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Apologies if you’re popping by to discover that my blog hasn’t been updated for a week or so. I’ve been traveling around, trying to make the most of a bad summer and finding bolt holes to work on my next book – deadline fast approaching and only half written!

Find Your VoiceWhile I think of something to write, I thought I’d give you all a heads up for a book that’s just come out – Find Your Voice: Developing the Prophetic in you and your church by David Oliver.

David is a bit of a marketing guru, but he also works with Care For the Family from time to time, and some of you may know him from his Love Work, Live Life seminars and book, which I helped to produce.

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snoopyIn light of yet another wave of terrorism here in the UK, today’s Radio 4 PM programme (03/07/07) carried an interesting discussion in which it was suggested that theology was as important a factor in the radicalization of young Muslims as British foreign policy. The argument put forward seemed to be suggesting that an Islamic theology, which espouses Islamism (the intertwining of religion with the establishment of a state of Islam and the understanding of Jihad as violent overthrow) was simply being ignored, marginalized or banned rather than engaged with on theological grounds. For a liberal, secular nation that would prefer to keep religion out of the public square, that’s a challenging assertion. But surely it’s an obvious, if often overlooked factor in the radicalization process. Read the rest of this entry »

blairYou may have missed the fact, but today (Wednesday 27th June) is my 39th Birthday! Oh yes, and it’s Tony Blair’s final day as PM. Ten years ago, Tony and his New Labour colleagues won a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election – and they’ve been around ever since. Naturally, as we reached the final few days of Blair’s historic Premiership, it has been necessary to consider what he’s done over the last decade. Hundreds of thousands of children lifted out of poverty. But a greater gap between the rich and the poor. A Peace deal in Northern Ireland, but a couple of wars started elsewhere just to balance things out. Could do better on education, education, education. Indeed, some would suggest Jamie Oliver achieved more for our school children than Tony.

Don’t get me wrong, Iraq aside, it’s been a pretty decent few years – and I do believe him when he says, ‘Hand on heart, I did what I thought was best.’ In fact, though it’s easy to kick a man when he is down, the reality is, life is always a mixture of highs and lows, achievements and regrets, perfect decisions and fundamental errors – as the Blair years amply demonstrate.

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water For those of us concerned about the billions of people worldwide without access to clean, safe drinking water and adequate sanitation, the G8 was disappointing, to say the least. While Bono and Geldof rightly criticized the political posturing and pointed out the devil that lurked in the detail of the G8’s pledges, at least the fight against HIV/Aids was mentioned, allowing a platform to raise the issues once more. Once again, however, the G8 have done nothing to address the development issue, totally ignoring the UN’s Human Development report on the global water crisis. As this report points out, time and again, if the world is serious about ending poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, then a genuine commitment to the provision of clean water is paramount. The reality is, you can’t deal with a developing nation’s health problems unless you deal with contaminated water, because half the hospital beds are taken up with diseases directly related to dirty water . There’s no point in building schools with the aspiration of educating children if you don’t first remove the need to walk for hours a day just to fetch water to meet basic needs. (In sub-Sahran Africa alone, it’s estimated that 40 billion hours are spent each year collecting water, and this mostly by women and children). Neither can you build a viable economy if your potential workforce is either sick or absent because their need to collect life-sustaining water is greater than their need to turn up for work.

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I’m sorry I’m late, only . . . .I’ve been reading everyone else’s blog for the last few years!

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