Friday, 27 November 2009

A great investment opportunity, where crime reduction is concerned?

An article in today's Guardian reports that 'The cost of crime related to "conduct problems" – defined by the report as problems such as disobedience, lying, fighting and stealing – is £60bn a year' and that 'Up to 80% of crime in the UK is committed by people who had behavioural problems as children and teenagers'.

In the context of the suggestion that 'A lifetime of crime committed by a single prolific offender can cost up to £1.5m', a great opportunity for churches and other agencies to make a huge difference by providing pre-school group parenting programmes and other similar early intervention programmes.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

'Humanists should be welcome on Thought for the Day – if they would only admit their own fundamental irrationality'

An interesting article by Nick Spencer in today's Guardian. He argues that 'In another way, however, humanism is deeply religious. It may not rely on revelation or the supernatural but, like any serious worldview, it does depend on beliefs and moral convictions that cannot be proved.' He goes on to suggest that (only) if those who hold such views 'are willing to abandon their fig leaves and embrace the vulnerability that goes with any religious faith position', they should be given a slot on Radio 4's Thought for the Day.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Church organizes a Halloween Bible and book burning party

Staggering to hear that churches such as this North Carolina one exist - ironically called Amazing Grace Church! And am ashamed to be included in the same "Christian" category as them. Watch the video!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

'Take my money: I don't want it'

So says Oxford academic Toby Ord in today's Sunday Times

He says we'd all be happier if we donated 10% of our income to good causes. He has no religious leanings, but in many Christian churches we're ahead of him, indeed have been for a couple of millenia, as we encourage 'tithing' of our incomes, and giving to all manner of good causes over and above that!

Saturday, 14 November 2009


Enjoyed spending an 'Agenda.1' day at the HQ of The Message Trust on Friday with some Manchester and national church leaders who are engaged in planting new churches. The Message's CEO Andy Hawthorne is a visionary pioneer whose influence has gone from city-wide to regional to national, with Eden projects now being started in deprived inner-city areas all over the UK.

Mick Woodhead from St Thomas's in Sheffield shared something of their recent history - church of 1,750, then 1,500 relocate to their central Sheffield church, leaving about less than 250, who then have grown to 1,100 in the last 6 years. Their simple vision is explained here. Mick's own story is an interesting one: had no particular Christian background but came to faith at 29; worked as a BT engineer for the next 20 years, then went to train as an Anglican vicar at 49; his first posting was to a dying church that he was supposed to close, but instead it flourished!; he then joined the leadership team at St Thomas's, and when Mike Breen reloacted to the US, became the Rector, with the church then growing by over 400%.