Thursday, 29 August 2013


Desert Snowstorm by Adam White

I wrote a blog entry for a particular faith publication a few weeks ago and it was promptly removed by the editor. Naming no names. Normally I wouldn't really complain - I was writing voluntarily and this kind of thing happens all the time. But I thought the blog entry was so anodyne and I just don't understand why it had to be removed. So just for fun and because the entry seems more relevant with the Syria crisis, here is the offending article for you to judge for yourself...

What is the point of writing? What is the point of journalism? Is it to work with the status quo? Is it to re-enforce the latest political agenda? Is it to write propaganda? Or is it to try to question, to criticize and interrogate those with power over our lives? What is the point of using a pen or keyboard? Is it to make things better or worse?

Whenever anyone says ‘It’s the principle of the thing’ they usually have my sympathy. A few years ago I was reading through the media jobs section of a national newspaper and I came across this job ad. It was headed ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’. Reading the advert it became obvious that the job was to be a speechwriter for the Ministry of Defence.
The tagline was ‘A Force for Good’. I cut out the job advert and stuck it in my diary with a few choice words of what I thought of it. It wasn’t just that the Ministry of Defence were paying £66,389 to the successful applicant, it was that they had appropriated the phrase: ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword’without any sense of irony.
BBC and ITV news agendas today seem to take a reckless disregard to this principle. This is also true of many national newspapers. Sometimes they will always promote the option of a war. And politicians will seize the day, dismiss alternatives and use emotive language to call for war for a political agenda.
I got over it of course. In this life you tend to do that – sometimes we are powerless to do anything about it and the anger fades (and anyway, anger is such a bullying emotion).
The problem is, naive as I am (and believe me, I have my naive moments), I still can’t get my head around the way that the pen and the sword work together. It seems to me that they are diametrically opposed to each other. The pen should promote peace and healing. The whole point of having a principle like ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’ is to fight for peace using the written word. Not to promote war.
 I keep reading articles in newspapers or hearing news reports on TV which are so uncritical and supportive of war that I find the old frustration coming back again. And what right have I? I’m naive – we live in a world where reports in newspapers about subjects like the arms trade or the latest war are often uncritical. We live in a world where wars are presented as the only option. That’s the way it is.
 I hope the person who eventually got the job has job satisfaction. But today there really are other options than war. It’s the principle of the thing.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

What Rocks Your World

A lot of my time this summer has been spent in editing, proofing and formatting an ebook for publication. The book was written by my wife, Jen, and I'm biased (and wise) enough to say that it really is the best careers book I've ever read.

The book itself is written for young people to help them to discover their skills and talents. Being so close to my wife I know that she genuinely cares about young people and that she is passionate about helping them to succeed in whatever they do.

What I have learnt through it all is that everyone has different skills and talents. These are sometimes the talents which people don't get much credit for. Skills like caring for others, computing or a million other things.

What Jen does in the book is to show young people that they really do have these talents and that they can succeed. There is just so much practical encouragement and care in her words.

I can't recommend this book highly enough for any young person or parent who wants the best for their teenager.

The book is called What Rocks Your World and is available for £3 on Amazon for Kindles or Kindle for PC (soon to be available on iTunes and other online stores). Take a look at it or check out the website

This is the Amazon page link:

Friday, 9 August 2013

David Cameron - Christian?

There isn't much which is more damaging to believers than a Prime Minister claiming to be a Christian. It simply reinforces people's perception that Christianity is about defending the status quo (or the rich). It also reinforces the false view that Christians are privileged in society.

Yesterday some brave soul asked Cameron: "What would your response to Jesus be on his instruction to us to sell all our possessions and give the proceeds to the poor?"

Reports suggest that the PM was thrown by the question and had a momentary mental block: "I have never had that question before." he muttered.

Then his political spiel kicked in and he said: "I’m a Christian and I’m an active member of the Church of England, and like all Christians I think I sometimes struggle with some of the sayings and some of the instructions.

But what I think is so good about Jesus’s teachings is there are lots of things that he said that you can still apply very directly to daily life and to bringing up your children.

Simple things like do to others as you would be done by; love your neighbour as yourself, the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount.

To me they’re still pretty fresh and good instructions... but the particular one that you mention, I find a little bit more difficult."

You couldn't come out with an answer like that unless you had the devil whispering dark advice in your ear. 

Once again we have the old Government lie: 'God is with us' (and the implication of that: 'He approves of all that we do'). Because that is the subtext of the exchange.

And if David Cameron actually does have some kind of relationship with Christ (which I think is debatable) - then he is behaving like a sycophant to Christ.

It is the subtext of the exchange which is the danger. Once again the Government needs the legitimacy that is provided from faith groups. And once again, through both word and action they claim that God is with them and that God is in all that they do, every law that they make, every oppressive statement against the poor. When there are hospital cut backs - God is with them. When minorities are marginalized - God is with them. When things get worse in the country and not better - God is with them and these measures are necessary for future freedom. When arms are traded God is with them. When the poor are oppressed - God is with them. And even if they choose to deny this is the truth - God is with them in that too.

Take a message from another struggling Christian who finds it hard to sell all his possessions Mr Cameron (and I hope that is where the similarities cease):

God is not with the Government. God is with the people.

What the country needs is a Christian revival, not a nominal Christian Prime Minister who is making things worse for both the Christian community and for the poor.