- This is serious – Turkish Protestant churches sent death threats – directly affects a number of churches that I’ve regularly spent time with in Turkey. PRAY.
- My former All Souls colleague Jo Jackson has written a couple of great posts about weakness: 1. Willingly Weak and 2. Wonderfully Weak
- Phil Whittall (aka the Simple Pastor) has a great post on ‘We are alone in the universe‘
It was a while back when I encountered this poem from the polymathic Lewis, that master of words and fantasies and reality. It is an astonishing poem (some suggest his greatest). Read more
If the last Q combo was a chronological mismatch of artist and poet, this one is seasonal. Today’s still been pretty warm for a British September day, so it’s perhaps rather incongruous to be thinking about winter. But a dear friend and colleague, Jennifer, sent me this all too brief poem last week, and so I felt it was a perfect combo contender.
- Did God Betray You? Really helpful piece about suffering and faith.
- We’re all sadists now: Carl Trueman on provocative but insightful form
- Tim Neufeld on cracking form about U2’s current tour: Ancient Psalms for a State-of-the-Art Tour
So here are all this week’s Black Dog posts linked in one place…
William Nicholson wrote Shadowlands, the play (which became the film) inspired by C.S.Lewis’s extraordinary testimony A Grief Observed. In it, he gave Lewis this lovely line, one he never actually uttered, but may as well have done.
We read to know we’re not alone
As I wrap this little sequence of ruthless self-exposure up, various omissions and oddities have occurred to me, so the easiest thing is probably to string them together in a miscellany that’s almost Pauline in its randomness (though naturally without his claims to authority). Read more
I’m glad. In fact, if you didn’t, I’d be quite concerned for you! But be warned. This isn’t for the faint-hearted. It will try your patience and frustrate your sympathies. You’ll definitely have days when you’ve had enough. Perhaps months. So you’ll shrug that you did everything you could but to no avail. [There are only so many hours in a day, and you’ve got your own issues.] So you’ll assume it needs someone else to take up the baton. If that’s the case, then may I make a gentle plea with you? Don’t get involved in the first place… Read more
So here’s the 3rd Q Combination. I don’t know how well known these two geniuses are beyond British shores – but they are true 20th Century greats. In their different ways, both articulate a deeply earthy, incarnated spirituality. Read more
It’s been very moving to have messages in the last few days about my black dog posts. Thank you! At least it shows that it’s been worth it. As I mentioned in the first post, I’m genuinely not motivated by the kind of confessional culture that is all around us; still less am I trying to elicit sympathy. And I’m definitely not seeking advice or support (kind though some offers have been!). It is only to help those who don’t quite have the words for this yet. But I do realise that it’s raised lots of questions for some… Read more
So where does it all lead? Well, that’s precisely the problem. It can often feel like the road down has only one conclusion. Or perhaps terminus is the better description. Which is a terrifying thought. Not to mention taboo… Read more
I touched on the surprisingly physical reality of the black dog yesterday. It’s surprising, because, of course, depression is as much about emotional pain and scars as anything else. But here’s the really weird thing: the emotional anguish actually feels physical at times. I think I really get now why people talk about feeling heart-sick. It is a piercing constant, perhaps a little like having emotional toothache. Read more
The thing about volcanoes is that they’re as immovable as mountains. Rock solid in fact. But of course that’s the deception of appearances. And in geological terms, they’re savage beasts, easily provoked to ire by invisible tectonic interference.
It probably seems a totally incongruous metaphor for the Black Dog – but probably only to those whom he’s never pursued. Because there is something so irrational, so mysterious, so dark even about so-called depression that it is as destabilising as a major geological event. Read more
Poets and artists have had it. Leaders and teachers have had it. Normal and extraordinary people have had it. For all I know, even educated fleas have had it.
All kinds of stats get flung around about the black dog (1 in 4 so they say??) but who knows? What matters is not the exact numbers but how commonplace it is – and yet how extraordinarily varied. Read more
Have been thinking of different things I can do on the blog, and one of them is to offer occasional juxtapositions of creativity that warm the heart, stretch the mind, quench the soul. So here is the first: a bringing together of two masters (to whom I’ve returned more than once on Q). Read more
- Prof Gary Habermas has made his 90-page book, Evidence for the Historical Jesus available as a free pdf.
- Gabe Lyons and Andrew Sullivan have a remarkable conversation about the pain of Church/LGBT (can’t they find a vowel!!?) relations
- She doesn’t mince her words here – it’s necessarily shocking – but this is important – Gail Dines TED talk on Growing Up in a Pornified Culture
- Ding Dong the witch is dead: if you’ve missed this, it is a must read – a harrowing account of a pastor who is a survivor of horrendous child abuse
- Turkish Armenians with previously hidden Christian heritage are returning to Christianity from Islam
- Phil Whittall has a very good piece on the issue of transhumanism (after the discussion between Peter Thiel and NT Wright)
Well, you work on one book for 5 years, and another one for 5 months, and whaddaya know – they appear on the same day! Well in the UK at least. Tim, the noble overlord of the Good Book Co had asked me to contribute to their little series, Questions Christians Ask a while back. But because a big annual conference in London had the issue of human nature as its main theme, the plan was to work on getting this out in time. Read more
- Philip Yancey has a good piece on the value of small churches… he also passes on a lovely John Ortberg story about a bus driver in San Francisco.
- Eddie Arthur has a consistently thought-provoking blog – this piece particularly good: Go to where God is Not at Work!
- Krish Kandiah on 7 reasons why preaching is dead and 7 reasons why it lives