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Showing posts from July, 2018

Open Hearts and Open Minds

This is a reflection of mine from a few years ago Many years ago there was a boy called George. He was a French Protestant refugee growing up in England, 300 years ago. At age 12 his father sent him to sea as a midshipman, and he was sent as part of a small fleet on a diplomatic mission to the North African coast. In Algeria something life-changing happened to him: he met Muslims. Now he had always been told these were barbarian people, infidels, lost souls: the part of humanity predestined to hell. But when he met them for himself – he realised that these were people with compassion, with love, with a life of prayer – all those things that he considered “Christian” – he observed in these Muslims. Something changed in George that day: his heart opened, his mind opened. His heart opened to seeing those Muslims in Algeria as good, as God-filled people; and his mind opened to the idea that maybe God was bigger. Maybe God didn’t just care for Christians. Maybe God’s love was wider th

Is there a liberal / progressive / feminist Christian church in Cardiff?

I've spend six months checking out a number of Christian churches in Cardiff, to get the lay of the land, to try to understand the religious landscape of the city. One of my questions is - is there already a strong dynamic progressive Christian community in Cardiff? My answer is that there is not. Certainly there are the Quakers, who are active and of course progressive, but their worship is not for everyone. City URC Church have a license for same sex marriage and so are open and affirming. In the same building on Sunday evening is also The Gathering, a specifically LGBT+ space. There is no Metropolitan Community Church in Cardiff. If you were looking beyond Christianity to a post-Christian humanist approach, there is also no Sunday Assembly in Cardiff. We have the Unitarians, but we are very very small. I expect the Anglicans are fairly liberal, and I'm sure some people would make an argument for a few others. But all of this might depend on what you consider &q

The Journey of the Spirit

This is a reflection of mine from a few years ago Every one of us is on a journey. We are all walking on this pilgrimage of life; walking and exploring, and maybe seeking a better path. There are so many seekers in this world, searching, yearning for more love, more community, more meaning, more joy, more purpose in their lives: seeking a better path. Every year thousands of people go on pilgrimages. Not just orthodox believers either, but quite often spiritual seekers, searchers, explorers going on pilgrimage to look for something. One of the most popular pilgrimages is the one to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Thousands of pilgrims every year walk for hundreds of miles across the Pyrenees and northern Spain to reach either the cathedral, or the coast. It takes about 40 days, walking all day, mainly alone, sometimes accompanied by other pilgrims, then staying at a hostel at the end of the day. This is a tough physical and mental challenge. A friend of

On the necessity of swearing

(This post contains swearing) I was sitting on the steps of the Senedd the other day, eating a crepe I had just bought from a stall at the Cardiff Food Festival. "Oh, watch out," said the person I was with, someone I had met that day at a group event. I looked up and realised they were indicating to a seagull hovering about. Cardiff seagulls are pretty cheeky creatures, and it wouldn't be impossible for one to swoop down and steal food from your hand. "Fuck off," I grumbled vaguely at the seagull, while I guarded my crepe a little closer to my body. "Did you just say what I think you just said?" asked the other person incredulously. "Well, yeah," I said. "A minister that swears?" they exclaimed, having found out I was a minister a few hours earlier when they met me. "Well, yeah," I said, smiling. I've been thinking about why that should be so shocking. I suppose people expect ministers, and by ext