How do we give and receive love? (John 13)

The new edition of Scripture Union’s Encounter with God has just been published, and this is the third part of my contribution reflection on John 11–13. Acceptable service (John 13:1–17) Why do we find it so difficult to be served by others? Because it draws unwelcome attention to us? Or because we don’t feel we deserve the attention? … Continue Reading

The compassion of God in John 11

The new edition of Scripture Union’s Encounter with God has just been published, and this is the first part of my contribution reflection on John 11–13. Even to the casual reader, John’s gospel seems to be in two halves. In the first, we have a series of seven ‘signs’ performed by Jesus (including the water into … Continue Reading

Compassion and power in John 11

If someone is in a fix, do you listen sympathetically and show you understand, or do you try and remedy the problem? Of course, that is a false dichotomy, but it a challenge we face often. If you want to take a stereotyped or generalised view of sex difference, by and large women tend to … Continue Reading

The Challenge of Loneliness

The latest Grove Pastoral booklet explores the challenge of the growing loneliness many in Britain face in old age. Written by John Dawson, a hospital chaplain, and Pete Rugen, a parish priest in Chester diocese, it is a multifaceted exploration of the problems of loneliness—and some possible solutions. It begins by offering some typical examples of loneliness … Continue Reading

Virtue signalling and moral decisions

In the discussion about how to respond to the refugee crisis, I have come across a new phrase: virtue signalling. Apparently coined by Libby Purves, it involves saying something that has moral appeal but without being founded on any kind of clear thinking. Up till now, when I have read Giles Fraser’s public pronouncements, the … Continue Reading

Thinking about migration

Having talked in my last post about our immediate response to the situation of refugees from Syria in Europe, some other issues have challenged me to engage mind as well as heart. There have been several things about the reporting and comment over the last few days that puzzled me. First was the tragic story of … Continue Reading

Responding to refugees

Compassion. Surely that is the only legitimate response to seeing a three-year-old boy, drowned and washed up on a Turkish beach, fleeing with his family from the way in Syria. It was especially poignant yesterday, since it mingled on my Facebook feed with photographs of other boys, dressing in a red top, ready for the … Continue Reading