Danish publication. Many Muslims were outraged and offended by it and maybe they had a right to be.

But what about Christians? This made me think. How are we supposed to react to jokes that poke fun at God or Jesus? Is the Life of Brian OK to watch? What about the recurring jokes about Jesus in Family Guy?

A lot of Christians find this stuff offensive. And that's OK. Really it is. We should be free to air our opinions on all sorts of topics, including humour. But what about jokes that make fun of gay people or people with disabilities. I know a lot of Christians that use the word 'gay' as a derogatory word for things. Similarly many use the word 'retarded' to describe situations that they find twisted.

I know Christians who have laughed at and made jokes at the expense of certain people e.g. homosexuals.

Is this OK? Isn't there some sort of upside down logic when on one hand we are offended by jokes made about a Divine God who let's face it can take it, and on the other hand make fun of groups of people who have been marginalised. Is this dare I say it, a form of bullying? Is this what Jesus was about? 

And maybe the problem is that we just have a hard time laughing at ourselves. Maybe if we took the time to look at the absurdities of Religion and Christianity we wouldn't be so quick to be offended by others making fun of us. Maybe, just maybe we would see what others see and it would make us consider how we react to them. Maybe when comedians make fun of Christianity they have a point.

Christians have a history of being offended. We are good at it. What we aren't so good at is always loving our enemies. Sure some jokes about Religion are maybe too close to the bone and we shouldn't laugh at them. But how we react is where we can really have an impact. What would happen if instead of being offended all the time we instead looked at some of our practices and flaws and realised just how absurd they are.

Maybe there are things that are just not appropriate for Christians to laugh at. But maybe those things aren't so much jokes about Christianity but jokes against people who we should be standing up for.

Should we be offended at jokes about God and then turn around and laugh at jokes about gay people? Of course not. 

Which is why I am glad for people like Jon Acuff and Tripp and Tyler. People who aren't afraid to poke fun at our Christian bubble. People, who instead of going on the defensive are joining in and highlighting our faults through humour.

Maybe by doing that we can change Christianity for the better. Being offended so much pushes others who are outside of Christianity away. It alienates them and means we put up our barriers even further when others laugh at us.

So we go out sometimes and offend.

Which is hurtful.

And that's just not funny.

27 May 2010

What we hope for

A few days ago a pretty monumental thing happened. The LRA Recovery and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was finally passed in the House of representatives. Two days ago it passed onto President Obama's desk where he signed it and made it law that the US government will have to take action to end Joseph Kony's reign of terror.
If you have ever read my blog you will know that this is something I care deeply about. For decades, children have been abducted from their homes and forced to fight and kill in the name of a crazy man who has no real agenda other than ruining lives for his own power. I got involved a couple years ago when my girlfriend and I sat down to watch the Invisible Children movie- The Rough Cut.
It moved us so much and we knew we had to help. We had to get the word out. Neither of us had known that this was going on and we knew most of our friends didn't either.
Last April we were involved with the Rescue. An Invisible Children event where we camped out in Dublin to show we were one with the Child Soldiers. We waited to be 'rescued'. We waited on Politicians and media figures to stand alongside us. We waited with hundreds and thousands of others in cities around the world. In New York, London, San Diego, Mexico City, Sydney.
Most of us were rescued pretty quickly. We stood alongside each other. Kids all over the world standing together for something big and important. But some still waited. In Chicago they waited and waited.
And waited.
For a week kids slept out on the streets in Chicago demanding to be rescued. No matter where we were in the world we were united with Chicago. The internet meant all of us could plead for Oprah Winfrey to stand up and declare her support and therefore 'release' the kids in Chicago. We tweeted and facebooked our socks off.
Eventually it happened. It took a while but Oprah stood up and her voice meant the kids in Chicago's voices could be heard. And this meant that the Kids in Northern Uganda could have their voices heard also.
And in this past week this voice has reached all the way to the White House.
It was pretty special to be involved with. Something I will never forget.
When you are united with people you have never met and have a common interest and a common goal it can be one of the most thrilling things. You feel like you are alive. Nothing can stop you. You are changing the world together and there is a high involved that no drug can come close to achieving.
Maybe this all sounds cliched and hard to understand but maybe you need to experience this sort of thing. Maybe when you have put your heart into something so important and joined with people all over the world to end injustice you will understand.
But the problem is that it never lasts.
That high quickly disappears. Maybe it is exhaustion. But sooner or later life goes back to normal. There is still work to do of course but sometimes that work is a bit more boring and mundane. Just as important but maybe not quite as exciting. It takes real commitment to stick at it.
And this is my problem. I lost interest. I stopped checking to see what the latest was in the Congo and in Northern Uganda. I stopped educating myself and getting involved. It's not that I didn't care anymore but it wasn't as exciting.
This happens a lot in life. You go to a concert and singing along with hundreds or even thousand of other people and it's awesome. Then you go home and go to History first period the next day at school (no offense History geeks). Or you go to a huge Christian event and you are united with everyone there and and you feel like you could change the world for God. Then you come home and look at porn at 3am and feel worthless again.
It's hard to keep that high going.
And maybe that's alright. Not all of us are called to work for Invisible Children full time. Just because we go back to the normality of life we shouldn't forget that our participation was important. This isn't about feeling guilty. It's about perseverance.
After Jesus had died I'm sure it was pretty tough for the disciples. Everything they thought they understood was taken away. But then Jesus came alive and he appeared to the disciples. Their response was what you would expect.
Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:52,53
It must have felt as natural as breathing to worship Jesus in that moment. This was what they had been waiting for. Jesus fulfilling exactly what he had been talking about the whole time. They were united with each other and Jesus. It must have been the best feeling in the world. Jesus had just told them to go out and change the world and they were ready. What a feeling that must have been.
Then in Mark 16 Jesus lets them know what he wants them to do.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." 
When Jesus asked them to go out and spread the word he wasn't naive. He knew that it would be tough. He knew there would be times they would feel like giving up and going home. But he promises them that they will do amazing things. Important things.
Things like healing.
Things like letting someone know they are loved.
Things like helping release Child Soldiers.
The disciples didn't get it all easy after Jesus left them physically. They had it extremely tough at times. But they had a hope that it would all be worth it. That they weren't pursuing peace or justice for nothing. So they kept going until it quite literally killed them.
And the great thing is we are in the same place. We aren't any different. We have jobs to do. We have people to love and injustices to overturn.
Sure it might get mundane at times. We might need a breather. We will definatley need to be reinspired.
But there is a hope that it will be worthwhile that keeps driving us.
The most important thing that Invisible Children has taught me is that none of us are unimportant. That if we keep going we will get there. it happened this week. It took all of us. But there is definatley a lot of work to do. This is not the end. It's just the beginning. But we have come this far. And it has been worth every minute.
So whether you are a Parent, or a teacher, an activist or even the President of the United States.
Keep focusing on the hope that your work is worthwhile.
You might not be able to see the results yet.
But they are there.
And if you keep going.
then soon enough the Invisible will become the Visible.

17 Apr 2010

Accidents and Compliments

A few days ago when I woke up I got up and came downstairs and immediately turned my computer on. This is my routine most days if I‘m not working early. I get up, check facebook, check my emails, check any blogs that I read normally and then start to think about writing for the day.

That day though I got up and went to the xxxchurch site straight away. I am going to be writing a blog for them and I had submitted my first blog a couple weeks prior. And I am really excited about it because xxxchurch saved my life and I love and appreciate what they are doing and to be even slightly involved with this ministry is really exciting for me.

But…for the last week or so I had been logging on waiting to see my blog up on the site. And every day I had been disappointed slightly. Because it wasn’t up. Until three days ago that is.

I logged on and there it was. My xxxchurch blog. Brilliant! I had finally made it. My name in lights..so to speak. So I did a few other things online and I did a curious thing. I did something that I have been getting into the habit of doing lately and its not good.

Every few minutes I would refresh the page just to see if anyone had commented.

And suddenly I realised I had missed the point so badly. I had made this about me. I had made the blog all about me. Instead of writing and hoping that somehow that writing would help people who struggle, I was writing and hoping that someone would say I was an awesome writer.

I wanted Glory.

Now there is nothing wrong with receiving compliments. It is affirming and it encourages us and helps us to become better at what we do.

But on the flipside, when we do our art to receive compliments we have screwed priorities.

Like the musician who just wants to be famous and get rich, we have distorted our art. We have just started and already we have sold our souls to the devil (notice the small d, the grammar version of the middle finger).

That’s what selling out is. The process of doing something we love for all the wrong reasons.

The footballer who just wants to get all the glamour and girls.
The writer who wants people to hang off her every word.
The actor who makes the lowest common denominator Hollywood movie instead of the artistically intelligent indie movie.
The band who rehash their last album because that’s what sold millions.
The Pastor who sets out just to be controversial and offend.

So back to my xxxchurch blog and later that day I returned to it to find someone had commented on it.

Great! The moment I had been waiting for..

Only it wasn’t quite the moment I had been expecting. Instead the first comment had a real go at my post. I won’t go in to what they said but let’s just say they weren’t impressed at all.

But as I sat there reading it I realised it was the best thing that could have happened. I realised that I was free. I realised that if I write just so people can pat me on the back then I am doing something dirty, something I don’t want to be involved in.

If you are an artist or do anything creative really then I’m sure you know this feeling. The feeling of wanting Glory. I think it’s natural. But when you put all your energies into that then at some point you will feel let down. Because if our success is based on what others think of us then we are going to fail. At some point someone won’t think you are that great.

And that’s OK.

Because some will. There will be people who will be moved and inspired and helped by what you do.

But even that’s not enough. We need to do it for ourselves. We need to fulfill that part of us that says “this is what I was made to do”. This is why I am here.

Sooner or later you will crash into a wall. It could be creative or it could be someone’s opinion.

But you will just have to go around it.

Check out my new xxxchurch blog here if you like.

And feel free to say whatever you like

10 Apr 2010


There are times when your preconceptions are shattered and what you thought you know is completely blown wide open.

These times are good. They can be painful and difficult to deal with. But ultimately they are good because you start to see truth where before you were seeing what you thought was truth.

But it wasn’t.

I have a lot of preconceptions (that’s probably a whole other thing to get into) but on Thursday night I had my preconceptions of Homeless people changed dramatically.

When I saw a homeless person on the street I forgot that they are a person with a life and a history. They have a story.  And I forget that they weren’t always homeless.

On Thursday night I went with two really close friends into Belfast because one of my friends wanted to give out food and blankets to homeless people.

We only met one homeless person.
His name is Sean.
We met him outside Botanic train Station.
Sean is nearly 40. He looks like he is a lot younger.
He has been homeless for almost 20 years. That’s nearly half his life.
His Father threw him out. He says hi to his Father sometimes in Belfast but his Father hardly acknowledges him.
He had been in the Hospital the night before. He discharged himself because he felt the Doctors were taking him for a ride.
His mother is dead and his Father wouldn’t even let him in the House for a cup of Tea after the funeral.
He has a nephew.
He has epilepsy.
He likes a drink.
He likes to smoke.
He needs assistance in getting up and sitting down.
He was given a new sleeping bag from a Mission but he doesn’t want it because he says he doesn’t need it.
He knows where to score drugs.
He once slept on a bench with about an inch of ice.
He likes Cheese and Ham sandwiches.

We learned a lot about Sean.

But mostly I think we learned that Sean is human. He isn’t inferior because he lives on the street. He just got a bad break in life. It could have been me. It could have been any of us.

He isn’t loved by his own Father. He has washed his hands of him.

So we decided to love Sean. We gave him some sandwiches, a couple of blankets and a couple of cigarettes.

I don’t know if we did much. But I think we listened. We let him tell his story. By doing that I think we gave him some dignity because he has a story. And if you have a story that means you are someone.

And Sean is someone.

Next time you are passing Botanic Station say hi to him.

Remind him that he is someone.

18 Mar 2010

Why the World only needs one Rob Bell

When I write I have a tendancy to compare myself to other writers.

I love Rob Bell and I love Don Miller and I wish I was them. Well maybe not them exactly, but I definately wish I thought like them and I had thier talent.

But I don't. I try my best but ultimately I am just not Rob Bell or Don Miller or any other great writer for that matter.

And when I understand that I can finally move on and start writing like someone else unique.....


When I constantly compare myself to other people I am preventing myself from being who I was created to be. I wasn't born to be Rob Bell. I was born to be Paul Robinson.

And when I constantly compare myself to other people it shows a lot about what I think about God.

If you asked me if I thought God is perfect and never makes mistakes I would say yes. But I seem to have some trouble applying that to myself.

Sometimes we get so bogged down by our own faults and our own mess ups that we focus too much on oursleves and not enough on God. We see ourselves and hate ourselves even for not being good enough and we forget that there is more to it than meets the eye.

If we look at who we are and come to the decision that we are not good enough and worthless, then how can we trust our own opinion of ourselves. If I am as worthless as I sometimes see myself, well why would I trust that type of persons opinion.

But thankfully my opinions of myself aren't really worth much. That's good news.

When I base God's view of me on the type of person I am, I am inevitably setting myself up for failure.

God's view of me is always the same.

He loves me.

He loves you.

I can mess up every day and never go anywhere but God will always love me.

How can he love me though when I struggle with porn? Or how I can he love me when I hate my body? Or how can he love me when I keep treating my friends like crap?


because he is God. And unlike us he doesn't make mistakes. He created each of us exactly the way he wanted. Yeah sure sometimes we get off track, and need reminded of that, but its still true.

So what does this mean?

Well it means that I can stop trying to earn God's love and favour by trying to be people I am not. We can start focusing on the fact that when God made us he made us exactly so we wouldn't be anyone else. It means that I can stop being anxious and rest in that knowledge and start living my own story.

We should study people like Rob Bell or whoever we look up to. We should learn from them and take away principles of their ministry or writing or art.

But we shouldn't try and just copy it. Because we are doubting God's ability to make something of unique beauty and goodness from our own lives when we do.

Because the world only needs one Rob Bell.

17 Feb 2010

Cigarettes and Alcohol and Rollerblading

It doesn't seem that long ago since Christmas. Seven weeks and five days to be exact.

And now we are already gearing up for Easter. The Easter eggs have been in the shops for a few weeks already. It seems that preparation starts earlier and earlier.

But for pretty much all my life I have not been prepared for Easter. Today is Ash Wednesday and it marks the beginning of Lent. The time period of 40 days or so where we traditionally give up something we love. Maybe for you its coffee, or chocolate or cigarettes, or maybe you are giving up watching LOST. Maybe you gave that up ages ago.

Whatever it is. It's good to deny ourselves some stuff over this period. It's good to direct our minds on something other than ourselves. And I think that is the main point of Lent. It's not that we try and make ourselves miserable for some sort of higher spiritual experience.

But it's supposed to help us to think outside our own existance and help others,

It's supposed to prepare us so we can appreciate Easter more.

I don't think Lent is just about giving up something though. It's also about replacing it with something else that is good and worthwhile. It's about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made by sacrificing something we love.

So maybe you have decided to give up your ipod (I know, I know, how 2007 of me), or maybe you won't go on facebook for a while. I have heard lots of really good ideas. How about not using the radio or having music play in your car so you can spend driving time, praying instead.

But what are we replacing these things with? Who are we helping? Where are we directing our time now that we have given up facebook for a while?

Well as I wrote about in my last post, I am not the most disciplined of people. So instead of this year setting myself up for failure and feeling crap I have decided to follow this Lent Calendar from Marshill. It might be a great way of us to connect better.

There are a load of different ways you can get ready for Easter. You don't just have to give up stuff. You can give up time. You can help someone who needs help. You can take an interest in an issue in the world that is damaging the Earth. You can drink only water and donate the money you normally would spend on coffee or beer to help create clean water for people who don't have it.

I must stress that this won't make you more holier or superior to anyone who doesn't give up something at Lent. But what it will do is give you a greater appreciation of what Jesus did. Of the sacrifice he made. Of the life we now have because of his dying to himself.

Why not give it a go? What is there to lose? What are you going to give this Easter?

13 Feb 2010

Can't go on, must go on, can't go on, mu.....

I like to write but most of the time I don't feel like it.

I like to blog but at times, like right now, I just can't be bothered. I have no motivation whatsoever. This guy I am not

That sucks when something you enjoy doing is not appealling. I have that feeling and I need to figure out why.

And I think I know.


I hate that word so much. Mostly because I severely lack in that department. Reading the Bible, praying, revising, practicing the piano, all these things we are told are good for us, are not interesting to me most of the time.

And I don't have the discipline to write. But I want to.

Right now I am writing but I want to stop. I think what I am writing is crap and quite possibly it is. These are the thoughts I get when I am trying to become disciplined at doing something. "I don't want to", or "I'm not good at it", or "I don't feel Jesus' presence" or "I am bored out of my skull"

I am writing this sentance and I have written all the previous ones but there is something in me which is telling me to stop and go on to facebook instead.

And I don't even know what it is keeping me going. But somehow I am. Something is telling me to stop but the voice telling me to keep going is somehow winning.

And that folks is all I have for you. I don't have some nugget of wisdom to give you on how to become disciplined. I am the wrong guy for that.

But maybe the point of discipline is that we need to just keep going. Maybe it won't be pretty. Maybe it will be hard and there will be sweat and blood (though if there is I think you are definately doing something wrong) and tears.

Maybe we need to start small and build instead of thinking we need to pray 24 hours a day, or read the whole Bible in a year or learn that piece of music all in one day or whatever.

All I know is that discipline is good. It's important. It is healthy. We grow from it. We learn about ourselves and others from it. But God is it hard.

Maybe its supposed to be hard. Maybe I am just undiscplined. Maybe you think it is easy.

What works for you? How do you get out of that rut where you simply don't want to?

10 Feb 2010

When pickets turn funny

Right. Enough is enough.

I have been away from here for far too long and I am getting a few minor withdrawl symptoms? (Is that how you spell withdrawl?, is there an e in there? Wow it's been so long I've forgotten how to spill).

So if you are one of the 8 people who follow this I apologise for my severe lack of blogging. My last post was before Christmas so expect more stuff to come in the next few days. And expect more varied stuff.

I've realised that I want to maybe cut back on the serious blog posts a bit and write a few more laid back posts. Hopefully that will result in a bit more blogging on my part.

So I am excited to be back and if you are new... You are very welcome and I hope you enjoy.

So most of you will be aware of Westboro Baptist in the USA. They are a pretty intense bunch of people/church/sect/cult and their views on homosexuals (their favourite quote is 'God hates fags'), the US army, Obama, and even Ireland are just insane. And oh yeah I should have said, unless you are a member of their church you are going to hell...Sorry to break it to you.

Check them out if you like, but I love how these bunch of guys from twitter gave them a taste of their own medicine by picketing Westboro Baptists' very own picket of the twitter offices. You following? I know there was a lot of pickets in there.

Anyway, makes you think how we should disagree with people. Should we start yelling back and just stoop down to their level or should we show the ridiculous of some situations by demonstrating how ridiculous some of their views are.

What you guys think?


Oh and check out the awesome 'anti-picket' picket signs.

Which is your favourite?

My vote goes to this


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