n112417781196_5393Regular readers of my blog may recall that last year I was rather taken aback to hear that Antony Gormley had won the latest Fourth Plinth commission with his One and Other concept of putting members of the public on the plinth – given that I had suggested basically the same idea to a member of the then Fourth Plinth Committee during a Radio 5 broadcast, which was discussing the previous shortlist – more here: Familiar Idea.

Anyway, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that neither the Mayor’s Office, the Fourth Plinth Committee, The Arts Council, nor Antony Gormley’s Studio have been willing to respond to my question – why it is possible to claim One and Other as an outstanding, remarkable, or indeed original work when such a similar idea had already been suggested long in advance of the current proposal? Nor how they felt about claiming that it is about “The democratization of art,” (Antony Gormley), and that it is “a brilliant case of people coming to art and art coming to people!” (Boris Johnson), while ignoring a valid question about this public art project from a member of the public who had already proposed that the public should be allowed to stand on the plinth.

Sadly, nothing on the Fourth Plinth will be done in remembrance of me – but perhaps I should be more than content (indeed, delighted) that at least one hour of this public art project will be given over to remembering Jesus, thanks to Methodist Minister, Ken Chalmers, who will be celebrating Communion from the top of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square on  TUESDAY 28th JULY 2009, 9-10 am.

You can find out more and give your support here:



Jesus and his friendsMy 4 year-old daughter drew this on the front of my birthday card instead of writing ‘Daddy’. I assumed it was a family portrait – which in a way it is – It’s “Jesus and his friends”. Sweet.

I doubt you will love it as much as I do, and it’s hardly the start of a renaissance in religious art, but I thought it was worth sharing all the same.

For the past four years I’ve been a stay-at-home dad. Sure, I’ve written a couple of books, done some freelance stuff, etc – but basically my day-to-day has been looking after my beautiful daughter – which I guess is never going to change. Except that in a few weeks from now she will be in school full time and like many a parent who have looked after a child during their pre-school years, I will feel bereft, but I will also have a sense of freedom – what am I going to do with all that time?

That’s a good question. Part of me senses a whole world of opportunity is about to open up for me, while the more pessimistic (and dominant) side of my personality fears that I will atrophy – I’ll become a dad who does lunch, or a dishy daddy (the male form of the yummy mummy) who fills his days with consuming daytime telly, window shopping and worrying about whether my daughter is developing an nut allergy simply because I will have nothing else to fill the void where once once Hama Beads and Play Dough, trips to the zoo and days in the park.

Like everyone, I have dreams and I want to succeed and feel that I’m contributing something worthwhile. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something and I’ve carried for years a very clear word that I am to be like Read the rest of this entry »

Inspired by the BBC’s Poetry Season, particularly by those performing their poems at ‘Poetry Slams’, I did a ‘Communion Slam’ last Sunday, which seemed to go down really well with people at my church, given the enthusiastic responses I got after the service. Basically I wrote a poem/liturgy which I ‘performed’ by way of invitation to the communion. But even as I write this, particularly thinking about the dramatic communions we used to have in the Parish of Northolt, I guess all liturgical communion could be thought of as a slam.

Anyway, if you are interested, here is the unperformed text.

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Over the last few months I’ve become involved in one of the most inspiring, deeply spiritual, theologically grounded, community-orientated projects that I’ve ever come across – EarthAbbey.

To quote the homepage:

EarthAbbey is a movement of people helping one another to live more in tune with the earth. We work to pomote: Read the rest of this entry »

0648 A Permanent Becoming.inddMy good friend, Jason Clark, pastor of Vineyard Church Sutton, and Blogger over at DeepChurch, is going to be doing a series of talks  about the Fruit of the Spirit, drawing on my own work, which he is very flattering about.

‘Alan’s latest book, is I think his best and is starting to develop some appropriate momentum, titled, ‘A Permanent Becoming‘.

So not only is this one of the only books on the Fruits of the Spirit, it’s focus on the mundane of life, compared the the thrills of consumer society, and and hype of much of the Christian life and church, is refreshing. But it’s not a jeremiad, rather a revolutionary call to a way of life so intrinsic to the Christian Faith, yet so easily missed in our attention deficit world.

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Back in January I recorded my first ever interview to be released as a podcast. Well it has finally gone live over at the Nick and Josh Podcast. Do check it out, but also take a look around the whole site as there are some fascinating interviews to be heard.


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My wonderful wife, Kay, will be running the Bristol 10k on May 10th 2009 as part of the Love Running Team.

We’ve chosen three fantastic charities to support, and all the money raised will be split equally between – St Peter’s Hospice, World Vision Zimbabwe and One25.

So if you feel you can, please sponsor Kay. Even a small amount will make a big difference.

To sponsor Kay, simply go to her justgiving page here: http://www.justgiving.com/kaysurry


jpegJust a quick heads-up to let you know that the latest edition of Sublime Magazine is out. If you’ve not got around to reading a copy yet, then why not make this one your first. As ever, there are loads of interesting pieces in it, including the story of David de Rothschild’s desire to build and sail across the Pacific Ocean in a boat made from discarded plastic bottles.

For my part, I stayed at home and made an assessment of the progress being made half way to the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.


In September 2000, the heads of state of some 180 countries gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Like the rest of us, they saw the millennium as a watershed – an opportunity to leave behind the regrets and unfulfilled promises of the Enlightenment and forge new aspirations. They wanted to tap into the hope that such moments in human history inevitably raise, and to map pathways towards the future that beckoned. What was acknowledged at the meeting was the stark reality that millions of people did not, indeed could not, share the optimism of the millennium. If the 21st century was to write itself a better history, then the world’s poor needed the hope of a future opening up for them. In response, those leaders voted to adopt the United Nations Read the rest of this entry »

0648 A Permanent Becoming.inddPeople are often surprised to learn how little money I make from writing Christian books, and wonder, therefore, what drives me to do it.

There are, of course, many reasons why one would want to write, but here are just two . . .

1. The Bridge, a community church in Hinckley, Leicestershire, have just finished a series of talks and discussions based around my latest book, A Permanent Becoming. What an inspiration to see how my work can be adopted and adapted by others, and what a privilege to be Read the rest of this entry »

April 2021