You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2007.

Halloween PumpkinHalloween is upon us once more. For most kids, a time of harmless fun. For some, the opportunity to make mischief. For a very few, a time to genuinely celebrate evil. And for an increasing number of Christian families, a chance to be counter-cultural and offer ‘Light’ Parties as an alternative to, and a denunciation of, the celebration of Halloween.

Obviously, I’m not about to advocate that celebrating evil is in any way a good and proper thing to be doing, especially for children. That said, I do wonder whether Christian parents (of which I am one myself) are serving their children well by celebrating good and light at the expense of evil. Of sending our little angels to parities where demons and devils are not invited. Read the rest of this entry »

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The NorthAfter years of debate about North/South divides, the dividing line has finally been plotted, and it’s come as a surprise to many – and a relief to me.

The Lowry Gallery in Salford is currently running an exhibition, The Myth of the North, debunking stereotypes about Northern life and assessing the unique cultural identity of the region. But this threw up the question – where is ‘the north’?

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Last week, for want of something better to do before bedtime, I watched the last half an hour of the UK’s Best and Worst Place to Live 2007. To dispense with the intrigue, Edinburgh was the best place to live, and Middlesbrough the worst. Of course, now what’s running through your head is, how did they come up with those two? Especially if you are living in Middlesbrough and think it’s a really great place to live, or stuck Edinburgh and think it’s shite.

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Gordon Brown in BasraI’m no supporter (or detractor) of Gordon Brown, nor of his flying visit to Basra during the Conservative Party Conference, but I’m finding it hard to stomach the opposition’s continual insistence that Brown is simply playing politics with our soldiers out in Iraq. What else do politicians do with soldiers? David Cameron himself went to Basra not long after he became party leader for a ‘fact finding visit’. The cynic in me would suggest that this was simply good PR, and could easily be categorized as ‘playing politics with soldiers’. Back in the 1980s, Thatcher was photographed atop a tank, Union Flag fluttering from the gun turret. In fact, I’m finding it hard to think of a recent political leader who hasn’t used our soldiers for the purposes of political PR. But then, these are just harmless photo opportunities.

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Everything Must Change CoverFor obvious reasons, if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 of this review, you might wish to do so, as I don’t have the space to recap here.

In the last third of Everything Must Change, Brian imagines ‘what it would be like to reevaluate, renew, and rebuild the three primary systems of our society [security, prosperity and equity],’ through the new framing story of the good news/kingdom of God, as set out by Jesus (p.155).

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